Return to Transcripts main page
Trump On Dreamers' Label: "Don't Fall Into That Trap"; President Trump Slams Law Enforcement Leaders For Politicizing Memo; Worse Flu Season In Years Overwhelms Some Hospitals. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired February 2, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- you want approval, Matt, from at least two people on how he is defining the Dreamers discussion.
Let me read you a couple of tweets here.
The first is from David Duke. "Thank you, President Trump. Americans are dreamers, too."
Richard Spencer -- "Americans are dreamers, too."
So they're pleased with the president's new shift on this.
MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, and they're both repugnant people and I don't wish to associate with them at all but I do think it's very fair for those immigrants -- and I was listening to talk radio on the way in.
For those immigrants who are newly arrived in America who did it the right way and waited in line, for those people who are waiting in line to become Americans, let me ask you this question, John.
Is it the right first lesson for people who waited in line, filled out all their paperwork, paid all the -- paid all the processing fees, and is it right for them to be delayed even further so that people who get to skip in line come first?
I think in America the important first lesson for new immigrants or for people who want to be Americans -- and I'm so happy that so many of these people, including people overseas --
SCHLAPP: -- want to be Americans, but there is a process to become an American.
And I think that's what the president --
SCHLAPP: -- is saying, which is that is what the true dream is, to be an American and to follow the rules, and for everyone to be treated the same way. BERMAN: Well, Matt, will you no longer use the term Dreamers to describe these --
SCHLAPP: I never have. I don't -- I don't use it because it's a slogan that we use politically. That's fine if they want to use that slogan. I'm not fearful of the slogan.
But I'm a Republican who believes in immigration. I think immigrants have made this country better.
But I think we ought to have a process and I think the president has a good plan to make sure that we have a good process.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, what he's doing here, John, is he has figured out how to use words to make the case less compelling. Less compelling for the Dreamers, more compelling for the side that does not want the Dreamers.
So, for example, instead of using words like family reunification, which is a term that has been used for many, many, many years, he's now trying to call it chain migration. So depending on what side of the debate, that's the word -- the term that you're going to use.
With Dreamers, the problem he has is that he's got an impending deadline a month away and it is a very compelling issue, one of the few issues in America today that has 70 percent, 80 percent approval rating.
Dreamers, their stories, their faces, their wishes, their aspirations, their American values are so compelling, and so he's fighting against that.
He wants to make it transactional. He wants to depersonalize the Dreamers. He wants to depersonalize -- take away their faces and their stories so that the American people don't feel the compassion that so many of us are feeling towards them and demanding a solution to the problem.
BERMAN: Matt -- if I can, Matt --
NAVARRO: I don't care what you call them. I want the issue addressed.
BERMAN: And, of course, Mitch McConnell says he wants it addressed by February eighth. That's not a month away, that's seven days away. We'll see if that happens.
SCHLAPP: That's right.
BERMAN: Matt, breaking news we have. The president weighing in on this discussion over this memo drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Let me read you what the president wrote --
SCHLAPP: Sure. BERMAN: -- moments ago.
"The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans -- something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank and file are great people!"
So, the top leadership and investigators of the FBI and Justice Department. The top leadership that comes to mind, for me, Jeff Sessions --
BERMAN: -- the Republican-appointed attorney general by the President of the United States. The deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, a Republican appointed by the President of the United States. Christopher Wray, a Republican appointed by the President of the United States.
Are these the people he's referring to as having politicized the sacred investigative process?
SCHLAPP: Look, John, it's a very fair question. These are very troubling times.
I am disgusted and dismayed that during a presidential election, President Obama used the Intelligence Community to essentially spy on his political opponents.
BERMAN: Says who?
SCHLAPP: I think --
BERMAN: You just said President Obama used the Intelligence Community --
SCHLAPP: He did.
BERMAN: -- to spy on this --
SCHLAPP: He did.
BERMAN: Says who? Where's your proof?
SCHLAPP: OK. So, John, that's why all this needs to be released because let me ask you a question. How did they get the FISA warrant if Obama appointees didn't go after to get that FISA warrant in order to spy on Trump -- the Trump team in order to find information, right, that could be --
BERMAN: Well, hang on, hang on, hang on.
SCHLAPP: -- politically -- BERMAN: Hang on, hang on. This is --
SCHLAPP: No, no, no. You asked me a question.
BERMAN: Hang on. The FISA process is this. The investigators who --
SCHLAPP: I know the FISA process.
BERMAN: -- are not politically appointed, they go through --
SCHLAPP: That's not --
BERMAN: -- this process and then it gets signed off on by --
BERMAN: -- Justice Department leaders --
BERMAN: -- who may be politically appointed, and then approved by a judge.
SCHLAPP: No. I agree with everything you said despite one fact which is what they did to get this FISA warrant was to use --
BERMAN: Who's they?
SCHLAPP: What'd you say?
BERMAN: Who's they?
SCHLAPP: The specific person?
SCHLAPP: The name, rank, and serial number? That's why I want to read this memo.
That's why you should read this memo, which you haven't read, which most Americans have not read, most Congresspeople have not read. They haven't read the documents behind the FISA memo.
BERMAN: Well, Devin Nunes has --
SCHLAPP: What is wrong --
[07:35:00] BERMAN: Devin Nunes hasn't read the documents behind the memo, so don't go --
SCHLAPP: What is -- what is -- I don't think that's right. That's not right.
BERMAN: It is.
SCHLAPP: That's not right. BERMAN: It is.
SCHLAPP: That's not right.
BERMAN: It is.
I mean, they were only read by two people. They were read -- they were read by Trey Gowdy. He was the one Republican on that committee who read them, and they were read by Adam Schiff on that committee.
SCHLAPP: I have full confidence that Devin Nunes understands that there was an abuse of power by one administration of the Democratic Party --
SCHLAPP: -- to try to --
SCHLAPP: -- name --
BERMAN: Tell me who.
SCHLAPP: I --
BERMAN: You keep on saying there's abuse of power.
SCHLAPP: I did, I did. I said it was President Obama and his appointees who used their -- used their --
BERMAN: So you have proof that President Obama investigated President Trump?
SCHLAPP: -- political power to go after their political opponents.
John, this is clear, which is we've never had this before. It's why a lot of liberals and conservatives agree on this issue.
The authority -- the ability to spy on Americans in this country is a very, very troubling question and the fact that the Obama administration felt it was necessary to spy on Americans who were in the middle of a political campaign is a disgusting and disheartening element of what Obama did as he left office.
BERMAN: OK. Ana, I want you to jump in here.
This was the first I've heard that President Obama ordered the FISA warrant on Carter Page.
SCHLAPP: I didn't say he ordered it. No, no, John.
BERMAN: You said President Obama spied on Donald Trump.
SCHLAPP: John, I think that President Obama allowed and encouraged his team to use their power to go after his political opponents. I think it's clear. I think he went after Mike Flynn.
BERMAN: All right. I'm not sure that that's what's in this memo. Maybe people have told me.
SCHLAPP: I'm not sure that, John, you don't know. I haven't read it.
BERMAN: Ana, your response to this accusation which seems to go beyond, frankly, what we've been told is in the memo that this is a conspiracy involving an active President Obama and those people working for him, Ana.
NAVARRO: Look, I just think that there's so much noise with the clear intent of muddying the waters, of discrediting the FBI, of discrediting Bob Mueller, of trying to lay the groundwork so that he can fire, you know, Rosenstein and then, you know, go after Mueller.
I mean, this is to me, a very clear roadmap here with the help of a lot of people, with the coordination of folks in Congress, with coordination of folks in the right-wing media, with coordination of some of his surrogates and allies just drumming up all this propaganda, and all of this nonsense, and all of these conspiracy theories, all filing under --
SCHLAPP: Can I -- can I --
NAVARRO: -- the direction -- no, Matt. You spoke a hell of a lot.
Now let me just say this. I think you can take that tweet by Donald Trump, reword it, and a lot of America would think it's very accurate.
I think that if you said the top leadership of the White House and the top leadership of the House Intelligence Committee has politicized the sacred investigative process in order to help Donald Trump, a lot of people, including myself, would think that that is what's happening in America right now.
We are -- we are -- you know, this noise is --
SCHLAPP: But are there barriers?
NAVARRO: -- just drowning and it is --
SCHLAPP: Are there barriers?
BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on, Matt.
BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on.
NAVARRO: It's so incredibly disappointing.
BERMAN: Matt, very quick, last word because we've got to go to break. SCHLAPP: Yes. I'm just saying look, liberals and conservatives should agree on this. The power of the federal government is so -- can be so troubling.
And shouldn't there be guidelines? Should we not use the FBI, should we not use the FISA courts to go after our political opponents? I don't think either party should do that. I think this is reprehensible.
BERMAN: All right. Matt Schlapp, Ana Navarro, great to have you this morning. Thanks so much, guys, appreciate it.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
BERMAN: Alisyn --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: On another topic entirely, the flu has killed more than three dozen children so far. Can doctors do more to prevent these?
We have a live report. An update on the flu, next.
[07:42:15] CAMEROTA: Listen to this staggering number. At least 37 children have died in this year's flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is warning that this year's outbreak could be the deadliest ever for kids.
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more. This is just horrible, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it is horrible and this isn't just for kids. This is also healthy adults are getting sick and are dying.
This is the story of a 36-year-old woman who got the flu, went to the emergency room, was told to go home. The next day, she was on life support and now her family's asking what happened.
COHEN (voice-over): A workplace in mourning after the sudden death of one of their own, Tandy Harmon.
COHEN (on camera): So, Tandy, this is where she worked?
BRAD FOUTS, TANDY HARMON'S MANAGER: Yes, for the last four years -- amazing, amazing, yes. 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. 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.
COHEN (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?
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Flu is sneaky, it is devilish.
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.
[07:45:00] 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: Now, amidst all of this sadness there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family this flu season. It is not too late to get a flu shot -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. I've got to tell you, it's a big concern in my house and at the school my kids go to, for sure.
In the meantime, we have breaking news. The big reveal From Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The country's best-known groundhog, deservedly or not, frankly, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, signaling another six weeks of winter.
CAMEROTA: Oh, thanks, Phil.
BERMAN: Currently, it is 12 degrees in Punxsutawney so it seems like a fairly safe bet.
CAMEROTA: Look at him.
BERMAN: He has something to hide.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I can see that. He's just -- he's just enigmatic.
Kick-off for Super Bowl LII is just two days away and John Berman is not the only one who can't wait to see Tom Brady.
Coy Wire --
BERMAN: Why does he have to wear the helmet all the time? That's all I'm saying.
CAMEROTA: Yes, you're right. Take it off, Tom Brady, and I think you know what I mean, Coy Wire.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You guys, good morning.
Over 100 million will be joining John Berman, expected to tune into this big game. Yesterday was a press conference about the big halftime show. Justin Timberlake was poked and prodded about what he might sing and who may join him on stage.
But the biggest talk of the conference was this apparent man crush that has developed between him and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Sorry, John Berman, you have a challenger.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SINGER-SONGWRITER, WILL PERFORM HALFTIME SHOW AT SUPER BOWL LII: He has great hair, though.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does have great hair.
TIMBERLAKE: 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. I actually texted Tom before the conference championship game and I said I'm going to the Super Bowl and you're coming to the Super Bowl?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Yes, he is, and he's going for his sixth Super Bowl title.
Now, just around the corner, the game. And that also means around the corner, "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 to bring you intriguing storylines surrounding the game. That's at 2:30 Eastern right here on CNN.
Now, John, I mean, everyone talks about Tom Brady being the big deal in New England, but Danny Amendola -- when you talk about man crushes he's kind of making the case for himself. His girlfriend is 2012's Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo.
WIRE: And he has a modeling contract. I'm just saying, you know, we better look out up there in New England.
CAMEROTA: Do you like him, too?
BERMAN: I would just say Tom and I have never said we had an exclusive relationship. We've never set those parameters.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's good because there -- I mean, Justin Timberlake is competition.
BERMAN: I texted Tom just before the AFC Championship game. You like how Justin Timberlake threw that in there?
CAMEROTA: Yes, I heard that. That had to hurt.
BERMAN: An arrow right in my heart.
CAMEROTA: All right, we'll all be watching.
BERMAN: All right.
The president set to release that controversial memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses. Is this the right move? A former CIA director weighs in, next.
[07:52:22] CAMEROTA: President Trump accusing leaders and investigators at the FBI and Justice Department of politicizing what he calls a sacred investigative process. Sources tell CNN the president plans to tell Congress today to release that classified Republican memo.
Let's discuss with former CIA director James Woolsey. He served as an adviser during President Trump's campaign. Ambassador, thank you so much for being here.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CFE TREATY, FORMER ADVISER TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Sure.
CAMEROTA: Should this classified memo be released today over the objections of the FBI and the director of National Intelligence?
WOOLSEY: I think you can't tell without reading it and somebody needs to read this document before making judgments about it, I think whether it's the president or members of Congress. They ought to both read it.
And, if -- this is the president's authority. The classification system is -- the Executive Branch is in, so it's really his responsibility to ensure that the country's not harmed --
WOOLSEY: -- by material coming out that would damage it. But if --
CAMEROTA: Well --
WOOLSEY: -- we have something this important that has this degree of contention about it --
WOOLSEY: -- then I would think putting together a brief -- a small panel of two or three people on each side who had a reputation for objectivity and being able to deal across the aisle --
WOOLSEY: -- and letting them sort this out with redactions. Something like that would be a lot more sensible than what we're doing.
CAMEROTA: But does it concern you that the FBI -- the director of the FBI, the DNI Dan Coats -- that they have made appeals to the White House not to release this?
WOOLSEY: Sure. They're important figures and they ought to be listened to, but they should not necessarily prevail over the individual whose statutory authority this is -- namely, the president. So, I --
CAMEROTA: But let me just stop you for one second because there is reporting that the president decided to release this before reading it. What does that tell you?
WOOLSEY: Well, I think he ought to read it and the members of Congress that are key to this -- have four or five of them -- ought to read it as well. It's, I think, a very bad idea to make decisions of this importance without understanding what's at issue, substantively. CAMEROTA: But does that suggest that it is he who is politicizing this? The fact that he had decided to release it before reading it, what else can you conclude?
WOOLSEY: I don't think it draws that conclusion. He may be right. I mean, he may be right for different reasons than somebody else would have.
This is a political argument. What's happened is that what is normally a pretty objective and decent system, the classification process, has deteriorated into almost a shouting match, and that's not good for the country and it's not good for the intelligence world.
[07:55:10] CAMEROTA: For sure, so why not go through the regular process? Why not let the FBI -- why not hear the FBI? Why not hold off on doing this if the intel chiefs don't want this out?
WOOLSEY: It's fine to hear the FBI but if you go through the regular process, the person whose authority this is statutorily to make a decision, is the president's.
CAMEROTA: The president felt very differently about this in 2014 and it's always interesting to get in our time machine and go back and hear how Donald Trump used to feel about intelligence being released over the complaints -- objections of other people.
This was in 2014. This was the CIA torture report.
He said, "The CIA report should not be released. Puts our agents and military overseas in danger. A propaganda tool for our enemies."
Now, as you know --
CAMEROTA: -- there are all sorts of people in the FBI who say that this will reveal sources and methods that shouldn't be released.
WOOLSEY: There are two important values here but they point in opposite directions.
One is security, and that means protecting sources and methods from having -- showing up in the pages of our press and so forth because that could get people killed. It has gotten people killed in the past and ruined relations between us and other countries who then we trade intelligence and the like. That points in one direction.
The objective of the people knowing what is important and being able to make judgments about what of their -- which of their elected representatives is handling this well and so forth produces an inclination for more openness. This is sort of like freedom and equality. They sometimes point in opposite directions.
I think the way to do it is to get two or three respected people together -- members of Congress that have worked on these issues over the years. Maybe they're retired, a couple -- I don't know, two or three -- and let them sort something out and make a recommendation to the president and to the leadership of the Congress.
WOOLSEY: I think it's come to a point where they probably need to take -- need to take some kind of action of that sort.
CAMEROTA: That sounds like a great idea. It sounds like that might not happen since it sounds like the White House is preparing to release this today.
There have been various reports that suggest that it goes -- that this memo goes after Rod Rosenstein, the deputy A.G. and he, of course, oversees the Russia investigation, and the president has made clear that he would like -- that he's lost faith in Rod Rosenstein and it sounds like he'd like to get rid of him.
Do you see a scenario by which this memo could be used as a predicate to get rid of Rod Rosenstein?
WOOLSEY: Scenarios exist all over the place. I don't -- I don't want to speculate on something like that.
If any individual believes that he needs to resign because he's come into conflict with the president, he ought to do that. If he believes that he can prevail in discussion, he ought to do that.
It's a free country, including for members of Congress and the White House, and they can give the rationale that they have and let the rest of us judge.
CAMEROTA: Speaking of resignations, I just have to ask because you were part of the president's transition team or his campaign -- both -- and you left last January 2017. And there were suggestions that you left because of growing tension over the president's vision for the intelligence agencies.
WOOLSEY: No, I was an adviser on the campaign and then they started carrying me on chyrons in the press after that as being a senior member of the transition and I was not involved in the transition. So in order to keep things straight and not fly under a false flag, I just put out a release saying that I was not part of the transition.
If they'd ask me to be part of the transition I might have set aside some time and done it, but I didn't and it wasn't right to say that I was a senior member of the transition while I was there.
CAMEROTA: OK, fair enough, but did you have tension with about his vision for the intelligence community?
WOOLSEY: Not on anything -- related to this, no.
CAMEROTA: Do you worry about what all this does to the rank and file in the FBI and beyond?
WOOLSEY: Sure. This is something that we need to make sure it works in a straightforward and routine fashion. Classification is important and messing up classification can cause serious damage to the country.
But it's also true that this whole classification system reports ultimately to one individual, the president. And so, it is entirely clear that it's his right under the process to say I have decided this will not harm the United States and it should be released, or I have decided this would harm the United States so I do not want it released. That's his call.
CAMEROTA: Former CIA Director James Woolsey, thank you very much for your perspective.
WOOLSEY: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.