tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN March 19, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
top of the hour, you're live in the cnn newsroom. thank you for joining me. the stage is set for a dramatic day on capitol hill. one that should bring some extraordinary testimony on russia's meddling in the 2016 election and president trump's claim he was wiretapped by his predecessor during the campaign. we will finally hear from the director of the fbi james comey.
among the questions he could face before the house intelligence committee is his agency investigating the white house or not. is there any evidence to back up president trump's accusation that president obama had his phone bugged during the campaign. now the republican lawmaker leading the hearing says no. watch. >> was there a physical wiretap of trump tower? >> no, but there never was. and the information we had ob friday continues to lead us in that direction. >> tomorrow fbi director comey will raise his right hand and tell you what he knows. no filters. proceedings start at 10:00 a.m. on cnn. if that's not dramatic enough, the dog fight over vacancy goes public tomorrow as well. we are just day was from the house vote on the republican health care plan.
do joining me is cnn's washington correspondent. ryan, we just heard from the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee he went on to say according to to what he's seen no evidence of conclusion between russia and the trump campaign. what are you hearing from the top democrat on that committee about what he's seen so far? >> it's clear the congressman would like to put this issue about wiretapping in the background so they can focus on the bigger issue as to whether or not russia was involved in intervening in the american election and what will the trump campaign play in that. listen to what he said a about the allegations about wiretapping this morning on "meet the press." >> i. hope we can put an end to the wild goose chase because what the president said was false. and the wrecking ball it created
now has banged into our british allies. it's continuing to grow this terms of damage and he needs to put an end to this. sean spicer brought in a british intelligence gt si into this entire controversy. it's the goal tomorrow to get comey on the record to say no, there's no evidence that the obama administration attempted to wiretap donald trump during the campaign. whether or not he gets that definitive of an answer, we'll have to wait until the hearing to see. >> walk us through what you'll be walking through at 10:00 a.m. >> we've talked to some folks here at the fbi and some folks familiar with what he's going to talk about tomorrow. and i think we are going to get an answer on the wiretapping. what i don't think we're going to get an answer on is more about what the fbi is doing in terms of the investigation, what they are looking at, who they suspect in some of this hacking and some of the meddling into
the election. i think we're not going to get as many answers as we would like. certainly the public would like. because the fbi is still very much very deep in the investigation but they are nowhere near the end of it. the counterintelligence division at the fbi, which is looking at this, can take years to come up with conclusions about what happened here. we're looking for an interesting day. we may not get any answers we're looking for. >> comey was asked to testify but not compelled to testify. does his willingness to do this point out anything significant? >> what it points out more than anything is james comey would like to get back control of his role in this narrative. a lot of people have been talking about him, about what he may or may not be involved in this entire investigation. and comey, as we know, is somebody who likes to show he has control of a situation and
right now it appears that control is lacking. so maybe he may not be able to be definitive about he and his organization have gathered over the past couple months, but he can show a degree of confidence that he has this under control, that they know what they are doing and ultimately they will come to a definitive conclusion. >> thank you for the good information. let's bring in a couple experts who will be watching the hearing. cnn's national security analyst and a formeren assistant secretary with the homeland security department. also with me is cnn contributor, prlt historian and former director of the presidential library. who are the key players to look for at tomorrow's hearing besides comey bye-bye. >> one is going to be sally yates, former acting attorney general. .
. people remember her for getting fire ued for not defending the muslim ban case, but we later learned she was quite instrumental in the russia investigation. her suspicions a about flynn, the former national security adviser being compromised, led her to notify the white house. . they did nothing about that. and told the story was essentially released by the press. and then finally fired flynn. what she has to say in terms of the investigation, why was she concerned that flynn could be compromised, those are two big questions. the other person is somebody who won't be there. president trump will be, but it's mike flynn sort of ruling around this it entire investigation about the trump/russia ties. mike flynn seems close to the center at almost every turn. his relationship with the russians, money he got from the russians, his ties to the trump campaign and his national
security adviser. he will not be there, but his name will surely be mentioned and invoke d a lot. >> do you expect that james comey will come out and hit the nail on the head when it comes to the wiretapping claims? >> in in terms of wiretapping, certainly. there's no incentive to let the fiction that all of us have been trying to disentangle or figure out what trump meant until it's abundantly clear it wasn't true. . if you just wait a little while, there's no proof. comey wants to shut that down. the reason why is because the allegation essentially is against comey.
that the fbi director illegally wiretapped trump. the other reason why is everyone knows the real case and the constitutional issue related to our own democracy really is the bigger issue of the ties between trump and russia and what russia did in the 2016 election. >> let me read something my colleague wrote about the claims. as with birtherism, it's trump against almost everybody. it allows him to be the embattled outsider, even as he sits in the white house. do you agree with that? >> i agree that he's trying to do that. i don't agree that that stands to make any sense anymore. >> does anybody benefit from that? >> president trump is at the center of this. he has access to whatever intelligence he needs to have. he can find out today all of the people who there are fisa warrants, all the people who
have been wiretapped. a sense of the scope of the investigation. none of these things should be secret from him. tomorrow there shouldn't be any secret cans for the white house. the white house should know this in advance. in fact, the republican heads of both the senate and house intelligence committee have is been very help fful to the whit house by saying to them, look, there's no evidence backing up those swetweets. get ahead of the story. . the white house continues to play around as if there could be some wiretap iping. >> why do you think they keep digging in? >> that would require us to understand the psychology of mr. trump. given the campaign, normally he doubles down. what surprises me, what disturbs me is folks around him haven't said we're now talking about the use of intelligence by a predecessor and right now this
is not something to tweet about. this is something if you want to go forward with an allegation, only do it if you have the evidence. tomorrow what i'm looking for is, first of all, to see whether the fbi director comey makes clear that there weren't any warrants for the. tapping of president trump and president-elect trump or his inner circles. >> sources tell us that's what they can confirm. >> the second thing is for comey to explain the scope of the investigation. there isn't really supposed to be ab investigation of contacts between the trump campaign and russia unless there's evidence of some context. my suspicion, this is based on analyzing what's open, is that this started as an counterintelligence investigation of the hacking. and the role of russian intelligence in many the hacking.
that means you investigate wikileaks and investigate any other outlet through which illegally acquired e-mails went. >> it has been confirmed there was some surveillance of perhaps russian operatives or foreign aids or spies. >> and that's why form you may be hearing something about incidental collection. in other words, if there's a warrant on a foreign entity and ab american citizen for one reason or another e mills or calls that foreign entity, they may get caught up in the surveillance even though they were not the target of the investigation nor a a warrant for them. that may be the source. that may be the source of some of the suspicions out there that trump people were wire. tapped. >> i think what's important here is there is likely incidental intelligence. it's highly unlike ly that come will confirm a criminal investigation he may just punt
that question. it will be asked white often. if he does confirm that there is an investigation of trump associates about the russia hack, the political floor will trop drop. i don't anticipate it, but that will be a a moment. >> one thing that happened this weekend that makes me believe someone who is looking at all these different pieces. e ween don't know where each one is heading. these investigations are complicated. there's generally not an a-ha moment is that this weekend the senate intelligence committee asked a close friend of donald trump's, a part of the trump team, the loose affiliation of teams, they told him he should not get rid of or extinguish any information a about collaboration between him and russia. you'll remember roger stone is the one who seemed to be very close to wikileaks.
would often preempt the release by saying watch out tomorrow, wikileaks will have something on john president obama tes ta. this moment is as close as we have got b to the trump campaign sbept for mike flynn. two key players who are under tremendous questions about the relationship with russia. >> i'm looking down because i do know that you're talking about the senate intelligence committee asking roger stone sto hold on to any evidence papers or anything that could be part of this investigation. there are a couple of investigations happening right now. the house intelligence committee and the senate sbelks committee. we're going to hear comey and mike rogers testifying before
the house intelligence committee. we do know there is on the schedule on march 30th another hearing in which many people perhaps will go before the senate intelligence committee. there's a lot of loose ends at this point. but tomorrow we might start to get a few more pieces of the puzzle. thanks to both of you. still to come, the fbi hearing comes at a curious time for president trump and his meetings of u.s. allies. how will the world audience view tomorrow's hearing. a former british ambassador to russia joins me next. you're live in the cnn newsroom. one thing i've learned is that when all eyes are on me, i can't have any doubts. especially when it comes to what i'm wearing... it needs to fit my body just right. looking good on stage is one thing. but real confidence comes from feeling good out there.
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capitol hill monday as fbi director james comey testifies before the house intelligence committee on russian attempts to influence the election. committee members are expected it to ask comey if there are any connections between russian officials and president trump's associates. and then there are the president's unproven accusations that president obama conducted surveillance on him before and after the election. the nation and much of the world will be watching tomorrow. we are joined now via skype from london. he's a a former british ambassador to russia. thank you for being with us. what do you x. to learn from the hearing? >> i really can't predict such a wild story. . first of all, with regard to the british involvement to wiretapping president trump, that's not true. . why on earth would they take such a huge risk as what's happening.
on the other charges which are lurking around over the trump campaign, it's clear that the russians did the hack on the democratic party. they also it's pretty clear they put the material into the public doma domain. it would be surprising to me to discover they are actually anticipating changing the result of the election because everyone expected that mr. clinton would win. i think the reality of it is mr. putin dislikes hillary clinton as she supported demonstrations against him and was pleased to do some damage. >> so what do you think could be a bomb shell of sorts if there were to be one? >> i think if it were established that it there was a great dossier that appeared which to describe quite specific
russian abilities to control mr. trump and his campaign, if any of that were corroborated, that would be a bomb shell and a threat to trump's presidency. but quite well funded and motivated and intelligence organizations have been struggling to corroborate the assertions in that dossier ever since it came out five or six months ago and so far nothing has surfaced. so my instinct is there's an awful lot of noise going on and hysteria at the moment and there's lult evidence to sustain it. >> he talked about the hysteria and the u.s. in washington. what is the read by those outside the u.s. by people like yourself and other countries right now watching and looking from more of this bird's eye perspective on what's happening in the u.s. my reading is this much more about trump than russia and the
various news organizations and maybe the intelligence agencies over there are locking for a way of using supposed russian links to damage mr. trump. we have seen specific examples of that. the russian ambassador in washington whom i know quite well when i worked with him in moscow is a senior russian diplomat just like i was a a senior british diplomat. he's been droibed by some news organizations as a spy master. he's not. he's a good whose job it is to meet influential americans and get to know what they are thinking and where they are going. accusations of that sort to muddy the water tremendously in washington. and make it very unclear what if any basis there is to make wild accusations. >> has the u.s. reputation been damaged among our allies? >> i mean, the situation in the
united states at the moment in terms of the personality of your new president in terms of the policies that emerging is so unprecedented that this particular corner of the story, the russian influence has mayed a role. if the hearings begin show there is so that would be huge. >> sur tony brenton, thank you for your insight today. up next, the view from russia. we go live to moscow to see how closely russians are following the investigation into the meddling sbo the u.s. election. you're live in the cnn newsroom. why are you checking your credit score? you don't want to drive old blue forever, do you? [brakes squeak] credit karma, huh? yep, it's free. credit karma. give yourself some credit.
often. a public hearing called by the house intelligence committee. normally they are classified behind closed doors. . but tomorrow's hearing is going to be public on tv here on cnn at 10:00 a.m. eastern. this hearing tomorrow is all about russia. how much did russia manage to sere the results of last year's presidential election. the intelligence community has cob colluded that russia did interfere with the vote. fred pleitgen is in moscow watching reaction to the developments from that side of the world. how closely are the people there in russia watching this story and how it do they view these k accusations. >> we asked the russian government about that just last week and they said they are not going to be watching the hearings a at all. they have better things to do. but some very top level officials here in the city and in this country are going to be watching very closely to see if any new allegations, if any new facts come out. you can see that the russians are growing frustrated with some of the things that they are hearing from america.
top level officials saying it sounds like a a broken record. many people here simply want the discussion to go away. here's what they told us. >> does president trump have ties to the russian government? did russia really med until the u.s. election? questions that persist in the u.s. but that many russians wish would just go away. . we got unnerved reactions on the streets of moscow. no, of course, we're not interfering in any elections this woman says. this man adds in russia we have an old saying. a bad dancer always has an excuse. the americans blame russia for everything. it's not true. i like u americans, he says. they are normal people. but this is just crazy. if they say all this it means that russia is more powerful than the u.s. russian state-run media has been lashing out against the relationship.
>> a gift to the kremlin when you look at the timing. >> reporter: what he called american hysteria. >> it comes strange to us. and we are really sorry about that. . all this after both donald trump and vladimir putin expressed mutual edadmiration during the campaign. >> he's a brilliant, intelligence person, without a doubt. >> he's getting an a. >> russian officials acknowledge they were plooezed when donald trump beat hillary clinton in the election, but they also expected results. better u.s./russian relations and ab easing of sanctions slapped on russia over the ukraine crisis. . now that hope is fading, one expert says. >> they were giving him a chance. they are still giving him a chance. they are becoming more realistic about trump, about the united states and more generally and i think that basically they are not looking for a major
breakthrough. >> so there you have the view here from russia. the country's officials say they believe their nation is being demonized. a a spokesman b for vladimir putin says he feels the u.s. is humiliating itself by the discussions that are going on right now. but a lot of this has pragmatic reasons. the russians had hoped that relations would improve very quickly. so far that has not materialized. >> those hopes are dampered a little bit. fred pleitgen, thank you so much. still to come, pure coincidence or timed intensally. the u.s. secretary of state held meetings on north korea. the regime claimed a big advantage in rocket technology. a a live report from beijing is next. . first cnn's correspondent christine romans has this week's before the bell. >> action from the federal rezer reserve is in the rear view mirror and the money story is in
washington where there will be two confirmation hearings and scrutinizing of the lelgtive agenda. does trouble for the health care overhaul foreshadow for tax reform or infrastructure. . it could rattle markets. the confirmation hearing for neil gorsit. he's ruled on several anti-trust cases. later in the week labor secretary will face lawmakers. he was trump's second selection after the fast food ceo withdrou his nomination. if confirmed he will be in charge of the bureau that overcease the jobs report and workplace conditions ask employment opportunities. >> we'll get a housing market heat check on the heels of the interest rate hike. numbers on home sales are due. it remains strong with prices in many metro areas near peak levels. the question now is can it continue. higher interest rates could put the pressure on buyers in more
expensive areas. rates on the fixed mortgage hit a 201 high of 4.3%. but analysts say they still believe that we will stay below 5% for the rest of the year. historically that's still very low for emergency rates. >> sounds like good news for home buyers. >> for more you can check out cnnmoney.com. stay with us. with e*trade's powerful trading tools, right at your fingertips, you have access to in-depth analysis, level 2 data, and a team of experienced traders ready to help you if you need it. ♪ ♪ it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are. it's your trade. ♪ ♪
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his presidency so far. . the director of the fbi is on capitol hill. a hearing for trump supreme court pick also begins tomorrow ask then thursday that key vote on the republican's health care replacement plan. a lot on the table. here's what the president told a pool of reporters as he boarded air force one back in florida. hours after north korea touted what it calls a revolutionary breakthrough in its rocket program. will, what's the read in the region there? what about the timing of north korea's test. a coincidence or intentionally planned? >> you can never read the minds of the north koreaens. but this does not look like a
coincidence. they announced this rocket engist test that they were meeting with the chinese president. this technology is concerning because it shows the continued advancement of north korea's missile program leading them to their end game is is a nuclear war head. >> so what are we to know about this new technology? >> we know that north korea is creating a more sophisticated weaponry. the big thing they are doing now that's different from the past is they switched to solid fuel. this allows missiles to be ruled out and laurvelged with short notice. we know north korea has a number of missiles with different re ranges. 300 miles to more than 6,000 miles. but what they are developing now is missiles to be launched more with less detection and greater accuracy. >> does that help with the development of the
intercontinental ballistic missile? >> it does and north korea state media said this new rocket engine does bring them closer, they didn't say to their launch, but we heard the leader kim jong-un saying for months now that an icbm launch is eminent. north korea has put a satellite into orbit. they say this is for the sake of science, but analysts know these it missiles can also be used to deliver nuclear war heads. it's a very concerning situation and certainly something the success tear was talking about extensively over the weekend. not only with the chinese president but the two top diplomats here. >> tillerson said during his visit to the region that the u.s.'s strategic patience, those are his words, was over and that all options in dealing with north korea were on the table. so is north korea trying to test the u.s.? >> north korea is trying to see
and get a sense of what the new administration is capable of. it's also what the government here in beijing is trying to figure out. because beijing in the u.s. view has leverage that they are not using. they continue to trade very extensively. they are the most meaningful trading partner for north korea providing them with billions of dollars in revenue. what china and north korea is this just rhetoric or would the trump administration be engaged in military it action and destabilizing and concerning for beijing. so there's a a lot to talk about when president xi and trump meet. we're expecting that to happen next month in the u.s. >> that's right. will ripley, thank you so much. trump's pick for the supreme court heads to capitol hill. will judge neil say? you're live in the cnn newsroom.
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i believe within a month or two neil gorsuch will be in the supreme court. >> that was ted cruz predicting that gorsuch on the supreme court will be confirmed by the senate. the confirmation hearing kicks off tomorrow and it's expected to last a few days. let's brung in supreme court reporter ariana. what do you expect from these hearings? >> this is the only chance ever
that the senate has to grill this candidate before he gets life tenure. they will take it very seriously. the republicans will take the opportunity to talk in general a about the supreme court and the opinions they like of his. but the democrats are in a tough spot here. they are still furious about the fact that merrick garland never got a hearing. the democrats also recognize that gorsuch is really well qualify ied and trump is replacg a conservative with a conservative. they can well decide to save some of their fire power in thinking down the road. for instance, if trump were to ever get another nominee, a more liberal nominee. we could see that happening tomorrow. >> so if he is confirmed, he will be making a little history on the bench being the first clerk to serve with his boss kennedy. talk about their relationship
and how that relationship may have impact gorsuch's view on law. >> it is an interesting history. and it's almost like gorsuch could be going full circle. heefs hired originally by byron white, another westerner. kennedy would later fly to colorado when gorsuch made the tlal appeals court and report bh is aligned with two other justices on the court, scalia and they hope that will bring results they like from gorsuch, his relationship with scalia and thomas from those days. >> judge gorsuch will be testifying in front of the
senate confirmation committee. >> democrats for the most part on the committee have held a little bit of fire, senator blumenthal said he's prepared to filibuster. but the others are waiting, like i said, they're nervous. they don't want to trigger things too early, and if they should ever get another vote, kennedy or ruth bader ginsburg, that will be the fight. >> can they only do it one time or another, or is it more of just political calculation? >> it's more of a political calculation, the court right now would return to the status quo of how things were before
scalia, so maybe it doesn't make sense to use all their ammunition now for this fight, wait until things could really change and the court could really solidify in the conservative direction for years to come. still to come, president trump's budget plan calls for deep cuts to the state department and the epa. next our chief business correspondent christine romans breaks down what's on the chopping block. you're live in the cnn newsroom. (vo) this is not a video game.
department. the president is proposing cuts to their budget of up to 30%. the president also wants to eliminate funds for public broadcasting and the national endowment for the arts. backlash to this budget is growing, especially among members of both parties. >> reporter: anna, the white house budget chief calls this a high powered budget, big new investments for defense, homeland security and the border. even the elimination of entire programs. the president's critics call it hard hearted, for its cuts are for the very people president trump proposes to represent. this budget would end the community development block grants, a mechanism that has bipartisan support has been used to rebuild new orleans for
example, and for hurricane sandy relief and for meals on wheels. blow back was swift and bipartisan. >> here's this genius at branding and he's going to cut meals on wheels. i think during the reagan administration they tried to label ketchup as a vegetable. >> cuts too to after school meal programs for kids, for scientific research, for long distance amtrak routes, for public broadcasting and the arts, foreign aid and foreign scholarship programs, this is a budget that makes good on the president's promise to drain the swamp, it promises thousands of new empty desks in the washington bureaucracy, think labor, usda, epa, no surprise to
criticism from the left, but from the right, it leaves a $1.5 trillion national debt, something trump said he could easily n easily fix in eight years. >> and the budget will still will worked on in congress. and the big focus are the hearings tomorrow, and you can catch a preview on what you can expect on those intel hearings tonight in the newsroom with john berman. the next hour of cnn newsroom starts right now. you're live in the cnn newsroom. president trump arrives back in washington for a pivotal week, in less than 24 hours, the director of the fbi will testify before congress, not only on the
trump campaign's alleged ties to russia. and as we mentioned, this will play out on live tv right here on cnn. for his part, president trump says he will be vindicated. but here's one thing we know for sure, our own justice department sent a letter to the house intelligence committee, this was trump's justice department saying there was no evidence of his wiretap claim. >> a president doesn't go and physically wiretap something, if you take the president literally, it didn't happen. >> no ed of any wiretapping of trump tower. >> there was no fisa warrant that i'm aware of to tap trump tower. >> i hope we can put an end to this wild goose chase because what president trump said was patently false and what he said has banged into our british allies, our german allyings and it continues to grow in terms of damage and he needs to put an eno