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Roger Stone On James Comey Firing; Trump Meets With Russian F.M. And Ambassador After Comey Firing; White House Changes Story Again On Comey Firing; Reporter Arrested For Trying To Question Cabinet Member. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired May 11, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER, ADVISER TO NIXON, REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS: New York Times" on January 20th, page one, wiretapped the data used in probe of Trump associates. The story's pretty clear.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: No, but look, the suggestion was that there were things done to target you guys. Other than the FISA warrant that was gotten out for Carter Page, which means they had probable cause that a judge agreed with to do surveillance on --
STONE: FISA warrants don't require probable cause.
CUOMO: Of course, they do.
STONE: No, they do not.
CUOMO: They have specific attorneys who go in and they have to show --
STONE: The government gets a 99 percent rubber stamp from the FISA court --
CUOMO: Well, that's about the outcome, not on basis.
STONE: Probable cause is not required.
CUOMO: Well, of course -- what do you think they --
STONE: They're required in front of a normal federal judge, which is the way you'd normally get a warrant.
CUOMO: The FISA judge.
STONE: Right, so --
CUOMO: Do you think they just go in there and say here, sign this --
STONE: Yes, we have reason --
CUOMO: -- and they walk away?
STONE: We have reason to believe -- yes, I do, actually. CUOMO: They have to present evidence. The judge has to look at it, agree with the probable cause basis, then they get the warrant, but that was only one person.
STONE: I don't agree with that because --
CUOMO: That's fine. The other people who are involved here, Roger, we don't have any evidence that anybody was directly surveilled or wiretapped. That's why Comey came out and said I don't know anything about that. But look, even the points that you're making here -- good, bad, right, wrong -- again, indicate that that was the point of suspicion for the president about Comey. Why not just own it and say I think this is a hoax, I think that this is misleading. Comey's doing this and I don't think he should. He's got to go. That's what it seems, by all indications --
STONE: Well, and certainly what the media has decided the narrative is --
CUOMO: Thirty sources in some of this reporting of people in and around the White House saying exactly that.
STONE: I would like to have a full airing of the entire Russian question. Does anybody think that won't happen now? Just because you lost James Comey doesn't mean that this investigation will be ended.
CUOMO: But how does it help? You just sent a message that if I don't like the way this is going --
STONE: Because --
CUOMO: -- I'm going to take you out.
STONE: Because no one had any confidence in Mr. Comey. It is not incidental that he reopens the investigation into Hillary's email and three days later he closes it again saying the emails are benign. That's not true, by the way. The NYPD has got these and I've seen some of these emails. And --
CUOMO: But we don't know that that's true --
STONE: Well --
CUOMO: -- right? You're talking about the Weiner email --
STONE: But you will because they will ultimately be public, in my view. But the point is, after that we don't see a great resurgence by Hillary Clinton. I think Mr. Comey's warn out his credibility. I don't think the American people believe him anymore because they're not sure where he is or what he's doing. Clearly, the president came to believe that.
CUOMO: The sources inside the FBI say that the morale suggestions are inaccurate that were in this memo that Rosenstein drafted hastily and then gave to the president. There are people who are cited in it. Alberto Gonzalez;Ayers, who worked for Bush 41; Bush. The Bush former deputy A.G. said I think it's a sham, the basis of this. Alberto Gonzales said boy, the timing here raises a lot of big questions. Why create a canard? It would be legit to say everything you're saying right now and, therefore, Comey has to go.
STONE: It's interesting because my sources in the Bureau, mostly at the agent level, are pretty happy. They believe the agency had become politicized under Mr. Comey. They're very unhappy about that.
CUOMO: Fair criticism, fair criticism, but again, it goes to timing.
CUOMO: You had a long time to get rid of him if that's what was bothering you.
STONE: Well, you make a good point. I would have fired him from day one but the president decided to give it a chance to see how it worked and I think he made the right decision.
CUOMO: And you say there are no legitimate questions. I want to give you a chance to respond to this.
CUOMO: It was one hell of a coincidence how you were frontrunning that emails were going to come out about Podesta --
STONE: I never said anything of the kind.
CUOMO: -- that Hillary was going to get a beating. I have your tweets. You know what you said.
STONE: Never -- show me the word 'email.' What I said was Podesta's time the barrel will come.
CUOMO: Yes, well --
STONE: Translation --
CUOMO: -- what is that supposed to mean?
STONE: Here's what it means. His business activities with his brother Tony, and Bill and Hillary Clinton -- the gas deal, the uranium deal, the bank deal -- that they would all come under scrutiny. They were. There were over 100 stories between the time I tweeted it --
CUOMO: It was just a coincidence that --
STONE: No --
CUOMO: -- the DNC emails that were his winded up coming out after you said that?
STONE: No, it was -- this is subjection. It's conjecture on your part. Sure, I'd seen opposition research on their business activities. It was clear that this was newsworthy and would come out. I had no advance knowledge that WikiLeaks would hack his email. I never said it, I never predicted it. I didn't know what form this would take.
CUOMO: Well, you predicted he was going to get hit --
CUOMO: -- you predicted that Hillary was going to get hit --
CUOMO: -- and then they got hit.
STONE: I didn't say #WikiLeaks. "Bloomberg" --
CUOMO: But you did say you were talking to Assange a lot.
STONE: No, I said that we had an intermediary who told me that --
CUOMO: Yes, but you were like bragging about it. You were saying I've got a back channel to Assange.
STONE: I was tipped on sources. Do you have them? I have them.
CUOMO: I do, but I'll tell you what. If someone then came to me and said hey, that guy Assange, the Intelligence Community believes he's just a mouthpiece -- a delivery device for Russian-hacked information.
STONE: Where's the proof -- where's the proof of that? That's not true either but here, I guess, is the point. WikiLeaks --
CUOMO: You don't think that Russia was behind --
STONE: No, absolutely --
CUOMO: -- the --
STONE: Julian Assange has not worked for the Russians. That's an assessment of the FBI. When they say it's --
CUOMO: This is 17 agencies.
[07:35:00] STONE: All headed by political appointees that are holdovers from Obama. These are the people who told us Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. These are the people who denied that we were trafficking POW's to third-party countries in rendition where they use torture. These are the people who said that the attack on Benghazi was caused by an anti-Islamic video. Why would we believe them? Their track record for credibility is not very good.
CUOMO: So you believe that there is a 17-agency, I guess, conspiracy to mislead the American people about the source of the hacking?
STONE: I believe that our intelligence agencies have become politicized. They are riddled with neocons unhappy with the outcome of this election because they want a war over Syria. They want a no- fly zone. Donald Trump has no illusions about the Russian system or what a bad guy Vladimir Putin is.
CUOMO: He doesn't ever say that.
STONE: But he'd -- but he'd like to try to negotiate peace before we go to thermonuclear war.
CUOMO: But he never calls out Vladimir Putin despite good grounds to do so.
STONE: I don't think he --
CUOMO: It does raise questions.
STONE: I don't think you attack somebody you're going to have to sit down and try to negotiate world peace with.
CUOMO: The president attacks people he's going to have to sit down with on a regular basis. You know that. It's part of his style, but not Putin.
STONE: Again, I don't think he has any illusions about the Russian gulag, about the -- about the corruptness and horrible system they have where --
CUOMO: Why doesn't he say it?
STONE: -- they oppress gays, they oppress women, they oppress Christians --
CUOMO: Why doesn't he say it?
STONE: -- they oppress Jews. Perhaps he will but I don't think right in front of a negotiation which we're clearly going to have. I don't think Syria is worth going to war over and I don't think the president thinks so either.
CUOMO: That's a fine position. Then we have yesterday. Lavrov comes out with our Secretary of State, mocks the media asking questions about the Russian investigation. The media's not allowed in. You have a picture with Putin with the Russian ambassador and the president. We get the information from Russian media sources. What kind of message is that supposed to send?
STONE: I'm not sure I understand your question. The president obviously has not only an obligation but it's a formal part of his job to meet with the Russians.
STONE: They have thermonuclear weapons. They're probably our greatest adversary --
CUOMO: Absolutely you should meet, that's great. But to have Lavrov laughing at the American media while the Secretary of State stays mum, to have the president --
STONE: Well, in all honestly though, the --
CUOMO: -- or have the White House shut out the media from that meeting --
STONE: The American --
CUOMO: -- so we're forced to get information from Russian sources.
STONE: The American media has continued to promote the myth of Russian collusion without any evidence. I'm ready for evidence. Right now what we have is accusations. "The New York Times," again, on January 20th, says the intelligence services have emails and records of financial transactions that prove Russian collusion. On the 31st, they add intercepts of phone conversations. OK, where are they? Show us the evidence. Don't say you have it, show it to us.
CUOMO: Well, first of all, it is completely normal for a federal investigation to not display its evidence. If it weren't for Comey and what he decided to do with the Hillary Clinton investigation nobody would even entertain what you're saying right now which is yes, they should put out their evidence right now.
STONE: Now, wait a minute.
CUOMO: They don't do that. You know they don't do that.
STONE: Adam Schiff -- well, first of all, the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate have access to this information. Mr. Schiff says, on March 22nd, he's seen more than -- consequential evidence --
STONE: -- of collusion, and on April 2nd there is none.
CUOMO: That's what he says.
STONE: And then on April 2nd he says there are none.
CUOMO: That's right.
STONE: Which is it? Dianne Feinstein repeats on the Senate -- in the Senate hearing --
STONE: -- this notion that I know in advance about the hacking of Podesta's emails.
CUOMO: The tweets raise questions.
STONE: No, they're -- no, they're coincidental. There's no proof they are.
CUOMO: Coincidences raise questions. STONE: That's subjective -- that is -- that is supposition on your part. But, then later in the day --
CUOMO: Suppositions raise questions.
STONE: Later in the day she gives an interview right here at CNN. She says there's no evidence of Russian collusion. Which is it?
CUOMO: But here's the thing. You know that investigations can take a long time. They can also bear no fruit but you know that it is premature to say show us the evidence right now -- we want to know. If there's collusion, where is the proof? It's premature and you know it is --
STONE: I know --
CUOMO: -- and it's creating a false expectation.
STONE: Chris, I know what's in it. My emails, I know what's in them. My phone conversations --
CUOMO: You're not the only person they're talking to.
STONE: And I've known Paul Manafort for 40 years.
CUOMO: He's not the only person they're talking to.
STONE: But I believe him. Carter Page appears to me to be inconsequential. If the Russians were colluding with Carter Page they were wasting their time. He had no influence in the Trump campaign -- none.
CUOMO: Right, but the question is was he connected to the Trump campaign and what did he know, when --
STONE: And he -- and he --
CUOMO: -- did he know it.
STONE: And he denies it, yes. And he denies it but let's let the process go forward. It's not going to be frozen if Mr. Comey leaves.
CUOMO: You just said let the process go forward.
STONE: Yes, so I'm --
CUOMO: So then stop asking for evidence right now when the process hasn't played out.
STONE: You're right. Let me testify. When's that happening? I've watched Feinstein, Sen. Warner, Sen. Franken --
CUOMO: Right, but now you have --
STONE: -- who is not funny as a --
CUOMO: Now you have a 'which is it' problem. You're saying where's the proof and then you're saying let the process play out.
STONE: Yes, by letting us testify openly. Let's have total transparency here. I'm ready, let's go. I'm not asking for immunity, don't need a subpoena. Tomorrow would be soon enough.
[07:40:00] CUOMO: Roger Stone, appreciate you being on to make the case here on NEW DAY.
STONE: Nice to be here.
CUOMO: All right. Alisyn --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: All right, Chris. The White House surprised that Democrats have issues with the firing of James Comey, the man in charge of the FBI's investigation of team Trump's ties to Russia. Many Democratic leaders now calling for a special independent counsel. So joining us is Democratic senator from Delaware, Chris Coons. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Good morning, Senator.
SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) DELAWARE, MEMBER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: I know you've been listening in to Chris' interview Roger Stone.
CAMEROTA: Your impressions?
COONS: Well, that was striking. In that long and discursive interview Roger Stone said a number of striking things. His understanding of FISA warrants, his open disrespect for the entire American Intelligence Community, and his repeated demands for evidence and insisting that this investigation should come to an end, Ithought were all pretty striking. He is giving a full-throated defense of the Trump campaign but I say there are significant and important questions that aren't answered.
The timing of President Trump's directed firing of FBI Director Comey raises more questions than it answers and I'm joining many of my colleagues in insisting that in order to restore confidence in the FBI and its investigation, both criminal and counterintelligence into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, we need an independent special counsel.
CAMEROTA: And Senator, why is that? I mean, are you saying that the committee that you sit on, Judiciary, and the Senate Intel Committee are just not capable of, you know, investigating this thoroughly or then holding somebody accountable?
COONS: No, Alisyn. I do have confidence that the Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing to make real progress. I'm encouraged by public reports that they're beginning to issue subpoenas, that they've complete their thorough document review, and that both Republican chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Vice Chairman Mark Warner are signing letters, signing subpoenas, and making progress. But the FBI investigation -- the counterintelligence investigation, which is separate, needs to be done in a way that is independent.
President Trump claimed that his reason for firing Director Comey was to restore confidence in the FBI because he was upset about the handling of Hillary Clinton's emails. It's just strange credibility that a guy who led chants of "lock her up" during his campaign is suddenly five months into his presidency really concerned about how Hillary Clinton --
COONS: -- was treated.
CAMEROTA: But, I mean, are you saying --
COONS: So I think we need to answer those questions.
CAMEROTA: Understood, but are you saying that you need a special commission or special prosecutor or special counsel because you don't think that the FBI investigation is now independent?
COONS: Well, those are different things. A special commission -- I don't think we've got clarity that that's needed yet. That would require legislation and I frankly doubt Republicans in the Senate would stand up and support that. A special counsel can be appointed without any new legislative action. The most important thing here is for all of us in the Senate to get to the bottom of why Comey was fired. If President Trump doesn't nominate as the next director of the FBI someone who is independent, someone who is a career federal prosecutor, then I think the questions are only going to get louder and the demands for an independent counsel are only going to get stronger and more bipartisan.
CAMEROTA: Rod Rosenstein, the deputy A.G. -- "The Washington Post" has reporting that CNN has not been able to match -- they're just using a single source -- that they say that he was so either caught unaware or just disappointed that he feels that he was used as the catalyst for the firing of James Comey and he was so upset at being used that he threatened to resign. Do you believe that you and the American public will hear from Rod Rosenstein about what went down there?
COONS: We should. We've asked Republican Majority Leader McConnell to put all senators in one room, one time, and put in front of us Attorney General Sessions to answer questions about why he didn't respect his recusal from this matter. To put Rod Rosenstein in front of us to answer who's idea it was and why his charging document wasn't professional and didn't cite relevant statute so that we can get to the bottom of this. That will give us more clarity about who chose to fire the FBI director, when, and why. And then if we know that information we can take appropriate steps.
Alisyn, this is a greatly concerning moment. This is a moment where either the president has fired the FBI director because he didn't like how he treated Hillary Clinton or there's a real attempt at obstructing justice going on here. This FBI investigation is picking up speed and my concern and the concern of many of my colleagues is that the FBI director was fired because it was beginning to get too close.
CAMEROTA: And, I mean, are you saying this morning that you feel that without an independent investigation of some kind, as you've just spelled out, that we won't get the answers to this? That the FBI won't be able to get to the bottom of it. That your Senate committees won't be able to get to the bottom of it?
COONS: I have a lot of respect for the professionals at the FBI and I know there are thousands of dedicated law enforcement officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI -- career folks who just want to their jobs. My concern is that this looks like a politically motivated firing where an attorney general who had recused himself, interjected himself, or a president who had personal motivations to try and end an investigation into collusion between his campaign and the Russians took a politically motivated action. If we can't clear that cloud how will the public, how will those of us in the Senate have confidence in whatever conclusion the FBI reaches?
[07:45:35] It's in our national best interest to get to the bottom of this. There is no doubt that the Russian hacked our election in 2016. We need to protect our 2018 and 2020 elections --
COONS: -- as we see the Russians take aggressive action against our allies in Europe. We need to get to the bottom of 2016 if we're going to defend our democracy.
CAMEROTA: Senator Chris Coons, thank you for making time for NEW DAY.
COONS: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Chris --
CUOMO: So, a reporter was arrested for shouting questions at the health secretary, Tom Price. Did officers go too far? We'll play you the evidence, we'll talk to the reporter, and then you can decide, next.
CUOMO: A reporter from West Virginia claims police arrested him for shouting questions at Health Secretary Tom Price at the state's capitol building. Audio from Daniel Heyman's phone captured the encounter. Here it is unedited. Listen for yourself.
[07:50:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HEYMAN, REPORTER, PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Price, I've heard that domestic violence is going to be a potential preexisting condition. Do you think that's right or not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: We appreciate it very much. HEYMAN: Do you think that's right or not, Secretary?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: Sir, do not get close to her. Back up. (INAUDIBLE).
HEYMAN: Secretary Price? I heard that domestic violence is going to be a preexisting condition. Do you think that's right or not? Do you refuse to answer? Tell me no comment. You're not going to comment, then don't comment, but tell me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Heyman was eventually arrested and charged with willful disruption of governmental processes. He is now free on bond and Daniel Heyman joins us now. Good to have you on the show.
HEYMAN: Hi, Chris.
CUOMO: What do you make of the arrest and charges?
HEYMAN: Well, I was just trying to do my job. I think that they really didn't need to do that. I mean, they could have told me to back off, to go away. I mean, at one point in the tape you hear them -- you hear them tell me to get back from Kellyanne Conway and I didn't even realize she was there until they said that. I would've -- I would've been perfectly happy to do that. They didn't need to arrest me.
CUOMO: So, their defense of their action is you can say whatever you want, first amendment right, but you can't do whatever you want and that you were leaning in aggressively, I guess, with your phone or something. What does that mean to you, that suggestion?
HEYMAN: I have no idea what that means. I mean, leaning in -- I mean, I was certainly trying to get my phone close enough to Sec. Price to be able to get a decent recording if he said anything, which he didn't. but, you know, that was all I really wanted was an answer to my question and I didn't -- I didn't -- I wasn't trying to get into anyone's personal space. I wasn't trying to approach him -- just close enough to be able to record his response.
He said in New Hampshire the other day that this was not part of a press conference. Well, he hasn't held any press conferences. He didn't hold one here and I don't think he held one in New Hampshire, and he hasn't made himself available. If there were a press conference I would have --
HEYMAN: -- stood up, asked my one question, and then sat down.
CUOMO: With the benefit of hindsight, when we hear that voice on there saying back up, don't -- whatever the voice says about getting too close to somebody -- you say that person was Kellyanne Conway -- do you think you may have overstepped your bounds in terms of the --
CUOMO: -- physical space around Tom Price?
HEYMAN: Well, in that case -- in that instance I was probably too close to Kellyanne Conway because I didn't realize she was there. I mean, I just assumed that Sec. Price was there and everyone else was staff. I didn't -- I didn't know she was on the trip and, frankly, really wasn't interested in anything, you know, to do with her. Yes, you know, I probably would've been perfectly happy, you know, not to have, you know, concerned the security about whether or not I was too close to her but I really -- I wasn't, you know. I didn't want to get into her personal space either.
HEYMAN: In fact, I was focused on the secretary.
CUOMO: Price's response -- on Wednesday, he commended the police in West Virginia for doing what they thought was appropriate -- arresting you after you'd been shouting questions. And he did say, to your point about the press conference, "That gentleman was not in a press conference." Is that a meaningful distinction to you and what are you going to do about this?
HEYMAN: It's not a meaningful distinction. I mean, anyone who's worked in this profession for more than a week has gotten involved in a situation where you try to get a comment from someone walking in and out. I mean, if you watch the news long enough you'll see it.
HEYMAN: We do this constantly and it's a public space. It's also worth point out that to get into the State Capitol of West Virginia you have to go past a metal detector, so everyone in that building is disarmed except for the police. What we're going to do about it, you know, I really am not sure. We're waiting for the process to move forward. We don't really know when there's going to be hearing. We -- I've been told that the best strategy, and I agree with this, is to fight the charges until we know a little more about what's going to happen.
[07:55:03] CUOMO: And they didn't say anything to you -- the cops -- when they were arresting you about why they did it?
HEYMAN: They did. They said that I was -- I was being too aggressive. They also said that the Secret Service -- which no one as far as I could tell was identified as Secret Service so I guess that's why they're secret, you know, that I saw. But apparently the Secret Service told the Capitol police, you know, get this guy away from -- get this guy away from us. And we had -- you know, I talked to the police back and forth there. They were just doing their job and they pretty much handled it, you know, the way you would expect of an arrest. I mean, I think the police have an instinct towards being cautious and, you know, OK.
CUOMO: Daniel Heyman, I appreciate your take on the situation. We'll keep following it. Thank you for being with us on NEW DAY.
HEYMAN: You bet.
CUOMO: Alisyn --
CAMEROTA: There is a revealing new interview, Chris, with President Trump in "Time" magazine. Why the president says his White House is so combative. That's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very simply, he was not doing a good job.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: When you fire probably, arguably, the most respected person in America, you better have a very good explanation.