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Lewandowski Testifies Before Committee; Dems Believe to be Misled about Seychelles Meeting; February Jobs Report; Trump's Chaotic Week. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired March 9, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:46] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says he answered all relevant questions for the House Intel Committee on Thursday. But the top Democrat on the committee disagrees. He wants to subpoena Lewandowski for refusing to answer questions.
Let's discuss with Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. He's a member of the House Intel Committee.
Good to have you, sir.
What do you believe that Corey Lewandowski should talk about that he refused to?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, at least three questions he wouldn't answer, his conversations with the president about firing Director Comey, the meeting at Trump Tower and the potential firing or attempts to fire Inspector Mueller. So those are pretty pertinent. It's hard to imagine a criminal trial in which witnesses get to provide lists of questions provided by someone else that we can or can't answer. That's what happened with Mr. Bannon. That's what happened yesterday with Mr. Lewandowski.
CUOMO: What was his basis for not answering?
QUIGLEY: It wasn't pertinent. Unfortunately, unlike a trial, there's no impartial judge telling that person whether or not they have to answer that question. It's clearly up to the Republicans, and they're taking a side out on this one.
CUOMO: So --
QUIGLEY: They're letting witnesses decide what they will or won't answer.
CUOMO: So when you asked him the question, he said, I don't think that question is pertinent to your investigation, or did he say, I don't know anything about that?
QUIGLEY: That's exactly -- that's exactly what his attorney said.
CUOMO: So Lewandowski didn't say anything about whether he knew anything about those things or not. This was his lawyer saying it's not pertinent and that was that?
QUIGLEY: Yes. I think some of them were mine, some of them were my colleagues' questions. I was I think specifically conversations he had with the president of the United States about those events. And those are pretty pertinent, or anything else relating to that.
QUIGLEY: In honesty, he answered a lot of questions. The witnesses who were with us for oh so many hours answer a lot of questions. But the reason there's so many questions is, if someone isn't answering to the core, you have to beat around the bush and ask every other possible question to try to get a glimmer of the truth. When that doesn't happen, everybody gets frustrated.
CUOMO: What's the chance of a subpoena?
QUIGLEY: Look, the only subpoena I've seen them lay on this -- in this kind of situation is with Mr. Bannon. And it was after the Alabama race. And it was after "fire and fury" came back. And I think the White House was angry with him. So they laid a subpoena on Bannon because I guess they got the OK to do so from the White House.
But even after that, Mr. Bannon came back and still refused to answer questions. He provided us a list of questions under direct orders from the White House that he would answer. And the answer would only be in one word, no.
CUOMO: So, I don't want to skip over something that's of significant implication. You really believe that your Republican colleagues on that panel, outside of Nunes, are working in coordination with the White House in terms of how they conduct the investigation?
QUIGLEY: I have the greatest respect for Mr. Conaway, having watched this for a year. I think he's trying really hard to help to get to the truth. I think there's a higher power there, and that's the chairman of the full committee working with the White House. And I do believe that there are others on the committee who take their orders down the street from the White House instead of being a separate but equal power trying to do an independent investigation.
CUOMO: But Conaway says that he think it's about ready to end this --
QUIGLEY: I heard yesterday that we're running --
CUOMO: This deal within the House Intel Committee.
QUIGLEY: Well, I think he's probably talking about the parameters that were within. The box that we're within. That's unfortunate because we haven't even touched on money laundering. We've heard about subpoenas laid on Deutsche Bank, who was fined $610 million for their role in money laundering with the Russians and they're one of the major financiers of Trump financial world. So we haven't even touched on that. Or Peter Smith or several other witnesses who refuse to answer questions. [08:35:03] So I think Mr. Conaway is probably answering given the
handcuffs that have been placed on himself and I think the entire investigation.
CUOMO: One thing that you are dealing with that you find interesting, certainly on the Democrat side of the investigation, is this meeting in the Seychelles that involved a man named Erik Prince, a Trump backer, the founder of Blackwater, former Navy SEAL.
Here's what Congressman Eric Swalwell said about Mr. Prince.
Oh, it's a full screen. I'll read it. During his Russia investigation interview, Mr. Prince was asked directly by me and Mr. Schiff who he met with while he was in the Seychelles. He never gave the name George Nader. If he met with George Nader, he lied under oath.
Mr. Prince, from his perspective, he -- they describe this differently, that you asked, did he have any employees or anything with him and he didn't mention Nader. And Nader had worked with him as a one-off, as an independent contractor, and he didn't consider him an employee. What do you think the truth of the situation is and why do you care so much about this meeting?
QUIGLEY: Yes, I mean, first, that transcript, I believe, is publicly available, so people can decide for themselves. And if there's any question, let's bring him back because this is pretty important.
Let's just understand that this is a gentleman who wants to privatize our wars. He was part of a dark chapter in American history with Blackwater. And he's writing part of a second dark chapter in American history.
The fact is, he says he traveled all the way to the middle of the Indian Ocean to have a meeting with the USA, where he used to live there. Why not meet anyplace else? And, oh, by the way, down at the end of the bar, there's this Mr. Dimitriev (ph), who's the head of a Russian government controlled financial firm under sanctions by the United States of America. Oh, by the way, he just happens to be here in the Seychelles. So I think he was already misleading.
He wouldn't answer my questions about his past financial dealings with the USA. And now we hear, oh, by the way, there's this other guy there who we believe is trying to set up back channels with the Kremlin, joining Mr. Kushner's efforts to set up back channels with the Kremlin.
So these are important questions. If we're going to try to find out -- Mike Morrell said that this was the political equivalent of 9/11. If we're letting the White House and members of the Intel Committee get in the way of trying to find out that truth, you know, it's probably our own fault for letting it happen. We're going to do our best to make sure it doesn't.
CUOMO: You've got the people on the left saying something like that. You've got people on the right who says -- who say this investigation is the equivalent of Geraldo looking for the vault. So that's why the answers are so important and the truth is so important because the speculation really goes to which side of the aisle you're on right now. The facts are what would set all of us free.
Congressman, thank you for being with us. We look forward to what you might (ph) --
QUIGLEY: Seventeen -- 17 entities on intel said that it happened.
CUOMO: Oh, no, there's no question that the interference happened, but it's who helped, did anybody help, what is the connection to the Trump organization, if any. Those are the facts that I'm talking about.
Thank you for joining us, congressman. We look forward to what you develop.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, we have brand new jobs numbers that were just released by the Labor Department. We're going to get a take on those and what it will mean for the White House. Christine Romans, next.
[08:42:49] CUOMO: Jobs, jobs, jobs. Breaking news, the Labor Department releasing the jobs report for February just moments ago.
Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with the numbers.
What do we see?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Foso (ph) numbers. A really big report here, Chris. When you look over all, 313,000 net new jobs created in the month. And the prior two months were revised higher by about 159,000 new jobs. So a really strong performance at the beginning of the year.
That's the best job creation since I think the middle -- like June 2016. So the best job creation in some time here.
The unemployment rate, though, stayed steady, near a 17-year low, at 4.1 percent. Why did it stay steady if you have all this hiring? Why didn't that go down? Because people came into the labor market, Chris. People are hearing that there are jobs again and they are -- and there have been jobs for a few years now and they're coming back in. So that unemployment rate stayed steady.
Sectors across the board, from construction, to mining, to manufacturing, to retail, health care, again, you saw a lot of good job creation there. So that was really good here overall.
Futures are higher. The stock market likes this. Why does the stock market like it? Because wages were only up 2.6 percent. You do not see this strong job market really reflected in paychecks yet. And Wall Street investors love that. So you've got kind of a report here that shows strong job creation, but the wages were a little lighter than expectations, Chris.
CUOMO: Christine Romans, appreciate the context. Thank you very much.
So, next week, we've got a big deal for you. We're going to reveal our first CNN hero of 2018. But before we do, we have an update on last year's hero of the year, Amy Wright. You remember her. She was honored for opening a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities. Well, now she has expanded her mission. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY RIPA, HOST, "CNN HERO: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE": The 2017 CNN Hero of the Year is Amy Wright!
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "CNN HERO: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE": Amy Wright!
AMY WRIGHT, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Oh, my gosh, I cannot believe this.
COOPER: Incredible night. But two months later, Amy has opened a second coffee shop, this one in Charleston, South Carolina. For most of these 17 new employees, this is their first job.
WRIGHT: People with intellectual disabilities aren't valued. And so this coffee shop has created a place where people see their value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:45:10] CUOMO: Wow, great for her. Watch Anderson's full update or nominate someone that you think should be a CNN hero. You just go to cnnheroes.com. It's all very clear.
All right, when we come back, a tumultuous week at the White House once again. But topped by a really big moment for this president and maybe for the country. Can the president do what he has not done to date, which is change the narrative, stay positive and not get in his own way of success? "The Bottom Line" with David Chalian, next.
CUOMO: Crazy week, wasn't it? Started with Sam Nunberg. Now we end it with this unprecedented acceptance of an invitation to go meet with the North Korean leader. This is what happened in, what, just four days.
Monday, former Trump campaign aide Nunberg gave a series of just loco interviews that made people question, and rightly so, his state of mind. He has now stepped away. Probably the best thing for him and his family.
[08:50:15] Then you had the Gary Cohn, the economic adviser, resigning.
Then you have all this new intrigue in Stormy Daniels. And who knows what really comes out in the courts. But the court of public opinion in this suit has certainly been ratcheted up. And then the next day you've got the tariffs roll out and all the
confusion around it and the kind of weak justification for it in terms of national security.
And then here on Friday, the president agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political director David Chalian.
And, boy, I wonder what this means. What does the unevenness mean? You can't control the Nunberg thing, right? That was an x factor. He just kind of popped up on his own.
But what does this mean? Is this -- is this a reflection of just the new normal, or is this about how situations are managed?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think -- well, I think it's a reflection of the president as well and how he works. I mean just looking at the title of that graphic you just put up, White House's tumultuous week, I feel like we could have that as a regular Friday feature at the end of every week.
There's no doubt that the president sort of thrives on some of this unpredictability, chaotic, jumping from one thing to the next, that he thinks he can sort of seize to try to get a win. And I think both at the -- the two things -- the big two things at the end of the week that the president is driving, Chris, not x factors, the tariffs and the North Korean announcement, this is him trying to shake things up from the status quo.
CUOMO: How nervous are the people around him who are in charge of backing up his talk about making the tariffs thing come out in U.S. favor, making the North Korea thing come out to U.S. advantage?
CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, as nervous as any gambler is in placing a big bet. That's what this is, right? And so it is unclear if this will be a winning proposition on either front. And there are clearly some nerves in the White House because, you know, on the tariff issue, they're being pounded by folks on The Hill on a quarter hourly basis. The phone is ringing off the hook from their Republican allies on The Hill that have a lot of concern over the tariff rollout. So that gives them some pause.
But, you know, you're going see the president tomorrow in Pennsylvania in that race outside Pittsburgh. He's going to be touting this and, you know, singing it from the rooftops as best he can because he believes this is his way to fortify that base of support that he thinks the Republican there needs to get over the hump on Tuesday.
CUOMO: Right. I mean the 18th district is one thing in Pennsylvania. It really does strain credulity to believe that he would do an international trade move just to help one special election. But --
CHALIAN: No, but I think the timing was impactful.
CUOMO: Oh, yes. No, no, I -- CHALIAN: Yes.
CUOMO: I mean, look, I just -- it strains credulity but it does seem like that in terms of the facts on the table.
The metric has not changed for this president. He can't think that things go well for him in the next election if he just sticks with his base. The mandate has always been to grow. Remember one of the first things that Jared was supposed to really be in charge of was the DJT 100, get to 100 percent approval with everybody in the country. And, obviously, that isn't happening.
What is the concern about his ability to grow?
CHALIAN: Well, see, so I think the North Korea thing may be more of an effort to try to grow, if it plays out, right? It's a big risk. But it's not just a base play, right? This is sort of a big leadership, international stage kind of play. Again, many questions about it, but there's some opportunity there. That's the kind of thing that, if it works out in the president's favor, could start growing his support.
But, Chris, I agree with you, I look for this every day in the Trump presidency. I look every day to see, what is he doing to try to add to what he has, to broaden out that appeal? I think that is how we should measure the presidency in many ways. And that happens few and far between with this president.
CUOMO: Very interesting. With all this chaos and all these headlines, you know what they're not talking about, these changes to Dodd-Frank. We dealt with it a little bit this week, but it's largely been kept under the radar. And, of course, gun control, right, off the pages, even with all those kids and all the emotional pleas because of these other headlines.
CHALIAN: That's true. But also I would just say, the tariff rollout and the North Korea announcement has also now put Stormy Daniels and Mueller and Nunberg and Gary Cohn off the front page as well.
CUOMO: Well, some of that should be off the front page.
David Chalian, thank you very much. Appreciate having you, as always.
CHALIAN: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: How about a little "Good Stuff" to wind up the week here, huh? We're going to give it to you right after the break.
But, first, we're going to look ahead to Sunday night and this brand new CNN original series about America's most famous family. Here's the tease.
[08:55:02] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the bear of Wall Street.
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, "THE VAN JONES SHOW": You're never running against one Kennedy. It's a full family affair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wealth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Kennedys always find a way to make their dreams come true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This compound is the center of the womb.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're only the beginning.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let us not forget they were not angels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've had more than their share of scandals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But then there are these moments of greatness.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We choose to go to the moon and do the other thing, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rare and intimate reveal of America's most famous family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people enjoy a life that's normal and mediocre. Other people respond to challenges. That's who we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American Dynasties: The Kennedys," premiers Sunday at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Friday "Good Stuff."
A nurse from Florida wins the "Good Stuff" medal today. Why? Well, Jess Hamm came to the rescue of these two adorable kids, twins, Delilah and Caroline. They were severely abused. Jess remembers seeing Delilah for the first time while working her shift. Take a listen.