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Schiff Calls for Enforcement of Subpoenas Against Lewandowsky, Bannon; Rep. Gregory Meeks Talks Bipartisan Budget Deal, DACA; Trump Expected to Authorize Release of Democratic Memo; White House Staff Secretary Resigns over Domestic Abuse Claims. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired February 7, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They are showing the world what a great military we have. We don't need a martial parade to do that, in my humble opinion.
COMM. STEVE ROGERS, FORMER LIEUTENANT COMMANDER, U.S. NAVY RESERVE: Do you know who will determine that? The American people when hundreds of thousands will show up.
HERTLING: Then it's not for the soldiers, right? It's for the people. Right?
HERTLING: I don't think the soldiers want the parade.
ROGERS: I salute you, General. I really do.
BROOEK BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, wow, gentlemen, entirely split.
Steve Rogers, Mark Hertling, I appreciate both of you.
I would love to hear what people think. Send me a tweet, @Brookeb@CNN.
Coming up next, breaking news in the Russia investigation involving former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Are subpoenas about to be enforced? What CNN has just learned, next.
[14:35:05] BALDWIN: The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says it is time to subpoena former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and enforce the subpoena against former Trump chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Adam Schiff's calls come one day after the panel agreed to a subpoena to testify and negotiate what he can and cannot talk about based on executive privilege.
Here to discuss, senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, live on the Hill.
How are lawmakers responding? Do they or do they not agree with Adam Schiff?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORREPONDENT: This was a surprise, Corey Lewandowski's decision to inform the committee he would not reappear and answer their questions. Remember when he appeared before the House Intelligence Committee last month, Brooke? He said he was, quote, "not prepared" to answer a number of questions about topics that occurred after he left the Trump campaign in June of 2016.
After his appearance, Adam Schiff and other Republicans said, at the time, Lewandowski had agreed to appear again before the committee and answer those questions after he had more chances, time to prepare for those topics. Looks like he's not going to come after he informed the committee there -- he did not plan to return, according to Adam Schiff. And according to Mike Conaway, the Republican who is running the Russia investigation, also confirming that news to me.
Schiff says, because of Lewandowski's decision not to return, he wants a subpoena to compel his appearance. That is something that Conaway and other Republicans are not agreeing with yet.
Here's what Conaway says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Mr. Schiff just said Lewandowski will not reappear before the committee. Adam Schiff says that he should be subpoenaed. Should he be?
REP. MIKE CONAWAY, (R), TEXAS: We have a letter. (INAUDIBLE)
RAJU: What's your reaction?
CONWAY: We will respond.
RAJU: He said he would return to answer questions when he was better prepared. Is this a violation of that agreement?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So decidedly, not nearly as concerned as Adam Schiff.
And another Republican, Pete King, just told me moments ago that he believes that Lewandowski should not be subpoenaed because he answered, quote, "90 percent of the questions they had for the committee."
Another question is, when will Steve Bannon return? On two different occasions he has delayed appearances before the committee after not answering questions about any topics after the campaign season, saying he was trying to preserve the president's right to insert executive privilege. Members on both sides say he needs to come back and answer questions. But we're told by a source familiar with the matter that he wants to talk to Bob Mueller first before he talks to the House committee. Schiff is demanding that that subpoena be enforced, if not, Bannon be held in contempt.
This comes, Brooke, as Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, her appearance was scrapped by the committee last month after it was unclear whether she would be able to answer questions after the campaign season.
So three high-profile witnesses have either been canceled or rescheduled. Uncertain whether they'll come back as the House investigation continues to hit more turmoil -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you.
We will discuss the legal fallout of all of what Manu just reported.
Plus, more on other news. Moments ago, Senate leaders from both parties reached a major budget deal. Immigration not included here. How the White House is reacting, ahead.
[14:42:50] BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
The Senate has reached a major bipartisan budget deal in avoiding the government shutdown that seems to hangover Congress. The deal sets spending numbers for the next two years. Major demand for Democrats that led to shutdown, promise to protect DREAMers, young immigrants brought illegally into this country as children.
With me now from Capitol Hill, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Democrat from New York. He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Congressman, nice to have you back. Welcome.
REP. GREGORY MEEKS, (D), NEW YORK: Good to be with you, Brooke, as always.
BALDWIN: So, yes or no, are you willing to consider this spending bill without any DACA solution in it?
MEEKS: I'm going to look at it. The devil is always in the details. I think we have to find a DACA solution. Clearly, Congress has not done that. Barack Obama, when he was the president, found a solution, since Congress wouldn't do it. We had a solution. This president broke that solution. I think it's incumbent upon this president to work to fix that solution.
BALDWIN: Congressman, you are in the weeds on this. You can't say definitively if you're a yes or no? Right?
MEEKS: That's correct.
BALDWIN: Nancy Pelosi has said, no, that she will oppose the spending bill to keep the government open unless Speaker Ryan guarantees her this open debate and vote on immigration. She made it clear she was speaking for herself and not whipping other members against it. Still, Congressman Meeks, would you feel free as a Democrat to vote yes?
MEEKS: I am undecided at this moment because the devil is always in the details. When you talk about infrastructure spending, I need to know how and where that money is coming from. You talk about disaster relief, especially for the Virgin Island, Puerto Rico and others. I'm looking at a budget in a sense as a budget detail not as -- because what we have -- what the president has created is a hostage situation. To do the budget he created a problem with DACA individuals. Now he wants to hold them hostage.
[14:45:14] BALDWIN: The White House actually just said -- excuse me for jumping in. The White House said that Nancy Pelosi is holding the military hostage because they want to do this deal, give more money to defense spending, and they made this commitment on immigration but that will be separate from that.
MEEKS: Immigration is separate. We need to look at the budget as to whether or not -- my concern was defense spending, how much was it going to be, but also done domestic spending. Thus far, they'll be taking care of the fed spending, but we are also increasing domestic spending. That's important to me. The fact that community health care centers are important to me. Infrastructure spending is important to me.
I have to look at all those things. That's one item that we have to focus on. And we can't forget the DACA kids. I think the immigration issue is a separate thing. We can't hold the DACA kids hostage to the budget negotiations that was created by the president of the United States.
BALDWIN: Homing in on immigration, I think I'm hearing devil is in the details, but recognize that immigration would be separate. On immigration, you heard what the White House chief of staff said, lazy. He has doubled down on his comments on DREAMers, saying this: "I've got to say some of them should probably have gotten off the couch and signed up, but that doesn't really matter now because President Trump has given them the status."
First, your reaction to those words, Congressman.
MEEKS: What the chief of staff said is not only offensive. It's a lie. It's not a fact. He clearly has no knowledge of the issues as it pertains to DACA and the rules and regulations and what these kids have gone through.
These kids are as American as my kids. This is the only country which they know. And we would not have this problem today had not President Trump ended what President Obama created as a fix. So we, as Congress, need to step up and do something, in the way, quite frankly, as some Republicans presidents of the past -- Ronald Reagan did with Congress. That's a separate issue we have to work on.
It's a Donald Trump-created problem, so it has to be a Donald Trump -- he has to step up and fix this. I think the American people understand that. Most American people understand that the DACA children are as American as they are.
BALDWIN: It was an executive action from President Obama and now President Trump kicked it to you within Congress to fix this, and hopefully, there will be a fix. Majority of the country wants them protected. But on the language, you call Chief of Staff Kelly's language offensive. How much does that, Congressman, rile up your party and negotiations as much as the S-hole remarks did some weeks ago?
MEEKS: Look, it riles us all up. We have an unfortunate situation where as this is what you come to expect from this administration. Any time you talk about anybody, whether they happen to be from Central America or South America or Africa, or Haiti, or the Caribbean, any time you talk about people of color, you learn that this administration treats them with absolute disrespect and has nothing but negative --
BALDWIN: Are you able, Congressman, to put that aside when you're negotiating with Republicans on Capitol Hill?
MEEKS: No. That's part of the consideration that you have to have. You have to understand that's part and parcel of scenario when we're negotiate the immigration bill. And I think the American people understand that. They will be on our side as you look at the numbers when they talk about the protections that should go to these DACA kids. We need to make sure we hammer that home and put them in the same scenario of embarrassment that they put himself in when the president made his statement. And what took place in Virginia, in regard to the hateful comments there.
MEEKS: That's right. So I think we're in the same scenario.
MEEKS: So the president has to back up and back up on this one.
BALDWIN: One of his sons, Don Jr, did this interview with the "Daily Caller," where he was asked -- just quoting the interview, saying the last efforts to frame his dad and support anyone who supports his dad as a hater or racist -- she was asking about this -- this was Don Jr's response, Congressman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:49:57] DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's been terrible to watch. I know him. I've seen him my whole life. I've seen the things he has done. It's amazing. All the rappers, all of this, all his friends, from Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton. I have pictures with them their whole life. They say, hi. Always been friends. It was only until he got into politics and, all of a sudden, he's the most terrible human being in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, his dad has black friends. Would you like to respond to that, Congressman?
MEEKS: Yes. His dad is what he says he is. Listen to his statements. Who do you believe, Donald Trump Jr. or your lying ears? We heard what Donald Trump has said. First starting for me in New York with the central park five. Then denying the first black president with the birther incident, saying he could not have possibly been born in the United States and then in reference to Mexicans, calling them rapists and thieves, et cetera. Then Latino, Mexican judge. Couldn't be the person to do that. You go on and on and on, on to Charlottesville, on to the comment he made about Haiti and Africa.
Everything that has come out of his mouth. All the policy he has put forward has been anti-people of color. If it sounds like a duck and it looks like a duck, it's a duck. He has made racist statements. He has continued policies that I believe are racist in nature and so, therefore, you can say something that -- you know, you can call it any way you want.
The facts are what the facts are. You can't take away the facts of what he said. Brooke, you can roll back the videotape. Roll it back, statement after statement. What he said about Muslims. It's all on tape. I would roll back those tapes, just what he said, and give it to any jury and see what they say and what conclusion they come up with. Not based upon something in the air but based upon his own words. That's everything to me.
BALDWIN: Congressman Meeks, thank you, sir.
We could soon find out what is inside the Democratic memo. That is the document that refutes the Republican memo, Nunes memo, released last week that alleges surveillance abuse by the FBI. White House officials tell CNN that unless there is a threat to national security, President Trump is expected to sign off on its release. What's not clear is exactly how much of it could be redacted. The White House officials telling CNN they expect Trump to authorize the memo's release unless there's a grave threat to national security.
With the now, Josh Campbell, CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI special agent who left the FBI last week in protest.
So nice to have you on.
And, David Jolly -- welcome back - a former Florida Congressman.
David, beginning with you, the president released the Republican memo in full, despite the FBI saying -- we remember the public, rare statement that they had grave concerns and that the president was going to release the memo before he read this thing. With this Democratic rebuttal, there's been more caution. What's your interpretation?
DAVID JOLLY, (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Neither memo should be released. There were days until very recent times where House intel matters were not politicized, were not public. It's good oversight work of an Intel Committee. What Devin Nunes and Donald Trump has done is politicize the process.
The bigger picture on this, Brooke, is we can all put our attention on the politicization on the House Intel Committee right now. It's inconsequential compared to what Mueller ultimately comes with. Nunes and Trump are engaged in a political process. Mueller is engaged in an investigative process. It's what Bob Mueller reports out that will matter.
BALDWIN: On the memo, though, and I hear you how the Mueller findings are important.
But, Josh, why would he say release the Nunes memo when the FBI was waving all these flags and on the Democratic rebuttal, he said let me wait until I see what the FBI said. Double standard?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It is a double standard. And I disagree with the politicization analysis. In addition to the substance of either memo, there's an issue with respect to process. What I mean by that is that after the 2004 WMD commission report came out, the intelligence community was held to a certain set of standards. Before any intel product goes out the door, anything that we do must be objective. It must be apolitical.
It must be timely. It must include all relative intelligence on a particular subject. And it has to meet a certain set of criteria. Any product we push out must include opposing views. Who is saying different? That way you get a full picture. We saw the Republican memo, it didn't meet those standards. We haven't seen the Democrat memo yet. If it mirrors the Republican memo, it, too, will not meet those standards. I fear, and members of the Intelligence Committee fear, that the committee is held to a far different set of standards.
[14:55:01] BALDWIN: A quick follow up on that. Why wouldn't the FBI, if the FBI were concerned in the Republican memo -- this Democratic memo is six pages longer -- wouldn't the worry still exist, if not be bigger?
CAMPBELL: Problem is, we have not yet seen what's in the memo. It could be new material they're providing, or something they're citing.
BALDWIN: Let me stay with you and ask about this resignation of the White House chief of staff secretary, Rob Porter. We've now learned through a source that Porter had some trouble getting a security clearance after one of his ex-wives raised the issue with investigators. Can you walk me through the role of intelligence here when it comes to security clearances?
CAMPBELL: Sure. I have no knowledge on this specific event, but the process is that the FBI conducts an investigation and we hand over our findings, and it's up to the White House or whichever party is making the request to grant the clearance. The FBI does not grant the clearance. We collect the information and hand it over and that determination is made by somebody else.
BALDWIN: Right. Porter has denied the allegations, but he gone on to resign.
Last question, Josh. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia is already interfering in the upcoming 2018 elections. You just left the FBI. What you can share, what's being done right now to prevent Russia meddling like what happened in 2016?
CAMPBELL: That's the big question. You look at 2016 and 2017, there was a whole government of approach trying to determine not only what happened but what do we do in the next election because they'll keep coming? My fear is, if you look at the politicization going on lately, it's a lot of noise, and it takes our focus away from how do we stop the Russians from doing this again? My former colleagues in the intelligence community are working hard to include those in the FBI to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's their focus. They'll not let politics sway them. But the American people can rest assure that they're working to ensure it doesn't happen.
BALDWIN: Josh Campbell, thank you so much. Appreciate your voice on all of that.
Meantime, just a short while ago, Senate leaders in both parties reached a major budget deal. But a key piece of immigration was not included. What is in the bill, and how the White House is reacting to this, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[14:59:42] BALDWIN: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN on this Wednesday afternoon.
Here we are, 30 hours before the government runs out of money. The White House praising a bipartisan budget deal. It's not just any deal because this one could avoid future shutdown fears, stop-gap solutions because it locks in budget caps over the next two years. But the deal was struck in the Senate. It is not clear whatsoever if the House will approve it.