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Nunes And Gowdy Set To Meet With DOJ Officials On Intel Source Documents; Georgia Democrat Wins Chance To Become Nation's First Black Woman Governor; Congress Approves Dodd-Frank Rollback; Trump: "Spygate" Could Be One Of The Biggest Political Scandals In History. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 23, 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] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: How can it help?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: The question, Chris, is real simple.

We want to know if, in fact -- and it sure looks like this was the case -- if, in fact, there were informants around the edges of the Trump campaign talking to people loosely affiliated with the Trump campaign, if it was some kind of spy, some kind of informant some kind of plant.

CUOMO: But we know it wasn't an implant. You know already. They told you it wasn't.

JORDAN: They told -- the same Department of Justice who -- when they gave us documents, had redacted -- between Page and Strzok text messages had redacted the fact that Peter Strzok was friends with one of the FISA court judges who also happened to be the same judge who heard Michael Flynn's case.

We're supposed to trust that Department of Justice who was trying to hide that -- trying to hide that information from us?

CUOMO: By your guy, Christopher Wray. It's overseen by your guy, Jeff Sessions, and Rod Rosenstein.

JORDAN: But Chris, the credibility of the Department of Justice --

CUOMO: These are all your people.

JORDAN: The credibility of the Department of Justice, in light of that fact -- the fact that they've dragged their feet to give us the information we're entitled to as a separate, equal branch of government.

They tried to hide the fact that Peter Strzok had a relationship with one of the FISA judges who was the same judge who heard Michael Flynn's case and recused himself, by the way.

CUOMO: But you only know that because of what the I.G. has been figuring out. That's my point, Jim, is you have the inspector general.

JORDAN: He figured it out --

CUOMO: You know that they can do this job. They have a big, capable staff.

JORDAN: Chris, you're missing the point.

CUOMO: Why politicize it? That was what my question was.

JORDAN: Of course, the I.G. -- the I.G. found the text messages but when the Department of Justice gave us those copies of the text messages they redacted what I just described as --

CUOMO: That's not unusual and you know that.

JORDAN: Well --

CUOMO: It's not true proof of perfidy.

JORDAN: But why would you redact that? It had nothing to do with an ongoing investigation, it wasn't classified information. Because it was --

CUOMO: Because they have intelligence considerations. We've had this struggle with them my entire career.

JORDAN: You know (INAUDIBLE). Come on.

CUOMO: It doesn't mean that it's necessarily perfidious -- that it's dishonest.

Look, we'll have to know more. It's just about the mechanism. And you know we'll keep talking about this with you. I'm anxious for you to make the case.

And I don't know how tomorrow's going to make anything better but let's see what happens. Let's be almost irrationally optimistic about it and then let's come back together and figure out what we know.

Jim Jordan --

JORDAN: We'll do it.

CUOMO: -- thank you for making the case.

JORDAN: You bet.

CUOMO: I appreciate it.

JORDAN: You bet, thanks.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. She made history in last night's Georgia primary, so how does Stacey Abrams plan to become the nation's first black female governor? She joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:36:11] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: This is our moment -- our chance to lift up Georgia. And if we fight, if we push, if we work, we will win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That was Stacey Abrams making history, becoming America's first African-American woman to be nominated for governor.

The Democrat is now preparing for a fierce battle in November in the deep red state of Georgia, and Stacey Abrams joins us now. Good morning, Ms. Abrams.

ABRAMS: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: You're making history right and left. You're also Georgia's first black nominee for governor.

How are you feeling this morning?

ABRAMS: I'm excited. I'm exhausted but excited. It's been an amazing night and we've got a lot of work to do. We've got a tough race ahead but we can win.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about how you can win, OK? So let's look at some possible pertinent stats for what you're up against, OK, in November.

So, there are 51 -- 58 percent of Georgia is white. Obviously, no reason white voters won't vote for you except that some of those white voters are in rural areas and they've given up on the Democratic Party. They've switched affiliations in recent years.

The turnout yesterday -- the Democrats -- for Democrats, there were 553,000 votes; Republicans got 607,000 votes. So just explain how the math of all of this works for you.

ABRAMS: The big part of our campaign and what we are so excited about with that 500,000-plus number is that's unprecedented turnout for a Democratic primary in a midterm.

And what we know is this is just the tip of the iceberg because we are building a coalition of voters -- a coalition of white voters, of voters of color. And the reality is rural Georgia is as diverse as urban Georgia -- suburban Georgia.

Our mission is to bring together Democrats of every wing, of every community, as well as independent thinkers because we know that together we have the coalition we need to win. We're talking about 200,000-250,000 votes. There are more than enough of us to get to victory.

CAMEROTA: In 2000, George W. Bush won the state by 12 points. In 2012, Romney won by eight points. In 2016, Donald Trump won by five points.

Things are going in your direction but they're not there yet. I mean, it's still considered a deep red state.

Do you see something that pollsters don't?

ABRAMS: I absolutely do. I think that we are a blue state, we're just a little confused. We haven't had candidates who have done the work of really lifting up every voice.

We're not going to win trying to put together the old guard coalition. We have a new opportunity because Georgia has changed dramatically in the last 15 years and we know that if we take advantage of that change we can actually get to victory.

CAMEROTA: You have an interesting background.

You are a Yale Law School graduate. You've run a small business -- financial services firm. You've written a series of romance novels -- that's interesting. You don't often say that about a gubernatorial candidate.

At what point did you think yes, I can be Georgia's first black, female governor?

ABRAMS: I thought about running for governor when I joined the Legislature because I know that the governor has the ability to affect the lives of millions of Georgians. To advance the issues of health care and access to education, to protect women's rights, and to make certain that civil rights are available to all.

That's an incredibly powerful job and I've had the privilege as the House Democratic leader to be a part of making history for the last 11 years and I look forward to making even more history for real Georgians so they have access to all of the things they need under the next administration.

CAMEROTA: You didn't mention there gun control or fighting gun violence or immigration, and I think that those were some of the issues that animated the Republican side of the race.

So where are you on those?

ABRAMS: I am proud to only ever have gotten D's and F's from the NRA -- the only bad grades my parents have ever been proud of. And I'm very proud of the fact that I believe every resident in the state of Georgia deserves our protection.

[07:40:07] I am deeply ashamed of the xenophobic and racist rhetoric that's coming out of the other side and I want everyone to understand that Georgia is a welcoming place. We can't seek to be the number one place to business when people are terrified of being within our borders. And I know that as the next governor, I will make certain everyone knows that they're welcome in our Georgia.

CAMEROTA: But do you think that that's where the voters of Georgia are? I mean, look, these are issues that obviously have scared people. I mean, we've seen this.

Obviously, President Trump ran on some of this. He was elected.

We hear people all the time who feel anxious about their states being encroached upon, their culture, their jobs.

ABRAMS: And again, I think there's a faction of the country that has that feeling. But I think there are many more people, especially in Georgia, who understand that immigration has helped build our state.

Agriculture is one of our -- is our number one industry. We have relied heavily on immigrant farmworkers to come in and help bring our crops to market. We are a state that has built our small businesses using immigrants and their ingenuity.

But we're also a state that has always understood that we are more than just one thing. We are not a single-issue state and we have a very diverse and rich coalition.

And that's why I'm so excited about winning because I know that if we knit together that coalition, if we go outside of Atlanta and we go to the small communities -- the suburbs -- that we have enough people in Georgia of goodwill, of good ambition that we can work together to win this election.

CAMEROTA: And from where you sit having campaigned as you have out with all sorts of people from across the street, what do you think of the state of race relations in Georgia?

ABRAMS: I think that it's an important statement that I stand here today. That I am the first African-American and the first woman.

But more importantly, I'm a Georgian who understands that I want Latino and the Asian Pacific Islander community -- that I want every community in Georgia to feel that they have a voice in our government. That they have a voice in the future of our state.

And what I think we see in the results in how close Democratic performance was to Republican performance, it shows that those voices are being lifted up.

Our campaign was grounded on the idea that if we invest in those voices people will lift them up and they will vote, and we have seen that already and we look forward to expanding that heading into November.

CAMEROTA: OK, last, is there anything applicable from writing romance novels to running for governor?

ABRAMS: Absolutely. Part of my job is to understand the diversity of our state.

I've written novels about chemical physicists and about grifters, and about writers, and what I know is that it's about telling a good story. And the good story for Georgia is that our future is bright and with the right leadership everyone can participate and we'll all have the freedom and opportunity to thrive.

CAMEROTA: And I'm told occasionally, there are even some romances that pop up on campaigns, so maybe there's new material.

ABRAMS: There you go.

CAMEROTA: Stacey Abrams, thank you very much for sharing us with your positions and perspective on all of this.

ABRAMS: Thank you so much for having me.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right.

They were rules designed to prevent another financial crisis but now, they've been overturned by the House and are heading to the president's desk. What the easing of certain bank regulations means for your wallet, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:47:06] CUOMO: Time for "CNN Money Now."

This year marks a decade since the financial crisis. Now, Congress is rolling back some of the rules adopted in its wake.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans in our Money Center with more. What is the plus-minus?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Well, you know, the plus is for small banks here.

Weaker financial rules on the way to the president's desk right now. The House, yesterday Chris, voted in favor of a bipartisan Senate bill that rolls back parts of Dodd-Frank.

The centerpiece here, easing rules on community banks. Republicans and moderate Democrats say Dodd-Frank hurts these banks -- strict regulations there stifling lending.

So the bill raises the threshold for federal oversight from about $50 billion to $250 billion. That leaves only the very biggest banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America -- they're the ones with the biggest, toughest scrutiny here.

Senate banking chair Mike Crapo says this will help community banks spur economic growth and create jobs on Main Street. But progressives warn any rollback could trigger another financial crisis. They were outnumbered here. This bill is not just bank oversight. It also loosens regulations for mortgage lenders, it changes the rules for student loan default, and it makes credit freezes free for every American. Free for every one of you whose data was exposed, like in the Equifax breach last year.

The bill now heads to the president. He is expected to sign it before Memorial Day.

Congress is cutting regulations, by the way, at the very moment, banks report their best quarter in history. Never have been made so much money. Profits soared to a record $56 billion, Alisyn, in the first quarter.

CAMEROTA: The rich get richer.

ROMANS: Bank investors are loving it -- wowie.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, thank you very much.

The president tweeting about the supposed spy scandal, as he calls it. "The New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman is here with what her sources are telling her about what's going on inside the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:12] CUOMO: The president is tweeting in high gear. He wants you to believe that his campaign was spied on and it's one of the worst things that we've ever seen from government.

He's taking on former members of the Intelligence Community as well, in the form of James Clapper -- bold claims. Listen to this.

"Spygate could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!"

CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman joins us now.

Now, as Alisyn and I always kind of have confused conversations about, he could just pick up the phone and know the truth of what was done and not done. Now, what he chooses to do with that information is up to him.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right.

CUOMO: He is taking another path and it is a path of distraction and of spreading negative possibilities.

HABERMAN: Yes.

CUOMO: We know that they came out and said -- the Feds -- there was no implant.

HABERMAN: Right. CUOMO: We know they see spy as a pejorative, in general, but this is our clearest indication recently that he wants people to believe something that distracts from Mueller, that hurts that probe, and he's going all in apparently.

HABERMAN: Not only is he going all in, I think what he did this week is actually substantially different than what we have seen him do in the past in terms of his aggressive attempts to undermine the federal law enforcement agencies that were both looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and then, obviously, the Mueller probe that has continued on.

What he did in terms of trying to set the terms by which he could learn information that related to the investigation into his own campaign this week. We saw him consult with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and then issue a directive to the Department of Justice based on that.

That is shocking and that is something that -- try to imagine if President Clinton or President Obama or President George W. Bush did that what the reaction would be. And right now, it's getting a relative shrug because we have seen so much of this.

[07:55:08] He is doing more than just sort of sending up a flare. This is the President of the United States telling people don't believe what this federal government is doing, and that has very, very dangerous consequence.

CAMEROTA: This is also called in other corners -- what he's calling spying -- good police work.

When the Australian government calls the FBI and tells them --

HABERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- we have very good reason to believe --

HABERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- that somebody on the periphery of the Trump campaign has been infiltrated or has been at least influenced --

HABERMAN: That's right.

CAMEROTA: -- by the Russians, what does he want the FBI to do with that information?

HABERMAN: Well, to your point, what we are seeing him do is what we have seen him do with a bunch of different industries at a bunch of different points, which is rip things from context. Take normal process for whatever that industry is and then make it sound sinister and make it sound like it's bad.

There is, as far as we know, nothing that was done wrong here. That does not mean that the FBI does everything perfect. That does not mean that people should not be questioning of authority. But what he is doing is say throw everything out except for what I tell you because my voice is the only one you can believe. And that, again, is very dangerous.

CUOMO: It's interesting here in terms of what's going on. I mean, if he didn't have so many people around him saying and doing things that raise suspicions --

HABERMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- this wouldn't have gone on.

And we have to remember, the FBI, from James Comey's own mouth, said we made a decision not to say anything about the Trump probe and then he gives explanations about he didn't want to alert people that --

HABERMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- they were being looked at -- whatever.

He only talked about the Clinton one so you have to ask what is the basis for why they were looking.

What is the context --

HABERMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- of Trump's grievance?

Now, we should get answers tomorrow but for some reason, they decided to poison that well by just having Nunes and Gowdy --

HABERMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- go. I don't know why they're doing that. We were just talking about it with Jim Jordan.

Doesn't it make it like zero chance that whatever reckoning they come out of that meeting with will be unsatisfying?

HABERMAN: Sure. It makes it -- it makes it that only one group of partisans is likely to be happy with the results and by default, another group that didn't get to see the information is going to unhappy -- they will understandably be unhappy.

And it will allow Republicans and the president to say Democrats are just whining. They're assuming most people are just going to hear the complaint and not look at the actual underlying complaint and what it's about.

Again, we are going -- we are going toward I think a dangerous path.

That is not to say that James Comey does not have legitimate questions that need to be asked of him about the stories he has told about why he did what he did as the FBI director in terms of his investigations. That does not mean that the president's lawyers who have sought to

make a real issue of Comey's credibility -- that doesn't mean that they don't have some points to make.

But again, everything becomes, therefore, anything that was ever done is tainted. That is their entire argument and I think that's very problematic.

CAMEROTA: And, in fact, I find this one particularly strange because having interviewed so many diehard Trump supporters, they like evidence. They look for it. Sometimes they find the wrong evidence online but they want something to hang their hat on.

And the idea that he's providing no evidence that this isn't just standard operating police work or that -- he's not getting anything. This is just -- he's calling it a different name.

HABERMAN: Well, what he does is he actually -- I mean, I would argue it a little differently.

CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead.

HABERMAN: I think that he and some of his supporters have a conclusion in mind and then they look for evidence to back that conclusion, and I think that's exactly what he's doing.

CAMEROTA: The conclusion is deep state, in this case, from all of us.

HABERMAN: The conclusion is there's a conspiracy to undermine me, to try to delegitimize my election. They -- whoever they are -- are coming at me and therefore, they're coming at you. That is what he is saying.

CUOMO: More questions, please stay. We're at the top of the hour. Let's reset and let's keep the conversation going, OK? Good.

Good morning. So nice we'll say it twice.

Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, May 23rd, 8:00 in the east.

Let's reset where we are at this hour, all right?

The president is on a tweetstorm this morning, fast and furiously hitting the keys to make unproven claims of something that he is now calling "Spygate."

We have no proof of any spy. The federal government has said there was no spy, but the characterization is helpful to the president.

Just minutes ago, he made this now a thing and he is saying that this is the worst scandal, potentially, in American history.

A little earlier, the president tweeted, "Look how things have turned around on the criminal deep state." Remember, he's talking about the Department of Justice. "They go after phony collusion with Russia." You know that that's not

a substantiated claim.

"A made-up scam," which I don't know what he's talking about.

"And end up getting caught in a major spy scandal the likes of which this country may never have never seen before. What goes around comes around."

CAMEROTA: Still with us, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent Maggie Haberman.

Maggie, how's all this playing inside the White House?

HABERMAN: Look, inside the White House it has been a -- it has been a storm of the president yelling about leaks. He's been very agitated about it for weeks.

I realize some people are saying no, no, he's not really upset about, he barely focuses on it. That is not true.