Return to Transcripts main page
National Weather Forecast; Trump on Dreamers Label; Trump Slams Law Enforcement Leaders; Countdown to Super Bowl LII; Wray Could Resign over Memo; Pompeo Met with Russian Intel Chiefs. Aired 6:30- 7:00a ET
Aired February 02, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The same. The Super Bowl is going to be cold no matter what. The good news, it's inside.
Here comes the next storm system that you're talking about, Alisyn. It is coming up the East Coast, making rain, and then back -- changing over to snow by Sunday night into Monday morning. Really chancing of ruining the morning -- Monday morning commute. We'll have to take a look at that. It does warm up slightly.
All Phil is going to say today is that there's cloud cover. But, you know, John, he always sees his shadow. There's so many TV lights out there, how could he not?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I hear the distain. I feel like meteorologists around the world just loathe Punxsutawney Phil.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to our groundhog correspondent.
Go ahead, John Avlon.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I will say, as senior groundhog correspondent, first of all, you're saying, Chad, that the system is rigged? This is big news for people watching.
MYERS: I do.
AVLON: Second of all, the entire forecast you just gave would be so much more compelling if just today you wore a giant groundhog outfit.
MYERS: Ah, yes. That would be my last day on CNN.
AVLON: No, I think it would go viral, my friend.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, Chad.
John Avlon has strong feelings about Groundhogs Day.
BERMAN: Proving my point that every meteorologist hates Punxsutawney Phil with comments just like that.
AVLON: We should -- you know, we should listen to giant road (INAUDIBLE) when it comes to forecasting.
BERMAN: President Trump, no connection here, declaring Americans are dreamers too. Is he trying to reshape and redefine the immigration debate? We'll dig in, next.
[06:35:11] CAMEROTA: President Trump does not like the term "dreamers" for the young undocumented immigrants brought here as children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some people call it dreamers. It's not dreamers. Don't fall into that trap.
And I said the other night, you know, we have dreamers too. We have dreamers in this country too. You can't forget our dreamers. I have a lot of dreamers here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Here's the term the president prefers "DACA people." You may recall during -- I mean it's just not as catchy as some of his other stuff. During Tuesday night's State of the Union, the president said, quote, Americans are dreamers too. You heard him say that.
Let's bring back John Avlon and Anna Palmer, senior Washington correspondent for politico.com.
Anna, it was interesting to hear him. I mean that was the -- you know, he's been all over the map, obviously, with dreamers. But it was quite interesting to hear him say that he -- that's an Obama term, OK, so he's not going to use that Obama term for dreamers. That's his first objection, I think. And also he just seemed to be a little bit less sympathetic there than he has been in the past.
ANNA PALMER, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM: Well, you know, dreamers is something that's (INAUDIBLE). It's something that we can feel, that you can -- you kind of personalize. Where -- this is a president all about branding. DACA people, there's distance there. It allows him to maybe not to as sympathetic in terms of what actually they're going to get done by March or later this year.
BERMAN: It's -- you know, it's too humanizing. Using the word dreamers is just to humanizing to describe these people brought here as kids through no fault of their own.
You know, John Avlon, look, you and I have actually had this discussion before about how political terms, you know, shape discussions and debates.
BERMAN: But the bigger picture here, though, is the president reading his stage directions out loud, right? He's basically admitting in West Virginia where you were to the Republican members of Congress here, this is where I'm driving this discussion and this is where I'm driving this debate.
AVLON: Yes, look -- I mean, look, the president is a master marketer. And when he uses terms, he's using them intentionally. He's also trying to soften up the right because the -- what the proposal they are pushing is -- has opposition on the far right, it has opposition on the left certainly. And so, you know, by sort of denigrating dreamers, which is a Democratic term to be clear, and calling them DACA people, he's trying to send the signal that, look, I'm not too terribly sympathetic here.
BERMAN: All right, guys, a little bit of breaking news here. The president is weighing in just now vaguely on the issue of the memo and intelligence gathering. Let me read this to you. He just wrote this seconds ago.
The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans. Something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank and file are great people.
All right, first of all, this confirms -- this is actually single source confirmation of the CNN report from yesterday that the president feels that this memo somehow discredits the entire Mueller investigation now. President Trump telling us exactly how he feels.
PALMER: Yes, I think it also is a sign that he is really trying to denigrate Christopher Wray, the leadership. But there's a lot of consternation that we're hearing and reporting that potentially Wray could even step down if this memo goes public because he has said he doesn't think that the president should do that.
AVLON: Yes, I think the key phrase in this tweet is top leadership. He is clearly singling out the leadership of our intelligence and law enforcement services, denigrating them saying, oh, but I love the rank and file.
Also, look at the political sort of projection here. He's basically saying that even though we know that the leaders of intelligence services, law enforcement are all telling the White House not to release this memo because it would be seen as partisan and undercut the integrity of investigations and law enforcement, he's categorizing those efforts as partisan themselves.
CAMEROTA: This is just a really interesting threading of the needle and I'm not sure that it works. I'm sure that you get to say that the FBI and the, you know, Justice Department are politicized and say, but the rank and file are great people.
AVLON: Yes, that's right.
CAMEROTA: The rank and file are obviously part of the entire process and they can't feel good about what's been happening. And also the top leaders are Republicans and -- AVLON: Appointed by him.
CAMEROTA: Appointed by him.
BERMAN: Look --
CAMEROTA: And, last, Devin Nunes is the politician here. And so he -- you can't say that it's the FBI that is politicizing things. They don't want the memo released. And say that Devin Nunes isn't.
AVLON: (INAUDIBLE) projection. Clear --
CAMEROTA: Isn't he just -- all illogical.
PALMER: I mean that he is a hyper partisan, Nunes is, is mean he is far to the right. He's the darling now of them. And you look at this and what is happening at the FBI. I -- the big question I think today is, what do Republicans on The Hill, senators and House members, do? Do they defend the FBI because you've seen a lot of Republican senators say, no, the FBI is an institution. It's something that we need to uphold the law. Or do they fall in line under Trump and say, you're right, the FBI is, you know, full of partisan hacks?
AVLON: That's -- that's important. The eyes of history are upon you. And if you're serving in Congress, you need to take a step back from the short-term policies of this. Don't think about, you know, whatever bullying factors are forcing your decision. How is this going to look in the eyes of history? Defending the integrity of law enforcement, the independent of law enforcement is going to look a lot better than folding under a president whose threatening them (ph).
BERMAN: I will say, you know, to quote Chris Cillizza here, Rod Rosenstein, call your office, right?
BERMAN: I mean he -- the president all but calling him out by name here. The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and Justice Department have politicized, he says, the sacred investigation here.
[06:40:14] Look, you know, we know, you know, James Comey's already gone. Andrew McCabe is already gone. Those folks are already gone. Rod Rosenstein, whom he appointed as the deputy attorney general --
BERMAN: He is very upset about. This seems like an early morning justification to begin a move.
PALMER: Right. I mean everybody believes that this memo -- he has made the decision. It's going to be released. This is kind of the starting point for that justification.
AVLON: And it's typical Trump playbook. You attack your opponent with the thing that you are doing and being charged of yourself. It muddies the waters. BERMAN: It's a Republican memo coming out.
BERMAN: The Democratic memo not being released at the same time. SO it is by definition partisan.
CAMEROTA: Anna Palmer, John Avlon, thank you both very much.
OK, it's the final countdown to Super Bowl LII.
BERMAN: You don't say?
CAMEROTA: Well, I hear. OK, listen to this, John. I'll tell you all about it. It's the Eagles versus the Patriots.
BERMAN: You don't say?
CAMEROTA: It's also destiny versus dynasty, as I can tell you, OK? And I'm going to explain all that when we go to the "Bleacher Report" live from Minneapolis, for some reason, next.
[06:45:05] BERMAN: The kickoff for Super Bowl LII just two days away, but the planning for super Sunday has been going on for years. Coy Wire has more on that in the "Bleacher Report."
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Yes, organizers have been preparing for this event for nearly two years. And the security surrounding the Super Bowl goes above and beyond that of any other American sporting spectacle. It's designated as a level one national security event, the highest level possible. Federal officials have about 10,000 volunteers assisting them. That's in addition to law enforcement and resources that they're pulling from all over the state.
One small town, Ellie (ph), about four hours away, is sending 30 percent of their police department. Now, granted, they only have seven officers there, so they're only sending two, but that gives you an idea that it's nearly all hands on deck to insure the safety of fans here in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII, which is just around the corner.
And that means it's almost time for our kickoff in Minnesota. A CNN "Bleacher Report" special where two-time Super Bowl champion Hines Ward and I will join "Early Start's" Dave Briggs. We'll bring you some intriguing storylines surrounding the big game. That's tomorrow at 2:30 Eastern on CNN.
John Berman, we will miss you hosting it this year, but you've been to a Super Bowl where your Patriots have won it, so you're all good. You're going to be swimming in your glory again probably (ph).
BERMAN: I will say, it's hard to miss being at a Super Bowl for the Patriots when -- at this point they've won so many. I mean it's just by accident you could go to a Super Bowl where the Patriots won (ph).
CAMEROTA: You're enjoying this.
BERMAN: A little bit.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I can -- I get that.
Coy, that sounds great. Even -- you've sold it so well, even I will watch.
WIRE: Oh, Alisyn, that just made my day. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, Coy. Thanks so much. Talk to you soon.
All right, President Trump again slamming the leaders of the FBI and the Justice Department. So we will speak with former director of national intelligence James Clapper about what happens next.
[06:51:16] BERMAN: All right, the breaking news, President Trump just now criticizing law enforcement leaders, claiming that they are politicizing really the classified Republican memo. This is what the president wrote.
The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans, something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank and file are great people.
Now, this comes as sources tell CNN that President Trump thinks the memo could discredit Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and that is a primary reason he wants it released.
Here to discuss, CNN national security analyst, former director of national intelligence, James Clapper.
Director, thanks so much for being with us.
First, your reaction to this statement from the president moments ago saying that investigators and leaders of the FBI and Justice Department have politicized the investigative process.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it strikes me as the pot calling the kettle black. I think this is almost amusing if it weren't such a serious subject. I think the Department of Justice, and particularly the FBI, have done the right thing by trying to defend themselves. And I was particularly struck by the FBI's statement, which cited errors of omission of fact rather than jeopardize the sources and methods. And I found that quite significant.
BERMAN: Why? CLAPPER: I mean it -- transparency is a great thing, but let's --
let's be factual and objective about it. And this clearly is a pretty blatant political act. And I hope that the FBI particularly takes the opportunity to rebut the memo that those things -- those -- and include those omissions of fact to the extent that they can.
BERMAN: There's an implication in the president's statement this morning that it's the leadership that is politically biased, not the rank and file. Is there any merit to that distinction, especially you're dealing with the Russia investigation, the Clinton e-mail investigation, from the beginning. Was it the leadership doing this investigation? Was it the leadership driving for these FISA warrants, or was it the people, the rank and file, on these cases?
CLAPPER: Well, I believe it's probably the rank and file. Certainly the leadership is aware, particularly if there's a FISA request -- authorization request.
And, by the way, you know, this implicates a lot of other considerations here. The court itself that grants -- and, in this case, what I understand as the -- the instant issue was the extension of a FISA authorization, which would indicate that the original FISA order was producing something and information of value. And so the court -- this is not a casual thing. And there has to be layers of approval. There has to be corroborating evidence. And the court, more importantly, has to -- has to approve it.
As well, I think Mike Hayden alluded to this yesterday, this also implicates others in the intelligence community who have a lot at stake here with the whole FISA process. Not to mention besmirching, regardless of what the tweet says, besmirching the rank and file superb people of the FBI. And I think it calls to question our standing and our ability to keep secrets in the rest of the world, which could impact sharing.
BERMAN: Now, leave aside, for a second, the fact that this is a Republican memo and the Democratic version of the analysis of the underlying data is not being allowed to come out at the same time. But is there a proper role for congressional oversight over the intelligence agencies if there was something wrong with the way that investigators went about getting this FISA warrant? Shouldn't Congress step in and say, hey, this smells funny?
[06:55:17] CLAPPER: Well, absolutely. And that's the whole purpose of why the two intelligence oversight committees were established in the first place. You know, unlike other constituencies in the government, the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Commerce, what the intelligence community does is secret. So I almost felt that the oversight committees had an additional burden because they have to represent the people because we can't expose what the intelligence community does every day because of the concern about sources and methods, trade craft, protection of people undercover, et cetera.
But absolutely they should conduct oversight. But there is a process for this that is discreet and confidential. And exposing this as a political act I think is particularly egregious. BERMAN: Let me ask you this. Christopher Wray, the FBI director, there
are people within the White House telling CNN they are concerned that he might quit over this. There are other people suggesting he's been sending signals he won't.
But put yourself in his shoes. If the White House goes ahead and releases this memo over your objection and now your public, frankly, objections to this, should he stay in his job?
CLAPPER: Well, that's entirely up to him. That's a very personal decision. But I will tell you, John, having been in a situation like that, you know, a similar position, senior position, that there were times when I considered resigning to make a point. And what you have to weigh is what would be the impact on the institution if you did that. Are you doing more harm, causing more turmoil if you take an action like that to make a point? No one -- you know, that's a very personal decision and only Chris Wray can make it. And I don't think anyone else can speculate, I certainly can't, about what he will do.
BERMAN: Again, just one more question on the president's statement this morning. The top leadership and investigators in the FBI and Justice Department politicized this investigation. You were director of national intelligence when this all began. Were there any politics involved when you were there?
CLAPPER: Well, I don't think so. People will argue that until the cows come home. But I know in the preparation of our intelligence community assessment, we tried to keep the politics out of it and just report on what -- on the -- and we did so with pretty high confidence in the findings of the intelligence community assessment. Obviously, when we went to The Hill to brief it, there were varying reactions to what we said in the intelligence community assessment. And some Republicans did look for political motives. But we tried to keep -- very hard to keep that out of it.
I didn't see it. Certainly not among the analysts that actually did the work. And --
BERMAN: Let me ask you one question on some other news today.
We learned that Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, did met with Russian intelligence chiefs in the United States last week, despite the fact that at least one of them were listed under Russian sanctions.
Now, our understanding from Jim Sciutto is, is that they went through the proper processes to OK this meeting and certainly former U.S. intelligence chiefs have met with Russian leaders before. What do you make of this meeting?
CLAPPER: Well, sort of a mixed message here.
First, it is a good thing to try to communicate a dialogue with the Russians. Although I've, in my experience, found that to be very unsatisfactory and pretty much a one-way street because the Russians are, at best, transactional. I do hope that Director Pompeo, when he did meet with them, didn't
give them a pass as far as the Russian interference in our election is concerned because it was those very services that he was meeting with, or the leaders of which, which were at the pointy end of the stick, if you will, in orchestrating the interference in our election.
So, yes, the Russians are bad, but we need the dialogue with them. And if we can find ways to work with them, fine. I just -- I never did. But you've got to talk to them. But I just hope that they didn't get a pass when he met with them.
BERMAN: All right, James Clapper, always great to have you, sir. Thank you so much.
CLAPPER: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: All right, thanks for our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: All right, we do have some breaking news because there are developments coming out this morning fast and furious about this memo. John Berman joins me.
Great to have you here this morning.
[06:59:45] So, here's the breaking news. President Trump is again accusing the nation's law -- top law enforcement leaders of being biased. This is a new tweet. He claims they are the ones politicizing this investigative process, rather than the partisan politicians in Congress who are doing so.