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Trump Faces Challenges in Court, Congress Over Emergency Declaration; Deadly Protests Grip Haiti; Andrew McCabe Speaks Out on FBI Investigation into Trump. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 17, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] TRAVIS KAUFFMAN, SURVIVED MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK: A couple of minutes later it finally stopped moving and then jaws open, and I was able to kind of scramble back up the hill and get the heck out of Dodge.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bloodied and injured Kauffman ran three miles before finally finding Good Samaritans on the trail who helped him to the hospital.
KAUFFMAN: Don't break an ankle along with getting attacked by a mountain lion.
MCLEAN: With wounds to his face and arms and nearly 30 stitches later, Kauffman says he's lucky to be alive.
KAUFFMAN: There was a point where I was concerned that I wasn't going to make it out of it. Luckily that wasn't the case.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Hello on this Sunday evening. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
Day three of the American national emergency so declared by President Trump. Nothing has actually moved yet as a result of the president's declaration he signed it Friday as a way to get around Congress and Congress' approval for billions of dollars he wants to build a physical wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Now the problem for the president is the process. Democrats, who now run the House, accuse Trump of fabricating an emergency just to get what he wants. The Intelligence Committee chairman went so far as to call it unconstitutional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: When Congress explicitly rejected funding for the particular project that the president is advocating and in saying just the other day that he didn't really need to do this, he just wanted to do it because it would help things go faster, he's pretty much daring the court to strike this down.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: He's talking about the legal challenges to this emergency declaration, some have already been filed and even the president predicts will probably need the Supreme Court's involvement. One of the president's closest advisers says he's not worried.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Will the president veto that, which would be the first veto of his presidency?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, obviously the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration, Chris. And I know that we're out of time, but again I want to make this point. There's no threat --
WALLACE: So yes, he will veto?
MILLER: He's going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Our White House correspondent Sarah Westwood is in West Palm Beach, Florida, not far from the president's Mar-a-Lago resort.
Sarah, how do people in the administration plan to fight for the president's plan?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, White House officials say they always expected the legal and congressional challenges if they decided to go this route.
The administration is prepared to defend the president's national emergency declaration in court. And House Democrats are preparing to pass a resolution of disapproval to try to stop the president from using his executive authority in this way. That could see some support in the Senate. But as we just heard top Trump adviser Stephen Miller suggested Trump may use a veto if that were to reach his desk.
Now while some Republicans are uncomfortable with the precedent this might set others are arguing that there is a genuine humanitarian and national security crisis at the border. And they're also arguing that this is not a subversion of the will of Congress because lawmakers did include some funding for the border wall in that spending package that Trump signed on Friday.
Take a listen to Republican Congressman Jim Jordan making this argument earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Congressman, can you give me an example where a president asked for something, Congress rejected and the president went ahead and said he would do it anyway?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: I don't know of that, but I do know that this wasn't a rejection because there was some money for the wall in this bill. So Congress said it's OK for some but the president said this is such a great problem, I need more money to build more wall and to fulfill the campaign promise that I told the American people I was going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now beyond congressional resistance, the Trump administration could face other roadblocks in court. Groups could bring lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the declaration and landowners who hold property along the southern border, they are expected to bring cases to try to protect their land from the government seizing it once it becomes time to actually start building the wall.
So there could be significant delays before the Trump administration is able to access any of the roughly $6 billion in additional federal funds that Trump was hoping to unlock with his emergency declaration -- Ana.
CABRERA: Sarah Westwood, in West Palm Beach, Florida, thank you.
And now I want to bring in CNN political commentators, Joe Trippi, Ben Ferguson and Tara Setmayer.
Tara, right before the president signed the declaration, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this but I'd rather do it much faster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So here is how Stephen Miller defended that comment today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: "I didn't need to do this." How does that justify a national emergency?
MILLER: What the president was saying is, is that like past presidents, he could choose to ignore this crisis, choose to ignore this emergency, as others have, but that's not what he's going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:05:04] CABRERA: Tara, you're a former communications director. Did he do a good job defending the president?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I mean, Stephen Miller is one of the worst possible messengers to send out on this issue. Every time he comes on, he looks like a -- you know, a brown shirt. I remember last year when he -- or was it two years ago when he came out and said the president's authority will not be questioned. I mean, I just don't know why they continue to put Stephen Miller out
there. But it's probably to placate his base. I mean, he's good for that. But as far as explaining it to people who are looking at this as objective observers, the answer would be no.
The president of the United States told on himself during that portion of the press conference. How is it an emergency if you didn't need to do it? Why wasn't this an emergency during the two years that Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate? It wasn't an emergency then.
What has changed so dramatically that we need to do this now and circumvent Congress, circumvent Article I powers given to the Congress to appropriate money? I am old enough to remember when the Republican Party freaked out when Barack Obama issued different executive orders.
You know, I've got a phone and a pen. What he did with DACA. I'm old enough to remember when Republicans were very upset about the Kelo case, which is an eminent domain case that the Supreme Court decided in Connecticut that was terrible for private property ownership, which is what's going to happen if they move forward with this wall in this way.
So what -- how in any way is what the president doing conservative? How is this respecting Congress? And I don't care if you don't agree with what Congress is doing, if you didn't get your way, you don't throw around presidential powers like this. You're not an imperial president. And so there's nothing Republican -- nothing conservative about this. And shame on the GOP, any of them who actually try to justify this as constitutional.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'll justify it.
CABRERA: Ben, it sounds like you may disagree?
FERGUSON: Yes. There was a lot that was said there. So I'm going to try to clear it up pretty quickly. First of all, this isn't a president going crazy when he has the actual right to declare a state of emergency, which is exactly what he did. So it's within the rules of the law. Let's make that clear. The president has the power to do this. So to imply that this is somehow outside of the rules, it's not. That's the reason why the rule is there.
Second thing is the president --
SETMAYER: It's never been done to re-appropriate money, Ben. You know that. You know that.
FERGUSON: Let me finish. I didn't say that it had never been done before. I said the president has the right to do it.
SETMAYER: To re-appropriate money.
FERGUSON: The second thing -- let me finish. I didn't interrupt. Let me finish my point. OK.
SETMAYER: Go ahead.
FERGUSON: The president of the United State of America, second of all, when you said that, you know, we had a Republican Congress, he should have done it the first two years if it was an actual emergency.
FERGUSON: You know this. You worked on the hill. You have to have votes from Democrats. There has to be a compromise. It did not matter the Republicans were charge of the House. You still have to have the votes for a compromise to get this bill done. That's the reason why there was a government shutdown. So the president tried to work with both sides. When they refused to and the emergency still grows. Literally you have women coming across the border --
SETMAYER: Democrats offered $20 billion.
FERGUSON: One out of three -- let me finish. One out of three of them are being sexually assaulted. You have enough Fentanyl coming across the border the other day in one bus to kill 150 million Americans.
CABRERA: -- across the ports of entry, though, Ben?
FERGUSON: Again, the president has made this clear.
CABRERA: I mean, let's not get confused with --
CABRERA: I don't want to get into the details of --
FERGUSON: I'm not confusing anything.
FERGUSON: Ana, Ana, I'm not confusing anything. I'm saying --
CABRERA: That's not necessarily factual.
CABRERA: Finish your thought and then I want to get --
FERGUSON: Ana, I didn't say that it came across the border legally. Let me finish. I didn't say that it came across the border legally. It is a comprehensive agenda that the president has talked about here. He said we need better screening, he said more money for that at the ports of entry. He said we need better technology. But we also know that an open border --
SETMAYER: Ben, that's not what he campaigned on. And that was -- (CROSSTALK)
SETMAYER: Come on.
FERGUSON: Again when you have a quarter of a million illegal immigrants who've come across the border and been arrested in Texas, with criminal records, where I am right now, come down to the border and tell me this is a national issue, talk to these mothers who have lost their children from illegal immigrants who have murdered them, talk to parents whose kids have been sexually assaulted because of illegal immigrants who've come across the border, or ICE agents.
JOE TRIPPI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ben.
FERGUSON: It's not something to scoff at. If you talk --
SETMAYER: It's not, Ben. I've worked with --
CABRERA: OK. Guys, pause. Pause.
SETMAYER: You're deflecting, Ben.
CABRERA: So Ben and Tara --
CABRERA: Ben and Tara are examples of the divide within the Republican Party over the president declaring the national emergency.
CABRERA: We know Democrats --
FERGUSON: Ana, Ana --
CABRERA: Hey, guys? Hey, guys. Nobody can't hear if everybody is talking at once.
Joe, go ahead.
TRIPPI: I just think, look, the two years where they had everything wasn't an emergency. They could have tried to address it. They didn't. When the Democrats offered --
FERGUSON: They did try.
TRIPPI: No. When the --
FERGUSON: You have to have Democrat votes.
TRIPPI: Hey, Ben. You were the one who didn't want to interrupt -- anybody interrupt you. Please don't interrupt me.
FERGUSON: But you -- TRIPPI: Ben, no.
FERGUSON: It's still --
FERGUSON: -- to say that they didn't try. They did try for two years. That's a lie. And you said they didn't. They tried. They did try. And Democrats refused to work with Republicans.
TRIPPI: It's not a lie, Ben -- but why is when Democrats gave -- offered $20 billion, the entire thing, it was such an urgent emergency that the president --
FERGUSON: (INAUDIBLE) the entire thing. And you know that. It's also a lie.
[20:10:07] TRIPPI: That the president said no. Well, somebody is lying on this show. It's not me.
FERGUSON: They also want amnesty in exchange for the money.
TRIPPI: Ben, I mean, come on. Yes.
FERGUSON: They also asked for amnesty. So again you're misleading the American people again.
TRIPPI: No, no.
FERGUSON: That's twice.
TRIPPI: There's somebody misleading the American people, Ben. You're right. On the air right now and it's not me. The second thing is when we --
FERGUSON: Fact-check it, my friend.
TRIPPI: We offered $5.7 billion in exchange for $7 billion for farmers.
FERGUSON: In exchange -- thank you.
TRIPPI: Right. He, again, such an emergency, he said no. OK. By the way, half the time the White House was saying, yes, do it. We're there. The American people don't even -- 46 percent of the people that are for the wall think there's a crisis on the border. Over half of the people that are for the wall, his own base, do not agree that there's a crisis on the border in recent polling. This is just not real. It is a manufactured thing --
FERGUSON: Did you see the polling numbers after the State of the Union? You can say it's manufactured as long as you want to but then I'll quote Barack Obama who said there was a crisis at the border. Hillary Clinton said there was a crisis at the border. CABRERA: Hey, guys. Hey, guys. I don't want this conversation to go
down a rabbit hole right now because the bottom line, let's talk about the crisis at the border and what happens next, which is either Congress acts. They could put forward a resolution to disapprove of this national emergency declaration, which the House has said they plan to move on, and then it would have to be put up for a vote in the Senate.
CABRERA: And that's where, if there's a majority, it would go to the president. He has to make a choice of whether he would veto that. If there's a supermajority, Tara, he would have a veto overridden. Do you think there's enough support amongst Republicans? Because there have been a number who have spoken out.
CABRERA: And said they don't agree with this.
SETMAYER: There have been.
CABRERA: Is there enough for a super majority?
SETMAYER: As of right now I would probably say no because the Republicans in the Senate have been cowards. You know, and that's why it's been very frustrating to hear someone like Mitch McConnell as the Senate majority leader who knows better. He knows that this declaration of a national emergency, this fake emergency, is a terrible precedent.
Nancy Pelosi already telegraphed what could happen under a Democratic president who decides that gun control or health care or climate change is a national emergency if they don't get their way with Congress. What that could do, and Republicans know this. And Republican senators know this.
When Lindsey Graham turns around and says well, you know, this is -- I don't have a problem with it now, all of a sudden, it's like really, Lindsey Graham? You know that this -- what kind of a terrible precedent this sets and what -- it's going to get caught up in the courts anyway. There's not going to be an ounce of -- an inch of wall built while this is going through the courts because this has to be litigated.
So I hope that Republicans go on record. They need to go on record, who was for this and who wasn't. This is a major constitutional issue that could be -- that is bigger than just the immediate political expediency of this for President Trump. This has really long-term consequences if we want to respect the Article I power of Congress to disseminate money, to appropriate money.
CABRERA: Got to leave it there, guys.
SETMAYER: That is a constitutional power.
CABRERA: I got to leave it there.
Tara Setmayer, Joe Trippi, Ben Ferguson -- I know you want to get back in, Ben. I'm so sorry. I'm short on time. Got some breaking news we're chasing right now.
FERGUSON: No problem.
CABRERA: A top U.S. commander makes an unannounced visit to the Middle East a day after publicly breaking with the president on ISIS. Why the CENTCOM commander says this is not the time to pull U.S. troops from Syria.
And breaking news into CNN tonight. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe detailing the time Rod Rosenstein, quote, "offered to wear a wire into the White House."
Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:17:55] CABRERA: In Haiti, breaking the violence. After days of demonstrations by protesters demanding the president's resignation. And we're now learning that Canadian nurses trapped inside their compound expect they'll be able to leave Haiti tomorrow morning.
Still Haitian hospitals are struggling to provide care without essentials like medicine and equipment, and the entire police force remains activated.
Our Miguel Marquez joins us now from Port-au-Prince.
Miguel, what have you been seeing on the ground there today?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are we tossing again, what we're doing?
CABRERA: Miguel, can you hear us? OK. Obviously, we have a connection problem there with Miguel Marquez. We'll try to get him back.
Meantime, we have some breaking news into CNN tonight. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe detailing the time Rod Rosenstein, quote, "offered to wear a wire into the White House."
Stay with us. Don't go anywhere. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:23:14] CABRERA: Let's head back to Haiti now and CNN's Miguel Marquez joining us from Port-au-Prince.
Miguel, I'm glad we have our communication established again. Tell us what is happening there. What's the very latest in the uprising, the unrest, the violence that we know has been playing out in the streets?
SANCHEZ: Yes. After nine days of pretty serious violence here we're in a tenuous calm period. The prime minister went on national television, calling for an investigation into this corruption scandal that has really gripped this nation for about six months now. The protests that we saw over the last nine, 10 days or so were some of the most serious they have seen in a very, very long time.
Thousands of protesters taking to the streets, lighting fires in the streets using tires, blocking off the streets with boulders creating basically -- shutting down the entire capital and cities around the country as well.
Now the entire national police force has been activated and is trying to shut down any protests that happen. There is a small one today. There was a small one today. There are rumors of war in the days ahead but it's not clear what's going to happen. The prime minister speaking, talking about the investigation into the corruption scandal, talking about cutting his own budget by 30 percent.
Ending the perks of government workers, asking for a rise in the minimum wage here. None of those things are happening yet. But if the president has asked the prime minister to try to figure out a way through all of this, and it is not clear if all of that is going to placate the concerns of the protesters. Because the prime minister or the president has been named or his company has been named in this Petrocaribe scandal, as they call it here, oil from Venezuela that was offered at a subsidized rate to countries like Haiti.
[20:25:03] There were billions of dollars over the years. Much of that, they say -- the government report says was mismanaged and was funneled into certain pockets. They want a wider investigation now. They want the president to step down. It is not clear that what we've seen so far will actually do it. The next 24, perhaps 48 hours, could be a very telling time for this devastated country -- Ana.
CABRERA: So, Miguel, is there any indication then whether the protesters will return?
MARQUEZ: Well, that's exactly what we are waiting to see. There are strong rumors that perhaps tomorrow and in the days ahead not only in Port-au-Prince but other cities, that protesters will return to the streets. And what they want to do is shut down the country. The government has issued a sort of invitation for businesses, universities, government offices to open back up tomorrow.
We will see how all of that goes. Many businesses were ransacked during the protests. It is not clear if the protesters are going to be placated by what the prime minister has proposed. There is still nothing specific on the table. Until we see that, until they can see and hear and know that something is being done here, it is very hard to tell that the protesters are going to go back to their normal lives. They feel at this point they have nothing to lose.
All sectors of society, from the middle class to the extremely poor here, about 60 percent of this country survives on nothing more than $2 or $3 a day. And there is just -- they're fed up. They are sick and tired of seeing certain people get way with everything and others just left with absolutely nothing. And it has really reached a boiling point here. And we'll see in the next couple of days whether or not people will buy it.
CABRERA: All right. Miguel Marquez, thank you for that reporting. Do stay safe.
Brand new this hour, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe says he was fired because he opened a counterintelligence probe of President Trump. McCabe telling CBS' "60 Minutes" that he's considering now a possible lawsuit against the government.
McCabe lost his job one day before he would have been able to collect a full government pension. He also opened up about his interactions with President Trump and his reasons for opening the investigation. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: It's many of those same concerns that caused us to be concerned about a national security threat. And the idea is if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia's maligned activity possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, why would a president of the United States do that?
So all those same sorts of facts caused us to wonder, is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?
SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, "60 MINUTES": Are you saying that the president is in league with the Russians?
MCCABE: I'm saying that the FBI had reason to investigate that. The existence of an investigation doesn't mean someone is guilty. And I would say, Scott, if we failed to open an investigation under those circumstances, we wouldn't be doing our jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: McCabe this week has a new book called "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump." That's part of why he's giving these interviews right now. CNN legal analyst Paul Callan is here with us and CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett is also joining us by phone.
Paul, the significance first of McCabe saying he is considering suing the government.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Not at all surprising. McCabe was about to collect his lifelong pension and was fired by the FBI unceremoniously after an investigation by the inspector general. But he has always contested the validity of that firing and said that it was politically motivated. So I'm not surprised that he's considering a lawsuit.
He may have trouble winning such a lawsuit because the inspector general issued a rather detailed report, listing a number of reasons supporting the firing.
CABRERA: Laura, McCabe also made serious claims about what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly said about wearing a wire. Fill us in on that.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, he did, Ana. And, you know, it's remarkable because we've been reporting on some of these conversations for weeks and months now. But it's very different to hear McCabe describe it in his own words in such great, remarkable detail frankly.
And on the issue of the counterintelligence probe I just want to mention, he really outlines a number of things that he said Trump did publicly to sort of explain why the FBI was so troubled by his behavior, including not just the firing of former FBI director James Comey, but he also described, we believe for the first time, the fact that the president --
[20:30:00] LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: -- so troubled by his behavior including not just the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, but he also described, we believe, for the first time, the fact that the President tried to pressure the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to include the topic of Russia in his memo that was then used as sort of the pretext to fire Comey, remember? Rod, wrote a memo outlining how Comey had behaved in relation to the Clinton e-mail investigation, and how he sort of flouted DOJ protocols. And according to McCabe, he also tried to pressure Rosenstein to include Russia in the memo, Rosenstein opted not to do it, fearing that he could somehow then be implicated in the President's wrongdoing.
But it's an interesting link to think that the FBI was concerned about that. And they were also concerned about his public statements, linking his firing of Comey to the Russia investigation and telling other Russian officials soon thereafter that the Comey firing would lead to great pressure. And then on the Rosenstein conversation, we reported on the fact that McCabe has alleged that he had a conversation with Rod Rosenstein after Comey was fired where Rosenstein offered to wear a wire into the Oval Office. But again, McCabe describing it in far more detail tonight. Let's watch what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, FBI: We talked about why the President had insisted on firing the director and whether or not he was thinking about the Russia investigation and did that impact his decision? And in the context of that conversation, the deputy attorney general offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device, they wouldn't know it was there.
Now, he was not joking. He was absolutely serious. And, in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had. I never actually considered taking him up on the offer. I did discuss it with my general counsel and my leadership team back at the FBI after he brought it up the first time.
SCOTT PELLEY, 60 MINUTES ANCHOR, CBS: The point of Rosenstein wearing the wire into a meeting with the President was what? What did he hope to obtain?
MCCABE: I can't characterize what Rod was thinking or what he was hoping at that moment. But the reason you would have someone wear a concealed recording device would be to collect evidence. And in this case, what was the true nature of the President's motivation in calling for the firing of Jim Comey?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Now, Ana, I should point out the Justice Department speaking on Rosenstein's behalf has pushed back on McCabe's statement in this interview, not saying that they didn't discussed this issue, but essentially saying that Rosenstein never pursued actually wearing a wire and he certainly has never advocated for invoking the 25th amendment to remove the President from office. But still, just an extraordinarily frank peek-behind-the-scenes into some of the conversations. That, as least according to McCabe, happened in the chaotic days after Comey was fired.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Paul, let me read again, just to repeat what we heard from McCabe right there, "I never get searched when I go went to the White House," he says, Rosenstein told them. "I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn't know it was there." What do you make of McCabe's claims about Rosenstein?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Ana, I think you're focusing on what I view as the most shocking part of the interview, that the Deputy Attorney General of the United States was so worried about the President, acting in possible criminal manner that he was offering to wear a wire. I mean, you know, the people who wear wires for the FBI are generally people who are plotting a crime with somebody else.
So, obviously, this would suggest that Rod Rosenstein thought that the President was engaged in criminal activity at that time, and he has not explicitly denied that he offered to wear a wire. He's simply saying that it was never done and it was never authorized. But that's very different from saying, after having a discussion with Mr. McCabe and other officials at the FBI, I was of the opinion that there was sufficient evidence available that a wire should be worn. So, I think that's something we should get to the bottom of. And I would hope to hear a more detailed accounting of this by Rod Rosenstein.
CABRERA: Paul Callan and Laura Jarrett, please stay with me. We have much more on this breaking news, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe in his own words on the stunning moment that he was told President Trump said of U.S. intelligence, "I don't are. I believe Putin." You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: We're back with our breaking news, former acting FBI
Director Andrew McCabe saying he was fired first because he opened a counterintelligence probe of President Trump. McCabe telling CBS "60 Minutes" that he's considering a possible lawsuit against the government. McCabe lost his job you'll recall one day before he would have been able to collect a full government pension before he retired. He also opened up about the growing concern over Trump's relationship with Russia. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCABE: The President launched into several unrelated diatribes. One of those was commenting on the recent missile launches by the government of North Korea, and essentially the President said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don't actually have those missiles.
PELLEY: And U.S. intelligence was telling the President what?
[20:39:58] MCCABE: Intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses, to which the President replied, "I don't care. I believe Putin."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I'm talking with Paul Callan and Laura Jarrett, both with me now. Laura, this is yet another example, it appears, of the President believing Putin over his own intelligence agencies.
JARRETT: It is. It's reminiscent of past statements that we've heard publicly from the President where he said he asked him about whether Russia interfered in our 2016 elections, and he said he didn't do it. Again, the question always comes down to why does he take the word of Vladimir Putin? And Andrew McCabe didn't weigh in on that existential question but he does sort of paint a picture of why FBI officials were so worried. And it can (INAUDIBLE) specific anecdote, McCabe actually wasn't in the room for it. He's recounting what another FBI official who had returned from a White House intelligence briefing told him. But it's part and parcel of the larger issue and context, I think, of how FBI officials were trying to figure out whether Trump was acting at the behest of or somehow following directions of Russia and Putin.
CABRERA: Paul, how would investigators looking into Trump-Russia collusion see this or hear -- when they hear what we just heard from Andrew McCabe?
CALLAN: Well, you know, I think Laura raises a good point about the context of the conversation. And you have to understand that the FBI particular under J. Edgar Hoover for so many years, was given total deference by the Presidents of the United States, really, in the way they operated the FBI and the way they handled intelligence supply by the FBI. You now have a President who really has contempt for the FBI, who suddenly in control of the country. He's now fired the director, Comey, of the FBI.
So, I think McCabe sounds like someone who was somewhat panicked about what this President intended and what he was doing. But the larger question, of course is, is that the job of the FBI at that point, or is that the job of Congress, to look at his behavior, to remove him from office if he's acting in a traitorous manner. I mean, that's really what McCabe was implying, that the President was acting like a traitor to his own country. And of course, that would be an impeachable offense. I'm not sure that it would be grounds to remove him under the 25th amendment, which was designed, really, to remove a President when he suffered from some kind of a medical or mental disability.
CALLAN: It was not to remove a President who was cooperating with an American enemy.
CABRERA: Paul, I'm just curious, how do you assess the credibility of McCabe, given he was fired for lying?
CALLAN: I think that his credibility is on the low side here. He was investigated thoroughly by an inspector general, who I will have to tell you, was not an acolyte of the Trump administration by any means. He was very independent. And McCabe was fired. And so, I mean, everybody is going to say, at least in the Trump camp, that this guy is tainted and he can't be believed. And I see that Lindsey Graham is already calling for a Congressional, you know, investigation of this interview with "60 Minutes" tonight. So, we haven't heard the last of this, but I think he's got credibility problems, McCabe.
CABRERA: Laura, does any of this stick to Trump tonight? I mean, is any of this new? What would you say is the biggest bombshell, so to speak?
JARRETT: The biggest and probably most stunning bombshell, again, I come back to -- you know, he's almost become numb to it, I think, in certain ways because we've all been reporting on it and talking about it for nearly two years now, but the fact that the man who ran the FBI is going on the record, explaining the reasons in detail why they believe they needed to open investigations on the President of the United States, because his -- they believe he was compromised by a foreign government, is just remarkable. I don't think there's any way to get around that, even though we talk about it every day, it's still stunning.
Whether it sticks to him, I think the people who believe McCabe was wrongly fired and believed that he was fired for political reasons will continue to do so after tonight's interview. But one issue that I think shouldn't get lost here, and I think Paul sort of began to touch on, is McCabe says that this was not just the FBI on some sort of cowboy mission all on -- out on their own. We haven't really heard much about what the Justice Department's involvement here was, but McCabe says tonight that both the counterintelligence investigation and for the obstruction of justice investigation, with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was on board with those investigations. Now, I'm going to get comment from the Justice Department for their -- for their position on this.
[20:45:01] But according to McCabe, it is not as if the FBI was acting in a vacuum. The Justice Department was well aware of it, and they were on board with it. So, clearly, there was an oversight mechanism if McCabe is to be believed here.
CABRERA: Right. Laura Jarrett and Paul Callan, thank you both, really appreciate it.
CALLAN: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: We're back in a moment.
CABRERA: You've got to hear this rags to riches story. You can call it the American Dream, proof that hard work really does pay off. Stephanie Land struggled to make ends meet, as a single mother working as a housecleaner at one point, in fact, she was living in a homeless shelter with her infant daughter, she survived an abusive marriage.
[20:50:09] Well, five years ago, she decided to take a leap of faith. She quit her job as a housecleaner and she went all in on her writing studies, hoping it would all payoff. She dreamed of becoming a writer, and after years of hardship, she turned that dream into a reality. She turned the story of her struggle into a book, that just recently debuted at number three on the New York Times best seller list. And Stephanie Land, the author of "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive" is joining us now. Stephanie, I'm so happy for you, congratulations. How does it feel to be a New York Times best-selling author?
STEPHANIE LAND, AUTHOR: I don't know if it's really hit me, yet. I'm sure it will in a few weeks from now.
CABRERA: Your book is on the list now between two memoirs, that of former First Lady Michelle Obama and California Senator 2020 Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. I mean, what's your reaction to that?
LAND: I think it's really encouraging that the voices are -- diverse voices are being listened to and heard.
CABRERA: What motivated you to write this -- to share your story with other people?
LAND: I think every writer has different reasons for writing, but for me, I hoped that I would help somebody through a hard time.
CABRERA: So what do you hope people take away from your story?
LAND: Well, honestly, I hope that they recognized that low-income people do work very hard. And how much work it takes to not only get to work and to complete the job, but also how much work it takes to be on government assistance and how sometimes it's impossible to get all of that done. CABRERA: I mean, it took a lot of courage for you to keep at your writing and to continue to follow this dream. And to share what is a vulnerable piece of you. Why? Why do it?
LAND: Oh, I don't know. I honestly -- I just think it's the only way that people will really listen. We listen to authentic voices from a lived experience, and I think the more vulnerable you're willing to be, the more nerves you touch with other people who have been through similar situations that might be too scared to admit it. And really, that's how we no longer feel alone.
CABRERA: Yes. Besides the book sales, which obviously are wonderful, what's been the response to your book?
LAND: It's been surprisingly positive, which I honestly wasn't expecting. I've been a writer on the internet for several years, writing about social and economic justice. And my experience has been, you know, the comment sections of most of my pieces and trolls on Twitter and I guess I expected more of that and more of people telling me that I was playing a victim and brought it on myself. I really didn't expect people to connect to my story as much as they are.
CABRERA: Well, again, the book is "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive." Stephanie Land, congratulations, thank you for sharing your story.
LAND: Thanks for having me.
CABRERA: He's dedicated his life to honor lives lost in gun violence. And now, this carpenter who has made more than 25,000 crosses for victims just made five more. Why these may be the toughest. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: A public vigil today for family and friends grieving the loss of five people killed in a workplace shooting in the Chicago is suburbs. Loved ones paid their respects to Clayton Parks, Russell Boyer, Vincente Juarez, Josh Pinkard, and Trevor Wehner. Now, mourners laid flowers in front of wooden crosses outside the Henry Pratt Company building in Aurora, Illinois. Police say an employee who was being fired from his job there, opened fire on his colleagues Friday. The man who built those memorial crosses and thousands of others across the country is an Aurora, Illinois carpenter. For him, this shooting doesn't just hit close to home, it is home.
Five more crosses, five more gun deaths in America. The Miami Herald starkly detailing the human cost of this epidemic, printing the names and ages of every child and teenager killed by a gun in the years since Parkland. Nearly 1200 names. Let that sink in for a moment. 1200 children under the age of 18 died in just 12 months in this country, because of gun violence. 1200 families who will never see their loved one alive again. The Herald reports that's a Parkland every five days, enough victims to fill three ultrawide Boeing 777s. The categories, accidental, domestic, drive by, homicide, school shooting, self-defense, or murder/suicide. The Trace, an online nonprofit news organization paired with The Miami Herald to remember those lives lost. More than 200 student journalists wrote short profiles of each and every victim. To read those and to see their pictures, you can go to sinceparkland.org.
That does it for me tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us. Next here on CNN, CNN's Fareed Zakaria investigates impeachment and what could happen when the U.S. really needs to use it. CNN's Special Report "PRESIDENTS UNDER FIRE: THE HISTORY OF IMPEACHMENT" starts now.