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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  February 2, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST

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this is a cnn special report just hours from now, the secret memo at the center of an extraordinary clash between the president and his fbi director is likely to be made public. i'm jim sciutto. >> and i'm pamela brown. the memo's release could have serious consequence for the trump white house or the russia investigation, and even for america's security. breaking tonight, a senior administration official says that president trump plans to
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green light the release of the republican memo that focuses -- accuses rather surveillance abuses in the russia probe. we're told that will probably happen tomorrow with the release. and sources tell cnn the top white house aides fear white house aide christopher wray will quit after the release after he publicly revealed, quote, grave concerns that it's inaccurate and misleading. and the president's motive for ignoring that warning is now more clear than ever. we have learned that he has been privately admitting to friends that he believes the memo's release will help discredit the special counsel's investigation. and tonight the washington post reporting that mr. trump never had any hesitation about releasing the memo and that he hopes it might give him justification to fire deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who is appointed -- who he appointed special counsel robert mueller. jim? >> as the president does battle with his current fbi chief, the director that he fired is speaking out as well. james comey posting this tweet
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tonight, quote, all should appreciate the fbi speaking up. i wish more of our leaders would. but take heart, american history shows that in the long run weasels and liars never hold the field so long as good people stand up. not a lot of schools or streets named for joe mccarthy. the union representing the fbi rank and file also weighed in with this statement. quote, the fbi agents's association appreciates the fbi director chris wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the fbi as we work together to protect our country from criminal and national security threats. let's be clear. the fisa memo controversy is not principally a battle between democrats and republicans, although they certainly disagree. it is a fight between the white house and the nation's law enforcement agencies. in this statement, mr. wray expressed, quote, grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. in a letter to the memo's author, the representative devin
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nunes, the justice department says it is, quote, unaware of any wrongdoing relating to the fisa process. but the president and his allies don't accept those appeals delivered first in private, and when that didn't work, in rare public statements from officials appointed by this president, mind you, and yet contradicting this president. a public debate about how and when the u.s. surveils intelligence targets including americans would be fair and warranted. but is that what this president and his allies are after here? keep in mind the president is attacking those carrying out an investigation in which he and his advisors are involved. keep in mind as well that this is just the latest in a series of attacks on the fbi and other individuals and institutions involved in the russia probe, including but not limited to james comey, andrew mccabe, peter strzok and lisa page, the d.o.j., the entire special counsel's office and the u.s. intelligence community, which the president you may remember compared to nazis. the fbi agents association made
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this pledge in a statement tonight as well. quote, we remain focused on our important work to protect the country from terrorists and criminals both domestic and international. we tonight hope that they do. >> and our panel joins us now. our panel of experts and analysts, a lot to discuss with the impending release of the memo. >> no question. >> it seems all but certain that is going to happen. jason mueller, i want to start with you on that because the fbi released that extraordinary statement saying that it had has grave concerns. this is the man who the president appointed to be head of the fbi. the fbi agents association is, of course, opposing the release of this memo. that came out today. is the president willing to put the national security concerns aside from the agencies and from the people that he appointed in order to tamp down the russia investigation? >> well, respectfully speaking, i think the framing of that is a little bit off because we also have over 100 members of congress who have gone and read this memo and believe that it should be put out and needs to get out to the public. now, a couple things important.
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we have to remember what this entire memo is about. and that's the potential illegality involved with the -- how they got the fisa warrant in the first place here. what i want to get to is transparency and openness and make sure we have all the facts out. now, i also think, maybe this is where i differ from some of my republican friends, i want to see the nunes memo out, the schiff memo out, i want to see the supporting documents out because i believe if there was any illegality that was going on, and we'll hear -- we know obviously brian and my friends on the hillary campaign had issues with the way comey conducted the investigation into hillary clinton last year. in fact, they will point and say that comey cost them the election. now, i firmly disagree with that, but i think we need to get to the bottom. let's get everything out there. let's let the american public make the decision here. >> brian, to his point it is, too, i remember covering the clinton investigation. >> sure. >> and you and other democrats were very outspoken about the fbi and what you viewed as mishandling of the investigation. now it seems like things have flipped. >> but it's because of just that
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that makes this whole conspiracy theory that is the basis for this pent-up demand from the fox news fever swamp crowd to release this memo so crazy. i mean, think about it. if you want to believe the theory behind the folks that are pushing for the release of the nunes memo, what they're arguing is that there was this deep state effort to sink the trump campaign in 2016. while we now know there were two investigations by the fbi into the two major party candidates in 2016. but we ever only heard about one of them. we knew about hillary clinton -- >> the campaign. >> the investigation into trump and russia which is still going on and has produced two guilty pleas and two other indictments, was never breathed a word of during the campaign. the voters went to the poll without knowing about t. it was a heck of a deep state conspiracy to sink the trump campaign where they were actively waging this investigation, seeking fitzbeing approval, fisa court approval to get certain people surveilled, but they decided to keep it
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under wraps and not tell the voters about it before election day. now to believe the conspiracy theory, you have to believe his own appoint ease, hand selected christopher wray, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein are now part of the deep state -- >> if he has the a point, the fbi was trying to sink the trump administration, why wouldn't they come out before the election to acknowledge this investigation? >> well, there were issues in 2016 all the way across the board, both in the leadership of the fbi, the leadership of the d.o.j. of course we all remember that magical tarmac meeting, the a.g. loretta lynch had with former president bill clinton. so, again, 99 said this earlier today, 99.9% of everyone involved in law enforcement from fbi to d.o.j. to local law enforcement, check their political allegiances at the door and don't let any of this get in the way. but something happened in 2016 where it became so highly politicized and seeing the way that the democrats would attack comey and now they like comey, they'll probably be out buying
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his book -- >> same with republicans, by the way. >> i don't think any of us can argue against or obviously has their own opinion we should be getting to the truth here. and we should be getting -- we should be seeing the actual information. we need to find out exactly what went on because, again, if -- say the clinton campaign, if it was a research document from them, to help to go and get a fisa warrant and that's what helped get this whole thing going, i think that's really problematic. >> laura coats, i have to ask you, you have experience as a prosecutor. is it possible that the fbi was doing its job? >> absolutely. >> in aggressively investigated hillary clinton's e-mails and aggressively investigating russian -- a whole host of charges though nothing has come out of it for the president, regarding russian interference in the election? >> not only is it possible, jim, it's highly probable. what you're seeing here is the expectation that a bald assertion is going to carry some weight. that doesn't fly in a court of law that you can't have
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supporting evidence. it shouldn't fly in congress to have that in a court of public opinion. because if the goal here is transparency, and the goal is to have the american people be able to make an objective reading of what they're seeing, you have to have more than bald assertions. you have to have evidence that the fisa system was somehow nefariously corrupt, they did not go through all the checks and balances every single hurdle that the extensions of any fisa warrant, respect to carter page were not presented with corroborating evidence in the first place, remember, the dossier may have played a role in the fbi's investigation. but to get to that point, you're talking about an investigation that was already noticed as a full investigation in the fbi which means the paper trail was very long and may have included a small part the dossier. i think this does not pass the smell test if you're talking about transparency. i just think the american people deserve more. forget partisanship. i don't understand why you would ct off your nose despite your face. if i can, the fbi investigates
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white collar crime. public corruption, civil rights violations, human trafficking, violent crimes, a small fraction of their work comprises this fbi investigation in the criminal probe. why are we throwing out the credibility of the organization with the political bath water? >> liz, and i wonder, for folks at home who have been following this for sometime, there are some pretty remarkable allegations being levelled at u.s. law enforcement and agencies. deep state, treason. these are words being thrown at the agencies. let's be frank. they need oversight, but they're also agencies whose job it is to keep the country safe. >> i teach constitutional law. there is a real problem in terms of the separation of powers here because as was mentioned we have article 3 judges making these determinations. article 3 judges have life appointment. they have tenure for life and salary protection by design so they're a political. and these federal judges made the determination whatever was in the package to extend the
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fisa warrant was sufficient. judges do this all the time. there are all kinds of situations where they make determinations based on allegedly biased information, in criminal investigations and here we're not talking about putting someone in jail. we're talking about foreign intelligence. that's what the fisa is about. and the other point is, you know, the executive branch leads all the way to the president of the united states. so, it is quite unusual to have the president at odds with his own criminal justice system. and i think when we start challenging that, when we start challenging the integrity of those public servants and whether they're actually doing their jobs, we all lose because then it becomes a situation where your political background is going to determine the kind of justice you receive. >> and by the way, though, the fbi is not above reproach. they have had a long history of corruption. hoover investigated martin luther king, jr., 12 years of his 39 year life for no reason at all other than to find some dirt on this man and found nothing. it was kennedy who said, keep
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surveilling him. keep doing it. comey had the actual memo on his desk as a reminder of not doing corruption. they are not without reproach. this seems like a pretextual reason to investigate the fbi, not one to lead to corruption. >> that's why the first point i made was let's get both memos out there, supporting evidence, let's let the american people see. this is really concerning. again, things got so heated and so politicized back in 2016 i think people have a right if this is -- especially as we talk about the so-called russia collusion investigation and the fact this is there are constant leaks every other day and the nonsense going into it, i think the american people have the right to go and see what this is all about. >> jason, that is not the position of the trump administration. they just want the nunes memo to be out there. and we've been reporting for weeks now that the president has wanted this memo to be out in the public. the nunes memo, the republican one, without -- before he even reviewed it. so, do you feel like from the get go he's wanted to put his own personal sort of objectives first before national security?
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>> it's also seen as reporting that the president wants them out there in part to undermine the investigation. he's said similar things about other aspects of this investigation throughout. >> i've never heard the president say that. i've never heard anyone in the white house say that. i can't speak to that. we have anonymous sources and everything, but we did see from paul ryan -- >> remember the history here, right. he said in a public interview he fired james comey because of his handling of the russia investigation. you can't look at the memo in a vacuum. it's part of a series of attacks on the law enforcement since the investigation began. >> simply whapt what i want is the truth. i want to be able to see t. the american public deserves to see it as well. >> we just -- at the end of last year, the end of the last calendar year, key parts of the fisa law at issue here were up for renewal. every time this law comes up for renewal, democrats like ron wyden clamor to release more information, declassify more information so the public can make a more informed judgment about whether they want their ee lelkted representatives to renew the law. they are always shut down because this stuff is the most sensitive information that the government traffics in.
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so, the selective reasoning now of suggesting that now is the appropriate time to open the curtain and reveal what goes into a fisa application just seems very convenient. >> it's a good point. fisa was just renewed. republican lawmakers had ample opportunity to review the fisa law in congress and yet voted for renewal of the 702 protections, which is really the background. >> it may be different if what we were looking at was the application for the warrant versus a memo created by a partisan in congress. >> even more information, none of us -- >> the other point i want to follow-up on what you said was after the hoover situation, that's where we have a ten year fbi director tenure. in order to create an fbi that's independent of the president. and that sort of wall has broken down in this administration and that's problematic. >> i think it's also important to point out there are some real serious players on the house side who are pushing for the relesion of this nunes memo. we talked about people like peter king who i would not call
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a partisan hack by any stretch. i think someone who takes his job seriously. speaker paul ryan who takes his job seriously who reviewed this and said we need to get this out there. i think that really speaks for something. >> all right. lot more to discuss. coming up here on the show, more on the memo and why the president hopes that it may discredit the russia investigation. we'll continue that discussion. plus, the special counsel probe, why one witness may be raising questions about one of mr. trump's most trusted advisors if that person was trying to obstruct justice. we'll be back. my name is jeff sheldon,
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and we are back with our special report tonight. president trump is moving toward releasing a controversial gop memo hoping, we're told, that it will discredit the russia investigation. this as sources have been telling us for quite sometime that the president never had any hesitation about making this memo public. here with us again is our panel to discuss this a little bit more. and, jason, i just want to start with you because there are questions tonight that if this memo is released, will christopher wray, the fbi director who sent out that strong statement yesterday, will he resign? will rod rosenstein be forced out? will this memo give an excuse for that? if that happens, if wray leaves or if rosenstein is out, what will happen to the russia investigation? >> well, i don't think that either one is going to be leaving their position because of this memo.
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i think chris wray will stay in his position as fbi director and we even saw that speaker ryan came out and said there is nothing in this memo that implicates rod rosenstein. the speculation, this is part of the problem where i think republicans on the messaging side are losing a bit in the fact that the longer this drags on and schiff, even though i disagree with him completely on every possible issue i think on the planet, i do think he's done a fantastic job of talking about obstruction, obstructing this thing and delaying it. we start talking about process things like who might be mentioned in the memo and who might not be as opposed to actually really getting into -- get thing thing out there which it should be. the longer this goes on, then we're talking about things like, you know, what if, what if, what if. i don't think that's a good look for the republicans. >> jason, i wonder, is this a winning issue for the republicans to go nose to nose with law enforcement? >> well, again, you're positioning them as going nose to knonose with law enforcement. if we see from this memo there
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were illegalities going on, that is very important to go and get out there. i don't think this is republicans against law enforcement at all. i think what we want to see is make sure law enforcement is operating properly, that there is a proper oversight rome and that l -- role and that's what we're trying to get to. >> what if there aren't illegalities and it is a national security risk, who wins? >> that is an important question. part of it goes to what i said in the last block, the fact that you have over 100 republican members of congress. i wish more of the democrats would have gone. i think i'm not sure if the number is still zero, but if there are a couple who have gone and read it, it's a very small amount. i wish democrats had gone and read this memo and were briefed and up to speed on it as opposed to doing their whole standoffish thing. the fact you have some real serious players who have read this thing, said this is important, we have to get this out -- >> fact check. the democrats weren't given the opportunity to review t. essentially they weren't allowed -- >> jim, they could have gone and seen it. there's been plenty of time for
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them to go and do it. san francis some of these serious players aren't going out there and put their entire reputations on the line if they didn't think this needed to get out and people need to see it. >> i wish i could share jason's optimism that no one is going to resign after this. but i think you've seen chris wray take a principled position. you've seen a rare move of the fbi agents association, the rank and file of the bureau putting out a statement standing shoulder to shoulder with the director. i fear that we're heading towards a saturday night massacre playing out in slow motion. to the point about oh, rod rosenstein has nothing to fear from this, he reauthorized the fisa application. if the republican conspiracy theory coming out of this release of this memo from nunes is that this thing was the fruit of a poisonous tree, then yes, it would absolutely provide a pretext for donald trump to say rod rosenstein betrayed me by renewing this. >> he was appointed by the president. but let's hypothetically look, we don't know what's going to happen. we have been told by our sources while wray is frustrated, he has no plans to resign necessarily.
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but there could be implications from this. if he -- if either one are out, ray and/or rosenstein, what would this mean for the russia investigation? what would happen? >> well, i mean, if it were rosenstein, then the question would be whether his replacement would continue the investigation or not. certainly after this particular presidency is over, there could be under a different president a renew -- renewed look at the same issues with respect to a private citizen trump. that's entirely possible. but i worked with rod rosenstein in the white water investigation and, you know, these are career public servants who uphold the rule of law and believe very strongly in the constitution. so, i think that's what you're seeing push back here, is the structure of our government crumbling and some serious concerns around a situation where it's not the judge or an appellate court saying, listen, was this fisa decision proper. a judge making that determination. it's not the president making
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the determination as to whether he wants to keep people within his chain of command. it's congress leaping over the fence and doing things that really aren't within its constitutional mandate. is it illegal? no. is it unconstitutional, no. they can have hearings. they can have hearings on whether it's proper to continue the fisa if they want. broad hearings on the propriety of the fisa in contained circumstances where there is national intelligence information is maintained. in this instance, the congress does have the authority to release this kind of information if it makes the determination that the public interest out weighs national interest. we have the fbi and the d.o.j. saying the opposite and they're the ones with the expertise. >> if i could ask you, i wonder if there is -- i don't know the right way to say this. but you've had a series of incidents where the president has i don't know if interfered is too strong a word. he fired his fbi director because of the russia investigation. the new fbi director is in effect defying the president on this, right? the attorney general, when he fired comey, appointed a special
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counsel which is certainly not an outcome the president wanted. do you see here the institutions in effect standing up to this pressure? >> i certainly hope so. institutions are vital to our justice system. you're right, past is prologue to these things. last week christopher wray threatened to resign if he forced andrew mccabe out as well. somebody clearly at his hearing when he was talking about the firing of jim comey made the statement, the fbi will continue even without its leader because the work of these men and women is so vital, so essential, that you really can't cut off the head of that six-head and make it go away. that is the beauty of and fortunately people who are targets of the investigation, the burden of the investigative process. but what you're seeing here really is a trend, a thematic pattern where you have a president according to reporting is trying to influence the people who are spearheading an investigation around people who are in his inner circle and in
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his orbit. frankly, all that does in both the court of public opinion and also for mueller's investigative team is put a magnifying glass like a beatle in the summer heat. what do you think you're going to accomplish here other than raise the profile of the investigation? it has to continue, not because of partisan reasons, but because there is a directive right now going on and a parallel inquiry in congress about whether somebody interfered and who may be at fault -- >> i wonder if you will grant that these moves by the president, whether it's the firing of comey, his support for the release of this memo, the request from an a.g. rosenstein for a pledge of loyalty, this whole kind of thing, whether it's illegal or not, but do you agree that the president is trying to influence the russia investigation? >> no, not at all. jim, i'd even push back on the rosenstein and the whole loyalty pledge. rod rosenstein went up to the hill, put up his right hand and said no one has asked him to take a loyalty pledge. i disagree with the assessment.
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>> jason, he fired his fbi director because of the russia investigation, okay. he is now pushing for the release of the memo to a present hillary clinton. the only difference she would have fired him on day one. >> we're talking about trump. >> when you look at the whole range of moves here as well as the personal attacks on individuals involved in the russia investigation, institutions involved in the russia investigation, will you grant the president is trying to influence the investigation? some have made the argument it's his right to push and pressure institutions that he has appointed people to lead them, that that's his right as the elected president of the united states. but will you grant he's trying to influence? >> no, i think the folks trying to influence are the constant leakers whether it's career people at the d. 0 o.j., minority staff up in the house -- >> our white house leakers. >> the whole anonymous source. you don't think that so-called rosenstein conversation just magically popped out the day
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after -- >> i trust my cnn colleagues who reported it based on multiple sources. >> well, i can tell you that was my story. it was not planned to come out the day after the state of the union. we were working on that for quite sometime. go ahead. >> i would talk about influencing the court of public opinion. i would say if you're a supporter of the president, then you have some real issues with the way that these different leaks have happened. and, so, i think again, going back to the rod rosenstein example, i think that's one that's completely blown out of proportion. >> quickly, the leaks hadn't come from mueller. >> hold on. let's be honest. we don't know where the leaks come from. as a reporter who reports on anonymous -- who talks to anonymous people, we don't know where the leaks come from. it's always a guessing game and you'll never know. >> muller is a tight box. >> i just want to ask you, i want to ask you, jason, because you say that you want transparency. that this is in the public's interest to have transparency. and that both memos should be released. but if one memo is released, if the fbi director has already
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come out and said it is omitting some key facts, at least to a false narrative, is that really transparency? is that really in the public's interest? >> that's why i argued i think both memos -- >> but that's not going to happen. we know that's not going to happen, right? like right now as of now, we know of one memo that is going to be released. do you support that? one memo that the fbi director has said omits key facts? >> i think they should both be out. >> that's not going to happen. >> why can't it be? paul ryan said he supports -- >> we're six hours away. >> if they go forward with just putting out one will you come back on cnn and say that was the wrong move? >> i think they should put both out. i don't know how much clearer i can be. >> this whole thing is not happening in good faith. there is an active inspector general investigation happening within the justice department as a very tenacious independent watch dog. congress can make a referral to him and ask him to look into the same subject. the fact they're doing it now amid a investigation into the president himself, the fact they won't release them in tandem with the democratic memo teltz
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you everything they need to know. the idea this is in the spir if of transparency -- >> look at the up side. what if we get the opportunity to get rid of a couple bad apples where we find out -- >> you're not going tomorrow the material the judge considered. even when you look at the memo, you won't know whether the judge did his job in approving the fisa application. >> going to have to have the last word. >> the american public. >> thank you, gentlemen and women as well. thank you so much. coming up, a former lawmaker and national security expert on the war over the memo and why so many republicans in congress are rushing to the president's defense. hi, i'm the internet! you know what's difficult? armless bowling. ahhhhhhhh! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral. build a better website in under an hour.
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welcome back. tonight president trump is ready to take the wraps off a secret memo and tear official washington even further apart. mr. trump and his party defying democrats as well as the fbi director and the justice department. we're joined now by jane harman, a prominent former member of congress, a national security expert as well. congresswoman harman, thank you very much for taking the time tonight. you served many years in congress, including on the house intelligence, homeland security committees. have you ever seen a president, really a party here at such
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loggerheads, nose to nose with u.s. law enforcement? >> not this way. but as i just told you, i was a young lawyer on the senate judiciary committee during the saturday night massacre, and that night i came out on my porch in george down a-- georgetown and expected to see rifle fire. all the democrats on the committee brought one person each to a secret meeting to talk about how the country would survive. i was the only woman. i had a one week old son, and guess what? the country survived. and then i was in the carter white house when the church committee, which was a congressional committee bipartisan, reported on ways to fix the abuses by the nixon administration of our intelligence. and that is when fisa passed by a large bipartisan vote, and it set up the two intelligence committees were set up. and the whole process worked for decades, until it didn't. and this -- i was -- i had adam schiff's job as the ranking
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democrat on the house intelligence committee for four years. i served on the committee for eight years. i was in the so-called gang of eight. and we had disagreements, but the committee somehow got through them. this is the first time i have seen the absolute destruction of the house intelligence committee and it's heart breaking. a huge loss for the country. >> i just want to take a step back and look at the big picture. we were talking about this. democrats claim there was bias in the fbi during the clinton investigation. they blamed the cia during the iraq war. you know, saying that basically intelligence was cherry picked. so, in light of that, do republicans have a point that, look, we need to keep our intelligence gathering in check as well, like we have a right to do that? >> we do need to keep it in check. and we've had two massive intelligence failures in this century. one was 9/11, the second was iraq wmd when the intelligence got it wrong. and then we reformed our system
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in 2004 on a bipartisan basis and set up the director of national intelligence who is a joint commander across the intelligence agencies including the fbi. so, yes, there needs to be vigorous oversight. the right way to handle this is for christopher wray and others to testify before the house and senate intelligence committees ask to present their evidence in a classified setting. that is apparently not being permitted. >> can i ask you this? can a president whose advisors are under investigation in an ongoing investigation be the champion, credibly be the champion of reform of that investigation and the institutions carrying it out? >> well, the president is the president. he's entitled to declassify information and state his opinions. but in this case, first of all, i have enormously high confidence in robert mueller whom i know who was the fbi director while i was the ranking member on the house intelligence committee. >> and who was welcomed by
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republicans. >> and christopher wray whom i don't know is highly regarded by the rank and file. what's important to think about is not just the top layer here, but what about the cia agent in some undisclosed location out in the field or even the fbi agent who is doing something that his family doesn't even know about to protect our national security. is that person going to be demoralized, not do his, her job as well, or quit the agency? if we lose those people, if we lose the middle of those agencies, the committed middle with huge experience, we lose the tip of the spear. that's how we find out about the next terror blot. and one more point. we collaborate closely with foreign intelligence agencies. that's a good thing. they tip us off on things like the plastic bomb explosive in the cartridge in the uae that was about to be shipped to the u.s. and blow up on an airplane. >> sure. >> and if they lose confidence in our ability to keep secrets
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and keep their secrets, then we won't get their cooperation. >> it does make you wonder how foreign countries view all of this right now. >> no question. we know they raise questions about it. jane harman, thanks very much. coming up, house speaker paul ryan defending the expected release of the gop memo. is he contradicting the president in the process? it's time for the 'ultimate sleep number event' on the only bed that adjusts on both sides to your ideal comfort, your sleep number setting. does your bed do that? right now, our queen c2 mattress is only $699, save $200. ends soon. visit for a store near you. you wof your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™
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so long as we're not revealing sources and methods to protect our national security, the more transparency the better so that the people of this country can see that their civil liberties are being protected, the constitution is being followed. that's why we think showing some transparency and accountability is the correct antidote to this. >> that was paul ryan discussing the memo. president trump will talk about this storm. we' -- tomorrow. we'll see if that happens. david chalian, i want be to start with you. you heard paul ryan say this is about transparency in the public's interest. wouldn't that involve releasing more than one partisan document which the fbi director said omits key facts?
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>> at the very least, it would involve releasing the other partisan document. that would be true sort of tran perron si if y -- transparency. what you see the house speaker is clear. he has a rationale for himself so he can wake up so he's not doing the political bidding for president trump here. >> but he is? >> the way devin nunes is. this entire episode is clearly about president trump either to discredit the mueller investigation in any way he can, either to prove his year-long point that this is a witch hunt, that this is a hoax, and he feels that in this nunes memo he's going to have some ammunition for that. so, that means paul ryan is clearly aiding and abetting the president's political goal here. but you hear he's coming up with a different rationale. >> didn't paul ryan very goal here. >> and that's not the business
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we're in. that's a little rich, is it not, when the president is trying to undermine the mueller investigation. >> far be it from me to call the house speaker naive, but it is naive. yes, he is. noticeably and intensely saying behind the scenes to his members, look, this is what it is. this is, he says from his perspective is about abuse of something that is important to keep our eye on which is civil liberties and use of the fisa warrant. it is not about the mueller investigation. he says he supports the mueller investigation. that the mueller investigation is credible and the two should not be conflated. the date of the state of the union which was tuesday, he said it to reporters and he said it today.
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what happened between the two days is the president of the united states made phone calls to his friends and allies according to our sources saying this is going to be great because this memo will undermine the credibility of the mueller probe. >> it is the latest in the series of steps with that stated or very clear intention, is it not, from the firing of james comey that the president admitted handling the russia investigation to a series of tweets and thousands of players involved in this, right? >> it is hard to believe this is suddenly a president who is particularly worried about transparency. he is not worried about transparency when it comes to anything else that has to do with government or his own personal finances. this is the candidate that did not release his tax returns. i think it is fascinating when you read the debate the committee members went through on the vote and decision to release the memo. there were so many options thrown out.
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ways to make it look like less than partisan document. can you hold the republican memo back and look at the democratic memo. can you release the memo snow h -- memo? and time and time again, the republicans shot down these options. it is really hard to make the argument this is anything other than a political document. especially when you look through. >> these are two government branches. should they have more of a check on the president? >> i think we see maybe less on the house side. the senate intelligence committee is doing its oversight job and looking into the matter. we see congress still exerting their status. what we don't see from the speaker is brushing back the
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members of his own conference who want to play politics on this. we don't see them take a leadership role. we see them stepping aside and letting it go forward. that's a political calculus he is making. i don't think anybody here would say the fbi should not be subject to congressional oversight. it should be. of course. that's good government. that is the role congress has. the issue here is that nunes is so clearly taking this issue and not providing just simply oversight so the american people have an answer, but trying to give president trump a calling card and ability to go out to the public and say i've said this all along. now you have to believe me. this is not on the up and up. >> the situation is fluid. we have to wait and see if the memo is released tomorrow. we he thought it woue -- we tho
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released today. we know the president is a master of reality show hype. now after all of the build up, the big reveal and the memo falls flat? to their breeding grounds. except for these two fellows. this time next year, we're gonna be sitting on an egg. i think we're getting close! make a u-turn... u-turn? recalculating... man, we are never gonna breed. just give it a second. you will arrive in 92 days. nah, nuh-uh. nope, nope, nope. you know who i'm gonna follow? my instincts. as long as gps can still get you lost, you can count on geico saving folks money. i'm breeding, man. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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we may be just hours away
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from finally seeing for ourselves what is in the now infamous gop memo that president trump is very eager to release. tonight, we're hearing behind the scenes there are concerns the big reveal may not play out the way the president wants. we are back with the panel. dana, gloria borger said some republicans worried there may be too much of a drum roll on this. is there a fear this may be a dud? >> sure. look this is the opposite of politics 101 which is you keep expectations low and keep delivery high. we don't know the delivery here. expectations are super high. you know, based on not just how much we're talking about it and how much the fbi is fighting it and how much the democrats are upset and how much the president is saying he thinks this is really important and explosive
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for the russia investigation. it better be big considering all of that build up and it is really unclear if it is. i talked to people who read it and who say to me over and over again. fisa. fisa. it is before it was changed, focused on the fisa court and warrants at the beginning of the russia pre-mueller. >> even if the political document, this memo, is to the bombshell worthy. watching the president's reaction to it may be. if it is to try and put rosenstein in the cross-hairs and potentially start talking about whether or not he's going to act on this which we reported he may not want him around and the person in charge of the investigation he is saying he might need to leave. that to me -- i'm so much more interested because the memo may
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not amount to much, but how donald trump uses it and reacts from the fall of it may be the bigger bombshell. >> we heard this debate close to the president whether or not there will be enough in the memo for him to provide this justification that he can get rid of rod rosenstein. you bet paul ryan and others will be scrutinizing a move like that closely as well as democrats if the president decides to do something like this. it could be license for him to start railing against. if they were surveilling this person, who knows who else? maybe we need to go deeper or release more classified information. it is hard to predict where the president will take this. >> and he usually comes out on the winning end of this. >> and we have been here before with the devin nunes unmasking thing. that did not go where the advertisement said it would. thank you, sara, david and dana here with pamela brown. the news continues next right
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here on cnn.
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a republican memo alleges abuses by the fbi and it's set to go public. the president refusing to stand in the way despite objections. and the head of the cia is defending a meeting with top russian intelligence officials on american soil. why is mike pompeo welcoming somebody banned from the united states? good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm rene marsh. >> i'm ryan nobles. it is friday, february 2nd. it is groundhog day and 4:00


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