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Interview with Representative Eric Swalwell; Anti-Trump Protests in London Ahead of Trump's Meeting with the Queen; White House Orders Access to FBI Informant Files; Trump, First Lady to Have Tea with Queen Elizabeth. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired July 13, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:33:36] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It is looking like it will be another contentious day on Capitol Hill. Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page who sent those anti-Trump text messages, she is set to be on the Hill today for a hearing at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. This will take place behind closed doors. A lot of questions for her about the bias that may have existed in her role at the FBI. That's what lawmakers want to ask her about.
Of course she exchanged those text messages with this man, Peter Strzok, whose hearing yesterday was hours and hours long and which pretty much devolved into shouting matches and partisan bickering. Here is some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: And I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous.
GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness is always an issue --
REP. BONNIE COLEMAN WATSON (D), NEW JERSEY: Shame on you, Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman, please.
CICILLINE: You know, Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable harassment of the witness.
COLEMAN WATSON: What is wrong with you? You need your medication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: It did not stop there. Republicans trying to hold Strzok in contempt. Because of the advice of FBI counsel he would not answer certain questions. In response Democrats questioned why Steve Bannon wasn't held to the same standards. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I move to subpoena Steve Bannon. Mr. Bannon was a witness in a House Intelligence Committee investigation.
[10:35:01] He was under subpoena. He refused to answer the question.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The gentleman --
GOODLATTE: The gentleman is not recognized. The chair recognizes --
SWALWELL: Chairman, I --
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland --
SWALWELL: Mr. Chairman, a motion is always in order. A motion is always in order, Mr. Chairman. It's is Rule 11. Clause 2. I move now for consideration for Mr. Bannon to be subpoenaed. And if he refuses, for contempt proceedings to occur.
GOODLATTE: The motion is not germane and the gentleman from Maryland --
SWALWELL: I move to overrule the ruling of the chair. I move to overrule the ruling of the chair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Joining me now is the congressman you just heard there, Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California.
That actually went on for a lot longer. We had to cut it down for time. So we heard you say there, I move to overrule the ruling of the chair. Where did this all land? What were you hoping to get out of this?
SWALWELL: Good morning, Poppy. I was hoping that we would see a sincere effort to have witnesses answer questions because Mr. Gowdy was trying to force Peter Strzok to answer questions and threatened contempt. But we saw the same play out with Mr. Bannon in our House Intelligence investigation but there was no interest when Mr. Bannon refused to answer questions, to force a contempt proceeding on him.
It shows the inconsistency. It shows that the Republicans are more interested not in the answers but using their questions to undermine Bob Mueller's probe and not interested in protecting our democracy, which I think is the most important duty we're charged with on that committee.
HARLOW: And to be clear, I mean, you told my colleague Anderson Cooper last night, look, you know, I wouldn't -- if I were running this thing, I wouldn't have Peter Strzok work for me. I would have removed him. You're not a supporter of his. At the same time, though, here is how the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani described all of this last night on FOX.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: This guy is a really bad guy. And the reason the Democrats look so bad is they were stupidly defending him. That whole thing, well, I'm innocent, I'm innocent because I didn't leak illegally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: He said it is stupid of the Democrats to be defending him. Are you at all worried about the optics of this for your party?
SWALWELL: No, and Poppy, when I worked as a prosecutor, I had cases where police officers did objectionable things. But it didn't really mean much about the overall case. And so what we tried to do yesterday was show that Mr. Strzok was just a pebble in the mountain of evidence that existed between Donald Trump and his campaign and the contacts they had with Russia. So I pointed out that he was not the sole investigator to close the Clinton campaign, he was not the sole investigator involved in opening the Trump-Russia campaign and so there was corroborating evidence around him.
HARLOW: But you know he was a prominent -- but you would admit that he was a prominent voice and a prominent force. I mean, he was one of the leads on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.
SWALWELL: Yes. Yes, Poppy, I agree with that.
SWALWELL: But if you take him out, if he was never born and never existed, Donald Trump still invited the Russians to hack, his son still took a meeting at Trump Tower and his lawyer still tried to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump so that they could engineer Trump's elections. Those were the words of Michael Cohen and Felix Sater.
HARLOW: It seemed to me like you were saying last night to Anderson that this hearing didn't accomplish anything. And you wish the hours spent on this hearing could have been used by the Judiciary Committee for example on having a hearing about the separated children at the border. My question -- and I hear that and it's important. At the same time, is it not important, Congressman, for the American people to hear from the man that was central to both of these investigations for a significant period of time whom the president himself points to as someone because of these text messages -- the president says this discredits the entire Mueller probe.
Do you at least not want the American people to hear the exchanges they heard yesterday?
SWALWELL: I agree. And they heard them for 10 hours, Poppy. And what distinguishes Peter Strzok from the president of the United States, what distinguishes James Comey from the president of the United States, two people the president have attacked, is they both raised their right hand, they went under oath, and they answered tough questions.
It's your turn, Mr. President. Talk to Bob Mueller and we can actually wrap up this investigation.
HARLOW: The president this morning spoke in this press conference with Theresa May, I'm not sure you heard it in its entirety but when asked about -- OK. Good. Multiple times about his trip to Helsinki and his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday, he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, you know, it's hard to get a lot done because anything you say or do gets basically warned by the press in the U.S. and all of these bad things are written. And he talked about the investigation being, in his words, a hoax and a witch hunt.
What do you hope the president says to Vladimir Putin on Monday?
SWALWELL: Well, I'm rooting for the president on this trip. But I want the United States and our constituents to get something out of it. I want him to tell Putin we will not tolerate election meddling, that he would be isolated from the rest of the first world countries if he continues to do this, and that he must be a part of stabilizing Syria so that further terrorism and refugee migrants no longer exist.
We need to get something out of it. If this is just two guys who want to be authoritarian figures bro-ing out that helps none of us here at home.
HARLOW: Well, you're supportive of the meeting, though. I just had Democratic Senator Bob Menendez on earlier this hour, you know, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, who is not supportive of the meeting at this point from what we've heard at least from the president.
[10:40:09] What is the item that you believe the president can walk away from the summit with on Monday that will make you believe that it was worth it?
SWALWELL: I am supportive of it as long as we get something and accomplish our strategic objectives . So to get Russia --
HARLOW: So what's that thing? What's that thing?
SWALWELL: Yes. Reduce their aggression in Ukraine, stop supporting Assad in Syria, and make a pledge that they will not meddle in our elections. That would be a big victory for the president and I'd be the first one to come on your show, Poppy, and congratulate the president if he could achieve that.
HARLOW: All right. Congressman Eric Swalwell, appreciate your time this morning.
SWALWELL: Yes. My pleasure.
HARLOW: Thank you.
All right. At the same time, we are monitoring these protests in London. Let's go to our Nick Paton Walsh, he's standing by. And these are thousands of people it looks like, Nick, walking down Regent Street toward Trafalgar Square where you are.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Extraordinary, Poppy, to see the volume who've come out here. Tens of thousands, I can certainly safely here. Way more than we had expected. Paralyzing Central London's main commercial thoroughfares here.
I should apologize potentially of the profanity you may see in some of the placards behind me, but there is an outpouring of shear anger here frankly against Donald Trump. And it is a protest which has made it impossible for him -- excuse me, ma'am, may I ask you, why have you come here today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a very complicated season in British politics and Donald Trump has not helped at all.
WALSH: So you couldn't get more British understatement than that frankly. But this is all about people seeing what Donald Trump encapsulates the anger against racism here, immigration, his general global stance frankly even on climate change has put tens of thousands of people out here. That is a comparatively quiet noise you'll be hearing.
We've seen -- this has been a very British affair from people saying that he's as welcome as a cold cup of tea to people putting up lengthy denunciations of exactly how he fits into their view of how we leave the European Union. But it is I have to say the most extraordinary scene I've seen in Central London even when George W. Bush was deeply unpopular globally over the Iraq war crisis. We didn't have this kind of, well, profanity frankly.
I should probably obscure one sign you're about to see shortly here. This is simply how British people certainly in London, the multi- ethnic, multi-cultural heart of the UK financially at least feel. Many people here did not vote for Brexit to leave the European Union. Donald Trump sort of feel his politics seized upon that anti- immigration idea. But really it's so much more complicated and the resistance here is very vociferous, very angry and moving towards Trafalgar Square. Back to you.
HARLOW: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you for being there again. The protest much larger than what was expected. We'll keep a very close eye on them.
The White House dismissing warnings from the intelligence community ordering that more lawmakers have access to information on that FBI informant who spoke to members of the Trump campaign early in 2016. We're going to speak to the reporter who broke this story, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:47:17] HARLOW: The Trump administration has rejected repeated warnings from senior intelligence officials, that's according to a new report in the "New York Times." The "Times" reports that the White House is ordering the Justice Department to give more lawmakers access to classified information about that FBI confidential source who met with two members of the Trump campaign in 2016.
Now according to the "Times," all the members of the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees will have access to these classified documents and some look at this and applaud it as transparency, others fear it could lead to more leaks and proved to be a safety risk for confidential sources.
Mark Mazzetti is the investigative correspondent for the "Times," who broke the story and joins me now.
Thank you for being here.
MARK MAZZETTI, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: So let's just pick through your reporting. Do you know if it was President Trump or someone below him on the totem pole in the White House that ordered the DOJ share more of these documents with more people?
MAZZETTI: We don't. We know that there was great concern in the intelligence community and at the FBI that the pool of people who had this information be expanded. And there was pressure on the White House to the DNI, the director of National Intelligence --
MAZZETTI: -- to expand that pool. We don't know who gave the order. But it's sort of -- is central to this issue of the narrative over the FBI investigation. This informant who was used by the FBI, the Republicans have wanted to paint him as a spy in the Trump campaign.
MAZZETTI: And so this is kind of -- as I say today, kind of one skirmish in this larger battle.
HARLOW: So Democrats as you know wrote a letter this week to Director Coats, to DNI Coats, and argued that this puts more sources and methods at risk. What can you tell us about that?
MAZZETTI: Well, in theory it could. I mean more people having access to human source information in theory could put sources and methods at risk. I mean, we should say that this is -- these are members of the House and Senate intelligence community who deal with classified information all the time.
MAZZETTI: And so one would not presume that this was automatically going to leak out. HARLOW: Right.
MAZZETTI: It is, though, very unusual, though, for this kind of highly sensitive information to be briefed even to the broad committees. Usually human source information is kept in a very tight compartment. And so this is part of the concern particularly at the FBI that more lawmakers have access to this information.
HARLOW: And just to remind our viewers, these are documents that the gang of eight has already seen. They were shown at the meeting that -- at least at the beginning of the meeting White House lawyer Emmet Flood and also Chief of Staff John Kelly were at the beginning of that meeting and there was a lot of controversy about that.
What are you hearing from your sources in the intelligence community about the effect of this, and why the White House was asked not to do this?
[10:50:05] MAZZETTI: Well, the impact we will see. The suspicion is that the White House is sort of intervening in this law enforcement investigation. It's sort of putting its thumb on the scale. As you said, it was very strange that a White House lawyer and the White House chief of staff attended at least part of a briefing given by the law enforcement and intelligence community about this informant, about an investigation that involves the White House.
MAZZETTI: They say that they left the briefing before there was any substance. But again, it's the appearance that has people concerned and it's certainly very unusual for, you know, the White House's lawyer to be present for something when the White House is involved in the investigation.
HARLOW: Any defense from the White House on this, any comment?
MAZZETTI: There's been no comment from the White House.
HARLOW: Mark, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
MAZZETTI: Thank you.
HARLOW: High tea with the president. President Trump that is. And the first lady. And the Queen of England. That's ahead.
HARLOW: In minutes President Trump and the first lady will leave London for tea with the Queen. President Trump called the Queen a tremendous and incredible woman a little bit earlier this morning.
Our royal correspondent Max Foster is in Windsor with more. So I supposed they've gone through the etiquette books about exactly what you do and you don't do when you're greeting the Queen. What can we expect? MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a minefield, isn't it? I
think the main thing people are thinking at the moment, though, is that it's going to be a huge relief from all the politics. That explosive interview that Donald Trump also put in "The Sun" today and the fallout in Downing Street. But this is completely apolitical or at least it should be an apolitical affair. The Queen is above politics. And this is where she's been very successful in the past.
So we know, as you were saying that Donald trump is a bit of a fan. And there will be some pomp and ceremony which he enjoys as well. So he'll arrive here at Windsor Castle. There will be a Guard of Honor. He'll inspect the Guard of Honor with the Queen, and then he'll go inside.
[10:55:04] It's a quite a brief moment really, but there will be tea served to the president by the Queen. That's the tradition here. And there'll just be the three of them, so first lady, President Trump and the Queen in a room.
We're probably not going to hear anything about the conversation unless of course Donald Trump decides to leak the conversation. But that would be the ultimate break in protocol and etiquette -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Also the first lady will be there and her campaign, and her platform has been "Be Best." Do you know what we can expect from her?
FOSTER: Well, we know that she's a fan as well because Donald Trump said that in the newspaper again today. She is very impressed by the Queen's charms. So I think she is quite interested in the Queen as a public figure. I mean, she is the longest serving head of state in the world. And there are very close relations between the U.S. and the UK, not least because Donald Trump's mother came from the UK as well. So I'm sure that will come up at the top of their conversation.
Meghan Markle will probably come up as a topic of conversation as well. She's married here at Windsor Castle not long ago. So it'd be interesting. I mean, there are some opportunities for things to be slightly awkward. Donald Trump's famous handshakes, the protocol is that the Queen extends her hand first. She speaks first. She will pour the tea. So there's opportunities for him to break the protocols. But she won't expect him to live by any of them. Her priority really I'm told today is to be as all good hosts should be someone who welcomes the guest and makes them feel comfortable.
HARLOW: Indeed. All right, Max Foster, thank you for being there. It's been quite a day, quite a few days, 48 hours in the UK, that's for sure.
That will do it for me today. Thank you so much. Stay with CNN. We're now learning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to make what is being billed as a law enforcement announcement at 11:45 Eastern Time, in just about 15 minutes from now. What it will be, we'll see. Stay with us for that. Have a good weekend.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. One reporter described it today as a gift-wrapped hand grenade. How's that for you? And the repercussion --