Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Fires Back; Kaepernick Workout Postponed; 10-Year-Old Plea to Stop Bullying. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 13, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:49] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump is firing back at fired FBI Director James Comey after this revealing new interview and the tell-all book. At least excerpts of it have become public. The president this morning calling Comey a leaker and a liar and a slime ball. Those were just a few of the tweets this morning.

In his first interview, James Comey tells ABC News about the president's fixation with having the FBI try to disprove one of the most salacious details in that now infamous Russia dossier.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Says he may want me to investigate it to prove that it didn't happen and then he says something that distracted me because he said, you know, if there's even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that's true, that's terrible. And I -- and I remember thinking, how could your wife think there's a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow? I'm a flawed human being, but there's literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think there's only a 99 percent chance you didn't do that? And I said to him, sir, when he started talking about it, I may order you to investigate that. I said, sir, that's up to you, but you want to be careful about that because it might create a narrative that we're investigating you personally. And, second, it's very difficult to prove something didn't happen.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Did you believe his denial?

COMEY: I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It's possible, but I don't know.



Let's bring in CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd and CNN legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa. Both worked at the FBI.

Sorry, I'm tongue tied.

I don't know about you two, I feel uncomfortable. I mean is this -- Asha, are we -- is this befitting of a man, this kind of conversation, for a man who was seen as the consummate professional, a real straight shooter, to be weighing in on the president's marriage and all of these salacious details, Asha?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Alisyn, he's a private citizen now. And I guess he can comment in any way that he wants. If he wants to tell his side of the story and wants to get it out there, then that is his prerogative. I think that there can be both positive and negative repercussions of that approach.

CAMEROTA: Phil, how do you see it?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I see it differently. Look, I thought we were going to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP. Instead, we talk about peepee. I mean I can't believe this.

CAMEROTA: No, you didn't.

MUDD: But --

CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.

MUDD: I had to say that, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

MUDD: But -- but, I mean, I think Asha's right, he has the right to say whatever he wants.

I think the question is, whether it undercuts his credibility. He is a straight shooter. I think in Washington he's regarded as a man who's honorable. I think he tells the truth. But he comes across as someone with an edge of revenge. And I think people who will view the U.S. government, including the FBI, the CIA and others as somehow part of a deep state that want to -- that wants to undercut the president are going to find evidence of that in what James Comey said.

You're right, Asha, he has a right to say what he wants. But I think if he wants to focus on whether the president was doing something legally inappropriate, he's maybe diverging a little.

One quick comment, though, Alisyn, on that clip you just ran.

I don't know why he ever suggested to the president that he would investigate those rumors. Is there an allegation of legal wrongdoing? That's what the FBI investigates. They're not the investigative service of the president.

CAMEROTA: But did he suggest that he would investigate it or the president just asked him if he would do it. I didn't hear the part where he said, yes, we will investigate to sort of try to assuage the anxiety of Melania.

MUDD: Well, he said, if we did that, it could uncover different things. What he's supposed to say is, why would we do that? Is that a federal violation that we should be investigating? Why did he even open the door? I didn't get that.


But, Asha, I mean, I think that Phil has a point, which is, all of this other stuff, the juicy tidbits, the salacious stuff, doesn't that undermine I think the larger message of his book or why he felt compelled to write it, which was his point, that he does not believe that the sitting president of the United States understands the role of the FBI in the United States and he also doesn't think that the president of the United States had a real interest in uncovering what Russia did.

[08:35:15] So here's -- here's another moment. Listen to this.


COMEY: President-elect Trump's first question was to confirm that it had no impact on the election. And then the conversation, to my surprise, moved into a PR conversation about how the Trump team would position this and what they could say about this. They actually started talking about drafting a press release with us still sitting there. And the reason that was so striking to me is that, that's just not done. That the intelligence community does intelligence, the White House does PR and spin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said you were struck by what they didn't ask.

COMEY: Very much. No one, to my recollection, asked, so what -- what's coming next from the Russians? How might we stop it? What's the future look like? It was all, what can we say about what they did and how it affects the election that we just had.


CAMEROTA: What do you hear there, Asha?

RANGAPPA: Right. I -- and I just want to clarify, I don't disagree with anything that Phil said, and that's why I said there can be positive and negative repercussions in the sense that there might be things that could be illuminated and that are actually relevant, but it could politicize the situation and the FBI even further, which would not be a great effect.

And I have to say that this is one of the things, the clip that you just played, that I think is critical and I think it's important. It's what jumped out at me at Comey's testimony last June was when he testified that in his, I believe it was nine interactions with the president, that not once did the president ask what was going on with Russia and how we were countering that threat. It was always about how the investigation was help -- was impacting him.

And I think that we need to be concerned about that because we are facing a critical national security threat. And if that approach or that attitude is continuing, and it appears that it is, then we are woefully ill prepared to counter that threat and just take other measures. CAMEROTA: Well, I mean -- yes. I mean, Phil, there -- I think that

this is -- here is the rub, which is, if Comey had just stuck to that stuff, OK, if he had just stuck to the substance of his argument and his concerns about the future of the country, he wouldn't have sold as many books, but it might not have, a, politicized the FBI as much as this probably will and it might have been able to keep the focus on what Asha and I think you are saying are the most important revelations in here.

MUDD: That's right. And Asha nailed it.

Look, let me ask one question, and this is what Comey highlights in the book in that clip. In 15 months in office, has the president of the United States ever chaired a national security council meeting about one of -- I'd put it at least in the top three threats facing America, that is not only Russia, but Russia threats to the election? Has he hosted one meeting? I think that's one of the really critical takeaways from the book.

But, look, that's who James Comey is. He got out in the summer before the election after closing an investigation and talked about his personal views of Hillary Clinton. Why is that relevant? The investigation is relevant. He's the chief law enforcement officer for the United States. But his personal views on her behavior isn't relevant. That's who he is and I think that's what we're going to see when he rolls the book out this week, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: One last thing about that because so many people do associate James Comey with Hillary Clinton's frankly demise because when he went back and said that there might be this new cache of e- mails on Huma Abedin's laptop, you know, Hillary Clinton believes that that swayed the election, that that was the moment that she lost the election. So he touches on this in the book. And I just want to wrap up with this. He says, it is entirely possible that my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls, but I don't know.

I mean he, obviously, is still trying to explain that, Asha, to the American people.

RANGAPPA: Yes. And I think it's important for him to -- you know, I think it's -- within the FBI, I do think that both that and his commentary the previous summer when the -- about the conclusion of the investigation did leave the people that I know in the FBI incredibly conflicted because it really thrust the FBI into the political crosshairs, which is not a place that it was used to being before then. And so I think that having him reflect on that and perhaps take some accountability to the larger impact it had not just on the election but on the bureau is important.

CAMEROTA: OK. Asha, Phil, thank you both very much.

MUDD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Getting your perspective from inside is great.


[08:39:50] CUOMO: All right, a different story to tell you about. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is getting another shot. Guess with what team? But the comeback may hit a snag. We've got the details for you, next.


CUOMO: Colin Kaepernick will not be working out for the Seahawks in the immediate future, but reports over why the team postponed it began to surface yesterday.

So we have Lindsay Czarniak.

Welcome to the team. Good to see you.

You have more in the "Bleacher Report." What do we know?


Yes, that is true as the story continues to evolve. In fact, this morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting the Seahawks have signed a backup quarterback. So that's what we know. And it's not Colin Kaepernick. We learned yesterday the team postponed Kaepernick's workout, which had been scheduled for Monday. And initial reports were he declined to commit to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season.

The Seahawks told me they did reach out to Kaepernick's camp last week before the visit, but it was a broad question about his overall plan for off-field social activism. As for the Kaepernick side of things, a source close to the situation maintains the Seahawks did ask directly if he intended to kneel during the national anthem as part of on-field activism. Which Kaepernick wouldn't outline any future plans, the Seahawks then chose to postpone the workout.

[08:45:02] And despite all of this, the Seahawks yesterday said they were still discussing bringing him in, but it's likely to change given this news we're learning about the new backup quarterback.

And, by the way, the backup quarterback the team has reportedly signed, Steven Morris, has never played an NFL game, Alisyn. So this story continues to grow.

CAMEROTA: It really is interesting. I mean he has, I guess, the courage of his convictions, so he's not going to say one thing and do something different. Just interesting stuff. Thanks so much.

CZARNIAK: Absolutely. You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: A great report.

So, fourth grader Cassidy Warner shares her struggle with being bullied on Facebook, and it goes viral. And then it gets the attention of a Hollywood star. Cassidy and her father are going to join us to talk about it, next.


CUOMO: So let's talk about bullying. Any of the parents out there know that that problem hasn't gone away. We talk more about bullying, but the problem's still real, right? And we have too many schools that don't treat it the right way. And we have one of those stories now that has really raised awareness and we've got to make sure that action is taken as well.

[08:50:13] So, this very brave young lady, Cassidy Warner, says she's been bullied since the first grade. She's just 10 years old. But she decided to go on Facebook and make a public plea to make sure that no one has to go through what she has gone through and still is. Take a look at some of the video.


CUOMO: She set it to music. She never speaks. But she wrote out all these different little cards explaining what's happened to her since like the first grade and still goes on today and how bad it is and how little has been done.

Joining us now is, guess who, Cassidy Warner and her father, James Warner.

Thank you very much for being with me. Come on, give me a little thank you very much.

Thank you.

Now, you're nervous. You don't want to be on TV. But you also don't want to be bullied. And you don't want other kids to be bullied. So how hard was it for you to start a page and make a video?


CUOMO: Because, what were you worried about?

C. WARNER: I was just worried that like since I'm 10, like so young, that it would get deleted.

CUOMO: And that's a story for another day about what Facebook decides to delete or not. This 10-year-old saying not to bully gets deleted. But you put it out there. How surprised were you by how much attention it started to get?

C. WARNER: I was really surprised.

CUOMO: What did you think was going to happen?

C. WARNER: I didn't know what was going to happen, but I didn't think it was going to be like this.

CUOMO: And what did it mean to you that you started to hear from kids, parents, school teachers saying, good for you, be strong, we want you to do well and thank you?

C. WARNER: It meant a lot to me. And it like really made me brave, made me stronger.

CUOMO: What did it mean at school?

C. WARNER: What do you mean by that?

CUOMO: Like how did the kids there take it? How did the school take the video?

C. WARNER: They didn't like it and they called me a liar.

CUOMO: The kids? But you're telling the truth, right? And it's not just you who gets bullied, right?

C. WARNER: It's not just me.

CUOMO: And you've told the teachers? And your parents have gone to the people in charge of the school? And they didn't do enough about it then. But since the video, what have they done?

C. WARNER: They changed my recess so now I'm not in recess with the kids, but I'm still in class with them.

CUOMO: And you had kind of mixed feelings about that, right, because you didn't want your life to have to be changed. You were worried about the kids' lives being changed. So how is it now?

C. WARNER: The bullying is still going on, but it's just now in class. Like if the teacher calls on me and I say a wrong answer, they scream that I'm dumb or something like that.

CUOMO: What does the teacher say?

C. WARNER: The teacher just ignores it. She acts like she doesn't hear it, but I know she does.

CUOMO: And how does that make you feel?

C. WARNER: Like she doesn't care what her students are doing.

CUOMO: And this wasn't just words, right? You had kids follow you outside. Kids would try to beat you up, right? I'm sorry that that was happening to you. But it says something about who you are inside that you were willing to tell other people and stand up. It takes a lot of bravery. You're a lot more brave than those kids who gang up on you, I'll tell you that.

Now, you were surprised by this.


CUOMO: You didn't know she had the page. You didn't know that this video was out there and that this was going on. How hard is this for you? I know that there's nothing in the world -- you're a dad, just like me. If somebody goes at your kid, nothing hurts like that. What did this do?

J. WARNER: It devastated me. You know, when I saw the video, it just -- it floored me. I had no idea. And to -- I felt her pain watching the video, which just devastated me. It crushed me.

CUOMO: So you go to the school and you've got fire in your eyes. You want answers. What do they say?

J. WARNER: Actually, the school contacted me the following day after the video was posted.

CUOMO: After the video?


CUOMO: Right.

J. WARNER: To inform me that the video was posted to see if I was aware of it or not.


J. WARNER: And I told them, yes, I was aware of it.


J. WARNER: And we scheduled a meeting for that following Monday.

CUOMO: And in the meeting?

J. WARNER: That's when things got changed. Her recess got changed. Her lunch got changed.

CUOMO: Why make all the changes with her when she's not the problem?

J. WARNER: I was told it was because it's easier to change one child than it is to change a couple different kids.

CUOMO: And they wanted you to take the video down, right?

J. WARNER: Not in so many words, but that's pretty much, yes, what they kind of wanted. They hinted around to it, you know.

CUOMO: Have they done enough to make your child feel safe and be focused on what she's supposed to at school?

J. WARNER: I don't believe so. I don't think they'll ever do enough in that school to make her feel safe after everything that she's endured there already.

CUOMO: Well, listen, you've made it about you, but you've made it way bigger than you. Is it true that Hugh Jackman reached out on Facebook to you?


[08:55:00] CUOMO: The Hugh Jackman? Did you check it make sure it wasn't fake news, fake hack --


CUOMO: Wow. That -- look, that just tells you this message matters to a lot of people.

And thank you very much for letting people know. You let us know if it doesn't change for you at school. I promise you, we will stay and make sure that the people at that school do the right thing by you, do you understand?

C. WARNER: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: And, look, I can only feel for you as a father. I know you'll do anything for your daughter. Thank you for sharing this message.

J. WARNER: Thank you.

CUOMO: I know this isn't easy, but thank you, because people need to hear it.

J. WARNER: Thank you for having us.

CUOMO: All right, James, Cassidy. Now you're happy because it's over. I told you it would be easier than you thought.

Alisyn, over to you.

CAMEROTA: As if I could love Hugh Jackman any more. Wow. And I love Cassidy too and her dad. Thank you guys all very much.

Listen to this story. Amanda Boxtel was an athlete, a dancer and an avid skier, but all of that changed in the blink of an eye for this week's CNN Hero. Still, Amanda felt inspired to turn her pain into purpose. Watch this.


AMANDA BOXTEL: Twenty-six years ago I went out skiing and I remember I somersaulted and landed on my back. And I knew in that instant that I was paralyzed. But I was determined to show that I wasn't going to give up so easily. I was inspired to create a program that could gift mobility to anyone that has a neurological impairment.


CAMEROTA: To see more of Amanda's story, go to

All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman is going to pick up after this very quick break. Have a great weekend.