Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Set to Defy FBI and DOJ by Approving Memo Release; Father of Survivors Lunges at Disgraced Doctor; Mother Dies Days After Hospital Release; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 2, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They want to know about the memo, where they stand on the memo, what their reaction is to the memo.

I can tell you, in talking to some Republican aides, there's frustration about it. They want to talk about what they did at the end of 2017. They want to talk about what they want to do in 2018, and yet this is also an issue that has been driven internally, by their own members, from kind of the rank and file grassroots, that really got behind this over the course of the last couple of weeks and almost drove this to the front door of leadership not having to deal with it.

Poppy, you obviously saw yesterday the Speaker Paul Ryan addressing this issue, saying that things need to be separate, the memo is congressional oversight, this isn't about the FBI, this isn't about the deputy attorney general, this isn't about the Mueller investigation, but you have a lot of Republican rank and file members who say that's exactly what this is.

I think one of the interesting elements to watch that we've been watching over the last couple of days is how different members are trying to kind of rectify or reconcile all of these different views here. But there's no question about it. Inside the House Republican conference this has become a huge driving issue and because of that, it has more or less overtaken everything else when they have some major decisions to make in just a short amount of time -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Exactly. Like keeping the government open.

Phil Mattingly, thank you. We appreciate it.

Here to discuss and debate, CNN political commentators Brian Fallon on the left and former congressman Jack Kingston on the right. He previously advised President Trump and of course Brian Fallon worked with Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Nice to have you both here.

Congressman Kingston, let me begin with you. You saw what the president wrote this morning, I don't need to read the whole thing over. But he said the leadership at DOJ and FBI have politicized this whole investigation, that there have been Democrats in the face of Republicans. It's a direct attack on Christopher Wray at the top of the FBI, and Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general at DOJ. Do you agree with the president?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have general agreement with him, and I think if we look at the Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, the Andrew McCabe, Andrew Weissmanns, the Julie Reed, the James Corals, the James Rybickis, who have showed a real tilt towards one side in this election and a very strong bias against Donald Trump, in their e- mails and their actions have proven this through donations and text messages and attending Hillary Clinton's victory party, or would-be victory party, so, you know, there has been that I'd say growing suspicion on the House and we see more and more evidence of it and our concern has been that it taints the Mueller judgment and the investigation itself, so I think they're legitimate concerns. And --

HARLOW: So you don't -- you don't think Mueller can do his job appropriately? Is that what you're saying? Because of these people?

KINGSTON: I'm saying it puts a big question on it. I'm not, you know, in a fire Mueller camp, let's get rid of him. But I'd say these things are very disturbing and if I was a lawyer defending President Trump, I would raise them all day long and say --


KINGSTON: We're very worried about this.

HARLOW: As I get Brian Fallon here, let me just raise one fact, and that is that we learn very importantly from CNN exclusive reporting this week from our White House and justice team that Peter Strzok, who you just mentioned, who did send the anti-Trump text messages, who also sent anti-Clinton, anti-Bernie Sanders text messages, but a lot of anti-Trump text messages, he was one of the key people who decided days before the election to reopen the e-mail investigation into Hillary Clinton.

Brian Fallon, to you, your counterargument?

BRIAN FALLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you, Poppy, for raising that, I was just going to mention it. I mean, this just goes to the heart of how crazy the conspiracy theory is that Trump supporters are peddling to try to justify the release of this memo.

I mean, if you think about the 2016 campaign, you had Jim Comey give that press conference in July, you had that letter being sent 10 days out from the election, the e-mail investigation into Hillary Clinton was thick in the air throughout the entire campaign.

What we did not know, what none of the voters knew when they went to the polls, was that Donald Trump was also being investigated for counterintelligence investigation related to Russia. None of that was talked about or ever disclosed publicly during the campaign.

So to suggest now a year later that somehow the FBI was in cahoots with the Clinton campaign to try to hurt Donald Trump just -- it just defies credulity. And so now, Poppy, just -- I mean, think of the implications now of this conspiracy theory. Donald Trump's tweet this morning --


FALLON: Come on, Jack. Do you really believe -- Christopher Wray is Donald Trump's handpicked FBI director. He could have picked anybody in the world he wanted for that position, he got -- he picked Christopher Wray. Do you now think that Christopher Wray is part of some deep state conspiracy theory?

KINGSTON: Let me --

FALLON: Rod Rosenstein, he could have picked --

KINGSTON: OK. All right, Brian.

FALLON: Donald Trump could have picked anybody in the world to be number two.

KINGSTON: Give me some time, man. Come on.

FALLON: He could have picked anybody in the world to be the number two at the Justice Department.


FALLON: He picked Rod Rosenstein. Rod Rosenstein reauthorized the surveillance against Donald Trump.

KINGSTON: OK. I'll just --

FALLON: Is he part of the deep state cabal, too?

KINGSTON: OK. Brian, great filibuster. Let me talk. There is a natural tension between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I spent 22 years in the legislative branch fighting with the executive branch on the National Parks Service --

HARLOW: Yes, but this is all within the executive branch.

FALLON: This is within the executive branch.

KINGSTON: No, wait a second.

[10:35:03] HARLOW: Hold on, this is all --

KINGSTON: Let me say --

HARLOW: Congressman, this is the executive branch against the executive branch and two people that the president appointed.

KINGSTON: No, it is not. It started when the FBI --

HARLOW: Yes, it is.

KINGSTON: It started when the FBI ignored subpoenas from the House Intelligence Committee trying to get this information. And they have not been cooperative, ask Bob Goodlatte, ask Trey Gowdy, ask Devin Nunes, even ask Adam Schiff, and he will say the FBI absolutely was not responsive, neither has the DOJ been, in terms of giving information to these committees which are charged with finding this information out.

And so I -- and I think the other thing is that we know people like James Comey, they're very, very political. I don't think Christopher Wray is, he's a fellow Georgian. And I don't -- I'm not one who's saying that his head should be on the scout, but I am saying there were some partisans in the FBI and what I'm concerned about and I think Brian would be, too, did their partisanship abuse the FISA process?

We don't know that. But I do know that people on that committee, aside from Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes or Matt Gaetz, people like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, or Will Hurd, or Peter King, who are not solid Trump supporters, who are very critical and very bipartisan of our party many times, they voted to release these memos.

HARLOW: Let me ask Brian --

KINGSTON: So they're doing it because they're very worried.

HARLOW: One more question. One more question. Brian, and that is just in the last hour or so we have learned that House Speaker Paul Ryan has come out and publicly supported the release of the Democratic rebuttal to this. The memo from the Democrats on the House Intel Committee. Are you encouraged hearing that?

FALLON: Not really. Because I didn't hear a commitment that he would release the two memos concurrently. That is the Democrats' big complaint. They're saying that the release the Democrat one eventually after a couple more weeks go by, there's more extended review and an additional vote by the House of Representatives.

The whole idea is to get just one memo out, the Nunes memo, the Republican spin memo, have that set the narrative and then have as an afterthought the Democrat memo come out a few days or a couple of weeks later.

And this just goes to show why this thing is not on the up and up. Let's take Jack's concern at face value. Let's say that there really is some concern about abuse in the FISA process. Well, let's let the IG investigate it or let's at least put these memos out at the same time. The fact that they're doing it in this way proves that it's a partisan exercise.

HARLOW: Appreciate your time, gentlemen. We'll have you both back. Have a great weekend. Thanks so much.


HARLOW: Wait until you see this. A father's fury at disgraced former USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar in court. This just happened. Three of his daughters are survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse and he went after him. We're there. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:41:42] HARLOW: All right, breaking news this morning at another sentencing for disgraced gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar. Last hour, the father of three of his victims tried to attack him in court. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't -- that is not --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you give me one minute?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know that I can't do that. That's not how our legal --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm going to have to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down. Stay down.


HARLOW: Jean Casarez is following all of the developments outside of the courthouse.

Jean, what can you tell us?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you that he has not come out. And he was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies and there is the local jail which is right next to the Eaton County courthouse right here.

I've spoken with his attorney and he is talking with officials right now. But the rest of his family, which was his wife and two of his daughters, they actually came out just minutes ago and drove away very quickly in a vehicle. So they have left.

But this father is the father of three daughters that were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar. Two of them spoke this morning here in court, the other one spoke last week in Ingham County. And I haven't heard of a family that has three daughters. So we'll wait to see exactly what he is charged with, if he can come out, if there will be bail if charges are filed.

But I want to talk to you about last night because one of Nassar's defense lawyers, Shannon Smith, did a radio interview with WWJ News Radio out of Detroit, and she talks about that so many young women keep coming forward to speak, she's not sure if she believes all of them. Listen.


SHANNON SMITH, LARRY NASSAR'S DEFENSE LAWYER: There is a huge part of me that does not believe that every one of those girls was victimized by him.


CASAREZ: So in other words, she went on to say that she thinks Larry Nassar has done much good in his life, that he's a good man, and she just thinks that too many people are, I would say, opportunistic in this situation. She went on to tell ESPN that she tempers that by saying I know there was a plea agreement.

HARLOW: All right, Jean Casarez, pretty extraordinary developments this morning. Our thoughts still on all of those women who are abused by Nassar. Thank you.

Ahead, the CDC is warning this year's flu outbreak could be the deadliest ever for children. This is critically important information. Stick around for it next.


[10:48:50] HARLOW: Hospitals across the country are overcrowded. Entire school districts have been forced to close, all because of the brutal flu outbreak this year.

We are waiting for another update from the CDC that's coming in just minutes. Let's go to our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

And Elizabeth, one of the huge concerns I think for all of us as parents is this is hitting children extremely hard.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This does seem to be hitting children extremely hard. And often these are healthy children where you would never think that anything would go wrong. It's also hitting adults extremely hard. And these are often young perfectly healthy adults.

I visited with a community in Portland, they lost a friend, a 36-year- old mother of two. She felt sick, went to the emergency room, and was told to go home. The next day she was put on life support and now her family and friends are left asking how did this happen.


COHEN (voice-over): A workplace in mourning after the sudden death of one of their own, Tandy Harmon.

(On camera): So Tandy, this is where she worked?

BRAD FOUTS, TANDY HARMON'S MANAGER: Yes, for the last four years. Amazing, amazing gal. We're going to miss her. COHEN (voice-over): Her death shows just how much we still don't know

about the flu and how much it's hurting us this year. The worst flu season in years. Tents set up for extra patients, schools closed across the country.

[10:50:05] Tandy was young, just 36, and healthy.

STEVEN LUNDIN, TANDY HARMON'S BOYFRIEND: She posted on Facebook, dang, caught the flu. You know, that darn flu.

COHEN: Tandy's boyfriend says when her chest starting hurting she went to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with the flu and sent home. She got worse and went back just hours later.

(On camera): Do you remember the last thing that Tandy said to you?

LUNDIN: I'm scared. I don't know -- I don't know what's going on. I'm scared. In between all the breaths, she got that out.

COHEN (voice-over): Tandy died, leaving her family mystified. Why didn't doctors keep her in the hospital the first time?

She's not the only one. Six-year-old Emily Muth died in North Carolina hours after a paramedic said she could stay home.

LUNDIN: Who's to blame? You know. Do you blame God? Do you blame the world? Do you blame the doctors?


COHEN: Dr. William Schaffner says when it comes to the flu there is no crystal ball.

SCHAFFNER: We have thousands upon thousands of patients who come in, are evaluated, are sent home and do wonderfully well, and trying to pick out who among them is going to take a turn for the worse is something that we can't do. It's a gap in our knowledge.

COHEN: But could medicine be doing more?

SCHAFFNER: We need better diagnostic tests so we can predict who's going to have a bad result.

COHEN: One of the ways flu kills the young and healthy is by turning their own immune systems against them. Some researchers have been trying to stop that response and they've had some success with animal studies.

FOUTS: There has to be something more that they can do. I mean, the flu is not going to go away.

COHEN: Now Tandy's boss has lost a friend and waitress. Her boyfriend, the woman he loved. And Tandy's two children, their mother, all because medicine wasn't advanced enough to save her.


COHEN: Along with concerns about flu this season, there have also been some concerns about Tamiflu, a drug used to treat flu. I'm going to read from the label, it says patients with influenza including those receiving Tamiflu particularly pediatric patients may be at an increased risk of confusion or abnormal behavior early in their illness. Monitor for signs for abnormal behavior.

So the bottom line here is that if you're diagnosed with the flu and given Tamiflu, talk to your doctor about the risks and the benefits -- Poppy.

HARLOW: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for doing this reporting, being so on top of all of it. Let us know what the CDC says in just moments.

All right. Turning to kick off in Minnesota, the Super Bowl, big game this weekend, have you heard? And Tom Brady's top target on the field is ready to go. Why the Patriots' chances to win it all in Minnesota just got a whole lot better, so says John Berman. Stay with us.


[10:57:23] HARLOW: Kickoff to Super Bowl LII is just two days away and it looks like one of Tom Brady's favorite targets will be playing.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" from -- oh, I'm so glad you're outside, from the great city of Minneapolis.



WIRE: We have our reporters here on the ground in your hometown, Poppy. You know, I had to get out and see what it's all about. If I'm going to talk about how cold it is, I'd better be able to really convey just how chilly it is.

Now right now, it's about negative 7 degrees. But a good thing is, it feels like negative 4. So it's downright balmy out here. The game day, they're thinking it might be three degrees outside, even though the players will play indoors. That would dominate the previous coldest Super Bowl ever, which was 16 back in Detroit.

Now we have to talk about Rob Gronkowski. This guy, Patriots fans, are sighing a big relief today. Yesterday it was announced that he was cleared from the NFL's mandated concussion protocol after that big hit he took in the AFC championship game.

But now, yesterday, Tom Brady's number one target says he is back. Listen to this.


RON GRONKOWSKI, PATRIOTS TIGHT END: Everything is going good. I am just looking forward to the big game now. I'm ready to roll. And that's all I'm looking forward to. I'm in the Super Bowl. I'm good. I'm ready.


WIRE: All right. Also, yesterday, the Super Bowl halftime show press conference where music icon Justin Timberlake took the stage. He was poked and prodded about what he may perform, who he may perform with, he was very tight lipped about that but he didn't hold back when it came to his apparent bromance with Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady. Listen.


JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SUPER BOWL LII HALFTIME PERFORMER: He has great hair, though. I mean, great hair. Tom's definitely the type of dude you'd invite over to watch the Super Bowl with you, the problem is he's always in the Super Bowl.


TIMBERLAKE: I actually texted Tom before the conference championship game and I said, I'm going to the Super Bowl. Are you coming to the Super Bowl?


WIRE: I have to admit, I agree with Justin. Tom Brady does have great hair, Poppy. It's almost time for our kickoff in Minnesota, a CNN Bleacher Report special, where two-time Super Bowl champ Hines Ward and I will join "EARLY START's" Dave Briggs, breaking down the intriguing story lines surrounding the big game. That's tomorrow at 2:30 Eastern on CNN.

Poppy, I might go sledding right now or try another restaurant that you recommended to me.


WIRE: I went to the Local (INAUDIBLE) pub and you were right.

HARLOW: Good, right?

WIRE: They were awesome.

HARLOW: I love them.

WIRE: It's so good.

HARLOW: Andy, how is my hometown treating you? Everyone being Minnesota nice? Coy?

WIRE: Everyone is so nice here in Minnesota. I'm falling in love with the culture here. Super Bowl LII. The people here are great, Poppy. We miss you.

HARLOW: Bye, Coy. Have fun. All right. Thank you all for joining us.