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Trump Claims GOP Memo "Totally Vindicates" Him; Democrats Push To Release Rebuttal To GOP Memo; Eagles Topple Patriots To Win First Super Bowl; Attacks On Bureau Force FBI Agent To Resign. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired February 5, 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] BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Let me say this. All I'm saying is one thing. Every conversation that we're talking about right now, the problem is the people that were involved in the investigation are the ones that said this.

It's not a conspiracy theory when I just read their text messages.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Do you --

FERGUSON: It's not a conspiracy theory when I see their bias.

KRISTOL: Do you think the Mueller investigation continues? Do you think the Mueller investigation continues?

FERGUSON: Look, I'm not afraid of the Mueller investigation.

KRISTOL: Do you think it should continue?

FERGUSON: I think the Mueller investigation should play out.

KRISTOL: OK, but --

FERGUSON: I think it should. I just said it again.

KRISTOL: Thank you.

FERGUSON: I'm not afraid of Mueller. I'm not afraid of the investigation. Look how long it's been --

KRISTOL: You did --

FERGUSON: -- and how little they've come up with any collusion.

KRISTOL: I give you credit. I give you credit.

FERGUSON: What I do have a problem with --

KRISTOL: I give you credit for that, Ben.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

FERGUSON: -- is people -- KRISTOL: I'm like the president. I -- the president -- they are not afraid of Mueller.

FERGUSON: Well, and let me say what I have a problem with --

CAMEROTA: OK.

FERGUSON: But let -- again, I'm not afraid of it --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

FERGUSON: -- but I'll go back to this.

CAMEROTA: One second.

FERGUSON: If anyone's upset, look at what the people wrote in their own text --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

FERGUSON: -- messages.

CAMEROTA: OK.

FERGUSON: People should be upset by what they said.

CAMEROTA: Got it. Bill Kristol, Ben Ferguson, thank you for the lively debate -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: If only the Patriots had played defense that hard -- all right.

It hurts me to keep saying it but the Philadelphia Eagles, they are the Super Bowl champions. One of the newly-minted champs -- one of the key players in this game, Malcolm Jenkins, joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:35:03] BERMAN: The House Intelligence Committee will vote today on whether to release the Democratic rebuttal to the controversial Republican memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuses in the Russia investigation.

President Trump claims this memo totally vindicates him.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California. Representative, thanks so much for being with us.

Let me read you the president's statement over the weekend about this.

"This memo totally vindicates Trump" -- he puts that in quotation marks -- "in probe, but the Russian witch hunt goes on and on. There was no collusion, 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."

Does this memo totally vindicate him?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: No, I don't think it does at all, but I think his tweet shows the purpose of the memo. I think the memo is an attempt to vindicate him. You have even leaning Republican Trey Gowdy saying that it doesn't vindicate him. I think that it's really kind of pathetic that he would actually do that.

And it actually exposes my Republican colleagues for what they were really up to, which is doing his bidding. And that's the part that, frankly, confuses me as to why they would put their reputations on the line for something that is so obvious.

BERMAN: Absolutely right. Trey Gowdy says this memo does not totally vindicate him in the Russia investigation.

But, Trey Gowdy also thinks this memo is important. He thinks it raises important questions about the FISA process. Specifically, he thinks that the FISA judges were not told that the Steele dossier was funded specifically by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Should these judges have been told that?

BASS: Well, you know, from what I believe -- and, you know, I'm not on the Intel Committee but I believe that they actually were told. But let's just say --

BERMAN: That they were told -- hang on. And they were told --

BASS: Yes.

BERMAN: We think -- we think they were told there was a political connection to the Steele dossier which is materially different than funded by the Clinton campaign or by the Democrats, correct?

BASS: OK, let's just say for a minute they weren't told. The fact of the matter is that the FISA warrant was issued multiple times. And you know that every time you go before those judges who were all appointed by the Republican chief justice, by the way -- when you go before those judges you have to show that the first 90 days that you had the warrant that you actually produced something.

So even if that was the case, and I don't believe it was, that still does not say that the FISA warrant shouldn't be -- shouldn't have been issued. And they were also different judges that they went before. And it's the chief justice of the Supreme Court who is appointed by a Republican who appointed the FISA judges, so I don't think there's any there there.

BERMAN: Michael Mukasey, who was the attorney general under George W. Bush, put out an op-ed over the weekend in "The Wall Street Journal" where he would like to see the redacted FISA request from prosecutors.

Is this something that you would be OK with releasing?

BASS: Well, I don't know whether I would or not.

But what I will tell you though is that serving on the Judiciary Committee, we have made attempts but the Republicans have shut it down. We've made attempts to have a review, to hear from the FBI, and we'll see. We'll see what happens this week whether or not the Republicans will reconsider because the Judiciary Committee should be a part of this whole process.

BERMAN: You say you're not sure whether the FISA warrant should be released? Why not? I mean, if it -- if it can be redacted so that secrets are not revealed, should the American people see it?

BASS: Well, I would have to see the underlying evidence. Now, maybe they should, maybe they shouldn't, but it's difficult for me to see when I haven't even seen the underlying documents. But that is something that our committee should review.

BERMAN: The ranking member of your committee, Jerry Nadler, has suggested that Republicans -- House Republicans are trying to obstruct the work of the special counsel. Obstruct the work of an investigation. Obstruction of justice would be a crime.

Do you think Republicans are committing a crime?

BASS: Well, I don't think that the memo is actually saying that. It definitely says that the Republicans are complicit. And, to me, the fact -- all of the drama that they've produced around this memo, I think absolutely demonstrates that.

I don't think that there's much to the memo. They said it was going to be some big huge document. And why did they go to this effort?

And then, when the president tweets that the day the memo comes out, what more do you need? I think the president was crystal clear and I think that especially, Chairman Nunes is doing his bidding.

BERMAN: Let me read you something the president just said because it's interesting and it's more on this point of what you were just talking about.

He says, "Little Adam Schiff" -- and he's talking about the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

"Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan, and Clapper. Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped."

[07:40:00] BASS: This is the President of the United States. I mean, this is just an embarrassment. It's an embarrassment on the international stage. And I think that he is showing exactly what the purpose of the memo is.

And so, now -- and I'll tell you, the one thing that confuses me though is that I don't understand why the Republican leadership would put their reputations on the line to defend him in this manner. We all understand what the president is doing, but why would they back this up?

And have they decided that their policy agenda of privatizing Social Security, having Medicare be vouchers, cutting Medicaid -- that's more important that they're willing to go along with this president in this manner? I just don't understand that. Why would they sully their reputations?

BERMAN: Representative Karen Bass, we'll have a chance to see what Republicans do if they allow the Democratic memo to be released over the next several days.

Representative, thanks so much for being with us, appreciate it.

BASS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn --

CAMEROTA: Well, he played a big role in the Eagles stunning Super Bowl victory. Star safety Malcolm Jenkins is here. He joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right.

The Philadelphia Eagles -- they are the Super Bowl champions for the first time ever. Our next guest, he played a huge role in their win over my New England Patriots and really, a huge role in their success all season.

Joining us now is Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Mr. Jenkins, first of all, you know, congratulations to you. What an incredible game. To watch that beginning to end, it was just an incredible spectacle.

What's it like for you this morning to see how happy the people in Philadelphia area?

MALCOLM JENKINS, SAFETY, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Well, to start off, I know how big of a Patriots fan you are so I know how much this might hurt. But for us, man, it's -- it has been an awesome year, man. It's been so fun for our team.

The amount of things that this team has had to carry and as close as this team is, for us to be able to be the first team to bring that Lombardi trophy back to the city of Philadelphia is such an honor, man. We feel so blessed and happy for our fan base that we could be the ones to bring that joy to the city, man. We're so excited to get back to Philly to celebrate with our fans.

BERMAN: I can only imagine.

All right, so there's two minutes and 15 seconds left in the game. You're up by five points. Tom Brady has thrown for 500 yards at this point, three touchdowns.

You haven't sacked him yet. He may be the best quarterback of all time. He's got the ball.

[07:45:05] What's going through all your heads?

JENKINS: To be honest, usually in these type of situations you see -- there's a defensive huddle. Guys are talking to each other about hey, this is it, we need to make a stop, but there was none of that. We understood the entire game that the way to win -- our offense was on fire, their offense was on fire. It was going to come down to whoever got the last stop on defense.

BERMAN: When you saw that ball --

JENKINS: And we knew our stop was coming. Yes -- well, before that we knew that our stop was coming and you got Brandon Graham give the sack fumble, Derek Barnett gets it. Then, you get that next drive and that ball goes in the air and everything goes in slow motion.

BERMAN: It's --

JENKINS: You understand that the season is on the line. And when it hits the ground you look at the clock to double check and make sure the game is over, and everything comes back and you realize that you just accomplished what you set out to do the entire year. We're world champions

BERMAN: We just showed before -- we showed the hit on Brandin Cooks. Brandin Cooks, you know, great Patriots wide receiver got the ball. He was a runner at that point so the helmet-to-helmet technically, I think, is legal there.

But it never feels good, I think, from your standpoint. You want to get a good hit in. But to know that you knocked him out of the game, what was that like?

JENKINS: I mean, I never want to put a player out of the game. You don't take a lot of joy in that and I hope he's all right.

But at the end of the day, like you said, it is a legal hit. He's a runner. It's one of those things that 10 out of 10 times I'm going to make that same play, especially in this type of game. Some of those things are unavoidable but, like I said, I hope he's all right.

BERMAN: So you are a leader of the Players Coalition, which is a movement among NFL players to draw the spotlight -- to shine the spotlight on what you call the injustices facing African-Americans around the country.

You know, President Trump, last night after the game, he tweeted "Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory."

I know you've been asked this. Do you intend to go to the White House for a celebration? JENKINS: No, I personally do not anticipate attending that.

BERMAN: What message would you like to send to the president?

JENKINS: I don't have a message for the president.

You know, my message has been clear all year. I'm about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana or this entire country.

I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economical and -- I mean, and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.

And that's what myself and my peers have been pushing for the last two years, and that's what I'll continue to do.

BERMAN: Malcolm Jenkins, thank you for the work that you do for this country. Congratulations on this game. It was incredible. It was just incredible to watch.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Well done, John.

BERMAN: He's a nice guy.

CAMEROTA: He's wonderful.

BERMAN: He's a nice guy and he knows I was hurting.

CAMEROTA: And he was comforting you.

BERMAN: And he was comforting me.

CAMEROTA: That's what we've been doing all morning.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

OK, so listen to this. An FBI agent is now speaking out about the president's repeated attacks on the Bureau. What it's doing to the rank and file and why he has resigned over it. He joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:21] CAMEROTA: An FBI agent leaving his job because of the quote "relentless" political attacks on the Bureau from the president and Congressional Republicans. He wrote about it in a "New York Times" op-ed piece over the weekend. And that former FBI special agent Josh Campbell joins us now. He is also CNN's new law enforcement analyst. Welcome, Josh.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Hi. Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Why did you resign on Friday?

CAMPBELL: Well, it was a -- it was not an easy decision. In fact, it was a very difficult decision.

But if you ask the men and women of the FBI what the last year and a half has been like I think, to a person, they would say either perplexing, sometimes angering when you see the political attacks on the FBI.

Now, I'm not talking about criticism. I want to start -- make that point clear. Criticism of the FBI is needed. We have to have oversight. We cannot police ourselves.

But what myself and my colleagues have been concerned about are the political attacks. The attacks that go beyond process and more -- you know, some other motive behind them. And my concern was the long-term effects on the organization.

Now, I could not speak out now as I am to defend the Bureau, to defend our people, and to explain what it is we do if I was still in the FBI nor would you want that. You wouldn't want an FBI agent in the organization anonymously speaking out against partisans. It's not what we do.

So I made the difficult decision to leave a career I love, an organization I still love and will always love, in order to defend it.

CAMEROTA: So, Josh -- you know, listen. We've heard the president say the rank and file are great. We've heard Republicans say this isn't an attack on the FBI, these are just questions about the leadership.

What is the mood inside the FBI of all the tens of thousands of agents?

CAMPBELL: Well, so the criticism, as I mentioned, is -- criticism itself is fair. If someone wants to say we did something wrong that is fair. In fact, it is incumbent upon our leaders to hold us accountable.

And I think what you see now with the various investigations that are going on with the Department of -- Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice, obviously Director Mueller and his investigation, they're looking into what has happened.

I think what we need to be concerned about, and I hope that our leaders are concerned about, is a cascading effect on the FBI agent on the street, the intelligence analysts, the professional staff employee who gets up every single day working to defend the constitution and protect the American people.

And what I mean by that cascading effect is the FBI cannot do its job without support from the public. When an FBI agent knocks on someone's door and they need assistance, or an FBI tries to recruit an informant to provide information, the only reason people will talk to us is if they trust us.

[07:55:05] And what I'm afraid of is that -- myself and many of my colleagues -- is that this corrosive doubt about the agency that's been able to seep into the national discussion because of politics is something that's going to negatively impact our ability to do our job.

So, many of us, we're not political people. We're, you know -- it is the ethos of the FBI that you check your politics at the door. Many of us have supported Republicans and Democrats alike, but it's not something that you incorporate into your work. So I want the American people to understand that.

And lastly, I would just say that to a person, the FBI -- the employees -- we want our leaders held accountable. So if there were mistakes that were made, particularly those who were involved in bad judgment, we want that to come to light. We want people to know that. We just want the temperature to come down as far as the political discussion.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, when you say that you have this fear of the cascading effect that the general public will sow doubts about the FBI and they will be less willing to participate and help out with investigations, is that your -- have you seen any evidence of that or is that just, today, your fear?

CAMPBELL: So, I think it's too new to have empirical data on -- from FBI employees about an immediate negative effect. But one thing that my colleagues would tell me day-to-day when we'd go to work is that the question they get from everyone, whether it's their family, their friends, or whether it's people that they're out talking to on the street as their doing their job -- the first question is almost always what happened to the FBI.

And as an FBI employee I can tell you people who are really proud of what they do, who sacrifice a lot to protect this country -- when the first question is what has happened to you, that's a tough thing for people to deal with.

And we are -- let me just say we are dogged people. FBI agents are not easily pushed over. We can take criticism.

It's not something that we're afraid of, it's just we look at the long game -- the long-term. And if we cannot have trust from the public -- if the public is not providing us information then it's negative for us and it really impacts our ability to do our job.

CAMEROTA: As I understand it, you were packing up your desk as the director, Chris Wray, was addressing the FBI -- the Bureau as a whole on Friday. So what was he saying to everyone about how to weather this storm? CAMPBELL: Yes, so as has been reported, the director, he's obviously in a tough spot. He's here to lead an organization, to try to improve the moral that's being negatively impacted from the outside.

And, as was reported, he's really telling the workforce that we have to keep our heads -- you know, keep our heads held high and continue with the mission. We do important work and as he's mentioned, he's going to support us. Again, a very tough position for him to be in and we've continued to see that support as far as backing our people.

I would just say that as we look ahead I think it's -- that same kind of support is something that is needed, even outside the FBI.

So, from the Department of Justice, from those in Congress, and from our leaders, we want that same kind of support. The message that yes, we will get to the bottom of what happened but we want you to continue to do your job. And we need that promise that these decisions will be made absent political considerations.

CAMEROTA: What was it like inside the Bureau on the day that Andrew McCabe, the deputy director, announced that he was going to step aside earlier than had been expected?

CAMPBELL: Well, it -- I think it's a pattern that we've seen in the organization. And again, I don't want to take certain data points and draw a line through them and say that all of this connects.

But, you know, as we've heard in different stories we are learning personnel decisions from the media. And obviously, in this day and age when information is flowing very rapidly, that's to be expected.

But I think in the organization it's -- you know, we're dogged people. We're people who can listen to criticism and career changes at the top and throughout the organization. But when you see the constant flux of leaders kind of coming and going it is something that is potentially concerning for us.

You know, this organization is not about one person. People come and go and we all know that when we step out there. There are no indispensable people in the FBI but we're just looking for that period of calm when things will finally settle and we can do our jobs.

CAMEROTA: Well, that day is not today because Don, Jr. tweeted about you leaving your job.

He tweeted this. "You would think their stable is full in the hate on Trump department. Ahh, who am I kidding? It's CNN. Of course, there's more room."

He's, you know, obviously denigrating your choice to leave the FBI and then to come here as an analyst.

What's your response?

CAMPBELL: Well first, let me say that I'm not going to begrudge a son for protecting his father. I can only imagine what that situation is like.

And I'll also say that whether you're a citizen or whether you're in government you have to respect that the president is a commander in chief. We have to respect that office, full stop. So I don't want to get into the politics of it.

I'll just say that from a practitioner's standpoint throughout the organization FBI agents and professional staff, as I mentioned, we just want the temperature to come down. If we need to have an important national discussion on certain actions that took place in the FBI it's something that we'll certainly welcome and we can do.