tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 20, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
describing the shutdown as he privately predicts that americans will blame him for the debacle. why hasn't been able to cut a deal? we have new information about a flash point in the house russia probe. some high profile witnesses are creating roadblocks as well. this as we wait to learn if the would-be witness in chief will meet with the special counsel. and one year later, protests marked the first anniversary in office of the president as he unleashes snarky new tweets and presides over political chaos. has he changed the role of commander in chief forever? we want to welcome our viewers from around the united states and the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the "situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> tonight, protests and paralysis on this, the first anniversary of donald trump's inauguration as president. americans holding anti-trump
marches from coast to coast. as officials here in washington offer new reasons for outrage. we are now 18 hours into the federal government shutdown. and there's no sign that the stalemate will be broken any time soon. our correspondents and analysts are standing by as we cover the partisan wrangling and public anger. first, to our correspondent. is there any actual negotiating going on today? >> there has been a lot of activity up here on capitol hill, a lot of closed door meetings, wolf. certainly a lot of speechifying on this floor of the u.s. house and floor senate and that speechifying continues at this hour on the u.s. senate floor. both sides really do continue to be dug in. there's not any meaningful movement towards finding a solution to reopen the government. you have republicans and the white house on one side on making it very clear that they will not continue talks over daca unless the government is
reopening it and democrats say they want assurances here, promises made over their demands on daca before they move forward and agree to anything. certainly adding to the mix is the fact that you do have tempers essentially flairing up here on capitol hill. fingers being pointed and blame being assigned. here is earlier today mitch mcconnell from the floor. >> yesterday, our friend the senior senator from new york tried to insist that the shutdown was anybody's fault but his own. anybody else but me he said. he blamed president trump because the president wouldn't resolve months of ongoing negotiations over massive issues in one brief meeting and give the senator everything he wanted. he blamed republicans of congress as though everybody didn't know that the senate rules allow the minority party if they choose to obstruct the
american people's business and filibuster for their own political purposes. it's possible, but in this instance foolishly done. these rhetorical gymnastics are simply not pervasive. the american people see right through all this bluster. >> meantime, more partisan rhetoric coming from the senate minority leader chuck schumer who lamented having to negotiate with president trump throughout this process. something he describes as a moving target. >> negotiating with this white house is like negotiating with jell-o. it's next to impossible. as soon as you take one step forward, the hard right forces the president three steps back. now, i want to say, i don't have the personal animus that a lot of my colleagues have towards the president.
we're both blunt and direct. i agree with him vehemently on just about every issue but at least we can talk to one another. but it's next to impossible to strike a deal with the president because he can't stick to the terms. i have found this out. leader mcconnell has found this out. speaker ryan has found this out. so here we are on the first anniversary of the president's inauguration, mired in the trump shutdown. >> now, lawmakers up here do have a proposal for a three week spending bill, one week shorter than the four-week spending bill on the table that the white house and republicans are coming around. one republican lawmaker saying it's the most sensible alternative out there right now. but senate democrats making it clear that's a nonstarter for them. you also have up here today, wolf, some ominous language coming from lawmakers that the feeling as more time under a
shutdown continues going on the more both sides continue to dig in. the feeling that this has to shake loose -- something has to shake loose in the next 24 hours or as one lawmaker put it the longer this goes, the worse it gets. >> absolutely true. thanks very much. and now to president trump he's holed up at the white house as we speak. the government he was elected to lead has shut down. lots of portions of it. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. this isn't the way that the president expected to spend this, the anniversary of his inauguration. what's the latest you're hearing from inside the white house? >> well, sounds like that jell-o that chuck schumer referenced is hardening at this hour. the bad news of the shutdown is getting worse. i talked to a source who is close to this process who said that the three-week continuing resolution short term spending bill that would reopen the government, take us to the beginning part of february, that that proposal is not going anywhere at this point. the source says there's been
virtually no movement on that front and so that escape happen should potentially for this crisis is not being acted on at this point, according to the source i spoke to a few moments ago. they were exchanging more insults and hash tags with the end other end of pennsylvania avenue but they're marking this one year for president trump with the dubious distinction of having a government shutdown. something i asked mark short the director of legislative affairs earlier about here at the white house. here's what he had to say. >> this is the one-year anniversary of the president being sworn into office. how does this white house feel to have a shutdown one year after the president was sworn in? >> well, jim, i think it's disappointing that congress has chosen to shut down the government and particularly senate democrats have at the one-year anniversary. >> your reflection at all of the leadership out of the white house? >> i think it's a reflection candidly that many of the
democratic party find themselves. they have pushed our leadership to say we want to shut down the government. they say that the largest tax cut in history, they say he repealed the individual mandate. they look at the regulatory rollback, they look at what's happened with $7 trillion added to the stock markets. they see more circuit judges ever confirmed in one year. a new supreme court justice. those are things as tremendous progress but they're captive by a small base and they say we demand a shutdown. they look at the accomplishments of the last year and their reaction is because we can't beat them we'll shut down the government. >> now, you heard mark short there ticking off what he considers achievements for the first year of the administration, but privately the president is worried about being blamed for this shutdown long term. at the moment they're blaming democrats but the president is worried about taking the blame himself. he has been behind closed doors all day long.
he's been on the phones with republican lawmakers but he's also been issuing tweets going after democrats. we can put one up on the screen that deals with the issue of immigration. it basically says at this point that democrats are to blame for all of this because they've been digging in their heels on immigration. obviously, that is the issue that is -- at play here. democrats are not going to go for a cr at this point until they see some kind of tangible promise from this white house that they're going to get some kind of action on daca and those d.r.e.a.m.ers. wolf, one thing that the president did do in front of a camera today, it wasn't in front of the public cameras or the press, he recorded a video message that's going to be played tonight in mar-a-lago at that celebration of his one year of office -- of being in office. a celebration he's not attending. he'll be here at the white house. >> yep, certainly will be. thanks very much, jim acosta at the white house. let's talk more about the shutdown with richard
blumenthal, he serves on the judiciary and the armed services committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. good to be with you. >> i may have to interrupt this interview briefly. mitch mcconnell may be going on the senate floor and making a statement. we'll have live coverage of that. i'm anxious to hear what he as to say. the senate majority leader. but in the meantime, the president as you know, he says democrats are holding u.s. military -- our military hostage he says. those are his words. democrats are holding our military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. how do you respond to that? >> let's take the facts, wolf. the republicans are in control of both houses of congress and the white house. they're in charge -- >> well, let me interrupt politely. they're not completely in control of the u.s. senate. they have only 51 votes. the democrats are in the minority but you need 60 votes in order to be -- to break a filibuster. so they're not in control of the senate when it comes to this
issue. >> that's absolutely right. but there is bipartisan consensus, wolf, behind every one of the issues that needs to be resolved for there to be a long term solution here. what the president is advocating is a short term, temporary patch. the fourth in as many months which fails to adequately support the military. that's the reason why the pentagon said that this four-month deal was inappropriate and inadequate. and why we also need to deal with the children health insurance program, community health facilities, veterans and of course the d.r.e.a.m.ers who need to be protected against mass deportation. and there was an agreement yesterday, mid day, involving the president and chuck schumer until the president backed away from it. in fact, he was pulled away from it by his right wing. chuck schumer put the wall on
the table, full funding to the consternation to some of us, but in the interest of flexibility he was willing to make that step and the president can't take yes for an answer. he needs to lead or get out of the way. >> what the republicans say is yes, schumer, he put some funding for the wall but only one year funding. not the ten-year funding that they clearly -- they want $20 billion and he put a lot less on the table. as you also know, senator, mitch mcconnell says there's actually nothing in the deal -- in the legislation that was passed with 230 votes in the house of representatives that you and your fellow democrats -- actually oppose right now. there's stuff in there that you want to be included but there's nothing you oppose. is that true? >> the trump shutdown is directly as a result of a president who says it's a good shutdown. there's no such thing as a good shutdown. what's needed now is a long-term solution. we have been through three of
these 30-day continuing resolutions. which is not a full budget. we're going to be in exactly the same place four weeks from now. for the majority leader to say that we don't agree with every one of the provisions or agree with all of them is simply to say that this continuing resolution actually is inadequate because it continues last year's funding for the military. so in point of fact, no, we don't agree that last year's funding levels should be continued. it has to be enhanced for our military. we do not agree with the continuing of the present funding based on last year's numbers. for children's health insurance, for community health facility. for our veterans and of course the house bill has nothing to protect the d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> but senator, the government is shut down right now. on the table apparently is a
three-week spending bill. at least to give everyone some time, keep the government operating. give everyone time to talk about the d.r.e.a.m.ers, come one a compromise, come one a solution. are you ready for a three-week extension right now? >> a three-week extension is no different from a four-week extension. >> what kind of extension would you support? >> if there is a two-day or a three-day extension to enable us to use the bipartisan consensus and i stress to you there have been talks and conversations all day long. that's why i'm here at this hour. i will be here for hours longer. because we're working hard to try to put the bipartisan consensus behind the daca d.r.e.a.m.er provision, community health facilities. children's health facilities, on every one of these issues, there is agreement across the aisle. all we have to do is put it on paper. put it on the floor for a vote. and we can move forward with
ending the trump shutdown. >> the white house says they're anxious to get a deal on daca as well as as soon as you and your democratic colleagues in the senate reopen the federal government. do you buy that? >> if the condition for talking is that democrats agree to anything and everything they want, that's not really a viable proposal for constructive negotiations. plus, the president seems to back away and renege and change his position like a ping-pong ball. chuck schumer compared it to jell-o but the point is we need a reliable partner who is trustworthy and even the majority leader, mitch mcconnell, has found the president frustrating in his constant changing of positions. >> if the shutdown ends at some point down the road, we don't
know how many days it will go, without a specific deal on daca, the d.r.e.a.m.er issue, will democrats pay a price, a big price, in the november elections? >> the simple stark fact for the president is that he is in the office where the buck stops. he has to lead or get out of the way. he has to stop thinking of it as a good shutdown and the american people will rightly hold him accountable and his party because even though 60 votes are necessary, four of our republican colleagues sided with us yesterday. the opposition is really bipartisan and the support for solutions should be bipartisan too. but right now, put aside the blame and finger pointing. congress should do its job. that's why we're here working on a saturday evening. we'll be working all day tomorrow and we'll continue working until we can persuade our colleagues simply to give these measures a vote.
>> senator, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. just ahead, we're standing by for an exclusive interview with the senator democratic leader, chuck schumer. how strong is the anti-trump movement as protesters gather across the united states. we'll go to a rally under way in los angeles right now. 'sup, world? it's the box with 30% savings for safe drivers. coming at you with my brand-new vlog. just making some ice in my freezer here. so check back for that follow-up vid. this is my cashew guy bruno.
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to show their opposition to the president one year after his inauguration. we're joined now by our senior national correspondent. we have seen marches across the country where you are right now. >> all across the country and the women's marches are at the fight for women's equality. but in speaking with people today the reasons that people came out really run the gamut. you know that debate over daca is consuming washington, a lot of people came out today in support of immigrants and the so called d.r.e.a.m.ers. we saw a lot of gay activists united in their anger with donald trump. hundreds of thousands protesting for the second year of donald trump's presidency. mostly women and girls, but also men and boys. marching not just for gender equality, but for issues ranging from gay rights to immigration and religious freedom. across the country and around the world, they took to the streets.
>> i think that it's important to show congress and the president that we need to be heard. >> reporter: the demonstrators trying to keep the momentum of the movement going. many of them hoping to turn this enthusiasm into electoral victories in this year's midterm elections. in new york crowds gathered near the trump hotel spilling into central park. among them a refugee from cuba. >> to be accepted and welcome when you have nowhere else to go and no other recourse in this world is a very big thing. and for now to say you're not welcome here is against everything this country stands for. >> reporter: in philadelphia, women droned their message. chicago members of the cast of "hamilton" sang to hundreds of thousands. and in los angeles, celebrities like actresses natalie portman and viola davis were among the protesters. >> i am speaking today not just for the me too's because i was a me too. but when i raise my hand i am
aware of all the women who are still in silence. >> reporter: in washington, d.c., crowds marched to the white house. house minority leader nancy pelosi pushing for more women to get involved. >> nothing is more wholesome to a government, to a country, to a society than the increased participation of women. >> reporter: nancy pelosi there and many out here hoping that this energy translates to votes. we saw lots of signs for lots of chatter about the midterm elections and the presidential elections in 2020. as one sign read that we saw, marching is good, voting is better. wolf? >> alex, thank you. just ahead our interview with chuck schumer. he is laying out terms for the federal government to reopen. stand by. and the russia investigation as mr. trump begins year two of his presidency. we'll tell you what we're learning this hour.
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opportunity to speak with the democratic leader, chuck schumer. what did he tell you? >> wolf, he laid out his plans for reopening the government and he made clear it was not just about immigration, not just about fixing daca. there were other issues that were central to the negotiations that he needed to see some agreement on. he also made very clear he has not spoken to the president today. despite this being day one of this government shutdown. my first question to him, wolf, what exactly do you need to see from the republicans and the white house to agree to reopen the government? >> we need a good bipartisan agreement that allows us to get a good defense number, get a good nondefense number. get a vote on the d.r.e.a.m.ers bill and get that done and deal with the disasters too. there's a whole lot to do and our republican colleagues have sent us just a cr which doesn't do the job.
>> well, why not extend the government funding and negotiate the numbers on the side? >> do you know what number cr this is? it's been going on for six months. they have had a one or a two week cr. if we keep kicking the can down the table, the soldiers will be hurt. our children will be hurt. our disaster recipients will be hurt. everyone will be hurt. if this was the first time that they used this cr approach, your question would be reasonable. your questions are always reasonable. but they would be reasonable. this is the fourth time. they can't get it done and they just use the crs. >> in 2013 you said we can shut down the government and it would be governmental chaos. how do you reconcile that with your position today? >> big difference. that was ted cruz on his own. this is a bipartisan proposal that has the support of 90% of the american people. >> have you talked to the president today or anybody in the white house? >> they have not called me. they say they're not
negotiating. that's foolish. i have asked them to bring the big four, myself, leader ryan and mcconnell and pelosi to the white house. >> and you said you disagree with mick mulvaney -- >> he wasn't in the room, he doesn't know what he -- >> are you willing to do $18 billion for the wall? >> i'm not giving a number but the president chose the number and we said, yes, put that on the table. >> so wolf, that last comment in reference to the meeting yesterday in the white house between the senate minority leader and the president in which schumer is saying he suggested essentially full funding for president trump's wall in exchange for doing something on daca. now, that's something that has been disputed by the white house today. but also significant, him not agreeing to the three week extension of the government funding that's something they want to see, and tonight, wolf he is saying very clearly will
not accept that. only part of the same agreement. a sign that the shutdown could take some time and right now behind closed doors, wolf, he's meeting with a number of senators from both parties as well, including jeff flake and lindsey graham. other senators to see if they can come to a deal. wolf, this could be some time if there's not agreement on the issues that schumer himself said needs to be resolved. >> thanks very much for catching up with senator schumer. let's bring in our analysts to assess. what does it say, gloria, that on this, the first anniversary the president beginning a second year in office the federal government is shut down? >> in an odd way and nobody likes to see a government shutdown, nobody wants a government shutdown but it does seem kind of fitting given the chaotic year. >> hold on a minute, mitch mcconnell is making a statement on the senate floor. >> -- in which the president has already said he'll sign. like any compromise, this funding bill cannot be all
things to all people. but this bipartisan bill does what we need to do right now. it inds this -- it ends this pointless, irresponsible shutdown, funds the government for our troops and our veterans and millions of vulnerable americans and extends health coverage for millions of children in low income families. none of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in the bill that they oppose. not one thing. that's why -- that's why the bipartisan majority voted for it last night. it would have passed smoothly and been sent for the president's signature. except -- except that the democratic leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his own government shutdown. why?
well, because he explains, the president would not give him everything he wants on the issue of illegal immigration in one afternoon in the oval office. that's it. that's it. leaders from both parties have spent months negotiating long-term fixes for immigration policy, government spending, and other important priorities. senators on both sides want a bipartisan solution to daca and other immigration issues. senators on both sides want long-term funding for our troops. bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on these matters have been under way for months. months. here's the difference between the democratic leader and the rest of us tonight. the difference. he wants to keep the government shut down for hundreds of millions of americans until we finish negotiating on the
subject of illegal immigration. he wants to keep the government shut down until we finish a negotiation on the subject of illegal immigration. shutting down the government over illegal immigration. let those discussions on the immigration issue continue. we don't have to shut down funding for our veterans, military families, opioid centers or anyone else who relies on the federal government over the issue of illegal immigration. one of the people involved in the very subject, there's a lot of interest around here on both sides of the aisle in dealing with it. but it's not an emergency. all of these other issues which are affected by the government shutdown are emergencies. particularly the children's health care issue. look, the american people know what's going on here.
they've got this figured out. a survey this week shows that a majority of americans say funding the government is more important than passing legislation on daca. legislation by the way that doesn't really exist and in which the democratic leader cannot present to us. we hear a lot of talk about it but we haven't seen it. fewer than half of democrats in this poll i'm talking about -- fewer than half of democrats say that dealing with daca is more urgent than keeping the government open. and these numbers came in before americans picked up their newspapers this morning. when they did they read from the associated press exactly -- exactly who is responsible for this chaos.
from the a.p., democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late night vote causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter of a century. you might say they pinned the tail on the donkey. "the new york times," not exactly a bastion of right-wing sentiment put the blame exactly where it belongs. senate democrats blocked passage of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open. now, mr. president, senate republicans remain ready and eager to end this totally manufactured crisis. this is not a crisis. it's a manufactured crisis. we voted to avoid it entirely in our bipartisan vote last night. we're ready to vote again.
all the country needs is for the democratic leader to withdraw his filibuster and let a bipartisan majority pass this bill and reopen the united states government. earlier today i asked for a consent to move up a vote and to end the craziness today. democrats objected. that won't work forever. if they continue to object, we cannot proceed to a cloture vote until 1:00 a.m. on monday, by i assure you we'll have the vote at 1:00 a.m. on monday unless there's a desire to have it sooner. in the meantime, shutdowns have consequences. the democratic leader may be playing for a political point, but the rest of us understand that the readiness of our armed forces, health coverage for poor children and survivor benefits
for the families of fallen service members are the farthest thing from a game. playing with all of those lives. over the issue of illegal immigration. congress has a lot of work to do. we need to provide for our war fighter, secure the border, resolve the daca issue and continue work on health care and attend to many other key priorities. i want to move forward on all of these issues. and we can when the democratic leader's filibuster comes to an end. because these talks are only being delayed, not advanced, but delayed by the democrat's filibuster and the democratic shutdown it has created. so i want to assure the american people we'll be right back at this tomorrow.
say it again to the american people, we'll be right back at this tomorrow and for as long as it takes. we'll keep at this until democrats end their extraordinary filibuster of government funding and children's health care and allow a bipartisan majority of senators to reopen the federal government for all americans and to get congress back on track. the democratic leader may put his personal political priorities ahead of everything else no matter the cost, but republicans stand with the american people. >> mitch mcconnell making his case, blaming his colleague the democratic leader chuck schumer for this impasse in the u.s. senate. gloria, strong words from mitch mcconnell there.
really going back and forth, the majority leader, the minority leader, seems they're at an impasse. seems to me there's one way to resolve this impasse, somebody has to come in and mediate and negotiate some sort of resolution and presumably the best person to do that would be the president. >> right. and, you know, mitch mcconnell calls this a manufactured crisis, it's very clear what their political point is. which is that you're putting americans second after illegal immigrants. and he's clearly talking about the d.r.e.a.m.er issue here. and i think there's some negotiating going behind the scenes with lindsey graham and jeff flake over the daca issue. but you're right, wolf. nobody can do anything unless it has the blessing of the president and the problem as chuck schumer said earlier when he was talking about dealing with jell-o or punching jell-o or whatever it was, he seems to think he gets an agreement from the president and then the president gets pulled back by members of his administration. so trump has to get involved or he has to -- he has to put a
line in the sand and say, this is what i'm -- this is what i want, this is what i'll accept. >> remember, the whole children's health insurance program, that expired back in september. we did some checking, 112 days ago. they had plenty of days over the 112 days to deal with that. daca, the president changed the rules back in september on that as well. they had plenty of time to deal with that. they haven't dealt with either one at least not yet. >> we have had years to eagle the issue, right? the d.r.e.a.m. act came up for a vote in 2010. there was the gang of eight immigration bill in 2013. finally democrats after all this time said i feel like i have used the word hostage a lot in the last 24 hours. they're like we're going to grab a hostage too. republicans have daca hostage. the democrats have the budget hostage. to your point about the president he hasn't taken a hostage so no one knows where he stands on anything.
>> he's the hostage in white house. >> that's what senator schumer means by jell-o. no one knows which way the president is going. >> you heard senator schumer tell mano he hasn't heard from the president today. excellent meeting with senator schumer, making progress. but since then, silence. >> and we have heard from the administration all throughout the day that president trump has been making phone calls. you did -- when you had the spokesperson on for the white house, you said have you called senator schumer and he tried to divert off that, listen, he is talking to mcconnell and ryan and trying to get a deal done. but he as to call chuck schumer. the only way to get this resolved is if chuck schumer and the president cuts a deal. >> and he goes ahead and tells
what he did -- he'll take the heat and sell it and get it going. listen to schumer, jackie, because he was very, very specific in saying what it's like to negotiate with the president. >> negotiating with this white house is like negotiating with jell-o. it's next to impossible. as soon as you take one step forward, the hard right forces the president three steps back. >> and even the republican leader, the majority leader mitch mcconnell said he earlier in -- last week, he didn't know precisely where the president stands. as a result, couldn't make a deal. >> i think you can boil this down to one word and that's trust. very little trust between schumer and trump, mcconnell and trump. look at what happened in the intervening hours when schumer talks to the president and then today there was this -- it can only be called an outrageous press release that went out from the president's campaign committee saying that democrats were complicit to -- with all
deaths caused by illegal immigrants or all murders caused by illegal immigrants. these have very inflammatory words and everyone is trying to score political points on each other. and that is not how you get things done. you have to sort of lay down arms in order to do this. and no one seems willing and everyone is kind of -- you know, grabbing a pitchfork or something at this point. >> you know -- >> what's interesting, just quickly. he talks about "the art of the deal." you're talking about chuck schumer, mitch mcconnell, paul ryan, nancy pelosi they have cut deals before. they know how congress works an guess what? donald trump still doesn't understand how congress works. while the skills are valuable to him in the private sector are not -- >> if you don't like the deal you're presented with, you get up and walk out of the room. you say that's fine. i can walk away. that's what donald trump did an awful lot during his career.
well, you can't walk away when you're president of the united states. you actually have to come to some kind of agreement and he can't have other people do it for him. he has to do it. >> yeah. you know, what's really depressing when you think about it, we are being seen -- not only in the united states but around the world. people are watching what's going on here in washington and they're saying is this the united states of america, the government is shut down, they're wondering what is going on. pretty embarrassing when you think about it. breaking developments clearly in the government shutdown. cnn is live up on capitol hill and over at the white house. up next the russian investigation as the president begins year two over at the white house. we are learning about a possible move by republicans to change the subject. flo: just like magic, progressive gives you options based on your budget. [ gasps, laughs ] you ever feel like... cliché foil characters scheming against a top insurer for no reason? nah. so, why don't we like flo? she has the name your price tool, and we want it. but why?
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reeling from crisis to crisis, president trump is now struggling with government shutdown even as the russia investigation weighs heavily on his administration. let's bring in chief national correspondent jim sciutto. investigators still have a lot of work to do. >> right. and despite the president's protests, he has tried attacking the agencies on the investigation. and tried attacking the fbi all
to bring this investigation to an end. yet on the anniversary of his inauguration, there is no indication that is ready to happen. >> one year into donald trump's presidency, the russia investigation he has repeatedly dismissed as phoney. >> for 11 months they had this phonie cloud over this administration. >> and hoped would end soon shows no signs of rapping up. >> looking forward to 2018, we know that the mueller investigation is no where near an end. >> despite trump's attacks on the investigations, special counsel robert mueller in indictments on former chairman paul manafort and rick gates for alleged financial crimes. both have pleaded not guilty. but mueller has obtained guilty employees from lying to the fbi on former security adviser michael flynn and foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos both of whom are kroopting wicoopera
investigators. still, the questions remain unanswered did the campaign collude with this. >> no collusion or crime. >> did the president obstruct justice by firing comey? or any wrongdoing? >> we know they are looking into the trump finances. their pretrump campaign and the same way as manafort and obstruction of justice. >> congressional investigators of both parties say they still have work to do. >> kwh we have interviewed everyone that needs to be interviewed and we feel like we have answered every question that the committee jurisdictionally should, we will finish. >> only way you can test the stories and accounts that witnesses have given us is to subpoena third party records, text messages, bank records, and travel records. we haven't done that yet. so there is a lot of gaps in our
investigation. >> several key witnesses, however, through up new legal road blocks in the congressional probes this week. former chief strategy gist steve bannon and former cory lewandowski refused to answer questions on the time in the white house. according to bannon's questions the white house told him not to answer those questions. now hope hicks appearance was abruptly delayed until it's clear whether all witnesses can claim the same. >> this according to a source. executive privilege, however, does not hold for interviews by the special counsel. still undecided is whether the most important witness of all, the president himself will face questioning by mueller. sources tell cnn that preliminary discussions between trump's attorneys and the special counsel are ongoing. >> assuming that the investigation comes closer to an end point, we'll require that mueller put the president under oath to take his testimony. there is just no way i can consider this investigation as
having been complete until the president is interviewed. >> whether he does or not -- >> we've been very open and want to get that over with. >> the investigation he calls a witch hunt will continue long past the end he hoped for. it seems that the president's own lawyers have added to the president's unrealistic expectations about the time line on the russian investigation promising him, according to cnn reporting exhibit end by thanksgiving, christmas, knew year, of course none have been met. if you look where it stands it will probably go many more weeks or months. >> i want to bring in evan. another issue you are looking at classified memo circulating details of fbi abuses involving a surveillance law called fisa. what are you learning about this? >> what they say this four page
memo shows is abuse of the surveillance law by the fbi, by the people who are doing this investigation, into trump russia connections. they say that in particular they used dossier that was done by that former british spy, and they say that the fact that that was used in this investigation to get fisa warrants to do surveillance on people connected to the trump campaign, that it shows that this was an abuse. and they say that they want to release this. it's never been done in the 40-year history of this committee basically bypassing the federal agencies that govern this classified information. so we expect they'll vote on this, wolf, and we'll see whether or not -- >> who wrote the memo? >> devon nunes and his staff prepared it. >> and is it possible the president might authorize the release of this memo? some pressure that he do that by republicans? >> look, i think i'm spoiler alert, i think the president wants this memo out. i'm told the president wants to
accede to the request of the republicans to put this out. because he believes that they do this is abuse of surveillance law and unfairly targeted his campaign. and he says, after all, this entire investigation is a witch hunt. >> democrats say this as simply effort to try to change the subject, if you will, from the over all russia investigation. the president does have the authority, he can declassify whatever he wants. so he can do this if he wants to do it. let's say he were to do it or release the memo, how would that impact, jim, the over all russia investigation? >> well, particularly on the hill, the investigations have already becoming more politicized but particularly on the house side where republicans have more advantage, seeing out in the public. democrats side more collegial he said listen we'll continue this investigation until all questions are answered. but those partisan lines, they are expanding and this would be the latest example of that. hand wouldn't be the first time that intelligence was used to the advantage of one side or
another, perhaps colored, and what adam schiff said in the statement on friday, this is very one-sided how this was used. >> to undermine mueller? >> and the fact it is, it is, at face value undermine or distract. but until we see it we don't know if we can make that argument. >> you saw the reporting did yesterday, wikileaks wants it released, russian bots. talk about that. >> we now see russian bots accounts on twitter and social media believed to be kebt todco to the russian government are trying to release the memo hashtag trending on social media. it's clear there is an effort to get this out there. look, it's true, that the dossier was used, certainly was references to it in footnotes, in the applications to the foreign surveillance court. that is accurate.
now, whether or not this was something that's illegal, it doesn't appear to me, at least from what i know, that it is. this is what the fbi does. and it's part of the investigation. it doesn't mean that anything has been proved. but it is part of the investigation process that the phish uses. >> and getting back to your report, hope hicks communications director at the white house, she was going to appear, but now that's been delayed, what, in definitely? >> the question is will she answer any questions? because now you've had bannon and lewandowski both exercise this expression of the possibility of invoking executive privilege in effect. and if she were to do the same, yesterday which seemed very possible, committee said listen we have to figure out what the rules are, because otherwise it will be useless. >> but they did let rick dear born answer whatever questions were asked? >> absolutely. and to be clear at the end of the day when they sit down with mueller which all of those witnesses will do, that doesn't apply. they'll have to answer the questions. and if they lie, they'll have
broken the lie. >> and clearly continuing. and we'll continue our coverage. of course on all of this as well. thanks, guys. that's it tore mfor me. thanks for watching. wolf blitzer in "the situation room." special coverage on the government shutdown continues right now with erin burnett "outfront." "outfront" next breaking news government shutdown, no end in sight. anti-trump protests across the nation all on the president's one year anniversary in office. plus no show the president upset about missing his own big anniversary party at mar-a-lago tonight. $100,000 couple event is still on even with the government shutdown. and trump grand promises where do they stand one year later? you may be surprised. let's go ou"outfront." good evening i'm erin