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Trump Criticism of Deep State Justice Department; Crazy Consequences of Cold; Trump Talks Supporting Iran. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 3, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:31:46] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so the president says the Justice Department is part of a deep state conspiracy against him. Now, fact, we have never heard a president in modern times undermine a major institution of this democracy this way. The question becomes, does he have any proof to support this?

Let's discuss. CNN political commentator Jason Miller and Ana Navarro.

Happy New Year to you both. It is always beautiful to see you, even with a question as silly as this.

Jason Miller, is there a deep state, is there a conspiracy that includes the Justice Department against the president of the United States, Donald Trump?


And I think you are combining a couple of different things here and putting in something that the president said, along with something that the president did not say. When the president talks about the deep state, he's talking about this permanent, bureaucratic class of unelected officials who I think fundamentally believe that they know more than our elected officials and know more than the president about the direction of the country. We saw it going all the way back to the campaign trail last year and now we see it as we move into this year.

And, Chris, you see it all the time with these leaks that are constantly coming out. And if you go to any top shelf journalist in town here who will tell you where these leaks are coming from, they will tell you it's from these career officials at the Justice Department.

CUOMO: Those leaks always come. So that would not make President Trump unique. And the question is still different than what you're responding to right now, Jason. He says the Justice Department is part of a deep state conspiracy against me.

Let's put to the side, he obviously isn't defining deep state the way it traditionally is, and it's an amorphous concept. I don't even know that it has great purchase in today's society. Let's put it to the side.

He's saying the Justice Department is part of this. Do you think it is right for the president of the United States to indict the Justice Department as being against him?

MILLER: Chris, you keep saying "conspiracy" as though this was some sort of episode of the "X-Files."

CUOMO: That's -- because that's what he said.

MILLER: It's -- but you're trying to make it sound like this is some sort of episode of the "X-Files" or something like that.

CUOMO: Because that's what he said.

MILLER: They're, very clearly, what the president is referring to is, again, these bureaucrats who think they know better than the president of the United States.

I think he's absolutely in his right to call out leakers. I think he's absolutely to call out the fact that our Justice Department turns a blind eye, whether it be in an Operation Kassandra or something that we saw in the previous administration or allowing some of these crimes to go by, as we see right now, with different things with the previous administration, with the way that, again, the leaks and the different things and we can get all into that later.

But I think the president's absolutely in his right to go and call it out. You know --

CUOMO: Nobody's saying -- nobody's saying it's not within his right.

Ana, let's go to you.

Nobody is arguing whether or not the president of the United States has the right to say this. Of course he does. It's whether or not it is right to say it. Your take?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course it's not right. Look, first of all, he is indicting the Department of Justice. There are so many good men and women who have spent their entire lives dedicated to working for the United States of America.

CUOMO: Sarah Huckabee Sanders says he doesn't mean everybody.

NAVARRO: Well, yes, it sounds like he means everybody. And you can just imagine what it does for the morale of the DOJ to hear the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, the guy who represents us all, says those things about the Justice Department that works for him.

[08:35:02] But, look, what he's trying to do here is obvious. What he is, is in a deep state of paranoia. He is in a deep state of distract and, you know, distort because what he's doing is laying the groundwork so whenever Mueller finishes the investigation, it's got no credibility. He's trying to drum up all this noise, all this outside noise. And regardless of all of this, Mueller is going to continue doing his job. He's going to continue focusing on this. Has to drown out all of this cacophony around him and just focus on the task at hand. Trump is going to do what Trump does. He's going to distract. He's

going to try to inflame his base, make it so that he subtracts credibility from the investigation because I think he's afraid of what may come out.

CUOMO: Do you believe that the Justice Department is compromised, Jason, and can't be trusted by the American people?

MILLER: No. And I think, Chris, the way that you're setting up that question, I think, is a bit of a false dichotomy there.

I agree with Ana, that the vast majority, the overwhelming majority, probably 99 percent of everyone at the Justice Department and FBI and all of the people in law enforcement check their political inclinations at the door when they show up to work every day and they show up and they do their job. And I think much in the same way that many reporters do their absolute best to go and check their biases at the door and say, we want to cover just the facts. I think the same thing with most of the people in our law enforcement.

However, as we've seen, there are a lot of things that have come to light recently, whether it be Justice Department officials going to Secretary Clinton's election night party or some of the other shenanigans that we saw. And I think that we have to remove anyone who's involved in this blatant, political activity who are supposedly --

CUOMO: You have a lifelong GOP member who served both types of administrations and interviewed for a job with President Trump who's running as special counsel. He's running the whole investigation. Why doesn't that bother you?

MILLER: But that's not who -- I mean we haven't seen overtly political activity. And, in fact, when former Director Mueller found out that there were people who were texting that were in his unit, that were saying some pretty negative things about President Trump, he removed them. And that was good. And -- and --

CUOMO: Supporters of President Trump, including a congressman, says he's -- you know, it's -- he's -- I'm trying to put it in a more dignified way. But they're saying that he is fatally flawed. That he is conflicted to the point that Mueller has to go. Do you think that's right?

MILLER: Oh, I don't think that's right, but I do think that Director Mueller -- I think the bar has been set higher and we need to go further and make sure that anyone who's been very active in campaigns, or I think even people who say (ph) maxed out to campaigns in previous cycles, I think they probably shouldn't be a part of this investigation. Just in the same way that, Chris, if you had maxed out to either Secretary Clinton or to President Trump, and then you were hosting the show, of course every single time that one of the two came up, people would bring that up to you. I --

CUOMO: Let me ask you something. If you found out that I gave money to Trump, would you have a problem with it? MILLER: I mean, of course, I would like it because he was my guy. But,

Ana --

CUOMO: That's my point. That's my point about all of this. About leaks, it's a --

MILLER: But Ana -- (INAUDIBLE) -- but Ana -- but Ana might not like it. And --

CUOMO: But it's about leaks. You guys love them when they're in your favor. You hate them when they -- when they aren't. I have the same conversation with every administration.

MILLER: No, but Chris, that's -- Chris, that's not what I said. Chris, that's not what I said. What I said is half the people -- half the people might like it but half won't.

NAVARRO: Jason, Trump gave money to Nancy Pelosi, Bob Menendez --

MILLER: But you're missing my entire point.


MILLER: The fact that we shouldn't have -- we shouldn't have the politics be involved in this and people are very involved in the investigatory process.

CUOMO: True.

MILLER: They shouldn't be people who have say maxed out of campaigns or going to Hillary Clinton's election night parties --

CUOMO: Sure, but I don't know that you have a case to make. I get that you're dabbling it out there that some of these guys have political activity. There's political activity all over the place. You remember what the Clinton people were saying, Jason, when they were doing the investigation on the e-mails about how these people hate , they're out to get her and they had their own little examples of how this was being taken so much more seriously than it deserved. I didn't see you or anybody standing up then and saying, you know what, she's right, that this is wrong. This is too political. We shouldn't be seeing this. You liked it because it played to your advantage.

MILLER: But, Chris, Chris, there's -- no, Chris, there's a higher threshold, whether it be someone who's in -- in investigation units, someone who's in law enforcement, just in the same way that folks in the media are scrutinized and looked at. There's a reason why journalist don't go and max out and give big contributions to candidates because they don't want to get --

CUOMO: Of course there is. Of course there is. But neither should investigators. Nobody's quibbling with that point. So we're -- but, no, but there's been a suggestion --

MILLER: Thank you. Thank you.

NAVARRO: But, listen --

MILLER: So we're -- so we agree. Thank you.

CUOMO: No, I'm with you. I'm with you. Jason, I'm not here to disagree with you, I'm just here to keep it straight.

Ana, the suggestion is this. When this investigation is done, if anything comes out that is negative about the president of the United States or anyone close to him --

NAVARRO: IT's because it's a political vendetta.

CUOMO: Must be dismissed as political.


CUOMO: And even Mueller himself is tainted. What is the Republican Party to do then?

NAVARRO: Look, I think the Republican Party really has to watch over Mueller. They have to watch about the -- over the integrity of this investigation.

This country is not going to stand for us not accepting what Mueller does. This country's certainly not going to stand for Donald Trump getting rid of Mueller one way or another. I think that, you know, they're going to let him do all of this noise. They're going to let him continue with this. But the Republican leadership has got to send Donald Trump a very clear message, do not mess with Mueller. Keep him where he is. Because they are going to have to huge mess on their hands and they're going to have to pay hell for it in 2018 should that happen.

And it's also because, at this point, it should be country over party. And we're talking about the integrity of our democracy, the integrity of our elections. That is more than your loyalty to a president or to a party. Our loyalty to this country should count more.

[08:40:13] CUOMO: Sad fact that both of you would agree on right now.

MILLER: And --

CUOMO: I've got to go, Jason, is that this was supposed to be about finding out how Russia did this and how to stop it the next time, and we are very light on that part of the discussion no matter who we talk.

Jason, Ana, always appreciate and respect both of you being on the show. Take care.

MILLER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, there was no big winner from last night's $361 million Mega Millions drawing. How high will the jackpot go now? That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

A diplomatic breakthrough in the Koreas. North and South Korea talking on a hotline has been dormant for nearly two years. Kim Jong-un opining the communications line. They are expected to discuss sending a North Korean delegation to the Olympics in South Korea next month.

CUOMO: President Trump taunting North Korea, bragging on Twitter that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong-un's. This comes after the North Korean dictator said he had a nuclear button on his desk and is ready to use it against the U.S.

CAMEROTA: Pro-regime protests taking place across Iran today as a counter movement to the anti-government demonstrations spreading across that country. At least 21 people have died in clashes during those protests, which have lasted now nearly a week.

[08:45:05] CUOMO: Utah Senator Orrin Hatch announcing he's not going to seek re-election next year. He's 83 years old and that makes Hatch the longest serving Republican in the Senate. Meantime, Democrats Doug Jones and Tina Smith are going to be sworn into the Senate today.

CAMEROTA: OK, so nobody matched all six numbers in last night's Mega Millions drawing. The jackpot is expected to rise to an estimated $418 million by Friday night. If you can't wait, Tonight's Powerball jackpot is $440 million. If you can't wait for all those millions, just get one for tonight.

CUOMO: Yes, and, remember, take the lump payment. I mean it's definitely the way to go.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. Why isn't Phil getting on this? We need to wake him up.

CUOMO: I know. Phil is the NEW DAY family resident accountant when it comes to our lottery winnings.

CAMEROTA: Right. OK, we're putting our money in good hands.

CUOMO: All right, so, for more on the "Five Things to Know," go to and you'll get the latest.

CAMEROTA: Here he comes.

CUOMO: There he is. He's making his list. He's checking it twice.

CAMEROTA: Are you getting the money right now?

CUOMO: He is always naughty and is never nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the lottery pool.

CUOMO: There he is. Vroom, like an eclipse.

CAMEROTA: That's Phil.

All right, meanwhile, wind-driven snow and ice may soon stretch from Maine to Florida. CNN's Jeanne Moos looks at the crazy consequence of the bitter cold.

CUOMO: He was like a nor'easter of his own.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Who needs a thermometer to answer the age-old question, how cold is it? Cold enough for the Calgary Zoo to temporarily bring its penguins indoors before letting them out again. Cold enough to freeze a shark. At least three of them were found washed up on Cape Cod, likely stranded due to cold shock, noted the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. They had to be thawed to be autopsied. A true sharkcicle.

How cold is it? Not cold enough at six below to detour a guy dressed as a banana from water skiing on the Mississippi, but definitely cold enough to generate Internet memes. I'm not going outside until the temperature is above my age.

Remember this trick from previous cold snaps, turning boiling water instantly into snow is so last year. This is the year of --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frozen bubbles.

MOOS: Craig Boehm (ph) created a perfect specimen at a temperature of minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit. In Saskatchewan, Canada, it has all the allure of a fragile homemade snow globe with over 4 million views.


MOOS (on camera): There's pretty much one basic recipe for making ice bubbles and it doesn't involve using that store bought bubble blowing stuff.

MOOS (voice over): Another Canadian who has helped whip up hash tag bubblemadness recommends warm water, corn syrup, dishwashing soap and sugar.

MOOS (on camera): The corn syrup, what does it do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It basically hardens. It gives it a little bit of structure. Otherwise they just blow away.

MOOS (voice over): And if you really want a snow globe affect, add a Christmas tree. So when the temperatures dip, just dip your straw and --


MOOS: Even penguins love bubbles.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: That's so cool.

CUOMO: Now, I see that this has tempted you, but are you willing to go out and be in the cold long enough to do that?

CAMEROTA: No, but I am willing to send my children out. So I'm going to try this.

CUOMO: Yes, that's why we had them.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm going to try this on the kids, with the kids. They'll love it.

CUOMO: All right, "The Bottom Line" is next.


[08:52:11] CAMEROTA: OK, so the president is tweeting about foreign affairs this morning. He's taking a different tone than last night. In this latest tweet it says, such respect for the people of Iran as they fight to take back their corrupt and poorly run country. The United States will be with you at the appropriate time.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political analyst David Gregory.

When is that appropriate time for the United States to be with the people of Iran, David?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think I know what the appropriate time is, but I do think that the sentiment, standing up for human rights, standing up against a tyrannical government that is operating against U.S. interests in so many places, particularly in the Middle East, is an effective thing to do on the part of the president. And doing it with enough subtlety and creating enough questions that there's room to maneuver. And I think that's important. So, you know, it -- to me it's less important whether I know what the right time is, is that he is retaining enough flexibility for a U.S. response when that time is right.

CUOMO: First, Aaron David Miller, a CNN contributor, a genius on these issues, has a good piece. You should read about it. And one of the points, David, is that this is tricky because it's about Iran, not about the United States of America. And how much support you show can negatively influence the protest. It can draw the ire of the Iranian state to come down harder on protests. So there's a balance --

CAMEROTA: Right. That was President Obama's argument at the time --


CAMEROTA: For not getting more involved, yes.

CUOMO: And now -- right. In 2009, you know, he kind of danced on that a little bit, which we've seen before.

And then you have the other side, which is, the appropriate time. Well, what if Iranians want to flee after that and coming here? What about them being on the --

CAMEROTA: Travel ban.

CUOMO: Right, the travel ban list?

GREGORY: Right. There's a lot of questions that the president would have to answer. And, again, the best we can do is say there's enough subtlety in this kind of pronouncement that he's not committing himself one way or the other. I think this is -- this is really difficult. We also have a major agreement with Iran about its nuclear program that is, at the very least, buying time for the United States to, you know, to eradicate that program completely over time without going to war. So, yes, I think these are -- these are hard questions.

CAMEROTA: I know you guys aren't as fixated with the big button tweet as I am, but let's go there. So do you think -- do you think, you know, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un just stated the nuclear button is on his desk at all times. Will someone from his depleted and food- starved regime please information him that I too have a nuclear button but it is much bigger and more powerful one than his and my button works.

I'm just curious, David --

CUOMO: The way you read it, by the way --


CUOMO: Is highly suggestive.

CAMEROTA: Of what? Of what?

CUOMO: Highly suggestive.

[08:55:01] CAMEROTA: Suggestive of what, David?

CUOMO: Oh, you know of what.

CAMEROTA: All right.

I'm wondering, do you think the button will come up at lunch -- at lunch with Secretary of State Tillerson? And this is a serious question --


CAMEROTA: Because I am wondering if the -- our head diplomat will say like, hey, what was that, or do they just gloss over things like this at lunch?

GREGORY: Well, you know, I don't know. There's so much intrigue about that relationship between Tillerson and Trump and I don't think there's a lot of relationship there.

I think this is the -- the crank part of President Trump, where he thinks he can just kind of one-off these things that's absent from the rest of the strategy. I'm frankly more interested in what Secretary Mattis of the Defense Department says to him about how that furthers or doesn't further their particular aims or whether they think there's enough of that unpredictability and bluster that can't hurt.

You know, I just think -- I think a couple things. I've said this earlier this morning, American leadership is about going big. It's not about going small or trashy or cranky. And that's what I think -- that's what I think this is.

I also think that we have to remember, as I've said before, that we are not in an acute crisis moment right now. But when a crisis moment actually comes, a presidential statement or decision or calculation or miscalculation is actually a matter of life and death. That's the bottom line. You want to talk about the history of Korea? Look how President Truman overruled General McArthur about how to take on the Chinese at that particular time. These are life and death decisions, whether -- especially when nuclear warfare is on the line. Think of President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. So that's what we have to think about when we see the president shoot off like this, what does it say about temperament, about American leadership. And that's -- that's the factor there.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory, thank you for "The Bottom Line." Great to talk to you.

GREGORY: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up after this very quick break. We'll see you tomorrow.

CUOMO: See how you said that?