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Trump Defends White House Officials Accused of Domestic Abuse; Kim Regime Offers South Korean President Invitation During Olympics; Trump Refuses to Release Democratic Memo; Second Episode of "VAN JONES SHOW" Tonight; Third-Ranking DOJ Official Rachel Brand Resigns; NYT: U.S. Spies Paid Russian for Cyberweapons, Trump Information. Aired 3- 4p ET
Aired February 10, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:12] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.
The White House this weekend dealing with another staff resignation. Another man close to the president quitting his job under the weight of domestic abuse claims. The most recent resignation is David Sorensen. who is a White House speechwriter whose wife said this week that he was violent and abuse when they were married. He said it was not true but resigned anyway. It is the same week that White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter quit, after Porter's ex-wife say that he was physically and emotionally abusive.
President Trump, today, without mentioning either name, tweeted this, "People's lives are being shatter and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true, and some are false, and some are old, and some are new. There is no recovery for someone who is falsely accused. Life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?"
Also this weekend, the president said no to letting the public see a congressional memo that the Democrats say answers a Republican memo from a week ago accusing the FBI of bias against the president. The reason for the no? National security concerns. The president tweeted, "The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of the sources and the methods and more, would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon, they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told to re-do, and send back in the proper form."
Let's get to CNN correspondent, Ryan Nobles, at the White House.
Ryan, let's talk about the staff resignations. Rob Porter, he resigned Wednesday, and now news of another man who worked in the West Wing both accused of violence against their lives. What are you hearing about who knew what and when?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it appears with David Sorensen, the latest resignation of the Trump White House because of domestic abuse, this is a situation where Sorensen volunteered the information. He saw what happened with Rob Porter and he came forward and knew that his ex-wife had in the past accused him of domestic violence and said he resign resigned on own to not be a distraction no the White House. Sorensen putting out a lengthy statement where he vigorously denied the accusations against him and, at one point, he said that he believes he was the victim of domestic violence.
The situation with Rob Porter is more complicated because it is believed that some of the White House staffers had some inkling of these accusations against him to the extent that they knew what Rob Porter was being blamed of is unknown. But we know that his security clearance had been held up for some time, even though he had been at the White House for a period of time. That had not gone through. And there was a possibility that the domestic violations against him were part of the holdup. The question many have now, Ana, is, what took the White House so long? Why were they not prepared to deal with this? And what about the vetting process that happens with many of the candidates that end up in the White House? Remember, in the past, the president says that he hires only the very best people.
And a second round of the criticism about how the White House is responding, particularly no mention of the victims in these case, and instead showing support for the former staffers who worked for them and in giving them the benefit of the doubt. As you showed in the tweet, earlier today, Ana, the president talking about due process. That is not something that the president always affords people that he accuses of certain things. So there is plenty of criticism to be had in this White House.
Ana, of course, this is yet another dark cloud hanging over the administration as they are tackling some big issues in the coming weeks, including immigration reform and coming up with a solution of the DACA program and perhaps a big infrastructure project -- Ana?
CABRERA: And there's this memo decision that was kicked down the road. The president saying no to the releasing the new memo written by the Democrats on the Intel Committee, namely ranking member, Adam Schiff. Schiff says this is to clear up misleading points of the Nunes' memo. Some lawmakers now calling the president's decision hypocrisy. What are you hearing from the White House beyond what the president has tweeted?
NOBLES: Well, obviously, Ana, we have to make the point that these are two different documents. The Democratic memo is very different than the Republican memo. But what people are questioning here is the way that the White House has gone about their review of the two documents. You remember that Republicans document, the FBI and the Department of Justice did not want released in any shape or form, but the White House ignored the requests and pushed away anyway. So there is some believe that inside of this memo, there are certain classified information. They talk about methods and practices that should not be seen by the general public. That was even conceded in the transcription by the House Intelligent Committee that was released over the weekend. But the point here is, why is the White House now being so cautious with the DOJ recommendation when they weren't with the Republican memo before. And there is concern that if this is does emerge, if it ever does, Ana, there are going to be redaction. But Democrats are worried concern about, are those redactions because of classified information or is there a political motive behind those redactions. That's what we'll have to wait and see.
[15:05:18] CABRERA: Ryan Nobles, at the White House, thank you.
Let's deep deeper with CNN's Kara Scannell, who is joining us with reaction from the intel community on the president's refusal to release the Democratic memo.
Can you give us a clearer idea, Kara, why it is being withheld and what types of security concerns are involved?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Ana. What we know now is that the president has sent it back to the Hill saying that the FBI and Justice Department have concerns about this.
One thing that we have learned from the transcript of the meeting that the House committee had last week that Ryan referenced is that there are three items that are included that were discussed in that meeting which could cause some concern to the intel community. That includes a reference to a source meeting that the FBI had outside of the country, an independent source that the FBI had. And of course, you will remember that the Republican memo makes great hay to say that the application for this warrant was really based on the Christopher Steele dossier. And that it also refers to signals intelligence capabilities. There are two references in the Democratic memo to that. Those are the exact kinds of sources and methods that the intelligence community is concerned would become public, would reveal what and how they go about doing their job and perhaps put in jeopardy their ability to do it. So that is -- those are some of the main issues at play here.
What is also interesting is that in the five days between when the House voted unanimously, the House committee to send it to the president to see if he could declassify it, the FBI and the Justice Department did not appear to weigh in and make any recommendations or raise any concerns. And now it is only after the president saying that it needs to go back to the House are we kind of restarting the clock to see what the redactions or the changes the intelligence community might be comfortable with.
CABRERA: And so that means that there are still many more questions than answers.
Kara Scannell, let's not forget the intelligence community is supposed to be focused on the Russia election meddling. And here we have the dueling memos which the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy are among the Republicans saying that has nothing to do with the Russia probe.
Kara, thank you for that report.
Let's bring in CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, to help this down more.
Paul, when President Trump released the Republican memo, he said it vindicated him, obviously, suggesting there was a political motivation there. Now he is blocking the Democratic rebuttal too. Do you see politics at play here? PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it looks like blatant politics.
But, unfortunately, we don't know what is in the Republican memo and if there's classified information that --
CABRERA: The Democratic memo.
CALLAN: The Democratic memo. If there are sources and methods revealed and other thing that disturbs the intelligence community. It might be different from the memo released by the Republicans.
I was looking into this carefully, and the whole classification system as it arises, comes from Article II of the Constitution, which gives the power to the president of the United States as commander-in-chief. That was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 1988, saying Congress has nothing to do with this. This is entirely a presidential decision. So President Trump can classify or declassify as commander- in-chief. It just has not come up before, because there is a bipartisan consensus of protecting classified information that was sort of blown up by Congressman Nunes and the Intelligence Committee when they decided to release the original Republican memo.
CABRERA: And we are in unchartered territory, as you brought up there. But my also understanding is that, based on the laws, that the -- this could end up going back to the full Congress for a vote, right? That it could end up out of the president's hands at some point?
CALLAN: Well, it could go back to the full Congress, but this decision of the Supreme Court in 1988, which is called "Navy versus Evans," says that the classification system belongs entirely to the president of the United States. So even if Congress handed down a new law or said that the memo should be handled differently, ultimately, if there are classified sources in the memo, the president can still protect them.
CABRERA: And do you think that it is something that Robert Mueller will consider as he is continuing his investigation, which includes potential obstruction?
CALLAN: I doubt it is going to factor in, in a major way, because if the president has the constitutional right to classify or declassify, it is hard to say that he is committing criminal activity by invoking the right. So I also think that Mueller has a ton of other information to sift through, and so this is a very small point.
[15:10:02] CABRERA: I want to also ask you about the president's other tweet today as he seemed to defend and back his former aide, Rob Porter, who has been accused of beating two of his ex-wives. The president saying that Porter, without naming his name, was falsely accused. He asked if due process existed anymore. Are you concerned about due process in this case?
CALLAN: Well, I am concerned about due process in all cases. But I think it is ironic that the president, who has sort of thrown due process aside throughout the entire presidential campaign, would now be deeply concerned about it. I remember that --, remember the incident of Ted Cruz when he was a accusing Ted Cruz's father of having been involved in the Kennedy assassination because he saw an article in the "National Enquirer" that had a picture. So that was the president's idea of due process when he got elected to the office. So it seems disingenuous for him to be invoking due process protections now.
CABRERA: And who can forget the "lock her up" chants regarding his opponent --
CABRERA: -- during the campaign.
I also want to ask you about new developments in the Justice Department and shuffling. Rachel Brand, the number three at the DOJ, handing over her resignation. A source saying it is because she got this once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity with Walmart. But what does this say about the current state of the Justice Department when being in a top position at the DOJ isn't that dream job?
CALLAN: Well, no, it is not the dream job, and it usually is for most people who come from the private sector and move into government. We'll have to find out what she says about this. First of all, was she forced out, was any pressure put on her? We have not heard anything that suggests that. But of course, in the end, this is very important, because that slot opens up now. And if, for some reason, the president decided to terminate Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Mueller investigation, the number-three person would move up into that slot.
CABRERA: That would have been Rachel Brand. And now that is empty.
CALLAN: We don't know who it is going to be now. And it will be whoever the president proposed for the position and who Congress approves.
CABRERA: Paul Callan, always good to see you.
CALLAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Thank you very much.
Coming up, a new report alleging U.S. intelligence may have been duped by a Russian promising hacking tools stolen from the NSA. It's complicated. The man who wrote the story is going to break it down for us, next.
[15:16:29] CABRERA: Did the U.S. get duped by a shadowy Russian? A new report in "The New York Times" claims American spies paid a Russian man $100,000 after he claimed to have hacking tools or cybersecurity weapons stolen from the NSA along with compromising material about Trump. The man, however, never handed the materials over. According to the paper, the Americans spies agreed to pay the Russian $1 million for the intel, and they were serious about the offer. At one point, the U.S. spies gave him $100,000 in a briefcase as an installment. According to "The Times," the NSA even used its official Twitter account to send coded messages to the Russia nearly a dozen times. But the U.S. spies soon had doubts.
The paper writes, "His apparent eagerness to sell the Trump kompromat," or the Russian terms for information used to gain leverage over someone, "to American spies raised suspicions among officials that he was part of an operation to feed the information to the United States intelligence agencies and pit them against Mr. Trump. And there were other questions about the Russian's reliability. He had a history of money laundering and a thin legitimate cover business, a nearly bankrupt company that sold portable grills for street-side sausage salesman, according to British corporation papers."
The American spies ended up chasing this Russian out of Western Europe and warning him to never come back.
I want to bring in the man behind this new reporting, national security correspondent for "The New York Times," Matthew Rosenberg.
Matthew, I have so many questions about this. But, first, your reporting caught the attention of the president, and he tweeted this about your report today, "According to the "New York Times," "A Russian sold phony secrets on Trump to the U.S., asking price of $10 million, brought down to $1 million to be paid over time. I hope that people are now seeing and understanding what is going on here. It is all now starting to come out. Drain the swamp."
Is this an accurate characterization of your reporting, Matthew?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKT TIMES: It is not. It is not. Look, this is a complicated story, and that is pretty clear here. The Americans were out looking for this kind of the vast trove of hacking tools, of cyberweapons stolen from the NSA and the CIA. This idea here, they were not going to take if off the market and get them back. They wanted to know what was missing, what was already out there in the wild and what they had to worry about because they didn't know exactly what had gotten out. So they find this Russian, who says, I can give you everything. And they said, great, we can unravel the mystery. But the Russian says, you know what, we have to include this material on President Trump, I want to throw it in there. And the Americans did want that. They made it clear to the Russian, we want the cyberweapons, don't sell us the other stuff. The Russian --
CABRERA: Tell us more. Tell us more, because I want to unpack this first before you go further. They wanted the cyberweapons that had been stolen, so tell us about the guy who claimed to have these cyberweapon. What more do we know about him?
ROSENBERG: So the Russian, who I interviewed multiple times in Europe, he's a fixture of sorts for Russian intelligence. He has connections to very senior intelligence people. But he also has underworld connections as well. He's dealt with money laundering and moving semi-precious metals around Europe for Russian oligarchs. He's kind of a hard guy to figure out. That's one of the problems when dealing with the counterintelligence in Russia. The difference between a Russian intelligence officer and an organized crime figure is often very, very blurry. And that makes it very hard to figure out, well, who is who and what are we dealing with.
[15:20:03] CABRERA: And at one point, a meeting happened inside of the Russian embassy in Berlin. Does the U.S. believe that he was being supported by the Russian government?
ROSENBERG: They suspect it was the case.
CABRERA: And so how then did this play out? How did the deal work out? If they thought that he was a shady character, and they ended up handing him $100,000, break it down.
ROSENBERG: I think that -- you know, spies dealing with the shady characters. It's the nature of the business. And one of the things that you do there is, you say, OK, does this guy have what we think that he has, can we verify that he is who we think that he is with. And they ran the checks on that. The $100,000 payment was meant as a down payment. Let see what you have got and then we will give you more. That is why you don't give him the $1 million up front. They gave him $100,000. That was in September of last year. And then he began to delivering documents and material and data. They were bank records and e-mails and purported Russian intelligence documents about mostly Mr. Trump and his associates in the election. Now it is important to note that the material has never been assessed. It is left with an intermediary that the Americans used to do the negotiation. This person has it secured in Europe where it is sitting there kind of unassessed and unverified.
CABRERA: Your reporting suggests, and you alluded to it earlier, that the U.S. intelligence officials were reluctant to accept this dirt on President Trump, period?
ROSENBERG: Yes. I mean, look, I think that anybody who is in the CIA and the NSA and even the American intelligence agencies will tell you that they don't go out to spy on Americans. They are not going to be looking for material on Americans. And if somebody comes with counterintelligence values that shows that the American is working as an agent with a foreign power, yes. But we cannot be sure this met that standard. And the politics in Washington being what they are right now, you can understand why somebody at the CIA or the NSA would say, no, thank you, we want no part of this.
CABRERA: Talking about the NSA tweeting in code to this Russian and, again some of the details of your reporting, it sounds a little bit like out of the movie. How unusual is deal making like this?
ROSENBERG: I -- you know, I don't know entirely for sure. I don't believe it is an everyday occurrence or wildly unusual either, having spoken to people involved and people who used to do this kind of work. It is complicated. And you are dealing in a world where everybody is duplicitous, and everybody is trying to kind of hide something or sneak something around or sell something that does not belong to them. And so it does lend itself to a kind of the movie-like setup where you have got social media messages sent to send signals, and meetings in weird little bars and cities in Europe. This is the world they live in.
CABRERA: Your reporting also seems to confirm some of the details in which Russia is still trying to sow doubt and discord in American institutions.
ROSENBERG: I think that is what the intelligence community believes is still happening. You look at some of the partisan hashtags that have picked up steam on Twitter, and there is some evidence or a lot of evidence coming out of a bot networks based in Russia. And several officials have said that there are attempts of penetrating American voter systems, unfolding, much like the 2016 election. And we are living in a world where it is very easy to kind of stir up partisan passions in Washington. And you see it when two Russian spy chiefs are in Washington. They meet with the director of the CIA to talk about counterterrorism and it is leaked by the Russians, because they know it is going to cause arguments. And that is the view that that is what the Russians are trying to accomplish here.
CABRERA: Matthew Rosenberg, great reporting. Thank you for joining us.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
[15:24:10] CABRERA: The president today saying that lives are being shattered by allegation, and once again, failing to express concern for the accusers, or alleged victims, as another staff member resigns following allegations of domestic abuse.
Is the president trying to take on the "Me Too" movement? Or is the man who called for Hillary to be locked up, the man who questioned Obama's birth certificate suddenly concerned about due process? We will discuss, next, live in the NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: Today, the president turns to Twitter to comment on the resignations of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and speechwriter, David Sorensen, both accused of domestic abuse. The president's tweet, in full, and I quote, "People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by mere allegations. Some are true, some are false, and some are new, and some are old. There is no recovery for someone who is falsely accused. Their life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?"
We will talk it over with Ana Navarro, Republican Strategist, and Scott Jennings. one-time special assistant to President George W. Bush, and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona.
Scott, the president seems to be taking sides, backing alleged abusers, not the alleged victims. Does his tweets trouble you, Scott? SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I am troubled by it.
There is a difference of due process and reputational damage. Due process is a legal term.
[15:30:00] And there is a due process available to Mr. Porter if he feels like he's been wronged. He can sue people who he thinks are lying about him. But I don't believe that is going to happen, because the women who have come forward are credible. There is photographic evidence. So I think there's a misnaming of what's going on.
So I don't understand the White House's position on choosing to die on a Hill that has been abandoned. Mr. Porter has resigned. He's gone from the White House orbit. And I don't understand why he would want to die on Porter hill here. They should move on, because many people in the White House believe that Mr. Porter misled people about what was going on in his background. So relitigating this, this weekend, does not help the president, and it doesn't help his agenda. Frankly, is a pretty bad end to the bad week.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Ana, I want to remind of the people who are accused of harassment the president continuing to defend. This is how the Republican Party should handle allegations in the era of the "Me Too" movement?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is not how the Republican Party or any party or any human being should handle these allegations at any time. Look, it is astounding that it is happening in the "Me Too" movement. It talks to the incredible tone deafness of this president and this White House. I'd like to say that it is surprising, and I'd like to say it is shocking, but it is not.
And one of the things that we have to talk about with the "Me Too" movement is that despite of Trump or maybe because of Trump is so many women and men who have been harassed were empowered and felt the strength and the unity of others and the support of others to come out. And I hope the same thing happens with the domestic violence issue, because it is, frankly, disgusting that the president of the United States would tweet this. This is not a mere allegation against Rob Porter. It is the allegations of one wife, two wives, and a girlfriend. And it is photo evidence. It is a due process through a FBI clearance process. Which he has been undergoing for the last year and did not pass.
So, you know, I would say it is his choice to double down on this. And he is showing us his true colors. He has been showing us the true colors and where he stands on sexual harassment and sexual abuse now for his entire life.
CABRERA: Maria, it could seem that the president is an outlier in the White House right now responding to the Rob Porter allegation, and the David Sorensen allegations, because we even saw Raj Shah, the deputy press secretary, saying that the situation should have been handled better previously. And on the heels, speechwriter, David Sorensen, suddenly resigns, facing abuse allegation as well. Might that be an example of lessons learned by the rest of the administrations there? MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I would say yes and
no, because I know that while Scott says that this is not a good idea by the president and the White House to have the president tweet this, but remember, Scott, the president and the White House don't decide together what he tweets. He decides what he tweets, when and wherever he wants the do so it. So it is a problem for White House, because there are is no rhyme nor reason. If they have a strategy of some sort, which they clearly don't here, it is going out the window the next minute because the president decides to tweet something that comes across his mind.
But the problem is here that this is a pattern on behalf of the president. And, frankly, it became a pattern then on behalf of the White House. We hope that the White House has learned some lessons. But let's be clear, this is not something that the White House just learned. This is something that Don McGahn, the general counsel of the White House, has known for a year. This is something that General Kelly has known for months. And because the tone is set at the top, meaning Donald Trump, and because Donald Trump, who resides in the Oval, is somebody who has denigrated and humiliated and objectified women all of his life, perhaps they all took a cue from him when these allegations did come up, including the pictures that they could just sweep it under the rug. Because you know what, look at who is in the White House, he doesn't care about women. If he doesn't care about women, if he does not want to give humanity and dignity to women, then perhaps it is not an important thing for the administration to show that we should also give women humanity and empathy and dignity, because that is what happened.
CABRERA: To that point, Scott, you are leading a Harvard University study group this semester. You are not defending how the president is reacting. But how do you explain to Millennial students the divergence of what's happening in America right now? On the one hand, we have the "Me Too" movement, a cultural awakening saying, enough is enough, it's time to listen to the voice of the abused and this is unacceptable. Then, on the flipside, the president of the United States, who is supposed to be the nation's moral leader, suggesting that men's lives are in peril.
[15:35:01] JENNINGS: Yes, I suspect that we will talk about this in our study group this semester at the Harvard Institute of Politics. The president here needs to think really deeply about how he is going to be viewed historically. You know, presidents get judged on a couple of big things. And we have the "Me Too" movement, which is one big things. And I have thought that, lately, the opioid crisis and whether his administration gets a handle on that will be another way that he is judged. But right now, the handling of these domestic abuse allegation, the commentary on what he has to say, it is going to be remembered. It is going to be remembered, not just for the next couple of months and not for the election cycle -- if you want to talk about that, I do think it is harmful for the Republican Party to be commenting this way -- but it is going to be remembered for his first term and his whole presidency. So we are going to talk about it. And I want to hear from the students here about how they are perceiving it, because my suspicion is they prefer that the president not take the side of someone who may have well abused his wives, other women in his life. It is despicable. I am raising four young boys. And the one thing fathers and mothers around this country have to remember is we have to teach our young men to treat women better than Mr. Porter may have treated his wives.
CABRERA: We have the leave it there.
Scott Jennings, Ana Navarro and Maria Cardona, thank you all so much.
CARDONA: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: A historic moment as North and South Korea united under one flag at the Olympics opening ceremonies. And an invitation from the North for South Korea's president to meet in Pyongyang, the first meeting in over a decade. So how these overtures -- how are these overtures being received in South Korea? That is next.
[15:40:56] CABRERA: It is the end of the first full day of competition at the Winter Olympic Games now officially underway in South Korea. And 15 medals have been awarded already in skiing, skating and jumping.
But on the sidelines of the games that are already historic, something important diplomatic work is being done aimed at impacting the world long after the games are over.
Our CNN international correspondent, Ivan Watson, is joining us.
Now, Ivan, talk about the South Korean president receiving an invitation from the leader of North Korea for a visit Pyongyang and meet in person. How huge is that moment?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is big. And we may look back to say that the road of Pyongyang went through the Olympics here in Pyeongchang, if the South Korean president does agree and go through with the invitation. But, yes, after having the sister of North Korea's leader come and attend this opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics here, the subsequent day, at a luncheon in the residence, the office spaces of the South Korean president, this invitation was passed over to the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, please come and visit Pyongyang. And hours later, the North Korea delegation was, once again, with the South Korean delegation at the ice hockey match, the women's ice hockey match for Korea, where there he has been an experiment in unity, where a couple of weeks before the games, the North and South Korean hockey players were fused together in one team. They did not do that well against Switzerland. They were shellacked, Ana, 8-0, outshot 52-8. It was not a proud showing for the united Korean team against the Swiss, who were ranked sixth in the world. So they did have tough odds there. But that said, there has been a tremendous move forwards in Olympic diplomacy that we have seen just within the last 72 hours here.
CABRERA: And, Ivan, despite the smiles, and the handshakes, and the photo opportunity, it is important to note that the top representative from North Korea at the Olympic Games is the sister of Kim Jong-Un, whose human rights track record is known, and acting on the nuclear ambition, and is threatening the United States and Western allies with nuclear war. How are the South Koreans balancing what is known about North Korea with the desire to improve relations?
WATSON: Well, it a tricky and fine line here. I mean, these are two governments that were not even speaking face-to-face a little bit more than a month ago. And now, suddenly, they are sharing meals, and they are doing these, you know, impressive displays of unity. But there is a tremendous gulf between the two countries. They are technically at war.
So one of the interesting things that I have found is that the ambivalence that I have heard from the handful of young Koreans I've been able to talk to here in South Korea, asking them what they think about North Korea's participation in the games, the shows of unity. And there is not -- I have not sensed a great deal of enthusiasm from young South Koreans who don't -- apparently, don't seem or feel connected to North Korea. This may pose a problem down the road for the South Korean president, who had a lot of support in elections last year from the young demographics here. And he has some work to do to reach out to the young South Koreans to convince them why he thinks that it is a really good idea to engage in such diplomacy with the North.
One young man said that one of the only reasons that I think about North Korea is that I'll have to do almost two-year mandatory military service, because of our tough relations with the North. So I don't look to them necessarily as a friendly power.
It is a difficult relationship. And we have not gotten into the fact that South Korea has to the balance this new overture with North Korea with pressure from the U.S. to isolate North Korea -- Ana?
[15:44:06] CABRERA: It is an interesting time right now.
Ivan Watson, thank you very much for the reporting, and braving the cold to give us the report.
Well, sports and politics clearly colliding again. Van Jones joins us next to discuss.
[15:49:45] CABRERA: President Trump sounding off on Twitter about the premiere of CNN's new "VAN JONES SHOW." Trump taking aim at the show's very first guest, music mogul, Jay-Z, after he openly criticized the president last weekend.
Now we're just a few hours away from episode two of the "VAN JONES SHOW," airing tonight at 7:00 eastern, right here on CNN.
Van Jones is with us now.
The president tweeting about your show's big debut. Chances are he may be watching.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, VAN JONES SHOW: It could happen.
CABRERA: We'll talk more about a preview of what you have ahead in a moment.
First, I want to get your reaction to this late development that happened in the past 24 hours. The president rejecting the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo, saying he's not going to release it, at least not right now. It needs work before it's released.
JONES: We don't know what is in that ten-page memo. What we do know is we're in charted water. What the president should have said is we don't release this stuff. It's not what we do. If we have a problem, we go to the FISA court. You deal with it behind closed doors. But if I'm going to release it, I'm going to release it with a joint statement. I'm not going to play dad, not going to play camp counselor. Instead, he grabs the memo from his own party, and says, look, I have been vindicated. Then when the Democrats come, he says now we have standards, we have concerns, we have to listen to the FBI. You didn't say any of that stuff last week with the Republicans. What it looks like now, one party rule. And that's what you don't want in a democracy. Even if you have a majority of the government, you want to respect the rights of the minority, because tomorrow, you'll be in that position yourself conceivably. That's not what he's doing. We're so far outside of our normal functioning as a government that people don't know what to do.
It could be the case there's really sensitive stuff in that Democratic memo. But nobody has the trust and the faith to take him on his word because he doesn't have the same level of concern in the process with stuff he likes. So then, suddenly --
CABRERA: Right. Right. There were issues raised over the Nunes memo from the Justice Department.
JONES: Right. The same people.
CABRERA: Reckless to release this. And his FBI director, Chris Wray, is saying he had grave concerns, saying it was misleading because of omissions having to do with methods and sources that shouldn't be released and declassified.
I wonder, to your point, talking about where we are in our democracy, given that the American people look at this situation and, presumably, see how this has unfolded, should they be the judge?
JONES: Well, they will have a chance to be the judge in November. And they'll have a chance to be the judge in 2020. But the reality is, from my point of view, you know, you can't have this go on much longer. Because this ping-pong match between the parties, with the president playing favorites, who gets hurt? The American people get hurt because the FBI is increasingly going to be able not to do its job. If an FBI agent went to a news source right now and said, don't worry, I'm going to protect you, let me know what's going on, where are the terrorists, where are the drugs coming in, you could imagine someone saying, I don't trust any of this, I'm not going to tell you anything because, for all I know, the president is going to tweet about it tomorrow. That's why you don't do any of this.
CABRERA: I want to ask about your show tonight. You have Philadelphia Eagles" Malcolm Jenkins. New Super Bowl champs. Let's get a preview, first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: If you don't go, does it make it seem like you're not patriotic, you're mad at America? How do you deal when people make those kinds of criticisms?
MALCOLM JENKINS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Everybody has their own opinion, when it comes to this presidency, I'm not very excited about getting my picture taken with him. It's not worth my time. I would rather spend my time working with whoever on these issues that we have been fighting for. That's just my personal decision.
JONES: Tough question for you. You said one of your big pillars is criminal justice reform. In the White House, there are people pushing to make that happen. If Donald Trump called you and said, look, I don't like your protest, your flag stuff, whatever, I'm going to put that to one side. Come to Oval Office and talk to me about a substantive issue like criminal justice reform, would you do it?
JENKINS: I would definitely consider it. If I wouldn't, what is it I'm trying to accomplish. If you can go directly to the president of the United States and talk about these issues plaguing our communities, that's a responsibility for us, regardless of how you feel about somebody on a personal level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Van, he's not going to the White House because he doesn't agree with how the president has treated minorities. You asked him an interesting question at the end, what if the president calls you. If the president sees it, how do you think he might react?
JONES: I think it's very smart, what Malcolm Jenkins just did. He said look, I'm not going to go for a photo op and frivolous stuff, but if the president wants to have me and my folks in to have a serious conversation, I would at least consider it. If the president's smart, he tweets tomorrow, hey, come in, because then, suddenly, you're going to have a situation where something out of all this nonsense and hoopla, something positive might happen. Jared Kushner has been pushing for criminal justice reform inside the White House already. There's literally an alignment between part of the White House and these NFL players. This president can't find, you know, the tail to put on the donkey when it's right in front of him. So if he's serious about, you know, leading all Americans, he just got an opportunity. If he doesn't move, if the president just kind of continues finding opportunities to be mad at black athletes or whatever, then I think his bluff has been called. Because now he's saying it's not just I don't like this president, I don't like this president, but I'll come to talk to you about real stuff. Let's see what the president does.
[15:55:30] CABRERA: Van Jones, thank you so much. We look forward to your show tonight. Don't miss it.
CABRERA: I know, you have Meghan McCain on.
CABRERA: And I know, I saw some of the previews of that, too. Looking forward to it.
That's 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
We'll be right back.