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Memo Was Put Together By Republican Congressman Devin Nunes Was Released; Dow Jones Tumbled Nearly 666 Points; Congress Are Expected To Vote On Short Term Fixes This Time To Keep It Open Through March 22nd. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 3, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:53] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. It's 4:00 eastern, 1:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera in the NEWSROOM in New York. Thank you for being with us.
And let's begin this hour with a bold claim from the President, declaring that the hyped up partisan memo released yesterday completely clears him in the Russian investigation. And this memo totally vindicates Trump in probe. He writes, of the Russian witch hunt goes on and on. There was no collusion and there was no obstruction, the word now used because after one year of looking endlessly and finding nothing, collusion is dead. This is an American disgrace.
Well, the memo was put together by Republican congressman Devin Nunes, who was also a member of the Trump transition team. This memo alleges that the FBI and the justice department used the infamous Trump dossier to obtained the surveillance warrant for this man, Carter Page. He is a former Trump campaign advisor.
Now, sources say the President has been calling friends to tell them to this memo makes it easier for him to argue that Russia investigators are biased against him. But Democrat, the DOJ, and say that's not the case. Democrats call this memo a sham claiming it includes cherry picked information. The justice department warned its release would be quote "extraordinarily reckless." And the FBI director, someone appointed by President Trump himself, so that he had quote "grave concerns about the memo's accuracy because it leaves out so many facts."
We know the story can get kind of convoluted so our goal here is to keep things pretty simple -- as simple as possible at least.
So that in mind, we have live team coverage. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is with us in West Palm Beach where the President is standing another weekend. And CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz is in Washington.
So Boris, you first. Two sources told CNN the President thinks this memo exposes bias in the top ranks of the FBI. His tweet today appears to confirm that's what he believes. What else is the White House saying? BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana. Well,
there's really been a disconnect between what we have heard from several prominent Republicans, including House speaker Paul Ryan and other White House officials. And the President himself, with one fell swoop, one swift tweet this morning. The President confirming that he believes that this memo proves that the Russia investigation is, as he calls it, a witch hunt and that investigators at the department of justice and the FBI are out to get him personally.
Similarly, there's a disconnect in messaging between the President himself and some of his White House staff. I want you to watch closely when the President was asked yesterday if he has confidence in his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, which is mentioned by name in that memo and about whom there's been broad speculation that the President may fire him. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it make you more likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence after reading the memo?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You figure that one out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: And the President didn't mention Rosenstein by name. But when he was asked about the memo, he said that a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves. Well, later on last night, we got a chance to speak to deputy press secretary Raj Shah on CNN. And he painted a very different picture about the President's feelings toward the deputy attorney general. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I'm saying it on behalf of the White House, and that's that no changes are going to be made at the department of justice. We fully expect Rod Rosenstein to continue on as the deputy attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, sources close to the President tell CNN that at this time, there is no consideration of firing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, in part because the President fears that taking that step would prolong the Russia investigation, something he definitely does not want to do as we have seen through some of his other actions.
We should note though, Ana, in the past, this White House has voiced full confidence in a number of officials, whether Michael Flynn or Reince Priebus, ultimately for them to be shown the door soon after -- Ana.
CABRERA: And that's why there's still that lingering question, what is his future when we talk about Rosenstein? Shimon, we know the FBI were against the President releasing this memo
saying they had quote "grave concerns." We reported on Thursday, director Chris Wray, he was seething behind the scenes. How are intelligence officials reacting now that the memo is out there?
[16:05:09] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. So really, in terms of the FBI, which is really the ones who are taking issue here. We know that there are other intelligence officials that have raised some concern about this. I don't expect to hear anything more from the FBI on this. I think they have sort of said their piece and the FBI and the FBI director have made it very clear that their position is not going to change on this.
And you are right, Ana. The issue here is what's not in the memo. And that it is very misleading in terms of the information, in terms of the intelligence that the FBI gathered. And in the view of the FBI and certainly the people who work at the FBI, this memo is all political. It's based on facts that are not accurate. And it's also meant to really distract and attack the men and women of the FBI who have been working on the Russia investigation, who have been gathering intelligence.
So yesterday, after the memo was released, really the first time the FBI director in full and in a very, about an eight-minute lengthy statement, a video statement released internally, addressed what it's been like for the last several months for the agencies. He said he that knows it's been a tough nine months or so. And then he went to say this. And let me read this to you.
You have all been through a lot in the past nine months and I know it's often been unsettling to say the least, he says, and the past few days haven't done much to calm those waters. So I want to make sure you know where I stand, he says, and I want us to do moving forward. Then he goes on to say, let me be clear, I stand fully committed to our mission. I stand by our shared determination to do our work independently and by the book. I stand with you.
And then in kind of a very interesting last line here, he says, talk is cheap. The work you do is what will endure. And this message, I can tell you, Ana, from talking to people at the FBI, was taken well, was well received. They were happy to hear from him. Certainly, the statement that he issued, that the FBI issued against the White House, saying that they should not release this memo, all was sort of viewed as kind of a rally. This is what the FBI has need. And they may finally have it now.
CABRERA: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you. Boris, thanks as well.
This memo also claims that in addition to using the Trump dossier to get the surveillance warrant on Carter Page, officials also cited a yahoo news article. And here is what the memo says.
The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23rd, 2016, Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff, which focused on Page's July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier, because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo! News.
And I'm joined now by the author that Yahoo! News article, Michael Isikoff. He is also the co-author of the new book "Russian Roulette" which comes out next month.
All right, Michael, so first, facts. Let's get to the facts. Does what we just read from the memo accurately describe your report?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATION CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Well, I have no idea if it accurately describes what was cited to the FISA court, which I think is the key issue because it doesn't say what it was they were citing in my article to corroborate whatever other information they were presenting to the court.
The article, look, Christopher Steele has said in a British court filing that Yahoo News, that's me, was among the news organizations he briefed about his work when he came to Washington in September of 2016. So yes, there's no question that Christopher Steele was a source for my article. He has acknowledged as much.
There was a lot else in the article, including the fact that the FBI had already begun its investigation into Carter Page and his trips to Moscow and his contacts with Russians, as well as lots of other material about Page's background and people who had dealt with him and were aware of him over the years.
So, you know, it was surprising to me that, to see that statement in the memo because the basic information in there was information that the FBI already had. So I'm not sure why they would have needed to cite my article.
CABRERA: And let's talk a little more about your report that is cited because the reporting isn't just based on what Steele told you, right?
ISIKOFF: Right. No, as I said, look, the key piece of information in my article didn't come from Christopher Steele. It came from my sources in the law enforcement intelligence community who confirmed that there was already an investigation under way in September 2016 into Carter Page and his contacts in Moscow. That's what made it a story, not anything that Christopher Steele said.
[16:10:13] CABRERA: And yet you met with Steele in person, so I'm curious what your impressions of him were and his credibility?
ISIKOFF: Well, look. He was a serious guy in every sense of the word. He was not into small talk. He felt he had come across some compelling information about the connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. He made it clear that he wanted -- that this needed to be investigated, that he had taken this information to the FBI.
I checked him out. He was in fact who he said he was, a former MI-6 British intelligence spy in Moscow. A premier specialist for the British intelligence service, about all matters Russian. I talked to sources who had dealt with him in the U.S. government. He had been a source for the FBI on other matters, for the state department on other matters. So yes, he had a lot of credibility on its face.
CABRERA: Right. And that's important to know that he was deemed a credible source in other investigations, so they did have a history with him when FBI investigators were looking at what information --
ISIKOFF: That's why they took him serious.
CABRERA: Exactly. According to this memo, Steele told a senior DOJ official in 2016 that he was quote "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about his not being President." Did you get that impression when you met with him, that he was very politically motivated himself?
ISIKOFF: Not politically motivated. Now, look, I knew that he was working on behalf of Democrats. There was no question about that.
CABRERA: And you knew that separate from what he told you or because he told you that?
ISIKOFF: I knew because of the circumstances of how I came to meet him. There was no secret about it and I don't think he was trying to hide that. But he was -- and I knew that he was seriously concerned about what he believed to be the facts based on what his sources in Russia had told him. Now, he didn't use the kind of language that is cited in that memo with me, but the mere fact that he was concerned enough to try to bring this information to the attention of the FBI was pretty good evidence that he believed strongly in what he was saying.
CABRERA: Michael, did he know who specifically was funding the research that he was doing that Hillary Clinton's lawyer and the DNC were involved in that funding?
ISIKOFF: I think he knew that he was working for somebody, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, who had a political client aligned with Democrats who wanted to see Hillary Clinton elected and Donald Trump defeated.
CABRERA: But you don't know for sure if he knew it was Hillary Clinton's lawyer or the DNC?
ISIKOFF: I didn't know that. And I don't know that he knew that.
CABRERA: What about Carter Page? Because as you know, the Trump team has made a point to really distance themselves from Carter Page, saying he really was just kind of a low-level volunteer on the campaign, wasn't heavily involved. But now the GOP's memo is putting him front and center. How do you see him fitting into it all?
ISIKOFF: Well, you know, that was interesting when I was putting the piece together in the first place. Because remember, Carter Page was introduced -- his name was introduced as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign by Donald Trump himself. He had a meeting with "the Washington Post" editorial board in March of 2016, was being pressed for his foreign policy advisers. He took out a list. He mentioned Carter Page, Ph.D. That's also the moment that he first mentioned George Papadopoulos, who looms quite large in this story. And he was considered, I mean, was proclaimed as one of the foreign policy advisers to the campaign.
Now, when I was putting the article together, I think people in the Trump campaign began to know he was a bit hot, and I got conflicting accounts of exactly what his role was. Hope Hicks had described him as informal adviser to the campaign. Jason Miller, regular on this network, said he has nothing to do with the campaign, even though the candidate himself had introduced his name. So it was a little unclear exactly what his status was at that point.
And it's worth noting that by the time this FISA application is granted by the court, it's October, he has already left the campaign. After my article ran in September, he said he was taking a leave of absence. So this was not at that point a FISA aimed at the Trump campaign itself because it was at that point at best a former adviser to the Trump campaign.
[16:15:20] CABRERA: Michael Isikoff, thank you very much.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
CABRERA: Straight ahead, deepening the divide in the wake of this memo release. The question remains have President Trump's attacks on U.S. intel agencies done permanent damage to their credibility? Two former members of the FBI join us next.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:19:44] CABRERA: The Nunes memo, now it's out for all to read. President Trump says it vindicates him in the investigation of possible Russian collusion. The President's opponents, people who never wanted this memo released, say it's full of misleading information at best and worst, does real damage to the American system of gathering intelligence.
Joining us now, the former FBI assistant director and now CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes and former FBI special agent James Gagliano.
So James, you are here with me. I will start with you.
You have read this memo based on what is in it. Does it appear to you on its face there was some abuse of the FISA application warrant system?
[16:20:02] JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So I have two differing opinions on this. One, I think there were definite missteps made at the seventh floor, which is the executive level at FBI headquarters.
CABRERA: Based on what you read in the memo?
GAGLIANO: Well, nothing -- I can almost say with certainly, nothing I read in the three-in-a-half pages yesterday, Ana, with you and everybody else who was interested, I didn't already know. Most of that stuff had already been out there. At least if I didn't have the exact specifics, I kind of knew that was what was going to happen. So nothing shocked me there. In fact, I described it last night kind of as a tempest in a teapot.
However, having said that, I think a lot of attacks that are going on the intel community right now are starting to have a deleterious effects. And this is something where I'm taking a different position because I have argued to you, that the FBI agents, the 35,000 employees are savvy enough not to see the President's attacks on them but on the senior management.
But just today, a survey monkey opinion poll came out, survey monkey from axis, and they said that of polled Republicans, 34 percent today have a favorable view of the FBI compared to 68 percent of Democrats. Think about what that means.
And I think that what's impacting FBI agents right now is the fact it's not what the President is saying or his tweets. It's the fact that the general public hears this and they are losing the trust and confidence in the FBI.
CABRERA: I just want to get back to what you said right at the beginning, though. You said you do have some concern. So I just want, given your expertise in getting these FISA warrants and knowing the inner workings of an investigation, what about this memo did you see stood out to you as concerning?
GAGLIANO: The problem right now is that so much of it is under debate. You listen to the Nunes version and it's one way. You listen to the Swalwell or Adam Schiff version, it's different.
Andy McCabe, who I know personally, used to work for me when he was a young SWAT agent, made a statement in a closed session before the committee. The Republicans are saying that he said that without the dossier they would have not been able to go forward with the FISA application. The Democrats are saying that's a bald-faced lie. When the democratic memo comes out and we can take a look at it and sift through all this, that is going to be an important and critical factor.
CABRERA: Let me ask you, Tom, and I want you to react to what we hear from congressman Mike Turner who told me just a short time ago that he, again, on the Republican House intelligence committee, and supported this memo, he's very convinced that there is something concerning here. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE TURNER (R), OHIO: Purpose of this memo, it even has the heading, FISA abuses of the foreign intelligence surveillance act abuses, is to focus on the issue that campaign funded materials from the Hillary campaign were used to obtain a FISA warrant against members of the Trump campaign who were affiliated with the Trump campaign. And that's what's inappropriate. And it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or if you are a Republican, that goes to the crux of really why this memo was sent out and why it should be part of the debate. Never should we be in a situation where a campaign funded material are used in this way as evidence in a court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Tom, do you agree with what he is saying there?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I would agree that that should never be the sole basis of anything, whether it's rumors or newspaper articles or radio broadcasts or informant information. That part is true, but the problem in this case is we don't know what else was used in the FISA application. And we certainly don't know what was used in the three extensions which would have required additional information and evidence obtained from each preceding wire tap period, which were 90 days apiece. So we don't know that.
The other problem with this, if people can criticize that this is executive management, I can tell you, I read hundreds of criminal wire taps, about a dozen FISA applications. Those affidavits aren't written by an assistant director or deputy director or anybody at that level. The final approvals for submission, yes. But they are prepared, the evidence, the investigation, the informant contacts, the street surveillance, all of that information is compiled, not just by street level FBI agents and analysts within the office and clerical personnel, but other members of the intel community because the Carter Page investigation started in 2013 based on his contacts with people known to be intelligence officers of Russia. That had nothing to do with that.
CABRERA: This is well before the Trump campaign came to be.
[16:25:00] FUENTES: What I'm saying is that to say this was wrongdoing, and it may be, however, it would have had to be about 40 or 50 people in the FBI and department of justice before it got to assistant or deputy director or director level. And the same rank equivalent at the department of justice. So to say that a couple people in the seventh floor messed up is not adequate, not accurate.
GAGLIANO: Disagree with you completely, Tom. And here is why. You can't look at the FISA application in a vacuum. You have to look at it with the totality of the circumstances. You have to look at the text messages between two FBI senior level employees. You have to look at some of the dubious decisions that, I'm sorry, Andy McCabe made, and dubious decisions that were made involving the Hillary Clinton email investigation as well as the beginning of the counterintelligence into the Russian meddling investigation into our elections. You put all those together, there were serious things that were done that need to be looked at.
Now, I'm comfortable with the office of the inspector general doing that. But to say if you argue that the FBI senior executive level ranks made some mistakes here, that you are attacking the FBI or that's not factually accurate, that's not true. I'm comfortable with that three-and-a-half page memo being what it is, knowing that there is a rebuttal. And I'm comfortable with the FISA application process. I'm not comfortable with the other things that went into this.
FUENTES: This is not the way to bring about any kind of internal investigation in the FBI, the way it's been done in this manner. It should go appropriately to the IG. It's already probably under investigation by the inspector general office and probably by the Mueller investigation. So to do it by a war of memos is not appropriate, I don't think, which is what we're going to have now, especially whether the FBI is put in a position that it can't defend itself without divulging additional classified information.
So I would agree that the current memo does not divulge sources and methods, but any defense of the FBI based on the accusations of the memo would require that. Especially going back to we don't know the predication, which began in 2013, which could have come from the CIA, it could have come through the office in Moscow or London or Washington, involved other members of the intel community who may have classified part of this information of what led to the Carter Page investigation. And that information, the FBI wouldn't even be in a position to declassify it. The other agency that originated it would have to.
But I'm just saying, we're not in a position to really find out the accurate facts of this case based on how this was put out and what it would take to defend what was put out.
GAGLIANO: Do you believe that there is any criticism warranted here for the membership of our senior executive ranks over the course of --
GAGLIANO: OK, that's fair.
CABRERA: All right.
FUENTES: I said that before. If they knowingly -- I agree.
GAGLIANO: It's painful. You had a distinguished career. I spent 25 years doing this stuff. It pains us to talk about it. But I think the American public doesn't hear people like us, analysts, that don't just come out and put a rubber stamp on things and say we can disagree with this, but we can also see issues here. And I trust what you just said, the office of the inspector general, department of justice, will get to the bottom of it.
CABRERA: And they are working on it.
Gentlemen, thank you both so much for providing that insight and expertise and your thoughts and perspective. I really appreciated it.
Still to come, the Dow taking a major hit just yesterday. Look at that. This is how it all ended. The worst day for markets in the Trump presidency. Our Alison Kosik is going to break down how this happened next. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:33:09] CABRERA: It was the worst sell off since President Trump took office. On Friday, the Dow Jones tumbled nearly 666 points.
Let's bring in CNN senior economics analyst and former Trump economic advisor Stephen Moore.
So Stephen, we just said it. Wall Street suffered the worst day of the Trump presidency. The Dow closed down over 600 points. This is in fact the steepest decline since the 2008 financial crisis. What do you think is going on?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, I want to try to walk people off the ledge here, Ana. I mean, it was a terrible day, no question about it, 670 points. A lot of points to lose on the Dow. But remember the Dow has been up 6,000 points or so over the last 14 months or so. So it's given up about 10 percent of the gains.
Look, the worst thing people could do right now is go out and sell their stock, especially if you are in a retirement fund, a 401(k). Just you know, in fact, I would say, you know, a lot of times you want to buy on the dips because stocks fell, and I would anticipate next week they will go up.
Now, why did it happen? Ana, I think the spark plug for this was the jobs report that came out. This is kind of a paradox because the report was good. We got a lot of new jobs. And what spooked Wall Street was the fact that wages were up about three percent over the last year. And so there's a worry on Wall Street. I think this is completely wrong, but there is a worry on Wall Street that when wages go up, that's going to cause inflation and therefore people are going to sell their stocks and buy bonds.
But look, if people make more money, then people have more money to buy the very products that these companies sell. So the companies should be more profitable in the long run. So I think that psychology is wrong, but I think that's what happened.
CABRERA: And yet the President is always pointing at the stock market saying that's a direct correlation with his policies. He takes credit for it constantly since it's been on the up and up. Let's give our usual examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:35:02] TRUMP: The stock market is smashing one record after another.
The stock market is shattering one record after another.
We have broken a lot of records. We are breaking another one today. The stock market is way up. Jobs are back.
The stock market smashes one record high after another.
I told you. The stock market is hitting one all-time record after another.
We're setting a record literally all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So Stephen, I found it interesting, the President didn't make a statement about what happened yesterday.
MOORE: Well, look. I mean, as I said, if you go back to, you know, when he was elected, the Dow was at 18,000. It went up to 26,000. Now it's fallen. It was a bad week, by the way. It wasn't just one bad day. We had a week that was kind of lousy for the stock market. But still, people made a lot of money. The stock market, even accounting for the losses that happened last week, still up about 40 percent.
I'm still bullish on the U.S. economy, you know. We got, as I said, a good jobs report on Friday. We also got a good report from the Atlanta fed that is predicting just based on the first month of 2018 the economy by their reckoning was growing at five percent. We haven't had five percent economic growth in decades. So I think it's a healthy economy.
CABRERA: I haven't seen five percent. I mean, we haven't seen five percent gross during any of the quarters though when you look at it.
MOORE: That's true.
CABRERA: I mean, the highest that they --.
MOORE: No. That was just based on one month.
CABRERA: Real quick, though. I do want to point out though because the point we are making there with the President constantly taking credit when things are going well but then and not wanting to take credit or take the blame, shall we say, when things dip. I mean, he was also out there at a state of the union touting the black unemployment had hit record lows, and guess what, with this last report, we see it went up again almost a full percentage point to 7.7 percent.
So isn't it a little dangerous to tie yourself so closely if you are the President to what's happening in the ups and downs of the stock market?
MOORE: Well, I think so. Yes, I would agree with that. I mean, you know, in fact, on your show, I think a month or so ago, I said, you know, maybe the stock market got a little bit ahead of itself here, a little of irrational exuberance was going on.
But let's face it. I mean, when you have a, you know, 6,000-point increase in the Dow in a year, that's a pretty darn good number. And I think it is, you know, related to Trump policies because he is pro- business.
But you are right. I mean, you don't want to get too carried away if you are President because you are right. The stock market is a roller coaster ride. And I guess my advice to investors out there who are maybe worried about their 401(k) is, you know, just hold on to it because, you know, over the medium and long term, stocks go up over time.
By the way, bonds, the interest rates now are only, you know, still less than three percent. You are not going to make a lot of money, Ana, selling your stocks and buying bonds at three percent interest rates.
CABRERA: So you are saying buckle up, hang on. Let's see where it goes from here.
Stephen Moore. And again, obviously, I mentioned the black unemployment rate. That doesn't have to do with the stock market, but again, another one with those economic indicator that have a lot of factors that are really breathing into that.
MOORE: But that's true. But you know, one of the reasons - just quickly, one of the reasons the black unemployment rate went up last month was we had a big increase in the number of blacks entering the labor market, which is a good thing. That means they are looking for jobs.
So look. One month data, let's check back with me in a couple months. Let's see if we see the black unemployment rate rise. But I have a feeling, given how healthy a job market is right now, that you are going to see that number fall in the next few months.
CABRERA: Stephen Moore, we will definitely be checking back with you. I know about that. Talk to you soon.
MOORE: See you soon.
CABRERA: Up next, the grave warning from the health officials about the flu, and we'll tell you why in a moment.
[16:42:49] CABRERA: Brace yourself. When Congress gets back to work next week, it will feel like groundhog day, as lawmakers tackle funding the government all over again.
Like Thursday, Congress are expected to vote on short term fixes this time to keep it open through March 22nd. If all that sounds bureaucratic and impersonal, well, think of this.
This is in Tennessee. Today, people turning out in support of Dreamers in advance of next week's vote because mixed in with the arguments over the spending bill, once again is the fate of about 750,000 DACA recipients.
And then there's this. Some of the biggest companies in America care deeply about their fate. Earlier this month, a group of CEOs for more than 60 companies formed a group called the coalition for the American dream. We are talking about big name corporations. Amazon, Facebook, Apple.
I want to read you part of the letter they sent to Congress, quoting here, "in addition to causing a tremendous upheaval in the lives of DACA employees, failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the work force, and will result in significant costs."
Now, this letter goes on to say studies by economists across the ideological spectrum have also determined that if Congress fails to act, our economy could lose $215 billion in GDP. Now, one of the Fortune 500 companies is reaching out to Congress is Johnson & Johnson. It did so after an employee financial analyst wrote an email to the CEO revealing she is a DACA recipient, a Dreamer.
Now that financial analyst is Daniella Vieira and he is joining us now from Boston.
Daniella, how brave of you to write this email. Why did you decide to go all the way to the top, to email the CEO?
DANIELLA VIEIRA, DREAMER SUPPORTED BY JOHNSON AND JOHNSON CEO: I had to reach out to him because it was an extremely urgent and personal matter to me. And so I wanted to reach out to someone who could do something about it. And my hope was that in reaching out to him, it would become something personal to him too.
I think we have a lot of people who agree that a path to citizenship for kids like me is a good thing. But not a lot of people make it their own personal issue. And so I thought it would be important to have that the CEO of my company aware of how this was impacting me and hopefully that, you know, he could take action on it and could lead our company in taking the right stance, which he later went on to do, which I'm very appreciative of.
[16:45:16] CABRERA: I want to get to his response in just a minute, but first, what did you tell him?
VIEIRA: I told him, first, I apologized for, you know, the unconventional nature of me, an entry level employee, reaching out to him, but it was the only way I knew how to engage. And then I said listen, I'm sure that you are aware of what's happening in D.C. today, but are you aware it impacts one of your own employees? I let him know that's the situation I was in. And that I had seen other CEOs take a stance. So I urged him to make some sort of statement and to take a second to assess how this would impact Johnson & Johnson. And that was the message I tried to convey to him.
CABRERA: And so he responded. What did he say?
VIEIRA: He did. I was very glad that he responded. He said that he was keeping the wellbeing of all Johnson & Johnson employees in mind when making decisions. He thanked me for sharing my story with him. And he said that he supported me. And that was really reassuring and that kind of empowered me to go back to work and continue to reach out for help to make sure that I'm holding my employer accountable to the values that they say they have, which are values that I'm aligned with, values that drew me to J&J. So it was very comforing and reassuring to have his support.
CABRERA: Since you're a financial analyst, let me read some numbers we can all consider. They come from the institute on taxation and economic policy which estimated the potential losses in dreamer tax contributions. Alabama loses $4 million in taxes. Arizona, more than $21 million. California, more than $208 million in taxes if they lose dreamers. Look at Indiana. It loses $11 million in taxes. The list goes on and on. Of course, that's just four states. Overall, there could be a loss of $1.2 billion each year, in again, tax contributions from dreamers. From a purely financial analysis, what do you say to lawmakers?
VIEIRA: It's right for the economy. It's right for American business. You know, we have a lot of lawmakers celebrating the tax bill that was just passed and talking about how that's going to drive American business forward. You know, if we want to push our economy forward and if we want to have an innovative and versatile economy, we need to have innovative and versatile people contributing to it.
So you just read the numbers. The numbers don't lie. It's the right thing to do for business. It's the right thing to do for our economy. And it's also the right thing to do for our communities.
This is a moral issue on top of being an economic issue. And I think that 20 years from now we're going to look back and wonder if we stood on the right side of it. And I want our America to be an America that stands on the side of innovative, hard-working people. And I'm hopeful that our Congress will do the right thing.
CABRERA: How confident are you they are going to get a deal to protect you?
VIEIRA: I'm cautiously optimistic. I think I choose to be optimistic because I have to be. I know that our elected officials know what the right thing to do is, but where my confidence in them waivers is in their ability to come together and compromise. And at the same time, we have never seen more bipartisan momentum around dream act or a similar bill. We have a President who has expressed that he understands the value that dreamers bring to the table. We have members on both sides of the aisle and in both Houses ready to do this.
So I'm optimistic. And I hope that they continue to remember the urgency of this. There is no March 5th deadline. The deadline was yesterday when 122 people lost their DACA. The deadline was last year. We are already out of time. And so we can't keep fabricating these deadlines and saying oh, we can do this later down the road, because people's lives are at stake. My life, my employment, my ability to continue to put my skills to use, to make my community and my company better, is all on the line.
My American dream has an expiration date, essentially, and Congress is toying with it. So my message to them is, this is an urgent, urgent issue that should have been solved in 2017. And so we need to do this tomorrow. Not March 5th, tomorrow.
CABRERA: Daniella Vieira, thank you. Good luck. Let's keep in touch.
VIEIRA: Thank you.
CABRERA: Well, tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. It's expected to make history, even before the first down is played. We will tell you why coming up live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:54:17] CABRERA: As if this story couldn't get stranger. The guy who set off the false missile launch in Hawaii last month and launched a panic, is telling his side of the story. And he says he was 100 percent sure this wasn't just a test. He believed what was happening was real.
According to the official account, the call that initiated the drill began with a person saying exercise, exercise, but the worker says he didn't hear those very important words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was supposed to be on speaker phone, but someone picked up the receiver, and the first part of the message, exercise, exercise, exercise, was not heard. The message I heard was that this is not a drill. And I did not hear exercise in the message at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:55:10] CABRERA: Now, according to his lawyer, he is considering a defamation lawsuit against the state for making false statements about what led to the incident. By the way, he no longer has a job.
OK, to Minneapolis now. It's rolled out the red carpet for tomorrow's Super Bowl, but it's far from a warm welcome for those Patriots and Eagles fans. In fact, it's projected to be the coldest Super Bowl of all time. The kickoff forecast, just three degrees. So that's the bad news. The good news is that the stadium has a roof, so there will be some a little bit of cover. The national weather service office in Minneapolis issued a special weather statement warning of bitterly cold windchills for those who are outside for the super bowl festivities.
Coming up, President Trump saying today the memo is his vindication in the Russian investigation. But did the hype over this memo actually outweigh the memo itself?