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Discredit Dossier Author; Finding Passion Amid Disaster; Arpaio Runs for Senate; Trump's Meeting With Lawmakers; Bannon out at Breitbart. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired January 10, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: 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 just going to get to the bottom of it.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But the FBI hasn't had any questions for Fusion or for Steele in terms of thinking that they were malefactors or somehow partisan. That's only you guys. You know, this is nine hours of questioning, whether there's no indication of it, and --
KENNEDY: Well, but we don't know what Mr. Mueller's doing.
CUOMO: Well, that's true, but we know they haven't been called, at least in terms of what's been reported and what was revealed by these people themselves. And what was clear from the transcript, and nine hours of questioning, I read every page, I suggest everybody do the same, is, this was intense and devoted questions by Republicans trying to undermine the credibility of Fusion and Christopher Steele, not getting to the bottom of interference, not asking about their sources and methods and what they revealed and what we can do about it.
CUOMO: What does that tell you about what this committee's trying to do?
KENNEDY: That tells me that Mr. Simpson said what he said. Was he telling the truth? I don't know. I'm not saying he wasn't.
CUOMO: What about what he was asked, senator? He was only asked about whether he's dirty and whether this was all about helping the Russians and helping Hillary Clinton. I mean that -- is that what your committee is doing, trying to figure out whether or not this is a Democratic conspiracy against the president of the United States?
KENNEDY: I'm -- that's not what I'm interested in. What I'm interested in --
CUOMO: Did you -- that's what that transcript's about.
KENNEDY: That's what I'm interested in are the facts. And if Mr. Simpson wants to come back, I'll ask him -- I'll spend some time preparing, but I have plenty of questions I want to ask him. But in terms of the transcript being released, I didn't like the way
it was done. It doesn't bother me that the American people get to see it. There's nothing classified in there. I don't know whether to believe Mr. Simpson or not. But we have a mechanism in place that we'll get to the bottom of it. And I believe th3e FBI will get to the bottom of it. And I'll be very surprised if they don't look into the GPS -- or the Fusion GPS allegations on both sides. And we'll find out.
CUOMO: Senator Kennedy, always appreciate you coming on to be tested about what matters to the American people. Thank you.
KENNEDY: Thanks, Chris.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So controversy former sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Trump, has just announced a Senate run in Arizona. Does he stand a chance? Or could this be another Roy Moore-like campaign? So, we'll discuss all of that coming up.
[08:36:23] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."
Number one, a federal judge in California temporarily blocking the Trump administration's efforts to end the dreamers program. The White House now pushing back, calling that decision outrageous.
CUOMO: President Trump attempting to clarify his demand on the border wall, tweeting last night, border security and the wall must be part of the dreamers deal.
CAMEROTA: New developments in the Russian investigation. Newly released testimony by the cofounder of that research firm, Fusion GPS, reveals that the author of the so-called Russian dossier went to the FBI on his own volition because he feared that then candidate Trump was being blackmailed.
CUOMO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defending his oldest son after a secret recording outside a strip club surfaces. Netanyahu's son is heard bragging about a billion dollar controversial gas deal that his dad brokered for his friend's father.
CAMEROTA: The death toll rising as wildfire-ravaged southern California gets hit with catastrophic mudslides. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says at least 13 people have died.
CUOMO: All right, so for more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to cnn.com/new day and you'll get the latest.
CAMEROTA: OK. Controversial former sheriff, Joe Arpaio, pardoned by President Trump, now has his sights on an Arizona Senate seat. What the 85-year-old says his bid has to do with the president, next. CUOMO: But first, a New Orleans boy found his passion as he and his family evacuated from disaster. More than 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, he's now all grown up and making some beautiful music. Please meet jazz musician John Michael Bradford in this edition of "Turning Points."
JOHN MICHAEL BRADFORD: My favorite things about playing are just making people feel good.
It's incredible, because I always think back to Katrina.
I was about seven or eight years old, and suddenly my parents turn on the news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winds coming from this direction into New Orleans breached that levee.
BRADFORD: And they said, we have to evacuated. I cried so much. I couldn't bear being in another school, not knowing if my home was going to still be there when I get back. Definitely traumatic, anxious, sad.
We were evacuated at least for a couple of months. My parents went back first. We just wanted to make sure our house was there. We still had to wait until the power was back on.
One of the people we evacuated from was Sam Williams, and he's a trombone player from New Orleans. Like I gravitated towards him. I wanted to be like him.
When I got back, I kept asking my parents, you know, I want to play trombone. My grandfather came and gave me his high school trumpet and then immediately I was able to play it.
Currently I'm studying at Berkeley College of Music. I've been able to travel to Japan, Cuba. I played at the Grammys and Carnegie Hall.
I think music can turn a tragedy into something that's beautiful because it can touch so many people and I think everyone can relate to it.
[08:43:39] CUOMO: Fireworks warning. Controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted felon, then pardoned, now jumping back into politics after being pardoned by the president. Arpaio is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake.
We get more from CNN's Kyung Lah, with sat down with the infamous sheriff.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE ARPAIO (R), ARIZONA SENATE CANDIDATE: (INAUDIBLE), but I've got to give it a shot. Got to give it a shot for the good of our country. And I'm going to do it. And I'm going to win.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With all the swagger of the decades he spent as one of America's most provocative sheriffs, 85- year-old Joe Arpaio pulling the trigger on one more public act, entering the Arizona Senate race. The pictures on his wall show the biggest reason why.
LAH (on camera): Is President Trump the reason why you're running?
ARPAIO: I understand what he's going through. And I'm going through the same thing, believe it or not. People going after this person here. So I understand it.
LAH (voice over): Arpaio, like the president he admires, has welcomed controversy. As Maricopa County sheriff, Arpaio sent prisoners to an outdoor jail known as "tent city," requiring they wear stripped jumpsuits and pink underwear. One of the nation's most outspoken critics of illegal immigration, Arpaio, last summer, was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a court order for his deputies to stop racially profiling Latinos.
[08:45:10] ARPAIO: Donald Trump, our next president of the United States.
LAH: A misdemeanor that President Trump would pardon a month later. Arpaio, one of Trump's earliest and strongest campaign supporters. But voters tired of Sheriff Joe after six terms, handing him a double digit loss in his 2016 re-election campaign. In his newly minted Senate bid, the once immigration hardliner now softening on DACA, as long as the president does.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It should be a bill of love. Truly, it should be a bill of love.
LAH (on camera): Do you have a problem with that?
ARPAIO: Well -- well, first of all, if I was a senator now and the president really wanted this, I probably would back him up on it because I do respect his judgment.
LAH: Is there one signature issue you have?
ARPAIO: I have a lot of issues where I support the president.
LAH (voice over): Arizona's retiring senator, Jeff Flake, immediately dismissing Arpaio's Senate bid, telling reporters --
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: You'd better write about it and talk about it fast because it won't last long.
LAH: Arizona's Senate race already has a conservative candidate, Kelli Ward, and Congresswoman Martha McSally is also expected to enter the race this week. Add in Arpaio, Arizona Republican political analyst Matthew Benson believes he could win in the primary, especially if Ward drops out. But in the general, Republicans far that what happened with Roy Moore in Alabama could repeat in Arizona.
MATTHEW BENSON, ARIZONA GOP POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Republicans have to be careful and they can't -- they can't afford somebody like Joe Arpaio, who is going to fumble away this seat.
LAH (on camera): People who are long-time Arizona GOP people --
LAH: Are concerned about your entrance into the race.
ARPAIO: OK. OK. Were they -- were they worried about President Trump entering the race? They didn't give him any chance. I guess he won, right?
LAH (voice over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix.
CAMEROTA: In 1994, I spent two days shadowing Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he started this then controversial program as a citizen posse. He had his volunteer force who rode around with sheriff's deputies. He was controversial then. He has always said controversial things. I can't believe how many political lives he's had given how controversial he is. And he's 85 years old. So of course he's taking another stab at it. This is exactly who he is.
CUOMO: He's had great bouts of popularity, and he's had downs as well, because he has done things, not just said things.
CAMEROTA: Yes. For sure.
CUOMO: But, facts first. He is convicted of a misdemeanor. He's not a convicted felon, like I said. Meaningful distinction. He got pardoned. The president could have pardoned him either way because they were federal charges, not state ones.
CAMEROTA: OK. All right.
CUOMO: The former sheriff wants to defend his decision. He needs to be tested. That will happen tonight, 9:00 Eastern.
CAMEROTA: OK. Is President Trump becoming more mainstream now that Steve Bannon is out of the picture? We get "The Bottom Line" on that, next.
[08:50:58] CAMEROTA: President Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is now persona non grata in politics. So, does that mean that we will see a different version of President Trump?
Let's talk about that with CNN political analyst Jonathan Martin and Josh Green. Josh, of course, is the author of the "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency."
You are our resident Bannon-ologist, Josh.
So let's talk about this because all of a sudden we have started to see some things. The president yesterday seemed to agree to a clean bill on DACA before he was stopped in that meeting. We've seen the shape shifting on the wall, and maybe it's not going to be, you know, many thousands mile-long real brick and mortar wall. The president's going to Davos, the global economic party summit that is had every year. So is this all because of the severed ties with Bannon?
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that has a lot to do with it. I mean, look, Bannon was always the voice in Trump's ear saying, you need to stay loyal to the base, you have to get the wall, you can't cooperate with Democrats, you can't legalize the DACA kids. Well, all of a sudden that little devil on his shoulder has gone, you know, poof in a cloud of smoke. Steve Bannon is gone. And if Donald Trump looking at who around him has helped lead him to some successes, he's looking at people like Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who helped push through the big tax reform bill, really Trump's only significant legislative accomplishment. So with the Bannon wing of the party quieted, it makes sense that Trump would now begin to associate with the globalist and jet off to Davos.
CUOMO: All right, so, Jonathan, good news for people who are critical of the Trumps -- of Trump's and Bannon's faux populism, but is it also confusing or troubling news for people who are trying to get a sense of what matters to this president, because that wall --
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
CUOMO: Was not just a position, it was not negotiable. It's how he distinguished himself. It's going to be a wall. It's going to be bricks and mortar. These other guys won't promise it. I will. And Mexico's going to pay for it.
CUOMO: If that isn't what he meant, what does that mean?
MARTIN: Well, it means that this is a president who tends to prioritize that which the last person who he was with was talking about.
Look, I think that the break (ph) on this is kind of reaffirming. This is the president and the person that we've known all along. He's not consistent. He's not tethered to any ideological perspective. Yes, he talked about the wall during the campaign, but don't forget the transcript of the interview -- the interview -- the conversation he had with the president of Mexico last year where he said very candidly that this is one of the least important issues we're talking about, but politically it's very important.
So, you know, it just depends on the audience with this president. And the only sure thing is that there is no sure thing when it comes to policy. So, yes, yesterday he's talking about comprehensive immigration reform. Last night he talks more about the wall on Twitter when he hears some pushback from the right. Today, who knows what it's going to be. Tomorrow is anybody's guess as well. That's the only certainty, guys, is that he's not going to be in a fixed place.
CAMEROTA: One more Bannon (INAUDIBLE), Josh, is this -- with the severing of ties between "Breitbart" and Bannon, is this the end of Steve Bannon or does he live to fight another day somewhere else?
GREEN: Well, you know, Bannon is the type of guy who I don't think will ever willingly go away. I was speaking to people at "Breitbart" yesterday afternoon, before this announcement happened, and they said that Bannon was fully expecting to do his radio show today, that he had public speaking appearances lined up moving in the future. So clearly the rug was pulled out from under him.
The problem Bannon has now is he doesn't have an outlet. He doesn't have "Breitbart News," which had been his real mechanism of influence. He doesn't have his Sirius XM radio show. They announced yesterday he was no longer going to be a part of it. Bannon isn't even on Twitter. So I don't know exactly how it is that he would be able to express his views and continue to be an influential person going forward, although, according to people around him that I talked to yesterday and this morning, he still wants to be that. He still wants to be a big voice in Republican politics. Not a lot of people at this point, though, think he's going to be one.
[08:55:24] CUOMO: Well, he also lost a couple of big things. One, he lost his money. Now, he has personal wealth --
CUOMO: But the financing from the Mercers --
CAMEROTA: The Mercers, yes.
CUOMO: Who have become somewhat of a name, a household name now of conservative fundraising, they walked away from him.
CUOMO: And he broke one of the rules. You mess with the bull, you get the horns. He went after the president and he lost, and those people usually have to disappear, at least for a while.
Jonathan, let me ask you something.
CUOMO: In terms of people who disappeared for a while and are now back. Joe Arpaio. What does he mean to the Arizona Senate race? What does he mean to the GOP rite large?
MARTIN: Yes. Well, in kind of an odd way, this actually could be helpful to the party establishment in Arizona for this reason. If he is dividing votes with the other hardliner in the race out there, Kelli Ward, that actually helps the candidate, Martha McSally, who is the McConnell endorsed candidate, the establishment candidate, currently in the House from the Tucson area, a former Air Force pilot.
So, if Arpaio does stay in the race, and this is not just a kind of fundraising and media boom that he's milking, this actually could divide the right and help McSally.
I would note, Chris, that yesterday, while Arpaio was announcing his candidacy for the Senate, Martha McSally was two seats away from the president in the West Wing. No accident there.
CAMEROTA: Very interesting to see how all of this plays out. I mean some people, obviously, compare it to, will it be controversial, like Roy Moore? Will it --
CUOMO: Yes. I mean he says a lot of divisive and ugly things. He subscribed to birtherism with President Obama. He never backed away.
GREEN: Look, but the -- but the big difference --
MARTIN: Yes. But, politically, he's not (INAUDIBLE) Moore is though, because Moore had a really loyal base in Alabama for years and years and years that he could depend on. Arpaio doesn't have that here.
CAMEROTA: Yes. They were the other --
CUOMO: Arpaio polled --
CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) more issues.
CUOMO: Is the most popular person in the state many times.
CAMEROTA: And why not.
CUOMO: He was encouraged to run for governor.
CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) past.
CUOMO: All right.
GREEN: But he also just lost an election. He doesn't have now the Bannon Breitbart wing pushing him over the finish line. MARTIN: He's -- he's 85 years old. Lost his sheriff race.
CUOMO: True. True. Good point, Josh. J. Martin, thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thank you both.
MARTIN: Thanks, guys.
GREEN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is here for you right after the break.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman. POPPY HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.
This morning, the White House blasting a federal judge's ruling that essentially nixes the Trump administration's move on DACA and dreamers, at least for right now. In the meantime, a small group of lawmakers who've been working on a DACA fix for months are back at it. The president sticks to a bottom line demand for a wall after oscillating a lot in that meeting yesterday.