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Trump Speaks to Reporters as Senate Votes Soon on Blocking National Emergency; Nadler: Whitaker Didn't Deny Talking to Trump about Cohen Case; Rep. Madeleine Dean (D) of Pennsylvania Discusses Matt Whitaker Testimony, Mueller Report, Impeachment; Massive Storms Strands 1000 Drivers in Colorado; Roger Stone Back in Court for Possibly Violating Gag Order. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 14, 2019 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The job they are doing, they are apprehending. Call it whatever you like to use. But they are apprehending thousands and thousands of people a month. And we are catching them and keeping them. We are not doing release. At a certain point, we will have to do some release because we don't have the bed space, we don't have the room, and we don't have the funds to build this space because we have ridiculous laws. In other countries, when you have somebody come in illegally, you say, sorry you have to leave. In our country, because the laws are so ridiculous, so stupid, we have to give them a trial. So we send them into the country and then they are supposed to come back, but they rarely come back. Very rarely do they come back. The most ridiculous set of laws. The Democrats' fault. We want to change them. Unfortunately, we need their votes, too. And I think it's going to be a great election issue.

OK, anything else?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Say it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are immigration policies cruel?

TRUMP: No, I don't think they're cruel. I think they're the opposite of cruel. They have become cruel because they are so ridiculous and it hurts people. It does the reverse of what they are supposed to be doing. No, they are actually meant to be the opposite and they are hurting people. They are really hurting people. And, and --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: -- I think that we have done an incredible job. We are apprehending record numbers of people. If we had border security and the wall, a proper wall, which we are building now as we speak, and we are getting a lot more funding for it in what we are talking about. Whether it is positive or not, I'm vetoing it. Unless I don't have to veto. I think that is likely. I'll do a veto and it is not going to be overturned. But we have done a great job at the border through apprehension. We shouldn't have to be put in a position of apprehending 75,000 people a month. We shouldn't be in that position. Thank you all very much.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: We are doing very well with China talks. China talks have been very well. We'll see what happens. If it's not a deal that is a great deal for us, we are not going to make it. But I would say that we are moving along at a very high level. We are getting what we have to get. I think we are getting it relatively quickly. So the China talks are moving along. As to whether or not we will strike a final deal, that I would never want to say, but they are moving along very well.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump speaking in the Oval Office just moments ago.

Let me bring back in Nia Malika Henderson, who was kind enough to stick around.

Nia, he talked about Beto O'Rourke, and I guess his style, his hand movements. And maybe, importantly, the president also seems to be clarifying and renewing his veto threat when it comes to the vote coming up today in the Senate about the national emergency declaration that he made to get more funding for the border wall.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, because it looks like they got enough Republicans on board to have the resolution of disapproval. Mitt Romney is signing on with the Democrats. The president is steadfastly saying he plans to veto it. It doesn't look like there will be enough Republicans with whatever happens with this thing to override his veto. So in the House or the Senate there. He sounded pretty confident there and pretty strongly saying that he planned to veto it and there was nothing to be done. But he is also suggesting that there's already wall being built, which I'm not sure there's actually wall being built. There certainly wasn't additional wall a couple weeks ago. Yes, this is going to be a fight that the president wants to have. He thinks about it in the context of 2020.

We, of course, see Beto O'Rourke out there today. He at some point, before he announced, said he would be open to tearing down some of the wall that's in El Paso, specifically. And the president there saying pay attention to Beto O'Rourke's hands movements, that he had never seen anything like that. I think if he looked at himself, often times, he would say some pretty wide-ranging hand movements from himself.

BOLDUAN: I can see where the nicknames will be starting already.

HENDERSON: Right.

BOLDUAN: Keep your hands to yourself.

Thank you, Nia. Really appreciate it.

HENDERSON: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: I want to bring back in Congresswoman Madeleine Dean.

Thank you, Congresswoman, for sticking around. I really appreciate it.

I would like, if we could, to pick back up where the conversation was about the House Judiciary Committee because the question at hand is, did Matthew Whittaker, the former Acting Attorney General, did he have conversations with President Trump about Michael Cohen's criminal case. And my question, at its heart, after the bit of confusing statements coming out from the top leaders of the committee from yesterday, do you think there were conversations between Matt Whittaker and the president about Michael Cohen's case at the end of the day?

[11:35:18] REP. MADELEINE DEAN, (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We don't know. What we do know is an important revelation from yesterday's meeting with the ranking member and Chairman Nadler. Acting attorney general Whittaker before the full committee when pressed said he had not spoken with the president about the Cohen investigation. When pressed he said no he had not been talked to about the Southern District of New York. We wanted clarity so the chairman of the ranking member and others had acting attorney general in yesterday. What happened was he walked that back. He is now refusing to deny -- I think it's important. He went from no communications to now refusing to deny that he had conversations, which obviously leaves the door open to the president. He maybe had conversations about the Cohen investigation in the Southern District of New York. That would be a very important set of conversations that we would want to know about.

BOLDUAN: It sounds like -- what's the next step with that that you would like to see happen?

DEAN: We will continue our robust oversight. We rolled out documents request from 81 persons or entities. We have a really important constitutional oversight role to do to collect the facts and the data before jumping to any conclusions. I'm a lawyer by training, and I really like to be guided by actual evidence, facts and data. So we will continue robust oversight and find out was the president acting to obstruct justice? Was the president acting to abuse his power? Was the president acting in self-interest? The American people have the right to know. We will continue robust investigation there and oversight. We are also doing substantive work. I know people are paying an awful lot of attention to the notion of impeachment and not. We just passed a resolution to make sure we have transparency of the Mueller report.

BOLDUAN: I do want to ask you about just that. And not just a vote. It was an overwhelming vote of support to have the Mueller report released to Congress and to the public. Republicans joining Democrats. It was 420 to zero, a few people voting present in this vote. That's a real statement. This is just a statement. It's not enforceable by law. You can't force the Justice Department to do anything. With a statement like that coming from a bipartisan House that is very often very divided, what message does it send if then the Justice Department doesn't release the Mueller report?

DEAN: I think the American public will be very upset. They will be upset if this administration in any way tries to darken this report. I was like you really hardened by the overwhelming support for the resolution for transparency, accountability and getting the information in front of the public. And that compares with another pattern. You see that the Senate is going to take up our bill that would stop the emergency declaration by the president. If the Senate passes that, the Senate that is Republican led, notice what it says the House and the Senate, both chambers of the Congress agree that the president has overreached. We are in the right space where we get that we have a constitutional obligation to fulfill our duties and that the president cannot overreach and take on the duties.

BOLDUAN: Let me also ask you, Manu Raju, my colleague was able -- in Nancy Pelosi's press conference, he was able to ask you talked about impeachment. He was able to ask her again almost to clarify if the Mueller report would come back suggesting criminal activity on the part of the president, of course, that is a big if, would that change her mind in what she had said recently about impeachment not being worth it, that he is not worth it and she is not for impeachment. She argues that it is not worth our time for Democrats to do anything that would take attention away from the policy agenda. Do you agree with her?

DEAN: What I agree with is, really what she is saying is we need to do our job. Judiciary has 81 requests for documents out. We have hearing after hearing that we will be scheduling to get at the facts and evidence. I agree with the speaker when she says impeachment is not right and not right now. That doesn't mean that down the road once we have done our homework and collected the information and see the findings of the Mueller report are and impeachment might not be an option down the road.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Do you think that's what she's saying Congresswoman? Do you think she is saying it's just not right now or do you think she is now taking the position of it's not worth it at all? It's not worth it. She said in that interview to the "Washington Post," "I'm going to tell you news right now that I haven't told anybody. I'm not for impeachment." [11:40:09] DEAN: And she's operating with the facts and the

information that she has now. As you well know, Speaker Pelosi is masterful at both legislator and strategizing. So what I think that signals is she wants us to do our work. We have committees that are poised to do important substantive and oversight work. We need to do that before any conversation on impeachment. Imagine if she just jumped in and said, yes, we need to go for impeachment now? We don't have the information that would actually convince the American public of that. It would be a fool's errand. I utterly support the speaker and her comments. And I'm just looking forward to doing the work that the American people deserve.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, Thank you for coming in. Thank you for sticking around. I real appreciate it.

DEAN: Thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up for us, more than 1,000 drivers in Colorado are stranded in their cars due to a massive winter storm. Look at the conditions in Denver yesterday. Rescue teams are struggling to get cars off the roads now as conditions are finally beginning to improve. We will have a live update, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:45:50] BOLDUAN: Right now, there's a massive storm sweeping across parts of the country. Let me show you what it was doing just yesterday. Look at this video. Hurricane-force winds, blizzard conditions combined. Think about that. It's called a bomb cyclone, cars piled up in parts of Colorado as the conditions went from bad to worse. Officials say in minutes it went, it did that. Overnight, more than 1,000 people were stranded in their cars because rescue teams couldn't get to them. Officials are saying they are at the point where they are rescuing rescuers.

CNN correspondent, Scott McLean, is in Denver with an update on all of this.

How is it looking today? What are you hearing there?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this storm dropped a ton of snow in Colorado. In one town in the southern part of the state they got nearly four feet of snow. In the most populated areas Denver and Colorado Springs there wasn't that much. Where I am there's a couple inches on the ground. Why was this storm such a big deal? The answer is because of the wind. Hurricane-force winds that knocked out power to a big swath of the state. It also had the snow literally blowing sideways causing massive problems on the road. Some good news here, this is just south of Denver here, this is the i-25. This section of it has just reopened. An 18-mile section of it is still closed. Other interstates are closed. The problem in this particular case is there's 150 cars just about 15 miles down the road that they need to get out of the ditch or get off of the road and then plow the road to let people back on. They say that is probably not going to happen until this afternoon. There was also an absolute nightmare at the airport. Well over 1,000 flights coming in and leaving Denver were cancelled. A lot of people had to take blankets from the airport. More good news, the first flight went out today, though there are tons of cancellations this morning. They are expecting things to get up and running later on today. Schools are largely closed around this area, but businesses, the government is getting back open. The only question really, Kate, is, can people actually get around all of these closed roads in order to get to work or get to where they need to go.

BOLDUAN: Colorado knows snow. Colorado can handle snow. This much this fast and with hurricane-force winds I don't know if anybody can handle that.

Scott, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Coming up, back in court. President Trump's long-time political adviser, Roger Stone, facing the judge again in the Russian investigation. Next, we will have a live update from outside the court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:53:12] BOLDUAN: Moments ago, President Trump's longtime political adviser, Roger Stone, was back in court. Stone is facing charges of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress, and witness tampering, all related to the Russian investigation. But the big question today is, once again, the gag order. Would the judge address the gag order she imposed on Stone after yet another incident of Stone possibly violating the terms.

CNN's Sara Murray is outside court.

Sara, what happened?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In short, Stone escaped any kind of sentence. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she didn't want to dwell on the issue of whether Roger Stone violated a gag order by putting out a book that has content critical to the special counsel's investigation. She lamented that they spent so much time on these collateral issues rather than the guts of what is going on in this case and moving toward the trial. She hasn't made a decision whether Stone's violated the gag order. She said she's still reviewing the facts. You know, Kate, the most important thing she's done is set a trial date, November 5. We're going to be doing this for a few more months.

BOLDUAN: A few more months is right.

But also new this morning as well, Sara, one of the top prosecutors on Mueller's team, Andrew Weissmann, he's now expected to be leaving the special counsel's team and leaving the Justice Department. He was in the courtroom today?

MURRAY: He was in the courtroom today. I guess he was here and wanted to see the proceedings. He wasn't sitting at the actual table of the prosecutor's attorneys who are overseeing the case, but he was in the courtroom to watch the hearing. We are learning he'll be leaving the special counsel's team, the Justice Department soon, but there's no clear date on that. And he's in headed back to NYU's law school.

Kate, we have said there are signs the investigation is wrapping up. This is a clear sign. Andrew Weissmann dealt with the Manafort issue, and now it looks like he's setting the runway for what he's going to be doing next.

[11:55:17] BOLDUAN: All of these signs do add up. It's been coming for quite some time, Sara. It's largely wrapped. Could that mean the Roger Stone case is the last case that the Mueller investigation takes on?

MURRAY: It's certainly possible. We'll add the usual caveat, the special counsel is extremely secretive. But it's always possible, but this could be it.

BOLDUAN: It sure sounds like it.

It's great to see you, Sara. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Roger Stone has a court date. It is set.

Coming up, "I'm just born to be in it." Beto O'Rourke makes it official and enters the 2020 race for president. How is he trying to set himself apart in the clearly already packed Democratic field?

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