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Pentagon Restricts Info about War; House Committee Votes to Release Memo; McCabe Abruptly Resigns; New Sanctions on Russia Declined; Slick Commute Across Northeast; Dingell Brings Wife of Deported Man to Speech. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET
Aired January 30, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:54] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A very big night for the country. And when President Trump delivers his first State of the Union Address, he's expected to call for more military spending and likely discuss achievements in the war on terror. What will he say about America's longest war, the one in Afghanistan? That country is reeling from a series of deadly terror attacks. It is hard to make the case that there is victory on that ground.
CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with more.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
If the president wants to say he's winning in Afghanistan, that may be a tough sell right now. Three attacks, as you say, in Kabul in a week, devastating to the people there. Raising real questions about whether that government can provide real security to its people.
This now comes as an independent auditor for the U.S. government has been told by the Pentagon it can no longer publish data about how that war is going. Crucial data about how much of Afghanistan is under Taliban insurgent control or influence. It's data that's been published for years. It's a key indicator of how the war is going. The Pentagon now says no more. The American taxpayer people cannot know that information.
So we went to a different Pentagon report. And what we found was that by the end -- at the end of last year, 40 percent of Afghanistan's population, 13 million people, still, after all this time, under insurgent control or influence.
Data very hard to come by in the coming weeks about Afghanistan. The Pentagon does not want to have it published. But here's some data for everybody. America's longest war, it is now reaching $1 trillion, 2,000 Americans killed, over 20,000 Americans wounded in that longest war.
Alisyn. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my gosh, Barbara, it's important to be reminded of all of those numbers. Thank you very much for the reporting.
So the House Intel Committee voting to release that controversial Republican memo that alleges surveillance abuses by the FBI. Will President Trump make this report public? That's next.
[06:38:10] CAMEROTA: The White House is reviewing a controversial Republican memo that alleges surveillance abuses by the FBI. The report was written by the House Intelligence Committee's embattled chairman, Devin Nunes, who said he had recused himself from the Russia investigation.
Joining us now to talk about all of this is Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York.
Congressman, great to have you here.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: Alisyn, it's always -- welcome to D.C.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Thanks for getting up early for us.
Devin Nunes was supposed to be recused from all of this. Why is he still in the center of all of this in the memo?
COLLINS: Well, what he recused himself was from the Russian investigation. This is, I think, somewhat different in that this FISA memo, which we do hope is released here very shortly, you know, was speaking more about other things going on, the bias in the FBI.
CAMEROTA: I mean, about the Russia investigation. This is about the FISA court and it's about, you know, the surveillance of people who had contacts with Russia. It's all part and parcel of the same thing, isn't it?
COLLINS: Well, it's a little different. I've read the memo, so I really can't go into details about it. I do hope it's released in the next five days. And I would say it speaks to something a little bit different than the Russian investigation.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Nunes is so close to the White House. As we know, he went to the White House. He shared sensitive information with them. How can Americans trust this memo once it's released?
COLLINS: Well, the memo will speak for itself.
CAMEROTA: But how can we trust his take on it?
COLLINS: Well --
CAMEROTA: He's not an objective person. He's not impartial. COLLINS: It is the Intelligence Committee and they have connected
certain dots that perhaps have been rumored. And, again, I just can't go into the details and --
CAMEROTA: But it's the Republicans connecting the dots. It's Devin Nunes connecting the dots.
COLLINS: Well, when you -- you want to talk about what did and didn't happen. The Democrats have refused to even read the memo. So when -- when Nancy Pelosi directs her conference to not even read the memo and they're out there talking about what's going on, they haven't read the memo.
[06:40:08] CAMEROTA: They obviously know what's in it since they wrote a 10 page rebuttal point by point to it.
COLLINS: Well, you're -- not the committee. I'm saying there's 180 --
COLLINS: There's 180 Democrats who boycotted reading the memo.
CAMEROTA: OK. But let's talk about the committee, OK?
CAMEROTA: So the House Intel Committee votes to release the Republican memo. They vote to not release the Democratic rebuttal to the Republican memo. How's that fair?
COLLINS: Well, I'm not on that committee. I'll just tell you that our conference has all the confidence in the world in Devin Nunes. And when we met on this a week ago, we all encouraged him to release it.
CAMEROTA: But do you think that the Democrats should be able to release their rebuttal?
COLLINS: Well, I don't know what the Democrats are saying or not saying. I'm certainly -- we've heard them complaining about it from day one.
CAMEROTA: They're saying that this is -- these are Devin Nunes's cliff notes, basically, based on his own impressions and he's not an impartial person. So they --
COLLINS: No. No, that -- that is just not so. Again, I -- I wish I could tell you what's in the memo.
CAMEROTA: I wish you could also. But don't you think --
COLLINS: They are not Devin Nunes' cliff notes.
CAMEROTA: They're his take on this. They're his take on, what? Well, you tell me.
COLLINS: They -- they investigated this for months and months. It is factual. It connects certain dots. And he's not making this up out of thin air.
CAMEROTA: But should the Republicans -- should the Democrats be able to release their rebuttal? Just -- to your mind.
COLLINS: Well, I would say they should.
CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about Andrew McCabe. He stepped down under pressure, obviously. The president has been tweeting about him. The president has been calling him out. Here, as you know, I don't have to remind you, that James Comey was fired by the president. Andrew McCabe has now stepped down. Rod Rosenstein is still in place, so he's taking some heat. Robert Mueller obviously taking heat as well.
Are you comfortable with the president, any president, putting pressure on the FBI and what they should do there?
COLLINS: Well, when you have the bias that we've seen in the FBI, whether it's texting between two agents who were supposed to be impartial --
CAMEROTA: Who were then reassigned away from the investigation.
COLLINS: Well, they shouldn't have been there to begin with. They certainly didn't disclose the bias that they had. And let's just say, based on other goings on right now, I'm not the least bit surprise McCabe decided to get out of dodge early.
CAMEROTA: You think that this was his decision?
COLLINS: Oh, I think --
CAMEROTA: It wasn't a hostile work environment?
COLLINS: Oh, I think this was his decision from a to z.
CAMEROTA: Are -- are you suggesting that something -- that you know something about Andrew McCabe and what the inspector general might find?
COLLINS: I'm just saying, I am not surprised that McCabe resigned. And I think he did this on his own and was not pressured.
CAMEROTA: Why didn't the president put more sanctions on Russia? Congress wanted him to. Congress in a bipartisan move recommended that. That was their plan. They sent it to the White House. The president decided not to.
COLLINS: It's the prerogative of the president, working with his secretary of state, to decide when and where on certain types of sanctions, whether it's North Korea, Iran or Russia.
CAMEROTA: But -- but why not? Why not put more sanctions on Russia?
COLLINS: Again, I'm not secretary of state. So let's --
CAMEROTA: Do you think he should have put more sanctions on Russia? COLLINS: No, I'm not going to second guess the administration when it
comes to what their dealings are.
CAMEROTA: But did you vote for these sanctions?
COLLINS: Yes, I voted for sanctions. I would vote for sanctions on Russia, on Iran, on North Korea. The countries --
CAMEROTA: So are you disappointed that the president didn't follow through on that?
COLLINS: I would say there are obviously some reasons he didn't. And I won't second guess his reasons. Most of us in Congress, you know, when it comes to our adversaries, which is Russia, it's Iran, and it's North Korea, would say, slap them hard and --
CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, obviously, we're talking about meddling in the election. So that's not what North Korea is accused of or Iran, it's Russia. And so it's just sometimes confusing for the American public to try to understand why the president isn't using the full force of the White House to put sanctions on them (ph).
COLLINS: Well, there's a lot of things going on on the world stage. And when it comes to North Korea, we need pressure --
CAMEROTA: Yes, but what about Russia?
COLLINS: Well, right now, North Korea is the biggest threat we have to world security. Whether it's China or whether it's Russia --
CAMEROTA: So --
COLLINS: There's a reason that rocket man is in the position he's in.
CAMEROTA: I understand. So you're OK with deflecting to North Korea and not focusing on Russia?
COLLINS: North Korea is the bigger threat and I would trust Secretary Tillerson and our president to do what's best to keep our country safe and strong at the same time.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Collins, thank you very much. Great to have you here.
COLLINS: OK. Alisyn, good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.
[06:44:52] CUOMO: Well, this is a very provocative question, how this administration deals with Russia or refuses to deal. It's in sharp focus. Think about it in, in just one day, we saw the White House refused to enforce sanctions against Russia for election interference, as mandated by Congress, and also no public message about a Russian fighter jet reportedly coming within five feet of a U.S. navy plane. Why?
CUOMO: Officials in Hawaii are set to release the findings of an internal investigation into that alert mistakenly warning residents of an incoming ballistic missile earlier this month. The governor and state officials are expected to announce today personnel changes at Hawaii's emergency management agency after it took 38 minutes to send a second alert confirming that it was a false alarm.
CAMEROTA: A Russian fighter jet flying dangerously close to a U.S. surveillance plane in international air space over the Black Sea. U.S. Navy pilots telling defense officials the Russian jet came within five feet of their plane. One defense official tells CNN, the unsafe intercept forced the Navy plane to end its mission prematurely. The State Department responding by slamming Russia for violating international law.
[06:50:02] CUOMO: Snow and rain making for a slick commute in the northeast U.S.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Chris.
You know, it's not much, one to two inches, but it's at the wrong time of day. Right when the school buses are trying to get on the road. The heaviest snow right now, although kind of widely scattered, seems to be centered over Providence and up toward like Plymouth, Massachusetts. But it will be a slick morning. Many school districts on a two-hour delay this morning. Check your local stuff.
This weather's brought to you by Purina. Your pet, our passion.
This is a quick-hitting storm. It's gone by later on today but it's not going to warm up today. So what you see is what you get. That snow will still be there tonight. If it melts with some salt, it may refreeze as it gets colder later on this evening.
Not a lot of snow, one to two inches in the most part. That's going to be it. But we get a warm day on Thursday in the Northeast and then a big cold air mass comes down from the north. In fact, Minneapolis, for the Super Bowl morning, if you're going to be out there maybe tailgating, 5 below zero, the high will be 10. At least the game's inside.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that's cold.
Chad, thank you very much.
MYERS: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: So her plus one at tonight's State of the Union will be a woman whose husband was deported to Mexico after living here for 30 years. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joins us with the story, next.
CUOMO: Tonight, some Democratic lawmakers plan to bring guests to the State of the Union whose lives have been unduly impacted by President Trump's policies.
Joining us now, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and her guest for tonight, Cindy Garcia.
Now, we told you this story about her husband Jorge deported to Mexico earlier this month after living in the U.S. for 30 years. Cindy and her husband were recently on NEW DAY.
And it is good to have you both.
There's a lot of news to talk about. You know what, I don't care.
How's your husband doing?
CINDY GARCIA, HUSBAND DEPORTED TO MEXICO: He's sad. He's depressed. It's taken a toll on him because at least I have my kids with me and he's by himself in a country he does not know.
CUOMO: Now, as you know, I know your story very well. So just that people understand at home, well, why don't you go join him. First of all, this is where you live. This is where you're from. And, second of all, you have health conditions within your family that require medical attention that you can't go and be with him, is that true?
[06:55:00] CUOMO: So, where is his heart in terms of hope that there's some type of solution to his situation?
GARCIA: We talked to the lawyer and she says that there is hope because we're going to file a waiver, which is called a pardon, to try to bring him back. So when he does have his meeting down with the consulate in Mexico, that they're able to look at it that same day. And they could say turn around and come back. But, then again, we still have to be worried about the three, five, seven or ten-year ban. It's all up to them now.
CUOMO: You're going to be there tonight. Obviously you want people to recognize your situation. What do you want them to know?
GARCIA: I want them to know that it's not an easy situation. It's a nightmare. And that we need to have our laws revised when it comes to immigration because they are broken. And we need to be able to look at them and say, OK, we need to do an individual basis, not as a whole, because that's how my husband fell through the cracks.
CUOMO: You know, congresswoman, when Cindy was on the show last, we allowed Cindy and Jorge to use the satellite connection just to speak with each other. And we didn't use any of it on television. But I'll tell you, it is heartbreaking. Maybe it's because, you know, I'm still standing on the shoulders of immigrants myself, but it just seems so wrong that somebody in his situation gets thrown out of his country. REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: You just make me want to cry when I
talk about the two of them talking by satellite. I've known them for a long time. Cindy's a UAW worker out of Local 600, an American citizen. I know her two kids. I've known her husband. He's worked hard all of his life. He was brought to this country when he was 10 years old. He's tried to become a citizen. He's tried to do everything that he can.
And I just think we need comprehensive immigration reform so badly in this country because when you're married to an American citizen, and you've got two kids -- he's never had a parking ticket. He's never done anything wrong. He pays taxes. This isn't what our system -- this isn't who we are as a nation.
CUOMO: So what can you do? Because there is a feeling that is overwhelming what you say right now and it's being cast in the law and order. You -- these are the laws. And if you come in and your -- it's illegal how you come in, then that's what it is and we have to respect that in this country. And you're going to keep hearing that throughout this entire immigration debate. What do you do with that?
DINGELL: Well, trust me, I hear it a lot. And not only is Cindy a friend and someone I've tried to help for some time, but I have the largest population of Muslims in my district as well. We have to stop letting this nation be divided by fear and hatred. We have needed comprehensive immigration reform for so long. We have to look in this country. Farmers aren't getting their crops picked. Hospitality industry needs people to help them throughout this country. Auto companies like GM, Ford and Chrysler are screaming for immigration reform. We've got to sit down at the table. We have to do something.
This is not a war of words between two political parties. It's real people's lives. We need to keep this nation safe. There's no one -- I live on a border. I've lived -- I know what it means to keep the nation safe. We've got to stop playing partisan games with national security. We've needed to have comprehensive immigration reform for decades and we need to get it done.
CUOMO: Your words would be better received, as passionate as they are, if we weren't in the most bitter and ugly fight of a war of words between the parties regarding national intelligence right now. This memo, this attack on the FBI, warranted or unwarranted, it's going to be hard for me to tell, congresswoman, because if I'm going to get a memo that's a bunch of conclusions and you guys don't show me the basis and facts for them, I don't know how I can judge it, let alone from an extreme partisan in the form of Chairman Devin Nunes. What do you think this is all leading to up?
DINGELL: I don't know, but I'm scared because I don't like the direction it's going. We have never let national security be a partisan issue. I am scheduled to read the memo. I have not yet read it. But like you will not be -- have access to --
CUOMO: You didn't boycott reading it?
DINGELL: I'm not going to boycott reading it. It's my responsibility as a member of Congress to know what's in that and what's in the Democratic memo.
CUOMO: You haven't had the chance to read it yet?
DINGELL: I just -- it's -- we were -- once we voted on a budget, I went home and that -- last week was when we were able to read it. And I went home and went with my constituents.
But I am going to read it because it's my responsibility to know what's in it. But I, too, won't have access to the underlying memo. I think it's very -- one, I want the intelligence community to look at that memo and redact it. I don't want our national security endangered on any way. And I would beg my colleagues -- and I have many friends on the Republican side -- that we all work together to not politicize our national security and not -- the direction that this is going is not good for us. But I'm not afraid to go across the aisle and sit and talk to my Republican colleagues. It's what I do and I'm going to keep doing it.
CUOMO: The time is now.
Congresswoman, it's good to see you.
DINGELL: Thank you.
CUOMO: Mrs. Garcia, I promise you, this story is not going to go away for us.
GARCIA: Thank you.
CUOMO: As long as this is being discussed, as long as your situation is the way it is, we'll keep people's attention on it and hopefully you are seen tonight.
[07:00:03] GARCIA: Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you for being with us.
DINGELL: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, and our thanks to you, our international viewers, for watching. For you, CNN "NEWSROOM" is next. For our U.S. viewers, this is a big day. Let's get at it.