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James Comey To Testify Tomorrow Before Senate Panel; Cosby Accuser Testifies About Alleged Sexual Assault; Trump Announces New FBI Director In Tweet; Washington Prepares For Most Anticipated Hearings In Decades. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 7, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:25] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I thinkif you compare the two that Watergate pales really, in my view, compared to what we're confronting now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That's former director of National Intelligence James Clapper this morning in Australia talking to the press. He was referring to what it was like when he was a young Air Force member dealing with Watergate and the fears about what it meant for the government versus what they're dealing with today with Trump and Russia. Now, Clapper's successor, Dan Coats, is going to testify before a Senate hearing in just hours about Russia and, potentially, his interactions with President Trump.
Let's discuss the implications with Republican Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah. He serves on the House Intel Committee which is conducting its own probe on Russia's election meddling. Thank you for joining us, Congressman.
REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R) UTAH, MEMBER, HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE: Good morning, Chris.
CUOMO: Do you share Clapper's concern that Watergate pales in comparison to what we are facing today with the Russia interference and the speculation about the president?
STEWART: Well, Ididn't hear his entire quote. It's hard to -- excuse me -- it's hard for me to comment on it without hearing its entirety. I'll tell you what, all of us are concerned about Russian interference. I've been saying that since -- excuse me -- since last September and it's clearly something that the American people are concerned about. But again, I didn't hear his entire quote.
CUOMO: But basically, that's what it was about is that because of the threats to the institutions of government and the intrigue surrounding what may or may not have happened with involvement of the president's staff that he believes that this is of more concern on one level than Watergate was.
[07:35:15] STEWART: Well, I think it's much more than that, though. I mean, we're talking about Russian interference not only in the U.S. but other elections overseas. It's not just with Mr. Trump's actions, it's things that happened well before that. That's potentially breaking into voting machines, it's propaganda, it's the planting of false news stories, it's leaks that result -- and many times result in damaging our national security. Taken all together, I think many of us are concerned about all of those things. It's not just, perhaps, any inappropriate activities between previous -- President Trump's previous campaign officials, it's much more than that.
CUOMO: Now, we just had another member of the House GOP on and he said I'll tell you what I want to hear from Comey, I'll tell you what the real story is. What happened on that tarmac when former President Bill Clinton went onto that plane and met with that Obama official? Is that what you think the main question is now in the midst of this Russia investigation, is what happened back during --
CUOMO: -- the campaign?
STEWART: No, no. I think we're well beyond that. I mean, that was concerning to many of us at the time but I don't think that's the primary thing that we're focused on at all. Again, I think this is what we know. We know that the Russians were going to interfere. I went to Moscow last August and I came home and I said to people they're going to try to meddle with our elections, no question about it. We know that there's been unmasking -- in some cases, inappropriate unmasking. We know that there's been leaks. There's an awful lot here that many of us are concerned about and, you know, the president -- or presidential candidate Clinton and her meeting, that's not much interest to me at this point.
CUOMO: All right. So let me ask you something here. Today is the FISA oversight hearing -- the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. That's where the government has to go -- it's been doing it since 1978, under scrutiny now. You said we know that there was some wrongful unmasking. How do you know that and what was wrongful?
STEWART: Well, I think at the end of the day that would be real to the American people and it's wrongful if it was done for political purposes. If there wasn't clear --
CUOMO: But you said you know. Do you know that that happened for political purposes?
STEWART: Well, let me just say that I think at the end of this investigation the American people will see what was -- what occurred there, and we know that some of that was taking place by people in political positions and what appears to be for political purposes. There doesn't appear to be any clear national security concerns that you could -- that you could assume or that you could draw where they would ask for that unmasking.
And then we know also from that that there have been leaks. That is very troubling. And look, I've supported 702. I think it's a very important tool as we try to protect American citizens and when you see that what's happened overseas in just the last week or the last few days you have to realize how important that is. But I've got to tell you, as someone who has supported 702, as a former military officer, as someone who sits on the House Intelligence Committee now, I don't know that I would vote to reauthorize it today --
CUOMO: Well --
STEWART: -- not without some type of reform or some type of assurance that it won't be used and manipulated for political purposes. And that's my fear is that it has been and we've got to be able to assure not only my fellow Republicans and Democrats but the American people that that won't occur. And to this point, I don't know that we can do that.
CUOMO: Well look, they're certainly important questions and they were before all of this but I hope you can put some meat on the bones of those allegations because we've had a lot of different intelligence officials say that they don't know that any of this was improper and that if you had legitimate questions about Russian interference, unmasking would have been a no-brainer, so it will be interesting to hear what DNI Coats says about that today.
Let me ask you about a different aspect of this though, as well. If Coats says yes, the president asked me too, to see if I could, you know, get involved in this and back Comey off his investigation -- if Comey confirms that tomorrow and if Comey says I never told the president that he wasn't under investigation, what will those types of disclosures mean to you?
STEWART: Yes, look, I think if the president inappropriately tried to interfere with any type of investigation that he should be held accountable for that. But --
CUOMO: What would that mean?
STEWART: Well, I don't know. I mean, I think there's a technical question there. Is it illegal, is it obstruction? I don't know the answer to that. I don't think we have near enough information to draw that conclusion yet. It's important to know that Mr. Coats' office gave us a statement yesterday saying he never felt like the president inappropriately tried to interfere with any investigation and I think that's the key to this. Previous to that we had, again, an anonymous leak that had allegations, but his statement isn't anonymous. It's on the record and I think that's the key and the most important point.
And I think that, Chris, this is a good illustration of what so much of that -- or this investigation and its process has been. It's been where you have anonymous leaks, anonymous sources making accusations, often that are denied by the people who are involved and directly denied and yet, the stories out there, it's one of the things that concerns many of us.
[07:40:10] CUOMO: Absolutely. There's no question that leaks have to be authenticated. The information has to be followed up. A lot of has held to be true which is why you have the FBI and a special counsel finding grounds for an investigation. But with Coats and Comey coming up, what comes out of their mouths will make a big difference going forward.
CUOMO: Thank you so much, Congressman, for your candor on this issue.
STEWART: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, be well. Coming up in our next hour we're going to talk to the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Stewart is on the House side of what's being done. We're going to talk to Democratic Senator Mark Warner. What does he want to hear coming out of these two days of testimony before his committee?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: All right, Chris. Meanwhile, Bill Cosby's accuser breaking her silence after 12 years. What she said on the stand and how the embattled comedian reacted.
CAMEROTA: Day three of Bill Cosby's sexual offense trial gets underway this morning. His accuser, Andrea Constand, is expected back on the stand, this time to face cross-examination following dramatic testimony about what she says happened to her. CNN's Jean Casarez has been inside the courtroom and she joins us live from Norristown, Pennsylvania. Give us all the latest, Jean.
[07:45:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. It was a packed courtroom yesterday. You could hear a pin drop when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania said to the judge, "Your honor, we call to the stand Andrea Constand."
CASAREZ: After 12 years of silence, Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand has now spoken, confronting the comedian directly in court, describing under oath what she says Cosby did to her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. Constand testifying that Cosby presented her with three blue pills and told her "They're your friends. They'll take the edge off." I said, "I trust you. I took the pills and I swallowed the pills down." Twenty to 30 minutes later Constand explained that her speech became slurred, her vision blurry, and she was seeing double.
Cosby, who has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault, shook his head in disagreement a Constand testified. "I was trying to get my hand to move or my legs to move but I was frozen." That's when Constand says she lost consciousness and was sexually assaulted by Cosby. "I was jolted awake and I felt Mr. Cosby's hand groping my breasts," she said. Cosby, at times, lowered his head and put his hand over his face as Constand graphically described the alleged assault.
Cosby's alleged pattern of sexual assault has been described at length outside the courtroom by at least 50 other women.
LYNN NEAL, COSBY ACCUSER: He built my trust by pretending to be a friend. He drugged and raped me.
KACEY, COSBY ACCUSER: Next, I remember waking up in a bed with Mr. Cosby naked beneath his open robe.
CASAREZ: Constand reported the alleged assault one year later. Upon cross-examination the defense questioned her about 72 calls placed between her and Cosby following the alleged assault, highlighting the inconsistencies between the story she told police and her testimony on the stand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Cosby, do you have anything to say about the testimony?
CASAREZ: Cosby has admitted having sexual relations with Constand but said at all times it was consensual.
CAMEROTA: So, Jean, you were in there. What was the atmosphere like in the courtroom?
CASAREZ: Well, there are -- very serious. There are three of the 50- plus accusers of Bill Cosby that have traveled from all over the country that are in the gallery. Bill Cosby is at the defense table on the far end. His chair is lowered so he looks very small at this point. The jury focused on Andrea Constand. Andrea Constand very confident. Appears to be very, very -- a simple woman, very down to earth. She'll pause before an answer and then she'll say it very deliberately though, and if she says something that's incorrect she'll say, you know, that's wrong. That's not correct what I may have said back in 2005. So today, continued cross-examination and this is the one case, Alisyn, where Bill Cosby could lose his liberty. He is facing up to 30 years in prison.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, the stakes are so high and the testimony obviously riveting. Jean, thank you for bringing it all to us -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Some breaking news from the president himself on Twitter. I guess it is an official statement after all. The president says he has a new FBI director and he gives us the name. We'll give it to you, next.
[05:52:35] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CUOMO: All right, there's breaking news and what it is is as important as how we received it. President Trump announcing in a tweet that he has a new FBI director nearly a month after firing James Comey. Here's the tweet. It reads, "I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new director of the FBI. Details to follow." Now, we must assume that despite what we've heard from the White House this is an official statement from the president and it will be his policy move to bring in the next director by this name. Wray is well known in government ranks. He was involved with the Department of Justice as an assistant attorney general from 2003 to 2005. He headed the criminal division there for President George W. Bush. He was in the Georgia field office before that, since 1997. He is a very respected, white collar litigator. He was Gov. Chris Christie's personal attorney during the Bridgegate situation. He went to Yale Law School, Alisyn. He is a well-regarded man. He does have a pretty interesting and deep government history but the scrutiny is now just about to begin. A little bit of controversy there that the president is bringing in someone from outside the agency. We'll see how that plays.
CAMEROTA: Right, and his name was never floated. I mean, among all the names that we have heard about for the past several weeks his was not one of them. So we'll dive into all of that, Chris.
Meanwhile, the White House is facing these two critical days as Congress gets set to question heads of the intelligence agencies and the fired director of the FBI. So what is like for the Obama administration to watch all of this play out? Here with us is close friend and former senior adviser to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett. She also has a new initiative, "The Galvanize" project, which we will get to as well. Great to have you here.
VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, FORMER CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON WOMEN AND GIRLS, CO-CHAIR, THE GALVANIZE PROGRAM: Thank you. It's so nice to be in the studio.
CAMEROTA: Oh, yes, it's great to have you in the studio. That really helps. So what is it like for you and President Obama to watch the Trump administration unfold?
JARRETT: Well, Alisyn, I think it's the same as it is for the American people. We're all watching and I think we're obviously concerned about some of the steps that have been taken that have such a devastating impact on the American people.
So, for example, the health care bill that passed the House coupled with the budget that's been proposed will be devastating for the American people -- 23 million who would lose health insurance, $800 billion in Medicaid cuts. The impact of not having women able to go to Planned Parenthood which provides vital services to women. Two and one-half (sic) people in the course of the year. One in five women who would in their lifetime use Planned Parenthood. So there are lots of reasons to be concerned, just focusing on that for an issue.
[07:55:20] CAMEROTA: Is this as you expected it to go? Worse than expected? Better than expected?
JARRETT: Well, obviously, we were rooting for a different candidate and the reason why is that we thought that what President Obama was doing was moving our country forward in a range of different ways, improving our economy, providing health care, ensuring our safety here in the United States as a top priority. And so, sure, this would not have been our choice but I think what's important is that the American people realize that our democracy is always hard, it's always complicated. We take these zigs and zags and they have to be engaged. Our country's only going to be as good as the Americanpeople insist that it be.
CAMEROTA: But, in particular, for you to have to sit on the sidelines and watch some of the signature issues of President Obama's administration such as environmentalregulations, the Paris Climate Accord, Obamacare, be dismantled, how frustrating.
JARRETT: Well, keep in mind as President Obama mentioned yesterday about the Paris Accord, certainly it's a setback for the United States to not have a leadership role but I'm heartened to see so many businesses, mayor, governors, led by the former mayor of New York, Mayor Bloomberg, saying we want to still be a part of this, we're all compact, and I think that gives us a reason to be optimistic.
CAMEROTA: President Obama spoke last night. He was in Montreal at an event. Let me just play for you, as well as our viewers, what he had to say about all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In an age of instant information where T.V. and Twitter can feed us a steady stream of bad news and sometimes fake news, it can seem like the international order that we've created is being constantly tested and that the center may not hold. And in some cases that leads people to search for certainty and control, and they can call for isolationism or nationalism, or they can suggest rolling back the rights of others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: How's PresidentObama feeling?
JARRETT: Well, what he went on to say is that there is still this opportunity and optimistic chance for us to work together and that as we try to face the challenges of the world that we shouldn't pull back, we shouldn't go into our comfort zone. We have to figure out ways of working with one another and that's where the solutions lie.
CAMEROTA: OK, that leads us to your Galvanized Program.
JARRETT: Yes, thank you.
CAMEROTA: What is Galvanized?
JARRETT: So last year, we had what we called "The United State of Women." Five thousand women from across the country, countless others watching online, all coming together to say what can we do to empower women, to ensure that every young girl has that same opportunity as young boys to grow up and achieve their dreams.
And so what we're launching across the country are these Galvanizing summits and we're going to start in my hometown of Chicago. Tina Tchen and I are going to host that one. Bring together women and really talk about how can we empower them, take control of our lives, ensure, for example, that every young girl has that chance to pursue her dreams. Focusing on our workplace -- these workplace values, whether it's paid leave, equal pay, workplace flexibility, affordable child care. The issues that every working family cares about, and how can we get women feeling empowered to be forces for positive change. And so we'll start it in Chicago and we'll have six around the country. And the whole goal is on the ground creating this grassroots effort to really empower women.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly, I just want to show you the group of GOP senators -- there's 13 of them -- working on health care right now. I'd like you to look at this picture. Which of these men do you feel represents women's health issues?
JARRETT: Well, let's just say I think the group would be improved quite dramatically if you included some of the 21 women who are in the Senate. I mean, ask yourself -- how comfortable would men be if a group of women were making decisions about personal health care issues that they might face, whether it's a vasectomy or a circumcision, or a test for prostate cancer? Do they really want that solely decided by women? I don't think so. We make better decisions when the people whose lives are impacted directly are at the table.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for putting a finer point on it with those examples, Valerie.
JARRETT: I thought I would. Making men squirm a little bit but it does make the point.
CAMEROTA: Yes -- good morning, everyone. Valerie Jarrett, thank you very much for being here.
JARRETT: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you. We are following a lot of new this morning including breaking news from the White House so let's get right to it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CUOMO: All right, good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, June 7th, 8:00 in the East, and we do have breaking news. President Trump announcing on Twitter that he has a new FBI director nearly one month after firing James Comey. This, with all eyes on Capitol Hill where in just two hours the Senate Intel Committee is going to begin two days of blockbuster hearings. Today, they're going to hear from the nation's top intel official, Dan Coats.