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At Least 13 Killed in California Mudslides; Interview with Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana; Interview with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Senator Mark Warner. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 10, 2018 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And the feud over that infamous Trump-Russia dossier intensifying. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein released the transcript of an interview with the head of the firm behind it. What is in that transcript will make a big difference.

Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns lives at the White House with our top story. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. That federal judge's injunction really throwing a wrench into all of the negotiations here and on Capitol Hill over what to do about the DREAMers, and it came on the same day of an extraordinary television performance by the president of the United States with members of Congress here at the White House.

The question, of course, about immigration, and as you know, this president, quite frankly, ran on the issue of immigration and really pushed hard, almost angrily at immigrants, now sounding a lot more accommodating even on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.


JOHNS: A federal judge blocking the Trump administration's decision to end the DREAMers program on March 5th, ruling that protections must remain in place while pending legal challenges proceed and ordering the government to resume taking renewal applications. The Justice Department responding that the ruling does not change its position that the Obama era program is unlawful, asserting that it will continue to defend its position in further litigation. The late-night court surprise coming hours after the remarkable televised meeting between President Trump and bipartisan lawmakers over a potential deal for the DREAMers.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love, truly it should be a bill of love.

JOHNS: President Trump suggesting a compassionate solution, suggesting flexibility.

TRUMP: I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump also signaling an openness to pursuing a larger immigration deal.

TRUMP: If you we do this properly, DACA, you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat. I don't care. I'll take all the heat you want to give me, and I'll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.

JOHNS: At times the president appearing to contradict himself, insisting that border security must be part of any agreement, but also suggesting he is open to a clean DACA bill.

TRUMP: I think that's basically what he said, we are going to come up with DACA, we're going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.

JOHNS: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy interjecting this.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, you need to be clear, though. I think what Senator Feinstein is asking here, when we talk about just DACA, we don't want to be back here two years later. We have to have security.

JOHNS: It was unclear if border security meant a wall, the White House offering little clarity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has to be part of the deal in order for these DREAMers to have protection?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Border security does have to be part of this process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand how a wall can be different than border security --

SANDERS: No, actually I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be agents, it could be more fencing. It doesn't necessarily mean a physical --

SANDERS: And that's part of the negotiation that we expect Congress to have.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump later tweeting that a wall must be part of any DACA approval.


JOHNS: Make no mistake, first and foremost the president's performance on TV was, to put to rest any concerns about fitness for the office that had been circulating over the last several days. We do expect to see the president here at the White House in a news conference with the prime minister of Norway today. It will be the president's first formal news conference with the national news media since about November. Back to you, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Very interesting, Joe. Thank you for all of that.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Secretary Mark Warner. We are going to talk about news of the day with them, but first you are both here to make some news on NEW DAY about this bill that you are cosponsoring that will affect hundreds of millions of Americans. So welcome. And it will be a challenge since you could not have more similar names, but let me start with you --



CAMEROTA: You do not. That part I'm clear on. Senator Warren, tell us about this bill?

WARREN: All right, so you remember back in September that Equifax permitted more than half of all adult Americans to lose their personal financial data, so now crooks out there have people's Social Security numbers, phones numbers, addresses, previous addresses. And here is the deal. We had a hearing in banking and asked a lot of questions about it of the former CEO of Equifax, and you know what we found out? Equifax might make money off the breach.

[08:05:00] CAMEROTA: How is that possible? How is it possible they might profit and they were never punished?

WARREN: Exactly. And so based on all these credit protection products and this breach, everybody needs credit protection. So Senator Warner and I decided that this was just fundamentally wrong, and we are introducing a bill today to say that when a credit reporting agency lets your data be stolen that there are substantial automatic penalties that go into place and there's money that automatically goes back to the people whose data has been stolen.

CAMEROTA: So Senator Warren, how would your bill have changed what happened with Equifax? Is this just after the fact or would it protect people beforehand?

SEN. MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: Remember in the Equifax breach, there was a unique nature to these credit reporting agencies. Neither one of us, we don't sign up with Equifax. They basically mind our personal information and then monetize it. And the Equifax breach case, it was a known breach. As a matter of fact the vulnerability had been pointed out to the company. They failed to aggressively patched that breach, and then once the breach took place it literally took them weeks before they notified consumers, and even when they notified consumers, as Elizabeth pointed out, they tried to put in place a site that was in many ways already corrupted, and they had a whole series of hidden clauses that basically try to take away any additional liability and frankly offered additional products so they could actually make money out of the breach.

This is not just the case with Equifax. Over the last few years we have Experian, Point Choice, other credit reporting agencies, again, all in this circumstance where there is no direct customer relationship. And we said, and this is an area where I was one of the victims of the Equifax breach, my personal information is out there, that these companies who have our information without our approval, there needs to be a much stricter standard and real penalties in place, and I think our legislation will put that in place.

CAMEROTA: On that front, quickly, Senator Warren, can't you punish them now retroactively?

WARREN: No, you have got to have in place a law to be able to do that. So you asked the question about what would be different if our law had been in place? Two things would be different. The first one is Equifax would be paying a penalty that would be over $1 billion for its brief, but more to the point that would be the warning to Equifax and to every other credit reporting agency if you do this you are not going to walk away unscathed. And that means the credit reporting agencies will have a real reason to invest much more heavily in security.

This approach says it's not about having a bunch of regulators come in and tell them how to design it. It's about saying there are real consequences if you do not provide adequate security for these data. You get out there and provide the security.

WARNER: They have got to figure it out, and frankly, again, even if you had a breach, you could segment your data so that a breach could be limited to a small number of individuals. The fact that 143 million Americans had their most personal credit and confidential information all hacked into, it's out in the marketplace now. The bad guys have access to that. And we're looking at it. There is an FDC investigation going, Equifax had a big downturn in their stock price. It's almost virtually recovered.

What we don't want to have is for companies like this to basically say this is just the price of doing business. We want to put a real penalty in place so that they put in place the kind of security protections that legitimate firms should have.

CAMEROTA: Because honestly the numbers are staggering when you get into it. But I do want to ask you both about all of these other headlines that we are dealing with this morning.

So Senator Warner, let me ask you about what Senator Dianne Feinstein did, because you are on the Senate Intel Committee. You have an investigation into Russian meddling, and Senator Feinstein is on Judiciary, they obviously have their own investigation. What do you think about her releasing the transcript of the interview with the founder of Fusion GPS about the Russian dossier?

WARNER: On the Senate Intel Committee we are still proceeding ahead in a bipartisan way. We have got to get all the facts out. I don't want to comment specifically about Judiciary Committee actions, but I understand and empathize with what Senator Feinstein was trying to do because you had certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Grassley, in effect making these outrageous claims about a non-American citizen, implying that non-American citizen, former agent of the British secret service Christopher Steele, making inappropriate comments.

I think Senator Feinstein said let's go ahead and go to the company who hired Christopher Steele, and Christopher Steele, by the way, who has been legitimized by the American services as a trusted individual, and obviously the writer of a very inflammatory dossier, I think in effect Chairman Grassley was undermining Mr. Steele and Mr. Simpson, Senator Feinstein went ahead and said OK, have at it. Let's look at what this gentleman actually said in testimony.

[08:10:20] CAMEROTA: But does it now for all intents and purposes shut down the Judiciary Committee's investigation?

WARNER: They will have to find their own way through. The one thing I do know is from the Senate Intelligence Committee, we have had our bumps, but we are still working through this in a bipartisan way. We are going to follow the facts wherever they lead. And we have made great progress. We've confirmed the fact that the Russians intervened to help Trump and hurt Clinton. We've got now states on guard, 21 states have come up to us since they were attempted to be hacked by the Russians. And I think we have exposed, in effect, the dark belly of the social media universe that's being created, and now you are seeing companies like Facebook and Twitter being more proactive about making sure somebody is reading sites there that they ought to have the knowledge of whether that's American generated or generated out of some Russian factory, for instance.

CAMEROTA: OK, next topic. Senator Warren, what did you think of the televised meeting yesterday with lawmakers and President Trump where his negotiating skills or at least this debate and conversation was on full display?

WARREN: What I was glad to see is we are moving forward on getting a clean DREAM act. That's what I think we all want. These young DREAMers are in peril only because President Trump broke America's promise. Years ago America promised that if these young people would come out of the shadows and they would be fully vetted that they would have the opportunity to go to school here in America. They would have the opportunity to get jobs, to join the military, to become a full part of the American fabric, and that's what they --

WARREN: And 97 percent of them are either going to school or in the military.

WARREN: That's exactly right. So here they are, these young people who are part of America, and President Trump said a few months ago, nope, that's it. We are going to toss them out of the country. And the only ones who can save them from this is Congress. And so it's now Congress's job to step up. And we want to see this happen. We want to see it happen now. And the American people want to see it happen. These are young people who are at risk for being thrown out of the only home that most of them know. So I am glad to see this go forward. That's what we need.

CAMEROTA: Did either of you feel that meeting and that being televised and watching the president quieted any conversation or questions about his mental state?

WARNER: We are still looking at a timeline on the DREAMers, but I think is going to be coming next week as we also deal with keeping the government open. The sooner we get that resolved, and if the president can play a positive factor in this debate, we welcome --

CAMEROTA: But you are not answering my question about the mental state from the "Fire and Fury." I know what you're doing, senator.

WARNER: I will let you and other commentators weigh in on that.

CAMEROTA: Do you worry about his mental state?

WARNER: I am worried about making sure that America maintains a strong, confident presence in activities both domestic and foreign, and the more the president engages in those kinds of meetings and the more he gets off of his morning Twitters, I think the better we will all be.

CAMEROTA: Not a no. Senator Warren, do you feel differently today about the president's mental state?

WARREN: The way I see this is what worries me most are his actions rather than trying to read his mental state. And his actions have been that he has told the DREAMers that they are going to get tossed out of the country. And understand, that has real consequences every single day right now. There are young DREAMers who lose status, which means they are at risk for being deported. That means they can no longer -- many of them, work, go to school. It's the actions that matter here, and they are putting young people at risk. That's why it's so urgent for us to pass the DREAM act now.

CAMEROTA: Senator Warren, last question. Oprah Winfrey for president, your thoughts?

WARREN: You know, wasn't that a fabulous speech? And hearing Oprah's voice and her energy and passion and her determination, it's inspiring to all of us, and she shows great leadership. And I am delighted that she's doing it.

CAMEROTA: And delighted she may run for president?

WARREN: You know, that will be up to Oprah. I don't think anybody tells Oprah what to do.

CAMEROTA: Is the country hungry for another mega-celebrity billionaire?

WARREN: I don't know. But here's what I do know. We are, right now, in the middle of a fight that will determine our future for generations to come. The Republicans have just passed a tax bill on their own that gives away $1.4 trillion to giant corporations and to billionaires, and they are going to make working families pay for that.

Right now, we've got the DREAMers who are on the threshold of being thrown out of this country. We need to be working on children's health insurance program. We are 101 days past the expiration of the children's health insurance program.

Our community health centers, I just visited a community health center back in Massachusetts on Monday, and we were talking about the importance of keeping those community health centers open for all of our families. But that's the work that Congress and the president need to be doing right now.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Understood, understood. Sorry, we are running out of time. You guys did a great lightning round on covering all of these topics.

Senator Warren, Senator Warner, thank you both very much and for telling us certainly about your legislation with Equifax. We really appreciate it.


WARREN: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Another tough story coming out of the West Coast. Southern California already decimated by those wildfires. It's now being ravaged by deadly mudslides and flash flooding.

CNN's Paul Vercammen live in Montecito, California, with the latest.

I mean, look, we said the analogy before, but it is like the plagues, the fires were so bad this season, all of that ground denuded and now this.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Chris. It's almost a two-step dance with the devil. The first step, of course, the fire, and then those hillsides stripped, this flood.

Look at this debris, trees, wood, sofa cushions, parts of two houses here. This is only about a mile from the ocean. What happened here, as Chris was alluding to, you had the vegetation completely gone in the hillsides above Montecito and Carpinteria, all of it stripped by the Thomas Fire, that massive fire.

They had one storm that just hovered over the area, pin-wheeling, if you will, it dumped about an inch of rain in only an hour in Carpinteria, and it was as if the water slammed on the hillsides and came cascading down like a water slide.

This is a main thoroughfare through Montecito, goes all the way to the ocean. That water, that debris, that flow, jumped a creek. And then basically turned the road into a river, down the way from me, the 101 Freeway, shut down, impassable. There are semis, cars, you can even see a surfboard down there. It's just unfathomable. Thirteen people dead. They expect that total to rise. They are also actively going out with search and rescue operations, and there's a neighborhood, Romero Canyon up this way, where 300 people sheltered in place.

Come daybreak, they're going to go in there and they're going to start pulling some of them out via helicopter because the rescue crews can't get in and those people can't get out.

Back to you now, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Paul. What a challenge that will be. Please keep us updated on how that rescue goes. Thank you very much for that reporting.

So, the Trump administration reversing course, now saying no to oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke unveiled a proposal last week rolling back these off-shore drilling restrictions, but Republican Governor Rick Scott objected that, and said Florida's coast are heavily reliant on tourism, and as a result, Zinke changed his decision for Florida but not for the other states.

Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson criticized this move as political. He says it's meant to help Scott who is expected to challenge Nelson for his Senate seat this year.

CUOMO: Actor James Franco denying allegations of sexual harassment. The actor wore a Time's Up in support of sexual harassment awareness at the Golden Globes as he accepted the best actor in a comedy award on Sunday night. But his win for the "Disaster Artist" sparked accusations from accesses that worked with him.

Franco responded on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert". Take a listen.


JAMES FRANCO, ACTOR: The things that I heard on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long. So, I don't want to -- I don't want to, you know, shut them down in any way.


CUOMO: Franco even went on to tell Colbert if he did do something wrong, he intends to fix it.

CAMEROTA: OK. That's good. I tend to think on camera stories are more powerful and more effective than online accusations. However, if he says that he did something wrong he will fix it, I think that's a great story.

CUOMO: You also have this with Michael Douglas coming out, and he denies accusations. He said he is getting in front of it for two reasons, one, he didn't do it, but two, he believes that this cultural inflection point has a lot of different aspects.

[08:20:04] And one of the aspects he's worried about if somebody makes an accusation, it's believed, as it should be, subject to vetting, and he's saying that part is being lost. So, he wanted to get out in front of his and said it's not true about me, but I support the women who are legitimately victimized.

CAMEROTA: OK, fair enough.

Meanwhile, a controversial testimony has been released in this Trump- Russia dossier. What does it mean for the Russia investigation? We have a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee joining us next with that.


CUOMO: A federal judge in California temporarily blocking the Trump administration efforts to end a program that shields young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

Let's talk about it and what it means that this transcript of this big interview was just released about the Russian dossier about Trump.

We have Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. He serves on the judiciary committee. That's where that interview took place. We'll get to that.

Good to have you, Senator, as always.

What does this ruling mean to you?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I haven't read the ruling.

Obviously, before you tell someone to leave your country that person is entitled to due process rights. I'm kind of running blind because I haven't read the opinion yet.

I think the DACA issue can only be resolved by Congress. I don't think it can be resolved in the courts. I think it ought to be resolved, but I think it ought to be resolved in the context of larger security issues.

[08:25:05] I wasn't at the meeting at the White House but I understand that, maybe, at least from some points of view, there's confusion, that the suggestion was made by the president and others that we address DACA, we address the chain migration, we address the diversity lottery issue, we address the wall or different versions of what people perceive the wall to be. And I think that's appropriate.

I don't think all this stuff ought to be added to the budget bill. I think that would be a huge mistake. I think we ought to hit it head on.

Now, will we be able to work it out? I don't know. But I don't think we ought to do it piecemeal. I understand that sometimes you have to inch along as opposed to gallop along. If we do the DACA bill first, we will never get to the rest. It just won't happen.


CUOMO: You've got hundreds of thousands of lives, though, Senator. I mean, this isn't just money we are talking about, these are lives. Every day people come up for recertification, they don't get it. The court ruled on that and said you have to keep processing the applications until this comes to pass, this final date, and the fate of DACA therein. But it's not just about money and these people are left in a lurch because you guys can't figure out what you want to do.

KENNEDY: Well, everything we do in Congress affects lives. That's why what we do has to be taken very, very seriously, sometimes more seriously than we take it.

I think the problems we have today, the genesis of them, started 15 or 20 years ago. I have not been here but I watched Congress operate on Capitol Hill, and there has been a 15-year bipartisan refusal to look this issue in the eye and address it.

And the longer we wait, the worse it's going to get. I, for one, don't believe we can do it piecemeal.

CUOMO: Do you think you know what the president means when he says he wants a wall?

KENNEDY: I do not.

CUOMO: Does that bother you that we don't know?

KENNEDY: Well, I have seen his proposal. We have about 1,900 miles of border with Mexico about one-third of them have a wall or a fence or what somebody could call a wall. The president's proposal is to wall off another third. The folks at Homeland Security tell me it will help, not just in terms of people coming here illegally, but in terms of guns, sex trafficking cartel --

CUOMO: When you say his proposal, Senator, what are you talking about? Because, you know, during the campaign, he said the wall all the way, new, bricks and mortar, I can build it, will only take a year, and then yesterday, he seemed to back off to the mainstream position of experts and people who secure the border who say some places have wall, some places have fence.

That's how you got the Democrats to sign on for more funding for those types of security measures, sensors and otherwise, with the Gang of Eight.

KENNEDY: Well, the proposal I am responding to is from Homeland Security. It's about 600 miles of a wall. It's $25 million a mile.

CUOMO: Right.

KENNEDY: We need to talk about that. We built 2,700 miles of walls along every interstate in America for about $4.5 billion. So $18 billion for 600 miles, I need to ask a few questions about that. CUOMO: Good. It's the peoples' money and should be spent the right


Let me ask you about something else.


CUOMO: The dossier comes out -- not the dossier, the dossier certainly came out. The transcript of the interview with Glenn Simpson comes out, and it seems to show that Christopher Steele was not acting as a political operative. He was acting out of conscience as a former MI-6 member, and that's why he went to the FBI.

What do you think of that?

KENNEDY: Well, number one, it does not bother me that the American people get to see this stuff. There's nothing classified in that.

I don't like the way it was done. I think what we need to have is a meeting, all of us in judiciary. There's been fault on both sides, and talk about trying to work things out together.

CUOMO: That's a fair point, because Feinstein did this implicitly --

KENNEDY: Yes, I wish --

CUOMO: -- in reaction to Graham and Grassley going to the FBI without talking to the Democrats for a criminal investigation against Steele that also certainly smacks a political motivation.

KENNEDY: Well, I wish that before anybody acts unilaterally, they call us all together on Judiciary.

Look, each of us -- I know the chairman and the ranking member have additional authority, but we all have one vote and I would have liked to have known.


KENNEDY: What does the transcript tell us? It tells us what Mr. Simpson said.

Now, I don't know Mr. Simpson, Chris. He may be credible or spinning to try and cover his rear end, he may be a whack job. I don't know. But that's why God made the FBI, and the FBI is going to sit down with this and everything else and they're going to get to the bottom of it.