Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump Prepping For Possible Mueller Interview; Stormy's Lawyer Plan To Refile Motion To Depose Trump; Migrant Caravan Makes Its Way Through Mexico; Trump Adviser Pursued Clinton E-mails On Dark Web; Facebook Announces New Rules To Fight Election Meddling. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 7, 2018 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- tactical golf course when the conditions get tougher or you're presented with kind of tough breaks like that. And I think that's an advantage for me. This weekend, you know, in contention at the Masters, is nothing new to me. And it -- therefore, I won't be extremely anxious, I don't think.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN: Spieth tees off at 2:10; be sure to tune in to CNN this afternoon for a behind-the-scenes look at the masters all-access at Augusta. CNN "BLEACHER REPORT SPECIAL", 2:30 Eastern this afternoon.

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Andy, thanks.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president has begun preparing for a possible interview with Robert Mueller.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Should the president ever sit down with the special counsel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is very dangerous for the president to do so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott Pruitt has actually been accomplishing the president's agenda, and that has some on the opposing political side upset.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No one other than the president has the authority to hire and fire members of his cabinet. It's a decision that he'll make.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This deployment has begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is planning to secure the border with up to 4,000 National Guard soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People here tell me that they are fleeing violence, or they're just trying to find a better life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Good Saturday morning, everyone. I'm Dianne Gallagher in for Christi Paul today.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. Live pictures, we're starting the show with, this is, of course, the White House. President Trump waking up this weekend.

GALLAGHER: A White House official tells CNN exclusively that the president's lawyers are prepping him in case he agrees to be in the hot seat facing Robert Mueller.

BLACKWELL: The president has said several times that he wants to sit down with the special counsel's team. But his advisers think this could expose him to perjury charges. CNN's Dan Merica is following the story for us. Dan, what kind of preparations are happening?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, guys. President Trump is preparing, we're told according to a White House official and a source with knowledge of the deliberations, for a possible sit down with Robert Mueller. Now, it's worth noting that one of the sources says that these preparations are in their infancy, and it's not even clear whether President Trump will even sit down with Mueller in the end. He has not agreed to formally sit down. But the fact that these deliberations, preparations are happening, is a sign that inside Trump's orbit, deliberations about whether he should or should not sit down are ongoing and intensifying. Now, there are plenty of people outside of the White House, Trump advisers, and Trump friends, who would be deeply worried about the idea of President Trump sitting down with Robert Mueller.

He's obviously a man who's made his career on hyperbole. It worked for him in the business world, many say, and have said publicly that that wouldn't necessarily work when sitting down with Robert Mueller and could expose him to significant legal risk. Now, the reason many have started to wonder what President Trump, whether he would sit down with Robert Mueller is because there have been gaps in his schedule at times leading some to believe that he was preparing for a possible interview. Now, he's not doing anything today. There's nothing on his schedule right now. Obviously, as you noted, Twitter is always open. But it's rare that President Trump is in the White House and is not going out to one of his golf courses or nearby property. He's actually spent 139 days according to CNN's count, at a property that bears his name or one that has -- his company owns.

GALLAGHER: OK. So, Dan, the president has said multiple times, pretty publicly that he wants to sit down with Mueller, even talked about it under oath. But he isn't saying the same thing in private, I'm hearing?

MERICA: Yes, we're told there's a split between what he is saying publicly in front of reporters and what he's saying to advisers behind the scenes. Take a listen to what he's said before reporters when asked whether he was going to sit down with Robert Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, would you still like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sir?

TRUMP: Thank you. Sure, I would like to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would? You would like to?

TRUMP: I would like to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --

TRUMP: 100 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to talk to Mueller?

TRUMP: I'm looking forward to it actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To reach a higher standard, you would do it under oath?

TRUMP: Oh, I would do it under oath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: He's gone ho about it in public. But we're told, in private, depending on who he's speaking to, what's going on that day, he equivocates a little bit more about whether he actually wants to sit down with Mueller. An acknowledgment that this is a high-stakes situation and it could expose him to significant legal risk. The president is not possibly willing to undergo. Victor and Diane?

GALLAGHER: Dan Merica, thank you so much for your insight from Washington.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now: Michael Moore, Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Michael, welcome back. As we heard there from Dan, that there is some occasional equivocation from the president behind the scenes about whether he wants to sit down with Mueller. Would you advise him to sit down with Mueller?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: You know, the one thing that stuck out in his comments was that this is high stakes, and that's where we're at. The problem with the president is he just cannot control his mouth. And he'll be in a situation where he's being interviewed by agents, FBI agents, if you tell him something that's not true, that's a crime. He likes to expand on things, sort of push the truth, give his version. If he does any of that under oath, obviously that's perjury. So, he's hard to control. I think probably at this point, my guess is I would tell him that if he can't keep his mouth in check, then he should not talk. But I'm sure he feels the heat of the midterms coming out too, and he's trying say, look, I went and talk, I was available to talk. He wants to get that off the plate. So, that's not an issue coming out from the phone.

[07:05:34] BLACKWELL: But without going involuntarily having the conversation, he puts himself in jeopardy of being subpoenaed to talk before a grand jury. So -- I mean, if you're Mueller, can you close an investigation into potential collusion with the Trump campaign, obstruction of justice, without getting him either voluntarily to speak or pursuing after the subpoena?

MOORE: You know, I think it would be hard to do it with much credibility. I think at some point, you got to subpoena him. The problem is there are some rules about bringing the witness before the grand jury when you're told they're going to take the fifth. And there's a place that you don't bring them in there if you'd already been told by council if they're going to do that. So, the president is going to deal with the issue of is it politically wise to take the fifth, is it more legally protected if I take the fifth, or ask them to try to do what I'm doing and have my lawyers to negotiate for me; some way to appear to get my side of the story out, so I can tell the public I went and told everything, and this is all a witch hunt.

BLACKWELL: So, what do these preparations potentially look like? Are they mock drills? Or they're just going over information? In the infancy is what they report.

MOORE: Yes, I mean, I think really, right now, this -- the preparations are really more discussions about how hard are we going to pursue this with the Mueller team?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

MOORE: And give us some direction, are you serious about this, are you comfortable answering questions, what happens if you're under oath? I mean, and there's a political component to it. I mean, there's this whole issue out there about whether or not a sitting president can be indicted. That's a debate amongst legal scholars and people have different opinions about that. So, my guess is that the political element and the political considerations are playing as much of a role as the legal considerations. And whether or not he can actually control what he's got to say when he's in there with the investigators.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, this week, actually just last night, a federal judge granted the motion from attorneys for the president for a delay in their required response to the lawsuit filed by Stormy Daniels and her attorneys. What's the significance here? They requested some time because they say that the judge first have to determine if this will go through arbitration or through court proceedings.

MOORE: You know, it's not unusual to have somebody request a little additional time to respond, and that's not that big a deal. It's interesting right now because the president has come out and given at least a one-word response or comment about the case, right, when he said this no. He sort of like a big-mouth bass that's swimming around the pond and as soon as somebody throws a shiny lure out there, he jumps at it.

BLACKWELL: But he's been avoiding this for a while.

MOORE: That's it. But right now, he may be feeling a little bit emboldened, he might be feeling a little bit like he needs to change the story. I mean, realize that every time something starts coming on, we've been talking about Putin and Pruitt, porn stars, payoffs, all these things for the last week. Every time the story gets a little hot, he changes it somehow. So, I don't think this one-word response to move us back toward the discussion is anything other than -- maybe it's smart on his part, because now we're not spending as much time talking about the problem he's got with his EPA guy.

BLACKWELL: Now, Michael Avenatti, who's Stormy Daniels' attorney says this is a win for his client, this is a gift to Stormy Daniels, is it?

MOORE: Well, it certainly --

BLACKWELL: At least this conversation on Air Force One, I'm telling.

MOORE: And I think that's true. I mean, the problem here is that he said he didn't know about the payout. He's already subjectively thinking it's discovery, maybe depositions giving testimony under oath. There's a line for him to sign on the nondisclosure agreement. He didn't know about it, why is there a line for him to sign? Now, he's saying that it was his lawyers doing. Does anybody believe that your lawyer just writes a check for you and never tells you that he did it on behalf of you as a client? I don't think that really is very credible to come forward with that.

And also, it puts Cohen in a unique situation, because this could get into an issue of federal regulation violation, whether or not there was an excessive political contribution made to have some impact in the election too. So, he certainly muddied the waters a little bit from Stormy Daniels' side. I'm sure they're happy to have it because it basically puts him in a posture. If he now comes back and says, well, I did authorize it because he's trying to keep Cohen out of trouble, now they've got him at least on tape saying I didn't know anything about it, it challenges the truth of what he has to say.

BLACKWELL: Do those few denials on Air Force One makes it any more likely that a judge will allow Stormy Daniels' attorney to depose the president?

MOORE: I think ultimately it will be a decision on whether or not the judge thinks it's necessary. I don't know that that's enough to push a deposition of a sitting president into full mode there. There are some other cases out there. We already know that he may be subject to discovery and deposition in some of these cases with some other ladies that he's had issues with. Those seem to me probably more likely. I don't know within the Stormy Daniels case if it's necessarily necessary for the finding on the case and since you have Cohen, and you have Stormy Daniels talk about what went on the nondisclosure agreement, if they need the president's testimony at this point. Don't necessarily think they have to have it either. At the same point, I just don't know that's an enough (INAUDIBLE 10:14) sitting president to say yes or no, I knew about the payment.

[07:10:17] BLACKWELL: Michael Moore, always good to have you. I appreciate your time.

GALLAGHER: All right. Victor, we're moving to another hot-button issue that it's been a major focus for the president this week -- immigration. After several days of tweets and pledges to shore up the border, the president is taking action. He's sending National Guard troops to the region. Now, this comes as an annual trek of migrants which Trump claims is a "caravan" is trying to enter the United States. That trek of people, they're winding their way through Mexico right now, and CNN's Leyla Santiago is with them and has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the caravan at the center of some of Trump's tweets. It is the caravan that started on the southern part of Mexico and it's heading north. When they started, they were about 1,000 to 1,200 people. And now, a much smaller crowd, it seems about a total of 500 Central Americans, again, making their way north.

Now, President Trump has said that this is a dangerous caravan. So, I want to sort of show you, the volunteers here in Puebla have really sort of welcomed them, providing meals for many of them, the priests and the catholic churches have provided shelter, and some of the shelters have also taken in some of the Central Americans who are heading north. Again, this is an annual event. So, every year it sort of starts off big and then they break off into smaller groups. President Trump has said that the group has disbursed. And while it has gotten smaller, you can see behind me there are still hundreds. And as you can see, I'm going to speak to this woman.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

SANTIAGO: So, she's from Guatemala.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

SANTIAGO: She says because of the delinquency and the violence, she left Guatemala.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

SANTIAGO: So, she is going to stay here in Mexico. She said that she's going to Tijuana, and from there -- gracias -- from there, she wants to stay there, make money, and send that back to Guatemala to help her children that she left behind there. This is actually not the first time I've heard a story like this. The people here tell me that they are fleeing violence from either Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras. They are fleeing corrupt government or they're just trying to find a better life because they can't find a job in their own country.

Now, what is the next step for them? These Central Americans say that they will, some of them, again, stay here in Mexico, some of them will head to the U.S.-Mexico border. From here, they will head north to Mexico City. And from there, the organizers say that many will break off into smaller crowds. Again, some of them, they say, about 200 according to organizers, will be making to the U.S.-Mexico border, but we'll have to wait and see exactly how many make it there and if they will be able to seek asylum. Leyla Santiago, CNN, Puebla, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GALLAGHER: And our thanks to Leyla Santiago for that report.

BLACKWELL: We're following breaking news overnight. 14 people are dead after a bus carrying a junior league hockey team crashed in Canada. The bus collided with the tractor-trailer in Saskatchewan province last night. Coaches and players for the Humboldt Broncos were on board. They were on their runway to a junior league playoff game. Witnesses say, it took hours to pull the victims out of the mangled wreckage. Now, most of the players were in their late teens. 14 others, we know, were injured in that fatal accident.

GALLAGHER: All right. Coming up, exclusive new details about another adviser to President Trump that tried to expose damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. We have more on that ahead.

[07:14:09] BLACKWELL: Plus, while the calls for to dismiss EPA Head Scott Pruitt are growing louder, President Trump stands by his man -- but for how long?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GALLAGHER: All right. We have some exclusive new details this morning for you. Sources telling CNN that another adviser to President Trump tried to expose damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.

BLACKWELL: Joseph Schmitz approached the FBI and other government agencies to review e-mails from the dark web that he believed were Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails from her private server. Schmitz was a policy -- a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. He's seated here at the table with then-Candidate Trump in March 2016.

GALLAGHER: And now, he met with officials at the FBI, State Department, and the intelligence community about a trusted source that discovered the e-mails. Officials briefly interviewed Schmitz, but the e-mails were never verified. Additionally, a cybersecurity expert who saw the material on the dark web told CNN that they appeared to be fake. Now, CNN tried to contact Schmitz with questions, but he declined to comment. And here with me to discuss all of this, Political Reporter and Co-Author of "Playbook," Daniel Littman; and CNN Contributor and Writer for The New Yorker, Adam Entous.

OK. So, let's start with this, Adam: fired Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, look, he told the House Intelligence Committee in February that members of the Trump campaign, they kept getting just approached by outsiders suggesting ways to get these e-mails. So, this reporting would support that testimony, but this also seems to show that this campaign was just relentless in trying to get any kind of information they could from anywhere they could.

ADAM ENTOUS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND WRITER FOR THE NEW YORKER: Yes. I mean, obviously, those e-mails we're talking about here were sort of the holy grail, where, you know, people that wanted to ingratiate themselves with the Trump campaign and with the Republicans more broadly were, you know, many seemed to be trying to seek to see if they can deliver the e-mails. I do think in this case, though, we are dealing with something different. This isn't like what Papadopoulos did, George Papadopoulos, who was told about the Russians having dirt. Papadopoulos didn't go to the FBI. He didn't go to the intelligence community. He didn't go to the Intelligence Committee on the hill. He provided -- he disclosed this information within the campaign.

[07:20:35] In this case -- Schmitz in this case, he follows what you're supposed to do when you have this information. He goes and tells the State Department. He goes and tells the FBI, and he tells the Intelligence Committee, which is what a whistleblower is supposed to do under the statutes. So, I don't think there's a distinction here. I'm not sure he was trying to deliver this to the campaign, I don't see the evidence of that. It seems like he was trying to alert, you know, the FBI and the State Department that these e-mails were out there, and that they should potentially come and get them.

GALLAGHER: Yes. And no matter what the motive is, again, those are the correct steps that one is supposed to take. I want you guys to listen to Former Trump Campaign Adviser Michael Caputo dismissing -- you mentioned George Papadopoulos, well, dismissing his role in the 2016 campaign. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: The guy was -- he was the coffee boy. I mean, you might have called him a foreign policy analyst, but in fact, you know, if he was going to wear a wire, all we'd know now is whether he prefers a caramel macchiato over a regular American coffee in conversations with his barista. He had nothing to do with the campaign. And all of this contact with alleged Russians is something complete beyond the scope of his volunteer duties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: OK. So, we know that Papadopoulos at this point was not just a coffee boy. He played a much larger role in the campaign and advising. But can we say the same for Schmitz? I mean, he was an inspector general at the Pentagon under Bush, but same kind of role here?

ENTOUS: You know, I don't think we know -- you know, frankly, there's not a lot of clarity as to the role that he played. You know, he stayed with the campaign, you know, all through the campaign until the election. But what he was doing behind the scenes, I never really got a sense of what that was.

DANIEL LITTMAN, POLITICAL REPORTER AND AUTHOR: And I'd also make the point also that, you know, the reason that he was on this advisory board in the first place with George Papadopoulos and Keith Kellogg, who is on the NFC, is that so many foreign policy experts in the Republican community had signed letters saying that they were never- Trumpers. And so, the Trump campaign were desperate to show that they had some foreign policy reporters, and so assembled this board to basically provide them cover on that front.

GALLAGHER: Yes. And obviously, this is somebody who at least comes with the credentials and the backgrounds. Here's someone who at least knew how to play within the government parameters there. So, Daniel, officials at the State Department, the inspector general, they briefly interviewed Schmitz. But I want to know what does this mean when it comes to the Russia investigation? Will Mueller move to question Schmitz in the near future, or is this sort of another piece of a puzzle showing how the campaign was working?

LITTMAN: I think the CNN article might prompt the special counsel to interview Schmitz. But there are so many different strands that Robert Mueller is looking at, that it may be, you know, hard to interview someone on the periphery, because this doesn't seem to tie into Russia that much. We should remember that -- you know, Trump himself said on the campaign trail: Russia, if you can find those 30,000 e-mails, go ahead. And so, that's why there were so many people approaching the campaign, like Bannon said.

GALLAGHER: But obviously, the difference being that some of the stuff on the dark web, the information from foreign entities or governments that's not normal politics. That's not what somebody in a normal political campaign is supposed to do -- that oppo-research.

LITTMAN: Yes. This is not how this system is supposed to work when you have e-mails leaked on the web. But I think these were probably fake e-mails by people trying to look like they were big players on the dark web, basically the reddit version. And I don't think they actually had the goods.

GALLAGHER: All right. Daniel Littman and Adam Entous, thank you so much for your time.

LITTMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, the reporting is that White House aides want him out, dozens of Democrats and a few Republicans want him out, too. But for now, EPA Head Scott Pruitt has one big supporter, and he's the one who counts -- President Trump. We'll talk about that.

[07:24:43] GALLAGHER: All right. Plus, a Texas congressman embroiled in controversy -- well, not going to be back on the Hill, Monday. Details on an alleged sexual harassment payoff made with taxpayer dollars. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GALLAGHER: Welcome back. I'm Dianne Gallagher in this Saturday for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. There are several White House observers who are speculating that Scott Pruitt would not make it through the night. But the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is still on the job this morning.

GALLAGHER: Yes, this comes despite the list of controversies that he has racked up over the last week. The president met with Pruitt on Friday. White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, well, she sidestepped the question about Pruitt's future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:30:11] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Question about the president's stance on Scott Pruitt, keeping his post at the EPA. Has he been advised -- you know, by anyone close to him that Pruitt steps down? Where does the president stance?

SANDERS: This is no one other than the president has the authority to hire and fire members of his cabinet, the decision that he will make --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: OK, one of the latest controversies involves the room that Pruitt rented from a lobbyist couple in Washington. CNN confirmed that when the couple couldn't get him to leave, they were forced to change the locks.

BLACKWELL: All right, to discuss all of this now, I'm joined by CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Jack Kingston. And opinion columnist for The Hill, and former Democratic aide Brent Budowsky. Gentlemen welcome back to NEW DAY.

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jack, I want to start with something that former Vice President Al Gore told Van Jones, he's going to be a guest on Van Jones Show this evening. Let's watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will tell you that I'd be very surprised if 90 percent of the American people looking at the facts of that situation did not think that there was the appearance of outright corruption there, and Donald Trump ought to fire him. It won't do any good for me to say that but if I told him to keep him on, maybe that would make him fire. But, but honestly, regardless of party, regardless of ideology or his policies, the American people have a right to believe there is some modicum of integrity in the way our government is operating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Jack, is it time for Scott Pruitt to go?

KINGSTON: No, I don't think so. I want to put my finger on something that Al Gore said. He said the president isn't going to listen to him, and he's correct. And what has happened here, this has become political because Scott Pruitt is pushing back a lot of the EPA overreaches that happened under Barack Obama. Therefore, his critics are coming out of the woodwork saying this guy's got to go, and they're not attacking him on policy, they're attacking him on other things. You know, -- you know, this room, Victor, was $1,500 a month. That's about standard rent. I don't know where everything there is --

BLACKWELL: No, it isn't about standard rent in Washington.

KINGSTON: Well, I want that room that --

BLACKWELL: Do you know how much a couple of drinks would cost here at the bar at the Trump Hotel? About the same amount it costs to stay a night in that condo.

KINGSTON: I don't, I have to respectfully disagree. I think, $1,500 is about market rent for one bedroom.

BLACKWELL: No, you're just wrong on that, Jack, you're just probably wrong.

KINGSTON: Well, how much is -- how much is it?

BLACKWELL: Can we show that the building there? It's about a block from Capitol Hill.

KINGSTON: Listen, I slept in my office floor as a member of Congress for ten years because it is very difficult to find a place. But I can tell you, $1,500 does not sound out of whack with me as respects to market up there. But, that's why the ethics -- Department of EPA agreed with Scott Pruitt that it was not -- there was not an impropriety there.

BLACKWELL: Jack, there are people all over the district right now. Throwing shoes and socks at the television thinking that if you know where there's a $1,500 a night condo or room available are $1,500 a month, post it to your Twitter account. Do that right afterward.

KINGSTON: Victor, I can say this -- if there are other people who go to rent that same room and they find out that its $2,500, then you got a problem. But if that room rents to other people for about $1,500, then that's what the --

BLACKWELL: But they also aren't that the head of the EPA. Brent, your reaction to what Jack says there. At his point is, let the inspector general deal with this.

BRENT BUDOWSKY, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE HILL: Victor, you're right, obviously, about that. And I will announce that if that condo place is still vacant if they offer me that deal, they know where to find me, it's just amazing. I wrote a piece in The Hill last week where I referred to Trump as the swamp king and Pruitt as polluter. I think, he will be gone, he probably won't be announced that he's fired. He will find suddenly announced greener pastures have come before him, and he's going to move on.

For the wrong reasons, Pruitt embodies the level of scandal, the level of ethical problems, the level of corruption in so many agencies. I mean, I could write a column of 10,000 words and CNN could do a whole day on itching the visual scandal around Pruitt, around others one after another in the Trump administration, it's unbelievable.

The EPA was created by Richard Milhous Nixon, who proposed it and got it passed in 1970, it began. And Scott Pruitt makes -- he makes Nixon look like an environmentalist or he damages the earth, and he makes Nixon look like a pillar of integrity. And you never heard me ever anywhere compare Nixon to integrity, but Scott Pruitt is so bad and some of these other people are so bad, it's an outrage. He will be gone --

KINGSTON: Vic, what kind of --

[07:35:01] BLACKWELL: Jack, let me -- hold on, Jack. You know, I'm thinking of something you just said that Pruitt's political enemies, his opponents are attacking him because of his effectiveness. Is that not also the reason potentially the president is keeping him on? Because this didn't fly when it came to Tom Price, right after he was unable to help members of Congress pass through an Obamacare overhaul, and his spending more than $1 million on non-commercial travel was enough to get him out the door. In fact, let's play the president's comments back on September 27th, right outside of the White House about that scandal, and then let's play what he said this week on Air Force One about Pruitt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He spent a lot of money on the charter plane. Is that cool?

TRUMP: I was looking into it, and I will look into it. And I will tell you personally, I'm not happy about it, I am not happy about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do about it, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I'm going to look at it. I am not happy about it and I let him know it.

Scott has done a fantastic job, I think he's a fantastic person. You know, I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Now Scott Pruitt, obviously, has his own travel spending concerns. But, if egregious waste of taxpayer money was a problem and a fireable offense for Price, why isn't it for Pruitt, and the condo, and the soundproof booth, and the door that had to be replaced, and on and on?

KINGSTON: Vic, I think that you're right. Part of the formula is the job that he's been able to do in terms of wrong and bad.

BLACKWELL: So, it's excusable for Pruitt?

KINGSTON: I -- I'm saying that he -- the president said, he's unhappy. He's saying he's going to look into it. There might be an I.G. review of the whole thing. He will be taken to the woodshed and in one form or the other. I just don't think he will be dismissed over. I want to point out also there to my friend, Brent, though, remember Richard Windsor. You know the name, Richard Windsor, the alias that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used to conduct business with behind the scenes.

To me, that was a huge scandal, and I didn't hear the outrage from the environmental community on that. But there was a woman in public position using an alias name, Richard Windsor, Lisa Jackson, under Obama. And, of course, she was forced to resign once the public found out about and got outraged about it. But, how could the Obama White House not know about Lisa using that name?

BLACKWELL: All right, let's state present day. We hear you --

KINGSTON: Just want to point that out.

BLACKWELL: I got it, Jack. I'll let you finish it. I'll let you finish it.

KINGSTON: I appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about something's happening right now. And Brent, let me come back to you. Secretary Mattis, has signed this memo now, ordering up to 4,000 National Guard troops to head to the border that's going to go through the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th. Let's put up the tweet from the chief of the National Guard Bureau. "Always ready, always there. Moving up to 500 National Guard troops immediately to the Southwest border. Security mission, vehicles, equipment, and helicopters on the way tonight.

Brent, as says you know, previous presidents had done the same thing. Why is it a problem now for many Democrats that President Trump is doing this?

BUDOWSKY: Well, I agree with what Congressman Beto O'Rourke from Texas said. And Beto has a good chance of defeating Ted Cruz, and he said, "Correctly, we don't need it. We don't want it, it's a diversion."

Now, what's happening here is that Trump sees a shot on Fox News about a caravan, and he plays the politics of trying to persuade, to be honest, the white people in his base that the hordes of Hispanics coming from foreign countries are going to invade the United States. That's just utter nonsense, its pure politics. I could go on about the things that Trump has done that have hurt Hispanics. And this is just one of them, we've got better things to spend money on, than a wall that I predict will never be built, and sending the National Guard permission that takes them away from more important things, and will do very little good.

BLACKWELL: Jack, there are mayors and sheriffs along the border who say they really don't need this. So, why is it happening?

KINGSTON: I can't believe that Beto O'Rourke would actually be successful at all in Texas saying that they don't need that. I got to say, Brent, little bit offended by that racial bite you threw in there, but I forgive you. I want to move on, this was done as you pointed out not just by George W. Bush, but by George Herbert Walker Bush, as well, and of course, Barack Obama.

And at the time that Barack Obama did it, people like Gabrielle Giffords were supportive of it. John McCain, actually said, "We don't need 1,200 troops, we need 6,000. Bush, by the way, used 6,000 troops. What they're going to be doing is not a frontline arrest, but they're going to be doing surveillance in support for the border control. So, I think it's -- I think it's a valuable national security tool.

[07:40:01] BLACKWELL: All right, critics have said of both the 2010 and 2006 deployments that they were expensive and inefficient. We'll see what this will be -- it's at least approved until September 30th. Jack Kingston, Brent Budowsky, thank you both.

KINGSTON: Thank you.

GALLAGHER: Embattled Texas Republican representative Blake Farenthold has resigned from Congress. This is amid a month-long controversy. Now, he's accused of using taxpayer dollars to settle a former aide's sexual harassment claims against him. The National Republican Congressional Committee is requesting all of the nearly $85,000 to be paid back that he used. Farenthold, first announced in December that he planned to repay the money and he wouldn't be seeking re-election. But, as of last month, no payments have been made.

So, still to come, Facebook is making some new changes in an effort to combat future election meddling. How it's going to affect your interactions online? Up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GALLAGHER: Good morning. Mortgage rates dropped this week. Take a look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:45:31] BLACKWELL: Facebook is making some big changes in their design to fight election meddling. The company will start labeling all political ads and revealing who paid for them. It also require political advertisers to verify their identification and location.

GALLAGHER: Now, the decision comes as Facebook continues to be under fire for failing to crack down on fake news and propaganda on its site. Facebook says that the new labeling is going to appear in ads beginning a little bit later this spring.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before Congress, next week. This is after, of course, the company's mishandling of users' personal information.

GALLAGHER: Our CNN's Senior Tech Correspondent Laurie Segall, breaks down exactly what's at stake in Washington.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: What's a monumental moment for Facebook? This is a company that's become ubiquitous, a company that asks us to share our lives, our moments, our likes, is now under fire for not being transparent with its users about its use of our data.

Now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have his moment on Capitol Hill. He's testifying twice next week before Congress. And he set to address data privacy issues in the wake of the Cambridge Analytical scandal. And you know, I'll say this, it's a watershed moment for the company. And ahead of his testimony, Zuckerberg spoke to reporters on a conference call and admitted Facebook simply hasn't done enough.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FACEBOOK (via telephone): We're an idealistic and optimistic company. For the first decade, we really focused on all the good that connecting people brings. But it's clear now that we didn't do enough. We didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm, as well.

SEGALL: It's also a pivotal moment for the tech industry. This is after years of innovation, we are looking at this era of unintended consequences on Facebook. When you have fake news that might have impacted an election, you have the weaponization of the platform by nation states. And now, questions over how the company handled user data and how much access third-party developers had.

Mark Zuckerberg is also a CEO who hasn't exactly been very public. He isn't crazy about public appearances. He also -- he essentially acknowledges when we sat down together in the midst of the scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZUCKERBERG: There's an element of accountability where I should be out there doing more interviews. And you know, as uncomfortable as it is for me to do, you know, a T.V. interview. It's -- I think this is an important thing that as a discipline for what we're doing, I should be out there and being asked hard questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEGALL: You know, now he'll have his chance on a public stage where lawmakers will be challenging the company about its tactics, its future, about the implications of technology that's essentially become the underlayer to many of our lives. Now, a source tells me, Zuckerberg has been prepping for this moment. He's obviously, not the first CEO to face harsh questioning on a public and often politicized stage. This is really a leadership moment, the source told me. You know, they said this is a moment of maturity for both Mark and the company.

Now, that moment will be seen by millions, you know. Folks in Silicon Valley, the media, and many Facebook users will be glued to their phones and T.V. sets to watch Zuckerberg on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the company essentially tries to regain user trust.

GALLAGHER: All right. Thank you, Laurie Segall. All right, still to come, exclusive new details about another adviser the President Trump that try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. We have more on that just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:05] BLACKWELL: The winds, strong. The hail, size of baseballs. Tornadoes possible. It's all out there and it does not sound like great weather for your spring break.

GALLAGHER: Yes. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, joining us now. Allison, what should the spring breakers expect that doesn't sound like the best forecast?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, it really doesn't. And it's going to be the same stuff that we saw yesterday. So, take for example, we had four reported tornadoes, about 30 damaging wind reports, and over 50 hail reports. And yes, several of those were the size of baseballs or even larger. Now, that system is going to actually push off to the east.

We're talking cities like Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head. Even stretching down towards Tampa and Orlando. These are big places that people visit for spring break. And unfortunately, they're going to be dealing with the same things we had yesterday, damaging winds, as well as hail and isolated tornadoes. So let's talk about the timing of this particular storm.

We've got two waves. The stronger wave is the wave that's going to make its way through first, we're talking late this morning into the afternoon, and then another wave behind it. That wave is just going to be rain. The problem is with both of those, that's going to add to the flooding concern. Not just for where the rain falls, but also all these rivers. We have that over 90 rivers potentially could reach minor flood stage over the coming days.

And look, you know, Victor, Dianne, I'm not a good golfer by any means, but I would say that strong to severe thunderstorms, gusty winds of 20 miles per hour, not exactly ideal conditions for golf, but that's what they'll going to have today at Augusta. 90% chance of storms and again, keep in mind that it's also going to have very gusty winds along with it.

BLACKWELL: That is a good guess, it's not going to be a great day for golfing.

GALLAGHER: I agree -- I agree, my four sister is there on the South Carolina coastline on spring break. So, Allison Chinchar, thanks for the not so great news there.

BLACKWELL: All right tonight, on our CNN original series, "SEX AND LOVE AROUND THE WORLD". It airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

GALLAGHER: Yes, Christiane Amanpour is talking with refugees who are living in Berlin about how they keep intimacy alive in their love and relationships. Christiane, here is a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[07:55:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sex is the form of expressing love.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Berlin,

Is he kinky?

Come on capital of Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So good.

AMANPOUR: Legendarily daring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want ludicrous, I want casual sex.

AMANPOUR: Did your family go naked?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sure.

AMANPOUR: And disciplined, even when recreating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know -- I don't know --

AMANPOUR: This is the city of love.

What about the whole idea of romantic love?

Do you have a good sex life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

AMANPOUR: Are you having enough sex?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: "SEX AND LOVE AROUND THE WORLD", the CNN original series airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?

END