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Trump Cancels Summit with North Korea But Says Could Still Happen; Intelligence Officials Brief Lawmakers on FBI "Source"; New White House Attorney Attends Meeting at Justice Department; Trump Cancels Summit with North Korea after Republicans Nominate for Noble Peace Prize; Rep. Steve King Introduces Bill to Jail Officials Tipping Off Undocumented Immigrants of ICE Sweeps; Interview with Rep. Steve King. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired May 24, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think he's kind of realizing that the groundwork needs to be done first, and it just wasn't.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're getting more information even as we speak.
So stick around. We have more to discuss.
We're also following other breaking news right now. The U.S. Justice Department holding not one, but two highly classified briefings after the president's furious and unproven claims that the FBI planted a spy in his presidential campaign. We'll help put the conspiracy theories to rest, or not. We'll get a live report. Stick around.
BLITZER: We're tracking two closed-door meetings about one explosive but unproven claim that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign. We're waiting to hear about the first meeting that has just wrapped up. These pictures show Republican lawmakers arriving last hour. Congressmen Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy were briefed about a confidential intelligence source in the Russian investigation, a source that the president claims was a spy. The House Speaker Paul Ryan was also attending that briefing along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. At the last minute, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was also invited. Schiff also plans to attend the second briefing in the next hour.
Let's go to our justice reporter, Laura Jarrett. She's at the Justice Department.
Laura, what do we know about the information shared with these lawmakers?
[13:35:38] LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Wolf, the fight all along here has been about the documents. Chairman Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, subpoenaed for those documents weeks ago, and the Justice Department had been resistant to turn over the file on this individual, fearing that doing so could put this individual's life at risk. But then the White House put out that statement earlier this week saying that the Justice Department would be sharing highly classified information. Exactly what would be shared we don't know.
But there has been a surprise guest here, Wolf. Emmet Flood was spotted here at the Justice Department leaving with the Chief of Staff John Kelly, obviously, the newest edition, Flood, to the legal team for the president. Obviously, there will be questions about what exactly what his role here. But my colleague, Manu Raju, reporting that he did attend at least the beginning of this classified briefing.
BLITZER: Emmet Flood, the new White House lawyer, that's who you're referring to.
BLITZER: A surprise participant in this first meeting, right?
JARRETT: Yes, exactly right, Wolf --
BLITZER: Are they saying why he was there? Because originally, he wasn't on the list.
JARRETT: No, he wasn't. We expected to see, obviously, the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and there had been questions about his role in this meeting. So certainly more to come on that here.
BLITZER: We'll see what else emerges.
Laura, thanks very much.
BLITZER: Gloria Borger is standing by. We'll get to her coming out of this.
Also, as lawmakers get ready to start to arrive for the second meeting, I want to discuss why this White House lawyer attended this meeting, originally not scheduled to be there, and when Democrats didn't want anyone from the West Wing there. Stick around.
[13:41:37] BLITZER: U.S. intelligence officials just finished briefing lawmakers on the use of a highly confidential FBI source in the Russia investigation. President Trump claims without proof that his campaign was spied on. The first of two hearings just wrapped up over at the Justice Department. The second hearing on Capitol Hill begins next hour. But will either side in this controversy be satisfied with the information we're getting? Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria, interesting enough -- and I know you're doing some reporting on this -- Emmet Flood, the new White House attorney, he was also there for this meeting.
BORGER: Right. And we're told he was there briefly at the top of the meeting, but you have to ask why he was there. His client is the White House and the office of the presidency. But included in his portfolio is the Russia investigation. So maybe he didn't see the information. Maybe he just spoke at the top of the meeting and then left. We don't know. But it surprised everybody that he would even be in attendance.
BLITZER: Why couldn't they just have had one meeting? Why did they need to do one meeting at the Justice Department and then the same officials would go to Capitol Hill to brief the so-called Gang of Eight in a second meeting?
BORGER: Well, A, they can't be in the same room with each other. B, the Republicans initially only wanted to brief Republicans. And that is such a breach of protocol, and maybe even the statute about these things, that the Democrats screamed and said, how can you keep us out of this? We are entitled to the same classified briefing that Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy are entitled to. So what you have now is the Gang of Eight, who are leaders from both sides, who have the top- secret clearance --
BLITZER: Four Democrats, four Republicans.
BORGER: Four Republicans -- who will be getting a briefing. But that's the way it should have started in the first place. And the notion that it isn't just leaves you to believe how political this is, of course, because we know Devin Nunes has an agenda here that he is out to prove about this informant being a spy. And so you need both parties looking at this information. It's too bad they have to do it separately.
BLITZER: At the last minute, they did let Adam Schiff come into this first meeting.
BLITZER: He'll be in the second meeting as well.
BLITZER: All right. Gloria, there's a lot of reporting we need to do to find out what's going on.
[13:44:02] Coming up, I'll speak with a Republican congressman who helped nominate the president of the United States for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on North Korea. How does he feel about this summit having been canceled? Congressman Steve King. There you see him. He's up there on Capitol Hill. We'll discuss that and more when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: More on the breaking news this hour. President Trump formally, officially cancelling his meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, after North Korea called Vice President Mike Pence, and I'm quoting now, a "political dummy." Sources tell CNN the president and his aides were infuriated by that remark and the decision to cancel the meeting was made this morning.
Let's get reaction from Capitol Hill. Joining us now, Republican Congressman Steve King, of Iowa. He's among a small group of Republican congressmen who had already nominated President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize ahead of this summit.
What do you think, Congressman? The summit now canceled. Was the nomination premature?
REP. STEVE KING, (R), IOWA: I think we pause that nomination for a little while. We always knew that would take months for that to unfold. And I'm disappointed by this action that has taken place. I don't think the president's judgment is incorrect on this. If you have Kim Jong-Un insulting Mike Pence -- Mike Pence is anything but what was described by the dictator from North Korea and to threaten nuclear war over this. I think the best thing that can from it now is tamp these fires down and fan it out a little bit, cool things off, and let's see if we can get back and restart some type of negotiations.
But I do give President Trump a lot of credit for opening up these negotiations, for being willing to accept the invitation that was offered to him to negotiate with Kim Jong-Un. It was offered, actually, by the South Koreans. That changed the dynamics. And you can see through this to the point of perhaps one day we see a denuclearized Korean peninsula and perhaps the 38th parallel gets torn down and can see Korea become like Germany did after November 9, 1989, Wolf.
[13:50:13] BLITZER: As you know, the North Koreans were really upset that not just Mike Pence, the vice president, but the president's national security advisor, John Bolton, both were raising what was called the Libyan model. Remember, after the war in Iraq, Moammar Gadhafi, of Libya, he gave up his program for weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear weapon. We know years later what happened to Moammar Gadhafi. This is a sensitive issue for the North Koreans. That's why they were so angry at Mike Pence and John Bolton. Did they have a point?
KING: Well, you know, I think bringing up the Libyan model, if you look at the Libyan model that was constructed under George W. Bush's administration, it was successful. Then Gadhafi met his end there under the Obama administration. I think that unease about transitioning from one presidency to another does play a factor here, especially in a culture of a people that are living under inter- generational dictatorships. The unease I do understand. Perhaps bringing up the Libyan model was not a wise thing in the long run. But the first part of the Libyan model was working. Gadhafi gave up his nuclear preparations. And because he didn't want to see what would happen next. So now it's a big guess on how this works out in Korea. But I am still hopeful that we find a way to denuclearize that peninsula without war. And that one day that 38th parallel be torn down and they can all be a free people. South Korea is so prosperous. They've got such a work ethic, such an educational foundation. They've sent at least eight million South Koreans to the United States for an education. That whole country has been rebuilt since the war in the last 60, 70 years. That same thing could be in store for North Korea if we could just get past Kim Jong-Un.
BLITZER: Let's see what happens. Lots of uncertainty right now.
Let's turn to another issue, an issue very close to your heart, the issue of immigration. You've been proposing actual legislation, Congressman, that would jail officials in what are called sanctuary cities here in the United States if they tip off undocumented immigrants about sweeps from ICE, federal officials looking who are for these individuals. And you've specifically named it after the Oakland, California, maybe Libby Schaaf, who alerted residents about a sweep.
Here's what Mayor Schaaf told CNN about your legislation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIBBY SCHAAF, (D), OAKLAND MAYOR: It is not possible that legislation like that could be legal. Sanctuary city policies are legal policies. They've been well researched. They are within the confines of what local and state jurisdictions are allowed to do. That is part of the beauty of American democracy, a balance between local, state and federal power. And I can tell you that I know a lot more about what makes my community safe than a congressmember from Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's talk about it. Let's get your reaction. She says what you're calling for isn't legal.
KING: Well, Wolf, I mean, I'm smiling, and I probably shouldn't be, but it strikes me there are so many things wrong with that statement. She's got to live in another zone different from me. It isn't this balance about this law. The Constitution of the United States, which California signs on to, is the supreme law of the land. It specifically says so in the Constitution. You don't get to trump federal law by coming up with an idea at the local level. However much research she has, we know there are activist lawyers that will write whatever they want, but for 20-plus years, it has been against the law for local jurisdictions to establish sanctuary city policies. And because we have not done an effect of job of enforcing that, we've seen this go to some 300-something jurisdictions around the country with sanctuary city policies. Now the entire state of California is a sanctuary state. Now they're defying federal law and they believe they have a states' right to define federal law. Not when it's an enumerated power. And so to know what's more about safety and what keeps the people safe in Oakland over this congresswoman from Iowa, I don't think she has a leg to stand on.
BLITZER: Well, she makes the point, she makes the point, as you know, Congressman, that if these undocumented immigrants, these undocumented individuals didn't feel safe in going to police and reporting about a possible crime, they would just remain quiet and the community as a whole would be more endangered if they stayed silent. Your reaction.
KING: Well, Wolf, she's the mayor of the tenth-most-dangerous city in the United States of America, which doesn't comport very well with the assertion she knows more than I did about the safety in the streets. And if we enforce our many immigration laws, as I have advocated for a long, long time, there wouldn't be illegals there that you would need for witnesses. So I say, no, let's apply federal law. And when federal law -- federal law says that when people who are unlawfully present in America are encountered by law enforcement, they shall be placed in removal proceedings. That's the law. It would clean up Oakland. We have to send federal agents in there because they refuse and they turn them out on the streets. And then she blew the warning whistle off and saved several hundred of them from being incarcerated. How much crime is committed as a result of that? The price for that is paid by the victims of crime like Kate Steinle.
[13:55:39] BLITZER: Congressman Steve King, thanks so much for joining us.
KING: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: There's more news unfolding. The actor, Morgan Freeman, now facing multiple accusations of inappropriate behavior towards women. There's new CNN reporting. Freeman's response. That is coming up.
[14:00:01] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you so much for being with me on this Thursday.
We will get you straight to that breaking news in a moment, the fact that, today, the president abruptly canceled that summit with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore set for next month. We are waiting to --