Return to Transcripts main page
Miller Calling Fire And Fury Garbage; JFK Shuts Down International Flights; Investigation On Christopher Steele; Atlanta Preps For College Football's National Championship; A New Twist In The Russia Investigation; Golden Globe's Time's Up Movement. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 7, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:03] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: She has never recovered. They squandered their 18-point lead. They had a halftime and wound up losing 22 to 21.
Top of the hour on this Sunday 7:00 o'clock here in New York, 4:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Monica Ana Cabrera. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you with us.
New words today used by a top White House official talking about this new tell all book that paints the first year of the Trump administration as completely dysfunctional. This man, Stephen Miller, the President's Senior Policy Advisor was on CNN earlier today. He calls the book Fire and Fury garbage. The man who wrote it, Michael Wolff, a garbage author and about the quote attributed to the President's former right-hand man Steve Bannon, grotesque, vindictive, not credible Miller said. In a nutshell, everything, painting the President in a negative light is poorly written fiction and that the President is, quote, a political genius.
I'm about to play you part of Stephen Miller's conversation with Jake Tapper, but in the time since then, Steve Bannon has issued an apology of sorts. This through a source close to the President's Former Chief Strategist. Bannon says he regrets not coming out sooner to shoot down comments tied to him in the book, comments he calls inaccurate or misdirected.
OK, now, Stephen Miller on CNN earlier today with Jake Tapper. He is responding to those Steve Bannon quotes in the book Fire and Fury.
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: Steve Bannon's eloquence in that description notwithstanding. It's tragic and unfortunate that Steve would makes these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality and obviously so vindictive. And the whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments which were grotesque. And with respect to the Trump Tower meeting that he's talking about, he wasn't even there when this went down.
So he's not really a remotely credible source on any of it. It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discernible author. The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction. And I also will say that the author is a garbage author of a garbage book.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were at the campaign during that Trump Tower meeting I believe, right, in the summer of 2016? Just to answer the question because you were there and Steve Bannon was not, did any of those people from that meeting meet with President Trump as Bannon says the chance that he didn't -- to Don Jr. didn't walk these Jumos up to his father on the 26th floor. Is your opinion -- just settle that for us, did President Trump meet with any of the people?
MILLER: I have no knowledge of anything to do with that meeting.
MILLER: But what I can tell you unequivocally is, that the allegations and insinuations in this book which are a pure work of fiction are nothing but a pile of trash through and through.
CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us at the White House right now. Boris, Stephen Miller not surprisingly dismissing the book, "Fire and Fury", as garbage. And let's all remember that this was a book the President's legal team actively tried to have blocked from publication altogether. Now, the White House did not want this book out there. Boris, are you hearing others at the White House using terms just as strong as Stephen Miller's?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly not in terms as strong as those so far, Ana. Earlier this week, we should remember that the White House also called this book a piece of fiction, ask serious questions about the author's credibility. And then yesterday, you had President Trump going much further calling Michael Wolff, the author, a fraud saying that what he had done is a disgrace and refuting several key components within the book about how the information from sources was gathered for publication.
Beyond that, you now have Stephen Miller calling it garbage, calling the author garbage. We'd certainly not heard that kind of commentary before but we should note that some of the President's and Steve Miller's attacks were also geared toward one of the main sources of the book, Former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who as you heard Steve Miller say made comments that were grotesque according to him, the Senior Policy Advisor.
Beyond that though, shortly after that statement was made, Steve Bannon put out this statement seemingly an apology for taking so long to respond to some of the excerpts that were leaked from the book previously during the week. She specifically took offense to one portion where he was quoted as saying that that meeting at Trump Tower between some Trump campaign officials and Russian nationals was unpatriotic and treasonous. He called that inaccurate reporting.
And he specifically said that Donald Trump Jr. is a patriot and that those comments were geared more toward Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. CNN has reached out to the White House for a comment on Steve Bannon's statement, Ana, but we have yet to hear back.
CABRERA: Let me read part of that statement real quick, Boris. He says, in part, my support is also unwavering for the President and his agenda, and I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism.
[19:05:03] So the President of course continues to bash Bannon, calling him names on Twitter. Will this statement mend things or is it too little too late?
SANCHEZ: We have yet to see. There are some experts that speculate that perhaps because they share so much history or so much common ground rather, there may be a way to mend friends here. But CNN -- we should put out that a few days ago, CNN reported that sources within the White House were confirming that the President had called friends and allies recently to essentially tell them that they were either with Steve Bannon or they were with him. You heard the President using the moniker Sloppy Steve this weekend.
And further, Steve Bannon's biggest financial backer, Rebekah Mercer, made comments this week putting distance between herself and the head of Breitbart News, saying that she hadn't spoken to him for months. So part of this I think is perhaps Steve Bannon seeing his influence slipping and him trying to salvage what he can of his political career at a point where not only are the President's surrogates attacking him but the President himself has been somewhat vicious toward his former campaign chairman.
CABRERA: Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you.
I want to bring in our panel, CNN Political Analyst, Julian Salazar. He is also a historian and professor at Princeton University, Gabby Morrongiello, the White House Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Michael Moore.
Julian, we saw Stephen Miller there playing defense for the President. We saw this new statement by Steve Bannon. Does that help or hurt the White House get back on message after all the attention on this book?
JULIAN SALAZAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it helps them get back on message. It's the familiar playbook now. If you stand in the way of this White House, they will try to tear down your credibility. That's what they've done with the Russia investigation, that's what they've done with many political opponents including the media. And it seems that they almost have to get that out of their system before they could move on policy. I don't think this will go away right away, but I do think this is exactly how they take on anything that stands in their way.
CABRERA: Gabby, well, blasting the author of "Fire and Fury" yesterday, the President also pointed the finger at Bannon. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did a quick interview with him a long time ago having to do with an article, but I don't know this man. I guess Sloppy Steve brought them in the White House quite a bit and it was one of those things. That's why Sloppy Steve is now looking for a job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Will Bannon clarification of sorts be enough to get back in Trump's good graces?
GABBY MORRONGIELLO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: No. I don't think that this is in any way going to immediately solve that feud between him and the President. I think this is going to take a lot of apologizing for and, and work to mend that relationship on Bannon's behalf. You know, this President is somebody who values loyalty above all else.
And for senior aide of his to be inviting somebody into the White House periodically who was intended all along to write a book like this that is severely damaged, not only the President's credibility and refutation, but it's caused such a tremendous headache for the west wing, is really something that the President is not going to forget anytime soon and certainly something that Steve Bannon is going to have to work to figure out and to apologize for.
CABRERA: As we mentioned earlier, the President had tried to stop this folk from coming out. Michael, obviously that didn't happen but reporters have pointed out some inaccuracies in the book.
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: Sure.
CABRERA: Does the President have any legal ground if it can be proven that some of what's in the book isn't true?
MOORE: You know, let me say that -- I've said that I've not read the book. I certainly read some excerpts from it. There is a case called New York Times versus Sullivan which talks about news reporting as it relates to public figures and whether or not there's an actual malice standard for a libel case to move forward.
You know, what's interesting to me here is that Steve Bannon even coming out now talking about the details in the book really hasn't refuted what said. He's basically, I wasn't talking about little Don but I was talking about Paul Manafort. The problem that the White House has in this instance is that he's still talking about the Russian meeting.
And if in fact the Russian meeting whether it's with Little Don or Manafort or whoever he wants to put that on, if that meeting is unpatriotic and treasonous, then it certainly makes the President's efforts to cover up the purpose of that meeting even more intriguing and more suspicious. We know what this letter that was written and this explanation that he helped craft and that's -- it's going to be suspicious whether we're talking about Bob Mueller looking at it or whether we're talking about a congressional inquiry looking at it.
But Steve Bannon, and we keep forgetting this, he was on the National Security Council. I mean, they put him on the National Security Council, then to come out and say, well, I don't really know, you know, his -- he's Sloppy Steve or whatever else. Well, he was their pick to be on the council. He helped run the campaign.
And as far as Wolff goes, you know, I listened to the Presidents comments just as you played there, it's concerning to me that you let a man inside the White House with that kind of access to the Oval Office and the people and the staff that you now say, I really didn't know who he was. That in and of itself to me calls in to play some judgment questions.
[19:10:10] CABRERA: What do you make of that defense?
MOORE: That he says he didn't know he is?
CABRERA: Yes. I mean just the way that they've approached this attacking the credibility of the author, attacking Steve Bannon and basically distancing themselves from his influence and placing the blame on him for the access to this administration.
MOORE: You know, I think basking at the President your cheerleader until you disagree with him. And as soon as you disagree with him or you -- till you point something out about him that he didn't like, he thinks you're the greatest guy in the world because he picked up. You know, in this instance that they sent out a surrogate, Steve Miller to talk about the President's capacity and his intellect. And when you have to send a young surrogate out like that to stand up for the Commander-in-Chief's capacity and intellect and in fact have an argument with a well-respected journalist and new (ph) show host is not a good day for the White House.
And so, I think this is their modus operandi. They do this all the time. They're doing it to Bob Mueller, they do it to the witnesses, they do it to Jim Comey. As soon as you come out with something that they don't like or you've moving in a direction they don't like where it's Wolff, Bannon, whoever. Again, I'm not here to defend the book. I don't -- I'm not here to defend Wolff. But I'm just telling you, these are things that we've heard about before. These are allegations that we've all heard about. The different synopsis (ph) and the excerpts that I've read had been basked (ph) that now those comments have been attributed to various people.
But we've heard for a long time --
MOORE: --that something is a mess in this White House. And the question is--
CABRERA: Right now--
MOORE: Go ahead. I'm sorry.
CABRERA: I don't mean to step out of you there, but now the bottom line is a lot of people are going to ask even more questions about their take on the President's mental fitness. We heard Nikki Haley have to answer questions on that today, and the CIA Director Mike Pompeo has to answer questions today, even the British Prime Minister Theresa May--
MOORE: That's right.
CABRERA: --was asked questions about this today. And I asked the question of Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania who said this about the President's mental fitness. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONG. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I'm not a professional in that area. I don't do -- I don't make diagnosis from afar, but I believe that the American people understood what they were voting for when they elected Donald Trump. I mean the behavior and conduct in office we've seen isn't that different than what we saw during the campaign. So there shouldn't be any surprises. I'm going to leave it to the mental health professionals to determine his fitness, but I certainly think some of those comments and some of the behavior has called in to question his fitness for sure.
CABRERA: Julian, how do you suppose this all bodes for how Republicans work with the President moving forward?
SALAZAR: I don't think it's going to change anything. I think there's this perception. The book comes out, all these stories come out, all these questions are asked, and all of a sudden, parts of the electorate will move. Some Republicans will say, oh my gosh, I can't believe this is what's going on in the Oval Office. But we've seen this out in his Twitter feed. We've seen this in his public statements. All the behavior that Wolff captures is not new. It's just crystallized and has better stories and behind the scenes aspect.
So I'm not convinced you'll see the needle move in the electorate, within the Republican electorate. And the Republican Congress especially after receiving this rather large tax cut that plays well with a lot of that part of the party is not going to suddenly jump shift. I think it's going to take a lot more to really rock the Republican boat.
CABRERA: And in some ways, this doesn't really change people's view from back when the election happened Gabby. And exit poll from the election itself showed that only 35 percent believed at that time that Trump had the temperament to be President. He obviously still won, taking that into consideration. How long will people be talking about this book because generally with this White House, the news cycle moves pretty fast?
MORRONGIELLO: It moves at lightning speed. And I think the White House has already with that Miller interview earlier this morning, tried to shift of the focus back towards what they like to say the fake news media as opposed to this book by Michael Wolff. They now have a narrative that they can create, that they're senior advisors are being pressed to answer questions exclusively about the President's mental health and that somebody on this network only cares about that, that they don't care about talking about the policy specifics of this White House its focused on, or the manufacturing jobs as you heard Stephen Miller say in that interview with Jake Tapper. And that's what they're going to run ahead with going forward.
But I do think that this book by Michael Wolff poses some significant questions about the President's habits, not necessarily his mental health but whether he's actually committed to this job in terms of waking up early and working late rather than staying in his residence and watching cable news nonstop. I think that there are a lot of questions that exist around that that Republicans might be focused on in the week's ahead. But I think it's tough that you're going to see any Republican on Capitol Hill, any senior advisor in the west wing questioning the President's mental health publicly or even privately to reporters.
[19:15:07] CABRERA: Alright, everyone, thank you. Standby.
Still ahead this hour, talk about adding insult to injury, passengers in a blizzard backlog are now finding their luggage waterlogged after a pipe breaks. We go live to JFK airport next. Plus, stunning comments today from CIA director Mike Pompeo when asked about ongoing Russian interference in U.S. elections. And later, sending a message, tonight's Golden Globe's red carpet shout out (ph) in black tonight as stars shows solidarity against sexual assault in Hollywood, live to the Beverly Hills and coming up. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM, don't go away.
CABRERA: Even more cancellations and delays at New York's JFK airport after a frozen pipe now flooded Terminal 4. This was the scene not too long ago as water poured into the terminal soaking some of the bags being stored there. The FAA says a portion of Terminal 4 arrivals hall has now been shut down because of this water main break. Polo Sandoval is joining us there. Court authority officials just gave an update. Polo, what is the situation now?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of passengers at JFK just cannot seem to catch a break this weekend. Yesterday, the backlog of flights there that led to some stranded passengers. Today, a flooded out terminal, at least part of that terminal flooded out.
As you mentioned, we heard from authorities a little while ago saying that they are now trying to get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, they are scrambling to clean up the mess so that they can begin to accept some of these international flights here at Terminal 4. Those have been suspended for the last several hours. They hope that by about 10:00 or 11:00 o'clock tonight, those will be back on schedule. We're back to that investigation as we -- you're about to hear from the executive director of the Port Authority. The main focus right now is not only to get this airport back up and running at least operations here at Terminal 4, but also get to the bottom of why this pipe burst going so much damage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:02] RICHARD COLTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY: We will thoroughly investigate why this pipe burst. We will thoroughly investigate why it was not adequately protected. And we will examine carefully the contingency plans that were in place in order to recover for this event. And we will determine the accountability and responsibility for the failure that did occur this afternoon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Now, important to point out that domestic flights do continue to both land and take off here at Terminal 4 and the rest of the airport, however, with some delays, much of that having to do with what officials here at JFK on here have described as a cascading series of events here. And this all stated on Thursday with this massive winter storm that delayed and cancelled flights. They've even been dealing with frozen equipment issues here as well because the temperatures are so slow. So at least for now, they do have hope that they can at least begin to accept some of the international flights again. They hope that that can happen in the next three or four hours.
CABRERA: What's the outlook for getting things functioning back to normal?
SANDOVAL: Yes. Again, they said probably about 10:00 or 10:30 they hope that they can get some of those international flights arriving here at Terminal 4. Some of these flooding took place not far from where customs officials process some of these people that are coming from other parts of the world here. So that likely playing an issue here, if you don't have an area to process these passengers that are traveling in from other countries, then they have to reroute them. And that's what already took place.
There's about nine or 10 flights that are still scheduled to fly into Terminal 4 by 9:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. They're looking to the possibility of having to reroute those until customs officers can start processing those people again.
CABRERA: But, so when you look at the baggage claim and you look at again just how much water damage there is in there, it makes you think that this is going to be something that's going to take a bit to fix and clean up. Polo Sandoval, thank you for the update.
Now, security was already set to be extra tight in Atlanta for college football's biggest game. But put President Trump in the stand and you have got security on steroids. Tomorrow night, Georgia faces off against Alabama in a college football championship. A huge game, huge Southern rivalry here, 100,000 fans expected. Security will be presidential, complete with snipers on rooftops. I want to bring in CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung. So Kaylee, what is it going to be like to get inside that game?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, before fans wait in line to get inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with nothing more than their clear plastic bag of items on them, they'll have to fight traffic in Downtown Atlanta to get there, is that very simply officials have told us is their biggest concern for tomorrow.
State and local and federal officials have been and all of the events around college football's national championship for more than a year. Something good to keep in mind is that the secret service among the many agencies working in cooperation since day one. So with the news of the President's attendance, they were able to fold in their plans fairly seamlessly they tell us.
With that traffic, think about Atlanta on any given day at rush hour, now you're dealing with the Presidential motorcade into town, one in which authorities can't tell us what roads they'll be closing as his motorcade makes its way here into the middle of Atlanta. They are telling fans to be downtown by 4:00 p.m. and that's well in advance of when gate to the stadium even open at 5:30. This game kicks after 8:00 p.m. and the President isn't expected to be here until closer to game time.
So all of those logistics in mine, you also have to think about the many security precaution that are in place. Otherwise, the Atlanta Police Department welcomed us into their join operation center, helped us understand more about the roughly 10,000 video cameras that help with their electronic surveillance as well as the movements of their bomb sniffing dogs and the many other assets that are in place behind the scenes like robots that can be brought out to investigate any suspicious packages, and then take care of anything that they may find.
And so, Ana, there are a lot of moving pieces here as so many entities come together to protect the people of this city and the more than 100,000 fans who are expected to be in Atlanta tomorrow.
CABRERA: Thanks for the info. Kaylee Hartung, we appreciate it.
Coming up, Senator Lindsey Graham making the case for a Justice Department investigation into the author of the Trump's dossier. We'll discuss with our panel next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:27:43] CABRERA: We're back with a new twist in the Russia investigation. Two leading senators are calling on the Justice Department to investigate the Trump dossier author, Former British Spy, Christopher Steele. Here's what Senator Lindsey Graham had to say. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: During the time that Mr. Steele was being an informant for the FBI, we now know he was shopping the dossier to out -- journalist outlets all over the world which is inconsistent in my view with being a reliable informant. There is a bunch of stuff about the Department of Justice, how they conducted themselves, that need to be looked at just as much as Trump needs to be looked at. Now I'm going to insist that a special counsel look at these things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: My panel is back along with a new addition, Mark Mazzetti, Washington Investigations Editor for the New York Times.
Mark, I'll start with you. Senator John McCain we know gave the dossier to the FBI. And important to know, Christopher Steele was a private citizen at the time. He was not an informant so to speak for the FBI when he was doing his investigations. But according to Fusion GPS, when he was investigating, he found what he thought was a crime so he too wanted to flag that to the FBI.
But now we have McCain's best senate buddy sort, Republican Lindsey Graham saying he wants the dossier's author investigated. What is the Republican's endgame here?
MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, certainly, they want to make the dossier put that at the center of this political debate over collusion, the entire Russian investigation. They want to taint the dossier as a political document, a piece of opposition research that was designed to smear President Trump that was, you know, paid for by Hillary Clinton.
And to walk that back for a second, actually even before McCain gave it to the FBI, the FBI got a possession or at least parts of that dossier earlier that summer, during the campaign and there was this discussion about whether Chris Steele should be paid for his work. So this is still epicenter of the debate. What exactly did the FBI get? When did they really look seriously at the dossier and what they did with it even before the election?
[19:29:53] CABRERA: Now, Fusion GPS which got Steele involved in this investigation wrote an op-ed this past week saying in part, we hired Mr. Steele and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question, why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun? Mr. Steele sources in Russia who were not paid reported on an extensive and now confirmed effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the FBI.
So Michael Moore, Fusion GPS expressing frustration that their testimony before Congress which included this information hasn't been made public. By calling for investigation now into Steele, could Republicans legally prevent Fusion testimony from being released?
MOORE: You know, I think the people with the Fusion GPS can probably now say it as they want to say and whether or not that testimony comes out, you know, they'll have to debate. You know, this is just pure distraction by Lindsey Graham and the other Republicans. You've mentioned, we've got a ballgame here in Atlanta coming up. This is about like the referee is on the field trying to debate what the players had for lunch as opposed to what's happening on the ball field. And so, they're trying to distract us here from what went on.
And again, I mean, remember that the dossier, we've always -- we talked about this and Republican seem to like to forget it, the dossier came into existence well before we're talking about Hillary Clinton's paid for or the Democrats paying for. I mean this thing came into during the -- some -- with some Republican money earlier on during the primary. And so, I don't know if that was what Lindsey Graham was involved in the primary or not.
But these are just a pure effort at distraction. What matters is what is in the dossier, not ultimately how it got there. Now, they've got all the right in the world as a Congress to have oversight hearings and to talk to people about what goes on with the FBI and that type of thing. But what we ought to be looking at, we need to keep our eye on the ball and be talking about what facts are in the dossier and are those provable. Was there collusion with Trump? And does this lead back to Russian money?
That I think is what they're afraid of, and that's one of the reasons they'd be -- they're more insistent about finding out about the author of the dossier than they are at looking at Donald Trump's tax returns. I find that almost incredible.
CABRERA: So Michael, just quickly to confirm what you're saying though, you don't see a legal case or legal grounds for the DOJ to open investigation into Christopher Steele?
MOORE: Well, you know, the DOJ ultimately if they find some basis, if they thought he did something wrong as an informant, if they thought he was taking money from somebody he shouldn't take, I mean the DOJ can investigate if they believe that there's some evidence of a crime.
But again, in this case, you're talking about Republican Senators sending an inquiry over to try to get them to do an investigation about who paid them and where the money came from and such as that. While at the same time, they're not insistent about finding out does President Trump and his business, do they have Russian money ties?
And I find that to be something that -- it makes me sort of look at Lindsey Graham's comments and think that, you know, I like him but I just think that they lack merit.
CABRERA: Okay. So now we have the world watching, reacting to President Trump's declaration that his two greatest assets are his, quote, mental disability and being like really smart. And now we're starting to see these headlines pop up in Spain declaring the biggest risk for 2018 is Trump, Germany's biggest newspaper referring to the Trump White House a cage full of fools. Julian, the impact on our nation's global reputation from all of these, how do you see this playing out?
SALAZAR: It hurts. I think there's no way to look at the past year and the last few days and not see the ways this can undercut and does undercut our image around the globe. We many years ago at the end of the Bush administration, we're at a low point. President Obama helped to rebuild the image of the nation overseas. And we've been declining. And stories like this about the President but more importantly, the behavior the President himself with his tweets on foreign policy and his overall demeanor do have an effect. Other leaders watch this. Other countries, the populations watch this and I think --
CABRERA: Today, he's comparing himself though to reacting in a way that Ronald Reagan reacted to questions about mental stability and to fake news or fake books that he putted in his tweets today.
CABRERA: Yeah. That's not the case. And so, Ronald Reagan wasn't really blamed generally for being unstable. He was blamed for being too hawkish. There were questions about his memory such as during the second election, the reelection with the debate with Walter Mondale. But it wasn't like this. This was not about someone who some argue was fundamentally unstable and incapable of holding the job. That's a different kind of conversation than we had with Ronald Reagan.
And Ronald Reagan even his opponents realized brought a certain level of experience and command to the White House that we haven't seen thus far. So I think the comparison is exactly fair.
[19:35:02] CABRERA: I want to ask you Abby about another investigation we learned off recently, the FBI reportedly reopening an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Here is what Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff had to say about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONG. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: If they are investigating Hillary Clinton, it doesn't take a genius let alone a stable genius, to see why. It's not because there's some new evidence that's come to light. It's because they are being badgered by the White House to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Gabby, what are you hearing? Are your sources giving you any reason for reopening this investigation?
MORRONGIELLO: Well, there are a number of questions that came out during the 2016 campaign about the activities of the Clinton Foundation that ultimately were never resolved or answered. And I think that's one of the reasons why this has been a larger question about this foundation and whether or not it should be investigated by federal authorities for some of the activities and access that Secretary of State Clinton may have been giving people who are donating to her foundation.
I do think that the White House has to play this very carefully because if this is in fact an undergoing probe that they shouldn't be looking as though they are trying to pressure Jeff Sessions or the DOJ into reopening this or keeping it going in any sense. They need to, you know, keep their mouth shut, focus on the policy questions and debates that are happening on Capitol Hill a not really play this up.
And I think that's a dangerous situation for the President because he has this tendency to rehash the 2016 campaign to go after his opponent, and this is certainly something that he really went after her for on the campaign trail and one that he's likely to touch on in the coming weeks. But that really does taint the investigation if there is one underway, if the President is actively and routinely commenting on it.
CABRERA: Mark, how much of a distraction is this book now for the Trump White House?
MAZZETTI: Well, I mean it's a distraction I suppose but they are feeding it as well. You see the President tweeting about it, you see his advisors talking about it. They certainly aren't ignoring it. In fact, they are embracing the debate. They're pushing back. So it's not -- you know, they would rather not be talking about President Trump's mental stability but at the same time, the President is tweeting back that he is a stable genius.
So, you know, it's hard to see this going away especially when, you know, the President himself continues to keep this as part of the discussion.
CABRERA: Mark, do you think that this book and some of the revelations feed the Russia investigation in any open new doors, new people for the Special Council to call before it?
MAZZETTI: Certainly that the comments by Steve Bannon which got the most attention on the first day are particularly interesting his views about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and his belief that it was treasonous. Now, whether or not Mueller's team has spoken to Bannon is unclear. But if they haven't yet, you would think they probably would want to given that he's now made it public about that meeting.
So at the very least, that book and Bannon's comments in the book put him -- make him a very interesting potential witness for the Mueller team because they would want to know what he knew at the time he (INAUDIBLE) was with the campaign but also what he knew being at the White House in discussing the meeting especially when the meeting was revealed last summer about the times (ph).
CABRERA: Not to mention Bannon also talking about money laundering, financial crimes too in some of those excerpts from the book. Mark Mazzetti, Michael Moore, Gabby Morrongiello, and Julian Salazar, always, I thank you all.
Straight ahead, a stunning statement from the CIA Director today why he believes the Russians are currently trying to impact U.S. election. Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:41:58] CABRERA: The head of the CIA is convinced that Russia is working to undermine American elections right now. And he is worried about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS HOST: Are they currently doing that?
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: Yes, sir.
POMPEO: Have been for decades. So, yes, I continue to be concerned not only about the Russians, but about others' efforts as well. We have many foes who want to undermine Western democracy. So there's this Washington-based focus on Russian interference. I want to make sure we broaden the conversation.
We have an important function as a part of the American national security team to keep the American elections safe, and secure, and democratic. We are working diligently to do that. So we're going to work against the Russians or any others who threaten that very outcome.
DICKERSON: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Mike Pompeo saying that Russia has meddled in U.S. elections and is meddling in election saying they've doing it for decades. But it's an opinion that's necessarily shared throughout the Trump administration. Our Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott is with us now.
Elise, when you spoke to the Secretary of State this week, he wasn't as convinced as Pompeo that Russia is going to try to influence the midterms later this year.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I thought the CIA director's comments were kind of interesting and similar to the ones that he said in Aspen at a conference in July. He kind of almost didn't dismiss it but kind of said, you know, this is what Russians always do without specifically presenting any evidence and just making it like they're one of other actors trying to do it.
I asked Secretary of State Tillerson specifically if he was concerned about meddling in the 2018 election. Take a listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: You think they're going to try to meddle in 2018?
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't know. I hope they don't.
LABOTT: Do you have evidence that they are?
TILLERSON: We have none yet. But we do know that Russia has involved themselves in other elections -- LABOTT: Right.
TILLERSON: -- in Europe and elsewhere. So it is a message we convey to the Russians. The way I convey it is I don't understand why you do this. I don't understand what you think you're getting for this, because it's not evident to me as to how is this benefiting you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And then, you know, the conversation went on. I said to the Secretary, well, what Russia tries to do, don't they, in the United States and around Europe is so, you know, discontent and so chaos throughout the democratic system. So clearly, there is this concern that Russia is trying to do this around the world whether there are specific evidence in the U.S. that they're actively trying to do it right now. I don't think there is as far as Secretary Tillerson is concerned and I don't think that the CIA Director presented any evidence in his interview of specific things that they have to show for it. Clearly it's a concern, Ana.
CABRERA: Elise, a lot of people thought last year when Tillerson was named Secretary of State that with his vast experience in Russia and his relationships of people there that things would be better between Washington and Moscow. Why hasn't that happened?
[19:45:02] Labott: Well, I think it's true. I mean, look, there was a lot of warm rhetoric by the President, and Secretary Tillerson have this, you know, pretty good relationship working at ExxonMobil with both President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. But I think it's Russian actions that have caused the U.S. to continue to take a tough line particularly on Ukraine. The U.S. has added -- the State Department added a number of Russian individuals of businesses and companies that are doing business with Russia to its list of sanctions on Ukraine. And recently, President Trump approved the sale of lethal arms for the first time to the Ukrainian military.
I think at the same time, Secretary Tillerson said t they do want to have a better relationship with Russia on areas where they can work together such as in Syria, such as perhaps in North Korea. But there is a lot of concern about continued actions. But Secretary Tillerson __ the main issue that they really need to solve is Ukraine while they continue to work on these other areas, and of course election meddling not just in the United States but their interference in Europe and the Democratic process, there is also a concern.
CABRERA: Elise Labott in Washington, thank you.
Let's head to California, the 75th annual Golden Globe kicking off in just a few minutes. And live pictures from Los Angeles. This year, it's about much more than the glitz and glam, it's the first award show since the sexual harassment allegations have rocked the entertainment industry. We will take you live to the red carpet next.
[19:50:16] CABRERA: Many stars are using tonight's Golden Globes to send a message. They are wearing all black to make a statement about sexual harassment and the scandals that have rocked Hollywood. Let's check back with Stephanie Elam from the red carpet in Beverly Hills.
Stephanie, we're only minutes away now from the big award ceremony. It looks like a lot of women are sticking by this idea of showing unity in wearing black.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you know what, it's not just the women. We got to tell you Ana, it's the men too. So many men showing out wearing all black, wearing pins saying times up, really ready to speak about the fact that they're supporting the Me Too Movement. And one of the founders of the Me Too Movement, Tarana Burke was here on the red carpet with Michelle Williams. Take a listen to what they had to say about what this time in Hollywood really stands for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARANA BURKE, FOUNDER, ME TOO MOVEMENT: Well, it's humbling but it's also empowering, right? I just think that this is such a bold statement for women who work in Hollywood to make in solidarity with women across the world. And, you know, a person like me, I stand and represent survivors, and so I know that so many women in this carpet are survivors. And so, it just really makes me feel wonderful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: And you could see it. The stars that were here with their activist, very much healing like this is an important moment for them as well to be here. Susan Sarandon also here with Rosa Clemente who's done a lot of work with Puerto Rico. So you're seeing these stars show up with their activist and they really want people to hear what they have to say and take advantage of this huge tide, this turning tide here in Hollywood, Ana.
CABRERA: Stephanie, some stars, they have said they are using their plus one to bring an activist to the awards. Are you seeing evidence of that?
ELAM: Definitely. I mean, you can see it from Tarana Burke, you can see it from Susan Sarandon as well, people taking advantage of this to show that this moment in time how things are changing. And they just announced that the red carpet is close. Everyone is supposed to be making their way into their sits. But if you think about the fact that this movement started a few months ago and now you've seen almost every star -- I didn't one major star not wearing predominantly black tonight here on this red carpet. That's a huge statement.
And several of the women I talked to like actress Andel (ph) say that they think this is a time change and this is different, this is different than any other things that has happened here on Hollywood and these days of this old patriarch are behind us in one sense. But there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. And so you're seeing that evident here at the Golden Globes. And this is just the start of really the award season here in Hollywood. CABRERA: It will be interesting to hear the speeches too coming tonight from the Golden Globes. Stephanie Elam, you look lovely, just gorgeous my friend. Good to see you and thank you for that report.
ELAM: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
CABRERA: Still ahead, here in the NEWSROOM, grotesque, vindictive, not credible, new words today used by a top White House official talking about the tell-all book that paints the first year of the Trump administration as completely dysfunctional. What Stephen Miller told our Jake Tapper here in the NEWSROOM next. Stay with us.
[19:56:49]JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's one of the President's unique talents if you want to call it that coming up with biting nicknames for his opponents. Usually just two word monikers but they can cut deep. That's a subject of this week's State of the Cartoonion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Almost like magic, late on Thursday, President Trump came up with a new nasty nickname for his former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
TRUMP: Sloppy Steve.
TAPPER: The nickname comes in the midst of a rather consequential fight about a book that paints a picture of the President as disconnected and not up to the job. There is one job that the president is clearly up to. Coining devastating nicknames.
TRUMP: Rocket man. Crooked Hillary Clinton. Low energy Jeb Bush. Lying Ted Cruz, Lying Ted. Little Marco.
TAPPER: Cruel and juvenile and occasionally racist.
TRUMP: I call her Pocahontas and that's an insult to Pocahontas.
TAPPER: So how does President Trump come up with that perfect nickname? Does he workshop them? Sardonic Steve. No. Silly Steve. No. Hobo Steve? It might anger the hobo community.
TRUMP: Sloppy Steve.
TAPPER: But Bannon is capable of coming up with biting nicknames as well. According to "Politico", he privately refers to President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner as Fredo, the craven (ph) son in "The Godfather." Though we should point out that "Politico" originally misreported this saying that Bannon called Kushner Frodo, the character from "Lord of the Rings."
So will Bannon now return fire and come up with a nickname for his former boss? One wonders where this epic battle might end up, perhaps like an old west standoff with smartphones instead of guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Having insult to injury, a pipe break sends water streaming into a baggage holding area, shutting down parts of an already backlogged airport. Bone chilling cold, you think it's frigid? Try fighting a fire when it's too below. And time's up as Hollywood gathers at the Golden Globes. Celebrities send a message.
Hello, everyone, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Lots to talk about as we head into a new week. Much of the talk this weekend has been about a book. People close to the President this weekend are safe to say not big fans of the new book that describes the Oval Office as out of control, the President is mentally unstable and an inner circle that supposedly talks all the time about the mechanism that could be invoked to remove him from office.
I'm talking of course about "Fire and Fury" by Michael Wolff. President Trump's legal team tried to stop this book from even being released. They failed. Now, one of the White House's Senior Policy Advisors was on CNN earlier today shredding the book and describing the man who wrote it as garbage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction. And I also will say that the author is a garbage author of a garbage book.
[19:59:58] And the tragic thing about this book, and there are many things about it that are unfortunate, but the portrayal of the President in the book is so contrary to reality, to the experience of those who work with him, to my own experience having spent the last two years with him.