tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN January 31, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST
to dehydration, which may cause kidney problems. change the course of your treatment. ask your doctor about victoza®. hi, there, i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me this afternoon on cnn. here is the big news. the fbi has now release this had rare public statement writing that they have, quote, grave concerns about the memo's skras. and now we're learning a second group of individuals from the department of justice and the fbi went to the white house, urging the president keep it classified. the first group nad their case monday night and included fbi
director christopher wray and rod rosenstein. they spoke to the white house chief of staff, john kelly. however, after those meetings, the president was overheard saying this at his sioux state of the union speech. >> you need to release that document. >> don't worry. 100 100%. >> i have with me jeff zeleny, shimon, over grave concerns over not just accuracy but several issues. can you talk to me about that? >> very rare public statement. their sish the accuracy of this
memo. the only person that's seen this memo has been the fbi director, christopher wray, clearly at odds with the president's decision to release this memo. what he saw in this memo has given him concern in that they have sort of picked information, put information into this memo that favors their message, what congressman nunes wants to say, placed it in this mmemo that is inaccurate. they're saying a lot of this information does not give a full picture of what was going on at the time that the intelligence officials, that the fbi was gathering this information. putting it together for fisa. there is a picture that will misrepresent the entire picture of what was going on. fbi officials i've been talking to, other heers at cnn have been talking to have expressed this
concern. it's so rare for the fbi and fbi director to issue this kind of statement because of the concern. it was an all day thing. they had been thinking about this for some time. we know that the department of justice, there were people there who did not want the fbi to put out this statement out of concern, how the president might react to it. right now you have a situation where the fbi publicly is going against a decision that the president has clear ly made. now what happens, we wait and see if this memo gets released, when it gets released. we just don't have any word on exactly when. this is a big deal. it took some time and it was a big decision on their part. so all of it said, we don't even
know if he has read it yet. >> someone who has appointed to the fbi director. it is the first public fight or feud between the president and the fbi director. the white house is saying absolutely nothing for all of that. they've not yet responded to that statement saying grave concerns. behind the scenes we're told that lawyers are working through the substance of this memo. it's more complicated than what the president said, 100% i'll release it. they're going through all of this. the only window we've gotten is so far white house chief of staff john kelly was doing a radio interview on the grounds of the white house. a lot of radio stations from across the country are here, doing interviews in the wake of the state of the union address. and this is what john kelly said
this morning. >> our national security lawyers in the white house that work for me, work for the president, they're slicing it, dicing it, looking at that time so they know what it means. >> did you see it? >> i did. >> what do you think? >> it will be released here pretty quick i think and the whole world can see it. >> what changes the next day after? do you think things change the next day? >> again i'll let all the experts decide that when it's released. this president -- and it's so unique, brian. he wants everything out so that the american people can make up their own minds. if there are people to be held accountable, so be it. >> listening there to the chief of staff, as well as the president and all the other advisers we've been talking to, this will be released, brooke. they want to go through the process here, if not the motions of making due diligence here, despite the grave objections from the fbi.
when the chief of staff says it will be released quickly, that is likely to happen. don't look for any type of event here. the president is not expected to talk about it. although we are expected to hear from him later this hour on tax reform. we'll see if he answers questions on this. they say it's a house of representatives document. any release of it will come from there. no question at all that the white house is putting its stamp of approval on this and if they were to not release it, at this point, brooke, that would be the news and surprising. >> asha, perspective. fbi chief monday night rolling over to the white house, please don't release this memo for myriad reasons. now the fbi is doubling down, releasing a public statement, grave concerns, accuracy, et cetera. what do you make of this?
>> i take the director at face value that he has grave concerns. remember, this is over an investigation into russia's interference. what is disclosed may help the russians. whatever this political game is might reveal the state of the investigati investigation, what the fbi has gathered, what they've shown a court of law about particular people involved in the investigation and it might reveal sources. the president should be doing a serious balance test, looking at the public interest against what the danger is to national security. this isn't releasing the assassination files from jfk from 70 years ago. this is ongoing right now. >> and putting chris wray
directly in the crosshairs, with jeff zeleny saying we expect it to be released, it will make news if it doesn't and chris wray saying please don't. >> this is extraordinary. this is a trump appointee, his own fbi director, his own justice department going against him. i looked at the director's statement t says very clearly they've followed all the procedures in fisa. i've gotten fisa warrants. they involve extensive people, court review and there is a clear paper trail. you can go back and look to see the steps it took to get to its final destination. if it goes through a review i think it will end up validating
the director's statement then you have a situation where you have an independent review also contradicting the president. it will be interesting to see if he hangs his hat on a chair that the chairman nunes didn't even look at the information on which this memo is based. >> i think jeff zeleny put it correctly, it will be news if the white house doesn't release this thing. thank you for your voice and experience with the fbi. the other breaking story this wednesday afternoon out of rural virginia. this train, carrying members of congress on to their legislative retreat in west virginia hit this garbage truck as it was rolling along and the impact, we're told, tossed lawmakers out of their seats, left one person dead. let's go live to senator jeff flake, speaking right now.
>> it seems to have been just a horrible, horrible accident. all too reminiscent of the scalise incident where two of us were there as brad was cutting away the jacket so they could attach some of the life-saving equipment. it just -- my mind went back to the same thing, cutting away steve's uniform so we could apply a tourniquet. anyway, too reminiscent. >> remind all of us what is his background and what's your background and training in situations like this. >> i have no training, no medical training at all. brad winstrop was in the rack and, obviously, trauma type guy. he has the skills, as did certainly dr. cassidy, giving instruction to others who were
assisting this individual. so if this man survives it played a big role in it, obviously. he was, as i said, breathing but having a hard time clearing his windpipe. there was a lot going on at that tim time. >> do you have a sense of where the truck was? >> not at all. the road came in almost parallel to the tracks and turned across. it wasn't clear which way the truck was turned at that point. there was an eyewitness. as soon as i got off the train, who was telling me the truck was right on the track. there was no way the train could have stopped at that time. i don't know if it was over a hill or whatever but there certainly wasn't time. we were moving at a pretty rapid pace and it didn't seem there was any time for the train to
slow down at all. i didn't feel any slowing before the impact. >> any braking? >> if there was, i didn't feel it. it wasn't much. >> was there a sense the truck was trying to beat the train? >> if it was, it didn't have much time. it seemed the impact was behind the cab, it seemed, separating the back part from the chassis and the cab. i think the one of the three who survived best was probably in the cab. if you looked in the cab, you can see you could probably survive there but back on the truck, typically as people who are assisting with garbage are, then that was a full impact there. >> how close to the front of the train were you? >> just three or four cars. i think the closer you were,
more of an impact there was. it did derail the engine car. it took some time to stop. even with the front car derailed. so we were moving at a pretty high rate. i don't think it was dangerous or above any limit that was there, just couldn't stop. >> senator, you talk about -- [ inaudible ] >> it certainly is a somber mood. obviously concerned about those who were seriously injured and the deceased and then some who were pretty bruised up. somebody just walked back and had a cut on their hand. i think labrador. others who were up at that time, it was quite a jolt. water right in front of us, flying all over.
it took me ten minutes to find my phone, which was thrown somewhere. it was quite an impact. >> that was senator jeff flake. another lawmaker on the train tweeted out pictures and is joining me on the phone. congressman, my goodness, are you okay? >> i'm fine. most people on the train were fine. as you heard from senator flake, if you were standing up or not holding on to something, you ran the risk because it was a sharp impact. the train remained upright, came to a stop as soon as it could. for all those involved on the garbage truck itself, strewn apart on a grassy area between the tracks and the road. and just the impact. ten-car train with an engine on either end, disconnected the
locomotive on the front and taking us back to charlottesville where we're boarding buses, literally, right now to continue on to our planning retreat. >> you're heading off on buss to the green briar. take me back a little bit this morning, congressman. how far into the train trip did this happen and what did it feel like, what did it sound like? >> there is a sharp enough impact to realize something had happened. but i'll tell you, i've never been in one of these. i've been in trains when they've gone off the tracks. this one remained on the tracks. there was a sharp hit. what happened? you knew you hit something. we were coming to a controlled stop. and then i looked out the window to my left in this field next to the tracks, down probably 20 feet or so you saw garbage all
over and then as you scanned to look forward you could see the part of the truck that separated. there was a pole there. i think it got whipped around as well. just a horrible, horrible tragedy. it was a dated crossing, i might add. and the dates appeared to be in use and were not damaged, based on what i saw. it's a terrible tragedy for the families involved. >> from what i understand, folks from congress, for the most part, no serious damage. can you describe for the most part what you've seen? >> one of my colleagues hit his head but with a little ice, he's fine. couple other just out of extreme caution were taken to the hospital with neck and head
injuries. you know how it is if you've ridden in one of these trains. you need to hold on to something when everything is going right and when you get a sharp impact and a jolt, it sent members and whoever else was happening to be walking around, standing and talking, it sent them into a nearby table or chair or whatever. those kinds of bumps and bruises and hopefully no more than that. >> we heard sean duffy, his wife and kids were on the train. my thought immediately went to my goodness were there children involved and are they okay? >> yeah. and that's a really important point because families can come on this trip and so there are little kids and family members, spouses. and that's why i think especially for the kids, it made sense to try to get back to normal sooner and proceed. i think for them, you know, a
lot of young kids. in some cases even a baby or two came with the family. >> oh, wow. >> so i think it's important while we keep in our thoughts and prayers those who have been injure order loss of life that we also need to think about these kids and make sure we get back to normal for them. >> our thoughts and prayers here as well. thank you for jumping on the phone and safe travels in that bus on to west virginia. thank you so much, sir. we appreciate you. >> thank you. >> you got it. we are get iting word that e fbi director clashed with president trump over the release of this controversial republican memo, apparently attacking law enforcement agencies. huge standoff unfolding as the president gets ready to release it. i really want to help. i was on my way out of this life. there are patients out there that don't have a lot of time.
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you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. a rare public statement to stop the release of the classified memo the president wants to go public. fbi officials have put out this public statement writing they have grave concerns about the accuracy of this memo. devin nunes wrote it. it asserts that the fbi abused its surveillance warrants to monitor certain members of the trump campaign. democrats will tell you this whole thing is an effort to undermine robert mueller, the special counsel, and his russia investigation. when a lawmaker asked chairman nunes if he coordinated with the
white house in writing it. >> so i asked the chairman did he work with, and i asked all the preliminaries, coordinate, discuss, and he said not to my knowledge. i said did your staff and then he became quite acknowledge at a timed and said i'm not answering that. he became this investigation as a subsidiary of the white house, someone who was coordinating with them rather than being an independent investigator. and the sad part is, he is the chairman of the committee. >> let's talk to lisa monaco, cnn senior. welcome. >> good afternoon, brooke. >> meantime you have john kelly
saying the memo will be released very quickly. despite these private and now public warnings by the fbi it seems the president has made up his mind without seeing it first. yes? >> the reports lay out not if it's a question of if but when the white house will release this memo. the question we should all have about the process being undertaken here is are the experts and career intelligence professionals being allowed to look at this memo to determine what should be declassified, what should stay classified what, if it is released in the public, will have an impact and damage to our national security and really be able to take a look at that and put this information in context. >> chris wray, who heads up the fbi, someone at the white house. he has seen it and he's the one say iing, please don't. you trust him? >> look, that's right. this is -- chris wray is
somebody who served in the justice department, was an assistant u.s. attorney and has now taken on the role of a ten-year term. people should understand the fbi director has a ten-year term precisely so the fbi and the director himself is not subject to political whims. he's supposed to straddle multiple administrations. i think he probably has several audiences here, brooke. one is the rank and file fbi agents who have to go in and swear to a court, the fisa court, in this instance, that what they're saying is true they have to maintain their credibility in order to protect our national security in order to conduct their investigations. the other audience chris wray has in this instance is the international partners who helped the united states, who help the fbi, who help their national security community by providing us intelligence. if there is not real care being
taken, they must take that into consideration and that could potentially hurt this country. >> we know that wray and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, trying to get the chief of staff not to release this. that, of course, is a private meeting, lisa. now we're reporting on the fbi, putting out this public statement, pretty rare move from what i'm understanding, expressing grave concerns about the memo's accuracy, which now puts christopher wray, the head of the fbi, directly at odds with the president of the united state states. >> look, the fbi director is somebody who needs to be able to withstand exactly that type of
situation. the fbi director needs to follow the facts, follow the law and do so independent of any politics. i think what's important for folks to remember is that the fisa process, the process to get a fisa warrant -- i used to be the assistant attorney general in charge of the part of the justice department that represents the fbi before the fisa court. these are professional career dedicated lawyers. they review, and i ultimately signed thousands of these which are 50rks 60 pages in length. i'm sure that ultimately he is concerned that a 3 1/2-page memorandum does not do justice to what that full fisa package looked like and wants to make sure it is put in context, that it is not misleading and,
thereby, hurts the fbi's efforts to appear before the fisa court. >> taking your point, what would be the worst case scenario if this is release d and those methods are exposed, who are you worried about the most? >> i mentioned our intelligence community that may be wary of sharing information with us. and two, the exposure of these sources and methods may be relevant to and may have an impact on. >> she mentioned it might help the russians. >> that's exactly right. the sources and methods that may have an impact on what the russians do in the future and their ability to protect our moves in the future. you've got a series of things that could really be impacted by a rush to disclose this information without context, without a careful process.
transparency is very important to the legitimacy of our national security activities but it also needs to be done with care to enable us to use those sources and methods in the future. >> all right. let's talk rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general. this memo targets him, his role. aspects of the russia probe that led to, as you mention, fisa, surveillance on trump campaign officials. it is worth reminding everyone whatever bob mueller finds, rosenstein is the gate keeper to decide who does he take it to, how does he make it public? is this the president's way of really, you know, sticking it to putting the pressure on without actually having to fire bob mueller? >> look, i'm not going to speculate on what the motives are here. what is clear from what we've seen thus far is that this memo,
if it's 3 1/2 pages derived from 100-page fisa application that the committee has not permitted the professionals who are responsible for that information and who gathered that information to actually look at it and determine whether it will have an impact on our national security to release it. it seems to me that priorities are not in the right order. we ought to be focused on what is going to do damage to our national security and what do the professionals and the intelligence experts say about that? >> if you're rod rosenstein, would you be nervous? >> rod rosenstein is a professional who has served multiple administrations. i think hopefully he's keeping his head down and doing his job. >> lisa monaco, appreciate it. thank you very much for all that analysis. more breaking news from capitol hill. trey gowdy is announcing today
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another house republican joining the growing list of lawmakers leaving office. trey gowdy just announced he will not seek re-election come the fall of 2018. quote, whatever skills i may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in congress and i enjoy our justice system more than our political system. congressman gowdy made a name
for himself, running the house benghazi investigation. remember this? >> madam secretary, i understand there are people, frankly, in both parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you. let me assure you, it is not. madam secretary, not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your e-mail. we signed up to investigate and, therefore, honor the lives of four people that we sent into a dangerous country. my question is, how did you decide when to invoke a people in process and who just got to come straight to you? because it looked like certain things got straight to your inbox and the request for more security did not. >> yes. personal e-mail came to my personal account. work-related e-mail did as well. >> david chalian, our cnn political director.
gowdy has been the 36th house republican to announce he's leaving. why, do you think? >> i consider him a wise man to say that the justice system is more fun than the political system. i think he made clear from the outset of his career that he was not going to be a lifer in washington. a lot of republicans who came to washington on the wave of the tea party 2010 and beyond sort of made those similar kind of remarks that they didn't want to be a lifer in washington, d.c. what's interesting, brooke, we're seeing a lot of senior republicans are heading for the hills now. by no means was trey gowdy in danger of not winning re-election. it's a deep red district, republican is likely to win it. it doesn't affect the balance of power in the house at all, most likely. here is a chairman of a committee. the institutional knowledge walking out the door irrespective of how the balance of power shakes out, because a lot of these senior republicans are leaving is going to make a
mark on the next congress. >> courtroom and congress. i agree. that part of his statement totally jumped out. a new poll is out. the president's approval rating has climbed from 42% up from that low of 32%. it's his best mark in the polls since march of last year. what do you attribute that to? >> this is a really good poll and going to be really welcomed numbers in the white house. it's one of the best polls they've seen in a long time. you see that ten-point jump there just from last month you noted since that low of 32. what's behind it? the passage of the tax cut, definitely now the numbers have completely flipped when asked in that poll. now 55% of americans say donald trump is getting something accomplished in congress. it used to be a majority of americans just last month thought that he was not. you also see that the tax bill itself, brooke, is getting more popular. remember at the time it passed,
these republicans were a little concerned because they were passing what was largely seen as an unpopular bill. in this poll today that, tax bill is evenly split amongst americans. 44% are in favor of it and approve of it. 44% disapprove. just last month only 26% approved of that bill. so, their key legislative accomplishment is getting more popular. economy is doing well. stock market is doing well. so, president trump is actually starting to benefit a bit in that the way we traditionally see a president benefit from economic news despite the concerns that people still have about his behavior, his actions, tweets and all that. >> you have the president. feeling the wind in his sails, standing up there last night. gives his first state of the union. the best part at moments was the cutaways, right, of the different people in the audience, the republicans cheering and the shade from democrats, even over something like infrastructure. so, let me play -- we played first the democrats, withholding
their applause with republicans giving a standing ovation. >> tonight i'm calling on congress to produce a bill that generates at least 1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment, modern infrastructure that our economy needs and our people deserve. [ applause ] >> tonight i propose a fix it first program. to put people to work on the nearly 70,000 bridges across the country.
>> just wanted to point that out. the question, though, bringing it up to last night, in what alternate universe are we living in that you have democrats sitting there like, hmm, when the president is talking infrastructure, and the presidents, the deficit hawks, the savers are giving applause to the notion of this $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. >> i think what you see on display more than anything else is the massive trust deficit that exists for democrats. there is almost nothing president trump could have said last night to really unify the people in that room. i know he used some unifying language and perhaps that will work out but for the membdemocr in that room, they are more
inclined to see action first from him rather than words. that's just the state of relations in washington right now. >> and we continue. david chalian, thank you so much. we're going to get you back to our other breaking news here. this train carrying republican members of congress to this retreat hits a garbage truck, killing its driver. now we are getting word at least two law measurings are in the hospital. stand by for an update on that. also an eerie warning, the man just lost out on being ambassador to south korea about why this current administration did not select him. it involves what he describes as the bloody nose military option against north korea. ♪ ♪ both my parents were very well educated back in bangladesh.
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after learning he was no longer being considered for the ambassadorship, in this op-ed, he stressed the dangers of a preemptive military strike on pyongyang and writes the so-called bloody nose strike would not stem the threat of proliferation but rather exacerbate it and goes on to write the president would be putting at risk the american population the size of a medium-sized city, pittsburgh, say, cincinnati, on the assumption that a crazy and undeterred dictator will b rationally cowed by a demonstration of power. deputy division chief of south korea's branch. nice to have you back. the fact that victor cha published this just as news broke that he didn't get the ambassadorship, does it tell you that the trump administration is seriously considering this option? >> yes. internal discussions with u.s.
and south korean officials, as well as public statements by trump administration officials certainly make it seem that it is being considered as an option but there are divisions within the administration. mr. cha and many others of us have been writing that this is not a good option. it's not one that the u.s. should be considering. that, instead, we should be pursuing the maximum pressure and engagement policy. there's still more we can do on sanctions and pressure and also we also have to have sufficient military sources for deterrents for both ourselves and our allies. >> what's the biggest risk of this sort of strike? >> there's a list of things. we haven't seen the identifiable objectives. how big of a strike? so small that it wouldn't likely trigger a north korean response but then would be ineffective in removing the icbm threat to the
united states or on the other end, crippling the icbm program but then that's likely to cause a large north korean response. one of the reasons that is given is that kim jong un is crazy and not deterrable. when you ask how would north korea respond he would, in essence, sanely, rationally realize that he can't respond, it would mean the end of his regime and, therefore, he's deterrable. >> you mentioned people are split on this. do you know how many people in trump's inner orbit support the idea? >> in talking with people it seems there are divisions within the administration and i would prefer to not get into who is on what side. >> mattis, tillerson, do you know? >> if you look there's been differences even by individual officials on whether the administration is pursuing diplomacy or whether that would be considered a waste of time.
there have been statements about really just north korea completing a technological level would be considered a threat and, therefore, that would be intolerable and perhaps the cause or catalyst for a nuclear -- i'm sorry, military attack. >> bruce, thank you. more on our other breaking news. getting word that the fbi director clashed with president trump over the release of this controversial fbi memo. hu stand by. huge standoff as the president is getting ready to release it. s handcrafted burgers. any burger just $7.99. now that's eatin good in the neighborhood.
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grave concerns about this memo that alleges agents abuse their authority to monitor certain members of the trump campaign. my next guest thinks the president should likely not worry about an indictment from the russian investigation. because there's no way that mueller would take that step. great piece for the atlantic, that there will be no indictment. ken star in the white water investigation of president clinton is a pleasure. you know, you write in your piece, color me skeptic al. why do you think he wouldn't be indicted? >> the main reason is that the department of justice has been against the inindictment of a president since 1973. that opinion was issued in '73
and again in 2000 and robert mueller is an employee of the department of justice. he has to follow department of justice rules and regulations, one of which is don't indict sitting presidents. that's a pretty good reason. even if he wanted to. >> let's flash forward to the man whose shoulders will be bearing this, and someone you know, rod rosenstein deputy attorney general. it will be up to him to take mueller's findings and what to do with them. he along with christopher wray visited the white house machined night to try to convince them not to release this memo. he would be caught in the crosshairs if this memo goes public. do you think the republicans, do you think trump are trying to undermine him publicly before he has big decisions to make down the road? what do you think? >> i think it's pretty clear, the department of justice regulations say if mueller can't indict the president, he's supposed to file a report with the attorney general. in this case it's the acting
attorney general, rod rosenst n rosenstein, who gets to decide whether or not the public interest requires that to be made public. that makes the deputy attorney general, mr. rosenstein, the central key actor in the drama that is about to unfold. and it seems to me, reasonably clear, that much of the effort to besmirch his reputation in advance of that decision making is intended to try to color it and push mr. rosenstein in a particular direction. i don't think it will work but i do think that that's rather transparently what's happening. >> besmirch his reputation. that's a perfect way to put it. i don't know if you heard adam schiff here, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. here is what he told axios about rod rosenstein. >> what i'm more worried about at the moment is that he fires rod rosenstein. that he knows the blowback that would accompany firing special counsel so he fires rod
rosenstein, puts in his own person, who then becomes bob mueller's boss who says you can't look into this or into that and you need to end your investigation here. >> if rod rosenstein goes -- do you think that's a valid worry, that he would fire him? >> the i think it's a highly valid worry, what we've been seeing in the press, report about his dissatisfaction with the deputy attorney general. in my experience the deputy attorney general is a stand-up guy. he makes mistakes sometimes, like we all do, but always acts in what is the best for the american people at heart. he could appoint someone with
president trump's best interest at heart instead. and rule of law and impartial add j adjudication of justice. >> paul rosenzweig, thank you. >> thank you. we continue on. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. breaking news, the fbi has released this rare public statement saying it has, quote, grave concerns about the accuracy of this memo that alleges fbi misconduct. we're now learning a second group of officials from the department of justice and the fbi, they went over to the white house monday night. they wanted to urge the president to keep it classified. the first group which included fbi director christopher wray and acting attorney general rod rosenstein. then the president was overheard saying this at the state of th