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House Intel Impeachment Report; Rep. Duncan Hunter to Plead Guilty; Armed Student Shot in Wisconsin; Barr Disputes IG Finding; Lisa Page Comments on Trump's Attacks. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired December 03, 2019 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. KATIE HILL (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Throughout the past two years where it's been impossible for -- for us to get some of those key witnesses to come forward. And so, you know, what kind of a battle are you going to be kind of buckling in for if it's just going to be this continued kind of going to court and trying to get them to actually testify. I --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I mean -- I mean I'm sorry to interrupt, but I guess the point is, is they haven't played that out yet. We don't know how long of a battle that would be. You know, between --
HILL: Well, we -
CAMEROTA: John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, it's possible that the courts could fast track that.
HILL: It -- but what we do know is that we were not able to get that to happen with Bill Barr, with any of the others that -- that we -- we're trying to get previously in front of the Oversight Committee. So, you know, we know that it takes a long time. And I also don't think that it's necessary. I think that we have all of the evidence that we need to show the misconduct that has happened so far.
And I -- and, frankly, you know, listen, I don't think it matters if it continues out into the election year. To me, that's not the point. The point is about whether we decide that this is conduct that is acceptable for a future president. And that's what the role of impeachment is going to play at this point. It's not about removing the president at this point, it's about saying what is OK moving forward.
And, you know, at some point we're not going to have Donald Trump as our president. And thank God. But are we going to reset the standards that we have had, you know, within American history of what is acceptable for a president to do? And we have to set that standard here. Hopefully we won't have a Congress that is strictly beholden to their party president and will do the right thing.
CAMEROTA: But what about public sentiment? I mean I hear what you're saying that there's a higher calling for Congress. I understand you're tasked with -- people in Congress are tasked with investigating these sorts of things. But what about public sentiment and the fact that these two weeks of public hearings didn't budge public polling at all?
HILL: Well, I think a couple of things. The first is that it shows you how fixed public opinion is about the president. I think that, you know -- and, to me, that's scary. I really -- to me that really shows that the Republicans have been incredibly effective in just stonewalling and lying. And I don't know what the solution is for that, but I know that the propaganda network that is Fox is furthering that, you know, the fact that that can happen.
But what I do believe is that, you know, public perception changes over time. And although it might not be -- have happened from these -- from these hearings in the way that, you know, we would have liked to see this dramatic shift, what I do think will happen is that the Congress will do what it believes is right and then public perception will agree or disagree with that. And that's just what we have to do as legislators. We have to say, this is the right thing, this is what I was elected to do and, you know, we're -- we're elected every two years. The House of Representatives is able to turn over every two years. And if the American people do not agree with it, then they're able to elect a new House of Representatives.
CAMEROTA: I do want to ask you about your personal journey. You left Congress, I think you resigned on November 1st, after a scandal involving a relationship and publication of private photos. And so now, a month later, I'm just wondering what your thoughts are, what your next move is.
HILL: Sure. Well, first of all, I came out saying that I'm not going away. And a huge part of that for me is the people that counted on me, the people who invested their time and money and energy and beliefs in saying that what I was fighting for was something that they felt was important. And that continues. So I am going to be working in a variety of different capacities to continue that effort.
You know, I think one of the things that we're looking at soon is establishing a PAC so that I can be involved in elections moving forward into next year. The fight is so, so important for us to flip the Senate, for us to maintain the majority in the House. And local elections up and down the ballot are going to be critical as well.
So I'll be playing a role in that exactly to be defined in the coming months, but I'm not going away. And, you know, at the end of the day I've made mistakes, but I also -- I also don't think that, you know, that should, you know, inhibit you from being able to do what you think is important.
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Katie Hill, we really appreciate you taking time to be on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.
HILL: Thank you so much.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Dramatic moments inside a Wisconsin High School classroom. We'll tell you about the moment that led a police officer to open fire on a student. That's next.
BERMAN: In just a few hours, embattled California Congressman Duncan Hunter is expected to change his plea to guilty, admitting that he used campaign funds to pay for vacations, video games and more, a lot more, after spending a year denying it.
CNN's Nick Watt live in Los Angeles with the latest on this.
This is a big shift, Nick.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, John.
But let's just start with what prosecutors claim Hunter spent, this more than a quarter million dollars of campaign funds on. First, we have a bunch of extramarital affairs. He allegedly took a young staffer he was involved with to a bar in D.C., a couple of hundred bucks for drinks and snacks. He also took a lobbyist he was involved with to a weekend getaway in Lake Tahoe, partially covered by the campaign. And right there -- you're seeing his wife was involved as well, by the way, in this.
Right there you were just seeing them on vacation in Italy. A $14,000 vacation. They also took breaks to Vegas, Hawaii, London. Also, lots of golf, lots of beers, lots of trips to the racetrack. Also $300 taken out of an ATM on his way to the horse racetrack. A lot of meals from Jack in the Box and Wendy's, all the way up to $1,000 tabs at fancy restaurants.
Also, some quite mundane stuff. More than $11,000 at Costco, some school lunches and tuition. $12,000 -- $1,200, I'm sorry, for a new garage door and also performance of River Dance at the San Diego Civic Center.
Now, up until this point, as you say, he has been denying everything. He kind of threw his wife under the bus a little bit. He's been saying this is a deep state plot. But now he is coming clean and he explained why to our affiliate KUSI.
BERMAN: Oh, well, apparently we don't have that. I trust you --
WATT: Oh, we don't have that. Anyway --
BERMAN: I trust you that he explained it to KUSI, Nick.
And I will say we're basically at a time -- your recitation of the allegations took more time than we have. The show is only three hours long. And that list goes on and on and on. It really is remarkable. And River Dance on top of it all.
WATT: Yes. And so he says, John, that he doesn't want his kids to go through a trial, but his wife did already plead guilty. She might have flipped on him at a trial. And also there could be politics at play here. Listen, he narrowly won in 2018 with all this hanging over his head. Doesn't look like he will stand again. And he says President Trump, right now, needs all the support he can get.
BERMAN: :Nick Watt for us in Los Angeles. I will note, I believe that two Republican congressmen who endorsed President Trump first, Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, pleading guilty to federal crimes.
CAMEROTA: Who knew that being a congressman could be so lucrative and luxurious.
BERMAN: That list was incredible.
CAMEROTA: That is incredible.
All right, meanwhile, to this story. New details this morning about a shooting at a Wisconsin high school. A student pulled a gun in a classroom and was then shot by a police officer.
CNN's Omar Jimenez has the latest.
What happened, Omar?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, this was a 17-year-old student who police say pointed a gun at officers before he was shot inside a high school classroom in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha. This specifically happened at Waukesha North High School. A school resource officer responded to the classroom after one student reported a classmate with a handgun.
So that resource officer was trying to get other students to safety as other officers responded, attempting to have a conversation with this student. Police say the student would not take his hands out of his pockets and when he did he pulled a handgun, pointed it at the officers. One of them opened fire. They had to render medical aid shortly after. That student is in stable condition. The entire school was put on lockdown and no other students, thankfully, were injured in this.
Now, as if that was not enough, just a few hours later, another report of a student with a handgun. This time a 15-year-old at Waukesha North High School, just across town in that case. Now, the school was put on lockdown just again like it was before. But the student was not found on the property. Officers responded to his home where that student was taken into custody.
Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Omar, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
So the highly anticipated report on the origins of the Russia investigation is expected to be released in just a few days. Is Attorney General Bill Barr again trying to spin the results of a report before it is released?
BERMAN: An eye-opening report this morning in "The Washington Post." This is ahead of the release of the Justice Department inspector general report into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation. According to "The Post," Attorney General William Barr has told associate he disagrees with the Justice Department's inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the trump campaign. In other words, he will disagree with one of the key findings the inspector general reportedly will come out with.
Joining me now is CNN contributor Andrew McCabe. He's the former deputy director of the FBI.
And, Andy, I want to make clear to our audience, you cannot talk about the contents of the IG report. The details of what's inside it. You are legally bound not to because you have reviewed portions of it because you were interviewed for it. However, you can talk about "The Washington Post" story this morning, which is that the attorney general of the United States will apparently disagree with one of the key findings that has been reported inside the report that the FBI investigation was properly predicated.
What does it mean that the attorney general disagrees with that?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's really fascinating, John. You know, I can say that in the course of my -- the entirety of my experience in the FBI, I dealt with many reports from investigators and from the IG's office. And I have never seen an attorney general essentially preempt the conclusions of an IG report.
But this attorney general -- with this attorney general, it seems oddly familiar. I think the report in "The Washington Post" really kind of takes us back to the way the attorney general handled the release of the Mueller report last summer. In an effort to kind of, as the military says, prepare the battlefield as it were to kind of plant his own conclusions and impressions about Director Mueller's work before the country had the opportunity to read the report and consider the conclusions for himself. So, in this case, it appears that he's doing the exact same thing with an IG report, which is just remarkable. And, as I said, unprecedented certainly in my own experience.
[08:50:00] BERMAN: And we have seen from reports that this is an extensive report. This is hundreds of pages long here. Again, you can't go into the details, but the fact that the attorney general would choose to take issue with something here given the comprehensive nature of it is pretty interesting.
MCCABE: Well, it is. And I can say that the report, you know, at least the portions that I saw, were consistent with what you've described. It is -- it's an enormous piece of work. It likely includes the result of hundreds of interviews, probably thousands of man hours of attorneys and investigators' work product. They had extraordinary access to FBI materials, documents, to the personal correspondences and communications of all of the individuals involved in the investigation, the Russia investigation, and the FBI.
So for the attorney general to try to undermine conclusions that are based on that massive tranche of evidence is going to be a very tough hurdle for him to get over. And I would say he's going to need to produce some contrary evidence, which is almost -- that's going -- that's -- that's going to be a tough thing for him to do.
BERMAN: Well, he's got a whole other investigation. He has a backup plan. He has the Durham investigation, which is looking into the intelligence communities as well as the FBI. Do you think that's where he might be headed?
MCCABE: It certainly could be. I mean there is a difference between the authority that a special counsel has. In the case of Mr. Durham, he has -- the authority that's been given to him by the attorney general to kind of include in his inquiry the work of the, you know, the intelligence community, things like that. It's very different than an IG. The Justice Department IG is limited in his review only to the decisions and the acts of individuals who are part of the Department of Justice. So there could be a difference in scope there.
But, again, it will be really interesting to see, whatever the conclusions are drawn from the -- from Durham's effort, it will be -- I find it hard to believe that they'll come up with much that the IG hasn't already considered.
BERMAN: I want to ask you about something else that is very much in the news that involves someone that you've worked with very closely over the years, and that's Lisa Page, who came out in this public interview in "The Daily Beast" explaining what it has been like to be under the spotlight and under the glare and suffer the ire of President Trump.
She writes, my heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. It's sickening but it's also very intimidating because he's still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact I know there's no fathomable way I've committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he's still somebody in a position to actually do something about that.
Now, you haven't spoken to Lisa Page in a long time for other reasons, correct?
MCCABE: That's correct. That's correct.
BERMAN: But what do you make of her comments here?
MCCABE: So I did read the article and I have to say that her comments about the impact of the president's personal attacks really resonated with me. And I -- and, you know, John, I think that there are many people that are drawing that same conclusion. I mean the list of government employees, government servants who did their duty and who now have become the focus of the president's personal, direct attacks, that list is growing every day. We recently saw Colonel Vindman and Fiona Hill and Ambassador Yovanovitch added to that list.
It is striking. I can tell you as someone who has endured those sorts of attacks for over two years now, it is -- it's disorient. It's intimidating. And it really, you know, it shakes your very understanding of how government servants in the executive branch think of and interact with their leader, the president of the United States. It's just -- it's impossible even to describe how insane that is.
And I would also add, I think Lisa's comments also draw another important point that the president frequently saves his most vicious and hurtful attacks for women. I've seen that in my own situation in the way that he's attacked my own wife and called her corrupt and all lied -- leveled all sorts of baseless lies against her as well. It's really concerning and awful.
BERMAN: Andy McCabe, thanks for being with us this morning and helping us understand all of this. Appreciate it.
MCCABE: Thanks, John. Appreciate it.
CAMEROTA: All right, on a much kinder note, this is "Giving Tuesday." And we want to show you how easy it is to support this year's top ten CNN heroes as they keep doing their important work. So Anderson Cooper is here to explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Anderson Cooper.
Each of this year's top ten CNN heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. And, again, this year we're making it easy for you to support their great work. Just go to cnnheroes.com and click donate beneath any 2019 top ten CNN hero to make a direct contribution to that hero's fundraiser.
You'll receive an email confirming your donation, which is tax deductible in the United States. No matter the amount, you can make a big difference in helping our heroes continue their life-changing work. CNN is proud to offer you this simple way to support each cause and
celebrate all of these everyday people changing the world.
You can donate from your laptop, your tablet or your phone. Just go to cnnheroes.com. Your donation, in any amount, will help them help others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All of our top ten CNN heroes will be honored at the 13th annual "CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute" hosted by Anderson and Kelly Ripa. It is live this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. only on CNN.
BERMAN: We'll be there.
CAMEROTA: We will. I can't wait for it. It's such an inspiring night.
All right, so we are just moments away from President Trump sitting down with France's president after there has been some tension this morning on the world stage. CNN will bring that to you live, next.