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Trump Claims Without Offering Proof Iranian General Was Plotting to Blow Up U.S. Embassies; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Discusses the Iran Crisis & Impeachment; New Video of Plane Crash in Iran Shows Moment of Impact; Pompeo: Administration Believes Missiles from Iranian Military Likely Brought Down Plane; Pelosi Says She'll Send Impeachment Articles to Senate Next Week; Collins Apologizes to Democrats for Soleimani Comments; Senior Trade Policy Advisor, Peter Navarro, Discusses New Jobs Report & Booming Economy. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 10, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I ask because last night as well, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they did not know when and where the attacks were coming.

Asked about that apparent inconsistency, just now at the White House, Mike Pompeo said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were you mistaken when you said you didn't know precisely when and didn't know precisely where?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: No. Completely true. Those are completely consistent thoughts. I don't know exactly which minute, we don't know which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad large-scale attack against American interests and those attacks were imminent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Something so serious as this, why is this still a week later now so confusing.

Joining me now, Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Congressman, thank you for coming in.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Of course. Thank you for having me back, Kate.

BOLDUAN: You were briefed in a classified setting and since the president put this out there, and Mike Pompeo has said that -- said that the threat was two embassies including embassies, did they tell you there was a threat to U.S. embassies in your briefing? SWALWELL: So it is not confusing to me, Kate. So I can't go into

specific details. What I can tell you is consistently, in the multiple briefings I received on this, they have not shown imminence.

But they have also now consistently shown that the president, whether it is on Russia, Ukraine, or Iran, with this recent "Wall Street Journal" reporting, puts his interests above America's interests.

This "Wall Street Journal" reporting seems to be more consistent with who Donald Trump is. That, over the holidays, GOP Senators, who would be crucial to him for the impeachment trial, were urging him to take actions in Iran. And that's connected to what he did.

That is --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Congressman, Congressman --

SWALWELL: -- justification. Yes.

BOLDUAN: -- since the president has talked about it, said there was a threat to U.S. embassies, and Mike Pompeo said just now Soleimani was plotting a broad large-scale attack against American interests, and it includes attacks on U.S. embassies, period, full stop, that would mean that that -- that detail is declassified, right? So did they give -- do you know that detail?

SWALWELL: I am not going to rely on the recklessness and the confusion of the president to, you know, warrant how I talk about classified information.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Do you dispute their characterization -- OK, let me play this for you then. Mike Pompeo said you all were told about what he's laid out here. Let me play that for you.

SWALWELL: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: We told -- we told them about the imminent threat, all the intelligence we briefed that you heard today, I assure you, in an unclassified setting, we provided in the classified setting as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Mike Pompeo says --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.

SWALWELL: What you played earlier with Mike Pompeo saying, I can't say precisely when, I can say precisely where, that aligns with the lack of evidence that I have seen consistently in every brief I received in last week. I've been briefed multiple times from multiple briefers on this.

BOLDUAN: Can all of these things be true? They did not lay out when, they did not lay out where, but they did lay out that it was -- that the threat included two U.S. embassies?

SWALWELL: I'll say that's not imminent then. The justification was that this was an imminent attack. Imminent means now. That's what imminent means. And they have not justified --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Mike Pompeo was asked specifically by Kaitlan Collins what is his definition of imminent and he said that it is going to happen. That's exactly what he said. Is that your definition of imminent?

SWALWELL: No, because that's also the definition of, you know, New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve, 2020 is going to happen. It is just 350 some odd days away. That's not imminent.

And so that was the justification they gave, it is not adding up now and now as the "Wall Street Journal" and others start to report, I fear this president acted out of his own political interests and jeopardized the national security of the United States --

BOLDUAN: Congressman --

SWALWELL: -- dramatically escalating the conflict.

BOLDUAN: I'm not trying to be nitpicky. But are you disputing the -- what Mike Pompeo said, the detail on the threat was toward U.S. embassies, are you disputing that detail?

SWALWELL: I'm not going to go into the specifics that I was told, other than to say I have not seen, and others, including Chairman Schiff, have not seen evidence of imminence.

So that means that they took a senior military official off the battlefield, A very bad guy, a terrorist, who no one mourns, but dramatically escalating and putting in harm's way American troops.

And if it wasn't imminent, well, now you're looking at what does this mean. There's a lot of bad guys in the world. Do we start picking them off every time they need a political justification or political support at home? That's what I fear this "Wall Street Journal" reporting is starting to show.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about impeachment very quickly, so much is happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made clear this week there's going to be no moves of sending the articles over to the Senate. You have supported her in her strategy there. The speaker has said you were not going to be voting on House managers today. So this extends into next week.

[11:35:13] Have you had any conversations with the speaker's office or anyone, quite frankly, about the idea of you being one of those House managers?

SWALWELL: The conversations I've had is that we want a fair trial. We have been talking about this all week. And we believe that, since we voted on the articles, while urgent to hold this president accountable, it is just as important to not send these articles into a rigged outcome.

So since we held on to them, John Bolton has come forward. We have gotten new information from Just Security in the documents that have been produced. And I think the public sentiment shifted against Mitch McConnell in their demands for a fair trial over in the Senate.

BOLDUAN: Do you know if she made her decision on House managers?

SWALWELL: I don't.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for coming in. I appreciate it.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Still ahead, for the first time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is likely that the plane that crashed near Tehran ,killing all 176 people on board, Mike Pompeo said publicly that it is likely that was shot down by an Iranian missile. There's also new video showing the moment that the plane crashed. This has just come in. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:40:]

BOLDUAN: New video just in of the tragic plane crash in Iran that killed all 176 passengers and crew on board.

A warning, the video may be disturbing.

It shows the moment the Ukrainian jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran's main airport early Wednesday and how horrific it was, just hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at bases where U.S. troops were housed.

And this morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration believes missiles fired by the Iranian military is what is likely brought down the plane. Iran is disputing that.

In Ukraine, investigators there just said that they now have access to the black boxes and recording of communications between the pilot and flight control in Tehran.

Among those killed in the crash, 63 Canadians. Family and friends, understandably, at this moment, struggling to make sense of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words cannot express the sorrow and pain that we are going through. It is just unbelievable.

How are they going to respond to the parents of the children, of the loss of the sons, daughters, husbands, wives? It is -- this is so surreal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining me now is CNN's Richard Quest.

So, Richard, we just heard Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the first time publicly saying that they believe it is likely an Iranian missile that brought down the plane.

In addition to the new video, that and the new video out there, reports that Iranians are already beginning to clear the debris field, just two days out. How unusual is that, how important is the debris field here?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Oh, the debris field is crucial. In many ways, when we're talking about an explosion, it is more crucial than the black boxes because, the suddenness of the event, we already know that this plane lost data very quickly.

Now, what -- if you take M.H.-17, the Malaysia plane blown up by the Russians or a Russia missile over Ukraine, in that one, the data just stopped when the missile hit. Now, in this case, we don't know. It might show the plane going all over the place.

But much more important than the data is -- is the debris field because every piece of fuselage near where the missile would have gone off will have shown perforations from the outside in. There will well be shrapnel both in the aircraft and in the remains, which will indicate explosive residue.

So the securing of the site, the proper collection of the wreckage and the dignified handling of the remains is very important.

When you hear that -- I cannot think -- I cannot think of an incident where there's been questions about nefarious activity and missiles where the site has been cleared, wholesale, within 48 hours.

BOLDUAN: We now have U.S. officials saying that Iran has invited the NTSB to join the investigation. It is not clear if that means they're going to be traveling to Iran though. Boeing will participate as well. What role do they play? Is it possible that the world does never gets a full accounting here from Iran?

QUEST: So here you have the theory and you have the practice. The theory is Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention. It sets out the rules. It sets out who does what. And it gives rights and responsibilities to other states, including the NTSB representing the United States, the state of manufacture and design. But Annex 13 gives huge discretion to the state of occurrence, which

is Iran.

[11:45:05]

So, yes, they can all turn up. But if Iran, which has custody of the wreckage, has already dealt with it, then you don't get very far. I'm afraid we are very much in the hands of Iraq in determining the truth of what took place.

BOLDUAN: Richard, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back. We're getting breaking news in on next steps in impeachment.

Let's get back to Capitol Hill. Manu Raju is joining me once again.

What are we hearing from Nancy Pelosi now?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The impasse appears to be over. The president's impeachment trial is going to begin in a matter of days.

[11:50:03]

In a letter that Nancy Pelosi just sent to House Democratic colleagues, she makes very clear that they plan to move to appoint the impeachment manages who will impeachment the case in the Senate and that also to transmit those articles of impeachment that were approved by the House last year and submit those over to the Senate as well.

That had been an impasse for weeks as Democrats said -- Pelosi withheld turning over those articles of impeachment and the Senate said we will not hold a trial until we get those articles. But in the letter, she makes it clear they are moving to transmit those articles to the Senate.

She says in her letter here that she's asked her Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, "to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint those impeachment managers and transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate."

She says she'll discuss this matter with her colleagues on Tuesday. It's not clear the exact day in which that will happen.

But once it is submitted, that's when the process will begin. It will take several days, then they'll begin opening arguments in the Senate where each side will make their case.

What the Democrats have been demanding all along is some agreement up front in which witnesses will come and testify, including John Bolton, the former national security adviser, and documents will be provided. That's what Democrats wanted in an agreement.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said, no, he will not agree to that up front. He said just begin the opening arguments and, at a later point, they can decide whether to subpoena additional witnesses.

Now it appears that Mitch McConnell is essentially going to get what he wants. They're going to send the articles over. It's going to do -- it's going to lead to the trial and then they can worry about those witnesses later.

But a significant development here, Kate. It looks like the president's impeachment trial finally will begin.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Next week is when things are going to start happening. That's what Nancy Pelosi is making clear right here.

One more thing that also is in, Manu, Doug Collins, a top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, he is apologizing just now for comments that he made. Let me play first what Doug Collins said earlier this week, and this has to do with Democrats in reaction to the Iran crisis. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): They're in love with terrorists. We see that. They mourned Soleimani more than they mourned our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani. That's a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: What's he saying now, Manu?

RAJU: Well, he's apologizing. In five-tweet thread he puts out, he says, in the first part, "Let me be clear, I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists. I apologize for what I said earlier." Then he goes on to explain his position on the matter.

This, of course, came in the fight over whether or not to limit the president's authority in dealing with further military escalation in Iran, a measure that passed the House yesterday.

But Collins had come under withering criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, and Republicans are having a hard time defending him. But he makes it very clear here he believes he shouldn't have said that -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: An apology. You have to give him credit for that.

I appreciate it, Manu. Thank you very much.

RAJU: Yes.

BOLDUAN: We're also watching this today. New jobs numbers out there this morning. Good news for the economy and the president. The December report showing unemployment remains at its lowest level in more than half a century, 3.5 percent. Employers added 145,000 jobs. That marked the final jobs report of the year. And for all of 2019, employers added more than 2.1 million jobs, about the average of what the economy has seen in the last five-plus years.

Joining me now for more on this, President Trump's senior trade policy adviser, Peter Navarra.

Thank you for being here, Peter.

PETER NAVARRO, SENIOR TRADE POLICY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hey, Kate. How are you?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Pretty well, thank you.

A lot going on today for sure.

What is your reaction to the report rounding out the year?

NAVARRO: Let me tell you what caught my eye, just big-picture perspective, this is the best labor market in five decades, and it's a blue-collar boom.

What you have essentially is people without college degrees seeing their wages rise faster than those with bachelor's. You're seeing workers' wages rise faster than managers. You're seeing African- American wages rise faster than whites'. These are trends that were totally opposite during the Obama/Biden administration.

What we're seeing basically is, with the restoration of a half a million manufacturing jobs, seven million jobs created since President Trump took office.

What you're seeing is the transformation of the Republican Party into the party of the working class.

There's no bad number in these numbers. It's going to be a great 2020 looking forward. I predict that we're going to move over 30,000 on the Dow fairly quickly, particularly if we get USMCA passed.

By the way, we have a window before those impeachment articles go in the Senate to get that done. Every day that goes by is a day we don't enjoy those great benefits.

In terms of the economy, it's doing great. The stock market is doing great. And blue-collar America is doing the best it's done in five decades.

[11:55:02]

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you, you mentioned wages.

NAVARRO: Yes. BOLDUAN: I want to know what you do -- it's somewhat, from a lot of folks' perspective, a real mystery of this economy, wages. You've got big job growth, but with job growth so consistent, why are wages only growing at 2.9 percent?

There's a recent analysis from Brookings that found, I think it was 53 million workers in the key age range for earning and they're earning barely enough to live on. I mean, the median earnings come out to be about $18,000 a year.

That makes me wonder, when are they going to feel the effects of this economy when we see these reports?

NAVARRO: If you look at the trends, the trends are up for folks in the lower ends of the income distribution. And it's about time.

When I talked about like five decades of time where this is the best of times, if you go back to 2001 when China joined the World Trade Organization, and before that in 1994 when NAFTA came in, that was 20 years of misery for men and women who worked with their hands in blue- collar America.

And what President Trump has been able to do with four points of his policy compass, which is tax cuts, deregulation, cheap energy and fair trade, he's been able to turn those trends around. Now they're all moving in the right direction.

These things take time. But I'm happy with those numbers. We're looking at 3 percent wage growth and benefitting the lower end of the income stream, which is the blue-collar workers.

We've reached a record high on median household income. I think it's up to like $68,000 now. These are great numbers.

And people, I guess, want to put some kind of negative spin on them, but I tell you, if, three years ago, you said this is what it's going to look like, you would have taken it right then because the Congressional Budget Office said we were going to do about a tenth of what we're doing.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you quickly about something that really can't be talked about quickly is the China trade deal.

NAVARRO: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Phase one is expected to be signed next week.

NAVARRO: Correct.

BOLDUAN: The president suggested yesterday that he would like to hold off finishing the deal until after the election. I heard that and I'm wondering, what does the election have anything to do with this.

NAVARRO: Well, I think that that's a fluid situation. The president is a master negotiator. I think what we're focused on now is having the Chinese come in on the 13th, get acclimated, have the final "T"'s crossed and "I"'s dotted, and have a great signing in the building behind me there.

And it's going to be an historic event because, finally, after three years with China, we're going to deal with things, like forced technology transfer, intellectual policy theft, currency manipulation, access to their financial markets.

Phase two is going to be very important because it deals with some other things, like dumping state enterprises. But in the meantime, we have tariffs in place to defend our technological crown jewels.

I think the president has done two things with China. One, he's changed the attitudes of America and Capitol Hill. Now we understand what we're up against with China. Everybody is behind him on this.

Two, he's negotiated tough, brought China to the table, and actually got a deal, which it looks like we'll be able to sign with great fanfare on Wednesday. That's all good.

BOLDUAN: It sounds like Wednesday -- next week is going to be nothing short of very busy --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- with everything going on.

NAVARRO: If we get USMCA on top of that from the Senate, two historic deals in a week, wow.

BOLDUAN: Let us see. A lot can happen in a day.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Peter, thank you for coming in. I appreciate it.

Thank you, all. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:00:00]