Return to Transcripts main page
Senator Warner Says No Reason to Contradict Intel Community on Russia Meddling; Haley Says Russia Is Behind U.K. Spy Poisoning; Students Across Country Walk Out for Stricter Gun Control; White House Confirms Kudlow As Economic Advisor; Stormy Daniels Tape From 2007 Appears About Affair with Trump. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 14, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: This just in, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says there is no evidence to contradict what the intelligence community has been saying all along that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. So, let's go to our CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju up on The Hill. Manu, you just talked to Senator Warner. What did he share with you?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is in response to what the House Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded in their report. In that conclusion it said that nothing they have seen and none of the underlying intelligence supports the notion that Vladimir Putin and the Russians did anything to favor Donald Trump in the 2016 elections. They contradicted what the intelligence community said and in that January 2017 assessment. I spoke to Mark Warner, top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee which is also investigating whether or not that conclusion was accurate, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Senator, House Republicans concluded that there's not enough evidence to support the notion that Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump become president. What's your reaction?
SEN. MARK WARNER, (D), VIRGINIA: My reaction is that since that whole investigation has broken down on partisan lines, we basically have a group of folks who appears to me will say or do anything to protect this president, I believe in the intelligence community's assessment. They spent months working on across the board, saying that the Russians had a favored candidate. That candidate was Mr. Trump.
RAJU: Do you have evidence to substantiate the intelligence community's assessment that Putin tried to help Trump?
WARNER: We have been on this now for now about 14 months. We have seen nothing that takes away from the unanimous intelligence community's assessment.
(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: Now of course there are other big questions as part of this investigation is whether or not there's any conclusion that there was any collusion between Russian officials and Trump officials as part of the 2016 campaign. We know the House Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee believe there's no evidence of collusion. When I spoke to the Senate Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr earlier this week, he told me there's no evidence yet of collusion. Now Mark Warner sees it a different way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNER: I'm going to continue to reserve my judgment. But I've never seen a political campaign in my life where a candidate or that campaign has had as much contact with a foreign government before the election and immediately after.
RAJU: Are you months away from finishing the collusion aspect of this?
[15:35:00] WARNER: I'm not going to get into a timeline. Unlike some others we're actually going to follow the facts and not try to overtly politicize this. Next week we'll take a very important step. We are going to come out with a series of bipartisan recommendations on election security. One of the great frustrations I have is that we know the Russians intervened in 21 of our states, electoral systems in 2016, they did it with impunity. He didn't change vote totals. But they basically left a lot of digital fingerprints and we're now going -- the primaries already, we're now going into another election season.
Every one of Mr. Trump's appointees has acknowledged that our election systems our vulnerable -- yet in open testimony, when asked if whether they've been directed by the White House to make this a priority, none of them have said the White House has directed them. So that I find back to your earlier question, I find that very peculiar that the President of the United States doesn't view election security as a top priority.
RAJU: Now Warner also said there are further witnesses they want to interview, beginning next month, including some Trump associates, who the committee wants to bring back for a second round of interviews. People, probably like Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., but Brooke, Republicans have not yet agreed to bring back some of those key officials back for a second round of interviews. Of course, as you see there, a major difference in opinion about whether or not there was collusion, whether or not the intelligence community's assessment is accurate that the Russians actually tried to help Donald Trump become president. So, clear division on Capitol Hill along party lines, certainly on the House side. We'll see the Senate side has any more luck of coming to a bipartisan consensus. Something that has been elusive on Capitol Hill so far.
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you. Got to pull away. We want to dip into the United Nations and listen to Nikki Haley speaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Let me make one thing clear. From the very beginning, the United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom, using a military grade nerve agent. Dozens of civilians and first responders were also exposed. Police officer Nick Bailey was the first to arrive on the scene and remains hospitalized in serious condition. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this atrocious crime.
No two nations enjoy a stronger bond than that of the United States and the United Kingdom. Ours is truly a special relationship. When our friends in Great Britain face a challenge, the United States will always be there for them. Always. Alone, Russia's crime is worthy of this council's action. But this is not an isolated incident. The assassination attempt in Salisbury is part of an alarming increase in the use of chemical weapons.
Last year, the North Korean regime used the nerve agent VX to publicly assassinate Kim Jong-un's brother in a Malaysian airport. In Syria, the Assad regime continues to kill its own people with chemical weapons years after this council passed resolution 2118 to remove the threat from Syria's chemical weapons program.
When the Security Council created a mechanism to investigate chemical weapons attacks that mechanism was targeted. When it began to shine a spotlight on Assad's role in killing his own people. A growing concern in all of this dangerous and destabilizing activity is Russia. Russia failed to ensure Syria destroyed its chemical weapons program. Russia killed the joint investigative mechanism when it found Assad liable for chemical attacks. Russia used its veto to shield Assad five times last year.
[15:35:00] It has also provided cover for Syria in The Hague at the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. The Russians complained recently that we criticize them too much. If the Russian government stopped using chemical weapons to assassinate its enemies and if the Russian government stopped helping its Syrian ally to use chemical weapons to kill Syrian children and if Russia cooperated with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by turning over all information related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking about them. We take no pleasure in having to constantly criticize Russia, but we need Russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so.
Russia must fully cooperate with the U.K.'s investigation and come clean about its own chemical weapons program. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. It is entrusted in the United Nations charter with upholding international peace and security. It must account for its actions. If we don't take immediate, concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this council.
This is a defining moment. Time and time again, member states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now, one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the representative of the United States --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: OK, so strong words from the United States and from Ambassador Nikki Haley. This all in the wake of the attempted assassinations of a former Russia spy in Salisbury, England, and also his daughter, with a specific kind of nerve agent that can only be made in Russia. And so finally from the U.S. you have this condemnation on Putin and on Russia and, of course, the U.S. standing by our ally in the United Kingdom.
For more, let's go to CNN contributor Jill Dougherty, she's a global fellow we the Woodrow Wilson Center and she's also our former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief. A and so you had earlier in the week, Rex Tillerson, now outgoing Secretary of State condemning Russia. You had Trump yesterday stopping short of condemning Russia and saying he would condemn if it's proven that it's Russia. Then you just heard Nikki Haley. What did you think?
JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: I think they did what they are supposed to do, which is --and this is kind of the pattern that has existed, Brooke, for a while. Forget about what the president said for a second. The structural people, the Nikki Haley, the Secretary of Defense, et cetera, they usually say things that comport with usual U.S. policy.
And what the United States would normally do under an extraordinary circumstance like this is say exactly, number one, absolute solidarity with our ally, the U.K. Russia carried it out. In essence what they're saying is that special relationship continues. But then she goes on. I think is broadening this now to really talk about chemical weapons in general. She's accusing Russia not only of using chemical weapons in this particular case, the nerve agent, but also in Syria, and saying this is a more serious problem that could spread. We want to have some accountability for what Russia is doing with its chemical weapons.
Knowing, of course, that Russia is a member of the Security Council, if they tried to pass anything, Russia could veto it. But I think what they're doing is they're using our representative, our ambassador to the U.N. to make this public statement, to get it out there. Again, strongly standing by the U.K. and then a warning to Russia about chemical weapons.
BALDWIN: That was an extraordinary moment at the U.N. I'm glad we caught it. Jill Dougherty, good to see you. Thank you so much.
Back here at home, thousands of students walking out from schools and classrooms all over the country today in protest of gun violence. And on Capitol Hill, the father of one of the victims in Parkland makes an emotional plea to lawmakers. You will hear from them in moments.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: It has been exactly one month since that shooter walked into his former high school in Parkland, Florida, and unleashed a deadly hail of bullets. Students from Florida to California as a result have marched out of their classrooms today to demand stricter gun laws. CNN's Scott Mclean actually talked to students at the Columbine memorial in Littleton, Colorado, who have been dealing with the reality of school shooters for 20 years now.
MADDY BOND, SOPHOMORE, DAKOTA RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL: I was in sixth grade when Sandy Hook happened and pretty much in every classroom I know where I would go. There's a door in the back or you flip the desk over, you can't see from the window in the hallway. And when you're like walking through the halls and there's this really long hallway and there's no doors, you think about if I was here, what would I do?
ABIGAIL ORTON, JUNIOR, COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: First thing I do is find the best place to hide. In the case of an accident, it's just a subconscious reaction. Any doorway I walk through, that's the first thing going through my mind, just in case. What if?
[15:45:00] SAM CRAIG, CHATFIELD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, WALKOUT ORGANIZER: A lot of people that are walking out with us own guns, they have guns at home, they are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. It's part of our constitution. It's not going anywhere. It's what our country is built on. We just want to emphasize that we just want a little more regulation. As it's written into the Second Amendment, a well-regulated militia. And we want to see that followed through.
BALDWIN: Listen to these young voices. While students protested lawmakers grilled law enforcement officials about what they knew and what they missed. The FBI admitting not following through on crucial red flags about the Parkland shooter and saying the call taker and the supervisor have, quote, different recollections of one of those tips. Today the shooter made an appearance in court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Coming up next, the White House revolving door keeps spinning and spinning. As we're getting word there could be more firings to come. We have that also a 2007 interview with Stormy Daniels has surfaced involving then private citizen Donald Trump. Stand by for that.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: CNN has uncovered this old interview this is back in 2007 that seems to corroborate Stormy Daniels' accusation about the president and this alleged affair of theirs. This happened on a radio show where Daniels was asked to write down the names of famous men she had slept with. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we've now since found out and it's validated and it's within the documentation. It happened at Lake Tahoe in Nevada. That's where this happened. Can you tell us what city? Was it New York?
STORMY DANIELS, PORNOGRAPHIC ACTRESS: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: L.A.?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vegas?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that in the star?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormy, Stormy with the first one. As in Donald Trump, the star? What state?
DANIELS: Nevada. But not Vegas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reno probably. Or where do they ski? Reno. Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe. There it is. You know we are being very vague here. Has that person contacted you since then?
DANIELS: About twice a month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you go out with them twice month?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you if given the opportunity again?
DANIELS: I might.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, that's her own words, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: A hearing date of July 12th has been set for the lawsuit Daniels has filed against the president. Speaking of, any moment now, President Trump is expected to speak at the Boeing facility in St. Louis this as the White House has just confirmed they've named a new Chief Economic Officer, in Larry Kudlow. Back in a moment.
BALDWIN: It is reported that the White House is more on edge with the firings and hirings. We have heard staffers feel like they're in the dark. Jake Tapper has much more. "THE LEAD" starts right now.