Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Tweets Criticism of FBI; President Trump Tweets Support for Roy Moore; Yemen Government: Former President Killed By Rebels; CNN: Kushner And Tillerson Clash Over Middle East Peace Deal; Trump Endorses Accused Child Molester Roy Moore; Trump: FBI's Reputation Is In Tatters, Worst In History". Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired December 4, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00]: RACHEL CROOKS, ACCUSES TRUMP OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN 2005: I think it's just evidence of sort of the political atmosphere these days. We're forgotten by politicians who think it's more convenient to keep Trump in office, you know, have him just sweeping his indiscretions under the rug. I think they're forgotten by the people who want to put party above all else, and that's sad because this should be bigger in politics.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We should say that President Trump has denied the allegations in very forceful terms. He's called all you of you liars. In fact, there's a defamation suit from one of the women against him for being called liars. What do you want to see happen?

CROOKS: Well, I would love to see him held accountable. Whether that's Congress looking into his, you know, sexual misconduct, I think that would be fair. And I hope if that doesn't happen people take that into account maybe next election.

CAMEROTA: Do you want the president to apologize?

CROOKS: That would be great. That would be a wonderful first step for him to acknowledge his behavior and apologize. I would definitely welcome that.

CAMEROTA: And so when you read the Billy Bush thing -- I know, look, when I read it, and I'm not even sitting in your shoes, it felt like it was overdue, but it did feel as though he's trying to shed some sunlight on this. And so what was your sort of initial, visceral reaction when you heard Billy Bush was coming forward?

CROOKS: When I read that excerpt, I was picturing him on that bus with Trump and the other men. And I was thinking at that point it would have been great for someone to say that talk is not OK. You know what I mean? So I hope that will start to change, that men will sort of interject when other men are making comments like that or just actually acting on those types of behaviors. So it's not just the women coming forward. Other men can help in this regard, too.

CAMEROTA: It's such a great plan. We've had so many people say in fact men must be part of this or it's not going to work, obviously. Men need to speak out, they need to call it out when they see it because obviously nobody wants to paint with a broad brush stroke of all men. It's these individuals.

CROOKS: Right.

CAMEROTA: And so having had your experience in 2005 with then Donald Trump, then you heard the "Access Hollywood" tape, what did you think?

CROOKS: I mean, yes, he's basically admitting to the behavior that I was a victim of. So --

CAMEROTA: And then you have followed the reports that he now is saying in private maybe that wasn't actually my voice?

CROOKS: I mean, nothing shocks me anymore about him. I think he's a pathological liar. And I, yes. It's not shocking. But it's sad that people don't, I guess, hold him more accountable for those things.

CAMEROTA: Rachel Crooks, we appreciate you coming forward and telling us your story. We appreciate getting your perspective on all of this. Thanks so much for being with us.

CROOKS: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news so let's get right to it.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, there's been absolutely no collusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president tweeted that he fired me because he had lied toed FBI. That ups the ante.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril, I'd be careful if I were you, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're very close to the finish line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was swamp 101.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill was being hand-drafted, lots of provisions were being included for special interests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never said I read every single letter on every single page, but have I read every aspect of that bill before it was fused together? Yes.

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We believe this will get the country performing better.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota. CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, December 4th, 8:00 in the east. And we begin with breaking news. President Trump tweeting his endorsement of Roy Moore, the embattled Alabama Senate nominee accused of child molestation, I should say candidate. The president and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell both changing their tune on Roy Moore over the weekend this week before this high stakes special election.

CUOMO: This follows a series of tweets that attempts to undermine the credibility of the FBI. The president launching an extraordinary attack on the nation's top law enforcement agency, saying its reputation is in tatters, worst in history. Why is he doing that? That seems as clear as the language he's using about the FBI. This all comes after fired national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with Bob Mueller's Russia investigation.

[08:05:02] Joining us now is CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. Maggie, it's good to have you. I'd love to be wrong about it, but it does seem to be a guarantee that if you go after the president or you represent something that he takes as a threat, he will attack you even if it's one of the key institutions of our democracy.

MAGGI HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's correct. I also think that if you think how this feels to the men and women of the FBI to have the commander in chief of the United States saying that they're reputation is terrible, that this is all a mess, there is no question that the FBI came out of the 2016 election bruised for a variety of reasons -- the probes into Trump, the probes into Clinton, how those were handled. But for the president to say this just takes it to a completely different level, and to say it, with all due respect to Twitter founders, a pretty unserious medium such as Twitter.

I also was struck by this. Very often we go through Donald Trump's Twitter feed when something happens and there's a tweet for all occasions that he's done in the past where he was on the opposite side of it. There was a tweet that Sarah Sanders, the press secretary did, about Hillary Clinton in November, 2016, which is if you're attacking the FBI because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing. That is literally, exactly what is happening here. It's the exact same thing.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the breaking news this morning, and that is, back to Twitter, the president has tweeted what is an endorsement now of Roy Moore, using him by need, "We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama." The president did, so he seems to be getting more brazen about his feelings about Roy Moore. For a while there it was a little dicey about what to say, but this is as clear as day.

HABERMAN: In fairness to the president, he's been a lot clearer on this for a lot longer than, say, Mitch McConnell who yesterday went from pretty hard language to, well, we'll let the people of Alabama decide.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. He has done an about-face for sure. HABERMAN: He has done a total about-face. The president never

completely pulled back and then never completely went in either. But he made clear to a lot of people this for him, was reminiscent of when he went through several accusations from women in 2016 and Republicans wanted to drop him. This was very problematic for him, and felt very familiar. He wants tax reform. It's pretty simple.

CUOMO: He doesn't even know where Roy Moore would have been on this bill. Obviously, he's not relevant to it.


CUOMO: And I hear the same thing you hear, a little bit of this is about how he regards accusations from women. Look, to be fair, Roy Moore has every right for fight accusations that are against him and say what he believes is true. But how much is it about I need to see, I don't care who it is, I need to see?

HABERMAN: I think that's a huge amount of it. I do think that a lot of it is this psychic reminder of at least don't rush to judgment, in his mind, although we should say the allegations against Roy Moore are not just sexual harassment. It also includes inappropriate sexual conduct with a child, with a 14 year old. But I do think that he wants the seat. I do think he recognizes that this year of his presidency was essentially, still a couple weeks left, see what happens completely with tax reform. But save for that, this has been a year where Republicans have had total control of the government and got extremely little done. He also feels Roy Moore would be more loyal to him perhaps than to the GOP majority leader with whom the president is not always on the same page.

CAMEROTA: Do you have a sense of what's going on behind the scenes with President Trump's endorsement of Roy Moore given that his daughter Ivanka put out that public tweet saying there's special place in hell for people who take advantage of children.

HABERMAN: My colleagues Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns and I reported that the president was actually irritated with his daughter for doing that statement. She didn't tell him to drop out, but she did say there was a special place in hell for people who abuse children. I'm paraphrasing but I was something along those lines. Interesting it was actually the same language that Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, had used a few days earlier on a Sunday show. So I think that she felt like she wasn't doing something out of bounds. But her father was not pleased. Her father was well aware that it looked as if she was speaking for him and he didn't want her weighing into this.

CUOMO: We had Short on this morning about taxes, and I gave him several opportunities to remind people of how he felt about Roy Moore, and he didn't. But in fairness to him, he's not the president. He's there to do legislative affairs, and if he gets sideways with the president about this, you can make a whole moral agency argument about it. But this is about what the president believes.

HABERMAN: That's right. CUOMO: Now, on Flynn, this idea, the monkey wrench they threw into

the works on this, even I could have never seen it coming. If he knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he fired him, it changes potentially the analysis of obstruction because it goes to what his intent was when he did it.

HABERMAN: Correct. Correct.

CUOMO: And it's for Mueller, it's a constructive legal argument, come out either way on it. But then they say, well, it was the lawyer. Dowd comes forward and said I wrote it I gave it to Scavino, the guy who runs the account. He put it out. President has nothing to do with it. One, they did a good job of mimicking the president's mode of speech in that tape, by the way.

[08:10:00] HABERMAN: Interesting how that works, isn't it. There is one school of thought that, yes, Dowd, the lawyer, did indeed write this, that he did it because the president was getting agitated. The president was in New York running around to very expensive fundraisers, and he wanted to tweet. And they were trying to take this out of his hands and let's do it together.

If that's true, that tweet was still incredibly problematic and is very surprising for a lawyer to have said, yes, he knew this at the time. That tweet, as you know correctly, sounds an awful lot like Donald Trump's voice. By saying Dowd did it they are clearly trying to say that these are tweets that Mueller should look at to questions of what the president knew, but if you're Mueller why would you just accept that?

CUOMO: They also tried to put it on Ty Cobb, the president's other attorney.

HABERMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Saying this is only what he said already. That's not true.

HABERMAN: No, it's not true at all. It's completely different. It was stunning the number of e-mails I got from Republicans, some fans of the president, some not fans, who saw the tweet and said did he just say he knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he fired him? That would mean, if that had happened, that when he, according to Comey, pressured Comey to, you know, see it in his heart to let go of the Flynn investigation, or whatever the exact language was, which Comey interpreted as a directive, that the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, and that would change the entire thing.

CAMEROTA: So, Maggie, behind the scenes how is President Trump feeling about what has happened with Mike Flynn?

HABERMAN: I don't think he's excited about it.

CAMEROTA: He's acting as though there's this whole dichotomy of whether or not he's being undone by it.

HABERMAN: Right. CAMEROTA: Or whether or not he's sort of blithely tweeting shouldn't

have done that, oh well.

HABERMAN: No, that is actually at least closer to the comments that he has given to a number of people privately, which is he still has faith in Ty Cobb's analysis that his will be done by the end of the year or soon after. It's hard to see how that would be the case, but that has been what they have been telling him. He is not seeming particularly at least outwardly concerned about it. A number of his friends think he is not taking this seriously enough and doesn't seem to understand the existential threat this investigation could pose.

CAMEROTA: And even though he does have these spasms on Twitter where he says things that are ill-advised whether accurate or not, he does seem to be doing much more than just this. By all indications he's working the phones on the tax bill.

HABERMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: He's trying to get people on board with it, he's trying to cut deals, and there's a measure of frustration for him as well that he doesn't really control the negotiations. So talk to Maggie, Maggie will say I need this, Mr. President. I can't do it. Let me try. I can't get them to do it. Let me see if I can get them to do it. He doesn't really control it and that's a mounting frustration.

HABERMAN: That is totally true. And I think he has gotten better. What all of his advisers will say is he has gotten better at understanding the nuances of legislative process and the nuances of legislative deal-making. But it's incredibly complicated, incredibly arcane. It involves finding the exact right balance of these two people against the middle, but then you need these two other people against another middle, and it's just not the kind of negotiation he has ever had to deal with.

He's doing better at this one certainly than he did with health care. And I think there's more of a desire to have him involved as a voice from the hill perspective, especially because the two people that have been doing it, Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin, were not exactly met with rollicking success on the Hill. So I think the president's voice has helped.

But it is still something that is not smooth for him, and this is very different. And he is discovering this as he goes along. There's a level of learning in real time for him that we have not seen with most presidents. All presidents have to learn in real time to some extent, but most presidents have some experience with the legislative process.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, great to talk to you. As always, thanks so much for being here.

All right, we do have to get to breaking news now.

CUOMO: We do, out of Yemen. Yemen's interior ministry is reporting that the nation's former president has been killed. This comes after five days of fighting that has killed at least 125 people and injured hundreds of others. We have CNN's Becky Anderson. She's joining us live from Abu Dhabi with the breaking details. What do we know about why this happened?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: We are still working to confirm this, Chris, but should it be the case this is a hugely significant turn of events. The dominant figure in Yemen politics over the past 40 years dead. Who was he, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and why is his death significant given the optic in this conflict recently? Remember, he came to power in the military coup in the 1960s, later became president of the north Yemen and then leader of the united country in 1990.

As the Arab spring swept through the region in 2011, he announced plans to transfer power to his eldest son. Protests broke out over that. He refused to step down. Months later, wounded in an attack on the presidential palace. He officially stepped down in early 2012, after 33 years in power as this country of Yemen began spiraling into civil war.

Now, in recent years, he has played a key role in the war between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition, as they conducted airstrikes to crush the fighters they call terrorists.

He had got into a marriage of convenience with the Houthi rebels, but just in the past few days, he had announced that he was prepared to back the coalition. Saudi forces so he had really done an about-face.

In the past, he has infuriated Saudi Arabia, dismayed many Yemenis, who had fought to oust him. So, his death coming 24 hours after he announced he was in talks with Riyadh, many saw as a complete game- changer for this conflict turned quagmire. Where it goes next, of course, is an interesting question -- Chris.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Becky, I'll take it. Thank you very much for helping us through this breaking news and please bring us new developments.

We have more breaking news to tell you about. Multiple sources tell CNN that Jared Kushner believes that he has found the key to brokering a Middle East peace deal, however that's putting him at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, joins us with her new reporting. Good morning, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. You know the president has called the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians the ultimate deal. He tapped his son-in-law and adviser, 36-year-old Jared Kushner to lead that effort.

Now U.S. officials have said the White House is drafting plans for a peace deal to submit to the parties early next year. And Kushner, according to several sources, familiar with his thinking is really confident that Saudi crowned prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year- old heir to the throne can convince the Palestinians to accept the administration's proposals and stop the region from revolting. It's a gamble that's fueling some tensions with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He himself has been embattled with reports the White House is trying to force him out. Some Tillerson allies think Kushner may behind those rumors or reports. The White House denies it.

But Tillerson is worried there's some grand bargain going on. That the Saudis are trying to use their country's political and economic cooperation for the peace process to obtain really a blank check from the White House to confront Iran in the region.

Now Tillerson doesn't believe that Jared understands the tinder box that's in the Middle East. That he's moving too fast. And that the crown prince is too young and that Saudi actions are going to tip the region as a chaos. We saw what happened this morning in Yemen.

Now the White House insists there's no grand bargain and diplomats are saying Kushner is trying to balance a lot. We're going to see that first test this week when the president is consulting about announcing that he's going to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. That he's going to -- now in Israel, he's going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We'll see how the Saudis react -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That is a huge issue. It's been sidestepped by administration after administrations for a reason. Elise, thank you very much for helping us understand the complexity.

All right. So, President Trump very much in the news this morning. He just gave his full endorsement to an accused child molester, Roy Moore, who is running for Senate in Alabama. How do fellow Republicans feel about it? We'll ask a GOP congressman, next.



CAMEROTA: President Trump tweeting his support for Alabama's embattled Senate candidate, Roy Moore, this morning. Moore is accused of molesting a girl when she was 14 years old.

Joining us now is Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida to talk about this and so much more. Good morning, Congressman.


CAMEROTA: So, the president has now endorsed Roy Moore. You had said on our show a couple weeks ago of Roy Moore, if the allegations are true, he does not belong in the Senate or Republican Party. How do you feel today about the president's endorsement?

GAETZ: Well, it's very clear that Roy Moore wasn't the president's first choice. He did a whole lot to see that Roy Moore wasn't the Republican nominee. But now we're in a circumstance where the balance of the Senate may be at issue and the president's agenda may be impacted substantially as a consequence of this election.

Roy Moore certainly would not be my first choice. He wasn't the president's first choice, but now the people of Alabama have a decision to make. Do they want to vote for somebody who is going to advance the president's agenda or fight the president's agenda?

While the allegations against Roy Moore are horrifying and frankly, a lot of them are believable, I think that there are a lot of people in Alabama, who very well may hold their nose and vote for Roy Moore, not because they have affection for him, but they're concerned what Doug Jones may do on the issues that people in Alabama care about if he ends up in the Senate.

CAMEROTA: But Congressman, how about you? Do you think that agenda should be put over horrifying believable sexual assault allegations?

GAETZ: I have a real hard time voting for Roy Moore. I think that it's very serious these allegations made against him. I'm glad that decision is left to the people of Alabama. Look, I think that they're in a tough spot undeniably, as a consequence of these allegations breaking after the primary.

Look, the president had a highly comfort level with Luther Strange. I think he called Roy Moore, Ray Moore, during the primary. He didn't even know his first name. I think the endorsement is more for the ideas than the candidate.

CAMEROTA: So, if Roy Moore gets elected what should Congress do?

GAETZ: Well, look, the verdict on Roy Moore has to be cast by the people of Alabama. I think it's a really dangerous precedent when Congress starts analyzing the conduct of people before they serve in the institution. I think that as it relates to members of Congress and their conduct before they get in Congress, that is the purview of the voters. The conduct of members after they are elected typically falls to the Ethics Committee.

CAMEROTA: I hear you, but I mean, you know, look, some of your colleagues in Congress said that they would move to try to eject him, but you're -- I mean, are you saying --

GAETZ: Yes, I think that would be totally counterproductive.

CAMEROTA: So, you would live with it if he wins --

GAETZ: Yes. I mean, what are we going to do? We are going to have a circumstance where people in Washington are going to sit around second-guessing the will of the voters. I think that's a really dangerous precedent to set even a stomach turning as the allegations are against Roy Moore.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the FBI and the president's view of the FBI. He tweeted yesterday, "After years of Comey with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation and more running the FBI, its reputation is in tatters. Worst in history. Fear not, we'll bring it back to greatness." What do you think about the president publicly sort of undermining the FBI?

GAETZ: Well, we got a lot of problems at the FBI right now. Andrew McCabe is the current deputy director of the FBI. Just days ago, we saw e-mails released where he was calling the HILLARY Clinton investigation special. And indicating that it would be handled by a small group at headquarters rather than going through the normal investigative processes.

We've also seen information where FBI agents, people that were involved in the Mueller probe had had some anti-Trump tendencies that they've talked about. We need a dispassionate FBI that will apply and follow the law.

[08:25:08] And there have been circumstances where the FBI has departed from their own procedures and have also departed from the normal dispassionate practices in an investigation like this. So, look, there needs to be reform at the FBI. We're going to have Christopher Wray in front of the House Judiciary Committee in a couple of days and this will be what we discuss.

CAMEROTA: So, it sounds like you also don't have faith in the nation's leading top crime fighting agency?

GAETZ: Well, I don't have faith in every circumstance that we're following every correct procedure. That shouldn't impugn the actions or motives of the thousands of agents or other FBI employees around the country, but there are a few -- sure.

CAMEROTA: Doesn't this certainly affect morale and impugn the work of all of the men and women, at the FBI, to say that it's in tatters?

GAETZ: Well, look, Twitter does allow you a few more characters now, but I don't know it allows you to provide full context. I think the most relevant context are these e-mails and texts and other revelations that show a clear bias of the FBI in favor of Hillary Clinton.

CAMEROTA: You're referring to one agent who was involved in the investigation.

GAETZ: No, no, there's multiple circumstances. You've got the agent text, but then you also have the McCabe e-mails where Hillary Clinton was given special status and that the investigation into her did not follow the normal procedures.

So, I think that the context of Hillary Clinton getting special treatment, the president having people of a clear bias against him investigating him, has bubbled up in this frustration that released itself in the form of that tweet.

CAMEROTA: Are you still calling for Robert Mueller, who, of course, is heading the investigation into whether or not there were Trump ties to Russia, are you calling for him to be fired?

GAETZ: Yes. I think that Bob Mueller has some pretty clear conflicts of interest that really impair the confidence that the American people can have in this investigation. Bob Mueller was the head of the FBI in 2009 when we should have had a report about the Uranium One deal and Russia's involvement in that and the many contributions they were making to the Clinton Foundation, which at a minimum creates an appearance of impropriety.

Bob Mueller didn't do the things that other FBIs have done to raise questions about these types of foreign purchases of U.S. assets. I think if you're impaired from a conflict of interest standpoint as to one participant in the 2016 election, you're likely to have a conflict of the interest as it relates to the election in its entirety.

CAMEROTA: But very quickly, do you think that if President Trump fired Robert Mueller it would create chaos and a huge backlash among voters and those in Congress?

GAETZ: I think what we have now is chaos where you've got people investigating the president revealing their bias in their own tweets. While at the same time, the FBI is releasing e-mails showing a pro- Hillary Clinton bias while investigating her.

So, if we were to have a conflicted special counsel bring charges that would impugn the president of the United States that would be the greatest amount of chaos and that's what we're trying to avoid by replacing Bob Mueller.

CAMEROTA: President Trump is actually speaking to cameras right now. We want to bring it to you as soon as we get it. Congressman, thank you very much for your perspective.

GAETZ: Thank you.


CUOMO: All right. President Trump's weekend tweets raising eyebrows. But is what he said about Michael Flynn even if the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn, would that about obstruction of justice?

The president's personal attorney now says he's behind that tweet. We got a former Trump campaign adviser weighing in next.