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House Intelligence Committee to Release Memo Concerning Russia Investigation; President Trump to Give State of the Union Address; Interview with Kellyanne Conway; White House Declines To Impose New Sanctions On Russia; Trump To Pitch Immigration Plan; Taliban And ISIS On Rampage. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired January 30, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had votes today to politicize the intelligence process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're going to release the memo then they have to release the Democratic memo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the House has the minority vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have not seen the intelligence that it's based on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not permitted to see that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't that concern you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest turmoil in the Russia probe comes as the president is about to deliver his first state of the union speech.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump has two scalps. He has Comey, he has McCabe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The decision was made by that of the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To say they had no influence on the departure of the deputy director is a little bit disingenuous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, the sun is finally up. That's a good sign. Good morning, everyone. Welcome no your New Day. It is Tuesday, January 30th, 8:00 here in Washington.
And we're here because we're just hours away from President Trump delivering his first state of the union address. The president is expected to tout his tax cuts and the U.S. economy while selling lawmakers and the American people on his immigration and infrastructure plans. But a political firestorm is also consuming Washington. President Trump and allies escalating their campaign against the Russia investigation.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Tough timing for a message of unity, and that's what we expect from the president tonight. The House Intel Committee voting to release a classified memo written by Republicans alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. It is now on the president's desk. He has five days to decide whether or not to make it public, which would pit him against his own Justice Department.
So the FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, at the same time this is going on with the memo, we get word that he is abruptly resigning. He was one of the people that oversaw the Russia investigation. He has been a target of repeated personal attacks by President Trump. We'll talk to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway about all of what is in the news in just a moment. But first, CNN's Abby Phillip has the latest.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The House Intelligence Committee voting along party lines to publicly release a secret partisan memo spearheaded by Trump ally Devin Nunes accusing the nation's top law enforcement agency of abusing its surveillance authority. Committee Republicans ignoring the Justice Department's stern warning that releasing the memo without agency review could be extraordinarily reckless, criticism that CNN learned enraged President Trump aboard Air Force One last week. The four-page memo is based on classified intelligence from the Justice Department that Nunes and the majority of the committee have reportedly not even seen.
CUOMO: You've seen the memo?
REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: I have.
CUOMO: You have not seen the intelligence that it's based on.
JORDAN: We're not permitted to see that.
CUOMO: But doesn't that concern you that something so heady, that is so provocative, and you don't get a chance to see where --
JORDAN: Chris, that's why I said it should be footnoted and cited. But that's not the choice the committee made. I do think the memo will speak for itself.
PHILLIP: The House Intelligence Committee also voting against releasing a Democratic memo rebutting the allegations, insisting they are following protocol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not release them both at the same time?
REP. MIKE CONWAY, (R) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The House hasn't had a chance to look at the minority report, nor have we. We voted to send it to the House, and we need to read it as well.
PHILLIP: The decision prompting scathing criticism from Democrats. REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: They have crossed from
dangerously and recklessly dealing with intelligence to a coverup of an investigation that they don't want the American people to see come to fruition.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is a continuation of the effort to protect the president's hide, push out a misleading narrative, selectively declassify information.
PHILLIP: Ranking member Adam Schiff telling reporters that Republicans refused an invitation from FBI director Christopher Wray to brief the committee and express concerns about the memo. The extraordinary move coming hours after the abrupt resignation of FBI director Andrew McCabe. It comes after months of withering criticism from the president and allies over McCabe's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and political donations his wife received from a super PAC associated with a Clinton ally.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should McCabe go?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: McCabe got more than $500,000 from essentially Hillary Clinton. And is he investigating Hillary Clinton?
PHILLIP: Last week CNN learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressured Director Wray to fire McCabe at the president's urging, a charge Mr. Trump denies. A source tells CNN that Wray recently told McCabe he's bringing in his own team that McCabe would not be a part of, prompting McCabe to leave ahead of his expected retirement in March. Wray suggesting at an email to FBI staff that an upcoming inspector general report played a role in McCabe's decision.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president wasn't part of this decision-making process and we would refer you to the FBI.
CUOMO: All right, here to discuss it all, counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway. Good to see you.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Great to see you. Welcome to Washington.
CUOMO: All right, so let's deal with some of the news of the day and then you can take us into what we're expecting because they're going to be able to connect it now. This memo being voted on to come out now on the president's desk. He has five days. Do you expect him to take the full five days? Is there a chance we'll hear something today, tomorrow? What do you think?
CONWAY: That's up to the president. But we want it to be a deliberative process, and we respect the process, the transparency and accountability. But can't really comment on the substance of the memo.
CUOMO: So the timing is open-ended. You don't know. He has up to five days. Is there any concern, you say the transparency. Is there concern about the lack of transparency to the intelligence community, the Trump appointee Stephen Boyd saying this could be extremely reckless to release it this way, we've never seen Congress go around the intelligence community this way, using the president and himself instead of the intelligence community. Concerns?
CONWAY: I think there are concerns all the way around. That is one person's opinion. At the same time we've been very concerned to see a year-plus spent on innuendos and insinuations and this lack of any connection of Russian collusion. Everybody is yet to produce any evidence of that. It's very frustrating, Chris, it's frustrating to a lot of America when we can't get enough coverage about 275 companies giving their workers bonuses and pay raises and investing in their skills and their education and their larger community.
It's very frustrating to the American voter that put this Congress here, put this president in office to make us more prosperous, to make us more safe, to make us more transparent and accountable, and frankly has done this, and we'll talk about that tonight.
But as for this, this is all brand new. As you say, the president has five days. Obviously legal counsel needs to review it, and others, and we take it all very seriously. But for those who have been saying for a year plus transparency, accountability, get to the bottom of it. As you say, go after it, investigate it. I hope the same applies to this particular memo.
CUOMO: It seems to be very tit for tat, even the way you lay it out. People concerned the Russia investigation hasn't bared the fruit that they had expected, so then this comes out. Are they that connected, we don't like this, so we're doing this?
CONWAY: They're connected insofar as this is a town that sometimes focuses on all the wrong things. And Donald Trump struck at the heart of not one, but two party establishments and he promised to be a disrupter and come here and do things differently. And he is.
He's a builder by profession. That means many things. He wants to rebuild infrastructure in this country, he wants to rebuild our broken immigration system. Look at what he's done in just the last couple weeks, holding forth for one hour for all the world to see unscripted, unfiltered, uninterrupted, with Democratic leaders flanking him on both sides to have a conversation on immigration and since then has said yes, $25 billion for a border wall, physical wall, technological enhancements, and other resources.
But also he, this president, is doing what other presidents failed to do, which is to try to resolve the Dreamers, the DACA recipients, not just the 700,000 or so that are often talked about, but 1.8 million who qualified under the action that President Obama took almost six years ago. And this is somebody who made good on a promise that five presidents had made. It took Donald Trump to make good on the promise of five presidents to move the American embassy to Jerusalem to recognize the capital of Israel.
CUOMO: There's a reason they didn't do it, though. CONWAY: Historic tax cuts, historical regulatory reframing, and now a
really ambitious infrastructure plan. Chris, I can't think of many things that are more non-partisan than infrastructure. I hope the Democrats will agree.
CUOMO: You have got problems on both sides. I hear it. I hear it at home. I got a guy in my own family that talks infrastructure all the time. But one of the problems you have, you say he's known as a builder. He's done a lot of demolishing, also, Kellyanne, and as a result, the chance for unity right now, very slim. Infrastructure, to your example, demands unity, within your own party, a lot of people will say you just did the tax bill, that's going to blow up the deficit. Now you want to blow up the deficit more and pile on debt to do this, no way. You have Democrats who are not incentivized to work with the president because of things like this memo. This has been -- has really rattled their cage. Maybe that --
CONWAY: You really think it's the memo, Christopher?
CUOMO: I have never seen Nancy Pelosi the way she was last night in that interview, not just because she told me I don't know what I'm talking about. That I'm used to.
CONWAY: She and I were the two back-to-back speakers at a forum at "The Washington Post." And there she said tax cuts hangs like a dark cloud over the capitol. That is such nonsense and such an irresponsible comment to make. When you have constituents in San Francisco where she is a member of Congress and all across this country who are directly benefiting from that tax cut.
CUOMO: Her argument is unequal distribution, that the top --
CONWAY: Tell that to the single mom who just got $2,000.
CUOMO: But people like me, like you, we got a lot more than that.
CONWAY: Why can't she say -- she represents northern California, why can't she say the fact that Apple is going to create 20,000 jobs in this country, repatriate billions of dollars in wealth to the United States of America, how is that not a good thing by any objective measure? There are so blind by their reflexive hate -- oh, my goodness, obstruct, resist, stop, don't do it. That is not a message. That impedes democracy. Their biggest statement is going to be the color of the clothing, they're all going to wear black, what to protest Harvey Weinstein?
CUOMO: No. They're bringing people tonight that they say are going to be examples of what this immigration policy could be.
CONWAY: Right, the president who is helping the Dreamers. I hope they're there to thank him.
CUOMO: But in exchange for what? I think this is a legitimate debate. What he's doing with the Dreamers, I'll be shocked if you can get it through your own party, by the way, because you have a lot of -- CONWAY: Do you give him credit for trying?
CUOMO: Yes, I do. I think it's ambitious.
CONWAY: And do you acknowledge that he's taking away a blunt instrument from the Democrats in the midterms, which is why --
CUOMO: I hope that's not why he's doing it.
CONWAY: No, no, of course he's not. He's doing right by them.
CUOMO: But we'll see if he gets it done. But in exchange for what is he doing? The reason Pelosi says make America white again, I know that's inflammatory, I know it's not going to help the process.
CUOMO: When you get rid of the lottery visas, when you call something chain migration when it's really about family unification, why they bring people in, you're messing with the fundamental message --
CONWAY: President Trump didn't invent that term.
CUOMO: Chain migration? Where did it come from?
CONWAY: That term has been around for a very long time.
CUOMO: On your side of the aisle to make it look ugly, what these people are doing to try to bring in their loved ones. I'm saying you're changing what the country is about. It's OK. You have the right to do it. But you're saying, well, let these people be immigrants but we're going to keep out everybody else like them. And that's a fundamental proposition --
CONWAY: You want to put in my chair, I'm not in charge of CNN booking, but if I were I'll give up my seat all day long for the guests coming tonight. It's an incredible lists of guests invited by the first lady to sit with her up in her section. You have parents who have buried their daughters killed by MS-13 gang members.
CUOMO: We did that story, by the way. Ed Lavandera brought it to America. And we're having them on tomorrow and we have another guest.
CONWAY: It's obviously an issue that I work on every day at the White House, the opioid crisis. But you've got -- you've got the only man who reenlisted after being a double amputee and losing his sight. There are such beautiful, uplifting stories in this country. And this president and this first lady want to shine a light on that tonight. That is very unifying and very uplifting and very positive.
CUOMO: It is. It is.
CONWAY: But you've got people right now I'm sure attacking my dress and hair because that's what we're doing now. We can't take a look at this guy as a double amputee is far more a consequence -- CUOMO: Nobody is going to have a problem with a double amputee. The
problem is a mixed message. That is a beautiful image to bring up somebody's perseverance and persistence. But that's not what this president --
CONWAY: Excuse, he is rebuilding the military, including its morale and its respect, Christopher. We need to do that as a nation. My goodness, they're out here every day, these brave men and women, fighting for our freedoms, righting for you and I to be able to sit on this set all cozy, exercising our respective first amendments. Thank God they are. We respect them tremendously. There are such great stories in that box tonight. Some of them will be called out, others will be available to the media any time you'd like to speak with them.
But that is very unifying and very positive.
CUOMO: But they're mixed messages.
CONWAY: There's something that the Democrats can say, this is good for America. They showed it last week when about 80 of them or so voted to reopen the government they had shut down. They saw they were starting to own that and they changed their tune pretty quickly.
CUOMO: They talked to their base. They weren't happy about it. But it's about consistency of message. You say we want to help the military. And yet by most intelligence officials they'll say the biggest threat, yes, you have North Korea, but the biggest malefactor is Russia. Congress in a bizarre event of untold unity vote for sanctions because of Russian interference in the election, 98-2 in the Senate. We keep saying why, because when does that ever happen? Five non-votes, otherwise they're all in it. Come to the White House, you guys don't put them into effect. Why? You have a Russian jet comes within five feet of a Navy plane. This president talks about everything, talks about Jay-Z, he doesn't talk about that. Why so soft on Russia?
CONWAY: He talks about plenty. He's not soft on Russia.
CUOMO: Not Russia. He doesn't talk about the jet, doesn't exercise the sanctions Congress mandated. Why?
CONWAY: Overnight I'm sure you saw the State Department came out with its report, the treasury department came out with its report. I would commend you and your viewers read that.
CUOMO: We did, they're exact echoes of a Forbes list and the entire population of the Russian government.
CONWAY: That's not fair to say our state department and treasury department didn't do their jobs, Christopher. That's not fair to say.
CUOMO: They're the same list. The White House didn't do its job. They were supposed to enact these and they didn't.
CONWAY: That's not true. This president has been very tough about energy, about ISIS, and we're trying to work together on Russia on the big issues of the day like a nuclearized North Korea which is everybody's business.
CUOMO: In exchange for punishment for what they did in the election.
[08:15:00] CONWAY: What did they do in the election, Chris?
CUOMO: They interfered in the election to try to disrupt our democracy and they're doing it right now.
CONWAY: And do you think that's why he won and why the person whose name I never mention on TV lost?
CUOMO: No, I don't. But I think that you going there by default every time explain why there's such resistance --
CONWAY: No, I think --
CUOMO: -- to doing anything about the Russian interference. Leave it alone. He won. Now, punish them for what they did.
CONWAY: No, no, no. Hold on, hold on, hold on. I think you talking about this every single day including a day when we have invited people to the capitol --
CUOMO: No. Don't mix that. No.
CONWAY: -- to part of the state of the union. You're mixing it. You're talking about Russian interference and then election. And then, and then --
CUOMO: That cheapens the argument. You're brining them here to distract from Russia. That's this in generals.
CONWAY: And then people right now are tweeting that we can't stop mentioning 2016 election. I'd be happy to --
CUOMO: You mentioned it.
CONWAY: We won. We're governing. Now you're talking about Russian interference.
CUOMO: Because it's separate that you are trying to disrupt our democracy. They're doing it right now. There's a troll farm that number one releases hash tags release the memo. They're messing with us and its working. And now the White House won't punish them and fight.
CONWAY: Tell us what going to do this memo that was a vote by the intelligence committee.
CUOMO: I understand. But it's about the propaganda that they put out there to try to see division.
CONWAY: Are we going to talk about propaganda really? I'll come back another day. We can have a whole show in here.
CUOMO: Kellyanne, you haven't given me one reason why they didn't put the sanctions into effect?
CONWAY: The State Department and Treasury Department made their independent determinations. You have to read that and respect that without relying them too.
CUOMO: The president had wanted them put in place, they wouldn't have come to different determination.
CONWAY: (INAUDIBLE) plenty tough of Putin and Russia.
CUOMO: Give me one example.
CONWAY: Excuse me. Don't you think that it is important? Do you think it's positive, negative or neutral that the president of the United States no matter who it is in this case President Trump would sit down and hold forth with President Putin for the amount of time he did when the media said it was only supposed to be 20 or 30 minutes, they're still in there.
Remember the first lady went in to say and he's were still meeting.
CONWAY: Is that not a positive thing to have the president of Russia and the president of the United States sit down and figure out where we can work together on big issue. Let's be very clear, on again, a nuclearized North Korea on helping ISIS continue to be in retreat on despite of fall on defeat. ISIS is a shadow of its self now because it is president's leadership, because he's willing to call terrorists who they are --
CUOMO: Tell that to the people in Kabul.
CONWAY: Chris, tell that to the people who didn't vote for the person who lost the election, whose name I never mention on TV never called.
CUOMO: You just brought her up twice.
CONWAY: No, no, no, because she wouldn't call them radical Islamic terrorists. She called them our determined enemy.
CUOMO: Why because your intelligence agencies and the people ahead of it say when you think that they reinforce their own message.
CUOMO: But look again, why? You said he met with Putin. That shows he's strong. This president talks about respecting strength more than any man I've ever met in my life, let alone president. Strength is showing that if you do something to us that is wrong, there will be a price. He says it all the time. They did something to us that is wrong. There is no price. Where is the price? Congress comes together, they pass the sanctions. He doesn't do it. The same day they buzz us with a Russian fighter jet. He says nothing. Why? CONWAY: Do you ever feel the least and I'm just curious do you ever fell the least that kind of, I don't know, gush back or a little ashamed that we've had person after person on your network and elsewhere for a year promising literally somebody on your payroll. I saw your clip and laughed out loud. But it's kind of sad, promising Russian collusion, impeachment, treason just coming around the corner.
CUOMO: Never. Never.
CONWAY: It's so absolutely over wrought and ridiculous why Americans are losing faith in some institutions.
CUOMO: No way. Nobody is losing faith in American institutions because you have people of good faith in some of these committees.
CONWAY: People saying things like it's a fact?
CUOMO: And Bob Mueller.
CONWAY: No, no, no. That's -- I'm not talking about Bob Mueller. I'm talking about people on your network and elsewhere.
CUOMO: And one man of you find an example of us ever saying that there collusions and proof of it. We examine this forensically. You know my background is law.
CONWAY: We have people here like Bob a dull thing. Here comes the treason, here comes impeachment.
CUOMO: If we want to criticize what people on cable network say that is not hewing (ph) to the facts, we would have a very long conversation. But what I control is what I do. Alisyn controls what she does on this show. We go after these things forensically and facts first.
CONWAY: Well, I respect both of you enormously.
CUOMO: And that investigation matters. Cillizza, he's his own problem. The Russia investigation is serious thing. It's serious what they did was real. To conflate it with why the president won is wrong. And to ignore what they did --
CONWAY: The union is strong. State union is safe and state union should be proud. We should look at these stories tonight. You should look at the welder from Ohio who's coming to talk about what the tax cut means to him. You should talk to the people who think Nancy Pelosi is as out of touch as the deplorable and irredeemable comment was a year and a half ago.
Is excuse me, you are insulting me and my ability to take that $1,000 and the $2,000 and all the job security that comes with hat. And invest it in my children's education or invest it in home repair, and then put it in a savings account. We had families in the White House. The president spontaneously gave them the microphone and said, why don't you tell us what the tax cut means to you? And we had five families there too said education, investments, one said home repair, one said found money for us we're going it to the local charity and they have four or five kinds in a row. This is the true American spirit that we should lift up and be positive about.
[08:20:09] CUOMO: Absolutely. And nobody should ever say otherwise, however you don't use people's character
CONWAY: Let's talk enough of -- that's talk much about America's Russia today.
CUOMO: You don't use people's character and their pain as cover for crisis.
CONWAY: Excuse me.
CUOMO: But then you don't do that you talk about what --
CONWAY: Excuse me. Don't do that. They were nit using them as cover. They want to be here to be here to be part of the American fabric of this speech.
CUOMO: Good. And we're happy they're there.
CONWAY: To say thank you, thank you President Trump, for calling out and the Justice Department for calling up and standing up against 13 gangs.
CUOMO: Good for them.
CONWAY: And we've been working with other countries on this issue as well. And thousands of arrests, thousands of -- it's such a big difference from some of the soft on crime policies that looked the other way at gangs like this. We're looking the other way at the opioid crisis. Why? We now had a couple weeks ago.
We have the president in the Oval Office with a bicameral-bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican House members and senators there while he signed into law a major step forward on combating sentinel. That also passed the House 412 to 3, passed the House, at justice either unanimously or unanimously. I mean there are some matters that bring everybody together and we should be shining the light on that.
CUOMO: Absolutely, but you don't do it, and I say this to you all the time. You don't do it as cover for what deserves criticism as well.
CONWAY: It is not cover.
CUOMO: We do both.
CONWAY: It's what people care about. Look at the CNN polling. So, Chris Cillizza and I scoured the CNN polling. And I can tell you that the CNN polling doesn't have this -- this isn't a top five issue. The thing you're trying to cover today.
CUOMO: What? Russian interference?
CONWAY: Yes. It's not in the top five issue. They want to hear about jobs and the economy, terrorism and you're going to show (INAUDIBLE). When we ask people is it important, 82% say it's important.
CUOMO: It's an arguably important.
CONWAY: We say everything is important when you ask it in isolation. But it's not as important as jobs, the economy, healthcare, education, terrorism, immigration.
CUOMO: It's an arguably important. And you don't always do just what's popular. Sometimes you do what's right. And somebody messing with your democracy deserves covering. But we'll see what happens tonight when we talk about this --
CONWAY: Let me tell you something everybody who said Donald Trump couldn't win. Everybody who said the election was all wrapped up, every screaming headline, every wrong poll, every anchor, every pundit who said this is over, it's a joke, he can't win, he can't cover tried to interfere in the election.
CUOMO: Oh, please. You're going to put them on the same --all right.
CONWAY: I didn't say they were on the same place and twitter shouldn't either.
CUOMO: We'll leave it at that. And that's the third time you brought up the 2016 election.
CONWAY: Get out of bed, breathe air and have a great day everyone.
CUOMO: Nice. Insult the audience, very nice. Kellyanne Conway, thank you very much.
CONWAY: Love the audience.
CUOMO: Alisyn, over to you.
ALYSIN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Trump weighing whether to make that house Intel memo public. Is that a smart move? We talk to a Republican member of the Senate Intel committee Susan Collins, next.
[08:25:24] CUOMO: All right, it's a big night. President Trump delivering his First State of the Union Address. There are many developments in the Russia investigation. Tough timing for the president done by his own party. A vote by House Republicans on the Intel Committee publicly releasing a partisan memo about the FBI Surveillance abuses as they see them and the abrupt resignation FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe came right at the same time.
Joining us is Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. She's a member of the Intelligence and Appropriations Committee. Senator, always good to see you. You're much taller in person.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I was just going to say that to you. You stole my opening line.
CUOMO: You've always made me feel small. This time it's literal. So, you heard the interview with Kellyanne. It's very interesting that so much of the talk about this memo, and I know the Senate committee has nothing to do with it. I know it's about the House, I know that they've been shy about even showing it to people --
CUOMO: -- in that committee including the ranking member and that's odd. But its people are frustrated with the Russia investigation, so then there's this. And there have been no answers in the Russia investigation, so we questions about this. Is that what this? Is this tit for tat politics about we don't like one investigations so well start another?
COLLINS: Well, this issue is too important to break down along partisan line and in the Senate the Intelligence Committee has managed to avoid that. The Chairman Richard Burr, Vice Chairman Mark Warner have worked together and the committee has worked together. When you're dealing with allegations that are this serious of the Russians trying to meddle in our elections, that's the kind of approach that I think should be taken.
CUOMO: Now, you've been counsel and also a just solid interview for us when it comes to these matters. I wanted your take on this. The idea of releasing a memo and not the classified information that comes along with it. So you have people reading a set of conclusions but not the basis for the conclusions. Then we find out that the person whose name is on the memo, Devin Nunes, didn't read the supporting information that his own conclusions are based on. How should we have confidence in something like that?
COLLINS: That those are the kind of questions that arise when you have a partisan investigation. There is a legitimate concern that the Justice Department has about whether the release of this memo would result in a compromise of sources and methods aside from whether or not it's cherry-picking intelligence. That's another issue.
And what we did in the Senate committee when we had a controversial report on the torture allegations is we sat down for months with the CIA and with others from the Intel Community. We went through it, we redacted parts of it and then ultimately we released it. We released assenting views at the same time and it gave -- not all of there was released because some part of it were renamed classified. But it was a much better way to proceed.
And it seems to me that what the House Intelligence Committee ought to do is sit down with the Justice Department, go through the report, see if there are issues that are contested or that would compromise our security and come up with a redacted report. Now that's not as satisfying to the press and the public, but there's some underlying intelligence that will never be able to be released.
CUOMO: Well they say no, they're not going to do that because they don't trust the Justice Department. Now it's on the president's desk. Do you think he should release it?
COLLINS: I believe that he should follow the advice of his Justice Department which so far is to not release it. But I think there's a compromise here, and that is to go through the report and redact those parts that are sensitive. I also don't like the idea of these dueling reports because it's going to be very hard for the public to know what is true. And that's why I place a lot of confidence in having the Senate Intelligence Committee complete its work, Robert Mueller complete his work and Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, conclude his investigation. That's the kind of outside, impartial review that we need.
CUOMO: Do you think Mueller will be able to complete his work?
[08:30:03] Do you know the report about the President wants to expressing frustration, wanting him out. McCabe is gone. Comey is gone. Do you have any concerns about whether or not there maybe an effort to stop this investigation?
COLLINS: It would be a devastating development if Mr. Mueller were in any way impeded in completing his investigation. It is absolutely essential that he be allowed to complete it. He is a person of great experience, impeccable integrity whose appointment was praised by both sides of the aisle, and he has to be allowed to finish his work.
CUOMO: So, Kellyanne Conway has never ceased to amaze me in her ability to answer questions. Yet, she has no answer for why the president didn't execute the sanctions that you guys voted 98-2, very wide margin in the House as well. Why, why didn't the White House move on the sanctions that you voted on?
COLLINS: That is perplexing to me. That bill passed with only two dissenting votes in the Senate. It was not partisan and the least. Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, the leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee worked very closely together they came up with a bill that was balanced and needed.
The one thing we know for sure already is the Russians did attempt to meddle in our elections, and not only should there be a price to pay in terms of sanctions, but also we need to put safeguards in place right now for the elections for this year, because we know that the Russians have not given up on their disinformation campaign and their attempt to sow discord in this country and also to undermine faith in democratic institutions.
They've also tried it in Western Europe and in Montenegro. So, we need to act now to try to stop that.
CUOMO: Border security, they'll fill all the money out in the world. Cyber security, nothing so far.
Senator Collins, as long as you're around, I feel we'll going to get to the right place. Thank you for being here.
COLLINS: Thank you, Chris. Great to see you in person.
CUOMO: Very tall, Aliysn.
CAMEROTA: We have a studio full of senators. President Trump plans to sell his immigration plan to lawmakers and the American people at tonight's State of the Union address, can he get Democrats on board.
Joining us now is Democratic Senator Heidi Heitcamp of North Dakota, great to have you here.
SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thanks for coming in the studio.
HEITKAMP: Not a problem.
CAMEROTA: We're flush with senators so --
HEITCKMP: But good ones.
CAMEROTA: -- yes.
HEITKAMP: Good ones.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely, the best. So, what can the president say tonight to get Democrats on board with his immigration plan?
HEITKAMP: I think the one thing everybody is forgetting because there's so much talk now about what's happening with the FBI, so much talk about what's happening with the DACA kids and whether we'll going to get this fixed, there's a whole world out there. You know, I go to work every morning, thinking about what we're going to do for rural America. So what I'm going to listen for is, what's going to happening for rural America? What's happening for working men and women? And yes, these other issues are critical and important and we'll work through them.
But this speech is supposed to be about the entire country. And I think there are a whole lot of people who feel like they're getting left behind here in these discussions. So, I think, you know, we're working through with Senator Collins, the Common Sense Coalition is working through a lot of the issues that we have right now with what do we think we need on border security, what's going to happen with the DACA kids. That's going to work its way through were started debate on it. But at the same time the State of the Union has to be a broader discussion.
CAMEROTA: But that's good to know because it's good to know that things are happening behind the scenes. Obviously, I think that would comfort Americans in terms of getting to a solution because what we often see is the president put out something that the Democrats think is sort of inflammatory the Democrats dig in and Republicans say nothing is going to happen. But you're saying behind the scenes you think that you will reach a bipartisan approach or plan for immigration before the next government shutdown?
HEITKAMP: I think the discussion is -- there's a lot of people who want to do the whole Immigration Reform. That's not going to happen by the 8th. There's a lot of people who say, if we just you know, kind of extend this program and codify this program, make it foolproof in the courts, that takes care of it. I think there's a lot of room in the middle and there's a lot of consensus in the middle.
And so, one of the things that I believe the Common Sense Coalition brings to all of this is a willingness to sit down and not just talk about process, but talk about substance and how can we get from point A to point B. And, you know, one of the things that we learned I think from the 13 shutdown where the Common Sense Caucus didn't engage until the 13th, until like well into the shutdown. This time we engaged right away and had a better and more immediate result.
CAMEROTA: Well, we understand the president is going to be talking about tonight and what they previewed from the White House, is touting his tax cut, touting what he sees as the booming economy, how well the stock market is doing.
[08:35:07] And so from where you sit, do you think that all of those, I mean the issues that you find most pressing and you see people want to talk about, are they feeling those successes?
HEITKAMP: Well, I think that the reaction would be mixed. And a lot of times it's through a partisan lens, I like to look at facts. And, you know, just as you and I put it's really important --
HEITKAMP: -- because they are fairly significant in public policy making, Alisyn. One of the things that, you know, they say, OK. Wells Fargo gave a big bonus.
HEITCAMP: But at the same time they also announced they're going to dividend most of their tax break. You know, we just heard Kimberly Clark is going to lay off 5,000 people and close back as you know how they can afford to do that? Is that because money? They said the tax cuts gave them the liberty to do that.
CAMEROTA: That's not the point of it. That wasn't supposed to be the point of the tax cuts.
HEITKAMP: Great, great. Sure, there's going to be positive things. Moody's which analyzes this for a lot of states and for a lot companies basically said this is a watch. In fact in terms of stimulus on the individual tax cuts, because the majority of it is going to very wealthy people, won't have much effect.
CAMEROTA: So that's not going to be the president's message. I mean obviously the president and the White House are touting this as though it's all good. And so I mean your --
HEITKAMP: But those things aren't bad, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Of course but -- HEITKAMP: But it's not like -- and then you go to, we're going to have 3%, 4% growth. Where is the proof that's going to happen? There's absolutely no economist in the country who said that of any legitimacy. We saw less than 3% in the last quarter. And so let's be honest with the American people. And at the same time we have 58,000 bridges that are defective in this country. I mean to me that's a national emergency. We ought to be talking about that.
CAMEROTA: I think the president is going to talk about infrastructure. I mean those things do fall into that.
HEITKAMP: And how -- and is he going to fix 58,000 bridges with his infrastructure plan?
CAMEROTA: I mean that depends on how much of a plan he wants to spell out or what the -- if there is in fact a plan. But you're bringing a guest, a special guest tonight that I think does sort of personify a lot of these issues that you deal with in your home state. So tell who you're brining.
HEITKAMP: Well, I'm bringing Dennis Corn (ph), who is an organizer and a former UPS driver who is going to have a substantial cut to his pension if Congress doesn't act. And to me, when you look at rural issues and you look at the industrial Midwest that feels particularly left behind, this issue of pensions is critical. We've got to fix it. We have a great bill designed by a group of us, led by Senator Brown from Ohio. It's called the Butch Lewis (ph). So he's an amazing organizer and patriot and advocate and veteran who died in this fight.
Butch this would fix the pension bill. We want this in the final passage of the bill that's going to basically fund government. Are we going to get it? Is anyone even talking about it? And that's why I think it's important for people like us to say, "Look, there are other issues that affect families." These are families that would be devastated by this level of cut in their pension. Let's talk about them. Let's let them see Congress actually is looking at their problems.
CAMEROTA: And so when you hear the Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, whom we just had on moments ago. Say listen, look how good it is. You know, all these 275 companies I think was the number that she used are giving these bonuses. They're about $1,000 bonus for the year. I mean does that seem I hear like some reward.
HEITKAMP: You know, Alisyn, I wish you guys would turn around and say, if they were that comfortable. Why don't they give them a thousand dollar boost in their salary which would continue over the next years? Yes. And the other question you need to ask is, of those, how many actually gave bonuses last year and what were the bonus amounts? I mean no one talks about that. And so we've got to look at this.
You know, it's interesting because my good friend Barbara Mikulski, just a whip that is unsurpassed in the Senate. She used to say we need to care about the macroeconomic issues, but we need to care about the macaroni and cheese issues. And that's why Dennis Corn (ph) is my guest because he represents where the rubber meets the road where economic policy is not working today. And we need to fix it. Ad the president needs too. I would love to hear him talk about pension reform. That's something on the mind of many, many Americans and they're not hearing it.
CAMEROTA: Senator Heidi Heitkamp, thanks so much watching this guy.
HEITKAMP: Thank you, sure.
CAMEROTA: Thank you so much for being here.
HEITKAMP: You bet.
CUOMO: Senator Heitkamp, also known forgiving Senator Collins the talking stick.
CAMEROTA: Oh, we know all about the talking stick.
HEITKAMP: Well, you know, you can't imagine this, a room full of 20 senators and everybody wants to talk. You can't imagine how much chaos that will in general.
CUOMO: Senator Collins says you came at her with the talking stick. She disarmed you. And you said keep it.
HEITKAMP: The beginning. It actually began this tradition began with a lay that Senator Herono gave me. But the men were a little uncomfortable putting it around their necks. So --
CUOMO: They prefer each other's hands.
HEITKAMP: Not quite that bad.
CUOMO: Good to see you, senator.
[08:40:06] All right, so we've been talking this morning about problems abroad. Deadly violence spreading across Afghanistan over a hundred people killed in less than 10 days. Why? We have a live report from Kabul next.
CUOMO: Afghanistan is reeling. Four terror attacks in Kabul have killed at least 130 people in just the last nine days. The Taliban claiming responsibility for two, ISIS taking credit for two others. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Kabul with more. What's the situation on the ground?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, really a city waking up every morning with a new sense of dread since that ambulance car bomb caused 100 of those particular deaths. And this spate of bloodshed in what used to be a secure sanctuary of Afghanistan's capitol has caused the commander in chief, President Trump to make a bit of a tweak of U.S. policy here. He no longer thinks that talks with the Taliban are a good idea right now. And must be backed up by the Afghan government who says this recent violence here in the capitol have cause red lines. And that peace must now be sought both on the battle field, that's according to a spokesperson of the President Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban said that shows the war mongering face --