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Intelligence Community Confirms Russian Attempts to Interfere with U.S. Election; Interview with Representative Sean Duffy; President-elect Trump's Comments on Climate Change Debated; FBI And CIA Disagree On Russia's Motive For Election Hack; Bipartisan Group Of Senators Call For Russian Hacking Probe. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired December 12, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:02] JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President-elect for his part, and a separate issue, also challenging U.S. intelligence showing that Russia was behind the hacking during the election.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it.
CARROLL: Fiercely attacking the credibility of the Central Intelligence Agency, the president-elect dismissing the intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the election to help him win.
TRUMP: They have no idea if it's Russia or China. Could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.
CARROLL: And claiming, without offering specifics, the analysis is politically motivated.
TRUMP: I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.
CARROLL: But it's not just Democrats. A group of bipartisan senators are joining forces calling for Congress to launch an in-depth probe into Russia's tampering, saying the reports should alarm every American and urging cyber-attacks cannot become a partisan issue.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I think they did interfere with our elections and I want Putin personally to pay a price.
CARROLL: This as speculation continues over Trump's nomination for secretary of state. Multiple sources familiar with the transition telling CNN Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson has emerged as the frontrunner.
TRUMP: He is much more than a business executive. He is world-class player.
CARROLL: The possible nomination already sparking sharp criticism from some in the GOP establishment concerned about Tillerson's own ties to Russia. In 2013 Tillerson was awarded Russia's top order for foreigners, the Order of Friendship, from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It's a matter of concern to me that he has such a close, personal relationship with Vladimir Putin.
CARROLL: Florida Senator Marco Rubio blasting Trump's pick, tweeting, "Being a friend of Vladimir is not an attribute I am hoping for from secretary of state."
And the president-elect, again, showing his willingness to challenge China, questioning whether the U.S. should keep its longstanding position that Taiwan is part of one China.
TRUMP: I fully understand the one-China policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.
CARROLL: And the Chinese foreign ministry weighing in on this particular issue, urging the president-elect and the new administration to stick to the one-China policy. The president-elect, for his part, Alisyn, moving along with his transition, now naming a new member to his team. General John Kelly has been named to be the person to head up the department of homeland security. That now becomes the third general who will be part of his administration. Alisyn?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we'll see if we get even more announcements today. Jason, thank you very much.
And 17 intelligence agencies conclude that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. But the CIA and the FBI differ on why Russia did that. So let's bring in CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to break down this conflicting information. What have you learned, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. It all goes to the question, really, of Russian motivation, Russian intent. Right now it looks like the CIA believes that Russia really was trying to steer the election towards Donald Trump. Why do they believe that steer was happening? That's because both Democrats and Republicans, the CIA says, got hacked by the Russians, but only Democratic data, Democratic information, was released. No Republican information was released. So they come to the conclusion that's the steer towards Donald Trump.
The FBI not ready to sign up to that intent yet, but by all accounts believing that the Russians were trying to at least undermine the U.S. presidential election. One key Republican operative, Sean Spicer, the RNC communications director, spoke about all of this over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If the CIA is so convinced of this, why won't they go on the record and say that it was as they did with the DNC? This is -- I mean, I believe that there are people within these agencies that are upset with the outcome of the election and are pushing a personal, but the facts don't add up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: So, the Republicans Donald Trump, as well, appearing to believe that this is all politically motivated. The intelligence community not on that page. Now we are looking at the possibility of a bipartisan congressional investigation. And, of course, President Obama has already ordered his own investigation into all of this that he wants completed before he leaves office. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Barbara, thank you very much. Joining us now is Wisconsin Republican representative Sean Duffy. The Congressman is a member of the presidential transition executive team. Good to see you congressman.
[08:05:07] REP. SEAN DUFFY, (R) WISCONSIN: Good to see you, too, Chris. Thanks for having me on.
CUOMO: Good. So let's separate this nuance going on here with this issue, with the issue of global warming. Let's see if we can separate some of this. One, do you accept the consensus of the intelligence community that Russia was involved with the hacking attempt during the 2016 election?
DUFFY: I don't know. I think if there's a consensus we should see that consensus from -- from news reports that come from the FBI and the CIA. If the -- if Russia was involved in trying to influence American elections we should know about it, Chris. But I think it's important that we parse that with the point that I don't think Russia actually had any influence in this election. It tried but it didn't have an influence. I mean, they didn't set up the Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. They didn't set up the Clinton Foundation. They didn't do her messaging.
DUFFY: They didn't encourage her not to come to the great state of Wisconsin.
CUOMO: Separate question. Separate question. In October, we heard from Clapper, you know, you know, he is coordinating responsibility saying Russia's involved with what's going on here with the hacking. They are not in question about that. And I'm sure you know this. You can get a briefing whenever you want it. They are of no two minds about that. Why Russia did it, that is a separate question. They are not done with that part of their investigation yet. And now, as you know, you've got bipartisan members on the Senate side who want to do a set of hearing of that on their own. But in terms of Russia's involvement, that does not seem to be something that we need to seek more about. You seem to say differently.
DUFFY: Well, what I think, Chris, is that if Russia was involved, again, we want to do the background investigation and fully be aware of what kind of influences they want in our election system because we want to prevent it in the future. That is key. But I think it's important that we don't conflate this with Russia actually having an influence on the net end result of our election last November --
CUOMO: Right, but it's the political resistance to the second part seems to be fuelling a resistance to the first part, especially by the president-elect, and it seems to be lining up people against him now. You've got McCain and Schumer on the same page about wanting to investigate this because they say, hey, supporting Russia, which is what it winds up being, right, if you wind up -- if you don't accept the intelligence that they were meddling in our election, then you're tacitly defending them at a minimum.
DUFFY: I don't think so.
CUOMO: How not? If the intelligence community and Clapper comes out and says Russia was behind this, and you say, I think that's ridiculous, what are you saying?
DUFFY: But I think what's important, what are the American people hearing through the reporting? I don't think we want to conflate the two and I want to make sure the American people understand that Russia did not influence this election. And I think there could be a motive by some to tarnish Donald Trump and say, listen, he wouldn't have won but for the fact that Russia was involved in this election. And I, in a swing state that hasn't gone for a Republican --
CUOMO: But nobody credible is saying that.
DUFFY: But I think that we've got to be clear when we do say it because when I think you say Russia was involved in the election --
CUOMO: But the Intel agency --
DUFFY: But Donald Trump --
CUOMO: It's not the media, it's an Intel agencies said.
DUFFY: My point to you Chris is I think that when we talk about this we want to be very clear to the American people that there is a clear distinctions. Yes, if they were involved. How were they involved? Let's vet that, let's investigate it, let's find out the truth.
CUOMO: But I'm saying --
DUFFY: But it's important to know --
CUOMO: You're ignoring the first part. I get you about hey don't say --
DUFFY: No, I'm not.
CUOMO: I keep saying to you Clapper came out in October. The Intel agency is saying that they have consensus about whether or not Russia was involved and the answer is, yes. You say, yes, we should investigate this --
DUFFY: But Chris --
CUOMO: They're saying the answer is yes. You don't have to invest that. You have to investigate to find out what their motives are and what else they might doing as they go back two, three cycles. But not --
DUFFY: What --
CUOMO: You don't know whether or not they were involved. The Intel agency is saying they were.
DUFFY: But you have a disagreement about the intent with the FBI and the CIA --
CUOMO: Right. That's something separate.
DUFFY: Sometimes the CIA was political and what was the real intent and were they trying to undermine American democracy.
CUOMO: Separate question.
DUFFY: What was the intent? But again when we talk about it exclusively like Russia is involved in our election. And then that might lead viewers to think that, well, maybe Donald Trump wouldn't have won but for Russian involvement, and I think that's absolutely false. Again you have to look, what did -- I mean if Russia is so powerful and such great hackers the best they could come up with the Podesta e-mails? I mean, really, it was a little bit embarrassing for the campaign, but it didn't move anybody --
CUOMO: I'm just saying, again, Congressman, you sound like you were questioning whether or not Russia was involved.
DUFFY: No, I'm not.
CUOMO: That's what it sounds like.
DUFFY: I ceded that point the first time around.
CUOMO: You just said if they were involved the best they could come up with would be a Podesta e-mail, seems to question that.
[08:10:03] DUFFY: But I haven't heard you say, Chris, I haven't heard you say, listen, there's two questions. One, what was Russian involvement? What did they do? Let's investigate it. But I don't hear you saying let's be crystal clear, the DNC's e-mails showing that the DNC partnered with Hillary Clinton to thwart the rise of Bernie Sanders, that didn't play at all in states like Wisconsin. Nobody cared. And I think we have to be clear to the American voter that Russia didn't have any involvement in the outcome of this election in states like mine that swung the race from Democrat to Republican.
CUOMO: I'm just saying my job is to --
DUFFY: I want you to understand -- CUOMO: My job is to go on what we can discern as fact. And what we
know at this point is, the U.S. Intel agencies say Russia was involved. What they did, why they did it, that's going to require secondary and tertiary analysis. But on the first part, it seems pretty crystal coming out of them.
Let me ask you about a separate issue. Tillerson and Trump seem to be likeminded -- this has nothing to do with Russia or China -- but on global warming. Trump just gave out some sound. Do we have it that we can play about what Trump is saying about global warmning? Let me play this for you for context.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it. And nobody really knows. It's not something that is so hard and fast. I do know this. Other countries are eating our lunch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Again, it's like they're two different conversations being had. You have the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community will say you do not get it, to use the president-elect's words, if you think that there is an open question as to whether or not man's actions have an influence on global warming. How much, what to do about it, are our policies good enough for us or are they too advantageous to other countries, separate consideration. Do you believe that it is an open question as to whether or not man's actions are influencing global warming?
DUFFY: Well, what I'll tell you Chris is I think that the climate is changing and it has always changed. And, we thought back in the '70s, these same kinds of folks were saying that we had the next ice age that was upon us coming in the '70s. Now, we've seen here the earth is getting warmer.
What I think is important when you look at this, and I live in Wisconsin. I live here, Chris, because I love the outdoors. I love to swim and kayak and ski and hike. And if you don't have clean air and clean water you can't do any of those things. It's important to me and it's important to my constituents. I have the largest lake in my district, Lake Superior. But I think it's important to say, what are the smart policies that can help us reduce our carbon emissions --
DUFFY: -- but also make America competitive because if you're driving up the cost of energy and electricity in states like mine, I have poor people. They can't afford their electric bills. They can't afford to put food on their table. And so they want us to have a smart policy --
CUOMO: I get you, but, again these are two separate things. Like I said the other day talking to Marsha Blackburn, can you be pro-clean water and clean air if you don't support the science of global warming. The reason I said that is there's a continuum of thought. If you believe that the science is correct, and you know I'm not a scientist, you're not a scientist. If the scientific community has consensus on man's actions, I accept that science. Then what are your smart policies? I don't know why you have to question the scientific consensus to want to question what the right policies are.
DUFFY: But, Chris, the flipside of that you could say, listen, I believe in global warming, I believe it's manmade, I believe that America is the worst actor, and so what I'm going to do is look at the rustbelt, I'm going to look at states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and what I need to do is put all of these blue collar workers out of a job. And make sure that the job, they do have they don't make enough money to pay their electrical bills and their gas bills. They can't pay for their food. And so what, they're going to have more government promise to help more people who can't provide for themselves.
What I'm telling you is we need to have smart policies that are clean policies but also are moving America along as we develop new technology so you're not having energy costs skyrocket. And as you know, manufacturing in America uses a lot of energy. And if you can take reduced energy costs, making America more competitive, it means more jobs but also the ability to pay better wages, which are all issues that the we care about.
But one of the problems with Democrats is they'll say we want to increase rules, we want to increase regulations, we want to increase wages, we want to increase the cost of health care, and we want American business to be successful and stay in America. Well, something has to give. So how do we have a commonsense approach to these policies that help the American worker, but also make sure we have a clean environment? And I think you can balance those two things really effectively. But if you push it too far, like what Barack Obama was doing, all of a sudden you're regulating on my farms in America that --
CUOMO: I hear you --
DUFFY: -- provide milk to so many Americans. Mud puddles in the ditches of their fields.
CUOMO: I hear you.
DUFFY: They can't farm anymore.
CUOMO: I hear you.
DUFFY: So I talk what is balanced and smart policies that can help both of those two things happen.
CUOMO: And let's not cheat the conversation as these ideas come up and you have to make these decisions let's keep having this conversation right here on NEW DAY. As always, thank you very much, Congressman. DUFFY: Thanks, Chris, have a good day.
CUOMO: You too -- Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, let's get to some headlines. Boeing sealing the biggest deal between the U.S. and Iran in nearly 40 years. Despite opposition from some big name lawmakers including President- elect Trump. The multibillion dollar deal to sell 80 jets to Iran was made possible after the U.S. lifted sanctions against Iran in September. Boeing says the agreement, quote, "will support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs."
CUOMO: An Australian graffiti artist has recreated the punch seen round the world, the zookeeper. The kangaroo has his dog. They frame up, bing. Last week this happened in Australia.
CAMEROTA: You still love it.
CUOMO: I got some heat from this from animal -- first of all, the kangaroo is fine but --
CAMEROTA: But stunned.
CUOMO: It's been captured in a mural now. The artist tweeting out, no word if the zookeeper has seen it or if the kangaroo did. What do you think?
CAMEROTA: Well, I like the action shot. So, I don't know that the still frame captures it with quite the delight that the action shot does where they show the kangaroo's stunned expression afterwards. That's your favorite.
CUOMO: Do I have any more legitimacy with you now that you see how many other people have found this --
CAMEROTA: No, I always --
CUOMO: Because you thought it was me being vanilla gorilla and I like anything that hits anything else.
CAMEROTA: Well, you do like anything that hits a kangaroo.
CUOMO: First of all a kangaroo is not a victim, by the way.
CAMEROTA: See, here we go. You have a lot of feelings about kangaroo. Kangaroo --
CUOMO: A man who goes to save his dog, and throws a punch at a kangaroo, and the way the kangaroo just -- all right. Anyway.
CAMEROTA: Maybe we'll play that again later Chris delights in it. Meanwhile back in news, the CIA and the FBI do not see eye to eye Russia's motivation to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Why aren't they on the same page? We're going to ask our two best intelligence experts next.
CAMEROTA: More than a dozen intel agencies say Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election, though, the FBI and the CIA see it somewhat differently. Unnamed sources tell "The Washington Post" that the CIA believes Russia deliberately wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. The FBI says it cannot yet determine a motive.
Joining us now, CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, and former State Department official and U.S. ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns. Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.
Tom, I want to start with you. You were with the FBI for 30 years. Why isn't the FBI dead certain about a motive as the CIA is?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Alisyn, the FBI normally tries to gather evidence to substantiate claims that it would make. So they would want to have evidence in this case, for example, a couple years ago the FBI investigated Chinese government hacking into the U.S., and actually brought charges against members of the military operating out of an office in Shanghai. So the FBI will get the information, but they want to be very clear if they're going to level accusations to a certainty.
FUENTES: That Russia meddled in the investigation -- in the election.
CAMEROTA: But Tom, are you saying that the CIA doesn't need to have evidence to draw its conclusions?
FUENTES: No. They can advise, you know, the other agencies of the U.S. government and the White House, and Congress, without having proven certainty. They can say we believe and it looks like and it might be and it probably is. They can use more qualified terms like that and it's appropriate for their mission to be able to make statements like that.
CAMEROTA: Right. Well, since you are FBI, and you are law enforcement based, do you believe that Russia meddled in this presidential election?
FUENTES: Well, I don't know, you know, for sure that they did. I mean we're hearing that they did and I'm a little bit suspicious when I hear statements like, all 17 agencies of the intelligence community. Well, all 17 don't conduct investigations, particularly cyber investigations.
So you have five or six that may have a consensus that probably Russia meddled, and it looks like they did. But, you still don't have agreement on what was the motive, why would they do it.
You know, did it actually -- and then there's no evidence that it actually affected the outcome of the election and we know that voting machines are not connected to the internet so nobody could hack --
CAMEROTA: Right. Nobody's saying the voting machines. Mostly just the DNC and RNC computers. Ambassador Burns, what do you think? Are you 100 percent confident that this in fact happened the way the CIA says it did?
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, it was the director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, who said publicly that the Russians interfered in the elections. There appears to be no disagreement among any government agency that they did interfere.
So I support Senator McCain and Senator Reed who are calling for a bipartisan investigation. If these allegations are true, this would be one of the most dangerous anti-American acts by a foreign power in a long time, and so we owe it to ourselves to get to the bottom of it. It can't be about politics.
It's got to be what's best for the United States, and frankly, Alisyn, I think that President-elect Trump's reaction, which is to criticize the intelligence agencies, and in a very weak way, not criticize Russia, I thought that was inappropriate and unwise for him.
He has to lead these people in about a month. He has to be the person who inspires confidence in them. And, he ought to be supportive in public of the entire U.S. government.
CAMEROTA: What do you think about that, Tom? That the president- elect is saying that he doesn't necessarily trust the intelligence agencies?
FUENTES: Well, I agree with Ambassador Burns about that. However we just had the actual president of the United States, Obama, tell Fareed Zakaria that the intelligence -- wasn't on his radar, intelligence radar that ISIS was on the rise.
And so here's the president throwing the intel community under the bus, and in that situation, you had General Michael Flynn testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2014, February 2014, that ISIS was on the rise.
[08:25:08]You had leaders of Kurdistan telling State Department ISIS is on the rise. So you had a sitting president really not believe or not act on intelligence that he was receiving that did affect directly national security, and, you know, so Trump, he can -- the statements that he makes right now, he's not the president. He's not in a position to act.
And secondly, I would go back to, you know, the comment about Clapper saying in October. That means that preceding his comments, September, August, back into the summer, that the intelligence community when it was starting to believe that Russia was getting involved in the elections, we heard nothing from the White House about this. We heard no specific actions or threats.
President Obama met face-to-face with Putin at the G20 in September. You know, what comments were made then? To threaten them and say you better not, we're going to come after you if you interfere in our election. So now, after the election, now we're going to have this big investigation.
FUENTES: And the other question I make on that is normally we come to a conclusion after the investigation, not before the investigation even started.
CAMEROTA: Ambassador Burns, Tom Fuentes just laid out a lot of issues there. What do you want to respond to?
BURNS: Well, I certainly agree that you investigate and you try to determine the truth. Not the other way around. This can't be about politics and that's why it's got to be bipartisan. I think all of us want to do what's best in the national interest.
I think what bothers people like Senator McCain and Senator Reid and others is when partisan politics interjects and people say we shouldn't negotiate. But here's the largest issue. The president- elect is weak on Russia. He has been protecting, you know, in his comments, President Putin throughout the campaign.
He's not criticized Putin on Syria or Crimea, or the Putin and Russia's allegations or offensive behavior toward the NATO allies the Baltic States. So we need a president, and I hope President Trump can be this president, who stands up to the Russians and doesn't in essence look the other way when the Russian government may be interfering in our elections.
He is the president-elect, he needs to begin to assume that role, and begin to protect the government agencies, build them up and not tear them down.
CAMEROTA: Ambassador Burns, Tom Fuentes, thanks so much for helping us understand this debate better. Let's get over to Chris.
CUOMO: All right so what happens now that President-elect Trump is questioning that Russia influenced the election? Where does it go from here? We're going to get the bottom line with one of the reporters who broke this story. Next.