Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Unleashed In The Wake Of Acquittal; Coronavirus Death Toll Spikes; Bloomberg Gets Four New African-American Endorsements. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired February 13, 2020 - 05:30   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank -- if you look at what happened, I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this horrible thing. And I didn't speak to them, by the way, just so you understand. They saw the horribleness of a 9-year sentence for doing nothing.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A reminder, Stone was convicted on seven counts by a jury of his peers -- seven counts, a jury of his peers.

President Trump intervening is not new. He has bullied judges. He has stepped in to help Navy SEALs accused of war crimes. Then there's the long list of things in just the last week since his acquittal.

His behavior leaves Republicans who voted to clear him publicly indifferent and Democrats incredulous.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I've got real concerns about overzealous prosecution more than anything else. If I thought he'd done something that had changed the outcome inappropriately, I'd be the first to say.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): The president has First Amendment rights, too.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you really believe that the president did not -- his view of this did not influence the Justice Department in any way?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I don't have any reason not to believe that.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): It's pretty clear the President of the United States did learn a lesson. The lesson he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He can abuse his office. He'll never, ever be held accountable by this Senate. RAJU: Do you think there's any lessons that he learned from being impeached?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I don't know which actions you're referring to. I've made very clear that I don't think anyone should be retaliated against.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, he did learn a lesson. What he learned is that he can do anything. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. He essentially has a get out of jail free card from Republicans.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: So, does the president think he learned anything?


REPORTER: What lessons did you learn from impeachment?

TRUMP: That the Democrats are crooked -- they've got a lot of crooked things going. That they're vicious. That they shouldn't have brought impeachment.


JARRETT: At the president's side through all of this, Attorney General Bill Barr. Since the Russia investigation, Barr's critics have pointed to how he flexes his muscle in politically sensitive investigations. But now, it's fraying relationships with frontline career prosecutors. That includes four who walked off the Stone case this week.

ROMANS: People familiar with the situation say other federal prosecutors have discussed resigning in the coming days.

And, "The New York Times" reports prosecutors across the United States, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals -- they said this week that they had already been wary of working on any case that might catch Mr. Trump's attention and the Stone episode only deepened their concern.

Attorney General Barr is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee at the end of March.

JARRETT: Let's bring in CNN POLITICS senior writer Zach Wolf. He's the author --


JARRETT: -- of CNN's "What Matters" newsletter -- a really smart, nightly breakdown of the most important stories this election year. Everyone should read it. Good morning, Zach.


JARRETT: Zach, after Watergate, the idea was that the White House was supposed to let the Justice Department do its thing and be independent. It's obviously part of the Executive Branch but it's supposed to be off on an island. In case you missed it, those days are --


JARRETT: -- over.

The president has been shredding norms left and right. We've seen that for three years -- that's not new. What's new is that now, the Justice Department gives it the stamp of approval.

WOLF: Yes, it's almost like all of these things that have been going on, now they're essentially not trying to hide them. It feels like there's this new -- essentially, the Justice Department, under Bill Barr, is more OK with effecting things on Trump's behalf. And that is disturbing because most people are supposed to feel like the Justice Department is at least trying to be unbiased -- to be down the middle to carry out justice for everybody.

But we've created a situation where the president has friends and he has enemies, and the Justice Department is looking -- or at least it appears to be looking at those two different classes of people as friends and enemies. And that's really not the way it's supposed to be.

JARRETT: And, you know, Justice officials were trying to tell reporters on Tuesday that the reversal in the Stone case had nothing to do with the president tweeting about it just two hours -- or hours --

WOLF: Sure.

JARRETT: -- beforehand, but it's almost beside the point.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: They don't need to get a call from the White House. He's saying exactly what he wants out in the open.

ROMANS: Right. And for three years now, it's been very clear what he wants and how he will retaliate if he doesn't get what he wants. It's almost as if the scales of justice -- justice is always depicted blindfolded. Now, she's what? She's looking around to see maybe she's blind except for when it's Trump allies and then she needs a little help to tip the scales.

Let me ask you about senators here -- Republican senators. You know, just last week, they were jurors and now they are kind of like indifferent to what they're seeing -- or at least publicly they're saying they're indifferent to what they're seeing with the president vis-a-vis the Justice Department. Isn't this supposed to be the august body that is the oversight -- the check against a renegade Executive Branch?


WOLF: Well, yes. I mean, we talked about how prosecutors might be afraid to be on cases involving President Trump.

Everything senators do involves President Trump. And if you're a Republican senator, it feels -- there is nothing to explain it other than that they are afraid of him -- afraid of speaking out against him. You know, it defies logic that they would agree with everything that he does, and that leaves us only with that they are cowed by him and his actions and feel as though they are unable to say anything about it.

They're supposed to be, under the Constitution, a check on his power and they're essentially afraid of him. That is, again, not the way it's supposed to work.

JARRETT: Zach, you know, Stone was one thing, right? That was what we saw this week.

But the thing about it is there's a whole set of cases still on the docket here for the Justice Department to deal with in the coming weeks and months and we can barely fit it all on one screen there. Look at all of the cases that are politically charged, politically sensitive.

And let's assume for a moment -- let's give Bill Barr the benefit of the doubt, right? Assume for a moment that he's trying to do the right thing in all of these cases and have it be on the up and up.

How is any average person supposed to have any confidence that that will actually be the case when the president is openly tweeting about the result that he wants to see in all kinds of things where it involves a friend or an ally? How is -- how is the Justice Department supposed to seem impartial when the president keeps putting his thumb on the scale?

WOLF: That, I think, is the most insidious thing that's going on here because it makes it feel as though Trump is orchestrating what's going on at the Justice Department on behalf of people that he likes and against people he doesn't like if you look at that list.

And by the way, let's just take a step back. When was there ever a president who had a list of investigations and convictions and all of these things like that?


WOLF: It is incredible that essentially, that all of the people that were associated with his campaign that were convicted, were convicted, first of all -- so many people he has now thrust the Justice Department against who investigated him or raised alarm bells about him. This is -- this is, itself, the problem and what's so concerning to so many people.

JARRETT: Well, I think that's the theory. Now, a lot of people are -- have been asking this week well, why doesn't he just go ahead and pardon Roger Stone, Manafort -- all of these people if he thinks that they did nothing wrong? By why pardon them if you can get the Justice Department to reduce their sentence?

WOLF: Yes. I mean, I think that it probably is a good thing that he doesn't just go around --


WOLF: -- pardoning people who -- you know, anybody who's -- who -- you know, charged or convicted --


WOLF: -- that's related to him. But I don't think there's anybody out there who thinks that he's not ultimately going to pardon Roger Stone at the end of the day.


Zach, thanks so much.

WOLF: Thank you.

JARRETT: Good to see you.

ROMANS: All right.

Charges filed against an Uber driver who took passengers on a vengeful ride.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God. Hey, yo -- oh my --




ROMANS: Breaking overnight, the largest single-day spike in deaths from coronavirus, so far, happening in the Chinese province at the heart of the outbreak. Officials in Hubei announcing an additional 242 deaths and almost 15,000 more cases of novel coronavirus in just one day. That's almost 10 times the number of cases the previous day and it shows how difficult it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the outbreak.

CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing. And, Steven, why the jump? Are they counting this differently? Is it the methodology?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, Christine. The authorities here describe the surge in the numbers as a result

that they're changing methodology in counting the total case numbers. Now they are counting both test-confirmed cases as well as clinically diagnosed patients whose test results have come back negative. So, this change at least somewhat addresses a major concern of many people that is the government at the epicenter and the reporting cases.

Another major change we are seeing in the province is a political shakeup with the most senior officials, both in the province and the provincial capital Wuhan, sacked and replaced with protegees of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Not entirely surprising given a scathing criticism these sacked officials had been receiving over their mishandling of this crisis.

But what hasn't changed though is this grim picture continuing on the ground. We are talking to people trapped in Wuhan and the surrounding areas over two weeks now because of the lockdown. They are painting an increasingly helpless and desperate picture. Many of them sick and very weak, showing symptoms of this virus but unable to get tested or treated. And even local officials still acknowledge that they are facing a severe shortage of medical supplies, personnel, and facilities.

Until these problems get resolved, Christine, the grim picture on the ground unlikely to improve anytime soon.

ROMANS: All right, Steven, we know you'll keep watching it for us. Thank you.

JARRETT: Here in the U.S., the CDC is redoing parts of the coronavirus test kits sent to labs across the country after some produced inconclusive results. Officials say the kits were sent to speed up the testing process but flaws were discovered while verifying that the kits worked.

A second novel coronavirus case has been confirmed among a group of Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China now under quarantine at that military base near San Diego. It's the 14th confirmed case in the U.S. and the eighth in California.

ROMANS: Make it four much-needed endorsements from black officials in the last 24 hours for Mike Bloomberg. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he will back the former New York City mayor. Representatives Gregory Meeks of New York, Lucy McBath of Georgia, and Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands also threw their support behind Bloomberg yesterday.

Bloomberg has faced days of scrutiny over a 2015 audio defending his controversial Stop and Frisk policy in very stark terms.



MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do we do it? Because that's where all the crime is. And the way

you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.


JARRETT: Bloomberg was asked about those remarks yesterday in Tennessee. Listen carefully to his response.


REPORTER: Why did you say what you said in that 2015 speech?

BLOOMBERG: Uh, I don't think those words reflect what -- how I led the most diverse city in the nation and I apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused.

REPORTER: But why did you say it?

BLOOMBERG: It was five years ago and, you know, it's just not the way that I think.


JARRETT: The Democratic front-runner, Bernie Sanders, is looking to expand his base ahead of Super Tuesday. He's making campaign stops in North Carolina, Texas, and Colorado.

Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, are looking to build momentum they picked up in New Hampshire by adding staff and advertising in Nevada.

ROMANS: All right.

Are you saving more than the average investor? New data from Fidelity shows record-high average 401(k) balances.

The average now holds $112,000, up seven percent in the fourth quarter, up 17 percent from 2018. Now, for those of you out there who've had your 401(k) for 10 straight years, your average balance reaching $328,200.

Fidelity says many workers are saving more. Thirty-three percent of workers upped their 401(k) contribution rates last year.

Investors are the true beneficiaries of a 10-year-long stock market rally. Of course, just over half of Americans hold stocks -- millions don't.

But a low jobless rate and solid stocks in an election year clearly advantage Trump. You can see this in a new Gallup poll. It found 61 percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago. And, 62 percent gave the president credit for the improvement in the economy.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ROMANS: Two Ohio State football players kicked off the team after they were charged with felony rape and kidnapping. Twenty-one-year-old defensive backs Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint were arrested early Wednesday morning. Both were due to be seniors next season.

According to court documents, one of the players told his alleged victim to say on video the acts were consensual.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day saying Riep and Wint, quote, "did not live up to our standards and my expectations."

JARRETT: The father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student pleading not guilty to charges he extorted and abused his daughter's classmates, forcing at least one into prostitution.

Federal prosecutors say 60-year-old Lawrence Ray moved onto on-campus housing with his daughter and her roommates back in 2010. Officials say Ray used physical, psychological, and sexual abuse to make his victims confess to invented wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say over nearly a decade, Ray coerced and extorted nearly $1 million from five victims. Among other things, Ray pressured them to open credit cards and drain their parents' savings.

ROMANS: The nation's largest teachers' unions are calling for an end to active shooter drills because they may be traumatizing students. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association partnering with a coalition of gun violence groups to publicly condemn active shooter drills in schools. About 95 percent of schools conducted drills on lockdown procedures during the 2015-2016 school year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God. Hey, yo -- oh my God.



JARRETT: An Uber driver in Richmond, Virginia charged with abducting two passengers. Police say 38-year-old Olufemi Olomola was chasing a vehicle that rear-ended his car. His passengers, John Murray and his wife Tameka were still in the backseat and they livestreamed the chase. Tameka called it the scariest experience of her life.

ROMANS: A Michigan man says he's feeling blessed after a steel beam came crashing through his windshield and missed his chest by inches. Forty-nine-year-old Johnnie Lowe was driving his box truck to Lansing last week when the beam slid off a truck in front of him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNNIE LOWE, TRUCK DRIVER: When it bounced off the concrete, I seen it was steel -- and then I knew this was going down. And I just braced myself and went like that and then --


ROMANS: The steering wheel stopped the beam from impaling Johnnie. He says he feels very lucky and plans to buy a lottery ticket soon.

JARRETT: So lucky.

Well, the coldest air of the season with dangerous wind chills this morning. Here's meteorologist Derek Van Dam.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Laura.

We have the coldest air of the season settling in across the Northern Plains today. Now, the east coast, we have a wintertime storm system impacting the region. But along the major east coast cities -- New York, D.C., as well as Boston -- we're going to be mild enough to keep this all rain. You have to travel further to the north across Upstate New York and into Vermont and New Hampshire to see any formidable snow out of this system.

Now, you can see the southeast continues to get battered with wet weather. We have flash flood watches in effect from Mississippi through Alabama, Tennessee, into West Virginia.

Now, the colder side of this system producing some snowfall. Could be some slick spots this morning from Chicago to Cleveland, Cincinnati, as well as, again, northern New England.

But this system is going to quickly depart this evening across the east coast. We'll be left with generally clear conditions as we head into Friday.

Look at this cold air across the Northern Plains and parts of the Great Lakes. We're talking well below freezing. You factor in the wind chill values and it is just downright frigid for those locations.

Cooling off a bit for New York City, but you can see the milder weather settling in for early parts of next week.


Back to you.


ROMANS: All right, thank you so much for that.

A parent's worst nightmare playing out in real time. Eugene Kopp of Davenport, Iowa, whose phone rang as he was driving, thought he heard his daughter crying on the other end. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EUGENE KOPP, PAID RANSOM IN HOSTAGE SCAM: Then he says we're not a policeman or EMT, we're drug dealers, and your daughter caught us dealing drugs. If you want her back it's going to cost you.


ROMANS: Afraid his daughter would be hurt, he followed every order. The kidnappers kept him on the phone for five long hours, making him wire all the money he had -- $900. Finally, after hanging up, he went to his daughter's house. There she was, safe and sound.

It was all a phone scam. No I.D. yet on the fraudsters.

JARRETT: Two mice fighting over crumbs may not sound much like wildlife, but try telling that to photographer Sam Rowley. His image capturing two mice in an epic battle over crumbs on a London subway platform has won a prestigious award for wildlife photography from London's Natural History Museum. "Station Squabble" was picked from more than 48,000 images.

Sure, your little one is adorable, but is he or she Gerber baby cute? For the 10th straight year, the company has launched a national search for the next Gerber spokesbaby. Parents can submit photos and videos for a chance to serve as Gerber baby's ambassador for 2020. They can't be older than four and the deadline is February 21st.

ROMANS: Put those little cost (INAUDIBLE) to work.

JARRETT: It is time for James to get a job.

ROMANS: Get a job, James.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at global markets, all down around the world here. And U.S. futures are also leaning a little bit lower here.

Look, this was a record day for all three major averages yesterday as sectors hit by the coronavirus bounced back. So you're giving up a little bit of that today.

The Dow finished up 275 points, beating its most recent record. It was the third-straight record high close for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

WhatsApp has hit a milestone, topping two billion active users around the world. WhatsApp touts its end-to-end encryption technology, but that technology is drawing backlash across the world for security reasons. India's government has called for regulations that give it access to encrypted data.

In October, Attorney General Bill Barr asked Facebook to delay encryption plans over terror and sex trafficking concerns.

Still, WhatsApp's leader defends the technology, telling "The Wall Street Journal" its popularity highlights the need to fight for users' encrypted channels.

Jeff Bezos has added to his real estate profile, buying the most expensive property in Los Angeles. He bought the Warner house for $165 million from media mogul David Geffen. That's just an eighth of his total net worth.

"The Wall Street Journal" says the home sits on nine acres and was designed in the 1930s for Jack Warner, the former president of Warner Bros. The massive property comes with several guest houses, A tennis court, and its own nine-hole golf course.

JARRETT: Because, of course, you have to have your own golf course.

ROMANS: I just want another shoe rack, all right? I just need one more shoe rack --

JARRETT: That's exactly right.

ROMANS: -- and then I will be happy.

JARRETT: More closet space, always.

Best in Show depends on who you ask. While you were sleeping, late- night hosts had a go at the Westminster Dog Show.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": Let's have another look at Siba in slow motion here. This is -- I don't know about you, but this is easily one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my life. I think I'm going to have nightmares about seeing Siba all night tonight.

JAMES CORDEN, HOST, CBS "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN": Here is the dog that Daniel lost to -- Siba, the standard poodle. And I'm sorry, this is bull (bleep). Siba looks like she would send a waiter over to my table during brunch to tell me and my friends to quiet down.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": I'm not -- I'm not surprised that she won. I mean, look at that grooming. I am telling you, if he is serious about his run, Tom Steyer ought to steal her look.


ROMANS: The poise of some of these dogs -- like, my dog is just a slug on the couch, you know? And you say get off the couch and she just kind of looks at you and goes right back to sleep.

JARRETT: She can't perform like that?

ROMANS: She would not perform like that.

JARRETT: Oh, that's too bad.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine -- my kids are the same way. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


TRUMP: I want to thank the Justice Department. They saw the horribleness of a nine-year sentence for doing nothing.

GRAHAM: If I thought he'd done something that had changed the outcome inappropriately, I'd be the first to say.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): What is more stinking than the most powerful person in the country changing the rules to benefit a crony guilty of breaking the law?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are taking on Trump, the Republican establishment, Carville, and the Democratic establishment.

JAMES CARVILLE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's 78 years old, standing up and screaming in a microphone about the revolution. You give people an alternative.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need someone who is going to be able to unite this party.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.