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John Hickenlooper Announces 2020 Presidential Run; Sen. Rand Paul Will Vote Against Trump's National Emergency; Interview with Rep. Robin Kelly, (D-IL); "New Yorker": Trump Intervened to Stop in AT&T/Time Warner Merger; North Korean Hackers Took Aim at over 100 American Targets as Trump Negotiated with Kim; Juan Guaido Returns to Venezuela with John Bolton Backing. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 4, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: That he has the executive leadership experience not in Washington to deliver on the promises that he says the Washington leaders have failed. Not only is he running against Trump, he's running against Washington outside this swampy mess.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Generally, that's a good place to be, right, we found recently.

Let's talk about the president's national emergency declaration, because he's losing support among some key Republicans. And one of them is Rand Paul, who generally is aligned with him on a lot of his especially recent foreign policy decisions. How much does this sting for the president?

CHALIAN: Rand Paul has been a very consistent ally with the president. Here's the reality of what's going on here. This is very significant that we're seeing enough Republicans in the United States Senate to sort of give a brushback to the president on something he wants to get done. But it doesn't amount to much because the president has made clear and his administration has made clear he's going to veto anything that comes his way of this resolution, and there aren't enough votes to override a veto. The practical effect is, if Donald Trump wants to go down this road, still, of an emergency action, he can. He knows that. But there's a real politics moment here that he's also aware there's enough of his own party in the Senate to really cause him some heartache here that this bill is going to get to him. Does that cause him to rethink his approach here? That's I think the big question that we wait to see.

KEILAR: David Chalian, thank you so much.

CHALIAN: Thank you.

KEILAR: More on our breaking news, House Democrats are ordering documents from more than 80 people and groups within the president's circle. Plus, they're asking for full-fledged investigations involving power and corruption.

And a new report says the president tried to intervene to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, potentially, because he dislikes for CNN. A Democrat from the House Oversight committee with join me next.


[13:36:33] KEILAR: Democrats today announced an expanded investigation into President Trump's campaign, his businesses, and his administration. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee sent letters to 81 individuals and organizations seeking evidence of abuse of power, corruption or obstruction.

We have Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly with us now, from Chicago.

Thank you so much for being with us, Congresswoman.

REP. ROBIN KELLY, (D), ILLINOIS: Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: So House Democrats are casting this wide net in a search for evidence. You are on the Oversight Committee, to be clear. This is a list of names from the Judiciary Committee. But why is it important in your view for investigators to get even more documents from these people on the list?

KELLY: I think we're basically just trying to get to the truth. We've been held back for the last two years on Oversight. The Republicans never wanted to check into or investigate anything the Trump administration was doing. Now we're actually doing our jobs. And I'm sure Chairman Nadler looks at it like that, I know Chairman Cummings looks at it like that and Chairman Schiff.

KEILAR: Do you think there will be overlap between who Judiciary wants to hear from and who your committee, the Oversight Committee, wants to hear from? Is your committee wanting to look into some of these people as well?

KELLY: There might be some overlap but the chair people are all communicating and talking to each other, like Mr. Cohn was in Intel in the House and Intel in the Senate, and then he came to the Oversight Committee where the public could hear what he had to say.

KEILAR: Top Democrats -- and this was the big headline coming over the weekend -- saying there was evidence of corruption and collusion on the part of the president. Let's listen to what they said.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Do you think the president obstructed justice?



NADLER: I think it's very clear the president obstructed justice. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D), CALIFORNIA: Yes, we have strong evidence of

obstruction of justice. Of course, evidence is not a conclusion, but that's why we conduct investigations.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up the meeting at the Trump Tower and apparently lies the president participated in, that, to me, is direct evidence. But there's also abundant circumstantial evidence.

SEN. MARK WARNER, (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGNECE: Anyone who says there's no evidence of collaboration, there's plenty of evidence. The question is, what kind of full conclusion do we reach, and I'm going to reserve my judgment on that conclusion until we finish our investigation.


KEILAR: Congresswoman, do you think there's evidence that the president committed a crime?

KELLY: I do think there's evidence but, like my colleague said, I want to wait until we hear from Special Counsel Mueller and we can put all the evidence together. I don't want to jump to conclusions, either, but when you think about 37 people around him have been cited, it's just hard to think that he didn't know anything about it when he's a definite hands-on person.

KEILAR: What more -- I would wonder what evidence you think proves this and what you think what else could come out or why you don't want to make that leap if there's already evidence that you see.

KELLY: I just want to see the whole picture, and there's a lot of things I still may not know because the Mueller report is not out yet. So I do want to wait for that. I think we need to be patient and, you know, and show the American people were being patient and methodical and deliberate. When Mr. Cohn came to Oversight and he brought the checks with him and different things like that, to me, it seemed like Mr. Trump was trying to influence the elections and the catch-and-kill stories and things like that involving Stormy Daniels and the other woman that has me very concerned.

[13:40:16] KEILAR: You want to see it in sort of stone, though, of the Mueller report?

KELLY: Sure. I mean, I don't want to jump to conclusions even though everything is pointed in that direction, that he did no more than he's definitely admitting to. You've seen that on TV when he said he didn't know anything about Stormy Daniels and paying Stormy Daniels off, and then I don't know how a month later, it was a different story.

KEILAR: And now he's signed a check. We see the signature on the check.


KEILAR: So when I look at this list -- again, you're Oversight -- but this is the Judiciary Committee list. And absent from it is Ivanka Trump. She's noticeably absent from it. It's not that Democrats aren't interested, I think, from hearing her perspective, but privately, I know at least one of your colleagues on the Democratic side told me that the optics of grilling the president's daughter would backfire. Clearly requesting documents from her, they may feel that way as well. Do you agree that that could backfire for Democrats?

KELLY: You know, I think if we handle ourselves in a methodical way, if we're statesmen and women, I'm not sure that would backfire. We're trying to get at the truth. We just have to make sure we're not theatrical and dramatic and just show that we're trying to get at the truth.

KEILAR: So your committee, Oversight, has asked several times now for an explanation as to why the president overruled his advisers on the security clearance of Jared Kushner. Today is that deadline before Chairman Elijah Cummings issues a subpoena. What are you hoping to find?

KELLY: Well, I would hope to find that he wasn't involved, but seeing everything that has happened since he's been the president, it would not surprise me that he did influence the decision. Because he comes on very much my way or the highway. And I would not be surprised that he did -- he is the reason his son-in-law has clearance.

KEILAR: And according to reports, John Kelly, the chief of staff, documented his concerns about the process. Are you looking to acquire those memos?

KELLY: I would like to see that, yes.

KEILAR: And before we go, I do want to ask you about a new report from the "New Yorker." It says that President Trump ordered a top aide, Gary Cohn, to pressure the Department of Justice to stop the merger between AT&T and CNN's parent company. Cohn did not want to do this, according to the report, because he understood, said Jane Mayer, of the "New Yorker," that this would look bad, that the president would be trying to orchestrate a punishment of these big companies because he didn't like how he was covered by CNN. Is the Oversight Committee going to want to hear from Cohn, do you think?

KELLY: I haven't talked to the chairman about this yet, but I would not be surprised, because if he put his finger on this scale to influence a merger, that is an absolute abuse of power. And we all know how he feels about CNN. It would be an absolute abuse of power if this did happen.

KEILAR: All right, we'll check back in with you as well, because certainly this is a new story, so we're curious to see if that is going somewhere.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, thank you so much.

KELLY: Thank you.

KEILAR: A new report says that while President Trump was heaping praise on North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un during their summit last week, North Korean hackers took aim at more than 100 American targets.

Plus, despite threats of arrest, opposition leader, Juan Guaido, returns to Venezuela, leading a massive protest in Caracas this hour, defying the government of Nicolas Maduro. We'll take you there, live, next.


[13:48:24] KEILAR: We're learning alarming new details about what North Korean hackers were attempting as the president sat down with Kim Jong-Un for their second summit. The "New York Times" is reporting that North Korean hackers hit over 100 targets in the U.S. and allied nations during the summit.

Nicole Perlroth is the cybersecurity reporter for the "New York Times," who broke this story is with us.

Tell us what you discovered. And also, it's pretty indisputable as you describe it, because authorities were actually able -- and we don't know which authorities exactly -- but they were able to actually get into the server the hackers were using, right?

NICOLE PERLROTH, CYBERSECURITY REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Right. This was an unprecedented access just in terms of tracking North Korean hackers. We've never had a situation where security researchers in the private sector have been able to get into that attack, meaning the control centers. This is pretty undisputable.

What's interesting is the timing of the attack. If you look at the first e-mails that were sent out to try and attack these targets, it was timed almost exactly to the day that Trump gave his first address before the United Nations when he first derided Kim Jong-Un as Rocket Man and said that we were going to, quote, "totally destroy North Korea." That's when the first attacks happened. And basically they've continued all through the summit, all through last fall when Trump was saying that he and Kim Jong-Un were sending love notes to one another and falling in love, as he said at one rally. These attacks were continuing on some pretty significant critical infrastructure targets here in the United States.

[13:50:09] KEILAR: Like what? What targets?

PERLROTH: Well, if you look at map at where the attacks were hitting, the vast majority were banks in New York or, a little bit more concerningly, oil and gas companies near Houston. And we don't know exactly what they were taking. But when you think about why a nation state would be attacking companies and the energy sector, you start to think more about these physical attacks that could cause damage.

KEILAR: Certainly. It's very revealing that this, even as the tone of things appeared to be getting better, that these attacks continued. So what is the specific significance of these hacks carrying on during the second summit, which is clearly supposed to be this kumbaya moment.

PERLROTH: Exactly. Even as both countries were taking meaningful steps towards denuclearization talks, it's clear that North Korean hackers weren't slowing down and they were hammering these oil and gas companies in the U.S,. banks in New York, in some cases, utility companies. And I think actually the target that sort of terrified me the most personally as a cybersecurity reporter was a water utility in the United States. We don't know which one that was. But why would the North Koreans be trying to get into a water utility system? So this is all happening on the back end as Trump is saying wonderful things about Kim Jong-Un and saying he's taking him at his word in the Otto Warmbier case. So it's pretty interesting.

KEILAR: Is this different to you. And North Korea it seems a lot of times, they're trying to make money, right? I think of how they took hundreds of what millions of dollars from the Bank of Bangladesh and have hit banks around the world. How did this motivation seem to be different? A water utility is not a bank in a developing nation.

PERLROTH: Exactly, so North Korea has been one of the few nation states that has popped up in some of these profit-generating attacks like the attack you mentioned on the Bank of Bangladesh. They were also behind massive ransom-ware attack in 2017 when they were holding these companies ransom until they paid out a ransom. A lot of this is just because the economic sanctions have been strangling North Korea. But what's different at these hacks is they're very quiet. These are purely very espionage or perhaps to get a foothold in some of these companies or utility systems. For what, we don't know, but you assume it's probably for some future attack in the case of some of the energy targets. Now they were targeting some banks in and around New York, so you could assume they were trying to get access to some bank accounts or potentially that would be more of an attack like the one on the Bank of Bangladesh. But what was worrying some of the security researchers in this case is that so many of the attacks were on these critical infrastructure companies and the energy sector.


Great reporting Nicole Perlroth. Thank you for joining us.

PERLROTH: Thanks so much for having me.

KEILAR: Now that Michael Cohen has pointed fingers at the president's family and his kids involving his business empire, one reporter says the president may have his own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to thank. Hear why.

Plus, more on our breaking news. Reaction pouring in on the death of "90210" actor, Luke Perry. What we know about his final days.


[13:58:25] KEILAR: Venezuela's self-proclaimed president greeted by cheering supporters today.




KEILAR: Opposition leader, Juan Guaido, recognized by the U.S. as president there, returning to Venezuela despite threats that he would be arrested if he re-entered the country. National Security Advisor John Bolton is backing Guaido, tweeting, "Any threats or acts against his safe return will be met with a strong and significant response."

CNN correspondent, Patrick Oppmann, is in Caracas where Guaido just spoke.

What did he say, Patrick?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He greeted the crowd and called it a small victory. It played out like a Hollywood thriller. The last several days, we have been wondering how he would re-enter the country. The government, at certain points, indicated he might be arrested. And people speculated perhaps he would come across the border or be smuggled in or one of these countries might lend him a military aircraft. But at the end of the day, he came through the front door, was greeted in Caracas by a number of ambassadors from European countries, who escorted him out of the airport to the area where I was. And as soon as he got to this plaza in central Caracas, the crowd just went absolutely wild. It was an electrifying moment and probably breathed new life into the opposition movement, which had been flagging in recent days. There's still the question of whether Guaido's return will lead to a change, will lead to President Nicolas Maduro stepping down. The answer is does not seems to be something that will happen anytime soon.

[13:59:04] KEILAR: Dramatic moments.

Thank you so much, Patrick Oppmann.

That is it for me.

Erica Hill is in for Brooke Baldwin today and "NEWSROOM" starts right now.