tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 12, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
search "john deere 1 series" for more. thank you for watching. you can follow me on facebook, and instagram and twitter. our coverage continues here on cnn. see you tomorrow. ♪ -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com i'm wolf blitzer in the "situation room," and we are tracking new major developments in the president trump's unprecedented campaign to interfere with the federal criminal investigations. just a short while ago, the president thanked the attorney general william barr after the justice department overruled federal prosecutors recommending a hefty prison sentence for the long time trump confidant roger stone. meanwhile, the democrats have announced a hearing with the attorney general to give the lawmakers a chance to press him about the intervention of the stone case and also the justice
department's review of rudy giuliani's dirt-digging operation in ukraine. we will speak with kathleen rice of the homeland department. and we will also talk about andrew mccabe and the rest of the top stories of the day. we go to white house with jim acosta and once again, there is a lash out of the prosecutors while praising the attorney general for taking ge says the president. >> yes, the president is insisting that he did though heg the attorney general for bending to the wishes of the president. the republicans are not showing any signs that they intend to do anything about it. >> reporter: the president is all but blowing a kiss to the justice department for intervening in the case of the former campaign adviser roger stone who is facing a longer prison sentence in the role in the russian investigation until
the president was complaining. the president claims that he did not mettle in the case. >> i want to thank the justice department for looking into this horrible thing and i did not speak to him by the way. >> reporter: and this prompted four federal prosecutor the quit the case. but president trump did not mind. >> well, they saw that he was treated badly and they hit the road quickly. and so they should go back to school. nine years in jail is a disgrace and meanwhile, comey is walking around making book deals. >> reporter: and then he tweeted congratulations to bill barr for taking charge of a case totally out of control and perhaps should not have been brought. the president is not ruling out a pardon for stone. >> i don't want to say that yet. >> reporter: the critics say that the stone case is the latest campaign of his retribution after the impeachment trial. but not so says that no revenge was sought after alex vindman and his brother pushed out of
the white house, and they say it is not retaliation. >> well, their services were no longer need and they are going back to the army and this is where they will finish their careered and they were not retaliated against. >> reporter: that is not lining up with the president and vindman. >> i obviously was not happy with the job he did, and the military can handle him anyway they want. >> reporter: and the latest fixation of the president is on the stone case. the white house withdrew the nomination of jesse liu who was tapped for a top job at the treasury department and she oversaw the office handling the stone case, and the president is also targeting the judge overseeing the case, and she is asking if this is the judgeha not even the mobster al capone had to endure. >> left to his own devices, president trump would turn america into a banana republic
where the dictator can do whatever he wants and the justice department is the president's personal law firm. >> reporter: the president's top defenders are pushing back on that. >> and i have said it a bunch. if i had thought that he had done something to change the outcome inappropriately, i would be the first to say. >> reporter: but some republicans are unsettled by the president's moves after maine senator susan collins said that she felt that the president learned his lesson after impeachment. >> and he has been impeached and criticism by both republican and democratic senators of his call. i believe he is going to be much more cautious in the future. >> reporter: the alaskan gop senator lisa murkowski says no strong indicators this week that he has. and the president is making it clear that he does not plan on modifying the behavior after the impeachment trial and asked by reporters earlier today, he
responded that it is the democrats who are crooked and that he never should have been impeached. wolf, for the president, it is no regrets and no mercy. wolf. >> jim acosta at the white house. thank you. and more from our congressional correspondent manu raja, and he is up on capitol hill, and now the democrats are eager to get some answers directly from the attorney general. >> yes, and now they have an agreement from the attorney general to come to testify before the house judiciary committee on march 31st which is coming about a year standoff of the democrats on the committee and the attorney general who defied a request to come to testify in last year over the concerns of the format of that hearing in which the staff attorneys were planning on questioning the attorney general who pushed back on that. he did not appear, but he is appearing according to the democrats he is agreeing to come, and house democratic chairman jerry nadler sent out a fellow with the democrats that he is going to be questioned about the stone case and also the effort by rudy giuliani to provide the justice department
with information related to ukraine. that question about that process has been a key question that the democrats have had and expect bill barr to be faced with a number of questions about that and other questions of involvement in the ukraine in any way and expect that to come up, wolf. >> manu, how are people on capitol hill following the actions of the president following the acquittal? >> they say that nothing is wrong with the steps that are being taken and that is what most are saying. some are taken aback including lisa murkowski who told me earlier no indication this week that the president has learned any lesson, but afterwards susan collins who voted not to impeach the president said that he may learn lessons to act more consciously over the criticism that he is receiving over the conduct with ukraine by both
parties and to dayday i asked ie still believes that the president could have learned any lessons. >> reporter: is there any lessons that you think that the president learned from being impeached? >> i don't know what you mean by actions. i have made it clear that nobody should be retaliated against. and that is not why i voted not to impeach the president. the conduct should be so egregious and proven be ti house managers that the person should not be remain in office one moment more. and that is the standard established by the house acquitting president clinton and that is the reason for my vote. and i don't know why you are equating the two. >> and you said that the president learned his lesson, but do you think that he has learned any lessons?
>> reporter: so she would not say that he had learned any lessons and later when talking to the reporters said that my vote on acquitting the president was not based on future behavior. >> thank you, manu raja. and now, we go to kathleen rice, a member of the homeland security committee, and thank you for joining us. you heard president trump praising the justice department for intervening to help his long time friend and political adviser roger stone. what are the implications if the president could tip the scales at the justice department on a high profile case like this? >> the implications, wolf, are enormous, and if the president can send out a tweet and change the opinion of the attorney general, what that means is that the attorney general is working for the president and not the american people and he is not worried about upholding the rule of law or keeping the politics at bay when it is coming at
things like this, and think of the message sending to the regular public, if you are joe blow, you are going to prison, but if you are a friend of donald trump, you are not. set that stark. i don't know why anybody should be shocked. if we should be shocked about anything, it is about how quickly since the acquittal which was ridiculous exercise by the senate and led by mitch mcconnell, and this thing that should surprise us is why so quick? you would think that the president would have given ate week or two before he hatched up all of the people who were testifying pursuant to subpoenas and obeying the law. this is outrageous behavior and every single one of us as americans and not independents or democrats or republicans, but americans, what kind of country do you want to live in? do you want a country where the president has guardrails and separation of powers or one that
acts like a dictator that we have now. >> and you went further in a tweet, and let me read it former congresswoman. i continue to be appalled at the conduct of attorney general barr and as i said, he is unfit for the job. this is why i joined ted liu in asking him to be investigated for possible disbarment. what questions does the attorney general need to answer when he is coming before your colleagues on the house judiciary committee? >> well, what conversations he has had with the president directly, what facts in evidence that he has based the decision on, and not just the roger stone case. but i will come tout say it, bill barr is the most unfit attorney general we have ever had in this country and i hope that people are paying attention to what he is saying or doing, but at the very least, put in the hot seat, and take an oath,
and not that it matters to him, but talk about conversations with the president and others in the conversation and why such a turnaround on roger stone when you are sentencing him for obstructing justice and witness tampering and this is what a jury found him guilty of. he deserves to go to prison, but as a former federal prosecutor, wolf, you know they have been involved in cases of political people, and you have to get approval at the highest levels of the department of justice and the reason for that is to ensure that you are not taking steps that can be influenced by any political considerations. what we are seeing here in the terms of the presidential tweet is what happened and bill barr has to answer to that. >> and in the reveeted version after the four federal prosecutors stepped away from the case in protest, the justice department still said that roger stone deserves prison time, but
not the 7 to 9 years originally recommended. is that okay with you? >> well, look, anyone can quibble about do you think that 7 to 9 is fair, but i mean, that is a stiff sentence. but ultimately, it is the responsibility of doj who prosecuted this case to make a recommendation that is consistent with the evidence against this individual, his past behavior and what is the likelihood of him going to be, you know, recidivist in the future, and all of the standards that you have the take into consideration when you make recommendation. but you don't prosecute the case and say, hey, give this person what you want. you have to take a position. you can't say, judge, you go ahead to do it, because now you have the president saying how unfair the judge is. so this is unfair and outrageous
behavior which bill barr and the president. but why should we be shocked when it is day after day and my fear, wolf, is that donald trump is going to succeed at numbing the american public to his transgressions. we cannot let that happen. he has to be held accountable, and that is why i am going to be as vocal as i can when the outrageous abuses of power are perpetrated against the american people. >> and it is up to the federal judge, and ami berman jackson did decide how much time he should get, because he was convicted by a jury with these seven felony counts. thank you, kathleen rice. >> thank you, wolf. and bernie sanders is leading the upcoming elections. and what impact is michael bloomberg going to have?
today president trump on twitter and then camera praised the attorney general bill barr and the justice department for intervening in the case against his political ally roger stone. joining us is cnn contributor andrew mccabe acting director of the fbi. andrew, thank you for coming in. >> sure. >> i wanted you to listen and have our viewers listen and watch to what the president said in the oval office a little while ago. >> i want to thank the justice department for seeing this horrible thing, and i did not speak to them by the way so you understand, they saw how horrible this is of a nine-year sentence of doing nothing. you have murders and drug addicts who don't get nine years. >> that is following a tweet from the president last night, and he wrote, congratulations to
attorney general bill barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control. what is your analysis or the assessment or the reaction when you hear that from the president? >> well, comments from the oval office and the tweets and once again, you can see the president committing transgressions out in plain sight, and he is making no mistake about the fact that what he wants and then offers the congratulations to the attorney general for executing the order. it is not first time that we have seen it from the president, and you can look back to the eddie gallagher case, a few w k weeks ago. >> what the transgression that he made? >> well, wolf, it is hard to explain and what a departure this is from every reasonable standard of how the conduct prosecutions and investigations in a rulef law society in which all people are treated the same. one the fundamental bedrocks is that the president is not involved and he does not weigh
in on the preference of the sentences and he would not ak the witnesses or assail the government for recruiting informants, but it is things that the president has done repeatedly. >> and how long in the fbi? >> 21 years. >> have you seen a president attack a federal judge or go after the federal prosecutors along these lines? >> not only have i ever seen it, and the one time that i can remember president obama as you will recall made an offhanded pertinent remark in the investigation of the hillary clinton investigation that he opined that we wouldn't find much, and that rocked us to the core. what does that mean? does the president mean to intend to tell us what he wants from the investigation? of course, nothing is farther from the truth. and he did not intervene in any way, but now in this president's
world he has these things happening everyday. >> and so now he said that they should go back to school for the senior intelligence professional. and the president attacked you again today. listen to this. >> if you are looking at how many people were hurt, and their lives were destroyed and nothing happened to all of the people. and that is a scam. where is comey? what is happening with mccabe? >> when you hear that from the president of the united states, what is going through your mind? >> it is disgusting and shocking. as many times as it happens, it is shocking. but you have to take it out of the context of just about me, and look at the president casting dispersions of people who have never been charged with a crime, myself or jim comey or anybody else from the group that we worked with at the fbi. he reteenly referred to people as corrupt and committing crimes when that is not further from the truth. wolf, he is doing this because
he is trying to plant the thought into people's minds, and if he says it enough times, people will believe it. >> and the president abruptly withdrew the nomination of one senior official jesse liu who had been overseeing the roger stone case, and your case, and do you see that as punishment for jesse liu for not intervening in the roger stone case the way he would have wanted? >> i don't know why her nomination -- >> senior treasury department. >> well, it could be yet another example of the president conveying the dissipleasure of those folk who are not delivering his will and what he is seeking. >> thank you, andrew mccabe. you are in the "situation room." how the judiciary committee is setting a date to hear from the attorney genbarr.
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president trump is praising the justice department for intervening in the case of the political ally roger stone and ramping up pressure on the justice department the go after his political enemies. let's bring in the analysts to discuss this pressure that is blatant on the justice departme department. what does that say to you, gloria? >> well, the justice department is under assault from within, within its own administration and the attorney general himself. the president, the president of the united states who uses twitter to denounce the department of justice decision and then he is getting exactly what he wants. so you are the ask yourself a question about what does that mean to all of the people who are left serving in the department of justice. you know, sometimes mass resignations as we saw, four of them, can make a point to the outsiders and the american people that something is not right. that doesn't happen everyday and in fact, it hardly ever happens.
and you have to stop, and take notice, and ask why. >> what are the consequences, david gregory of the president's actions? >> well, the immediate is a loss of confidence in the justice department. more of a confirmation that the president got what he wanted. he wanted the roy cohen and a reliable personal attorney to be the attorney general of the how it is supposed to work. one thing that i am looking for and it is significant that the line prosecutors in the case resigned, but what about the u.s. attorneys around the country, they are presiding over the districts, and they are political appointees, and in most cases, they are no longer an obama appointees and trump appointees, and do they not have a fidelity of hnd are they going to stand up to say something or more like the republican senators? >> and so, joining us as well, how are the republicans, and especially the 52 republicans who voted to acquit the president in the senate
impeachment trial, and how are they reacting to this? >> well, they have a lot of practice from the last several months to take something that the president did and figuring out a way to justify it or explain it or hide from it, and that is what they are doing theday, the president was not involved in this and he did not publicly or privately talk to the justice department or instruct them to do this and that is similar the what we saw, the public looking for an out, and for them to say that there is not enough information and no smoking gun unless the president says i instructed the justice department to take it easy on the stone. >> apparently, they don't have twitter over there at the justice department. >> only 60 million or so followers. the president tweeted this last night, david axelrod. congratulation fs to attorney general bill barr for taking control of a case out of control. you had the chance the sit down
with the house committee chairman adam schiff, and you got his response. let me play it. >> when i am looking at i7 tweets litwee -- tweets like this and consider that the intervention in this work of the department of justice and the direct attack on the rule of law and on the post watergate reforms that tried to build the wall between the white house and the justice department, i am struck that it is all done out in the open. the fact that it is done in the open in a way makes it more insidious, because it is normalizing this attack on the independence of the justice system. >> and what about the point that it is done in the open? >> listen, it is really important and not just here, but the president has done this in so many ways an blanketly denying congress and the oversight responsibilities and normalizing the behavior and going after the media the way he
does normalizes that in the politics and dealing with the foreign leaders as he did with the president of ukraine and then insisting it is a perfect call. this is the insidious thing is the asundry of the pillars of a working democracy and deeply, deep ri concerninly concerning, problem is that he is doing it again and again. >> and to the point of chairman schiff, that nobody is going to impeach the president again and mueller did not result in anything, and impeachment resulted in an acquittal, but it is coming do town the republicans who say that we appreciate the president for reasons one through ten, but shouldn't you have some oversight ability over how he is conducting the affairs. the attacks on the judiciary by the way which have been rebuked by the chief justice of the united states and another instance today attacking the district judge. >> and in the mueller report,
and the question that bob mueller had to deal with time and time again can you obstruct justice in public, and the question is, yes, i guess that you can, but they will not indict a sitting president and we know that, but it is clear that is what the president was doing to people who were going to testify against him. >> gloria, i agree with what you said at the outset of the five resignations sending a strong signal, but what is frighteding is that we are seeing them in the national security area and in the justice department sensitive areas, and what are the implications of that? he is turning the justice system into that of which this is accusing it of being which is politicized. >> and he said they should resign and go back to school of what he said of the community leaders in the past as well. a lot more after this. ♪
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and in the wake of the shake-up last night of the democratic presidential case, the candidates are scrambling to cover new territory and reach new voters. kyung lah was in new hampshire as a result, and now tell us more about where this race is heading? >> well, they may appear, the candidates ap peer to be off of the campaign trail today, but they are furiously making the shift to nevada.
amy klobuchar here in new york before she is heading west. she is here for a fund-raiser. the candidates are gearing up for the next states. >> we are on the nevada. >> reporter: the democrats are taking the battle for the nomination west. after his narrow new hampshire victory, bernie sanders is now the democratic party's frontrunner. on his heels, pete buttigieg in second. with a late surge from amy klobuchar lifting her to a surprising third place finish. >> i think that the job is about you. >> reporter: klobuchar's campaign is expanding and hitting the nevada airwaves with two new ads and ramping up the staff in nevada and other super tuesday states. pete buttigieg's ad is focussing on a key issue for voters. >> others say it is medicare for all or nothing, but the voice should be yours. >> reporter: his target is bernie sanders and medicare for all. >> senator sanders' message that he is going to erase the plans
and replace them with a single government plan for everybody is going to be, i think that it is a tough sell among the voters who want to have that choice. >> reporter: who wants it? nevada's powerful hotel workers union who fought the nevada casinos for their own health care. and celebrating the victory, bernie sanders had this culinary flier dropped to members saying that he would end culinary health care. settle up a battle. >> it is going to be especially with the people in the culinary union and we will sit down with them. >> reporter: and also, now the popularity and ability to embrace the black voters. >> we have still 55 states and
territories that people have not heard from. and so this is going to be a long primary process. >> thank you, thank you, thank you. >> reporter: joe biden spent his night in south carolina. his campaign is staking the campaign on the survival with the black voters. >> if you cannot get the black and brown voters for president of the united states, you should have it. for too long, your loyalty to the party has been taken for granted. >> reporter: and also one to compete against is mayor bloomberg. >> i will support him or her should god forbid they are elected. >> reporter: and a sign of how heated medicare for all is going to be in nevada. the culinary union issued a statement saying that bernie sanders's supporters had viciously attacked the union and workers just by providing
information to the membership about health care. wolf? >> yes, a few of the states left are more diverse than we saw in iowa and new hampshire. >> dwre, it yes, it is going to challenge for amy klobuchar or pete buttigieg, to see if they have the appeal for the diverse communities and hispanic communities and black voters. joe biden is in a good place and he has staked the campaign on the idea of a south carolina firewall. it is a test of whether or not he can revive the cam pane as to whether or not he can continue to have the stronghold on the black voters that he is relying on so much as part of the theme of his campaign. we have heard him last night saying that black and brown voters are key to his election, and 99% of the black voters have not weighed in yet, so we have to wait and see if iowa and new
hampshire harms him with the black voters, but if not, he could be in a good position. >> and michael bloomberg is becoming a factor not necessarily in nevada or south carolina, but super tuesday, spending hundreds of millions of dollars. >> yes, he is looming large, and he is going to spend more by super tuesday than president obama spent on the entire election in 2012. and bernie sanders is emerging here as the undisputed candidate to the left, and the picture is muddled in the middle. there is no real challenge, and elizabeth warren, and it is interesting to hear her say that it is early. that is the mantra of the people who don't do well in the early primaries, but i was reminded of yoga berra talking about the shadows of yankee stadium in the afternoon, and he says, it gets late early here. and that is true in the presidential politic, you run out of money if you don't do well quick.
>> and nothing breeds success like success they say. and biden showed the polls of the support of the african-americans have been vaved avav -- halved and so we will have to see if biden can stay in decent shape through south carolina. if he can't, that is the end of the road. that is the whole play, and right now, you know, you have people with wind in their back. >> and what is hurting the former vice president so much? >> well, i just don't think that he has connected to the voters. he seems old on the trail and out of step and not debating well, and so he is establishment. there is a desire for a fresh face. i would notify that one thing that success does is to clarify the mind. and now, democrats are waking up that bernie sanders is the frontrunner and the liberal wing of the party and we are not comfortable with him which is why we have a fight with the moderates, and that is why you will see the knives coming out for bernie sanders.
>> toluce, do you think that he inspired a gas tax due to the activity in ukraine? >> well, his family is important to him, and before this came out, biden was struggling to connect with the voters and he had issues with missteps and misstatements and that is a challengen in the previous campaigns where similar challenges, and so that may have added to it, but he has had pre-existing issues. and now, coming up tonight, anderson is going to speak with 1 bernie sanders and elizabeth warren at 8:00 p.m. and now, new warnings for america that the coronavirus could gain a foothold right here in the united states. woman: my reputation was trashed online.
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disease. brian, what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, mixed messages from top health officials around the world tonight about where we are with this virus. some officials say it's showing signs of leveling off, but others say it remains a very serious threat, including here in the united states. tonight an ominous warning from a top official at america's centers for disease control about the deadly and spreading coronavirus. >> you can and should be prepared for this new virus to gain a foothold in the u.s. >> there are now more than a dozen confirmed cases of the virus within the united states. elsewhere, there's concerned that the "diamond princess" is a floating incubator for the coronavirus. nearly 200 people on the vessel have become infected, the largest outbreak outside
mainland china. this man's wife tested positive. she's been taken off the ship. >> it feels like another day more passengers. it gets a bit tiring for sure. kind of feel like a punching bag. you just don't know what's going to be next. >> reporter: thousands of people are stuck on the "diamond princess," many are under quarantine. one staffer worries about crew members on the ship, who she says interact constantly with infected passengers. those crew members, she's says, are not in isolation. >> we are all sitting in the same place and having food and it can spread. >> reporter: another cruise ship has been turned away from ports in four countries, despite having no confirmed cases of coronavirus. >> we don't know what's going on. we've been moving around for
about two weeks now. many countries have closed their border off to us. >> "the westerdam" was finally taken in. >> any time you have conditions in a closed confined space, the virus can thrive. >> there are 45,000 confirmed cases and less than 3% have been killed by it, the vast majority of those cases have been in mainland china. >> hand washing is key, regular hand washing and that's because the virus spreads through droplets. if you touch your nose, a mouth, a door handle, it's been washing your hands regularly and properly. >> tonight hundreds of people remain under two-week quarantine at military bases across the u.s. but there is good news.
nearly 200 people flown out of the virus's epicenter have been released from an air force base in california. >> today as we took off our mask and were given a clean bill of health, we all realized we had gone through this experience together and we made good friends. >> reporter: one top official from the world health organization says the number of reported cases in china has leveled off over the past week and does not seem to be growing as fast but he cautions against reading too much into that saying these numbers could go in any direction. another top w.h.o. official says it's too early to predict the end of the virus. >> where are we with vaccine? >> one doctor is at the stage where he's doing animal trials for a vaccine.
he thinks by the end of this year, they could have a suitable vaccine but others say we're at least a year away. >> thank you money coming up, amid president trump's unprecedented interference in the justice department, attorney general william barr is now scheduled to testify in front of angry house democrats. stay with us. you're in the "situation room." . male voice: what did i tell you, boys? tonight we eat like kings! (chuckling) you're a genius, gordon! brake! hit the brake! uh, which one's the brake? (crash, bottles smashing) stop! stop! sto-o-op! (brakes squealing) what's happening? what? there's a half of cheesesteak back there. with geico, the savings keep on going. just like this sequel. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. raccoon: i got the cheesesteak!
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slow heart rhythm has been reported. tell your doctor about bleeding new or unexpected shortness of breath any planned surgery, and all medicines you take. if you recently had a heart attack, ask your doctor if brilinta is right for you. my heart is worth brilinta. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. there's new fallout from the justice department's extraordinary intervention in the case against president trump's long-time confidante roger stone. there may be more departures from the department of justice in protest by the decision of attorney general william barr to overrule the sentencing recommendation. the president is thanking them for reducing the sentence and is thanking attorney general bill barr for, quote, taking charge. how judiciary members announced that barr will testify before the committee on march 31st to, quote, address numerous concerns regarding his leadership and the president's improper influence over the justice department. that's a quote. we'll talk about that and more with congressman cedric richmond of the judiciary committee and our correspondents and analysts are also