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U.S. Airstrike Responsible for Civilian Deaths in Iraq?; Trump Wall Street Bubble About to Burst?; Republican Congressman Under Fire. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired March 27, 2017 - 15:00   ET




SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Now, I can't say 100 percent that I know anything what he briefed him on.

What I can tell you through his public comments is that he has said that he had multiple sources that he came to a conclusion on. So, to the degree to which any of those sources weighed on the ultimate outcome of what he came to a decision on, I don't know. And that's something that frankly I don't even know that he discussed with the president.

QUESTION: So it's possible?


SPICER: Anything -- anything is possible.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring Manu Raju, CNN's senior congressional reporter.

And, Manu, it's secretive what happened with Devin Nunes going to the White House, not a lot of light shed today by the White House on that, even though it was there at the White House complex. What are you learning?


The fact that there was a source that Mr. Nunes met with on White House grounds is a key revelation today. For days, Chairman Nunes has not said anything about who the source is, how he learned this information, whether or not -- this was the criticism has been whether or not this was engineered in any way by the White House to help give the president some political cover as he's facing all these questions about that tweet that he issued a few weeks ago saying of course he had been wiretapped under the orders of President Obama.

Nunes has not confirmed that, but by suggesting there was some surveillance which incidentally picked up some Trump team communications, it gave the White House some ammunition to push back, but today saying that his source he met with on White House ground and reviewed it at a nearby facility suggests that there's a lot more to the story than was first publicly revealed.

Now Spicer saying there were multiple sources, but we don't really have any confirmation there was multiple sources who were involved in telling Mr. Nunes this information. We only really know there's one source, according to Mr. Nunes, and somehow that he had to review this in a classified facility on White House grounds, and presumably someone at the White House we have heard to authorize Chairman Nunes to actually go and review the classified reports.

Spicer saying at that briefing he doesn't know if anyone cleared him or Nunes is required to get cleared to get into the facility. So more people seem to know about this information and, Brianna, we actually don't even know specifically what were in those intelligence reports.

It's something that Nunes himself has yet to brief members and show members on the committee this specifically intelligence. So we will see if he does do that in the coming days, if he's able to obtain it from the source. But the fact that he even revealed that this happened on White House grounds much different than last week, when he would not go anywhere near who the source did.

He did -- Nunes did tell a group of reporters just a couple hours ago it was an intelligence source, suggesting it did not come from the White House. But perhaps someone at the White House may have known about it, as Sean Spicer was not able to rule that out, Brianna.

KEILAR: Manu Raju on the Hill for us, thank you so much.

I want to bring in our panel now.

Pete Hoekstra, he's a former Republican congressman from Michigan and he is the former House Intel chairman. We also have Patrick Murphy, former Democratic congressman from Florida and a former member of the House Select Intel Committee, and Maeve Reston, CNN national political reporter.

Congressman, to you first. You have seen how this has unfolded and the way the current House Intelligence Committee chairman has done this. Now he's under fire from Democrats who are saying it seems like maybe you got together with the White House to give the White House cover for Trump alleging that President Trump wiretapped him.

What is your read on this?

PETE HOEKSTRA (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: My read on it is, I'm fine with the chairman. When you're chairman, you have the prerogative. There's a reason you're called the chairman and not the ranking member and you're part of the majority and not the minority.

My focus, I think the committee will very quickly focus on what was in these intelligence reports, who saw them, how they were collected.

KEILAR: But they haven't seen them yet. (CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: What do you think of that, when he apologized to the committee because he briefed Donald Trump before telling the committee? And he's told the committee I'm going to show you what I'm talking about, but they haven't seen it yet. Should they see it? Do you feel like the -- is this the way you would have done it when you were chairman?

HOEKSTRA: Again, I don't know everything that's happened in the last week surrounding this, but absolutely the committee will see it. They will see all these documents and they will go through it with a fine- tooth comb.

And these documents are probably available in multiple places. They're available if they got to the White House. The White House doesn't do intelligence collection. They don't write intelligence reports. Most likely, these reports came from the NSA, but it's also possible they could have come from the CIA or the FBI. So, there's multiple copies.

KEILAR: Or more than one place, which might explain why you would have to look at it at the White House.

But knowing that it -- and as we understand it, there really seems to be -- this is maybe one place aside from the Situation Room where a person who is cleared to see this kind of information could go. It's a secure area.


It's called a SCIF for classified information. Did you as chairman ever find reason to go to this area to view...


HOEKSTRA: There's multiple areas in the White House complex that would be secure.

KEILAR: Did you ever go to this one?


HOEKSTRA: I don't know which one he went to. I met with the DNI, the CIA director, the vice president, the president in various secure facilities either in the White House, the West Wing or the Old Executive Office Building. So that's not that unusual.


I want to bring in Patrick Murphy.

I know you're going to have a different perspective on this as a Democratic former congressman. What is your read on watching how all of this went down and also what things really to focus on? What are the things that are of particular importance and maybe which things are not, as someone with your intelligence experience?

PATRICK MURPHY (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, quite frankly, this is not how the committee is supposed to operate.

This is about bipartisan committee that is supposed to be completely arm's length from any sort of partisan nonsense. And I think the timing here is very important. It was just days before Chairman Nunes went to the White House that the FBI director came out and verified that the Trump team is in fact under investigation for working with the Russians.

Days later, he shows up at the White House. His Democratic colleagues don't know. His Republican colleagues don't know. It seems to be a bit of a dance right now. Sean Spicer's remarks were very evasive, in my opinion. I think they are trying to come up with a bit of a story to -- quote -- in the president's words -- "vindicate" him for his tweet that Saturday morning.

And it's just so ironic to me that the chairman and every Republican on that committee last week spent the entire time talking about leakers, not the substance of the committee. And then what does the chairman himself go and do is leak information that nobody else on that committee has.

It's awfully suspicious. And I think the chairman has pretty much proven himself not to be an independent source here and is more of a Trump surrogate still to this day. This is way too important to mess with. We have way too many concerns and important situations that need to be addressed for us to have a partisan chairman who is supposed to be investigating the president and his team.

KEILAR: What do you make of this going to the White House complex and getting this information and then it appears briefing the president on it?

As someone with some background when it comes to classified intelligence information, does that tell you something that maybe the layperson wouldn't understand?

MURPHY: Yes. I have never heard of anything like this on the committee. If anything, if there are -- the chairman and ranking member are going to get some top, very high-level information before the entire committee is briefed, they would do it together.

The Republican and the Democrat go and they do it together. And then the committee finds out immediately thereafter. There were a couple circumstances that that happened while I was on the committee. So for the chairman to do this and what appears to be him trying to escape without people knowing, but thankfully the press and other folks called him out for it, is now trying to come up with a story of why he did that, which is why he apologized.

But he still hasn't given the right information or any information on this source and what was said to the actual committee. So I think they are trying to come up with a story right now. And they are trying to get some help from the White House. KEILAR: Chairman, is that true they go together, the ranking member

and the chairman?

HOEKSTRA: Sometimes. Sometimes, it happens. Sometimes, it's not. Sometimes, when I was a chairman, I would go get information together. Sometimes, I would go alone. Sometimes, Jane Harman and I would go together.

When I was the ranking member, I can tell you there were days I kind of felt left behind as well.

KEILAR: All right.

Maeve, when you look at comparing especially what's going on in the House when it comes to investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and then what's going on in the Senate, the way that you have seen it conducted in very different ways, what does this do to Devin Nunes' ability to carry out an investigation that's seen as legitimate?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Clearly, it sort of torpedoed his credibility this week, because it's allowed this big mystery surrounding where he went and when and who he briefed and when has given the Democrats a lot of running room.

And we still don't have a lot of information about whether this was something nefarious or not. I think that the best thing here obviously would be for everyone to get more information. It was so interesting in the briefing today with Sean Spicer saying he didn't know the answer to a lot of the reporters' questions.

They are pretty straightforward questions. And it seems curious that the White House wouldn't want to find out more about it. So, I think, for everyone here, a little more transparency would be helpful, but I think it will certainly ramp up the calls for an outside investigation into all of these ties, because the Democrats don't feel comfortable with what Chairman Nunes has done.


KEILAR: Maeve, Congressman Hoekstra, Congressman Murphy, thank you so much to all of you.

MURPHY: Thank you.

KEILAR: And a programming note. Congressman Nunes is going to join Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM live at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. You will have to tune in for that.

Another day, another dip on Wall Street. Is the Trump bubble on the verge of bursting?

Plus the president's love of FOX News coming back to bite him a bit again. Hear why and how conservative media seems to be at a crossroads during the Trump administration. And mystery Mar-a-Lago. Democrats are demanding that President Trump release his visitor logs of people who walk into his Florida resort. Do they have a case?



KEILAR: I think our tax code is outdated. And, frankly, on the business side, we're uncompetitive. There's a reason that companies are leaving America to go to other places, because the same reason sometimes companies move from state to state.


Our corporate and regulatory system has become unattractive for a lot of companies that want to either manufacture here, grow up or begin here or want to return jobs here. I think the president recognized that. Business leaders from around the country -- it is not a partisan issue.


KEILAR: President Trump's big loss on health care is actually translating into losses on Wall Street. Right now, the Dow is down nearly 50 points.

If it ends the day in the red, this is going to mark eight days in a row that the Dow has finished down. This is something that hasn't happened since 2001.

I want to bring in Shelby Holliday. She's politics and business reporter with The Wall Street Journal."

And, Shelby, it seemed like Wall Street was feeling good. They thought that Donald Trump was going to be able to make strides when it came to tax reform. And maybe now they are not so sure.


After the election, the market was fueled by optimism about Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda, his magic elixir of tax cuts, regulatory reform, investment in infrastructure. Now the market is being pulled back a bit by skepticism. A lot of investors are concerned that Donald Trump might not be able to do all the things he has promised.

And as a result, after the health care bill failed, as a result, they are thinking tax reform may not be that easy. Maybe we don't get infrastructure funding. May maybe we don't see all these policies that Trump has promised would propel by 3, 4, 5 percent growth this year.

KEILAR: I want to correct myself. I said this hasn't happened since 2001. I meant 2011.


KEILAR: If this is an eighth day down.

What is the effect when you're talking in real terms, Shelby, for people who, you know, they are not managing hedge funds? They are just going about their business as regular, everyday people.

What does it mean when you're looking at this indicator that Wall Street could be losing confidence? Anything?

HOLLIDAY: Well, I have to say it's worth noting that the market is still up roughly 10 percent from the election. So, overall, stocks are doing pretty well. But there are real concerns about retirement portfolios, 401(k)s.

People who money in the market and aren't necessarily stock pickers will still feel the impact of a pullback. And some investors say we're due for a correction. That means a withdrawal of 10 percent or more from stock highs, from market highs. So we could see a little bit of pain.

As I said, we're still up from Election Day, which is a good thing. But, generally, investors are just looking at Donald Trump's ability to get things done. And if you look at the past week-and-a-half since the market started falling, it's not hard to see why they are a little bit concerned.

You had Donald Trump's travel ban blocked by a Hawaii judge. You had Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin take a very protectionist tone at the G20 summit. You saw health care fall through. You saw the Russia investigation.

They are looking at a president that, despite being the deal maker and despite being the closer, may not be as successful as everyone had hoped.

KEILAR: All right, Shelby Holliday, thank you so much for that.

And up next, President Trump openly promotes a FOX News show. Then it comes back to bite him. Hear why coming up.

Plus, is the U.S. to blame for the deaths of dozens of civilians in Iraq? This includes women and children. We have some serious new questions about this today. We will be live from Iraq.



KEILAR: It is no secret that President Trump is a fan of FOX News, but his recent admiration of judges from the cable channel has come back to bite him.

The most recent, the president over the weekend openly promoting Judge Jeanine Pirro's show, but the first thing then out of the gate on her show was this:


JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS: Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill.


KEILAR: The president had to a do little bit of cleanup after that.

We're told that he called Speaker Ryan to make clear that he was not endorsing that message by Judge Pirro.

Here's what White House spokesman Sean Spicer had to say.


QUESTION: Did he regret tweeting to his followers that they should tune in to Judge Jeanine Pirro, only to tune in and then have her call for House Speaker Paul Ryan...


SPICER: He's a fan of the show. That's it, plain and simple.


QUESTION: But does he owe Speaker Ryan an apology, then?

SPICER: He and Speaker Ryan talked extensively over the weekend.

QUESTION: Did they talk today?

SPICER: I don't know if they talked today. I think they talked both Saturday and Sunday at length. But, again, he's a fan of the show. He tweeted out support of it. That's it, plain and simple.


SPICER: I know what a lot of people think.


SPICER: I just said it.


SPICER: He doesn't -- he spoke -- for what? For supporting a shooting on FOX? No.


KEILAR: Let's discuss this now.

Sarah Ellison is contributing editor at "Vanity Fair" and she's the author "War at The Wall Street Journal." Also, we have Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator, Republican consultant and former George W. Bush White House staffer, as a well as a veteran of two GOP presidential campaigns.

Margaret, you look at this, where some people have said it seems odd that these things coincided. He certainly seems to have quickly said to the speaker, I don't endorse this. But when you look at him chiming in and promoting a show like this, it gets him into trouble.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It definitely gets him into trouble and one of the things you look at in Trump's background is he does have a history of knocking people back on their -- keeping people on their heels, right, pushing people back so that nobody knows exactly what's coming at them as a way of keeping people honest and maintaining control, sort of fostering chaos, so that he's the one who is making the shots.

That could be what was happening here. Or it may be what Reince Priebus said yesterday is simply that he didn't know that Jeanine Pirro was going to say that.


Either way, it certainly sows suspicion and certainly distrust in terms of the relationship between the speaker and the president moving forward.

KEILAR: At the very least, Sarah, it's a terribly timed coincidence.

SARAH ELLISON, "VANITY FAIR": I think what you're seeing is, FOX News is sort of mirroring the Republican Party itself, which they have been in sort of opposition for so long.

And they have had these voices that are somewhat outside the mainstream and are railing against the mainstream media and have been for a long time all the sudden having an audience of one that is more than they could have possibly imagined.

The link between the president and FOX News now is closer than anything that Roger Ailes, the founder, could have imagined when he was running the show. Now Rupert Murdoch himself has long wanted to have a line into the powerful people in government.

And here he is running the network at a time when FOX really does have the ear of the president and therefore we're all hearing much more about FOX than we ever have before.

KEILAR: Let's listen to something that -- an exchange that Sean Hannity, who is a FOX News host, had with veteran journalist Ted Koppel on CBS Sunday morning.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": We have to give some credit to the American people that they are somewhat intelligent and that they know the difference between an opinion show and a news show. TED KOPPEL, CBS NEWS: Yes.

HANNITY: You're cynical. Look at you.

KOPPEL: I'm cynical, because...

HANNITY: You think we're bad for America? You think I'm bad for America?

KOPPEL: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: You do?

KOPPEL: In the long haul, I think you and all these opinion shows...

HANNITY: That's sad, Ted. That's sad.

KOPPEL: No, you know why? Because you're very good at what you do. You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.


KEILAR: Margaret, react to that.

HOOVER: Look, the problem I have is as a Republican and as somebody who has identified as conservative most of my political life is that Ted Koppel is not calling ideology not -- that forgets fact on the left bad for America. Right?

If you're independent newsman that is critiquing fake news and that is critiquing the loud partisanship and ideology that has overtaken our political system and gets in the way of pragmatic policy advances, you have to hit the left and the right equally if it you're going to have any sort of real credibility as an independent newsperson.

And I don't see him saying that about Rachel Maddow or anybody. Pick your lineup from MSNBC every night after 8:00, Lawrence O'Donnell. Hit both sides. Don't just say Sean Hannity is bad for America, because there is sort of corruption in our political system along the lines of partisan propaganda sort of news, which isn't really news, but of course it's narrow and intense niche audiences that are going to hear their own voices and their own opinions reinforced. And Hannity does that.


KEILAR: Sarah, even FOX News is not monolithic. You certainly see Sean Hannity being a friend of President Trump's.

FOX News is not monolithic. And just the conservative media is -- and you talked about this -- certainly not monolithic. So when you look in the scheme of things, you have Breitbart, for instance, and there is FOX News, and then you have a lot of fiscally conservative Republicans who have a lot of issue with what President Trump is saying who are in the conservative media. Where do you fit FOX News into that?

ELLISON: Interestingly, FOX has always styled itself as sort of the outsider network. They are the outsiders kind of throwing stones at mainstream media.

FOX News has become very mainstream itself. And one of the things, as you mentioned and as I talked about in my piece this week, is that it's by from far a monolithic presence even within FOX News. You have people who are more news-oriented. Then you have opinion commentators.

But within the conservative media landscape, you have, yes, there are the Breitbart Newses. You have "The Weekly standard" types of Republicans who are really outraged at what some of the things that Republicans, that Donald Trump is doing.

So I think that FOX News fits into one of the more mainstream voices, but within its own ranks, there's real division. And you saw that with both Judge Napolitano and Jeanine Pirro more recently. These sorts of statements are the kinds of things that the reporters, the Bret Baier and Shep Smiths of the world, are really sort of aghast at.

KEILAR: All right, Sarah Ellison, Margaret Hoover, thank you so much to both of you. I do appreciate it.

And coming up: the U.S. investigating reports that more than 100 civilians may have been killed in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq. We're live inside Iraq with the latest just ahead.