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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  February 2, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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damage. and comey now, in this tweet, says that releasing this memo inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an american citizen. >> i do think it's not helpful that comey keeps weighing in on this. >> yeah. >> keeps picking the scab on this. >> of course he's saying that because he was head of the agency at the time. >> one of the things the congressman said was vladimir putin is winning on this thing. we have to keep that in mind. foreign intelligence agencies, which we rely on, for getting clues to stop bad things from happening to americans. how are they going to feel about interacting with our intelligence community, given the way it is being put through this torture? >> hold on for a moment because there's more breaking news. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. this is cnn special coverage of major, breaking news that's clearly rocking washington. the highly contested memo written and released by
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republicans is now out. it alleges fbi misconduct, involving the surveillance of then trump campaign member carter page and the president, according to sources. sees it as a way to discredit special counsel robert mueller and of the russia investigation. i want you to listen to what president trump said a little while ago, when asked about this four-page republican document. >> i think it's terrible, you want to know the truth. i think it's a disgrace, what's going on in this country. i think it's a disgrace. the memo was sent to congress, it was declassified. congress will do whatever they're going to do. but i think it's a disgrace what's happening in our country. and when you look at that and you see that and so many other things, what's going on, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that. so, i sent it over to congress. they will do what they're going to do, whatever they do is fine. it was declassified.
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and let's see what happens. but a lot of people should be ashamed. >> let's go to cnn's justice correspondent. evan perez has been carefully monitoring all of these late breaking developments. first of all, evan, update our viewers on what the memo actually says. >> reporter: right, wolf. this 3 1/2-page memo was released by the house intelligence committee, written by the gop staff that reports to devin nunes, the chairman that have committee. the basic point they're making is that there was a breakdown in the legal process, that they say this undermines the legitimacy and legality of a fisa warrant obtained on carter page who president trump said was a foreign national security adviser to his campaign. the first warrant was issued in october of 2016 and there were three renewals of that fisa warrant, approved by a court. according to this document, they say that the steele dossier, the
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dossier prepared by christopher steele, former mi6 officer, british intelligence officer, that they say that the information he was being paid for, ultimately, by the dnc, by the clinton campaign, was not disclosed to the secret fisa court, which approved these warrants. they say because of that, this is essentially fruit of a poisoned tree, that this should have never been approved and it undermines the entire investigation, russian investigation. it's very important to mention here that -- they paint a picture of christopher steele, again, mi6 agent for the british government, who had previously provided information to the fbi. they say that he was biased against president trump. all of this, as you heard congressman chris stewart just now a few minutes ago on your air says raises significant concerns among republicans that the process was not being
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followed lawfully. so, the question, i guess, that we all have now is what are republicans who control the congress going to do about this? do they think there needs to be a change in the law? we know that this dossier was not the only thing used to obtain these fisa warrants. the document, the memo released today, wolf, actually says there was additional information that was presented to the court. so the question, i guess, we have for republicans is what do they think needs to change? do they believe that perhaps someone needs to be fired at the fbi because they approved of some of these things? certainly people at the justice department, do they need to be fired or does there need to be a change in the law that governs the authorization of these fisa warrants, wolf? >> evan, stand by. i want to bring in our correspondent tom foremen to brake down some of this a bit further. tom, let's start from the very beginning when they first applied for this warrant in the
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investigation of russian influence in the election. update us on that. >> this is a situation where really what matters here is in the investigation of the russia influence, carter page became a flashpoint. not because this one-time trump adviser had long ties to russia, nor because he traveled there during the campaign. we know that's true. but because some republicans claim the justice department improperly used a fisa court to get permission to wiretap page. that's what this memo is all about. fisa stands for foreign intelligence surveillance act. fisa courts are where investigators can ask a judge for legal permission to spy on a person on american soil if, after further review, they show probable cause the target is a foreign agent or may be. by some accounts the swrus department did just that. basically what they did, they went and applied to the fisa court. paperwork had been approved at the highest level, suggesting
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page was working with the russians. the court approved the surveillance and even extended it, but republicans then said they thought that this process had been tainted because in the original request, there were unseen hands of political operatives the court was not told about, according to the republicans. that's what the memo says. and the fbi relied on this private research on page that was substantially funded by democrats. then that information was turned into what actually made this happen. wolf? >> very interesting. very important information, indeed. tom foreman thank you very much for that report. the release of the memo, by the way, has set off a conflict that even washington has not seen before. it's the president and most of his party's lawmakers versus the top law enforcers in the nation, strong ly, strongly, bitterly oppose the memo being made public, saying among other things, it was inaccurate.
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rod rosenstein, the man who oversees robert mueller's work, special counsel. rosenstein is mentioned as one of the officials who signed the application for a warrant targeting carter page. here was the president's response. when rosenstein's name came up for his comment a little while ago. liste listen. >> do you have confidence in rosenstein? >> you figure that one out. >> clearly an angry look on his face. let's bring in jeff zeleny. you're hearing more from the white house now about why this memo was allowed to go public. >> reporter: the president believes that the top ranks of the fbi is against him.
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he made that pretty plain when he was speaking there in the oval office earlier today. the big question here, wolf, you just said right there, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, you could see the look on his face there. by saying "you figure that one out" certainly leaves open a question as we stand on a friday afternoon. if the deputy attorney general, who oversees the special counsel's investigation, where he stands with this president and with this white house. the president would not thaens. i've asked multiple white house aides and officials here what they meant by that. they've not been able to shed any more light on it. at this point, that was the question going forward here. will the president try and get rid of rod rosenstein? will he allow him to stay? unclear. the president clearly believes this discredits the russian investigation. not all republicans agree with him. conservative south carolina representative trey gowdy from south carolina again said a short time ago that he believes
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this does not impugn the russia investigation. he said this simply has nothing to do with that. the russia investigation should go forward. he believes in that 100%. the idea that the president believe this is discredits the russia investigation is simply not a stipulated fact by all republicans. the president leaving the white house at this hour shortly. we'll see if he has anything else to say about rod rosenstein. that question hangs overall of this today. >> you heard chris stewart, a member of the house intelligence committee, republican from utah, say to us a little while ago, he wants -- he certainly wants the russia investigation to go forward, even though the president, as you and our other reporters have all pointed out, he would like to see it simply go away. jeff, stand by. there's more information coming in. pamela brown, our senior white house correspondent is with us as well. pamela, a reminder to viewers what the memo says about george
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papadopolousling charged as part of the mueller probe. >> george papadopoulos was charged for lying to the fbi and the russia probe and it's interesting because in the last page of this memo, wolf, it makes reference to papadopoulos, that his name was in the fisa application for carter page. in the memo, the argument was made that there was no evidence that carter page and george papadopoulos had talk ed or thee was any sort of cooperation or conspiracy between the two. it does sort of undercut the argument that the dossier was the sort of principle part of the fisa application, that that was really the only reason why the judge signed off on it, because it mentioned that papadopoulos was also used to make the case. to remind viewers, our reporting is that george papadopoulos told the ambassador well before this application was improved that russians had incriminating
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information on hillary clinton. he allegedly, according to court records, was told that by a professor in london, that russians had thousands of hillary clinton's e-mails. that sparked alarm bells in the fbi when that information was reported and that's why the russian probe was open in the first place in july of 2016. clearly, the fbi was making this argument to go up on carter page, saying, look, we already have this application. we already have concern that the russians were trying to meddle in the election. that's all part of this argument. to remind our viewers, wolf, it says -- this is new -- there was an initial application made by carter page and then it was renewed three times, every 90 days. at that point, the every 90-day mark, you have to make the case to the judge that the person as the target for surveillance, in this case, carter page, why they believe this person is acting as an agent of a foreign power.
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that information is missing in this memo. we don't know why they were able to go back to the judge and get this application renewed and what information the surveillance was able to merit to continue to get these renewals, wolf. >> yeah. there's a lot to go through. obviously, we're all waiting to see when, if the minority report, the democratic report rebutting many of these allegations in this majority report, is going to be released. are you getting any indication, at all, pamela, when they might have gone through, scrubbed it for classified information, when the democratic minority report will be released by the house intelligence committee? >> no, we're not. there is really, at this point, no indication of when that may be released. you were just talking to the republican congressman who said they didn't wait until the democratic memo was ready to go public because they felt like this was so important. you're sort of only working with half the information here, wolf. the fbi director has already publicly said that there are
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some key omissions. wolf, the congressman also said he raised the question now the fbi can come out and make its case. here is the problem. this is all classified information. the information in this memo was declassified on the order of the president but the rest of it is classified. the fbi can't just come out and make its case. >> it's real severe on the fbi and the justice department, smear in this memo that they would like to rebut. you're absolutely right, there are restrictions of what they can say, how far they can go, given the nature of the classified information involved. pamela, stand by. i want to talk more about the memo, the impact it could have on top officials over at the fbi and the justice department. let's bring in our senior political reporter, malika henders henderson, our intelligence and security analysis bob varies and
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kim whaley, counsel during the whitewater investigation and she knows deputy attorney general rod rosenstein very well. let me start with you. this is exploding right now. this is precisely, as i mentioned earlier, putin and the russians wanted to see happen. the disunity, the anger that's go iing on, the blaming of the fbi, the blaming of the law enforcement community, intelligence community going after the foreign intelligence surveillance court. even chris stewart, the republican congressman said putin probably should give a medal to the guys who orchestrated this meddling in the u.s. election. >> that's right and they did it pretty cheaply. to have what we see now, this chaos, which is a really active attempt to undermine american institutions. the fbi and the doj, and donald
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trump seeming to want to do that to distract or undermine this russia investigation. i think that's exactly right. russians are certainly happy of what's going on here now, with really attacking these very important american institutions. and you heard fbi agents today basically come out on twitter and say this is damaging, that they put their lives on the line in terms of law and order. it's also just odd to have a republican president, a law and order president, then attack the fbi and the department of justice. >> it puts, you know, the fbi director, christopher wray, who has been on the job in six months in a rather extremely difficult position right now. he appealed to the white house, don't do this. his appeal was rejected. it puts rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general, in an extremely awkward position. he simply said don't do this. it will compromise the u.s. hold off on releasing, making public their th memo. can they stay in their respective jobs or do they have to resign in protest?
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if they do resign in protest, especially given what the president just said about rod rosenstein, lack of confidence he has in him, by his demeanor, if you will, is that exactly what the president would want? he would want to bring in fresh people? >> i hope they do stay in their jobs. i really think we sneed stability in our institutions right now. to your point, vladimir putin is having a really good day. he's sitting back, smiling and saying a 3 1/2-page memo which is like a bad book report. it's awfully sourced, awfully written and says a whole lot of nothing. vladimir putin instead is sitting back and watching our legal system, our intelligence community being turned on its head. it's interesting. we've not heard anything from h.r. mcmaster or the national security council and heard their views on whether this memo should have gone out and what they're doing to mitigate the impact. >> white house counsel don
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mcgahn wrote to devin nunes, chairman of the house committee. in the letter it says the white house review process also included input from the office of the director of national intelligence and the department of justice. consistent with this review and standards, the declassification of the memorandum is appropriate. apparently some individuals did review it. >> i was advising the president today as i did for president obama and president bush, i would tell him our intelligence oversight mechanisms, our processes, our fisa process which, by the way, often involves foreign intelligence, is secure and our intelligence liaison relationship should continue. >> i want to get bob's reaction to what's unfolding right now. you used to serve in the cia. >> well, i'm worried about the fbi. if i were an fbi agent in the field now and picked up some information on russia that was
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damaging to the president or even helpful, i would not report it. i would think twice about it. i left the cia, same thing. i reported stuff on russian money coming into the campaign and as the messenger, i became the target and i resigned from the cia. it's as simple as that. what you're having is an agency we depend upon to stop terrorism, fbi agents are putting their lives on the line. you look at this -- i'm sorry, it's a piece of trash, this 3 1/2-page memo. there's nothing classified in it. it's a partisan attack on the fbi. it's going to do our institutions serious damage and i really worry about it. >> let me read to you the tweet that the president posted around 6:30 a.m. earlier today. and this helps explain his mind-set, why he decided he wanted this memorandum made public. the top leadership and investigators of the fbi and the justice department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of democrats and against
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republicans, something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. rank and file are great people. but here, he specifically is blasting the top leadership and investigators of the fbi and the justice department. top leaders of the justice department and fbi are individuals he nominated and got approved during the senate confirmation process. >> exactly. it's like this whole stupidity about the deep state. it doesn't exist. and that there was a conspiracy. there's no evidence. the fact that they put this gps fusion report into a fisa document was well, you know, established that carter page was in touch with russian intelligence. so was manafort and on and on and on. it's unimportant for this fisa. until we see the entire underlying file, it makes no sense at all. that's why i say from the hip this 3 1/2-page memo is a piece
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of trash. >> want to make sure that our viewers in the you sats and around the world understand what you're saying. kim whaley, how do you see the release of this memo? >> i know our listeners are interested in the bottom line here. we need to pump the brakes in terms of letting go mr. rosenstein. was there probable cause for a federal judge to issue this fisa warrant with respect to surveillance of carter page? we're not talking about putting someone in jail. we're talking about intelligence. a couple of things come out of the memo that are pretty remarkable. white house counsel himself says to be clear the memorandum represents the judgment of the congressional authors. that's not standing behind the facts of the memo. the nunes memo itself says the fisa application relied on steele's record of credible
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reporting. even the nunes memo acknowledges that mr. steele was a credible witness in other context. the supreme court, in a case called franks versus delaware, acknowledged we have biased informants. it's a very high standard. this is a question for a judge on appeal not a political question. i agree with bob that this is serious, serious stuff for the integrity of our democratic system. and i think people across the nation really need to understand that. this is not about party. this is about country at this point. >> it's a very serious situation. take a look at this. dow jones industrials, you see the president leaving the white house a while ago. look at the dow jones, down more than 500 points right now. that's the biggest loss since he became president of the united states. by the way, this is shaping up to be the biggest loss in a week. >> my goodness. >> since taking office. not exactly sure what's causing this drop.
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earlier in the week there was a drop of 350 points, then it bounced back a little bit. now it has dropped more than 500. >> it's always hard to know why this happens, as you said. we do know this is a president who touts the dow and the gains we have seen over his last year in office or so. so, it is surprising to see it drop so much today. and who knows if it's connected to any of the jitters that people are getting when you have the president on twitter, attacking these very important institutions. to your point, you were saying the discussion about rod rosenstein might be premature, but i think in some ways that is what the chatter is. is this laying the groundwork for the removal of rod rosenstein? if you look at the behavior of republicans, particularly in the house, it's not clear what they would do, given if the president does this. it seems like they are tanamount
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to run for cover to protect this president and certainly this memo suggests that. if you were this president you might get the sense that you can do almost anything and get away with it. >> my opponent on that, this is an unnecessary trauma on the country. if you look at the memo itself, there is zero grounds for letting go mr. rosenstein. there's absolutely nothing here. he's exercising his discretion as a career public servant within the executive branch headed by the president of the united states. the way we oversee that is not by jumping the fence, the way congress did with this political memorandum, with one-sided facts. that's not how it works. you go to the courts. congress can amend the fisa statute. congress can hold hearings. we want to get everything out. we have a democratic system where facts and rule of law govern. that is at stake here. this is serious. >> these are all republicans. >> yeah. >> rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general, is a republican. >> christopher wray. >> is a republican. robert mueller. >> robert.
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>> special counsel is a -- we're talking about republicans and clearly the president is losing a lot of confidence in his fellow republicans. >> everything we're talking about is exactly what the russians wanted to see happen. dia issued a report that said the whole purpose of russia's campaign was to confuse and demoralize the american people. we're sitting here picking it apart, the memo. it is a piece of trash. the american people and all of us are confused about what's going on. >> i know what's going on. the president is desperate to stop this investigation. >> seems that way. >> you would only go down this road if you're sfrat because you know what mueller has on you and you have to stop it any way you can, even if you have wreck the fbi and discredit the department of justice. only reason i could imagine you would do this. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that he is so focused on an agency that has the counterintelligence -- fbi works against foreign intelligence attacks and he's
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spending so much time attacking them. >> if his goal was to discredit this entire robert mueller russia probe for a big chunk of the country out there right now, he has succeeded because they think it is partisan witch hunt. >> deep state. >> deep state working against them. so he succeeded in that if, in fact, that would be his goal. everybody stand by. we're following all the breaking news, staying on top of it. major historic developments unfolding right now here in washington. our special coverage continues right after this. my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story.
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from the house intelligence community. look at this. the dow jones industrials in new york now, down 566 points. the biggest drop since the president took office. let's go to cnn's alison kossic in new york for us. it looks like it will be the worst week for the dow since the president took office. >> it looks like the dow is on track to have its worst point loss since swrun of 2016, when we saw the dow drop about 600 points when brexit was happening. you're kind of seeing a continuation of what began earlier this week. see saw these jitters begin monday, tuesday. we saw between the two days the dow drop 500 points t recovered a bit. now you're seeing the dow down 548 points because those swriters have been amplified with the jobs report that came out this morning. january jobs report came out good, 200,000 jobs were created in the month of january,
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unemployment holding steady. what has got wall street in the tizzy is the fact that wage growth jumped the most since the recision. 2.9%. that was a jump from 2.5%. that is making investors worry about inflationary pressures. if you've got a lot of inflation in the economy, the worry, according to wall street, is that you're going to see the fed try to control that inflation by raising interest rates much faster and at a quicker pace than they promised in the past, to try to get control of that inflation. and that's what wall street is worried about. if you start raising rates faster, it becomes more expensive to borrow money and eventually you see people pulling back on how much they're going to be spending. that, in turn, affects companies that are listed on the stock market exchanges. wolf? >> worst day for the markets since president trump took office. we'll stay on top of that. allison, thank you very much. more on breaking news, the release of this very controversial republican majority memo from the house
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intelligence committee, alleging all sorts of wrongdoing on the part of the fbi and justice department officials as well as the f sichlt a, foreign intelligence situation court. cnn legal commentator ken cucchinelli, attorney general for the commonwealth of virginia who wrote the book "enemies: history of the fbi." what's going to be the impact for the fbi as the fbi. >> rank and file are full square behind chris wray. they must live in fear that the president is going to use this memo as a weapon to decapitate the leadership of the fbi and the justice department.
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>> is he going to fire deputy attorney general rod rosenstein? >> it's in his power to do that. that's the only way he gets to mueller. if he finds a stooge in the justice department, to take the post of deputy attorney general. if he does that, we have a constitutional crisis unlike any we've seen since the saturday night massacre of 1973. >> the watergate crisis as a lot of us, of course, remember. ken cucchinelli, go ahead and respond. what do you think of those fears? >> well, i just don't see them in the memo. i think this memo points up most critically that andrew mccabe testified that without the dossier, the questionable d ossier, they would not have gotten the initial fisa warrant. that's the bottom line, i think, in this memo in terms of real
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world impacks looking backwards. and the memo says that the fbi relied on steele's previous reputation with them despite the fact that the fbi didn't have some information or didn't use it in september, the month before they got the fisa warrant, when steele was clearly in the view of this memo, discredited it and shouldn't have been relied upon. and, again, mccabe's testimony in december does indicate that that factor would have been critical to them not pursuing the warrant in the furs place. >> the democrats on the house intelligence committee, they're disputing that. they're saying if you take a look at the transcript of what andrew mccabe told the house intelligence committee, they would like the transcript to be released. they're suggesting that the republican majority are cherry picking, they're not putting it
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in context. there was other information beyond the steele do ssier, which resulted in the fisa courts going forward with these warrants. i assume you want to see all of the background information, not just the republican majority version. >> right. yes. yes. you are absolutely right about that. look, i've litigated in the fisk. and i know the level of secrecy there is quite extraordinary. i think this is an opportunity for america and its policymakers to step back and decide, does this operate the way we think it should? and, if not, what should we do to reign it in? i think this is a real opportunity to really bring our surveillance of americans under the scrutiny of policymakers in a way that begins to further protect our constitutional rights. >> ana, let's bring you in. what did you think when you read the memo? you've gotten some of the reaction. what's your analysis? >> i think it's disgusting. i think it's pathetic. i wish i was shocked to see how low my party shall the
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republican party, the used to be law enforcement party has gone. i align myself with the words of senator john mccain that thinks this is an attack that only helps vladimir putin. i am thankful for voices like john mccain in the republican party that are letting the fbi know we stand with them, not with the russian president. this is a fabricated, manufactured, hack, partisan sideshow, circus act in order to discredit the fbi, to discredit the leaders at the fbi and get to mueller. and i am beyond disappointed with republicans who choose to be complicitly silent while this goes on. first it was comey. then it was mccabe. next it's going to be wray, then mueller. what are republicans doing? how could they possibly be
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staying silent when they know -- when they know that russia interfered in our elections? i am beyond disappointed. >> let me have ken respond to that. go ahead. >> i think one of the points countered to what you just heard from ana, and i don't doubt her passion, but is that it was mccabe. i agree with you, wolf. it would be nice to see more of the transcript. but it was mccabe who said that the dossier was critical. he is not someone who would line up as someone who would be feeding ammunition into some sort of mueller attack as you've heard described here. that's part of the value of his role in this analysis, is that it does provide some objectivity. it does provide a perspective. a and, remember, this is in a court that we get almost no oversight over. and they approve almost every single request that comes through the fbi and national
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security apparatus. it's something like 99.5%. it's a huge proportion of approval. so, when the system is used this way, ana is totally wrong that it isn't appropriate to question this and to see if we ought to change how this operates. let me cast it forward a little bit, wolf. in 2020, do the democrats now in congress want the trump administration during the next presidential election to be able to do this under their umbrella without anybody being able to see it, and without serious filtering by the judges on the fisk? i doubt they do. >> listen, if this was it shall. >> go ahead and respond. >> let me just say if this was an objective effort we would be seeing the democrat side. if this was an objective effort we would be seeing the underlying evidence. if this was an objective effort, they would have listened to the fbi's request, who called this a
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reckless disregard for the fbi and classified information. this is a partisan issue and it is trying to cover for donald trump and, frankly -- let me wrust say something else. if democrats have been doing this, if this was happening under a democrat president, law and order republicans would be setting their hair on fire today. >> let me bring tim back into this conversation. tim, you studied the fbi. you reported on the fbi, law enforcement and the intelligence community for a long time. you're fearful there could be a constitutional crisis right now. how does the president of the united states stop that from unfolding? >> he will create it. he won't stop it. he will create a crisis. if he takes this memo, uses it as a sword to cut off the heads of chris wray and rod rosenstein on accepting this conspiracy
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theory put forth in this memo that wray, rosenstein, jim comey sat down in the room and said i going to a good idea. let's defraud a federal judge in order to destroy donald trump. that's nuts. yet the president takes it, uses it as a weapon to take out the people who are investigating his white house, that is not only obstruction of justice to add on what he has already done, it puts the white house at lagerheads with the law enforcement community of this nation. >> wolf? >> hold on one second. let me get tim one more question. >> sewer. >> you see that unfolding? >> we may see the second saturday night massacre tomorrow if the president decides hey, mccabe's against me. he was already gone. comey was against me. i got rid of him. i can do that to wray and rosenstein and find somebody who can take out mueller. then i'll be great.
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he is capable of doing that. >> ken cucchinelli how does rod rosenstein stay as attorney deputy general after the president clearly hit him big time today, he was asked of confidence in rosenstein and he said -- the exact words were, you figure that out. that's quoit a vote of no confidence. >> well, true. we had the same conversion about jeff sessions in the april/may timeframe if you remember last year and jeff sessions is still there as well. the bigger problem that may move rosenstein out of this mueller situation is if mueller himself goes to rosenstein as a witness and then the authority over the investigation will move to the associate attorney general from
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rosenstein. so mueller actually is the one who, oddly enough, has the greatest control at the moment as a real-life matter, not the conspiracy theories you just heard spun -- of the real-life matter as to whether or not rosenstein stays in charge of this effort all the way through to the end. >> everybody stand by. there's more reaction coming in, including a statement now that we're just getting in from the white house. our special coverage continues right after this. you know what they say about the early bird...
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quickly want to get to the breaking news. there's reaction coming in from the white house. let's go to our senior white
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house correspondent jeff zeleny. just released by the house intelligence committee, tell us what the white house is saying. >> wolf, there is, indeed. the president left the white house a short time ago. he did not answer our questions about his decision for the deputy attorney general, which he left that question hanging. the white house press secretary, sarah sanders, has release d a statement, giving more of a window into the president's rationale for releasing this. it says this decision was made with input from the president's national security team, including law enforcement officials and members of the intelligence community, for whom the president has great respect. he is especially grateful to the hardworking rank and file public servants. again, rank and file public servants who work every day to keep merg safe, uphold our laws and protect the rights of
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americans. she does not answer the central question here, wolf, what is the fate of the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. we saw the president in the oval office a couple of hours ago and said you figure that out when asked about the fate of the deputy attorney general. the reason that's center here, of course, wolf, is that he supervises special counsel's investigation, robert mueller's investigation here. still no word on what he believes is the fate of rod rosenstein, even as the white house explains rationale to declassify this memo, wolf. >> the president heads back to florida and mar-a-lago over the weekend. right? >> he he does, indeed, visiting a border patrol center in sterling, virginia. he will be there a couple of hours or so and then will fly down to mar-a-lago for the rest of the weekend. unclear if we will hear from him again. certainly this hangs over the white house and, indeed, the justice department and the fbi.
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in fact, all of washington, what the president's plans are for the deputy attorney general. there is no white house briefing today. so at this point we are going into a weekend here with unusual confrontation between these separate agencies here and the white house. wolf? >> we'll see if rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general, stays or goes. you can clearly see on his face, the president, that deep irritation with the deputy attorney general when he was asked do you have confidence in him, he said you figure that one out. stand by. i want to go to capitol hill right now. democrats are reacting as well. democrat reese acting and saying this republican majority report is distorted. >> reporter: that's right. in fact, i just got off a conference call with adam schiff, ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee who laid out a number of concerns
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with some of the allegations in this memo. i'll tick through some of them. one of the big allegations in the republican memo is what the deputy director of the fbi, andrew mccabe, told the house intelligence committee in december. in the republican memo, it alleges that mccabe said that no surveillance warrant of carter page would have been sought from that secret court without the steele dossier information. when schiff was just asked that, he said the statement does not represent fully what mccabe told the house intelligence committee. he also said that the panel was told by andrew mccabe that the, quote, genesis of the investigation into russia did not begin with the dossier. in addition to that, wolf, schiff also said it's, quote, not accurate, that the court was not aware of that former british agent christopher steele's potential political motivations. in fact, he said the court was aware that there were, quote, likely political motivations for christopher steele. the republicans criticized that
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memo by saying it did not lay out fusion gps' role, that office and research firm that funded christopher steele's dossier work was, in fact, funded by the clinton campaign and dnc. he said it's not uncommon for fisa applications to name individual sources of information but said they were well aware he may have had political motivations. and he also criticized how the memo, the republican memo, talked about peter strzock, that fbi agent who has been under a lot of scrutiny when those text messages of his were revealed. he actually led and initiated that counterintelligence investigation into trump and russia in july 2016. schiff said that's just not right. there were a team of investigators involved in this and somehow to suggest it was peter strzock and his political
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motivations are behind this investigation, schiff said that's not accurate. he largely criticized the memo's suggestion that there was troubling breakdown in the legal process. according to schiff, wolf, he said that's a grand and sweeping statement of a single court fisa application had an does not apply the full process here. he said it's really inaccurate on several fronts, according to schiff. >> did you get any word from schiff when the democratic rebuttal would be released? >> reporter: we don't know that yet, wolf. the full house has action toes read it in a classified setting. whether the house intelligence committee then votes to send it to the president who, of course, would have five days to object or allow for its release. we don't know if the president is going to do that, when the house intelligence committee will have a vote. that's up to devin nunes to ask ed that vote. no word from his office. >> in the white house statement from the white house press
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secretary sarah sanders, she says members of the committee have reportedly drafted a separate memorandum. the administration stands ready to work with congress to accommodate oversight requests consistent with applicable standards, including the need to protect intelligence methods. >> we'll see if that ever sees the light of day. the full house has to look at it. it's got to be voted out of this committee. obviously, republicans control that committee. and then the president, would he actually want this to be out there in the public if it contradicts this memo, which he he very much wanted out because it supports this idea that folks are out to get him? so we'll see if that memo from democrats ever sees the light of day. >> do you think it will? >> i don't know but i think they're going to drag this out as long as they can. we're spending a lot of time talking about this 3 1/2 page memo and not the actual russia investigation. my sense is that they'll drag this out as long as possible. there will be another media storm around what is or isn't in
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that memo and we'll not talk about the core issue of russia's attack on our country as we inch closer to 2018, as vladimir putin goes through another election in a couple of weeks and nothing has changed. >> what's happen sd a big chunk of the country right now, bob, believes that there's a deep state threat to the president, this whole russia investigation is simply a hoax. that's what the president has told them. >> and also it's a distraction. pompeo, the cia director, has come out and said the russians are going to be in the electrics in 2018. in 2020 and this president has done nothing about it. he has done nothing to counter it. it's an open field for them. >> where do you see this going next from a legal point of view, kim? >> it's important for viewers to understand what's at stake here. that has to do with fairness within our judicial system and within our justice system. that is, we want prosecutors to make decisions based on the law and the facts. you know, you're waiting in line
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for a busy restaurant. you want to be seated when you're next in line. likewise, you don't want people picking and choosing who they go after based on whether the political people in power are going to disfavor you or blow you up publicly and challenge your integrity. we have to remember, what does the fbi do? counterterrorism, foreign espionage, cyber crime, violent crime, white collar crime. as americans, we want to have a safe country. we want this stuff done. but if career public servants are now worried about the political implications of the exercise of their discretion this, to me, a straight up we made a judgment call as professionals and to second guess this and claim that somehow it's distortion and illegal is really, really a scam, i think, on the american public. that's my concern. as far as mr. rosenstein being fired, as i said, i think that that is full blown constitutional crisis. we should all hope that does not
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happen because, in my mind, the career public servants right now are the linchpin of the survival in our dem kras. >> i wonder if he's not going to be fired necessarily but resigns in protest, which he clearly could do. everybody stand by. cnn special coverage of this important day here in the united states continues right after this. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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♪ tresiba® ready ♪ hello. i'm jake tapper. this is cnn special coverage of the explosive memo that sources say president trump sees as a way to discredit and undermine special counsel robert mueller and the russia probe. the memo has now been released after the president approved its release today against the wishes of his own appointees, running the justice department and the fbi. a