Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Twitter Account Goes Down & Company Blames Employee; U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits Lowest Level in 17 Years; Trump Urges the DOJ to Investigate Clinton, DNC; Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Sentenced; Trump Reacts to Bergdahl Senate. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired November 3, 2017 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOT: New today, the U.S. unemployment rate hitting the lowest point in 17 years. You'll hear the reasons why, and whether this helps the president pass his tax plan.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: For 11 minutes last night, President Trump did not exist on Twitter. His account was deleted. Twitter claims it was taken down by one of the employees on his last day with the company. It has launched an internal review.
But it raises serious questions. How can a single employee have control of the most influential Twitter account in the world?
Let's get to our "CNN Money" editor, editor-at-large, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," Richard Quest, joining us from the New York Stock Exchange.
Richard, I want the get your reaction to the latest jobs numbers just released here in the United States earlier today.
But first, to the rogue Twitter employee. Considering how much weight the president's words carry, the idea that one person can control his Twitter account is pretty concerning. Tell our viewers what you know.
[13:35:08] RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: What we know is that there was an employee who was leaving the company, and before he left the building, he took down Donald Trump's Twitter account. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that clearly more needs to be done. Clearly, there have been failings in how this happened. There is supposed to be a two-person rule to prevent this. And we don't know the mechanics of this. But the issues it raises, it is extraordinary. Twitter probably now is the single most-important communication tool that the U.S. government has to the rest of the world. Like it or hate it, that's the truth of the situation.
The fact -- for example, I will give you one other thought. We don't know how easy or difficult it would have been for somebody to have tweeted from that account. Twitter said that is much harder than just taking down the account, to actually send a tweet from it, but it certainly raised serious questions about this whole question.
Ironically, though, Wolf, here at the stock exchange, Twitter's stock, which has been up by about 15 percent, is up another 1 percent today. The market is taking this very much in its stride.
Let's get to the new jobs report out here in the United States that shows unemployment dropped to only 4.1 percent. That's the lowest level here in the United States in 17 years. Is this the Trump effect?
&: In a word, yes. You have to give Donald Trump and the administration credit because they've created an element of confidence that built on the work that President Obama left behind. That is all about the tax reform package, the deregulation, the policies that he has been putting in place, and promises to put in place. Yes, there is a distinct effect it would be mealy mouthed for anyone to deny there is definitely an effect.
Having said that though, there is another person we need to remember in all of this. Janet Yellen. Her stewardship of the economy over the last four years that enabled this level of confidence and growth to continue and to be sustainable. And the irony, of course, is yesterday, Donald Trump doesn't re-nominate the person who is responsible for much of the sustainable growth and job creation. It is an interesting irony, and that's the way it is.
You can give credit to Donald Trump for so much so far, yes. The 4.1 percent and the confidence, it's on the back of many of the policies.
BLITZER: You are at the stock exchange, the New York Stock Exchange right now.
BLITZER: The Dow Jones hit record levels. Almost every day, there seems to be a new high.
&: In fact, it's so frequent, Wolf, I have become blase about it. The Dow and S&P and Nasdaq all at record highs. And the number-one stock on the Dow is Apple, as it released its Apple iPhone 10.
Put this together, you have an economy that is not booming, but is solid and sustainable.
BLITZER: Richard Quest, at the New York Stock Exchange. Richard, thanks for that assessment.
More news we are following. After lamenting, he is not supposed to influence the Department of Justice and the FBI, President Trump ratchets up calls for those departments to investigate Hillary Clinton. Congressman __ is a key member of the House Intelligence Committee. There you see him. He's standing by. We have lots to discuss, including his meeting with former Trump aide, Carter Page.
[13:43:11] BLITZER: Hours after lamenting that it's sad and frustrating that he can't influence federal investigations, President Trump is now pressuring the Justice Department to investigate his former rival, Hillary Clinton. In a flurry of tweets, President Trump said, and I'm quoting, "Everyone is asking why the FBI is not looking into Clinton and the Democrats were stealing last year's primary from Senator Bernie Sanders." He ends another tweet writing this, quote, "Let's go FBI and Justice Department."
The outburst didn't end there. President Trump went on to say this just outside the White House as he was getting ready to leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of things, and a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I want to discuss the president's comments and more with Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, of Washington State. He serves on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
What's your reaction to the president pushing the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton.
REP. DENNY HECK, (D), WASHINGTON: I have a lot of reactions, Wolf. I'm beginning to think the president has become a little obsessed. I'm beginning to think he's a little bit like Captain Ahab and Hillary Clinton is his Moby Dick.
Look, I don't know that we should take legal advice from the guy whose top two operatives, campaign chair and deputy chair, are under house arrest and another one has entered into a plea agreement. I don't know that we should take legal advice from someone who has been sued more times than I can count in civil proceedings. I don't know that he's the best guy to be making these recommendations given his record.
BLITZER: Let's get to another sensitive issue. At the least, should Democrats look into whether the Democratic National Committee rigged the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton? You heard the accusations by the former deputy chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile.
[13:45:09] HECK: Sure. Of course. If that allegation is raised and there appears to be some substance behind it, it's worthy of examination.
Again, where was the concern on the part of the president when a foreign power, in fact, that is not friendly, namely Russia, was hacking the DNC? He spent the last year calling it a hoax. The measure of his concern about the health of the DNC, I think, is on full display. He has none. BLITZER: Your committee, the House Intelligence Committee,
interviewed the former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, for more than six hours yesterday. Page emerged telling CNN he testified, during the campaign, he mentioned to Jeff Sessions, in passing, he says, that he was traveling to Moscow. Based on his testimony, does this seem like a conversation that the now attorney general should have remembered and would have remembered?
HECK: Yes, Wolf, but that conversation that he should have revealed and disclosed needs to get in line with other conversations he should have revealed and disclosed, dating back to his confirmation hearing when he didn't remember having private conversations with Ambassador Kislyak from Russia and denied doing so. And some in-between. So, yes, of course, it should have been revealed by Attorney General Sessions.
BLITZER: Sessions, as you pointed out, didn't recall this conversation or others about Russia, at least three times, as you point out, during his testimony, various appearances before Congress. Your colleague, Congressman Mike Quigley, said he believes that Sessions actually perjured himself. Do you agree that the attorney general perjured himself?
HECK: I think two dots make a line, Wolf. At a minimum, it's worthy of investigation in and of itself. He said soomething that, prima facia, on its face, is not true.
BLITZER: You would agree with Quigley that he perjured himself?
HECK: So I'm not going to sit as judge and jury on that because I think there is a legal element of intent here. What I'm saying is he has done it not once, not twice, but three or more occasions. In and of itself it is worthy of investigation.
BLITZER: The president keeps saying your committee and the other committees investigating, the special counsel, they have not found any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and himself and the Russians, even though you are continuing to look. Have you found evidence of direct collusion?
HECK: Sure. It has been hiding in plain sight. When the e-mail was sent to Donald Trump, saying, as an example, we have dirt on Hillary, want to talk about it, and Donald Trump Jr -- not the father -- Donald Trump Jr, said, yes, let's sit down, quote, "I love it." That's prima facia evidence of collusion.
Look, Wolf, the goal line keeps getting moved. If you fast rewind about 10 months, the president's line was, it's all a hoax, there was no interference whatsoever. Well, they are not saying that anymore. Clearly, there is and has been interference. Then they said, there is no collusion, and yet, we continue to have the incidents where there clearly was communication and collusion between them. Now they are saying collusion is not a crime, and, by the way, it didn't impact the election. Except now, Wolf, when we had the social media platform companies before committee this week, I specifically asked the question, raise your hand if you think the 129 million Americans who received this content from Russia was without an effect, and not one raised their hands. Yes, there was interference and collusion, and, yes, it had an effect.
BLITZER: Your committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the other committees are continuing their investigation, as is the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Congressman Denny Heck, thanks for joining us.
HECK: Thank you, Wolf.
[13:49:05] BLITZER: Moments ago, the president going off on a judge's decision on the fate of Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his base in Afghanistan. Keep in mind, President Trump called for his execution. We know his sentence. Stand by. We'll share that and the president's reaction. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: No prison time, that's the decision reached in the Bowe Bergdahl sentencing hearing today. Bergdahl is the U.S. Army sergeant held captive by the Taliban for five years after he deserted his Afghanistan outpost back in 2009. Bergdahl pleaded guilty last month to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Today, a U.S. military judge ruled Bergdahl will receive a dishonorable discharge and his rank will be reduced from sergeant to private. He's also required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary for the next 10 months.
President Trump reacted immediately by tweeting this, quote, "The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our country and to our military," close quote.
Let's go to our CNN correspondent, Nick Valencia, over at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, watched all of this unfold.
Nick, first of all, do we know how Bergdahl reacted to the sentence?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, on his way into court, he was very tense, Wolf, and he was flanked by his defense attorneys. As the judge read this verdict, he was reportedly clinching his jaw as that sentence was read out loud. His defense attorneys looking at each other, showing a little bit of a smile. This is exactly what they had hoped for. They had suggested a dishonorable discharge while the prosecution was seeking up to 14 years. Bergdahl was facing up to life in prison after last month pleading guilty to behaving inappropriately, misbehaving in front of the enemy, as well as pleading guilty to desertion. All of the conditions of his sentence will go into effect immediately with the exception of his dishonorable discharge.
Eugene Fidell, his civilian attorney, tells me they plan to appeal the sentence. He says, even though that's what he wanted, this dishonorable discharge, his client has a conviction on his record, which he believes, should be wiped clean. This sentence will be reviewed by the convening authority in this case, General Robert Abrams. He'll review the sentence. He's the convening authority on this court martial case against Bergdahl.
But, again, no jail time for Bowe Bergdahl, but he will have his rank reduced to from E-5 to E-1, and he's also going to be paying up to $10,000, when all said and done -- Wolf?
[13:55:53] BLITZER: And President Trump reacting, "a complete and total disgrace," he says, "to our country and to our military."
Nick Valencia, in Fort Bragg with the very latest, thanks very much.
President Trump also issuing what appears to be a new declaration of war against ISIS in response to the attack in New York City. What he said, and why the Pentagon, at least for now, can't back him up.