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Kelly: Dreamers Not on DACA, "Too Afraid" or "Too Lazy"; Volatile Dow Takes More Wild Swings After Massive Drops; Interview with Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 6, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You folks might want to stay for a little while, OK?
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, DHS SECRETARY: Yes. Mr. President, thank you for hosting this round table on MS-13. As you know, it's the first gang dangerous enough to be classified as a transnational criminal organization. We've talked at length of the devastating destruction and violence it causes in our communities and we're here today to hear from a variety of folks who work every day to combat this.
First, I'd just like to say it's my privilege to be here, the men and women of DHS and DOJ, who make it their job every day to fight this and other violence coming across our borders and also to be joined by members of Congress who have shown great leadership. We thank you for that and also for your support of DHS and DOJ. So, thank you all.
In your recently announced framework, as you know, you asked Congress to close loopholes that you just talked about. So, when we talk about MS-13, we have two or three main loopholes.
The first is we have an inadmissibility problem -- meaning that when they come to our border, I have to let them in. I cannot keep them out by virtue of them being in a gang. Once we catch them and detain them, I cannot remove them by virtue of them being in a gang.
TRUMP: And, by the way, these things are unique to our country. No other country has this. This is unique to our country and it's got to change.
NIELSEN: So the framework that you proposed will close these. So, I remain hopeful to work with Congress on your behalf and the administration's behalf to close these and other loopholes to secure our borders and our communities. So, without going into further detail, I would like to turn this over to John Cronan, who's the acting assistant attorney general for DOJ's criminal division. He's going to walk us through a bit more of MS-13.
JOHN CRONAN, ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR DOJ'S CRIMINAL DIVISION: Thank you, Secretary Nielsen.
BALDWIN: All right. So, you were listening to the president, you heard them mention MS-13, and the gang. You heard that a lot from the president.
But what I really want to hone in on -- thanks, by the way, for watching me. I'm Brooke Baldwin with CNN.
What I want to hone in on is he just was talking about Dreamers and this impending DACA deal. And what is now certainly ruffling some feathers is a statement that the president's own chief of staff has just made -- we had the audio. So, you're going to hear from General John Kelly, I want you to listen and then we're going to talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: There are 690,000 official DACA registrants. And the president over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million. The difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up.
So, the president shockingly said, OK, 1.8 million. And then probably the biggest shock was in a path to citizenship. That's beyond what anyone could have imagined.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, Dana Bash is with me. And let's just jump on into it. It's the words. Too afraid, too lazy to get off their asses, that is language coming from the chief of staff at the White House.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And, look, the sentiment of it, what he was talking about in a vacuum, without those words, should be something that the White House is touting to the Democrats.
BALDWIN: Giving the president credit.
BASH: Exactly. Conservatives are not happy about it, but giving the president credit, at least those who he was speaking about. And the reason is because what he was saying is what the president's proposal offers is people who have already come out of the shadows and have been allowed to stay legally, can stay legally.
But in addition to that, it's about a million other people who did not do so at the time when President Obama made this possible. The language is everything. I mean, let's just be honest.
BALDWIN: Words matter.
BASH: Too afraid? Absolutely. And that is likely, according to so much reporting that we have done and conversations that I'm sure you've had with Dreamers and with others, that a lot of people didn't come out of the shadows, didn't put all their information in there, because they were worried about exactly what is going to happen, which is March 5th is going to come, in less than a month. And they are not guaranteed at this point that they are not going to have everything that they have given up, all the information that they've given up be used to deport them.
The too lazy to get off their asses, the words that he used, that is already reverberating.
BALDWIN: Some would say too lazy to get off their asses but still.
BASH: Listen, it's just -- clearly, he was talking to reporters on the fly. He was not prepared to do a press conference. But I think that that is even more shocking because that was on his brain.
BALDWIN: So, you think, I mean, instantly go back to the s-hole --
BALDWIN: -- comments, right, from the president, and we had that whole cycle of conversation over that.
[14:05:02] And now, we have the too lazy to get off their asses. And again, this is a language coming from the White House. And I'm wondering how that then gums up any potential negotiations between the two parties over immigration?
BASH: Well, I don't know. We're going to see. I think the thing to keep in mind is that this is going to be certainly used by the people who are on the -- for lack of a better way to say it, pro Dreamer side, those who are doing what they can to make sure that, again, those who signed up, but even those who the president is identifying, the full 1.8 -- estimated 1.8 million pool could stay.
The flip side that we have to remember is that the conservative base that helped elect President Trump is so opposed to what he proposed, about allowing any of them to stay legally. They consider it amnesty. They consider it a broken campaign promise and many of them will listen to what John Kelly said and say attaboy.
BALDWIN: He's right.
BASH: Attaboy. So that's sort of the lens we have to remember to look at this through, even though what you kind of put your finger on is really important, that we are at a very sensitive time in the negotiations, about what to do legislative and legally, going forward with these Dreamers.
BALDWIN: OK. We just wanted to lead with that. That had just come out.
I have one more for you, because also, you know, moments from now, we're going to hear from the White House press briefing is going to begin and officials may give an update on if and when the president will release what's being called the rebuttal memo, which the House committee just unanimously voted to release. This is Democratic response to the intensely contested Republican memo made public last week.
That memo assembled by House Intel chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, alleges that the FBI abused its surveillance power to monitor Trump campaign member Carter Page. The president views that memo as a, quote, vindication in the whole Russia investigation. This Democratic memo which, by the way, is six pages longer than the Republican version, goes point by point, to counter the accusations Nunes made.
A source close to the process, says that the president is likely to authorize its declassification if the FBI and intelligence community sign off. That, though, is not easing concerns. The Democratic memo's author says it's not if the memo will be released but how. Will any redactions be based upon protecting sources or protecting the president?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What I'm more concerned about, Alisyn, is that they make political redactions, that is not redactions to protect sources or methods, which you've asked the Department of Justice and FBI to do but redactions to remove information that they think is unfavorable to the president. That could be a real problem. And that's our main concern at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, again, Dana, honing in on the point, a source tells Jeremy Diamond, our reporter at the White House, that President Trump will, quote, accept the recommendations of the FBI on this memo, but is this not the same president who, when the FBI said grave concerns over the Republican memo was like, release it?
BASH: Yes, which is why every time we talk about both memos, we have to be very, very clear and remind people over and over again that these are politic al documents. That this is something that if there was such concern from the intelligence committee, whose job it is to oversee such important matters as FISA warrants, which inherently infringe on people's rights because I think there's a national security reason to do so.
The Republican memo, started with the Republican memo, to be fair, and followed up with the Democratic rebuttal, they are political documents. Now, having said that -- so, I think we should remember that. So, therefore it is not a surprise President Trump was caught on camera during the State of the Union, saying, oh, 100 percent we're going to release it, before he even read it. And now, he's saying, wait, wait, wait, let me just read the Democrats' memo.
While we were talking, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff told pool reporters that President Trump has not yet read the Democrats' memo but he is going to be briefed on it later today. He also said that it is quite lengthy.
BALDWIN: OK. Dana, you're so good. Thank you so much for rolling me with off the top there. Appreciate it.
Let's take a quick look at the big board now. The Dow, let me see with you, sitting around 24,000. You guys took my box down. There we go, 24,000, down about 110 points. Two more hours to go before that bell.
Another highly volatile day for the stock market after a massive dive yesterday. The Dow suffering its largest single-day point loss ever.
And here is what the stock market's worst day look like, the Dow shedding nearly 1,200 points after falling more than 1500, Dow fell below its 25,000 mark, erasing all of its gains of 2018. All of this happening in an awkward split screen as President Trump was speaking there in Ohio, boasting his successful economic program.
[14:10:08] You know, always quick to tout the strong economy. The president has so far stayed pretty quiet on the volatility over the last 24 hours. But President Trump's own treasury secretary did have this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I'm not overly concerned about the market volatility. I think the fundamentals are quite strong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The administration has claimed credit for the markets going up. Are they going to claim credit when the markets go down?
MNUCHIN: Again, I think we'll claim credit for the fact that it's up over 30 percent since the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Annie Massa, reporter for Bloomberg, and Neil Irwin, senior economic correspondent for "The New York Times."
Welcome to both of you.
And, Annie, help us understand the disconnect because, you know, Main Street has been doing great. Wages are on the rise. The economy has been strong. Why, then is Wall Street spooked?
ANNIE MASSA, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: So, it seems counterintuitive --
MASSA: -- because there are all these factors that point to a strong economy. But what you see in an environment where other indicators are showing you, like wage growth, that the economy is strong, is now there are some tremors that maybe we'll see more interest rates rising, more quickly than we may have imagined earlier. And you get a little bit of a panic in the stock market.
BALDWIN: I want to come back to the interest rates. Everyone's ears perk when you talk about that. But, Neil, it is interesting how a 1,000-point drop isn't as dramatic, percentage wise, as it once was since the Dow is up so high.
NEIL IRWIN, SENIOR ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Worth some perspective, we're back to mid-December levels in terms of the stock market. As you say, the Dow Jones Industrial Average up around 25,000, a few hundred points isn't what it used to be. So, if you have a mental model of a few hundred points is a lot, not the way it was a few years ago.
So, look, this is a meaningful drop. This is decreasing people's wealth but only compared to where it was a few weeks ago and not the kind of radical crash that you might really worry about.
BALDWIN: And again just a reminder, as we talk about all of this. You know, the Dow is not the economy. Yet when people see all the red and the numbers dropping, there has to be some sort of psychological impact, which is what on everyday Americans?
MASSA: That's right. If you look at your 401(k) for example after such a stock market route, you're going to feel panicky. But the important thing to keep in mind is that there are many factors in the economy. And the -- what the stock market is doing is not the only measure. Not to mention that over time, these fluctuations happen. But it's not a portrait of what's going on, what will go on forever.
BALDWIN: Neil, how realistic is it for interest rates -- Annie mentioned interest rates a second ago, for them to consistently stay Janet Yellen low?
IRWIN: Doesn't look like that will be the case. You know, part of what's driving this market correction is a number that came out on Friday and higher wage growth. That suggests that inflation is going to be higher in the year ahead. That suggests the Federal Reserve may have to raise interest rates higher than it has been.
If that's the case, that will mean higher wages, higher inflation, higher interest rates. That's mostly good news. You know, that's maybe bad news if you're a company paying higher wages. If you get your income from a paycheck, that's actually good news rather than bad.
BALDWIN: All right. Annie and Neil, thank you very much.
Breaking news here, 14 preapproved yes or no questions. That is what Steve Bannon lawyers say the White House is demanding before Bannon goes behind closed doors to appear. Also, will the president sit down with the special counsel? Bob Mueller and his team, a number of the president's lawyers reportedly urging him to avoid such an interview out of the fear that he could perjure himself. So, we'll talk about that.
And other breaking news here from the top of the show. The comments just in from the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, telling reporter that Dreamers who didn't sign up for DACA were either too lazy or to afraid to get off their asses. That's direct quote. Congressman Joaquin Castro joins me live to respond, next.
[14:18:28] BALDWIN: And we're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. It is a show of bipartisanship for one of the most partisan issues gripping Capitol Hill, talking about this unanimous vote to release the Democratic rebuttal memo to a Republican memo alleging FBI misconduct. The House Intelligence Committee has approved the release and now, it is up to the president to decide if it will go public.
A source tells CNN that if the FBI signs off, the president will not stand in the way.
So, joining me now, House Intelligence Committee member and Democrat, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas.
Congressman, nice to have you back on.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: So, again, just a reminder to everyone, who was -- you know, you and your committee voted to release this memo. Are you, at all, concerned that President Trump will refuse to declassify this Democratic rebuttal?
CASTRO: I am, actually. I'm concerned about a few things. Number one, that he might refuse to release it completely or that if he releases it, it could be so heavily redacted that it would take away from the ability of the American people to really understand and grasp all of the points of the memo.
Remember, this is a president who, on many issues, is basically beyond shame at this point. So, any sense of fairness or thoroughness for the sake of the investigation, I think, is questionable, for the White House.
BALDWIN: Congressman, if -- going with your first point, if the president says no, then what's the Democrat's response?
CASTRO: Well, technically, we would have the opportunity, I believe in the House of Representatives to vote to put the memo out.
BALDWIN: Closed door vote.
CASTRO: Right. But you would probably lose that vote, right? You would get outvoted. So, the president could essentially keep the Democratic memo bottled up if he wanted to.
[14:20:05] BALDWIN: And then to your point about, you know, redacting sections, what's the message there, politics?
CASTRO: I think it could be. You know, it depends what they take out. But sure, if it's so heavily redacted that you can hardly understand it, then I do think a lot of it would be politics. Part of the reason I say that is because, remember, Devin Nunes memo was sprung among the committee on a Monday at 5:00 without any real notice to Democrats about the fact that we're going to be taking a vote on that memo.
And it's also basically a political document as many Americans have come to see for themselves.
BALDWIN: Well, you know, to be fair, I think it's political, both ways you cut it. But on that original Republican Nunes memo, Congressman, you know, the president remember, he says that memo vindicates him, which is false, and a lot of Republicans have pushed back against that. Why, Congressman Castro, why do you think the president says this, believes this?
CASTRO: Well, I think the president has never believed that the Russia investigation had any credibility from the beginning. And he's continually said that there's been no collusion. But beyond that, he really doesn't address any deeper questions about the investigation and has also -- the White House has refused to allow at least a few witnesses to speak freely to our committee about a lot of the issues that we're investigating. So, it's hard for me to completely understand the state of mind of the president of the United States.
But he has shown that he has been very political in his actions and, of course, in his words.
BALDWIN: Well, let's talk about Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon gets now this extension as of today to appear before your committee. CNN sources tell us that Bannon wasn't planning on appearing because the White House and committee haven't reached an agreement over the scope of the questioning.
And now, we're hearing from ranking Democrat on the House Intel, Adam Schiff, saying that Bannon's lawyer has told Congress that the White House is only permitting Bannon to answer these 14 preapproved yes or no questions on Russia.
What do you think, Congressman Castro, is the White House's strategy there?
CASTRO: I think the strategy of the White House, the strategy of folks like Devin Nunes and others is to protect the president from any kind of liability. That's what the Devin Nunes' memo was about.
BALDWIN: Where's the liability here? Can you be more specific?
CASTRO: Yes, three specific things, on money laundering, on collusion and on obstruction of justice. He's got real issues that he's got to deal with on those three fronts.
BALDWIN: Let me move on to what we led the show with, these comments that have just been made public by White House chief of staff, General John Kelly.
Let me be clear that we're about to hear, this is recorded by "The Washington Post". He is talking about the president agreeing to allow a larger pool of immigrants, right, that 1.8 million number versus those who essentially had come out of the shadows and registered that the Dreamers, 700,000 Dreamers.
So, first, here is John Kelly.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KELLY: There are 690,000 official DACA registrants. And the president over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million. The difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up.
So, the president shockingly said, OK, 1.8 million. And then probably the biggest shock was in a path to citizenship. That's beyond what anyone could have imagined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: To lazy to get off their asses. Congressman, your response?
CASTRO: Yes. I mean, you know, just like many things about this administration, is that they're needlessly callous towards people and disrespectful towards folks. And, you know, I'm disappointed that John Kelly would describe people in that way.
He did get one point right. There were people too afraid to come forward and give the government all of their information because they feared eventually an administration like the Donald Trump information would use that information to come after them. And by all accounts that is still quite possible in the coming months if we pass March 5th and there's no DACA compromise we reach in this Congress.
So, you know, I think that they need to look in the mirror when they wonder about the reason that so many people have been scared, in fear and living with a lot of anxiety over the last year.
BALDWIN: You know, Congressman, it wasn't too long ago when we heard about the reported comments of s-hole countries, right, coming from the president himself and now this language, coming from the chief of staff.
BALDWIN: I mean, you tell me, since you're there and doing the wheeling and dealing, do you think this kind of language out of the White House will affect negotiations on immigration?
[14:25:09] CASTRO: Well, it's just not helpful. You know, any kind of language like that, it's very disrespectful and callous. It's just not helpful in the process.
The other thing that's not helpful is that any time there's a legislative template or bill that starts to gain a little bit of momentum in Congress, the White House seems to go out of its way despite that effort, even though they're bipartisan efforts and say, well, we won't take that. That's a nonstarter. That has also not also been helpful to getting this thing done.
BALDWIN: Let's also talk about what the president said, describing members of your party sitting there last week at the State of the Union. Here is the president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Even in positive news, really positive news like that, they were like death, and un-American. Un-American. Someone said treasonous. I mean, yes, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now, Sarah Sanders has since come out today, saying, quoting her: he was clearly joking. Was he joking, in your opinion?
CASTRO: You know, a lot of things that he says, I think he actually means but then his spokespeople go on later and say, oh, well, don't make a big deal about it. You just don't have a sense of humor. He was joking.
Listen, he's not a king. He's a president. This is not a kingdom in the United States. And there are many people who did clap.
I know all of us, I think, stood up. I know I did, for all the guests he introduced and all the wonderful things they've done and overcome in their lives. But there are a lot of things that people sitting in that chamber disagree with the president on. So, a president --
BALDWIN: But why not, Congressman, why not applaud, you know, improved employment numbers? I do want to -- I want to ask that.
CASTRO: I think you did see a lot of people applaud that. But I think you also saw some people who are still very skeptical of the president's efforts and how he's approaching economic problems, and social challenges, certainly, the immigration issue. And that was reflected in what you saw the other night, you know? And that's happened to every president who has given a speech up there.
And remember, you know, people were very respectful of this president. Nobody stood up and yelled "you lied" at Donald Trump the way they did at President Barack Obama.
BALDWIN: You're right, you're right. Although folks on the other side would, you're right, call it rude. But we played the State of Union in 2013, and on unemployment, Democrats were all up and Republicans weren't. Politics.
Glad you're doing your job and I'm not the one stuck doing it. Congressman Joaquin Castro --
CASTRO: And, for the record --
CASTRO: -- unemployment levels, low unemployment levels are good. That is something that the administration can be proud of. BALDWIN: Right.
CASTRO: That they celebrate. That is a good thing.
BALDWIN: Worthy of applause, worthy of applause.
BALDWIN: Congressman, thank you so much for your time. And just a reminder to all of you watching, make sure you tune in 8:00 tonight, former Vice President Joe Biden sits down with Chris Cuomo to talk divisions, speaking of, division in Washington and around the country and the big question, will he run in 2020? The exclusive interview tonight at 8:00 on "AC360".
Ahead, President Trump says he's willing to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller, said that publicly. There are new reports to indicate his lawyers want him to avoid such a meeting because they're afraid that the president of the United States will lie under oath.
And we are standing by for that White House briefing to begin. Of course, including waiting for questions over whether the president will release this Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo. We'll take that briefing as soon as it begins.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.