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President Calls For Unity In State Of The Union Address; North Korea To Parade Missiles Before Winter Olympics; Fact-Checking President Trump's Claims. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 31, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:33:30] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So there was a lot to unpack last night. Some of it's a matter of perspective, some of it is not.

President Trump was calling for $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending but he did fall short of asking Congress to allocate that money. That's because whoever is helping him with the speech knows that's a big, big problem.

The president also outlining his four-pillar immigration plan. Both parties like and hate aspects of it.

So, what are we going to see? Is anything going to get passed, especially in a midterm election year?

Let's get some great perspective for you from Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana. He serves on the Judiciary Committee.

Always a pleasure, Senator.


CUOMO: We appreciate --

KENNEDY: Good morning.

CUOMO: -- you coming on the show and making the case to the audience and giving them their respect.

So, last night, even someone who cannot see would be aware that that was one divided room. It often is, but not to the degree that I saw last night.

How do you fix that?

KENNEDY: There's an old expression, it's not the whistle that pulls the train, talk's cheap.

Now, the president, clearly last night, was trying to reassure his base. He was trying to establish some sort of harmonious relationship with Democrats, particularly in Congress.

He talked about issues and I think it was interesting. He's a showman. You can tell he's experienced in television. When he would hit on pause line that he thought the Democrats would like he would turn to them and he would open his arms, you know -- open body language, welcoming.

Prescription drugs -- he declared war on the cost of prescription drugs. Now, how we do that? There are ways to do that. He didn't go into them but it will very divisive.

[07:35:10] He -- I think he thinks he has offered middle ground on immigration. Whether 60 votes in the Senate see it that way is a totally different story.

CUOMO: Is it middle ground, Senator, or did he offer parcels of opposite ground because part of your party, when they hear pathway to citizenship -- and it's not fair to simply say well, anybody who feels that way, they don't -- they don't like these people.

There are people who argue on law and order and then, you have some other issues in the party as well. But they hear that and they're like non-starter.


CUOMO: And then, you have Democrats now, maybe in an equal or greater number, who are saying you either do DACA as a stand-alone or maybe we'll include security in it because we have to to get it done. But these other things -- the lottery and family reunification, or what's being called chain migration -- it will never happen.

So where's the deal in that?

KENNEDY: Well, I think it's really a fight over timing. Conservatives, particularly people in my state -- they will support a legal status for kids brought here as kids -- now they're adults.

But they want to see the border security first. They don't believe that if they agree to a legal status or amnesty that there will ever be border security.

The Democrats, on the other hand, there's a lack of trust there. They want to see the amnesty or legal status first because they don't believe that the president will follow through if they give him border security first. So it's really a question of timing.

Now, can we -- I am -- I confess, I'm much less sanguine than some of my colleagues on getting 60 votes if we can get 60 votes. It's got to pass the House and the president's got to sign it.

And, Chris, that's a tall order because the -- one of the things, if you're on the floor, you can tell there is a wild enthusiasm for the president among Republicans in the House. Enthusiasm, but less so, among Republicans in the Senate.

And I think the -- I'd say the Democrats last night, they're skeptical. Put them down as doubtful. But if the president puts meat on the bone in terms of prison reform,

in terms of curbing the cost of prescription drugs -- and there are ways to do it. Now, there would be controversy.

CUOMO: There's certainly ways to do it. I mean, the drug prices are crazy -- they have been for a long time. You guys have been held hostage by that industry. They'll have to do it but you're going to make a lot of deep pockets unhappy.

KENNEDY: Well, I'm not recommending this but one thing that's been talked about through the year -- if he just said tomorrow -- and again, I'm not recommending this because there are pros and cons.

CUOMO: Right.

KENNEDY: If he said OK, Medicare is going to start negotiating the price of prescription drugs -- boom.

CUOMO: Yes, you would. You'd also see a tank in a lot of the different financial aspects --

KENNEDY: You would.

CUOMO: -- when you put Wall Street on it.

And it's a question of who do you want to help, who do you want to hurt. Who do you want as an enemy; who do you want as a friend. He's got to make these choices.

KENNEDY: What he didn't talk about and I wish he had -- I wish he'd talked more about a topic that's very much -- very much alive on Capitol Hill, net neutrality.

And I wish he'd talked about sanctions on the Russians and explain to us why he is not immediately imposing the sanctions because I think President Putin has acted, for the past five years, like a thug.

CUOMO: I mean, objectively, it seems to be true based on the Intelligence Community and every piece of data that we have.

And you may have seen your answer in what the president also didn't talk about. Can you imagine someone not saying something, as president, when a fighter jet from Russia comes within five feet of a U.S. Navy plane?


CUOMO: He doesn't even say anything and this is not a man who's shy to comment.

But now, you have your biggest obstacle to making a deal. This memo from Nunes --


CUOMO: -- has problems with the Intelligence Community -- has a lot of political problems. The president has it on his desk. We are told he hasn't read it, which is a little surprising.

If he releases that memo who's going to want to do a deal on the left with the right? That's all you'll be fighting about for the foreseeable future.

KENNEDY: Well, a couple of points.

We can't let the politics of the moment cloud our judgment. If there's classified information in that memo it shouldn't be released. If they release it anyway, to be fair, the Democrats ought to be allowed to release their memo.

My strong preference would be not have either side put spin on it, go through the original material and try to take out all the classified information.

I see things on the Russian investigation a little differently from my colleagues. I trust the FBI. I think the vast majority of the members of the FBI are apolitical law enforcement -- best in the world.

Now, some of my colleagues disagree with me. I don't doubt there's some political animals over there on both sides. We can do damage to the premier law enforcement agency in the world.

[07:40:00] I think if they're allowed to get the facts and then present them to the American people, the American people are smart enough to figure it out for themselves.

CUOMO: Isn't that what they're doing with the inspector general report right now? It's supposed to be out this spring.

KENNEDY: That's part of it. That's part of it, and if the inspector general report can be released without classified information it should be released.

I think the FBI, when it concludes its investigation, is going to have to change its protocol a bit. Usually, they don't comment on investigations.

CUOMO: Right.

KENNEDY: This time, I think it's -- would be worthy of them saying OK, here is what we have found.

I can tell you what they're going to find. I don't know the details. There's no question that the Russians tried to interfere in our election.

CUOMO: Oh, but that's not what you guys are looking at. What Nunes wants to conclude, maybe even with help from the White House, is that the real interference in the election was done by the Democrats --

KENNEDY: Well, the --

CUOMO: -- and the FBI who were trying to help Clinton. KENNEDY: That's the issue --

CUOMO: This is a counter-narrative.

KENNEDY: There are two issues.

One issue is did somebody in President Trump's campaign play footsy with Vladimir Putin. Number two, the allegation now is did some members of the FBI play footsy with Sec. Clinton's campaign.

And you've got to trust somebody in this world, Chris. I trust -- maybe I'm naive. I trust the men and women, the vast majority of whom I think are apolitical at the FBI.

Just give us the facts. Don't spin the American people. The American people -- I've said this before -- they're smart. They don't read Aristotle every day because they're too busy earning a living, but they will figure this out and they filter what people try to spin them on.

CUOMO: Well, Sen. Kennedy, I appreciate your candor, as always.

KENNEDY: Thank you, Chris, for having me.

CUOMO: You're always welcome on the show to make the case to American people.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn --


The #MeToo movement making a visible mark at the State of the Union. So, how Congresswoman Jackie Speier plans to move that movement forward and what she thought of the speech, next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you've been or where you've come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything. And together, we can achieve absolutely anything.


CAMEROTA: That's President Trump striking a unifying tone in his State of the Union address, calling on both parties to work together on major issues. But after a year of partisan attacks did last night's speech help?

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. She's a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Great to have you here in the studio. Thanks for being with us.


CAMEROTA: What did you hear last night?

SPEIER: So, I heard him gave -- I heard him give a teleprompter speech and he didn't deviate much from it. So, you know, he came off quasi-presidential which is the new normal, I guess. If we get one good speech and then if he resists the tweets this morning maybe we'll get through a day where there's not going to be lashing out.

[07:45:12] CAMEROTA: But, beyond style, what did you hear in terms of the substance? I mean, the White House said that he was trying to be bipartisan. And that message, this is your time -- if you're American you can live -- you know, you can do anything you dream of. I mean, those are messages obviously that resonate on both sides of the aisle.

Did you think it achieved any bipartisanship?

SPEIER: I think that many of us felt that he would throw out one- liners and then the heart of it -- keeping Gitmo open, for instance. It's costing $13 million a year per person. There's only 41 people left there.

And he -- you know, he throws out the red meat to the Republicans and then says a couple of nice lines to the Democrats.

His immigration comments were very divisive because when you say chain migration instead of family unification you're not trying to come up with a compromise.

CAMEROTA: So is unity impossible for Democrats and --

SPEIER: It's not impossible, but -- compromise is possible but you don't say this is compromise here. I've given you something that is compromise. You sit down and you negotiate.

He wants to bring in 1.8 million DREAMers, not just the 800,000, but then he wants to impose all of these restrictions and a $25 billion wall.

CAMEROTA: So what's going to happen with immigration? I mean, since he's laid out his best case or argument. And, as you know, we're facing another deadline for a government shutdown next week.

So, where are you?

SPEIER: I think that we are nowhere. Unless he just does a clean C.R. with a clean DACA fix for those 800,000, I think we will be teetering on another shutdown, which is horrible.

CAMEROTA: And then what?

SPEIER: And then what, exactly.

He has got to realize that negotiations means two people sit down at the table. Everybody loses something and everybody wins something.

CAMEROTA: Is there a feeling among Democrats that the last shutdown didn't work out. That was a gambit that didn't work for Democrats and so, by Monday, everybody had sort of come to their senses. And so, another government shutdown -- is there a different strategy?

SPEIER: Nobody wants a shutdown. I mean, it costs us money to have a shutdown every day. And so what we need to do is be responsible adults and realize we're not going to get everything we want but find a pathway forward.

CAMEROTA: I want to show this picture that you tweeted out.

You chose to wear black yesterday. This was a show of solidarity and you tweeted all of your colleagues and you wearing black. And this was for the #MeToo movement. This was sort of the visible representation of that.

So where is the #MeToo movement now in Congress, and beyond?

SPEIER: Yes, that's the good news story in all of this. This is a bipartisan bill and it is a very strong bill and it will be up next week in committee and probably on the House floor next.

CAMEROTA: And what will it do?

SPEIER: It will absolutely transform how victims are treated in Congress. They will immediately have legal counsel. There will not be mandatory mediation. They will be able to go directly to court if they want to.

And the harasser, if it's a member, is going to be identified and forced to repay the federal government the settlement amount.

CAMEROTA: That will change a lot of things and it's -- everything that we've learned in the past months about how it's set up now, where if the victim who has to go to therapy and has a cooling off period. I mean, so obviously, you're changing all of that.

And very quickly, I want to ask you about this Republican memo -- the Devin Nunes-drafted memo.

Last night there was an off-mike -- an open mic moment where the president was caught telling one of his Republican colleagues oh, 100 percent I'm going to release it. Watch this.


REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let's release the memo.

TRUMP: Don't worry -- 100 percent. Can you imagine?

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: One hundred percent, he says, don't worry.

Are you worried about that memo being public?

SPEIER: That memo is filled with classified information. It is a road we should not travel down.

CAMEROTA: You've read it?

SPEIER: I've read it and, you know, what the Republicans did in committee was astonishing. And once the transcript of that open hearing is forthcoming you're going to find out that the chairman of the committee would not answer the question by my colleague, Mr. Quigley, when he asked, did you -- were you in consultation with the White House? He would not answer that question.

When he was asked when Mr. Wray, the FBI director, looked at this memo did he have any areas that he wanted to have deleted or redacted, he would not answer that question.

So clearly, they are moving ahead full speed. They want to spin this. And then, they wouldn't let the Democratic response --

[07:50:00] CAMEROTA: Right. They voted not release that one.

But you're saying this morning that there is dangerous classified information --


CAMEROTA: -- and that it should not be released.

SPEIER: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And why are the Republicans going to release it?

SPEIER: Because the president wants to pursue this idea that somehow the dossier was related -- that the dossier is representative of why this whole investigation began, and it was not.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you very much for your perspective on all of this. Great to have you here.

SPEIER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right, news abroad.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un planning a parade of missiles before the Olympics kick-off next week in South Korea. A live report from Seoul, next.


CUOMO: Troubling information. CNN has learned North Korea is planning to show off dozens of long-range missiles at a parade next Thursday, just a day before the start of the Winter Olympics.

CNN's Will Ripley has traveled to North Korea more than a dozen times. He joins us live now from Seoul with more.

There is an expression of is this for show or is this to go? What is the concern about the missiles?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's address he was going to mass produce nuclear weapons and if what two diplomatic sources are telling me is correct, this kind of show of force would be unprecedented.

We're talking about up to 100 of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles, the kind that North Korea recently tested. The kind that analysts say could hit the mainland. One hundred ICBMs rolling through Pyongyang. Hundreds of missiles and rockets altogether.

There are some satellite images showing an uptick in activity at North Korean weapons facilities. And in the words of one of my sources, this is all designed to quote "scare the hell out of the United States."

The sources also not ruling out the possibility of a North Korean missile test in the very near future, possibly even during the Olympics because North Korea has made no secret of the fact they're angry with the United States. They're angry at military activity in the region and upcoming joint military drills, and they want to send a message, even if it is on the eve of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, which they are participating in.

[07:55:13] Some are speculating due to President Trump's State of the Union address that he may be making a case to the American public for a preventative strike -- a military option against North Korea.

Victor Cha, the former Bush administration official and renowned academic, wrote this in "The Washington Post." He said he told the Trump administration they need to have a quote "forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans."

He says he told the Trump administration a preemptive strike is a bad idea and now, Chris and Alisyn, he is no longer a contender for the job of U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

CAMEROTA: Interesting, Will. Thank you very much for all of the developments from there.

So, President Trump touted big successes in job creation and fighting ISIS while making some controversial claims about immigration in his speech last night.

CUOMO: CNN's Tom Foreman does the fact-check on the president's claims in this CNN reality check. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


The president made some huge claims about what he's done for jobs.

TRUMP: Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.

FOREMAN: And, of course, the recovery started under Barack Obama but it has continued under President Trump. He has his numbers right and while African-American unemployment is much higher than white unemployment, it's still at a record low. All of those claims are absolutely true.

He also had this to say about taxes.

TRUMP: We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.

FOREMAN: You will recall the Republicans passed their big tax plan late last year and it did have some whopping raw numbers in it. But, as a percentage of the U.S. economy -- of the GDP -- as you can see, several presidents have had bigger tax cuts. That claim is false.

What did the president have to say about one of his favorite topics, immigrants?

TRUMP: Under the current broken system a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.

FOREMAN: If you become a U.S. citizen or a legal resident, yes, you can probably bring in your spouse and your children. But aunts, and uncles, and parents, and grown children, that's a lot harder. It is not the free-for-all that he is suggesting. That claim is false.

And what did he have to say about the great, long battle with ISIS?

TRUMP: I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and in Syria, and in other locations as well.

FOREMAN: Again, it started under Barack Obama but the military says President Trump has really helped them energize this fight. All the green in there, that's territory that ISIS has lost and you can see the raw numbers over here. So, yes, that claim is true.

He said a few other things we should mention. For example, he implied terrorists exploited the U.S. immigration for some recent attacks in New York, but authorities say the suspects there were radicalized after they got here. So that's true but misleading.

He said a Chrysler plant was moving back from Mexico to Michigan. Some production is coming back but the plant is remaining in Mexico as well, so that's false.

And he said he's appointed more circuit judges than any other president at this point. That is true.

We checked out a whole lot more. You can check it out and go to our Website check -- Chris, Alisyn.


CAMEROTA: So helpful to have Tom do that for us. It's just great to break it down, you know, sentence by sentence.


CAMEROTA: All right. We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.


TRUMP: I call upon all of us to set aside our differences and to summon unity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He actually had a much more outreaching speech.

TRUMP: It's time to reform our immigration system.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He implied that DREAMers are gang members.

REP. JOE KENNEDY III (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Bullies may land a punch, but they have never managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a call to arms for Democrats and is a top to bottom indictment of President Trump.

TRUMP: No regime has oppressed its own citizens more brutally than North Korea.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russians are quite relieved that election meddling was not one of the things mentioned.

KENNEDY: Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make but our country will be judged by the promises we keep.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: The sun comes up on another day in the capital.

Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Wednesday, January 31st, 8:00 here in Washington.