Return to Transcripts main page


Olympic Headlines; McGahn Learned of Porter's Ex-Wives Last Year; Trump Unveils Infrastructure Plan; Delaney Announces Campaign. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired February 13, 2018 - 06:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chloe Kim becoming the youngest female snowboarder to ever win Olympic gold. The 17-year-old American dominating the women's halfpipe at the winter games.

Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report" live from South Korea.

How exciting, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: So exciting, Alisyn. Good morning to you.

When Chloe was just five-years-old, her dad would pick her up out of bed in southern California while she was sleeping and when she woke up her dad had driven her five hours north to the mountains so she could do what she loves. Here, in South Korea, where her parents were born, Chloe made history.


WIRE (voice over): Seventeen-year-old first time Olympian Chloe Kim becoming the youngest woman ever to win gold on snow at the Winter Olympics. The crowd favorite, crushing her competition with back-to- back 1080s in her final run, garnering a near perfect score. Kim, now the third U.S. Olympian to win gold in freestyle snowboarding events at these games.

CHLOE KIM, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I'm so hyped to be here and to land the runs I did today. It's just been such an amazing honor.

WIRE: Thirty-one-year-old Shaun White making his debut in Pyeongchang, taking first place in the qualifying round for the men's snowboarding halfpipe. The two-time Olympic gold medalist hoping to secure his third gold after a disappointing fourth place finish in Sochi.

American luger Summer Britcher setting a new track record in the second heat of the qualifiers, but finishing the day in ninth place after a near disastrous first run. And Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher finally winning gold in the men's Alpine confined event after a thrilling slalom show catapulted him to the top of the leader board.

After winning bronze in the team figure skating event, American skater Adam Rippon addressing his refusal to meet with Vice President Mike Pence because of his position on gay rights.

ADAM RIPPON, OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALIST: I don't want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. You know, I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America's sweetheart.

WIRE: Japanese speed skater Kei Saito becoming the first athlete to be suspended for failing a doping test at these Olympics. Saito insisting the violation was unintentional.


WIRE: All right, let's get you your medal count on this new day. Norway still leading the way with nine. Germany, Netherlands and Canada hot on their heels with seven. The USA rounding out the top five with six overall.

Let's talk some skiing. After wicked 45 mile per hour gusts postponed the debut of Team USA skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin here in Pyeongchang, later today, east coast time, Shiffrin will attempt to defend her Olympic gold in the women's slalom.

We have to show you, trending on, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr taking an easy night last night with the Suns. He handed over his clipboard to the players for the night. Let them run the huddle. He let them coach. Veteran players like Andre Iguodala drew out plays, discussed strategy. The motivation tactic seems to have worked. The Dubs (ph) blew out the Phoenix Suns by 46 points.

But, Chris, Chloe Kim became a megastar overnight. We're going to be hearing a lot about her. You know what she wanted to eat for her victory meal?


WIRE: Pizza and a latte. Sounds like our pre-workout meal, brother.

CUOMO: Yes, right, because that's the way you eat. Never.

Anyway, amazing moments. Thanks for capturing them and bringing them home. Appreciate it, my brother. Be well. Enjoy yourself.

All right, White House Counsel Don McGahn, he's very much in the spotlight right now. What did he know about Rob Porter? When did he know it? And what did he do about it? This story that they found out recently is B.S. Let's dig in, next.


[06:38:23] CUOMO: We are in the middle of an oh what a tangled web you weave moment with the White House. With all the irony of fake news, they are seemingly giving fake answers about who knew what and when about the domestic abuse allegations against ousted top aide Rob Porter. Here's what we know right now. Sources tell CNN White House Chief Counsel Don McGahn he knew at least a year ago that Porter's ex- wives could present damaging information about him to the FBI. How do we know? Porter told him. Here's what Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said when pressed about this


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I can't get into the specifics. I can tell you that we were -- the process for the background was on going. And the White House had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check. So I can't go any further than what we've already said on that front.


CUOMO: We're hearing all this language. We want to get into the specifics. I mean you don't want to. You can. You know, the full extent of allegations. Now they're saying, we didn't receive papers about these things. This is what you see as a cover up in process.

CNN contributor Walter Shaub, he is the former director of the House of Government Ethics. Currently he is the senior director of ethics for the campaign Legal Center.

Walter, I do not make these types of suggestions lightly, but the evidence here is damning. There is almost zero chance that the idea that they only knew what they needed to know recently and acted with alacrity is honest, or am I wrong?

[06:40:06] WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. Those weasel words she was using were sure getting a workout in both her presentation and Raj Shah's.

CUOMO: Weasel words. I have to write that down. Keep going.

SHAUB: Yes. Well, they're the words like specifics and details and fully. And, as you've said, paper. They're entitled to zero benefit of the doubt when they won't share details because, as you pointed out, it's not that they can't, it's that they won't. And we've got multiple sources and multiple news outlets reporting that McGahn knew for a year. And in one of them, in "The Washington Post," they say he's quibbling over exactly how much he knew.

But give me a break. He knew there was something. He knew it involved the wives. He knew it involved domestic abuse. And so if he doesn't, you know, dismiss of, we didn't have the full details because we didn't see the photograph, you know, it's as if he's saying, hey, why are you asking me, I just work here. He's the counsel to the president. That job is like the lifeguard at a swimming pool. He's supposed to keep people out of trouble. Time and again we have Don McGahn either pleading ignorance or no one will talk about exactly what he's doing.

CUOMO: Well, look, I mean, but he's been on both sides of the ball a little bit, right, Walter? I mean we also have Don McGahn saying to the president, I won't move on the instructions that you're giving me about the special counsel. It's a mistake. So, you know, you've got to pick your battles sometimes. How about this pushback line, did he know? Yes. Porter came to him and

said, this may come up. But he also denied it. He also said, you know -- you know, so with that denial, he did not get confirmation from the FBI for some relevant period. Is it wrong for him to not act on the mere suggestion from Porter himself, which is denied? I mean it sounds reasonable that he wouldn't say, oh, they may bring this up and you say they're false. I'm firing you anyway.

SHAUB: Right. And contrary to what the president is claiming in his tweets, I don't think I or anyone else is claiming that you should immediately fire anybody the minute anybody raises any sort of an allegation.

CUOMO: True.

SHAUB: But what we have here is, in the end, a photograph, two witnesses, an inability to get a clearance for over a year and a protective order issued by a county court. Maybe he didn't know all of those things. But even if he knew some, he could have done some proactive looking into this.

They keep saying, well, we were waiting until the security clearance adjudication process finished. Well, first of all, don't believe for a second this business about them saying it's normal for about 30 or more people to not have their clearances yet a year into --

CUOMO: That's exactly what Jared Kushner's counsel said yesterday, Abbe Lowell --


CUOMO: That people of his sophistication, it can go on as long as two years. Suggestions otherwise are pernicious, spurious and are just more fake news.

SHAUB: Yes, that's crazy. And, in fact, you're talking about somebody who's the son-in-law to the president, who's in an assistant to the president position. They move heaven and earth to get things done for the White House. I watched it for years. So the business that somehow, oh, this is just a backlog. No, he's in the front of the line.

And, again, McGahn didn't have to wait for the clearance process to end. Because there's two things here. There's the security clearance adjudication, but there's also the question of, are you suitable for federal employment? Outside the White House, that's actually a formal process involving a suitability determination. But inside the White House, you still have the same question any employer faces, does this guy belong working here? And McGahn's an attorney with more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer. He could have sat down and cross- examined this guy. He was approached apparently in November by an ex- girlfriend who expressed similar concerns. So he certainly had enough to know more was done.

And the silence from the White House is really telling because they're not claiming he actively did anything. And you know that fits a pattern because he's gotten a little too much credit for this standing up on the Mueller firing thing. If you read the reporting carefully, it never says that he actually confronted the president. The story is that he just said, well, I'm not going to do that, and the president will probably forget.

So I don't think we have any kind of showdown from the guy who asked Sally Yates why the DOJ should care if Flynn is lying or was involved in the Comey firing or any of these things. I think there's been a consistent pattern of being hands off and indifferent. And this is not a guy who's shown that he's there to play the role of lifeguard.

CUOMO: Well, look, I hear you. And you are entitled to that opinion. In the absence of facts proving that, I give him all benefit of fairness. And as we fill it in with the facts, the noose gets tighter and tighter.

Walter Shaub, thank you very much. Appreciate having your perspective this morning.


SHAUB: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: And now to our Omarosa news, our daily segment.



She's spilling more about her days inside the White House to her house mates on "Celebrity Big Brother." Here's what she says about Vice President Mike Pence.

[06:45:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA: We would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became president. That's all I'm saying.


CAMEROTA: Oh, that's not all she's saying. There's more. We'll play it for you.


CAMEROTA: President Obama met with former FBI Director James Comey in January of last year to discuss sharing information about Russia with the incoming Trump administration. A source now tells CNN that President Obama wanted to know if there was a national security reason to limit conversations about this with the Trump transition team, meaning the Obama administration was expressing concerns about some members of the incoming White House staff being compromised.

CUOMO: A scare for Vanessa Trump, the wife of Donald Trump Jr. Police say she opens a letter addressed to her husband and it contained a suspicious white powder. She called the police. She said she was feeling dizzy. Tests found the substance to be non-hazardous. Thank God she was unharmed, as were some other people who were with her at the time. The kids were not there. Vanessa Trump then tweeted her thanks to authorities for their quick response. The letter reportedly had a Boston postmark. The NYPD, Secret Service investigating.

CAMEROTA: Now to our Omarosa news. Former White House aide turned "Celebrity Big Brother" contestant Omarosa issuing a warning to people who want President Trump impeached.

[06:50:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA: Can I just say this. As bad as y'all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence.


OMAROSA: So everybody that's wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their lives.


OMAROSA: We would be begging days of Trump back if Pence became president. That's all I'm saying. He's extremely -- I'm Christian. I love Jesus. But he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I'm like, Jesus ain't say that.


CAMEROTA: Is this all the "Celebrity Big Brother" has become? People turn into these shows for a diversion, not for more talks of politics?

CUOMO: The poor people sitting on the couch. Yes, I --

CAMEROTA: They're trapped.

CUOMO: I hurt my -- I hurt my back. I thought it was like that I hurt this disk in my back. But I think from constant shaking of my head, I have hurt my spinal cord.

CAMEROTA: It's actually -- yes, that might be permanent.

CUOMO: And Omarosa, I'm -- she's going to be in the lawsuit when I eventually have to find out who did this to me.

All right, so the first Democrat has announced a run for president in 2020. His first campaign aired in Iowa just recently. Congressman John Delaney is going to tell you why the time is now.


CAMEROTA: President Trump is proposing a $1.5 trillion plan to repair and upgrade the nation's infrastructure. $200 billion of that would come from federal funds. The burden for the rest would be up to state and local governments and private investors.

[06:55:04] President Trump tweeting about it this morning, saying, quote, our infrastructure plan has been put forward and has received great reviews by everyone except, of course, the Democrats. After many years, we have taken care of our military. Now we have to fix our roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and more. Bipartisan make deal Dems.

Let's bring in Democratic Congressman John Delanie from Maryland. He has long had a plan for infrastructure and he's already announced that he's running for president in 2020, which we will discuss in a moment.

Welcome, congressman.

REP. JOHN DELANEY (D) MARYLAND: Nice to be here. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We have a lot to talk about.


CAMEROTA: OK, so you've been steeped in infrastructure. You put forward a bill about it a year ago. So you've thought a lot about this. What do you think of the president's plan?

DELANEY: Well, look, I think the president's plan is a deregulation bill dressed up as an infrastructure plan.

CAMEROTA: What does that mean?

DELANEY: Well, that means basically he's talking about putting $200 billion of federal money into projects, but he's actually taking money. And there's a whole variety of estimates. Some people think he's actually taking more money from existing infrastructure programs to put it in his. So think about him creating a few new programs and funding them by defunding other infrastructure programs.

CAMEROTA: So it's a shell game?

DELANEY: It's a shell game as it relates to the money.

CAMEROTA: Of what you (INAUDIBLE) -- you say.

DELANEY: That's right, it's a shell game as it relates to the money. It won't really result in my judgment and an increase in our investment and infrastructure, something we desperately need. And then he does a bunch of deregulation, most likely of environmental regulations, in the bill.

So that's kind of the thrust of the bill. And I think he's kind of -- the shiny object he's trying to put out there is $200 billion, $1.5 trillion, but that's not really real new net money (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: But then why hasn't -- you -- I mean since everybody says that they're for infrastructure --


CAMEROTA: And it does seem to be a bipartisan topic --


CAMEROTA: Why hasn't your bill gotten more traction over the past year?

DELANEY: Well, look, in my bill, what I did was something truly bipartisan. We had 40 Democrats, 40 Republicans on a trillion dollar plus infrastructure program, but it had new money. And the new money that I had proposed was coming from a fix of our international tax system, which was, in fact, fixed in the tax reform bill. But what they did is they fixed the system as a way of creating incentives for money to come back to the United States. That generated revenues. But what they did is they used those revenues in the tax reform plan to lower taxes.

What I said we should do is pair that international tax reform with infrastructure and it was kind of a double bottom line because we end up with more infrastructure and we fix our international (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: And why hasn't that gotten more traction?

DELANEY: Well, because my Republican colleagues want to just cut taxes, right? So here's a way of thinking about it. You know how they cut the corporate tax rate to 21.


DELANEY: Every 1 percent of corporate tax rate reduction is about $100 billion. For decades the business community has argued to lower the corporate tax rate to 25. That's the rate they said would make us competitive. For reasons I can't even begin to explain, they took it way past that goal of the business community, all the way down to 21. Wouldn't this tax reform proposal been much better if they would have cut the business tax rate from 35 to 25, like the business community asked for, for years, and put 400 billion new dollars in infrastructure. When you count third party leverage, you get that trillion and a half, two trillion.

CAMEROTA: Listen, it makes perfect sense when you say it here and spell it out on our show.


CAMEROTA: But do you have any Republicans who agree with exactly that and can you get it passed?

DELANEY: I mean prior to this tax reform bill, there was a huge bipartisan coalition, which I led, for infrastructure and tax reform together. Again, in this tax reform plan, which they were entirely focused on cutting taxes, they used a lot of the revenue sources as -- I call -- listen, even a few weeks ago, I called for them to basically go back to that deal, open it up, raise the corporate rate from 21 to 23. That would create $200 billion to fund this plan. By putting aside other aspects of this plan, that would be $200 billion of new money. And then you wouldn't have to take money from existing plans. And we'd end up with more net new money in infrastructure, something we desperately need if we want to rebuild our country.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, listen, you're busy. It's only 993 days away from the 2020 election and you launched the first campaign ad of the 2020 election for the Super Bowl.


CAMEROTA: Let's play a portion of this for the viewers. This is what --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Delaney said a dirty word in (INAUDIBLE). Then repeated it in Des Moines. And Sioux City, too. In fact, he's been saying it all across this state. Unabashedly telling people he's a firm believer in, well --

DELANEY: Bipartisanship.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It might be a dirty word.


CAMEROTA: So that's clever. So your dirty --

DELANEY: You're laughing. So that's a positive response.

CAMEROTA: I am laughing. I think that's a very clever ad that there's a dirty word called bipartisanship.


CAMEROTA: But why are you launching your campaign so early?

DELANEY: Well, look, I think what's going on in the White House is awful. He's -- the president's degrading our society, degrading our culture, degrading our standing in the world and we have to start early in terms of thinking about what the next chapter is.

He's a punctuation of several decades of terrible politics where hyper-partisan politics has divided our country in ways we could never have imagined. And I think it's time to turn the page on that. Get back to talking about some of the things we agree with each other on, right? Get some things done for the American people. And I think we have to start the conversation now.

[07:00:07] CAMEROTA: And we just did.


CAMEROTA: Congressman John Delaney, thank you very much for being here on NEW DAY.

DELANEY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you. And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "NEWSROOM" is next.