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Senate Prepares To Roll Back Banking Rules; Nunberg Says Trump Knew About Son's Meeting With Russians; North Korea Vows To Halt Nuclear And Missile Tests If It Holds Talks With Us; West Virginia Teacher Strike Heads Into Day Nine. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 6, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Why?

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, number one and it probably doesn't surprise you, I don't agree with your narrative.

I mean, what we had was -- we had erosion of traditional prudential (ph) underwriting standards in real estate. A lot of that was driven by the affordable housing goals, Fannie and Freddie, when Barney Frank famously said let's roll the dice. Well, we did and America lost big.

Second of all, probably only with the exception of nuclear power and the practice of medicine, banking has always been one of the most highly-regulated industries.

The answer, Chris, is more capital. We need more capital.

CUOMO: Jeb, people had no idea what they were doing.

HENSARLING: No, hold on, hold on. We need more capital --

CUOMO: I covered the meetings were Paulson said --


CUOMO: -- tried to explain to you guys what was happening with derivatives. You'd never even heard of them.

HENSARLING: OK. Well, frankly, I do know what a derivative is --

CUOMO: Now, you do.

HENSARLING: -- because it's happened to me. No, and frankly, I knew at the time. I've been a member of the House Financial Services Committee for --

CUOMO: And you know a lot of people didn't. They didn't even know what was happening.

HENSARLING: But the answer is not federal micromanagement, number one. It is more capital. That's what we put in our House bill. That's one of the reasons our

House bill has been opposed by the big banks. Many of them were quite happy with the status quo.

Here's the bottom line. Frankly, I wish we were looking at a wholesale repeal of Dodd-Frank but we're not. We're looking at a very modest recalibration that's going to help community banks and credit unions, and we're losing one a day.

Let's put it this way, Chris.

I don't believe in 'too big to fail' banks but if I did it would be limited to maybe eight or nine banks. I mean, a community bank that's .002 percent the size of JPMorgan shouldn't be laboring under a similar set of regulatory burdens. And again, we're losing one a day.

CUOMO: That may be a fair point but you're letting a lot of big banks get away from regulation --


CUOMO: -- with what you're proposing right now.


CUOMO: Because you are reducing the risk that they need to show financial sufficiency and help --

HENSARLING: Show me --

CUOMO: -- under the stress test.

HENSARLING: Show me what's in the Senate bill. Tell me what's in the Senate bill that came out of committee that's helping the big banks because I don't see it.

CUOMO: If you reduce --

HENSARLING: So if you know something, share it with me.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no. Listen, I mean, it's not -- you don't have to play a game about it. What's in the language is pretty clear.

If you reduce the requirements --

HENSARLING: Well, it's not a game. You just said it.

CUOMO: -- for my financial stress test they're going to benefit from it.

And you also have to look at how -- I get you about small banks. I know that certain community lenders have been adversely affected by this. I get it. And I get that they need to start the process.

HENSARLING: And they're going out of business. CUOMO: I understand that but there are ways to address that where you don't let the big banks be able to play with other people's money again. That's all I'm saying.

HENSARLING: Well again, the big banks -- many of them have said they're very happy with Dodd-Frank and I think you know this, Chris. Since Dodd-Frank was passed, the big banks are bigger, the small banks are fewer. They have the ability to use this as a competitive advantage.

I mean, go and look at what people have said at Goldman Sachs. Most recently, the head of Bank of America has said he's very fine with Dodd-Frank.

So again, what this is doing is it's helping capital formation for small businesses, for start-ups. I think it will help some regional banks. It will help, certainly, small community banks and credit unions.

But I haven't seen anything in the Senate bill -- and again, it hasn't come off the floor yet --

CUOMO: Right.

HENSARLING: -- but I haven't seen anything in the Senate bill that anybody with a straight face can argue it is helping the big banks.

Listen, I don't consider them friend, I don't consider them foe. I'm just sitting here trying to help --

CUOMO: No, it's not about making them --

HENSARLING: -- the economy.

CUOMO: It's not about making them enemies, it's about keeping the rules fair.

But let's do this, Jeb. I'm out of time here. Let's see how it comes out of committee, let's see how it gets argued on the floor, and please come back and make the case to the American people.

HENSARLING: I'd be -- I'd be happy to come back.

CUOMO: The invitation stands and I appreciate you making the case. Be well --

HENSARLING: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and good luck with your daughter. That I can't help you with -- Alisyn.

HENSARLING: Thank you.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg apparently has a lot to say. So, what does the House Intel Committee want to know? A committee member tells us, next.


[07:37:44] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, CNN "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" AND "STATE OF THE UNION", CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump says he knew nothing about the meeting. Do you -- do you think that that's true?


TAPPER: You don't think that's true?

NUNBERG: No, it doesn't -- and Jake, I've watched your news reports. You know it's not true. He talked about it for a week before.


CAMEROTA: All right, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg insists that President Trump knew about that Trump Tower meeting between Don, Jr. and Russians.

Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants Nunberg to explain what he does know.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Good morning, Congressman.


CAMEROTA: Are you interested in talking to Sam Nunberg?

SWALWELL: Absolutely. I'm interested in hearing from any witness who has information in this case.

But what we've seen from Sam Nunberg is what we've seen from so many other witnesses from the president's son, to Corey Lewandowski, to Steve Bannon, to Hope Hicks, which is just an absolute refusal to cooperate and help us get to the bottom of this so we can tell the American people what we're going to do to protect against future Russian meddling.

CAMEROTA: Well, the leading Republican on your committee, Mike Conaway, basically says that he doesn't think there's anything more to learn about that Don, Jr. meeting.

Here's what he said. He told CNN, "I think we've pretty much explored the 2016 Trump Tower meeting to death."

Do you agree that you've gotten all the information you need? SWALWELL: Not at all. Actually, in fact, we've heard Don, Jr. assert the privilege-privilege, which is that if he had a conversation with his father he doesn't have to tell us about it, so we don't really know what he's told his dad about that meeting.

What concerns me, Alisyn, is that on June third the Russians offered Don, Jr. dirt on Hillary Clinton. A couple of days later Donald Trump, the candidate, tells the world that new information is coming out about Hillary Clinton. The meeting takes places and then what happens? Julian Assange, just a few days later, leaks out hacked Democratic e-mails.

There are a lot of answers that we need to get and the worst thing we could do right now would be to shut down our investigation and deprive the American people from having those answers.

CAMEROTA: OK. Well, it sounds like your investigation might be shutting down because, again, Congressman Conaway, the leading Republican, said that it's basically run its course. The probe is almost over.

What's your response?

[07:40:00] SWALWELL: Our democracy is still worth defending. The worst thing we could do would be to report out an incomplete investigation.

We heard from intelligence chiefs over the past few weeks, from Mike Pompeo to Mike Rogers at the NSA, that the Russians actually never left our democracy. They're still seeking to attack us.

We know that the State Department has spent zero on doing all they can to go after Russia and secure our democracy.

So what we should do is have a complete investigation and also pass my legislation which calls for an independent commission of a bipartisan- appointed panel of experts. But we should tell the American people that we're going to do all we can to make sure when they go to the ballot box in November that we're going to secure it.

CAMEROTA: Well listen, GOP Congressman Tom Rooney, on your committee, says that's it basically getting to the point of being ridiculous it's getting so redundant. So let me just play this for you and get your response.


REP. TOM ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: I've asked our chairman, Conaway, that we need to end this investigation. It's been going on for a year. We have interviewed scores of witnesses and now we've gotten to the point now where we're literally bringing people in for nine hours just so the Democrats can leak to the press something as ridiculous as white lies not having anything to do with the Russia investigation.


CAMEROTA: Your response?

SWALWELL: Well, I asked Ms. Hicks the question that I thought was quite simple. Has the president ever asked you to lie for him?

Now, this is a man who couldn't find the truth with a flashlight and we know that Ms. Hicks is one of his closest advisers. I think it's completely within bounds to ask her what has he done to ask you to lie for him or cover up for him, and she wouldn't give us a straight answer.

In fact, she was asked about a number of other individuals who have also been less than forthcoming in the Russia investigation and she refused to answer whether they ever asked her to lie for them.

Look, if we're not going to get straight answers or show a willingness to get to the bottoms of this we're going to be more vulnerable when we go into the next election and we're going to be more at risk at other countries coming at us because they see us as being weak. I think we should unify and put up a shield against Russians and anyone else who wants to attack our democracy.

CAMEROTA: But in terms of a larger issue of the Republicans on your committee saying that your probe is basically done, there's nothing more to see here, and that it's going to be over soon and they're going to issue a report, and the Democrats saying no, we have so much more work to do, what's going to happen?

SWALWELL: We have to keep this investigation alive. We have a long list of individuals who we have not heard from.

We haven't heard from Sam Nunberg. We haven't heard complete interviews from Jared Kushner. He called it quits and walked out about three hours into his interview. We haven't heard the full story from Donald Trump, Jr. because the Republicans won't subpoena him.

You know, this -- our democracy was attacked and the American people are going to measure us on what did we do to defend it. And right now, the Republicans seem willing to say we're going to do nothing, and that's not good enough.

CAMEROTA: Can you see a scenario last whereby there are two reports -- one, the Democratic one; one, the Republican one -- that are put out by your committee at the end of all of this?

SWALWELL: I really hope that's not the case. I hope that we can find unity and do all we can to defend against these Russian swords which are sharpening every single day.

It's on us to do that and it's time to stop attacking the process and putting the government on trial, as we're seeing the Republicans doing, and just do the work, get in the committee room, hear from the witnesses, and give them no outs as they try and refuse to testify. That's the best thing we could do.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for giving us a status report. SWALWELL: My pleasure.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right, we have a big news morning. There are breaking developments.

North Korea signaling that they are willing to give up all nuclear and missile tests but there is a precondition. What is it, next?


[07:47:22] CUOMO: Breaking news. South Korean officials announced that North Korea says it is willing to halt all nuclear and missile tests.

We just got this video of Kim Jong Un -- you know him, right -- with South Korean delegates. They've agreed to a summit next month between the leaders.

So what are the buts here, what are the preconditions, what are the concerns, and then, what is just the pure upside?

Let's bring in CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger. Good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: So, a fair point to make even at the onset with all the caveats that we will discuss to follow that bravo for the Trump administration to be able to work to get to this point where there's even a possibility of progress.

SANGER: Well, bravo for the South Koreans to be able to work to this point. It's not clear that there was very much participation in this by the Trump administration.

This was pretty much an initiative by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. It started, of course, with the decision to let the North Koreans into the Olympics and then try to continue those discussions along.

I would say the Trump administration has a very mixed view about it because they're fear is that Kim Jong Un has done a pretty good job of pulling the South Koreans into a direction that the Americans weren't entirely sure they should go.

CUOMO: So, the reporting that the U.S. has been working with South Korea -- using them as an obvious emissary with the North, you don't buy that? You think that this is all the South?

SANGER: I'm sure that they have been talking to them about it and trying to design what the discussion would be like. But the decision to go get them into the Olympics and get into this discussion was pretty much a South Korean initiative because they were concerned that President Trump was heading them on a course to war.

Now, you had the State Department and others, including Gen. Mattis -- Defense Sec. Mattis -- saying look, we need to find some way to get to a diplomatic path. And remember, the condition that the U.S. put down for that was that there had to be a suspension of --

CUOMO: Right.

SANGER: -- nuclear missile tests for a while and there hasn't been a test since November. So that period of time -- four months -- that looks pretty good.

So I don't think that the administration completely blocked it but they certainly haven't had a strategy for getting here.

CUOMO: Where is your reporting on the because of/despite analysis when it comes to the president's actions? I've been -- you know, early on -- you know, look, I think that when you see any sign of progress you've got to give credit where it's due. This is a big priority for this administration. None of us wants to see a military exercise here.

[07:50:13] But what are you hearing in terms of people saying yes, Trump was actually tactical and all the "Rocket Man" stuff and the "my button's bigger than yours" helped our process versus no, we're making progress despite what he's been saying?

SANGER: You know, I think that the policy itself, Chris, has actually been better in action than what it sounded like. So the ramping -- the wrenching up of sanctions has been quite effective and they've done things that the Obama administration could have done, should have done and did not do.

I think that the verbiage that's been around it -- "my button's bigger than yours" -- all that -- I'm not sure that helped and in some ways, I think it may have set them back.

But now, you're heading into the real test of what happens as you keep putting the pressure on.

CUOMO: Right, so let's talk about that. So, the buts, we'll call them, OK?

They say they're not going to test. Well, what specifically do you think is included in that promise? What kind of preconditions does the North offer up in terms of meeting their part? What is their bargain here?

And, how would you verify anything with them? I remember your coaching on the Iran deal and how important verification and how difficult it was. It would probably be even more so here.

So, how about those three buts?

SANGER: Sure. So, let's start with the first one. What is the precondition here? So far, all we've heard is they will stop testing if the United States shows up and has a conversation. If that's it, then that's great and there's absolutely no reason that the president shouldn't or wouldn't take that up.

Usually though, this, at some point, has been paired if history is any indication with a demand that before North Korea stopped testing either its missile or its nuclear weapons the U.S. would have to begin pulling back from what they call its hostile attitude.

And that means either pulling troops off of the Korean Peninsula, stopping the joint exercises with the South Koreans -- doing a set of things that would be in return for a North Korean freeze. And so far, the administration has been pretty resistant to that.

Now, some of that I think is relatively easy to do. Pulling back on the exercises doesn't strike me as all that hard. Pulling back on the troops that are treaty-committed to defend South Korea, that would certainly be hard.

One other thing that they'll look at and you hinted at it with your reference to verification. Very easy to verify if they are not testing. You can't miss a missile test or a nuclear test.

Very hard to verify if they're actually dismantling their nuclear capability, meaning taking away nuclear material or missiles because we don't know where all of them are.

CUOMO: No, a very important distinction. We learned that lesson with the Iran deal as well.

David Sanger, thank you very much.

Just the idea of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump in the same room is exciting and a little frightening.

SANGER: That would be interesting to see, yes.

CUOMO: Yes, it would be interesting.

Thank you very much, sir --

SANGER: Thanks.

CUOMO: -- for making us smarter on this, this morning -- Alisyn.

SANGER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right.

So, West Virginia teachers are entering their ninth day of a strike. What do they want to get in order to get back to school? That's next.


[07:57:42] CAMEROTA: West Virginia's teachers strike is entering day nine so what's the roadblock to resolving all of this.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Charleston, West Virginia with more. What's the holdup, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, at this point the 20,000 teachers in the state continuing adding to the history of labor movements here in West Virginia by refusing to get back to work and have to go back in the classroom.

Their demands are pretty much two-fold. They want a five percent raise that was promised to them by Gov. Jim Justice a week ago today. But more than anything else they want help. They want the state to help them deal with the rising cost of insurance premiums and that's how we got here in the first place.

And there's plenty of opposition on the Senate side right now saying that the best the budget can do right now or could accommodate is only a four percent rise.

So the solution to this legislative limbo was a committee that's meant to compromise. It was formed over the weekend. They have been meeting for the last several days. Their job is to come up with a number and then take it to their respective chambers so they can continue that debate bringing things, hopefully, to a close.

Yesterday, we heard from a member of this committee say that they think that they could find some kind of common ground. But when you hear from the teachers, when you hear from the unions, and when you hear from state lawmakers they say anything less than five percent is certainly a waste of time.

As for the 300,000 students today, Alisyn, they are going to stay home now, as you mentioned -- a ninth consecutive day that they miss school.

CAMEROTA: All right, Polo. Please keep us posted as to what happens there today. Thank you very much for all of that reporting.

So, we're following a lot of breaking news. Let's get right to it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: OK, good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY and we do begin with breaking news.

South Korean officials announcing just a short time ago that North Korea would halt its nuclear and missile tests with conditions.

CUOMO: All right, and there's more.

North and South Korea also agreeing to hold their first summit in more than a decade. It would happen next month.

But, as Alisyn's pointing out, what are the buts? What are the preconditions? What will actually make this happen? What would it require from the United States? CNN's Andrew Stevens is live in Seoul with the breaking details. And look, there will be a lot more to know about this but this is a surprise step.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: It is a surprise step and it seems to be that the North is going down much more of a diplomatic path. Cast your mind back just a few months. We had a hydrogen bomb test, we believe, and an ICBM test. So, North Korea is -- looks like, Chris, it's adopting a different strategy this time around.

But there are conditions here and there are buts.