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GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Says Congress Should Debate Military Force Against Syria; French President: "Proof" Assad Is Behind Syria Chemical Attack; House GOP Leaders Given Access To Document That Started Russia Probe; Rep. Adam Schiff Discusses FBI Warrant Revealing First Known Direct Mention Of Trump; Justice Department Wraps Its Case In AT&T-Time Warner Trial. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 12, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH), CO-FOUNDER, HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: -- greatest nation ever, the United States Constitution.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But then where's the leadership on it? I mean, look, we're about to have a conversation about the minutia of proof and exacting standards before an investigation can go forward.

JORDAN: Yes.

CUOMO: Many of you guys are calling for the proof that Assad did this and the plan of what happens once we strike, assuming you want to give it legal authority. I hear nothing from anybody.

And if it is going to happen tonight well, then what? How would you stop it?

JORDAN: No, we --

CUOMO: Who's going to speak up? Who will --

JORDAN: Look --

CUOMO: Who will die on this hill other than U.S. service members who may pay the price for any action?

JORDAN: Well look, I'm speaking about it right now. You're asking me questions about it. There are other members of Congress doing the same thing but we need to have this debate, so let's have this debate. Let's figure out exactly what took place here.

But if it did happen, and it sure looks like it did, there should be a response. But let's have the debate --

CUOMO: I hear it.

JORDAN: -- we're supposed to have.

CUOMO: I hear it but I'm just saying every action has a reaction, the stakes are high.

The White House didn't put any statement about Russians and Americans coming into contact there on the ground and how the deconfliction line didn't hold up. That's not the kind of thing that you can have go by if you're going to have blood and treasure on the line.

But you made your point. Let's see how you follow through on it. Thank you.

JORDAN: Yes.

CUOMO: Now, in terms of what was released to members of the committee about why the probe was started, what did they learn? What do you think about it?

JORDAN: Well, I haven't seen it and the only ones that are getting to see it are Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy and potentially, other members of the Intelligence Committee.

But what bothers me so much is why is it so hard? Why are the elected members of Congress -- is it so difficult for us to see information but yet, the other elected people can see the unredacted versions all the time? That's what bothers me.

So look, this is a good step in the right direction.

But they've got a lot better job to do over there at the Justice Department before members of Congress are going to be satisfied. The way they've tried to comply with document requests over the past five months has been pathetic and it has to change, and I think it has to change in a matter of days, not weeks or months. It has to change dramatically and it has to change quickly.

CUOMO: Do you think it's political or do you think it's systemic?

JORDAN: I think it's -- I don't know, but it's wrong. That's what I think. I mean, we met with the new guy, this John Lausch. He came in and met with Congressman Meadows and I and a few other attorneys from the Justice Department.

And I asked him, Chris, four simple questions.

What's the universe of documents we're entitled to see? What's the standard for determining those documents when we get them? What's the steps involved in the process? And, when do you think we're finally going to get them?

His answer to all four questions, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. That does not exactly inspire confidence because they've been doing this for five months. So they've got to improve dramatically or I think everything is on the table as far as actions from Congress go.

CUOMO: Well, I mean, look, you get a big amen in terms of more transparency -- more, better. You know, that's fine. You're going to get an amen on that.

But jumping to well, we've got to take action if we don't transparency makes an assumption about why they're not giving you the documents. That you'll have to satisfy with some kind of proof.

Why don't you just call Devin Nunes and say hey, do you like what they gave you, do you not like what they gave you, because he is not in the habit of keeping things quiet when they play to his advantage.

JORDAN: Yes, but why can't we see them? Why can't we seem them?

CUOMO: Well, that's a separate issue. I agree with you. I agree with you --

JORDAN: Why can't --

CUOMO: -- but it's a separate issue.

JORDAN: Why can't we see the -- why can't we see the application taking on the --

CUOMO: I agree with your take but it's a separate issue.

JORDAN: Well, why can't we see the --

CUOMO: Your man has seen them. He's in the habit of saying things that are advantageous to the perspective that this is all bogus, so why hasn't he come out --

JORDAN: Well, Chris --

CUOMO: -- and why haven't you asked him?

JORDAN: Why is the Executive Branch telling a separate and equal branch of government -- the people directly elected by the American people to the United States Congress -- they can't see information --

CUOMO: I hear you on that.

JORDAN: -- to answer valid questions?

Why does Rod Rosenstein get to write a letter on August second of last year changing the parameters of Mueller's investigation and it's all redacted? Congress can't see it.

I mean, this is the part that drives Americans crazy, particularly when you think about the underlying concerns here.

CUOMO: Well, that's one thing that frustrates Americans.

JORDAN: That this is a dossier to a FISA court -- a dossier that was a salacious, unproven dossier made to look like it --

CUOMO: No, parts were unproven.

JORDAN: It made it look like it was --

CUOMO: Parts were salacious.

JORDAN: -- legitimate intelligence. Didn't tell the court two important things, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes.

JORDAN: Didn't tell the court who paid for it, didn't tell the court that the author of the --

CUOMO: That's not true.

JORDAN: The author of the work product has his relationship terminated with the FBI for what reason? He leaked information.

So they tell us you can't get this, Congress, because you're going to leak information or for whatever reason. And yet, the very guy that wrote the document that they took to the FISA court to get the warrant was leaking information and has it -- his relationship terminated with the FBI.

CUOMO: The --

JORDAN: That's what so ridiculous about this.

CUOMO: The reporting is that they did reveal the source of the information and if Christopher Steele --

JORDAN: Chris, when you read that --

CUOMO: -- were --

JORDAN: When you read that --

CUOMO: Hold on a second.

JORDAN: -- it's the most convoluted say that -- way to say that --

CUOMO: Hold on a second.

JORDAN: -- and you can't even understand what they're trying to communicate.

CUOMO: Jim, I hear your point on the Congressman.

What I'm saying is one, they did -- reportedly, they did expose it. I haven't seen the FISA app, neither have you, but they say they did expose that to the judge. It was a number of judges that kept recertifying this.

If Steele was dismissed for leaking that doesn't mean his information isn't true. And to undermine the FISA process --

JORDAN: But it sure colors the source if you break a cardinal rule. Fundamental rule --

CUOMO: I would argue it's -- I would argue it's irrelevant.

JORDAN: -- leak to the press.

CUOMO: I would argue it's irrelevant that leaking the information --

JORDAN: It's irrelevant --

CUOMO: -- may be bad practice, may be bad decorum. I don't even know if he did it but if that's -- if that's what happened, that's what it is. But, you need to have more than that to undermine the legitimacy of a FISA --

[07:35:02] JORDAN: But it certainly goes to the element of trust. It certainly undermines the element of trust when the informant --

CUOMO: Well, I'll give you that, but if you want to talk about trust, Congressman, why would you be questioning something that the entire Intelligence Community says happened? That there was Russian interference --

JORDAN: I'm not questioning that.

CUOMO: -- that was intentional and purposeful. Well, that's what started the probe. What more do you need to know?

JORDAN: I'm not questioning that. I'm questioning the fact that what started the probe was this Papadopoulos issue and this electronic communication issue that Devin just got access to yesterday that I haven't seen. And what I'm questioning is --

CUOMO: All right.

JORDAN: -- when you take an opposition research document to a FISA court, don't tell them who paid for it and don't tell them about the author.

CUOMO: It's only part of their allegation. When you -- when you --

JORDAN: It was the lead --

CUOMO: -- overweight it that way it makes it seem like there's a trust issue on that argument.

JORDAN: I'm not overweighting it. It was the lead element. It was the lead element.

CUOMO: You don't know that because you haven't seen it. You can't know that. We haven't seen it, but let's leave that part there until you get more information.

JORDAN: Trey Gowdy has seen it and he has told us that. Trey Gowdy has seen it and he told us that.

CUOMO: That's not good enough for me. That's not good enough for me. I would want to see it myself.

JORDAN: And he -- I've seen the footnote where they try to explain --

CUOMO: All right, I've got to go. Jim, I've got to go. When we get more information you are always welcome to debate it but I've got a time restriction.

JORDAN: Good to be here.

CUOMO: Be well, take care.

JORDAN: Thanks. Good to see you, brother.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to talk more about that in the show.

Meanwhile, the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape is back. It's reportedly a focus of an FBI warrant that names President Trump for the first time.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intel Committee, will discuss that and more, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:40:15] CAMEROTA: Sources tell CNN that an FBI warrant names President Trump in the raids conducted against the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen. This is the first known direct mention of the president in a warrant.

CNN also has learned that the FBI is looking into the president's communications with Michael Cohen over that old "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape.

Let's discuss this and more with Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Good morning, Congressman.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: In your eyes, how does the fact that the president is named for the first time in this search warrant of Michael Cohen's belongings at his home and his office -- how does that change the investigation?

SCHIFF: Well, I think it changes the investigation in this way.

He would be of interest in that kind of search warrant if there was an effort to buy off these stories. To pay hush money to make the story about the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape go away or the story about Stormy Daniels go away. That's the campaign nexus that they might be looking for so naturally, it would make sense to mention the president as a presidential candidate.

There's another possibility that the timing of the release of the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape and the timing of the WikiLeaks disclosure of the John Podesta e-mails is of interest, though I think that's less likely to be the case because that would be more in the wheelhouse of Bob Mueller. And that he referred it to the Southern District of New York indicates

to me that he thought this was more about the payment of hush money than it was about the timing or whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks' disclosure of these Russian- hacked documents.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about Bob Mueller's investigation because you tweeted something interesting yesterday.

You said, "The president considers firing the attorney general, deputy AG, and special counsel and the House Intel chair considers impeaching the FBI director -- all to obstruct an investigation into wrongdoing by the president or those around him. Speaker Paul Ryan's response, I'm outta here."

Are you connecting these two? Are you saying that Paul Ryan is leaving because this investigation has become such a cloud over Capitol Hill?

SCHIFF: Well, I think part of the reason he's leaving is that the way the GOP has run Washington for the last year and a quarter is in complete shambles. You have the president's allies urging him essentially to obstruct justice. You have kind of a rogue operation by the chairman of the Intel Committee to attack the FBI, attack the Department of Justice.

Basically, end the Russia investigation but continue with the renewed vigor all of these counter-investigations, and it's dragging down the GOP and they're going to pay for it in the midterms.

And I think the speaker decided rather than fight this, rather than speak up for a system of checks and balances, rather than take on the president, he would rather just leave before the ship comes crashing to the shore.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, that's just your observation, right? You don't -- he hasn't shared that with you. That's just your observation that you think that he's jumping off now.

SCHIFF: Certainly. I mean, this is not something that the speaker has confided in me but it doesn't take all that much imagination to see that a great many of the Republicans, both in the Capitol and outside, see their prospects in the midterms declining every day and it's because of all of this.

In part, it's because of the president's lack of character, but it's also because the House has governed in such a way it hasn't produced anything of value to the American people and I think all that contributed to his decision.

CAMEROTA: So the chairman of your committee who you just brought up, Devin Nunes -- he got access yesterday to this document, right, that originated the FBI's investigation of the Russia probe, OK? And that sounds really important.

Do you know what it is that Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy saw in that document?

SCHIFF: Well, I've seen the document in its redacted form and I'll see today the less redacted form that was shown with -- to our chairman. But the general outlines of it are pretty clear and I think it's already been the subject of our report as well as the majority's report that the investigation began with George Papadopoulos, not with the Steele dossier.

So, you know, I think this is like so many times before, an effort to distract detection by picking a fight with the Department of Justice, by suggesting that the Department of Justice and the FBI are acting improperly.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, we just had Jim Jordan on. I'm sorry to interrupt you but just on that point we did have Jim Jordan who just said that they were really reluctant to turn over that unredacted or less-redacted portion and it was sort of like pulling teeth.

And that, you know, they felt why aren't -- why -- when elected representatives want to see something that they think is vital why is it so hard to get it out of the FBI.

[07:45:12] SCHIFF: Well, what Mr. Jordan didn't tell you is that this is always the case. The Department of Justice doesn't share, by and large, investigative files with the Congress. It doesn't tell the Congress what it's investigating or the scope of its investigation.

The degree to which James Comey shared information about the Clinton e-mail investigation was extraordinarily unusual and a violation of the Department of Justice policy.

So, they're adhering to the policy now and members of Congress are complaining about that. And they're only, I think, violating that policy because they're being threatened with contempt or even impeachment.

But what they're doing is what they do generally which is protect their investigative equities by not disclosing more than they have to, to either the public -- and this is not only to protect their investigation but also to protect those that are under investigation. So nothing they've done here is unusual.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

SCHIFF: What Congress is doing is what's unusual.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, do you think that now that Chairman Nunes has seen that less-redacted portion do you think that the talk of impeachment of Chris Wray is over?

SCHIFF: Well, it's over for the moment. This was just the most recent pretext to be impugning the credibility of the people working at the FBI.

Sadly, many of the Republicans in Congress, including our chair, have decided the best way to protect the president is to tear down these institutions. And indeed, that's what his allies not only in Congress are doing but they're going on Fox to say fire Rosenstein, fire the attorney general. Do whatever you have to do to obstruct the investigation.

It's astonishing to me that the president's allies are urging the President of the United States to obstruct justice. They're making no bones about it. They're saying you should fire these people because they're investigating you, and what's more, that's a danger to you because they may find what they're looking for.

That is breathtakingly irresponsible and it's putting our country on the path to crisis.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right.

So, the government's star witness takes the stand in the AT&T and Time Warner case. What the -- what he says the potential megamerger could mean for you. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:51:38] CAMEROTA: It's time for "CNN Money Now."

First, Wall Street worried about a trade war. Now, it's the potential of a real war.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is in our Money Center with more. What are you seeing?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Yes, buckle up here.

You know, the Dow, yesterday, fell more than 200 points after the president threatened Russian about an airstrike in Syria. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq also fell. Global stocks then took the ball, dropped overnight. The concern for investors, possible escalation.

But then, futures have now jumped. They are higher after the president, this morning, tweeted that a strike on Syria may not be imminent.

This could all change, guys, as the story keeps developing this morning and as world leaders weigh in on the Syria chemical attack and the potential responses.

Now, conflict in the Middle East is already raising oil prices. Oil prices up two percent to the most expensive in four years. The fear is a disruption in oil output and that could mean higher gas prices. It wasn't just geopolitical concerns though at play in the market here. Inflation worries also hurt stocks. The Federal Reserve thinks inflation will rise, hitting its target inflation rate in the near future, so the Fed will raise interest rates faster than planned.

Wall Street is really addicted to low rates. They have helped fuel stocks rise since the recession.

What do higher rates mean for you? Of course, interest rates affect borrowing costs, raising the rate on things like credit cards, and mortgages, and auto loans, and savings accounts.

So a lot going on. I do think, Chris, Syria front and center here. Watch these headlines and developments this morning. That could really dictate the direction of the stock market today.

CUOMO: Thank you very much, Christine Romans. We will now that you've told us to.

The U.S. government is calling its star witness and wrapping its case in chief in a marathon day of testimony at the AT&T-Time Warner trial. The Justice Department, remember, is suing to block the proposed megamerger. Time Warner, of course, owns CNN.

Joining us now is "CNN POLITICS" media and business reporter Hadas Gold.

So this is the biggie. What do we expect?

HADAS GOLD, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER, "CNN POLITICS": Well, the star witness for the government testified yesterday and, like you said, it was more than six hours of testimony.

And his main takeaways, he's done this big analysis of how he thinks the merger will affect consumers because at the end of the day this entire trial is about how the government thinks that this would affect the everyday consumer and how much they pay to watch their television and watch their shows -- watch the news, watch sports.

And he said that by 2021, U.S. consumers will be paying something like $571 million more in just that year for cable because of this merger. Now, he's done a lot of modeling and economic analysis.

And this guy's a very well-respected professor from U.C. Berkeley. He actually worked under the Obama administration, both in the White House and in the Justice Department as an economist, so he clearly knows his stuff.

And what AT&T then tried to do in cross-examination was poke holes in some of his modeling and ask him things like why aren't you using real-world data. We have testimony from witnesses who said that certain things wouldn't affect their negotiations but your model says that it does.

It was very intense, it was very long, and there was a lot of math flying around. And even the judge himself said, you know, this stuff isn't really intuitive. I'm going to have to re-read all of this testimony before I make my decision.

CAMEROTA: OK, Hadas, thank you very much. We'll look forward to seeing what happens next.

Meanwhile, we are staying, of course, on top of the breaking news. France's president says he has proof that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. We have a live report from Syria for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:58:44] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We do start this hour with breaking news. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he has proof that the Assad regime is behind the chemical attack in Syria. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it's quote "obvious this was Assad's doing." And the U.K. cabinet is meeting to approve whether the Brits will be involved in any military response.

CUOMO: All of this comes as President Trump tweets that he never said when airstrikes on Syria might take place, if at all.

All eyes now on President Trump's National Security Council meeting today. Will President Trump order a military response today? Can he do that without consulting Congress and getting authorization?

Let's begin with CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh live in northern Syria. You are in the best and the worst place to be right now. What is the situation on the ground?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we can look at Donald Trump's tweets -- President Trump's tweets as a bit of an outlier really of the messaging we're seeing from his allies, quite coordinated in laying the blame squarely at the foot of the Assad regime.

President Emmanuel Macron, of France, clear that he believes and says he has proof that a chemical weapon or at least chlorine was used in the attack in Douma over the weekend which killed 40 people and affected about 500 or so. Now that is important because the specific nature of the gas is key here.