hello, i'm jim sciutto in for wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you so much for joining us. as the president prepares to address the nation, we begin with new evidence in the russia probe. the house intelligence committee will release a controversial memo accusing the fbi of abusing surveillance rules. meanwhile the president ignoring legislation that he signed into law to impose new sanctions on russia for interfering in the 2016 election. the gop-controlled senate approved the sanctions by a vote of 98-2. the gop-controlled house by
419-3. plus more questions about the sudden action of fbi director andrew mccabe. our all-star team is ready to unpack all these developments, and we will preview the president's first official state of the union address which promises to be, quote, a message of unity. first, though, republicans saying it shows fbi abuse of surveillance powers. democrats say it is false, a total misrepresentation, they say. senior congressional correspondent manu raja is on capitol hill with more that critics say could undermine the investigation. house speaker paul ryan weighing in on the memo this morning. i know you were there. what did he have to say? >> reporter: he defended the release of his memo, jim, saying there are several things in there he believes the public needs to see. he thinks there was, quote, malfeasance within the justice department. he thinks it's possible american civil liberties may have been
violated. he said there is a reason they did not release the democratic memo at the same time as the republican memo. he chalked it up to the process the white house is undergoing to release the memo. i tried to press him on that and asked why not hold back the republican memo and release the democratic memo at the same time to give the public both sides of the argument. here's his response. >> this memo, which just got put onto us yesterday, is going through that process. unlike the democrats in the intelligence committee who denied access to broader memb s members, republicans supported them. now it will go through that 11-g process just like this memo did. >> why not hold back and release them at the same time? >> as kevin was mentioning, the chairman went to the fbi to go through the memo to make sure that we were protecting any sources and methods, and we are confident that we are. none of that work has been done
on this new memo no one has yet read, but the republicans decide to do allow the members to read it so it can go through that process. >> reporter: but why not hold it back? >> you've asked enough. >> the process he referred to that's never been used once in the 40-year history of the house intelligence committee that the committee votes for classified information, gives it to the president, gives the president five days to decide on whether to object to its release. there is nothing common about this process that's being used, and when asked the question of why not hold back the first and second memo until the second one is ready to be released, that has been released to the full house but they can only read it in a classified setting. the answer was completely opposite of what the republican memo says, but we don't know the contents of that yet because the contents are still secret. the question is when will that be released? and when will the president agree to release the democratic
contents as he seems willing to allow the republican contents being released in a few days. >> the decision on that intelligence memo came just a short time after a surprise at the fbi. the decision by the deputy director andrew mccabe to leave immediately and earlier than expected, cnn justice corresponde correspondent jean schneider joining me now. when the news broke yesterday, we had no details on mccabe's departure. >> we have more details now. his departure was prompted by the director. they said it would be his decision to leave or stay, and as we know, mccabe left a month before he was set to retire. and also coming was the
inspector general's report. that also might have hastened mccabe's departure. they hinted that the investigation did play a part. of course, the ig has been looking into the investigation's handling of the e-mail investigation. director wray noted that he couldn't comment on the ig's report. in the e-mail as well, director wray also defended himself as not being suede by politics. really twofold here, jim. first of all, mccabe wanting to bring in some of his own team and then hinting there could be information in this upcoming ig report that may have prompted mccabe's departure as well. jim? >> but to be clear, jessica, we don't know what the alleged wro wrongdoing is that might be in the ig report? >> yes, we don't know anything. they've been conducting this investigation for many months. they're not commenting on it. we do know, however, that the ig has been focused on how the fbi handled the high-profile clinton
e-mail jefinvestigation all thrh 2016. it will come out at a crucial time in the weeks and months. they have railed against the fbi about the handling of political matters. they talked about comey's handling of the e-mails. >> quite some broad sides from the president against the fbi lately. jessica schneider, thank you very much. an apparent complete, and some say, about-face on the russians. the president decided not to impose new sanctions on russia even though there was a law passed last year that he signed to further punish russia for election meddling. now the head of the cia says even as the administration makes this decision, he fully expects russia to meddle in upcoming elections as well. >> do you have concerns that they might try and interfere in the u.s. midterms which are
coming up? >> of course. i have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but i'm confident that america will be able to have a free and fair election. they will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust, that the impact they have on our election won't be great. >> the administration says that current sanctions are already doing the job. more aren't necessary. they even make the argument that they're not required by law today. it did release -- and this is required by law -- a long list of al ioligarchy and russian politicians. vladimir putin calling it, quote, an unfriendly act and warned that it is further conflicting the relationship between russia and the u.s. i want to bring in the former national security adviser in the obama administration. just moments before we went to air, i spoke with a senior
immigration official who made this case to me about why the trump white house did not impose new sanctions by this deadline. they made a case that there was absolutely no statutory deadline to release that rpt, and as of this time, you know about a and does that make the point? >> i don't think it does. it looks like the president is cherry picking when he wants to respect what congress says, and he's now picking and choosing when he wants to meet congressional requirements, just like the administration has picked and chose when it's listened to the fbi or the intelligence community. i also think that the failure to disclose the names of entities
and individuals that are working with designated russian entities is just another example of the administration appeasing vladimir putin. they knew that releasing these names publicly would anger vladimir putin, and i wonder if that's part of the motivation why they didn't do so. jim, there were classified discussions that occurred yesterday. it's entire names of people in other countries were released to members of congress. but i think the police who get to know. >> we noticed that the director of the cia said in an earlier interview that russia continues to meddle in u.s. election systems, et cetera, and that he expects they will do so again in the 2018 midterms. and yet the state department is making the argument that there is no need to implement new sanctions now because this law
is working as a deterrent. how can both of those things be true, that it's deterring activity, but the cia director says that muddle iing, russian meddling, has not stopped. we see evidence every day of russian bots and russian trolls, even with this release the memo hash tag that's circulating because russia is trying to decircle our people. yet we have yet to hear what this administration is doing, whether via homeland security or state election officials to protect our infrastructure and to deter russia from their
campaign. >> i know there's been voters casts, too. >> you're welcome. >> more now on that republican me memo. we have adam schiff. he is a ranking member on the house committee. congressman schiff, thank you for taking the time today. >> you bet. good to be with you. >> in the middle of this memo battle here, you heard how speaker paul ryan said to manu rajas, but not the democratic menu arguing the other side here. what's your reaction to that? >> when the republicans moved to make their memo public yesterday, they did so because they said it includes full transparency. full transparency goes only so far. it's a political exercise by the
republicans designed to attack the fbi and attack the department of justice, undermine bob mueller's work. it's part of the defense strategy that when the facts are really a -- this is a product of that point of view. >> i know the contents of this memo are classified. you were one of the few, i understand, who has been able to read it. without going into classified material, did you see anything in there that would alarm or concern the american people? >> the memo itself the house members have had access to now, and it's an inadequate document. i have read the underlying materials, and i think what we see in the republican memo is a terrible mischaracterization of the events. so when you set out the proper
events in their context in our own memoranda, which we will again force the republicans to vote on next week, i think it's going to be unsustainable to see it, they see a very unbiased account. even when their memo is made public, we can tell the public why, but that's the situation they want us to be in and the country to be in, not to be able to vet the information. they wouldn't even let the department of justice vet the information. >> the justice department letter to nunes last week noted as well that the memo includes allegations and nunes himself, this the chairman said to his. run by a trump appoint.
>> do you know that they color these organizations differently. >> they don't want the country to know how misleading their document is. but at the end of the day, this is a continuation of what we have seen from the chairman since the very beginning. that is when he went on that midnight run to the white house and purported to give them information he had obtained about this conspiracy of unmasking in the bottom of the administration, it revealed actually he had gotten that information from the administration. and when one of our members, either he or his staff, had been in communication and contact and coordination with the white house in the preparation of this memo, he wouldn't answer the
questions. and that, i think, is also quite telling. >> i do wonder, though, bigger picture. you look at the fisa court, just for folks back home who are watching, this special court set up by law to approve particularly sensitive warrants to monitor for intelligence %-p former prosecutor -- has a really high success rate. 99%, i forget how many decimal points, when they apply for these warrants. thousands of warrants approved. i think the number was only 12 that had ever been denied by the court. do you think there is a worthwhile conversation about the freedom the fisa court has or how open it is to defer people? >> of course we need to let people know about the fisa act.
i had some strong language we wanted to see that would allow an independent advocate essentially argue for privacy interests. that strong language was opposed by members. it's quite ironic for them now to take the position, well, there isn't sufficient checks and balances. this cord is a rubber stamp as well as the fbi. and so while i can't get into the con tekts, to come before a committee, explain its concerns with this document and the
republica republicans. i made arrangements for the department of justice to come in and talk to the entire house about this memoranda. sadly theets wheat's where we a. >> if i could just ask you quickly on russian sanctions. the republicans deciding not to impose sanctions, new sanctions for election meddling. i spoke with a senior official just before air, and the wire law didn't ask for people to impose new sanctions now. just apply new targets and apply those sanctions when they decide. did you. >> i don't expect many this as much as they possibly could.
apparently they got by crimping for forz. the basic underlying problem, jim, is that anyone who takes action to sanction, russia, compelled jean is, in the president's view, being disloyal to him, raising questions about the legitimacy of his election. so it's a dead end for people in the administration to pursue this, which is why only when they're forced, only when they're pushed, only at 10 minutes to midnight when this deadline comes up do they do anything. and then, of course, what they do is hopelessly inadequate. >> they were late for the last deadline as well. congressman adam schiff, thank you so much. coming next, the divided state of the union address.
welcome back and a live look at the dow jones. you can see they're down about 400 points. if things stay that way, it will be the biggest loss in points since trump took office. health care and energy stocks the highest loss, amazon saying they're going to get into the insurance business. president trump with his first state of the union address, but hanging over his head, russia allegations, allegations of surveillance abuse and sudden departure of the deputy director of the fbi. report reporter kaelin collins at the white house. kaelin, what are the bullet points? >> reporter: he's going to tout what he sees as the success of
his first year in office, the tax reform bill late in his appointment. then he's going to lay out immigration, infrastructure, we can see him touch on trade, national security, but overall he's going to try to project this sense of bipartisanship and unity here in washington which is an interesting dynamic because it comes at a time when washington is anything but unified. not only do we have recent developments in the russia investigation really hanging over as a cloud over this white house, we've also seen this fight between some conservatives in the intelligence community really escalate over that controversial memo we're told the president is advocating for its release. this comes as democrats republicans cannot agree on an immigration solution. and the government is scheduled to run up more money again just recently as it had a shutdown. >> kaelin collins at the white
house, thank you so much. with me william cordona. we have, as we begin the panel, some news just coming into cnn and that is another highlight expected in the president's state of the union speech tonight. we are told by administration officials he's going to make, quote, eye-opening comments on north korea. digest that for a moment. north korea a very dangerous place right now. chris cillizza, the president has a history of making eye-opening comments. >> rocket man, fire and fury. i'm interested to see what eye-opening would mean in that context. i think he's taken in his presidency that he be mor more aggressive and tougher when it comes to north korea. again, it seems like you already
have the rhetoric throughout this year on north korea with 10. maybe this goes to 11. i don't see how you up it by taunting him and saying, we're going to bring fire and fury on you. rhetoric is not a policy, necessarily. >> we'll see if it's a proposal as opposed to just words. >> it very well could be, though. i think what this president has done, as previous presidents didn't do, is use the leverage we do have over north korea and that's via china. i think this president is aware that we are prepared to get tougher on china and we hold the cards. china is ved didready to get ton trade. >> china has different priorities. you talk to u.s. officials and they say, as much as china doesn't like a unified north korea, the alternative is a collapsed north korea.
they are ready to trade rocket man for a status quo. >> it's effectively bribe the people to maintain their power. that can't last without shipping goods to the united states. >> when the president says eye-opening comments, i'm sorry, that is really scary. before when he had some aggressive comments, they didn't give us a heads up. they're giving us a heads up on eye-opening comments? this is as close as wii bee've to nuclear war in a generation. just one other thing on china. economically the world is not saying we have the cards on china because china has now beat us in terms of global leadership. we are being beaten by china, being with one in north korea. >> i wonder if there's something else going on that we don't know
about. up until this point the administration was talking about how this was. and wanting to focus on the domestic agenda and the successes this administration has had. so throwing in something that could be, quote, unquote, eye opening, rocket man style at this point, it does make me wonder, has there been some shift? >> it's called the russia investigation. >> so is that what you were referring to, the need for a distraction? is that what you're hinting at? >> no. and i will say this is just my perceptio perception. i have no report to go back this up. but is there something on foreign policy that's going on which means they want to change their methods. there are plenty of distractions going on in the nunes memo. >> i do want to move on to the same speech but different topic. you heard from kaelin collins talking about this speech. the president is going to give a
unified speech. kristen, can the president give a unified speech? >> yes, in a vacuum. can he give voice to should we all come together? sure, we can all say we can come together. >> will approximait work? >> no. there is a tendency to look at swimming pools as an indicator where this white house is going, where any white house is going over the next year, or even three years. i think that would be a mistake with trump. the reason i cite that is -- i don't mean that in a pejorative way, just the past year has been a regular stay. >> you know what is unified is economic growth. millions of americans right now are benefiting from a good
economy. many people are seeing bonuses. the check still clears in their account. >> if you used an economic message, and only did that from now the next 280 days before an election, and that's the only thing you talk about -- >> this past year of donald trump being at the helm has been the lowest economic job numbers we've had since 2010. by the way, he was handed an kmi autop autopsy. this just in from the president, president trump telling aides that he wants the nun ez memo released as quickly as possible, but not before the state of the union. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done
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welcome back. officials telling us just now the president will gifve, quote eye-opening remarks on north korea in tonight's speech. also fbi surveillance powers now in the hands of president trump. and we're just learning that president trump has told aides that he wants that memo released as quickly as possible, though not before his state of the union speech. joining us to talk about that is republican adam kinzer of illinois. congressman kinser, this memo causing quite a stir among republicans and democrats. should the public really see this, and based upon what you've seen, is there anything disturbing in this memo? >> i'm very cautious. a lot of people have said a lot of things on this memo. it's top secret at this moment. i have read it. it's concerning things in it
that people will have an opportunity to see and then they can make their own judgments. one of the things we need to be very careful of is disparaging the fbi, for instance. they are a great organization with fantastic americans, but if there is something that comes out, if it does, that deserves concern or a second look, we should do it. i think the good news is the american people are going to have an opportunity to make a determination for themselves instead of right and left fighting in front of the cameras. >> you're very aware the president himself is in the midst of an ongoing attack with the fbi, saying himself it's biased. his colleagues supporting him in those charges. this memo, it appears, part of that broader assault on the fbi. is it your view that this memo somehow gives evidence to that charge, that the fbi as an institution is biased against this president? >> i want to wait until the memo
is declassified because i'm very sensitive talking about anything that's classified or deemed top secret. if this is in fact declassified, people will have an opportunity to read it and come to a conclusion on their own. there are some that say this is the end of the world and some that say this is nothing. it's probably somewhere in between that, and it looks like people will have the opportunity to read it. one of the things that i wish we could get back to is to where, you know, we could just talk about these issues, have a good discussion without necessarily arguing it without anybody knowing all the details. hopefully we'll know something soon. >> you know as well as me that we're nowhere near that place you're describing. these are issues close to your heart. do you believe that the fbi is institutionally biased against this president? >> no, i believe the fbi is made up of great people. just like in the military someone could express a like to donald trump, that doesn't mean
the military is there to support donald trump. it means people within an institution can have political opinions. we're americans. we all have political opinions. so i think we have to be careful to say there may be individuals associated with certain things and should be held accountable, absolutely, versus saying a whole institution. i have a good friend i flew in the air force with that's an fbi agent now doing the lord's work every day. >> we're learning more about the president's speech tonight, and one of those is that he's going to make, in the words of an administration official, eye-opening remarks on north korea. do you expect that there will be a threat issued from the president? what is your view of the president's posture towards north korea, and he has, as you know, in public comments, threatened military action? >> well, when i hear eye-opening, and i don't know, i haven't heard the president's speech or talked to him about it, but i think in terms of showing the american people exactly where north korea is and the reality of the threat. and the fact that if we accept a nuclear north korea, you by
definition will have to accept a nuclear iran and any other regime at that point that decides they're going to get nuclear weapons. you've thrown out the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, in essence. this is kind of like 1938 europe where we're sitting here making the decision of are we going to confront this evil. hopefully we can do it peacefully. i imagine the president is going to talk a lot about what north korea is really doing. so we'll see. >> the cia director you heard in an interview with the bbc say today that russia continues to interfere in u.s. elections, and he expects very much that they will do so in the 2018 midterms. do you believe that this president, president trump, has done enough to prevent future and ongoing attacks by russia on u.s. election systems? >> well, i think we always need to do more, and that includes the president. part of the way to inoculate against this outside interference is to make people aware of it and to admit it. so if you get on a social media
platform and you see a news feed or a news story that appears outrageous, you now learn to accept that it probably is outrageous and not real. i think there is a lot more we can do. i know mike pompeo well. i served him on the interstate and commerce committee. i think the administration is very concerned about it, but talking about this in the open in public is really the first step in defending against it. >> but you have a president who is accusing our network and other networks of fake news when there is actually real fake news being planted in russia for political effects. how can the country mount a credible offense when the president is, in effect, mixing charges with russia against charges of the american member media? >> he says what he says. i believe there is legitimate fake news out there, and legitimate fake news is stuff you see on i.t., russian today, russian television. you see these farms basically retweeting and posting on
facebook these stories. it's a real problem. there's a lot of things the president tweets which i wouldn't tweet. i'm very open about that. but one thing we need to be aware of as americans, if you get on facebook and you see a story that is too crazy to be true, it probably is. >> thank you for joining us. >> you bet. there will be more to talk about with our panel. that will be right after this break.
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new developments in the russia investigation both on the congressional front and inside the intelligence community creating a stormy backdrop for president trump's first state of the union address tonight. back with me now, shanna who is the writer for bloomberg news, and senior ed tore itor at larg. let's welcome back in laura. laura, what is based on classified intelligence are interesting typically because you have the justice department telling the white house and telling nunes not to release this, yet both the president and republicans are going forward. >> it seems reckless to do so, a word that was used oftentimes with another person we know, but the idea you would try to
undermine the investigation of robert mueller by releasing this memo, that's what it's for. the intent is to say there is some reason to doubt, to cast aspersions on it. to do so you cut your nose off to spite your face. you're saying it's inadequate. you're saying there is no need to have anything more than innuendo. showing evidence is not necessary any longer or advantageous. what does it say to people, that you ne you don't need to release all the facts. >> they said release it, but please don't attach this to the special counsel's investigation, which is a little rich, is it not, because that's exactly what the republicans are doing. >> on every issue, paul ryan is trying to thread the needle between the divide of the republicans and the house and bring them together.
it's gotten tie poio a point wh this memo is almost a circus atmosphere. democrats trying to make this counter move. it is just a circus now at this point. to go back to real underlying issues you were pointing out, this is about american intelligence gathering and how we gather information, and now all of a sudden there is this desperate dying need for the american public to know about this in a four-page memo before a full report can be released from the house intelligence committee. it's just one more bizarre turn of events. >> chris, if i told you a year ago or two years ago that a republican president would defy his own justice department -- i don't like using the possessive there, but his political appointee, that he would betray the fbi, put them in tatters, et
cetera, and the democrats are saying, don't release this the way we gather evidence on targets. >> if you told me donald trump was going to be president two years ago, i would also be surprised. he was someone who was elected to break status quos and norms. the people who voted for him like the idea that the intelligence community, as they perceive it, is freaking out about this memo. i would say there is some status in place, whether you know it or not, for all of our good. you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. sure, there are some arcane ways we can cut through our politics that donald trump can get through. but to say we're going to lop off everything we say we can't do. he's done that time and time again, and that laundry list that you had, a few things to
add to it, but the president of the puns has suggested there is a deep state conspiracy. >> where do you go from there? >> this belies that he's a law and order president. >> impacts. this is the same intelligence community that law enforcement tried to prevent terror attacks, an intelligence community that's reporting back on nuclear progress, et cetera. >> it's not like there was a good place to have an intelligent discussion on. >> thanks very much to the panel, as always. thanks very much to all of you. wolf blitzer has news on the other side of this break.
welcome back. wolf blitzer is back now. he is at the white house. i understand you had lunch with a very important official. >> the president invited the actors from the major tv networks to lunch, something that traditionally happens every state of the union going back to the obama years, bush years, clinton years. it's always off the record. today's luncheon was off the record, the president wanting to give us some background on what he thought, what he's thinking, where he's coming from in terms
of his speech tonight. although at one point he did want to go on the record and did make an on-the-record statement. i want to be precise and tell you what he said his goal is, looking ahead not only this year, but in the years to come. this is the president say ieg wa i want to see our country unified and brought back from all the divisiveness going on right now, bitter infighting between the democrats and republicans and said he's not only talking about the obama years, but wants to go back to the bush years. then he told a story about how he was at one point speaking with a democratic senator who mentioned that he thought the divisiveness was even worse during the year 1998, the impeachment year of bill clinton when he was impeached by the house of representatives. that was a worst period, the president said, of divisiveness.
trenl did you say dwisiveness has been going on for many years. he would see it as a great achievement if he could make the country more unified, try to bring the country together. i would love to bring back our country from all this divisiveness, the president said, and hoped he could achieve that, he said, without a major event, awful event like 9/11, which would bring the country clearly together. he hoped he could achieve that without a major event, which would almost certainly be a bad event for the united states. he hopes to avoid that. that would be one of his major, major achievements if he could do that. that's what he said on the record. clearly a lot more was said totally off the record as the news anchors were there during the course of the luncheon. i will say this -- i can't quote the president or anything like that. don't anticipate, jim, that we'll hear anything in the state of the union address tonight before the house and the senate. don't expect to hear anything at all about the russia
investigation. clearly, the president, from his perspective, doesn't want to, quote, dignify that by even discussing that in an important forum like tonight. >> he wants to unify the nation. did he make clear to you and the other anchors there how he would accomplish that goal? >> now we're getting into areas that are off the record. just as we honor those off-the-record commitments during earlier luncheons with presidents and other senior administration officials, i don't necessarily want to get into that because i want to honor the commitments that all the tv anchors made in terms of that. that would be his goal, to try to achieve some sort of unity, if he could do that. he has ideas, clearly. we'll see if that will take off.
>> that was wolf blitzer. that does it for me. brooke baldwin is up next with a look ahead at the president's firs very first state of the union speech. r totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. you don't want to live with mom and dad forever, do you? i'm making smoothies! how do i check my credit score? credit karma. don't worry, it's free. credit karma. give yourself some credit.
hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. hours before now, the president will be speaking before a joint session of congress. face-off with his own justice department. the conflict is -- and the president wants the memo released as soon as possible we just got word but not before his big speech this evening. voting along party lines with republicans agreeing that the memo