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WikiLeaks Documents and Trump Campaign; November Jobs Report; Raging Wildfires Spread; Three Lawmakers Resign in Three Days. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 8, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:15] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have a CNN exclusive. We have learned that during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump, his son, Donald Trump, Jr., and others in the Trump Organization received an e-mail -- this was last September -- offering a decryption key and website addressed for hacked WikiLeaks documents. All of this in according to an e-mail provided to congressional investigators.

Now, there is no evidence anyone in the Trump campaign used that key, at least not that we're aware of. I want to discuss this with Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. He serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for being with us.

And we know that your role on that committee prohibits you from discussing the specifics of this case and this investigation. However, were you aware of this outreach to members of the Trump team offering these incorruption keys into hacked WikiLeaks documents?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS, PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Yes, all I can tell the American public is, there is a pattern here, a flow, a momentum of more Russian actors, more communications, more efforts by the Russians to communicate with Trump associates. And, clearly, more efforts by Trump associates to go in the reverse, to communicate with Russian actors. It is a pattern that is reacted to by denials, and then there's a disclosure, and then there's a attempt (ph) at minimizing what these efforts have meant.

So it's part of a larger pattern. Let this investigation continue. Let us follow the facts. And, clearly, let the Mueller investigation takes its course as well.

BERMAN: The outreach from the Russians is, of course, important, particularly from an intelligence perspective and a defense perspective going forward. The receptiveness, or alleged receptiveness of the Trump team might be the legal issue here. You say you have seen increasing signs of a receptiveness among the Trump team. What did you mean?

QUIGLEY: Well, look, several months ago we had told you that the president's son would have said something about receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton. If that's what it is, I love it. But better off in August, talk about timing being more appropriate, Cambridge Analytical attempting to reach out through Mr. Nicks (ph) to WikiLeaks. I mean there is a flow, there is an increased number of acknowledged and first not acknowledged communications by the Russians and by Trump associates back and forth to communicate.

And I think there is evidence that they are attempting to coordinate. But, again, several months ago we didn't even have this.


QUIGLEY: Let this investigation take its course. My concern today is, as you might have just heard from Mr. Jordan talking about this, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want nothing to do with this. It is an attempt at every level, an almost definite (ph) level to distract.

BERMAN: Well, it's more than that. It's more than that. It's -- right, it's more than they don't want anything to do with it. They're now aggressively trying to discredit the investigation. And I want to give you a chance to respond to something that Congressman Jordan specifically said. He has a theory. He keeps calling it a theory that the FISA warrants initially given to the courts to try to get surveillance on people associated with President Trump, I imagine he means Paul Manafort and Carter Page there, were tied to the dossier, the now famous dossier, and that this was somehow some plot by Peter Strzok, the special agent who was moved off the investigation.

Do you have any knowledge of that? Have you seen any sign of that? Do you care to respond?

QUIGLEY: Here's how I'll respond. The dossier has been largely corroborated. The dossier discovered a main point, which was no -- which it discovered, Mr. Steele discovered apparently before anybody in our intelligence agencies did, that it was the Russians who attacked the democratic process and they did it to favor one candidate over another. So that's what's important here.

[08:35:20] And, frankly, what's happening more recently, that the investigation is being stymied by the White House through distraction, and I believe elements of obstruction. And even in these investigations, my own investigation on the House side, the most common answer to a question by Trump associates in our investigation is, I don't recall. Perhaps worse lately is a refusal to answer because of some sort of alleged privilege, which is not borne out, or just to say, I'm here voluntarily so I'm not going to answer. This happened with Trump Jr. This happened with Mr. Sessions. This happened with Eric Prince. These are all key questions.

If my Republican colleagues don't know what to know what happened, at least get out of the way and let us find out so the American public can find out what took place, how was our democratic process challenged.

BERMAN: Do you feel the leadership, the Republican leadership in the committee you sit on, again House Intelligence, is blocking you from getting the answers you want?

QUIGLEY: Well, look, I will say this. Mr. Conaway has stepped in with Mr. Nunes recused himself. And I appreciate the role that Mr. Conaway has played. But I believe, overall, Republican leadership has been weak on their attempts to help us move forward. If people don't answer our questions because they're there voluntarily, they're going to have to come back under subpoena.

Unfortunately, being in the minority, we can't compel those subpoenas. It is going to take House leadership, and I mean the speaker of the House, willingness to accept this fact, push for those subpoenas, get Mr. Sessions back. Have Mr. Sessions explain and answer the question, did the president of the United States ask him to do anything to hinder the investigation? With Eric Prince, on my questioning, on transcripts that were released, tell us about your previous dealings with the UAE. With Trump Junior, tell us about the conversations with your father. He must answer those questions. What exactly did they talk about in these conversations that they say were privileged about the meeting at Trump Tower with Russians dealing dirt on Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: All right, Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois, always great to have you with us. Thank you, sir.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, let's take a look at some live aerials right now because of the growing danger in southern California.

BERMAN: Oh, wow.

CAMEROTA: Just look at this. The evacuation zone has widened now. So there are six raging wildfires all happening simultaneously that firefighters are trying to get their arms around. You can see the challenge there. These, obviously, are live. It's only 5:37 a.m. Pacific Time. So we will get reports from the front lines for you next.


[08:41:02] CAMEROTA: OK, we do have some breaking news. The Labor Department just releasing the jobs report for November moments ago.

So CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans have the numbers.

How's it looking?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They're really good numbers again this month. We're looking at strong hiring here. And this is why this month is so important because after those hurricanes, this is the first kind of clean month to see what employers were doing. And 228,000 net new jobs in November. Look at October, 244,000. That is strong hiring. Here's those hurricanes, right there, right, when we saw a depression in hiring. So it looks as though the economy is really humming here in terms of job creation.

And 4.1 percent is the unemployment rate. That basically matches a 17- year low.

And when I look and dig within these numbers, I see fewer discouraged workers, fewer workers who are marginally attached to the labor market, meaning they're not really looking but they would like to work. So all of those numbers are going in the right direction, the under employed, all of t hose numbers going in the right direction.

In fact, when you talk to employers in just about every sector, they're now saying you guys are having a hard time finding workers, having a hard time finding workers.

Let's look at the sectors here. Health care up 30,000, business up 46,000. Manufacturing, a strong performance there. And construction was up another 23,000. So that, I think, is good news when you're talking about the manufacturing sector overall.

We had the futures pop in stocks, up about -- they're up 80 points right now. So it looks as though Wall Street likes these numbers, likes what these numbers say about the economy.

CAMEROTA: So are these the best job numbers ever, as President Trump has said?

ROMANS: You know, we have now, if you're going to -- if you're going to tally the Trump jobs, you're looking about $1.7 million from February until November, those ten months. If I look at the last ten months of the Obama administration, 1.86 million. So this is very strong job creation, but it was a little stronger last year.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, thanks very, very much.

We are following breaking news this morning. We want to show you pictures of the wildfires raging in southern California right now. Menacing winds fanning these flames, making the firefight so challenging. Nearly 200,000 residents have been evacuated so far.

CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Ventura County with the latest.

Stephanie, what are you seeing?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you're talking about some 141,000 acres in California that have burned from these six wildfires and 116,000 of those fires are here at the Thomas fire, which is still only 5 percent contained. And leaving in its wake, many of the dozens of properties that have been burned to the ground, like this one behind me.

Take a look at this. This is what people are going to come back and find. This area is still closed off and they're not able to get up here to see it. But this is exactly the concern and why there are nearly 6,000 firefighters working throughout the state, working on fixing and stopping these fires that are spreading. You've also probably seen the Lilac fire that started yesterday in San Diego. It is 4,000 acres and still 0 percent containment. Homes already destroyed there. That is part of the concern. The wind is calm now, but they are expected to pick back up. And that is why firefighters are still very much in the middle of battling these blazes as containment is still very low, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh, zero percent containment. That's the number that we hate to hear.>

Stephanie, thank you very much for all of your reporting from the ground there.

So, voting is now underway for the CNN Hero of the Year. Here is one of this year's top ten heroes. Meet Amy Wright.


AMY WRIGHT: People with disabilities, sometimes the world just passes them by. Having a workplace that makes you feel proud of yourself and gives you a sense of community is something we all want.

Most of them are unemployed and we really felt like we wanted to do something about it. And it was like, coffee shop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, guys. Good morning. Welcome to Bitty and Beau's. It's open.


WRIGHT: Other than our two managers, everybody that works at Bitty and Beau's Coffee has an intellectual or developmental disability. We figured out what their skill set was and we plugged them in. Now we have 40 employees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You made them feel welcome. That's awesome.

WRIGHT: For most of them who had never had a job before, it's really exciting.


WRIGHT: (INAUDIBLE) trying out his French.

We always say it's more than a cup of coffee. It's a human rights movement. It's given our employees the respect that they deserve. When you just give them a chance, they can do anything you ask them to do.


CAMEROTA: OK. So you can vote for Amy or any of your favorite top ten heroes now at

All right, so the national reckoning in the country over sexual misconduct and sexual harassment is, of course, extending all the way to the halls of Congress. We have seen what has just happened this week alone. Are we witnessing more dominoes falling in Washington, as they have in Hollywood and the media? We discuss where we are today with the tipping point, next.


[08:50:15] CAMEROTA: All right, three members of Congress in three days stepping down because of sexual harassment allegations, and another is now under investigation. How will the me too movement reshape Capitol Hill and this country and this cultural moment.

Joining us to discuss all of it is Nancy Erika Smith, the attorney representing Gretchen Carlson against Roger Ailes, Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator and Republican consultant, and Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst.

We always joke that here we are again. Every day we have new news to report. We're not rehashing this conversation, there are new developments.

So yesterday we had Trent Franks, who has apparently, reportedly, asked two female staffers in his office for help with his -- he and his wife's fertility issues, hoping that perhaps they could perform some sort of surrogacy. But let's deal with Al Franken first, Margaret.

Did he deserve to lose his career?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, his career isn't over but he lost his Senate seat and he lost his Senate seat --

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, his political career may be over. I mean his career in the Senate is over.

HOOVER: Maybe. But -- fair point. Yes, that behavior is no longer acceptable. This is what we've all decided is that you cannot behave in the way that used to be acceptable. This has been exposed. We are turning a new page in this country. And there's a new standard of behavior for both men and women in the workplace. And that kind of behavior, whether a Republican or a Democrat, shall not be tolerated.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And, see, Nancy, here's the part that I find a little bit confusing. I understand that we're in this moment, this me too moment, absolutely, but why don't we reset the clock now. What we're doing is retroactively resetting the clock and saying, Al Franken, for whatever you did 10 years ago, Roy Moore, for whatever you did 40 years ago, you'll be held responsible today. Is that OK?

NANCY ERIKA SMITH, ATTORNEY, SMITH MULLIN, REPRESENTS GRETCHEN CARLSON: That's perfectly OK because it's about time that we have this reckoning. These women were victimized and we need to stand up for them. It's time. This -- these comments about, oh, it's a lynch mob and a witch hunt, that's so offensive. Lynch mobs were about stopping African-Americans from getting civil rights. Witch hunts were about controlling women. This is about women saying, enough. And unless we stop it today by getting rid of the harassers, serial harassers -- we see it over and over again. We've talked about them. It's not one woman or two women, it's like six, seven. We need to get them out of the workplace. That is fair. It's time. It's a new day.

CAMEROTA: It is. That was great, Nancy. Well, -- I like the branding.

But, Areva, it's some of the conservative commentators, such as Laura Ingraham on Fox, we heard Newt Gingrich say that they invoked the lynch mob, that Democrats all rose up for political purposes, they say, to get rid of Al Franken when maybe they didn't have to.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Alisyn, Ingles (ph) and Newt Gingrich giving Democrats, you know, advice on how to deal with women and these sexual abuse allegations, that's laughable. When you look at Newt Gingrich's own history and his disrespect of his own wives, I just think we can, you know, dismiss anything he has to say on this issue.

The reality is, we've overlooked abuse by powerful men like Al Franken for years. We have held him up as someone to revere because we respected his progressive policies. And we've done that and -- at the cost of sacrificing women's humanity and their civil rights. And that's what we're saying.

We've got to over correct in some situations because we've overlooked for decades. And I think eventually, hopefully, we get to a point where men, like Al Franken, who are progressive on women's issues in public, are also as progressive in private in terms of how they treat women. And until we get to that point, we need to go through each and every one of these predators and they need to be out of office.

And this whole concept that they are entitled to due process, where is that coming from? Who was there standing up for women saying that they deserved due process? Women were shamed, they were ostracized, they were retaliated against, and we didn't see Republicans coming out saying, let's stand up for these women.


MARTIN: So I think we can dismiss what they're saying about how we should, as Democrats, be treating those that we've elected to serve us.

HOOVER: The one piece of this that's deeply disappointing as a Republican woman is the way the Democratic senators got together and it was the Democratic female senators who said, this will not stand. Al Franken has to go. Wouldn't it be nice to see a resounding chorus of women in the House of Representatives, Republican women in the House of Representatives, joining Mia Love and joining Barbara Comstock to say, this behavior will not be tolerated. And, by the way, there is a new generation of younger Republican women sort of coming up through the ranks. I would love to hear their voices added to this chorus, as opposed --

CAMEROTA: Meaning that Congressman Blake Farenthold has to go, in your opinion?

[08:55:02] HOOVER: Yes. Oh, no -- I mean there is no question. Public dollars settled a case with an employee of his. (INAUDIBLE) -- CAMEROTA: It was legal. I mean this was -- this was the system that was set up. I mean as we've all learned in the past month or so, this was the system that was set up if you had a sexual harassment --

HOOVER: Yes, an erroneous system for fiscal conservatives to somehow be in favor of the public till going to pay off bad behavior of men.

SMITH: And to shut up women, which is what these calls, these lynch mob, these -- this is saying again to women, shut up. And we're not going to shut up anymore. We're not going to do it with NDAs. Legislation was introduced this week to stop forced arbitration.

HOOVER: Thank you, Gretchen Carlson.

SMITH: Thank you, Gretchen Carlson. And that's all designed to shut women up. And these calling political correctness run -- or the lynch mobs, that's designed to shut us up.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Areva.

MARTIN: And, Alisyn, can I just add this. These decisions are difficult. Look, as an African-American woman, I grew up idolizing someone like John Conyers. So when John Conyers has to step down, Al Franken's someone who has been out front on issues that women care about. These aren't easy decisions, but they're necessary decisions. And just because they are hard, doesn't make them the wrong thing to do.

And because this may be a political calculation on the part of Democrats, I don't know if it's political or a moral, but we do know it's the right thing to do. And that's what's so encouraging to me as a civil rights lawyer.

This is a different moment for women because women are being believed, they're being applauded and they're being celebrated, as we saw that cover of "Time" magazine. And that would have never happened ten years ago. So I think we have to continue with this momentum, keep pushing forward and not let the naysayers who refuse to do anything to root out the men in their own party, i.e. the Republicans, they can't stop this movement. It's too powerful.

CAMEROTA: And, look, it's bipartisan, as we've learned. It's -- there are offenders across every aisle.

So, Areva, Margaret, Nancy, thank you very much. I predict I'll see you both on Monday.

MARTIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow is going to pick up after this very quick break. Have a great weekend.