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Trump Slams Dems As "Disgrace" For Helping To Fund Dossier; On Board The USS Ronald Reagan; Clinton Campaign, DNC Helped Fund Dossier Research. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 26, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:33:05] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump slamming Clinton and the Democrats for denying that they knew anything about that infamous anti-Trump dossier.

A source tells CNN that Clinton did not know about the dossier but then was disappointed that it was not made public before the election.

And, sources tell CNN that a data analytics company linked to the Trump campaign reached out to WikiLeaks to get e-mails connected to the Clinton campaign.

Let's discuss this and so much more with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Good morning, Senator.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Good morning, Alisyn. How you doing?

CAMEROTA: I'm doing well.

Are you comfortable with this new reporting that the Trump campaign used a data analytics firm -- paid them millions of dollars -- and it turns out that the head of that firm reached out to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame to try to get more Clinton campaign e-mails?

JOHNSON: Alisyn, there are so many questions surrounding exactly what kind of influence Russia exerted on our campaign.

I've got a lot of questions in terms of what role the FBI played in this. I have questions in terms of exactly what role the DNC and Clinton campaign played in this, as well as the ongoing investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee in terms of possible connection to the Trump campaign.

So, there are so many questions swirling around here that we need to get to the bottom of this so we can move on --


JOHNSON: -- and address the serious issues facing this country.

CAMEROTA: Well, we have James Clapper coming up, as you know, former DNI head. So what questions do you have about the FBI and their role?

JOHNSON: Well, in particular, I -- you know, we have jurisdiction over the Office of Special Counsel and we've been asking the Office of Special Counsel to release the unredacted depositions of two FBI agents that gave those depositions when the Office of Special Counsel was investigating Hatch Act violations by Director Comey.

Again, what Director Comey did during the campaign, what was revealed about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, the lack of curiosity, the botched investigation in terms of her e-mail scandal. Now we find out that Director Comey was writing memos in terms of how he was going to exonerate her months before they actually interviewed witnesses. They destroyed evidence.

[07:35:07] There are a lot of questions surrounding the FBI's conduct during the whole Clinton e-mail investigation.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's move on because we have a lot to get through with you.

So let's talk about the state of the Republican Party and whether or not it is unified or not.

What did you think of your colleagues Bob Corker, who I know you sit with on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Jeff Flake speaking out so vocally against the president?

JOHNSON: Oh, that's really their choice to do that. I have respect for both Bob and for Jeff.

From my standpoint, I come from the business world. I tenaciously try and find areas of agreement.

I think the good thing about the Republican Party right now is we are very unified in trying to come up with a tax proposal that will actually grow our economy so that every American will prosper. So -- and it's shared goals in the areas of agreement is what, in the end, will unify our party.

CAMEROTA: OK, because when we spoke to Sen. Jeff Flake yesterday on our air it didn't sound as though the Republican Party was very unified. I mean, he said that he's had lots of conversations with fellow Republicans who are sort of cheering him on and who, themselves, plan to speak out against some of the things that he thinks have been really divisive coming out of the president.

JOHNSON: Well, Alisyn, it probably wouldn't surprise you for me to tell you that we have a broad spectrum of opinion within the Republican Party. That's always been the case, it always will be the case.

But again, what unifies us is we want to grow our economy so that every American has the opportunity to have a prosperous life for them -- themselves and their families.

So again, I just -- as a businessperson, I just try and really find those areas of agreement and we share the same goals. And I don't care whether it's Democratic or its Republican, we all want a safe, prosperous, and secure America. I want to concentrate on those. CAMEROTA: So the devil's in the details, as you know. And in terms of tax reform, yes, you're right. Everybody says of course, we want tax reform, for sure. And then when you dive into the details it gets a lot more cloudy.

So let's talk about some of those -- 401(k)s, right? That's what so many Americans have -- they've invested in. They want to know if you can guarantee that those will not be touched under any sort of new plan.

JOHNSON: Well, I wouldn't touch them, but here's where we're unified under.

The fact that right now, America's taxation system on business is probably the most uncompetitive in the world and so it's just a table stakes issue. We have to make America's corporate taxes competitive with the world, which is what the framework is all about.

Lowering that corporate rate down to 20 percent, making sure that the pass-through entities are also at that same basic level, about five percent differential -- making sure we maintain that differential. So in doing that, obviously that costs a fair amount in terms of revenue so now you start looking for how do you make up that revenue?


JOHNSON: I have my own ideas in terms of doing that --


JOHNSON: -- and the tax-writing committees have theirs.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and so do they include 401(k)s?

JOHNSON: Well, they were talking about that. I would not support that.

Again, from my standpoint, the way you equalize the treatment between pass-through entities and C corps is you make C corps pass-through entities. It solves an awful lot of problems. I'm hoping the tax- writing committees seriously take my proposal up.

CAMEROTA: Well, you're talking about those LLCs, the limited liability corporations --


CAMEROTA: -- right -- that are called pass-through entities.

And so, you want to do what with them? You want to raise the rate of what they're taxed at above 25 percent? You want to lower them? What do you want to do with those?

JOHNSON: What I'd like to do is leave the treatment of pass-throughs the exact same but take C corps, the big corporations, and make those pass-through entities. In other words, I want to make sure the owners pay the tax on corporate income.

Right now, we're having a debate, you know. Who really pays the corporate tax?


JOHNSON: Is it employees, is it consumers, is it the owners?

Let's take that argument off the table. Let's make the owners pay. It would be a true Warren Buffett tax.

And, by the way, it would shrink income inequality. It would make it more beneficial for low-income Americans to hold stock.

There's so many benefits to what I'm proposing. I really hope the tax-writing committees take up my proposal.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's interesting but I just don't want to let you go before I get the real answer on 401(k)s because so many people are listening with rapt attention here.

JOHNSON: I would -- I would not --

CAMEROTA: Hold on.

JOHNSON: I would not vote for it. I would not vote for it.

CAMEROTA: OK, so when --

JOHNSON: I think -- I think the president is pretty solid. He's not going to probably sign a bill that would have that in it. So hopefully, the tax-writing committees will take that off the table. They should.

CAMEROTA: OK, well, they haven't yet. As you know, Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, Republican, the top tax writer said that they may need to change the tax status of 401(k) plans to help pay for all of this.

JOHNSON: Alisyn, we need to encourage Americans to save more for retirement because over the next 30 years Social Security will have an $18 trillion deficit in terms of the number of benefits it pays out versus what it gets in the payroll tax. So this would be the worst time to disincentivize people from saving for their retirement.

CAMEROTA: Senator Ron Johnson, thank you. Great to talk to you about all of this.

JOHNSON: Have a great day.

CAMEROTA: You, too -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Tensions are rising between the U.S. and North Korea. CNN goes aboard a U.S. warship. There's training between the U.S. and South Koreans.

Brooke Baldwin is there and she's going to give us rare access on the USS Ronald Reagan, next.


[07:43:46] CUOMO: North Korea is ramping up its threat to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. A senior North Korean official tells CNN's Will Ripley exclusively that the world should take the warning quote "literally." The U.S. now flexing its military might, sending three warships to the region.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin was granted rare access aboard one of them, the USS Ronald Reagan. Good to have you back.


CUOMO: What can you tell us?

BALDWIN: So, I have been working for a number of months to try to get out to the region to hop on one of the aircraft carriers because essentially, the role of these male and female sailors is the front lines of any potential escalation with North Korea. I'd been working and working and they had initially told me the region was simply too hot to have media on board.

And then ahead of the trip to Korea all last week, I got a pretty incredible e-mail from the Navy saying we want to give you this rare embark on board with the CTF 70 carrier Task Force 70 and six or seven ships that are out there off the Peninsula.

Would you like to come aboard and just see what these men and women are up to in terms of not only -- what I wanted to see was the mission in hand, especially as we've all been covering all things North Korea and what seems like ratcheted up rhetoric, right, between Washington and Pyongyang. And also, talk morale.

[07:45:02] Here's a preview.


BALDWIN (voice-over): For a few hours in an undisclosed location, the U.S. Navy invited CNN on a rare embark aboard the USS Ronald Reagan somewhere off the Korean Peninsula.

This aircraft carrier serves as the front lines to any escalation with North Korea and is home to more than 5,000 American sailors.

Sacrifice is a word that carries profound meaning in these waters. Lieutenant Brian Allen and Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Sasha Hasbrouck are also parents, and rising tensions in the region brings an unwavering commitment to the mission.

LT. BRIAN ALLEN, USS RONALD REAGAN: I'm concerned about my mission, daily. All the action I'm going through on the flight deck every day. All the people that are working for me, keeping them focused with our mission -- our current mission, and staying ready so if something does happen we'll be ready to take care of it. BALDWIN (on camera): Do you feel that the region feels increasingly tense? Do you sense that out here because we certainly do at home?

SPECIALIST SASHA HASBROUCK, U.S. NAVY SENIOR CHIEF CULINARY SPECIALIST, USS RONALD REAGAN: I don't really sense it too much out here. I'm just concentrating on the mission of making sure that, you know, we have the three squares meal -- three square meals a day that we're feeding the crew and making sure that the crew is good to go.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Despite the unpredictability in this region, this mission among these sailors is strong. So how will President Trump's upcoming trip here to South Korea resonate among the men and women on the front lines?


CAMEROTA: Look at you. My gosh, what an assignment.

And so, did you -- did you have a chance to talk to them about, you know, the tragedies -- the recent collisions, the USS John McCain, the Fitzgerald where they lost 17 sailors?

BALDWIN: Right. Of course, I did. How could I not, you know, be in this part of the world and this all pertains to the Seventh Fleet. And they were tough but important questions to ask.

I talked to everyone from the top to the -- from the admiral, who they offered me, to the captain on the ship, to some of those sailors because they lost 17 sailors this past summer in what the Navy calls preventable collisions.

And then, there's the USS Shiloh, an issue of leadership, and that captain is now no longer on the ship, and issues of moral.

And bottom line, they said to me listen, it gets -- it's tough under conditions at sea, right, but given how tense it has become it's tough. But they said to me over and over they're out there to do their jobs, they are prepared for the mission.

They try not to delve too much into politics and what, you know, President Trump's presence on the Peninsula will mean.

But there's so much more from these sailors and it was truly an honor of a lifetime. Thank you, U.S. Navy for having us out there for just a couple of hours.

And please stay tuned to my show later today, two to four eastern, to see the full piece and really, what life is like in the middle of the ocean for 5,000-plus sailors.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right. So, this new revelation that Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC was part of the funding for the research that went into the now- infamous Trump dossier, does that mean anything to the Russia investigation?

We have the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, joining us next.


[07:52:18] CAMEROTA: So there are several key developments from the 2016 election today. How far did both campaigns go to get dirt on their opponents and how extensive was Russia's role? That question keeps coming up.

CNN's national security analyst and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper joins us now. Director Clapper, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: So what do you think of the idea that this data analytics company that was working with the Trump campaign -- they paid them millions of dollars -- said they, the data analytics company, reached out to Julian Assange at WikiLeaks who, as we know, is connected to Russia -- the Intel Community has confirmed that connection -- to try to get more e-mails from Hillary Clinton's campaign?

CLAPPER: Well, I think it's clear both campaigns were doing oppo, to use the term of our opposition research or more bluntly, getting dirt on each other -- on each other's candidate.


CLAPPER: And so, some of this reminds me of the classic line from "Casablanca," a 1940s movie --

CAMEROTA: That you're shocked?

CLAPPER: -- that's there's gambling here, I'm shocked. Or all this feigned indignation about this --

CAMEROTA: But is it different? Of course, there's opposition research and of course, candidates get dirt on each other. But is it different when you reach out to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, or no?

CLAPPER: Well, it could be. I don't know that there's a smoking gun here.

I think the important thing, particularly with respect to the dossier, is regardless of the intermediaries -- law firm, Cambridge Analytica, or whatever -- the issue is who compiled it, which was -- it was done under the auspices of Christopher Steele, who was a competent, professional intelligence officer who served in MI6, the anwar (ph) to RCIA. WikiLeaks, as Director Pompeo has aptly characterized it, a non- nation-state, hostile intelligence service.

So, just with the evidence that I've seen as I've read about it in the media, I don't know if there's a smoking gun here.

But the issue -- the critical issue to me is obviously, the involvement of an adversary nation state, meaning Russia.

CAMEROTA: WikiLeaks --

CLAPPER: Now, just to be clear, the Intelligence Community Assessment that we put out last January sixth stood on its own. It did not include evidence from -- anything from the dossier. Some of what was in the dossier -- not all, by any stretch -- some of that was corroborated in our ICA, which we had very high confidence in.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about that because that has come to the floor today. Was it the dossier that then caused the Intel Community to go and do digging, or did you have concerns in the Intel Community before the dossier -- the dossier was superfluous. Were they connected?

[07:55:00] CLAPPER: We -- not really. The Intelligence Community Assessment was based on a body of evidence from many sources -- single intelligence, cyber, human intelligence -- in which we had very high confidence of the magnitude and aggressive nature of the Russian interference.

Our only concern at the time about the dossier was to ensure that the president-elect knew of its existence, rather than we did not have time available to us to corroborate or not everything that was in it.

CAMEROTA: That's very interesting because that is the famous meeting between Director Comey, then of the FBI, where he told Donald Trump about the dossier. And that, as you know, set into motion this cascading effect whereby Comey was fired.

Something interesting is happening today. I hear Republicans trying to link the dossier and the FBI and thereby saying we need to investigate the FBI because they're doing something sneaky.

Let me play for you what chairman of the House Intel Committee, Devin Nunes, said last night on Fox about his big question now about the FBI. Listen to this.


REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think the next focus is going to be on whether or not -- did the FBI use this dossier to get any warrants? Did they use it to open up a counterintelligence investigation? And if they did, if they're using unverified information to open up inquiries into American citizens, I think we have a big problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: What's the answer to that?

CLAPPER: Well, I think the counterintelligence investigation was launched before the revelation of the dossier.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's important. So the chronology is that the counterintelligence investigation predated the dossier. So the way he's setting it up can't be true.

CLAPPER: Well, it -- yes, it's a little distorted in my mind because I think the dossier would be a part of this counterintelligence investigation that was already underway which, of course, was buttressed by our Intelligence Community Assessment in the first place.

So -- and that was a challenge for us, I suppose, at the end. We just ran out of time as to whether or not the allegations, particularly the salacious ones, could be rebutted or confirmed.

CAMEROTA: Look, you've read the dossier. Do you think that there was useful information in there?

CLAPPER: Well, some of it was corroborated in our report. Notably, most prominently, I think, the fact -- the Russian intent to interfere and, as well, the very strong personal animus that Putin had for both Clintons, particularly Sec. Clinton, whom he held responsible for fomenting a colour revolution in 2011.

CAMEROTA: Director James Clapper, thank you very much for helping us sort through all of this. It's complicated. It's great to have a primary source here with us.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here.

We're following a lot of news. Let's get right to it.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE AND SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: A data firm working for the Trump campaign reached out to Julian Assange asking about Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails.

CLAPPER: There was a clear linkage between the Russians and WikiLeaks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Trump campaign has pushed back, suggesting they rely more on the RNC for their data needs.


ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Colluding with Russia is a story that does not ever go away.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton totally denied this. It's a total phony.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This idea that it is fake dossier, that's just not true.

TRUMP: The uranium sale to Russia, that's Watergate modern-age.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of all the things that we've talked about this has more teeth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This gives President Trump the ability to muddy the waters on Russia.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Thursday, October 26th, 8:00 in the East.

And there are growing questions about possible Trump campaign ties to WikiLeaks. Why? Well, sources are telling CNN that a data analytics company working for the Trump campaign did contact WikiLeaks seeking access to e-mails connected to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, President Trump is bashing Clinton and the Democrats for denying that they knew about an anti-Trump dossier after it was revealed that they helped fund the research for it.

A source tells CNN the Clintons did not know about the dossier but was disappointed that it was not made public before the election.

We have it all covered for you so let's begin with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz on the WikiLeaks revelations. Tell us about CNN's reporting.


The head of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm hired by the Trump campaign, contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to see if he had obtained e-mails connected to the Clinton campaign. Assange confirmed on Twitter that chief executive Alexander Nix reached out, but said the request was rejected.