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Victims' Father Lunges at Larry Nassar in Court; Spokeswoman: Ryan Supports Release of Democrats' Memo; White House Allows Nunes Memo Release. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired February 2, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young athletes under his care, the two came face to face and watch what happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDALL MARGRAVES, FATHER OF ASSAULT VICTIMS: I would ask you to, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon. Would you do that?
JUDGE JANICE CUNNINGHAM, EATON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: That is not --
MARGRAVES: Would you do that?
MARGRAVES: Yes or no?
CUNNINGHAM: No, sir.
MARGRAVES: Would you give me one minute?
CUNNINGHAM: You know I can't do that. That's not how --
MARGRAVES: I'm going to have to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down.
MARGRAVES: I want that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
MARGRAVES: Give me one minute with that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in Jean Casarez. Jean, this moment, it spoke -- you had so many parents, even parents
who didn't believe their daughters, who thought that everything was OK, and now they are grappling with the guilt of this. It seemed like this moment encapsulated some of that sort of bigger issue. Tell us what happened next.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're so right, Brianna. I mean, just the depth of the emotion that affects an entire family.
What happened was sheriff deputies escorted him out, his name is Randall Margraves. He's still in custody. We don't know if he's in the courthouse or the jail directly next door. Judge Cunningham ordered an investigation on him, that investigation at last word has not yet started.
The court took a break. Larry Nassar was escorted from that courtroom for his own protection and safety immediately when this happened. And then they finally got back into session.
But the irony of this all is that the family attorney was here for the young daughters, because two of them gave their victim impact statements today, and now suddenly this attorney has become criminal in nature to aid and assist their father. This is the only family that I've seen that has had three daughters assaulted by Larry Nassar. Two spoke today. One spoke last week in Ingham County. All three of them were affected by this.
Also want to tell you, another father just spoke in court, he did speak, and I want to tell you a few words because I think it just shows what the family goes through. He said, "How could we let this happen to our daughters? How could it happen to them? We were told that you were not only a good doctor, but we were told that you were an incredible person and that's why we let you treat our daughters." And he said, "I got to know you, Larry, and I trusted you myself."
Brianna, so many of the parents were right in the examination room when their daughters were treated. But he was able to hide what he was doing.
KEILAR: That's right. And tell us something else, this was a part of this case, these comments, by Nassar's former defense attorney, one of them. Baffling comments. And she's now clarifying these comments. This had to do about the number of his victims. Tell us about this.
CASAREZ: That's right. You know, as the proceeding has gone on, young woman after young woman decided they will have the strength and courage to come into the courtroom. They have to file reports. They can't just walk in off the street. It was Shannon Jones, and Shannon Smith and she said yesterday, to WWJ News radio in Detroit that she's not sure she believes all of these young women. Listen.
All right. She said that she believes that so many young women have stepped forward, that some of them are not truthful. That some of them are just, I guess, wanting their 15 minutes of fame. Now, she did clarify to ESPN that there was a plea agreement, but she also said that she believed Larry Nassar did a lot of good for a lot of people. That he was a good person, there were good aspects to him. CNN got a response from Larry Nassar through the attorney saying, "I did not authorize the statement from my attorney at all. There is a plea agreement and I agreed to it. And I'm sorry for the victims who have to go through this as they are trying to speak now in court."
[11:34:25] KEILAR: It is baffling. I seemed like she was saying how is it possible that there were this many, which is what many of us are saying not incredulously, but in sheer horror, how were there so many. These women and certainly the court really took them at their word and we got to see how difficult it was for them to come and say their peace in court.
And, Jean, you've been covering this all along. We appreciate you for shining a spotlight on this really horrific case that needs to be discussed.
Jean Casarez, for us in Michigan. Thank you so much.
Still ahead, as President Trump slams FBI and DOJ leaders ahead of the release of that controversial and partisan memo, House Speaker Paul Ryan is now speaking out about the opposing memo that Democrats want out. That's next.
KEILAR: While all signs point to President Trump making that partisan Nunes memo public today, two Senators, Jeff Flake and Chris Coons, in a bipartisan effort, are asking the president to hold off. They released this statement, "President Trump should heed the warnings of the Justice Department and the FBI and reverse his reported decision to defy long-standing policies regarding the disclosure of classified information. Now, the president's apparent willingness to release this memo risks more undermining of U.S. intelligence gathering efforts, politicize in politicizing Congress' oversight role and eroding confidence in our institutions of government."
That coming from one Republican and one Democratic Senator.
And CNN's congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, is covering this live from the GOP retreat in West Virginia -- Phil?
[11:40:24] PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it has been really interesting to watch over the last couple of days as both parties try and grapple with this and chambers try to grapple with this. Senators haven't seen this memo. The Senate Republican Intelligence chairman hasn't seen this memo. They say two things, one, this is the House's issue, we haven't seen it, and, two, a number of them raised concerns or stressed caution in what should be in this memo and what should be released. That is not the case for House Republicans. On the rank-and-file perspective, they have largely driven this into the public forum. They want this to be out. A lot of them are outraged by it and believe it shows systemic issues inside the FBI and the Justice Department.
Now, compare that to where Republican leadership in the House is. You mentioned Speaker Paul Ryan, he has basically spent the last couple of weeks trying to convince them, this isn't about the Mueller investigation, this isn't about the deputy attorney general, this is about congressional oversight. In fact, last night, the speaker spokeswoman putting out a statement saying not only does he believe the Republican memo should be released, but also the Democratic memo, saying, quote, "The speaker is in favor of greater transparency. If it is scrubbed to make sure it does not reveal sources and methods of our intelligence gathering, the speaker supports the release of the Democratic memo."
Brianna, this underscores here, it's a difficult position that some Republican leaders have been places in, essentially, by their rank- and-file members who, as I noted, desperately want this to come out. All of them have reviewed the memo. They've been hearing from their constituents that this is a big deal. Republican leaders trying to almost restrain their members from making this about the Mueller investigation, for making this about specific individuals that the FBI and the Justice Department. The big question now is, will those efforts fall short. And I can tell you in talking to a number of House Republicans over the course of last two and a half days they don't believe necessarily that these are separate issues. They believe they're intertwined. They believe this memo is an indictment of more than just perhaps the FISA process or the specific FISA issue. Those are things to keep a very close eye on going forward.
It is worth noting, House Republican leaders are being very cautious with this, trying to make sure, Brianna, these issues are separate going forward.
KEILAR: Yes, they're trying. We'll see if they succeed.
And, Phil is joining us from the press file there in West Virginia. If you thought he was in a college classroom, no, that's the press file. That's where you go, right. You're sort of like hostage there as a reporter to file your reports from there, yes?
MATTINGLY: Yes, there is good coffee. I'm enthused about that. But we're all somewhat excited to leave the conference room, yes.
KEILAR: I'm sure you are. Looks not quite glamorous.
OK. Phil Mattingly, for us in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Thank you, sir.
I want to bring in Steve Cortes, CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign advisor, and A. Scott Bolden, former D.C. Democratic chair and chair of the National Bar Association PAC.
So, Steve, what did you think about the president's tweet this morning that you saw, he criticized what he said top leadership and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department for politicizing the investigation. I wonder what you think and if this might be a counterpunch because he's facing very similar criticism himself with releasing this memo.
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I don't think he is. I'm glad he praised the rank-and-file of the FBI. I think FBI agents are overwhelmingly incredibly hard-working patriots who do dangerous work. They have been betrayed by very corrupt and conflicted leadership, particularly Comey, people like McCabe, over at the Department of Justice, Bruce Ohr --
KEILAR: In fairness, how do you separate their work from the leadership here if you talk to anyone who knows how the process goes, rank-and-file is very much involved in this thing that President Trump is criticizing. You really cannot separate the rank-and-file here from the leadership as it is engaged in this process.
CORTES: Brianna, I disagree. The rank-and-file is doing the hard work of law enforcement. We have a lot of evidence, some of it explicit, some of it circumstantial, that the leadership of both the FBI and the DOJ, particularly during the Obama administration, were incredibly partisan and incredibly politicized players rather than just down the line law enforcement people.
KEILAR: Wait, wait, wait. Steve, the people that the president appointed himself, the FBI --
KEILAR: He's criticizing Chris Wray. That's his guy.
A SCOTT BOLDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're all his guys, Brianna.
CORTES: -- Chris Wray. But, Brianna, we're talking about -
CORTES: This memo deals with DOJ and FBI activities during the Obama administration, not during the Trump administration.
BOLDEN: Oh, that's not true.
CORTES: I believe "The Washington Post" tells us that the democracy dies in darkness. You know what, I don't agree with them on a lot. I agree with them on that. Transparency, let's shine a light on the activities, let's trust the American people to be adults and make adult decisions about this memo, knowing it is a partisan memo. Let's release the Democrat one, too. Let's get -- sunlight, as disinfecting, let's get the information out there and see what happened.
[11:45:11] KEILAR: Scott, he's saying release them both, release the Dem memo, too.
BOLDEN: How long I do have to respond?
KEILAR: Just go for it.
BOLDEN: Steve, you need to tell the White House that to act like adults, to shine the light on a politically partisan memo that undermines the FBI and DOJ. I'm a former prosecutor, it is all about the Mueller investigation. Protecting Donald Trump. And even if there is nothing new in it, the Republican piece on this and their talking points have been to criticize and politicize the DOJ and FBI. Now, they are manufacturing a document that is essentially based on evidence in part on documents DOJ and FBI never wanted to give. Remember, a month or two ago, they were fighting.
CORTES: Scott --
BOLDEN: Hold on, Steve.
So it is the first time I think or very rare when you have the executive fighting with other executives and not relying on the FBI and DOJ and their expertise for national security that they say that lives are going to be -- could be cost. A cost of lives based on this memo.
BOLDEN: Hold on, Steve. This is a fact. You cannot sit here and argue with the FBI and DOJ and say, yes, yes, yes, these were political people. These weren't political people, Barack Obama, these are his people right now. The top foreign charge he criticizes and the top four that the memo is targeted at are all Republicans. It borders on the nonsensical. So stop it. Just stop it.
KEILAR: Can I ask you, Steve, who do you think he's taking aim at with this tweet?
CORTES: The leadership of --
KEILAR: Yes, who.
CORTES: I think it is the leadership of the FBI and Comey --
KEILAR: Who do you --
KEILAR: Who do you think Chris Wray is?
BOLDEN: The current leadership. That's who this takes a shot at.
KEILAR: I just -- I'm curious, specifically who do you think he's taking aim at if it is not the head of the FBI?
CORTES: I just told you. Comey -- Comey, McCabe.
KEILAR: He's not there.
CORTES: Strzok or Page, all of those people. But the memo deals with the Obama administration.
CORTES: And, Scott, when you talk about --
KEILAR: He's not there. He's talking currently.
CORTES: Listen, I would say this currently. I think there are still problems there. And even if you're talking about his appointees, the point of this memo is that we believe, we haven't seen it yet, but reportedly it is about corrupt activities at the DOJ and the FBI. Well, we don't give those very institutions then veto power over the release of that. They just cannot act in that -- they're too conflicted there. You talk about manufacturing the document, here is the reality, the Democratic Party --
KEILAR: Wait, wait, wait, Steve, just -- hold on.
Steve, I have to ask you --
BOLDEN: There is the pivot, Brianna. Don't let him pivot.
KEILAR: No. I want to ask you something. You say they can't oversee it and won't take aim at Chris Wray and say that's not the focus of the tweet. Then if Chris Wray is an honest broker and says the memo shouldn't come out, why wouldn't you take him at his word. You said the president is not taking on Chris Wray.
Hold on, Gentlemen.
KEILAR: Hold on. Steve, stand by.
Steve, I need you to wait. We have breaking news. We are --
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: OK, so we're learning that the White House has released this controversial Nunes memo, OK. So this has happened. This is going against strong warnings from his own FBI chief and Justice Department.
I want to go straight now to Jeff Zeleny at the White House -- Jeff? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we are
told that President Trump has indeed signed off on the declassification of this House Intelligence Committee memo and has sent word to the House Intelligence Committee that it should be released.
Now, the release will come from the House Intelligence Committee, from the Republican chairman of that committee, and the committee, but the president has indeed signed off on that. As you said, setting up a confrontation, an escalation for the first time with his own FBI director, Christopher Wray, who he appointed just last June. And has been on the job for six months. He, of course, said he had grave concerns about the release of this memo. But we are being told the president has authorized the release of this, and it will come out later today, most likely from the House committee.
Now, the president has not spoken on this, but he is meeting with some North Korean defectors at this hour. So he could be asked about this.
So this is happening this morning, as we have been expecting. The president, of course, believes that this will help discredit the Russia investigation. That's what he has said himself, publicly and privately. He believes it is going to expose prejudice in the top ranks of the FBI. So that is why he authorized the release of this three-and-a-half-page memo he read himself here, with his advisers, and has been considering it for the last several days. After the State of the Union on Tuesday, he said 100 percent it would be released, and now that is coming true. He's authorized that release and sent word to the House. That's fact -- Brianna?
[11:50:05] KEILAR: So he sent word to the House. You said that we could then be seeing this later today. But this is something that this came from the House Republican leadership or the House Intel Committee. It then went to the White House where officials and the president himself looked it over. He authorizes release.
The ball kind of goes back to the court now of the House Intelligence Committee. And I wonder, do we understand why that is? Is it something that actually the White House could have released? Is this something the Intel Committee has to release? Is this the president trying to say that this is Congressional Republicans doing this and it's not the White House? What is it?
ZELENY: No, it's a document that was prepared by the House Intelligence Committee. So the president is declassifying it. But it's been explained to us that this is their document, so it's not the charge of the White House to release it. In fact, the president could have only stopped it. He could have stopped the release of it, but by simply authorizing the release of it, it goes back to the House committee. This is based on this rule of the House here.
So the White House is not trying to skirt the fact that the president is behind this. I suspect that he will speak about this and explain it because he, in fact, has been pushing for this. The White House says it's a matter of transparency. We've not heard him talk about it publicly this week, but he did send out a message this morning on social media saying exactly the fact that he believes the FBI has been biased against him. It's what he's been saying in private phone calls as well.
But, Brianna, this has shaken washington unlike most other things probably since the firing of the FBI director last May, James Comey here, so when the House releases that, and we are expecting that to be released later today, the timing is indeed up to them. House Republicans, of course, are coming back from their retreat at the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia. But we do expect them to release this memo.
And we should point out the fact that this is indeed a partisan document. There is a partisan fight going on here in the House of Representatives, a big fight between Republicans and Democrats, and a split between Senate Republicans. There are several Senate Republicans like Senator John Thune, of South Dakota, who believes the Senate should have weighed in on this before public release. So despite warnings from it is FBI director, despite warnings from the Justice Department, the president has made the decision to authorize this release.
In his words both privately and publicly he hopes it will discredit the Russia investigation going forward. That remains to be seen here because the Mueller investigation is very well going forward, despite all of this. So this is not involving the Mueller investigation, this is just something for the House of Representatives. And their process, Brianna, as you know, has been mired in politics from the beginning here.
So, important to point out, this is one small slice of many Russia investigations going on, the most important, of course, is the special counsel's -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Jeff, I do want you to stand by for us as I bring in Shimon Prokupecz.
We're covering this as a team as this news is breaking now. The president has authorized the release of this Republican memo drafted by House Intel Committee chair Devin Nunes.
Shimon, talk to us. What are you learning?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Like most of us, the FBI is certainly waiting to see what gets released, what's in this memo. And that's basically where it stands as of, you know, a few minutes ago, you know, in talking to some law enforcement officials. Everyone is just waiting right now exactly. The FBI's position definitely has not changed. They do not want this to be released and they, with the rest what it says. There are a lot of concerns and there are continuing concerns over what this memo is going to say and how it discredits the FBI and the institution. That's the concern here.
KEILAR: So, Shimon, publicly, when you talk to officials in the government, they will not say, this is what's in this memo because this was previously classified. But there's been some reporting on what's in the memo, right?
Can you just sort of remind us of some of that, how some of this may have to do with Carter Page, who was a Trump campaign adviser on foreign policy, and also how it seems there may be something in there that would have been damaging to Andrew McCabe, who ended up stepping down earlier than we expected.
PROKUPECZ: Certainly. Andrew McCabe, the big picture here is how is this going to make Rod Rosenstein look, who is the deputy attorney general overseeing the Russia investigation. Bob Mueller reports to Rod Rosenstein. So that is the big issue here. That is what this, in the end, most feel this memo is about. It's to discredit Rod Rosenstein, it's to discredit the FBI, ultimately to discredit the FBI. There have been some reports that in this memo are indications -- there is information about the FISA. FISA used on the Russia investigation as it relates to Carter Page. Carter Page was one of the advisers on the foreign national team. We've done some reporting on him that the FBI, in their attempt to get a FISA on him, used the dossier as evidence in a memorandum, in a motion that went before the FISA court. And this, as some reports indicated, is one of the things that the memo talks about. We don't know that for sure because certainly none of us here have seen the memo, and people that I've talked to really have not seen the memo. But based on some published reports, there's indications this is what the memo is going to attack, the FISA for Carter Page. But again, we have to wait and see.
[11:55:55] KEILAR: Shimon, I'm going to let you talk to more of your sources as this has now been released.
I want to bring Jeff Zeleny back in from the White House.
As we learned this, Jeff, that the president has authorized the release of this memo written by the staff for the Republican chairman for the House Intel Committee. What are you learning?
ZELENY: Brianna, we are also learning now that the White House is saying there were no redactions to this three-and-a-half-page memo. That had been a question here in recent days, would the White House, would the president authorize some changes to this to, you know, essentially ease some of the concerns of the FBI and the Justice Department. We are told there were no redactions, no changes made to this memo here at the White House.
The issue here is the FBI was pushing back a couple days ago and yesterday saying redactions aren't the issue here, it's the omissions from this document here. But we are now being told by the White House that the document was approved and declassified as it was approved by the House committee earlier this week. We're also getting word the president has addressed this in another event that he was holding in the Oval Office. We will have that video once the event is over. But he did talk about this briefly, we're told, and he indeed did confirm, according to the pool reporter in the room there, that he did send this back to Congress.
So now the ball is in the court of the House Intelligence Committee to release this, and Brianna, then another chapter of a partisan fight here begins over explaining the memo and the justification for it and everything else here. But of course, Democrats deeply opposed to this as well as the FBI director and the Justice Department -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Jeff Zeleny, thank you for getting us new information there from White House officials.
I want to bring in Michael Zeldin. He's our legal analyst. And he also is a former associate of Robert Mueller who heads up the special counsel on the Russia investigation.
You heard reporting there, Michael. No redactions. It seems like the White House has been indicating that when this was released there would be no redactions, but there was also some changes made after the House Intel Committee voted on this. Republicans say these were not big changes. Democrats say not so fast, but they say overall, as Jeff pointed out, Democrats, their problem is there are omissions and there are things certainly that the FBI and the DOJ feel make this document factually incorrect.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANAYST: That's right. And so what we have here, I think, on its broadest terms is the president of the United States making the determination that he will follow his own instincts and release something that his entire intelligence apparatus and Justice Department, FBI apparatus, oppose. And he has said at the same time it has been reported on CNN that he's been telling his friends on the phone that he's going to release this because he thinks it will be advantageous to him in the respect of the Mueller investigation. So it's a personal interest over a national interest determination, it seems, by the president. Now it goes back to the House. And whether or not these are just cosmetic changes or substantive changes, presumably the chairman will redistribute this memo and that the full committee will then get a determination vote as to whether or not they want to release it. If he just says, I have authority individually to release this and I'm releasing it, then that's a determination that the House has to figure out, whether that's within the rules or outside of the rules.
ZELDIN: But we are, Brianna, in a difficult situation.
KEILAR: Michael, just really quick, because we're almost out of time here before we hand over to the next hour, what are you expecting, that the committee puts this out on their Web site? How do you expect this to go down?
ZELDIN: That's a good question. I suspect they have to release it in some public way. On the House Committee on Intelligence Web site is the most logical place to do it. The president can't tweet it out. I can't imagine it going out through any other channel than through the House Intelligence Committee Web page.
KEILAR: We'll be keeping an eye out for that.
Michael Zeldin, thank you so much. ZELDIN: thank you.
KEILAR: Our breaking news that the president has authorized the release of this controversial Republican-written memo is going to continue.