Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Key Witness In Roger Stone Trial, Randy Credico, Speaks Out Amid Case Backlash; Fears Grow Over Potential Nevada Caucus Malfunction; Leaked Documents Show Lengths China Taking To Allegedly Detain Muslims. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired February 17, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:30:20]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A new twist in the case against Roger Stone. Just days before his expected to be sentenced, the judge scheduled a conference call with both sides scheduled for tomorrow.

It is an unusual move following the wild and tumultuous week that sparked outrage inside and outside the Justice Department when Attorney General Bill Barr overruled the prosecutors on the case and their sentencing recommendation, a move that the president publicly advocated for and applauded as we now know.

Those prosecutors recommended up to nine year for Stone after he was convicted on all seven charges, including obstructing Congress and witness tampering. All four of those prosecutors resigned the case after all of that.

One person who has found himself at the center of the case, once again, a man who has known Roger Stone for more than a decade, Randy Credico, who testified for the prosecution in Stone's trial. He's the witness Stone is convicted of tampering with. And Randy Credico joins me now.

Thank you for coming in, Randy.

RANDY CREDICO, TESTIFIED AGAINST ROGER STONE: Hey, Kate. Thank you for having me. Thank you for letting me have this opportunity to get in trouble again.

BOLDUAN: That's my entire goal. Not at all.

What is important is there -- you have found yourself, once again, in the middle of all of this. I'm talking about the Justice Department, the president, Roger Stone, the Mueller investigation. And Randy Credico finding yourself in the middle of all of it.

You spoke out in defense of the prosecutors --

CREDICO: Yes.

BOLDUAN: -- after what you described as the president's vile smear job. Why did you decide to speak out?

CREDICO: First of all, the president gave the prosecutors a bum rap and Barr gave them the bum's rush. That's an outrage. I know these prosecutors. I've been around them maybe 100 hours over the last year. And they're good guys, decent guys, hardworking guys, civil servants.

When they put this out and used my name and my letter, they're basically trying to rationalize the cleansing, the purging of the Justice Department and the judiciary. This is very dangerous. That's a cynical move on their part.

They're not looking at this as if, you know, they care about sentencing reform. Because there are 100,000 people in the federal prison system. Half of them are black and Latino, and in for minor drug offenses.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You care a lot about sentencing reform. Part of what you wrote to the judge in your letter.

CREDICO: Right.

BOLDUAN: That's why -- the Justice Department in the revised sentencing memo, in overriding the sentencing memo, they cite you in major part.

CREDICO: Right.

BOLDUAN: They cite your letter. And this is what they cite, when you wrote, "I never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or to my dog. I chalked up his bellicose tirades to Stone being Stone, all bark and no bite."

CREDICO: Right.

BOLDUAN: This comes from the text messages where he says, you know --

CREDICO: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- ready to die.

To be clear, Randy, did you ever feel threatened?

CREDICO: Here's the deal. Did I feel threatened by Stone? He and I went back and forth with these e-mails. He was upset that I finally countered his narrative on this when he testified in front of the House Intel Committee.

I took the Fifth. And I started getting a lot of heat from a lot of people, people on the left. They thought I was connected to Trump somehow. I could not be connected to a guy who is this racist, right? I ran a racial justice reform group.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Did you feel threatened?

CREDICO: Did I ever feel threatened by Stone? In those e-mails, I didn't personally feel threatened. I knew the guy wasn't going to come out and steal the dog or personally threaten me.

But there are nut cases in this country. Especially over the last two years, we look at Pittsburgh, look at what happened in El Paso or Gilroy, California. You get nervous. Are the pipe bombs that were sent here.

BOLDUAN: Who then -- the prosecutors and the Justice Department are taking two different positions. The prosecutors feel you felt threatened. He was convicted on witness tampering with regard to -- and based on those text messages. The -- the DOJ, overriding it, says the victim here is now disputing the tampering.

CREDICO: I said I personally did not feel threatened by Roger Stone.

BOLDUAN: Do you want to have it both ways? Did you feel threatened overall?

CREDICO: I understand where the prosecution is coming from. I really do. I understand because they spent a lot of time with me. They have seen a lot of e-mails, text messages. You got a drop in the bucket in this case here.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

CREDICO: So I think they -- I'm looking at it subjectively. I didn't think Roger Stone was going to look me up and try to harm me. And when he sent those e-mails, it was 2:00 in the morning, a lot of them --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Are you going back on testimony?

CREDICO: No, no. Everything I said in the testimony I stand by. I do not recant any of it at all.

So on that witness stand, they asked me, the defense attorney, did you think that Roger was going to steal your dog. I said no. I didn't feel personally threatened by him, himself. That's what I'm saying.

[11:35:10]

But the climate in this country right now, I felt threatened. I felt somebody may pull a Jack Ruby on me, if you know what I mean.

BOLDUAN: The man who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald.

CREDICO: Somebody with a hat comes up and thinks that I'm screwing things up for the president.

BOLDUAN: So, OK, you're a bit all over the place on this, right?

CREDICO: BOLDUAN: Not really. (CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Just listen to me. From outside looking in, you're defending the prosecutors, saying they're stand-up guys. You advocated for a lighter sentence for Roger Stone, no prison time --

CREDICO: Yes.

BOLDUAN: -- is what you were asking for.

CREDICO: Right.

BOLDUAN: And you're also outraged on some level that he's -- how they're going about arguing for him to have a lighter sentence at this point.

What do you hope happens?

CREDICO: Well, I hope that the judge -- now that Trump and Barr have muddied the waters, this judge is not going to be bullied by them. I can tell you that. She's a very -- she's a woman of integrity. I looked at her record.

So what I -- I said, I don't want Roger to go to jail. My father did 10 years in prison. I became an alcoholic. I'm a recovering alcoholic, right? But that experience that he did in prison had an effect on all of his kids. All right? It was very difficult --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: But you don't like what the DOJ has done since?

CREDICO: I don't like -- the DOJ -- the judge is not going to listen to the prosecutors. She's going to make her own decision. That's what I think.

BOLDUAN: Have you heard from Roger Stone the since the trial?

CREDICO: I have not heard from Roger at all. I do hope he doesn't go to prison. He's a 68-year-old man. He's broke. And I spent all of my time working with prisoners in this state and in Texas and I know what damage it does to a human being. He's too old. The guy is broke.

But you know, they have a different perspective. You should not be blasting these guys and purging the Justice Department. Before the four guys - Kravitz especially. I must say, he has a lot of guts. He would not be Bill Barr's Bill Barr. Bill Barr's Bill Barr. He would not do that. They have too much integrity.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming in, Randy.

CREDICO: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

CREDICO: I'm going to London today for the Assange -- my friend, Assange's trial this week.

So, nobody call me. I'm only doing your show and this is it.

BOLDUAN: Randy Credico, always presenting, to say the least, a complicated picture.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Randy, for coming in.

CREDICO: I'll come back and try to do this again.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:41:40]

BOLDUAN: We're just five days from the Nevada Democratic caucuses. And if the early voting numbers are any indication, expect a huge turnout. More than 18,000 people took part in early voting on Saturday alone.

But with high turnout comes new concerns. After the debacle in Iowa, some are wondering if Nevada will be ready for this weekend.

CNN's Athena Jones is on the trail in Reno.

Athena, what are you hearing there?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. As you mentioned, that nearly 19,000 people coming out to caucus on Saturday, the first day of early caucusing and the first time ever people have been able to early caucus. That number is over 20 percent of the entire caucusing electorate in 2018 -- 2016. So very early indications of high turnout.

Nevada state party officials say they're glad to see the enthusiasm. They believe turnout ultimately could set a new record.

But as you mentioned, there are concerns over whether they're going to be able to tally all of the results and avoid the debacle in Iowa.

State party officials here learned a lesson from that -- from what happened in Iowa. They won't be using that app. The Nevada Democratic Party said they consulted with experts at Google, the Department of Homeland Security, and with the DNC to make sure they have a process that is going to be able to tally these things up properly.

But there are concerns about whether there's going to be enough training. And when you're dealing with a web-based device, an iPad, there are ways things can go wrong -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes. To say the least.

Good to see you, Athena. Thanks so much. Two days until then. Coming up, millions of Muslims being held in what the U.S. calls internment camps. Leaked documents revealing shocking new details showing just how far the Chinese government is going to allegedly target an ethnic minority. That's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:47:19]

BOLDUAN: A shocking report spotlights the lengths China will go to allegedly target an ethnic minority. Over the past four years, Western officials say the country detained up to two million Muslims in western China. Survivors say they were thrown in prison, ripped apart from their families, and isolated from the world.

But the government is telling a different story. Officials claim they're rooting out terrorism through a vocational training program.

CNN's Ivan Watson obtained rare documents detailing citizens being rounded up for the most arbitrary reasons.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing a long beard, making an international phone call, having a passport, these are all reasons that can land you in what U.S. officials call concentration camps in China.

Chilling revelations detailed in what appears to be a Chinese government surveillance report on its citizens leaked from Xinjiang. That's a region in western China where a mass internment policy has forced up to two million Muslims into detention.

(on camera): The documents are spreadsheets of data on more than 300 families who live in one neighborhood of Kanakash (ph) County. They provide highly detailed personal information, including national I.D. numbers, home addresses, history of foreign travel, religious practices, and whether or not they are a threat.

(voice-over): The authors, believed to be Chinese government officials, then decide whether to keep individuals in what the Chinese government calls vocational training centers.

(SINGING)

WATSON: Beijing wants the world to believe this mass job training program is rooting out violent extremism. But several survivors tell CNN the reality is these camps were crowded, prison-like facilities where inmates were subjected to torture.

Due to China's crackdown and heavy curtain of censorship, independently confirming anything in Xinjiang is incredibly difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why you are here? Tell me, why you are here?

WATSON: On a recent visit to the region, Chinese security forces harassed and blocked CNN's Matt Rivers from visiting the internment camps.

However, a CNN investigation tracked down Uighurs living in exile who verified the identities of at least eight of the families profiled in the leaked report.

The investigation takes us to Istanbul, Turkey. Here, I meet Rozinsa Mamattohti, a mother of three from Xinjiang, whose name is on the document.

ROZINSA MAMATTOHTI, RELATIVE OF DETAINEE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

[11:50:04]

WATSON (on camera): (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) That is you. That's your name. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MAMATTOHTI: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

WATSON (voice-over): Her name appeared under case number 358, which revealed that her younger sister, Patem, was sent to a camp in March of 2018, for supposedly violating China's family planning policy. That is, having too many children.

MAMATTOHTI: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

WATSON: Rozinsa says this is the first information she's had about her family in Xinjiang since 2016.

Many Uighurs living overseas says communication with family back home was completely cut off when China cracked down in Xinjiang.

But Uighurs are risking their lives to expose this sensitive information.

(on camera): This is the first time you are speaking publicly about these documents?

TAHIRJAN ANWAR, UIGHUR ACTIVIST: Yes, this is the first time.

WATSON (voice-over): Tahirjan Anwar is a Uighur activist living in exile in the Netherlands. Last summer, he received this trove of documents from a source in Xinjiang he won't identify for their safety.

ANWAR: That was my birthday. And I got the attachment. I was very surprised.

WATSON: It is Anwar, along with a patchwork of other Uighurs living in exile, who are sharing this information with the outside world.

ADRIAN ZANZ, SENIOR FELLOW IN CHINA STUDIES, VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: This document is like a microcosm of what's happening all over Xinjiang.

WATSON: Adrian Zanz is a U.S. based academic who have been studying what he is convince ready internal Chinese government documents. ZANZ: This is the future of authoritarianism. This is the future of

changing populations who don't agree with the main regime in terms of ideologies, spirituality, political identity, or other criteria.

WATSON (on camera): CNN's data analysis reveals, among at least 484 people sent to camps, five were detained because they communicated with people overseas. Twenty-five were detained for holding a passport without visiting a foreign country. And the most, 114 people, were labeled a threat for simply having too many children.

Those Uighurs were sent to four different camps all apparently located within the same community. Using other open-source Chinese government documents, we were able to find the locations of the four facilities, including the number two training center located near the Kanakash (ph) train station.

(voice-over): This is where Rozinsa Mamattohti's second-oldest sister, Rozinyas (ph), was sent. According to case number 597, her offense, having a passport and giving birth to too many children.

Rozinsa fears her family could be punished further because she is going public.

(on camera): Why are you showing your face to the outside world?

MAMATTOHTI: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

WATSON (voice-over): CNN reached out to the Chinese foreign minute tree and Xinjiang regional government in writing with detailed questions, but Chinese officials did not respond. In the past, Beijing has strenuously denied allegations of mess treatment and arbitrary detention.

WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

WATSON: As for Tahirjan Anwar, he hopes that sharing these documents will force Beijing to ease its crackdown in Xinjiang and lead to information about his own missing loved ones.

ANWAR: This is my father. He is now in a jail. I don't know what exactly crime of him.

Chinese government let's free my father immediately and let's free all Uighurs immediately.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: Kate, imagine not being able to call, e-mail, or even text message your parents, your siblings, your children for years because you are afraid any communication could land your loved one in a modern-day concentration camp.

I have interviewed dozens of Uighurs living in in the diaspora, as well as some of these camp survivors, and that is the fear, the curtain of fear that they are living with.

[11:55:07]

And then they find out, secondhand, thirdhand, that one of their relatives has been rounded up and thrown into one of these camps. The Chinese government calls this fake news.

Every one of these interviews ends in tears. And those tears, that fear, is very, very real -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Remarkable to hear the Chinese official calling it fake news.

Fantastic, and important work, Ivan.

Thank you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)