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Wiretapping Allegations to Trump's Predecessor; Legal Aid to Immigrants; Giving up Land for Security Sake; Huge Plan with Huge Budget; New Trump Brand Emerge. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 5, 2017 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committee exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016. Neither the White House, nor the president will comment further until such oversight is conducted.

President Trump spent the weekend incredibly frustrated that his staff would fail to contain reports about ties to Russia.

We're covering all angles of this story. CNN's White House correspondent Athena Jones is live near the president's Mar-a-Lago estate. Also with us, CNN's Crime and Justice producer, Shimon Prokupecz.

Athena, first to you. So, the White House calls the reports about politically motivated investigations very troubling, and therefore, they say Congress needs to investigate. What reports are they referring to?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. That's a very good question, it's the question everybody is asking. What was the president talking about when he made these unsubstantiated allegations. What was he basing those allegations on? We've asked the White House repeatedly.

I can tell you that a senior administration official suggested yesterday that the president may have been referring to a Breitbart news story that had been circulating around the west wing and that claimed that President Obama was trying to somehow undermine the president or the then-candidate Trump's presidential campaign and now his administration.

But otherwise, it's not clear what other reports they may have been referring to. The former -- the minority leader, the democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi talked about that this morning on State of the Union. Take a listen.


NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: That is just ridiculous for the President, President Trump to say that President Obama would ever order any wiretap of an American citizen. Any president that's just not -- we don't do that. And so, this is -- it's called a wrap up smear. You make up something and then you have the press write about it and then you say everybody is writing about this charge. It's a tool of an authoritarian.


JONES: And that's of course another question here. Are they somehow referring to the reports about the unsubstantiated allegations? It all gets to be a little bit confusing. But the point of the matter is, Pamela, that a lot of folks, not just democrats but also republicans are asking what the president is talking about and asking for him to present that evidence, if he has any. Pamela?

BROWN: All right. So Shimon, what are you learning about President Trump's wiretap claim?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN PRODUCER: So as you know, Pamela, yesterday we reported that senior -- former senior U.S. officials within the Department of Justice told us basically knocked down these reports, these allegations from Donald Trump claiming that there was some wiretap on his phone.

Today, we've also learned that not only was there no intelligence sort of FISA warrant issued to at least eavesdrop on his phone, there was also no criminal investigation that allowed for Donald Trump's phone to be tapped.

So, this morning, we got our first on the record comment from the former head of the DNI. He sort of stunned I think, Chuck Todd in his basic flat denial of Trump's claims. And here's the -- here's the sound now.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: I will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign. I can't speak for other title three authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, I was just going to say, if the FBI, for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would or would not know.


TODD: You would be told this.

CLAPPER: I would know that.

TODD: If there was a FISA court order on something like this.

CLAPPER: Yes, something like this absolutely.

TODD: And at this point you can't confirm or deny whether that exists. CLAPPER: I can deny it.

TODD: There is no FISA court order.

CLAPPER: Not to my knowledge.

TODD: Of anything at Trump Tower.



PROKUPECZ: And so there you go. I mean, it was really our first on the record denial from an Obama administration official saying to really the world, like, we really don't know what Trump is talking about because we never did this.

Clapper was the head of the National -- DNI. He was the director of the National Intelligence Agency that was overseeing this investigation, gathering intelligence sort of into the hacking of the election by the Russians and the DNC to see, you know, was there any collusion. Did people from the Trump organization, did someone who was working for Trump or any of Trump's associates try to meddle in the election.

He also said this morning that there was no evidence of that based from what he saw at the time, they didn't find any evidence of that.

[17:05:01] BROWN: Yes. I mean, he certainly didn't mince words there. Athena, CNN has new reporting about conversations Trump is having with aides and friends at Mar-a-Lago, what are you hearing about that?

JONES: That's right, Pamela. Just a little bit of context. We've been reporting since yesterday that the president is angry with much of his team. He's angry that the good reviews after his speech on Tuesday night before the joint session of Congress and the good headlines that came out of that speech have been overwhelmed about all of this other news about his aides, Trump campaign aides and in current administration aides talking to Russian officials.

And also by the fact that his Attorney General Jeff Sessions have now recused himself because he had that previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

And my colleague, a White House producer, Kevin Liptak is reporting that his angry mood -- he was already angry on Friday before he left the White House, it followed him down here to Mar-a-Lago. And that people who have conversations with him at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the last couple of days are saying that he has continued to express frustration that that well-received address to Congress had been lost in this world of these reports about other matters.

He also, the sources say, angrily raised the wiretapping issue unprompted in his conversations with his friends and acquaintances at the club. And though, he did not specify where that information that he was basing his accusations came from, he did say that he expected an investigation to prove him right.

So we know that the president continues to be very, very upset about the fact that the focus is not on his speech and other matter. It's on -- it's on this Russia ties.

BROWN: Well, and of course, the tweets, now the focus is on what he tweeted yesterday morning. Athena, Shimon, thank you very much to both of you.

And now I want to bring in my panel now, CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier, and our CNN political commentators, Andre Bauer, the former republican lieutenant governor of South Carolina, and Bakari Sellers, a democrat who formerly serve as the South Carolina State Representative.

Kimberly, what did you make of Clapper's answer there with Chuck Todd?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that is a pretty definitive answer letting us know that there was Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order ordering surveillance of anyone in the Trump campaign.

Now we don't know if there was a FISA order for surveillance of Russian individuals who would be talking to the Trump campaign. Clapper didn't go into that. But it's pretty clear that it's going to be tough to find evidence that Trump is alleging exists.

The amazing thing to me is that the president hasn't condemned Moscow after the intelligence community presented evidence that they had tried to hack the election. But now based on as near as we can tell, a Breitbart news report or some news report out there he's making these accusation against the last president.

BROWN: And even fellow republicans weren't sure what to make of President Trump's wiretap -- wiretapping claims. Take a listen to Florida Senator Marco Rubio.


MARCO RUBIO, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I have no -- I'm not sure what it is he is talking about. Perhaps the president has information that is not yet available to us or to the public. And if it's true, obviously we're going to find out very quickly. And if it isn't, then obviously he'll have to explain what he meant by it.

So, I don't -- I'm not sure what the genesis of that statement was, but while I imagine we're going to learn more about it over the next few days one way or the other.


BROWN: So, Andre, is this a case of shoot first ask questions later? Did the president just throw out the charge yesterday and now wants to see if there's proof of one of the most stunning accusations ever labeled by one leader of the free world against his predecessor? ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, to me, this is exactly

why the people of America are becoming less trustworthy of the media. I mean, we've had accusations for months now from one news source the New York Times that said there were definitely unnamed sources that said the Trump campaign had close tie to Russia. But we've had no proof to back it up.

Now we know who's actually making the accusation as far as wiretapping. The President of the United States has made that accusation. Not unnamed sources so he's willing to put his name out there. So, I think it's great that Jeff Sessions has recused himself with the Russia issue so that he can full court go ahead and do a special investigation on this.

I guarantee you President Trump does know something and there's more out there that we probably don't know about. For too long we've underestimated this president and time and time again he's been right when he's been underestimated when people said it would never happen or he was absolutely incorrect.

BROWN: Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that one of things that this administration does not have is any trust or credibility. When you look at the fact that not only as the president, the vice president, Sean Spicer, the chief of staff, Kellyanne Conway have gone out of their way and said that there been no contacts with Russia.

[17:10:04] We found that Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions lied about that. We found out that Jared Kushner and J.D. Gordon, and Carter Page had all these contacts.

But to come back to what the president said in regards to this outlandish comment about the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, this isn't the first time he's made outlandish comments. I mean, he said that three million people illegally voted. He said that the unemployment rate of African-Americans were 50 percent plus. He also said that we had 96 percent unemployment throughout -- that 96 million Americans who are unemployed.

I mean, this president makes these statements all the time and these statements are just flatly lies. And so, now we have to go back and prove a lie to be a lie which is a little bit illogical. But the media has to do its job and do that.

This is not something that is going to take us away from our eye being on that ball, which is the fact that apparently there are issues with Donald Trump, his campaign, his presidency and the Russian government.

BROWN: And Andre, I mean, doesn't the fact that the president is now saying, well this needs to be investigated and I'll be proven right, insinuate that he doesn't have proof to back up the accusation he made about the former president?

BAUER: Well, I think whatever proof he gives you're not going to believe it any way. And the democrats were always falling for special investigation, so, here they get one.


BROWN: Well, that's not fair. I mean, we're all waiting for proof. And let me just ask you this.

BAUER: Well, I remember the press saying look, Donald Trump is never going to run, he is never going to win the primary, he never can beat Hillary, win the minorities and he'll lose in a landslide, if he wins the markets will tank, all of those things, exactly the opposite happens.

SO, the media loves to push a narrative.


SELLERS: But to...

BAUER: Again, with no named sources they've continued to push this narrative of Russia without any proof whatsoever, called for special investigations. We know who's actually making the accusation here and he's willing to put his presidency on the line and say there are -- there are issues that I think with this.

And so at least we now hear who is making the accusation. As far as the last couple of months we've heard no proof whatsoever as far as how the Russians affected the outcome of a presidential election.

BROWN: So you're giving him credit for putting his name out there with this accusation yesterday. But doesn't that lead to two scenarios, either he is wrong, and so, you know, he made this up, there's nothing to it or a court approved wiretapping of his phone which means there was probable cause to think there could be collusion or something. I mean, aren't those the two scenarios here, Andre?

BAUER: Yes. And they're very, very strong. And so, if he feels strongly enough to put that out in a tweet and know he's going to have to at some point in time answer to that, I think that speaks volumes.

BROWN: OK. Bakari, President Trump as we know has had a rather complicated history with former President Obama. Here's a quick reminder of that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it.

And we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

He is the founder of ISIS. He's the founder of ISIS.

I have great respect. The meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half and it could have, as far as I'm concern, it could had gone on for a lot longer. Our president is the greatest divider I've ever seen.

There's one line called place of birth. I'd like to see what he said.


BROWN: So we've had a statement from the former president spokesperson denying the wiretapping story. But is it time for Mr. Obama to come out and shut this down himself, Bakari?

SELLERS: Not at all. I mean, the president has served this country admirably for eight years. He doesn't owe us or Donald Trump anything else. I mean, I think that there's a new New York Times story out right now where Director Comey is asking the Department of Justice to stand up in unprecedented fashion and shoot this down. And that's...


BROWN: I mean, we have not confirmed that, just to put that out there, but go ahead.

SELLERS: And that's fine. I mean, the point being is that this president lies and he lies often. My good friend Andre was going down these litany of things that Donald Trump actually, you know, quote, unquote "disproved media" and everybody else about.

Well, let me tell you what he's never come out and actually apologized for and disproved. When he's come out and said that, you know, Barack Obama was of Muslim dissent or Kenyan for this whole 'birtherism' lie.

The fact that three million people voted illegally in an election, that Barack Obama founded ISIS. And now he's simply stating that Barack Obama wiretapped his phones. None of those things have been, none of those things will be proven to be true. Donald Trump lies and he doesn't have to -- there's nothing to hold him accountable for those lies. And we'll move on next week and there will be a new lie that he is going to tweet or rest his case on.

BROWN: I want to get to you, Kimberly.


DOZIER: I will...

BROWN: OK, Go ahead.

DOZIER: I was just going to say if I can jump in and say.


DOZIER: One of the things that all of this back and forth is having the effect on is his support among the national security community, law enforcement, intelligence. There were a lot of people who were very much behind his presidency who I was speaking to in the fall, who I'm in touch with now and their reaction is dismay. [17:15:08] Some say well, maybe these tweet storms that seem to change

the channel on what we're talking about and get the media looking in some other direction are sort of a crazy like the fox strategy. But others I'm speaking to say, you know, every time we think this presidency starts going in the right direction and has some stability, he himself knocks it off course and they're losing confidence.

BROWN: What do you have to say to that, Andre?

BAUER: Well, again, there are unnamed people. Nobody is sticking their name out there. And so you can always find -- the media has a great knack of finding unnamed people that make all these accusations. So, I'd like to see that person come forward and say here's why I did support Donald Trump and now I don't. You don't ever see that.

DOZIER: Andre, there are accusations that is just taking the mood...


BAUER: I think if you ask the average American...

DOZIER: ... of how these people feel who are Trump supporters. They're concerned.

BROWN: And I have to say, I mean, you know, you say people are putting themselves out there.


BAUER: Again, we don't know who that Trump supporter is.

BROWN: James Clapper, the former leader of the DNI our former chief came out and said there was that Donald Trump's accusations were wrong. That was on the record this morning, Andre.

BAUER: He was on the record saying he didn't know about it.

BROWN: He said he did not know -- and he would not if there was a FISA warrant to tap Donald Trump's phone. And he left -- you know, in January. And so he would have known if during the campaign if this accusation that Donald Trump tweeted was in fact true.

And then you have deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee- Sanders, she was asked this morning if a Breitbart article, Breitbart article, rather was the source of the president's claims. Let's take a listen to what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the bigger thing is, you guys are always telling us to take the media seriously. Well, we are today. We're taking the reports that places like the New York Times, Fox News, BBC, multiple outlets have reported this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: OK. So Andre, what is your reaction to that, basically she's

saying that this was based on these media reports without any sort of hard proof to back up what the president has tweeted.

BAUER: Well, you know, I don't know what, where he come from with this. But I feel like if he was willing to put this out there, he must have some information that I don't have, and maybe my friend Sarah Huckabee doesn't have as well.

BROWN: But what if it ends up he doesn't. I mean, what if it ends up it really was based on these articles. How would you feel about that?

BAUER: And that select -- I think that is more than a fair question. And if it is in fact, he has no way to back it up, then it doesn't help him when he tries to convince the American public of something else. And so it's a credibility issue. He's got to be able to back this up and he's got to be able to substantiate it.

SELLERS: Where were that....


BROWN: We got to wrap it up, Bakari. I'm sorry so much. I'm sorry. But we'll have -- you know you're on all of the time. All of you guys are on all the time, so you'll have another chance to say what you want to say. Thank you to the three of you for that really interesting and important discussion. We do appreciate it.

BAUER: Have a blessed weekend.

SELLER: Thank you.

BROWN: You, too. You, too.

And coming up on this Sunday, Mexico now offering legal aid to immigrants as President Trump pushing tougher deportation standards. We're going to have live reports.

Plus, a Texas rancher explains why he'd give up part of the land that's been in his family for centuries so that the government can build a border wall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure that a wall will stop all of this. I would like to see it stopped.


BROWN: And a border wall is just one big ticket item on the president's budget wish list. He also wants billions for defense and a trillion for infrastructure. But is his spending plan realistic. A former Trump adviser joins us live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Well, Mexico is moving to protect its citizens in light of tougher deportation standards here in the U.S. It's the direct request of the Mexican president; more than 300 workers will be hired to staff so-called immigrant defense centers inside Mexico's embassy and its consultants across, consulates, rather, across the 50 states.

CNN's Lelya Santiago is in Mexico City. So, Leyla, Mexico is spending $54 million on this so how will these centers operate?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: yes, it's a pretty penny for what their goal is, which is to protect Mexicans in the United States. How will this operate? Well, essentially this will be an exclusive center for legal aid and consular services.

Think about this, Pamela, as if the Mexican government is sort of rallying all immigrant advocates that will be able to help their people in the U.S. and putting it in one place to help Mexicans in the United States that may have fears, may have concerns, may need extra legal aid given some of the changes between the two governments.

Now, I did check in with a few of the biggest consulates in the U.S. and they're telling me that there's quite a need for this, that these concerns over deportation, these fears over what could happen with a new administration really driving the traffic to the consulate.

And it really should be of new surprise that this is how the government is responded. Because over and over again, the president and the foreign minister have both said human rights is a big topic for them, a big priority. Something that they even discussed while Secretary Tillerson and Kelly were here visiting in Mexico.

At then here's another interesting point where this was discussed at the U.N. The foreign minister said hey, look, if there any human rights violation on our immigrants in the U.S., we will not hesitate to seek justice.

So, this is something that's always been important and always been talked about. But just in the last few weeks, actually after the visit from the U.S. diplomats here we're really see them pushed for it. And now, Pamela, we're starting to see them take action, by putting these centers, these defense centers in the 50 Mexican consulates, Mexican consulate in the U.S. And included in their mobile consulates as well.

[17:25:08] All right. Interesting development there. Leyla Santiago, bringing us the very latest from Mexico City. Thank you so much, Leyla.

And turning now to impact your world. Many refugees from various nations have settled in the U.S. But one charity is helping mothers with their young children adjust to their new life in America.


JENNIFER GREEN, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, REFUGEE FAMILY LITERACY: These women share a common experience of being displaced from their home countries with young children. Refugee Family Literacy program is a two-generation program providing education for refugee mothers and their young children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could get hurt surprising someone like that.

GREEN: Children come to our school and participate in an early childhood development program so that when they start some day school they'll hit the ground running. Mothers are upstairs learning English. Our students are from about 20 different countries.

HILA MAY, PROGRAM PARTICIPANT: I'm from Burma, before 2007. In Burma is the government isn't good. It's not safe.

GREEN: They didn't want to leave their home country. They leave because they did not have any choice. That common experience transcends language. These women are able to support each other sometimes in ways that even I can't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to look at the front page.

GREEN: I think a misconception is that most refugees were uneducated and impoverished. Many refugees have strong education, strong skill sets and so much to offer us in the United States. We think of them as uneducated just because they don't know English. Really it's our loss.



BROWN: Well, as undocumented migrants make their way across the southern border, a Texas border rancher who lives on land his family has owned for centuries is fed up. And he told the CNN crew who traveled to the border that he'll gladly give up part of his family's land to make room for Donald Trump's border wall.

Here is CNN's Polo Sandoval.


RUPERTO ESCOBAR, TEXAS RANCHER: I was born in February 26, 1944.


ESCOBAR: About 100 yards from here in that direction.

SANDOVAL: Ruperto Escobar's roots run deep into these 600 acres of South Texas soil.

ESCOBAR: My ancestors lived here as well.

SANDOVAL: Like six generations before him.

ESCOBAR: That is the Rio Grande right there.

SANDOVAL: The 73-year-old farms and ranches this riverside property in Star County, Texas.

ESCOBAR: Through the years we've worked the Grande. Took off the brush and leveled it out.

SANDOVAL: This rugged and dusty land has carried the name of the Escobar family for centuries long before it was annexed by the United States or even made a part of the Republic of Texas. By all accounts, this teacher, farmer and rancher is as American as it gets.

ESCOBAR: That property has been in our family since around 1767.

SANDOVAL: Escobar says as long as there's been a border there have been smugglers determined to cross it illegally. His father saw bootleg tequila sneak over the Rio Grande during prohibition. These days it's people and drugs.

ESCOBAR: I'm not sure that a wall will ever stop all of this. I would like to see it stopped.

SANDOVAL: You won't find many neighbors who share Escobar's views in this part of Texas. He is, after all, a conservative in a predominantly blue region of a red state.

ESCOBAR: Our president in his own party beat 16 other candidates. What does that tell him? That the American people were listening to him. So, at some point I started listening to him as well. The tires of course are right there.

SANDOVAL: Escobar says he's seen firsthand the face of immigration from his doorstep.

ESCOBAR: So we've been moved by many of these cases, absolutely. And so many of them come and tell us their stories about their hunger pains over there about the corruption, about the illegal activities going on in their country. It breaks our heart.

SANDOVAL: Something else that will break his heart, when he has to part with something he holds dear.

ESCOBAR: If my county needs part of my property, I would be willing to give it up so that we can continue to be the land of the brave and the home of the free like it always has been for immigrants from all over the world that come here seeking to be a part of this country in a legal way.

SANDOVAL: This man gave Trump his vote, now he's prepared to give Trump his land.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Star County, Texas.


BROWN: And our thanks to Polo Sandoval.

And coming up right here on this Sunday in the newsroom, from the wall to a trillion dollar infrastructure plan to more money for defense. President Trump has a lot of spending on his to-do list and he wants to do it all without adding to the deficit. Is that feasible? We'll do the math, up next. [17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Well, President Trump reaffirmed his pledge to increase defense spending this week. But that's not all. The president said in his congressional address that he wants to boost law enforcement and infrastructure spending as well. And then there's the matter of building the wall. But how much would all of this cost, as in taxpayers. What would it cost for us?

CNN's Tom Foreman breaks down the numbers.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even for a billionaire president, the budget proposal is a whopper.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

FOREMAN: Starting with a trillion dollars for infrastructure, new bridges, roads, dams, power lines.


TRUMP: Financed through public and private capital creating millions of new jobs.



FOREMAN: Also on the wish list, a $54 billion or 10 percent increase for the military, which already accounts for more than half of all discretionary spending. And of course...


[17:40:03] TRUMP: We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border.


FOREMAN: The president has said Mexico will pay for it. Mexico says no. But for now that's at least another $10 billion in the budget. But this may be the boldest claim about the plan.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: That is all of that without crisp -- without adding to the currently projected FY- 2018 deficit.


FOREMAN: That's right. The administration says it can offset all those costs with savings and spending cuts. For example, up to 25 percent of the money for the Environmental Protection Agency could go away, eliminating 3,000 jobs. The new administrator.


SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: We're going to roll back the regulations that have been in overreach in the past. That's going to be our focus in the near term and the budgeting process will play out.


FOREMAN: The IRS, the Department of Education and foreign aid are also on the chopping block. That aid is just a tiny fraction of overall spending but...


TRUMP: With $20 million in debt, can you imagine that, the government must learn to tighten its belt.


FOREMAN: So what's off limits? Entitlements, including Medicare, Medicare, Social Security, programs for unemployment and welfare, they are roughly 65 percent of the budget but for now the White House is refusing to touch most of them.

And Congress may hesitate to touch the president's budget at all. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has already suggested it's so loaded with political and real risks it's dead on arrival.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

BROWN: And our thanks to tom Foreman there. Let's discuss this further with Stephen Moore, he's a former economics adviser for the Trump campaign and a CNN senior economic analyst. Stephen, great to have you on.



BROWN: First question for you -- good to have you. President Trump is pushing for tax cuts but also big spending. So how do these numbers add up? Break it down for us.

MOORE: I cringed when I heard some of those spending increases that he talked about in the state of the union. I'm an old style fiscal conservative and you know, you're going to have to make some pretty substantial cutbacks in spending. Let's not forget this deficit if we do nothing, Pamela, is headed to a trillion dollars over the next few years.

So the outlook is bleak if we do nothing. We got -- we need to do a couple of things. I mean, first of all, we do need to get the economic growth rate up. If you can get the economic growth from say, 2 to 4 percent, you substantially increase the amount of revenues that come into the government and that does a lot for bringing down the deficit. But then you have to look at the other areas of the budget that need

to be cut. Now, that report that you just showed mentioned a lot of them. By the way, there are a couple minor details that I would take issue with. Medicaid is not off the table. In fact, Obamacare and Medicaid are intertwined and there are going to be substantial reductions in Medicaid, and turning a lot of these programs back to the states.

And then the welfare programs, I think we can save a lot of money in welfare. I mean, my goodness, this is supposed to be the 8th year of an economic recovery and we have 44 million people on food stamps. We can get certainly a lot of those people on food stamps and into the workforce and paying taxes not consuming tax hours.

BROWN: But correct me if I'm wrong, Stephen.


BROWN: The president has been more reluctant than other people in his party, such as Paul Ryan, to make cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, right?

MOORE: That's true. That is true. And but just to be precise about what he said on the campaign and what he's saying now, is we shouldn't deal with Medicare and Social Security until we really get this economy moving again.

By the way, I think that's pretty good advice. You know, the job number -- job number one is put people back into jobs. And then when we get a more robust economy, then I think we can turn to, you know, doing things like raising the retirement age for Social Security and other reforms that would save money. But you're right. For the short term, President Trump has said no cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

BROWN: And there are certain GOP leaders like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have pushed back on President Trump's budget. In fact, Graham is taking issue with the president's cuts to the State Department. Listen to what he said at a town hall on this issue.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: This budget being proposed by President Trump, who I want to help, cuts the State Department by 30 percent. It stamps out.

Here's what I will tell you. If you want this war to go on forever, bomb them and leave. If you think you're going to safe by dropping a bomb and coming back home, you'll never be safe.


BROWN: So what do you think, Stephen? Do you think the president may amend his proposals as he hears more of these types of criticisms?

MOORE: Well, I disagree with Lindsey Graham that these agencies can't take 15 or 20 percent cuts. I mean, I've worked for the government. I'm in the -- I'm in the swamp as Donald Trump would talk about it.

[17:44:57] And look, there's huge amounts of waste in the federal bureaucracy and the Department of Energy and Department of Commerce, and the Department of Education that spends 50, $60 billion a year, very little of that money actually gets back to the kids that need the help.

So I do think there's -- and by the way, I think the American people agree that there's substantial waste in the way that the government spends money. So, I do think we're going to have to -- but I would agree with your contention here. It's very difficult to cut the budget.

Pamela, I've lived through, I go back to the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan tried it. I remember when we tried to do it under when Newt Gingrich took Congress and we did get some cuts with the cooperation of Bill Clinton. It's a very difficult thing to do because Congress like to play Santa Claus. They like to hand out favors, they don't like to take them back.

BROWN: All right. Well, we'll have to wait and see how this all plays out under the Trump administration. Stephen Moore, thank you so much for coming on.

MOORE: Thank you.

BROWN: And coming up on this Sunday, northern exposure, President Trump's sons face protesters at the opening of their new Vancouver hotel, but is there a conflict of interest lurking. That story next, live in the CNN Newsroom.


BROWN: We are back with a closer look at a new real estate venture that's prominently promoting the Trump family brand. This week, the president's sons were both on hand for the controversial opening of Trump Vancouver. It's a ritzy tower housing the hotel and condos.

President Trump doesn't own it but still benefits from the property. But the big question, is he playing himself at risk for conflicts of interest.

CNN Money's Christina Alesci reports.

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A glittering new building in Vancouver bears the president's name. His children on hand to celebrate the opening.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: I'd like to thank the press, just kidding.


ALESCI: The $360 million project was built by Malaysia's Holborn Group.


IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: You can't have a great partnership if you're not on the same page.


ALESCI: It owns the building and pays to use the Trump name.


JOO KIM TIAH, CEO, HOLBORN GROUP: President Trump was not here. Thank you for entrusting me with your family's coveted brand.


ALESCI: The project has been controversial.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything that this man stands for is everything that we are against as Canadians.


ALESCI: But could this gleaming tower house a potential constitutional violation.


NORM EISEN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE ETHICS COUNSEL: The Trump Vancouver property is an emoluments magnet.


ALESCI: The Emoluments Clause which bars the president from receiving gifts or payments foreign governments could be tested. Details of the contract are private. But real estate experts say the Trump's licensing fee is usually around 3 to 4 percent of each condo sold in the building. And that money comes from foreigners. Lots of them.


EISEN: When you have somebody who is a foreign national and who has foreign government associations making purchases, it's fair to ask who is actually paying for that unit.


ALESCI: For example, Mahmood Al Aradi is buyer here, he's a senior executive at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, a state-owned bank. The bank told CNN he bought a condo in 2014 using his own money, but he's just one of 214 buyers listed on the title search document reviewed by CNN.


EISEN: It is an opportunity for foreign governments or those who are the agents of foreign governments to purchase units in the property and by so doing to transfer foreign government cash to Mr. Trump.


ALESCI: Just before the president took office, his attorney sketched out a plan to avoid emolument violations.


SHEN DILLON, TRUMP ORGANIZATION ATTORNEY: That he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign made to his hotels to the United States Treasury.


ALESCI: But the plan only included hotel profits from foreign countries. Not condo or golf courses.


EISEN: Surely there's just as much you might say even more risk in a a property like this one where the purchase price is much more than just that of a hotel room.


BROWN: And that was Christina Alesci reporting there.

You're looking at some live pictures right here of Air Force One landing at Joint Base Andrews. President Trump returning from a weekend at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. A weekend that included the president accusing former President Obama without any proof of wiretapping his phones.

Coming up, we're going to tell you how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are responding to that. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


BROWN: So the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas is a busy destination for business travelers and others and offers plenty of things to see and do. But for those who want to see how the area looked back in the days of the Old West, the Fort Worth stockyards gives visitors a chance to saddle up ask step back in time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fort Worth is where the west truly begins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to that Fort Worth stockyards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in beautiful downtown Fort Worth stockyards what they call they call the cow town area. This was the hub of the stockyards and packing houses. We are probably one of the few remaining stockyards that are still up and around where you can actually see what it locked like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming here to Fort Worth stockyards is like stepping back into time. You can get the whole cowboy experience. We'll get you on the cowboy hat and put on a pair of boots, left you on a horse and you're ready to go.

We get a lot of people who have never been on a horse or even touched the horse. We'll take them down the trail and they can experience it without having to go too far. What I do love about horse riding is it could be the most busiest hectic day. I get on a horse and it's just a calming effect that they give you.


BROWN: And you're live in the CNN Newsroom on this Sunday. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Great to have you with us.

"I will be proven right." Those are the words from President Trump according to an interview with the Newsmax media outlet. You're looking at pictures of the president arriving at Joint Base Andrews after a weekend in Florida.

[17:59:57] A weekend that included him accusing President Obama of wiretapping his phones during the campaign, an allegation that President Trump provided no evidence to support. Both his predecessor and the former director of national intelligence say it's simply not true.