tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 15, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
overturn the brexit return. we may be looking at no brexit. >> thank you much. you can follow me on facebook. tweet the show add the lead. our coverage on cnn continues right now. dramatically breaks with the president. >> gates still open, the special counsel announces rick gates is still cooperating. does it indicate the mueller investigation could be far from finished? no brexit plan. a stunning defeat for a british government, in fact the worst defeat for any government in nearly a century to separate
from the european union. theresa may survived. now a new report sites top officials are saying that the president repeatedly suggested he may withdraw from the nato alliance. what is the white house saying? you're in the situation room. i'm wolf blitzer. he vows he will not be bullied into doing anything he thinks the wrong. he ledged his confirmation hearing he would give mueller the resources and the time to finish the job but seemed to have a bit for the special down
sit's report. our correspondents and analysts will have full coverage of the day's top stories. the president's nominee had the justice department and oversee the mueller probe is making it very very clear he intends to be his own plan. >> he will stand up to political pressure even if the president asked him to do something. he says he won't do it. he wouldn't even fire robert mueller unless there is good cause to do so. democrats raised concerns about a memo he drafted raising questions about the obstruction element of the investigation and barr was on the defensive he tried to explain it was a narrow scope memo. it did not detail how he views this investigation going forward. >> i will not be bullied. >> today attorney general
nominee vowed to protect the independence of justice department and stand up to president trump if he crosses the line. >> i am not going to do anything that i think is wrong. i will not be bullied into doing anything i think is wrong by anybody whether it be editorial boards or congress or the president. i will do what i think is right. >> under persistent questioning he said he gives robert mueller space to finish his investigation. >> will you kplcommit to no interference with the scope of the special council's investigation? >> the scope of the special council's investigation is set by his charter and by the regulations and i will ensure that those are maintained. >> will you kplit commit to pro with resources and funds and time to complete the investigation? >> yes. >> he is set to reassure about the president's hand ling of the
probe. >> would you say you a close relationship with mr. mueller? >> i would say we are good friends. >> would you say you understand him to be a fair minded person? >> absolutely. >> do you trust him to be fair to the president and the country as a whole? >> yes. >> barr disagreeing that the mueller investigation is a witch hunt. >> i don't believe mr. mueller would be involved there a witch hunt. >> he also said the former attorney general was correct recusing themselves even though it infuriated the president. when asked if he would quit. >> assuming there was no good cause i could not carry out this instruction. i'm in favor of as much
transparency as there can be consistent with the rule and law. >> will you provide mueller's report to congress, not your rewrite or a summary? >> the rags do say that mueller is suppose today do a summary report of his prosecutive and his decisions and that they will be handled as a document. my objective and goal is to get as much as i can of the investigation to congress and the public. >> however he vow today prevent trump's legal team from editing the report. >> mr. giuliani said the president should be able to correct the mueller report before any public release. you commit that would not happen? >> that will not happen. >> when asked if he would allow with the subpoena he said. >> if there was a fact chul
basis for doing it and i couldn't say it violated established policies then i wouldn't interfere. >> barr defended the memo calling the obstruction fatally misconceived saying his concern was narrow in scope. democrats said the memo should be grounds for his recusal. >> asking us to trust you is not enough. >> i am not going to surrender the responsibility to get the title. >> our big reveal there 2017 conversation when trump after he turned down an offer made first by the president to israel to turn trump's legal defense team. >> he said bob mueller, how well do you know bob mooueller. i told him how they were good friends. he was interested in that. he wanted to know what i thought about mueller's integrity and so forth and so on. i said bob is a straight shooter
and should be dealt with as such. >> now at least one democrat is considering voting for bill barr. that's chris. i caught up with him. he said he is considering voting for him because of the way he vowed to protect the mueller probe. he defended the president's push to get a wall for instance. he told me he is doing a good job answering questions which he would not kplit at this point. other democrats are very concerned include k dick bloomenthal that told me it could invoke unknown rules and regulations. he said i'm concerned he will fail when tell yache elliot ric comes. >> okay. he will be joining us live here later in the situation room. we'll get his thoughts.
thanks slr much for that report. let's bring in our correspondents and analysts and talk about what we heard from the attorney general nominee. he did talk about some limits. will the american people and the congress and american public see all of them? >> not necessarily. i think he was careful to thread the needle to say over and over again i think the american people deserve to know what happened here and to get to the bottom of it. on the other hand i will follow the regulations on the department of justice. i will follow the law. i will only do that to the extent that i can. i think he is putting that on there to signal, hold on, it may not be that simple. he made sure to note that the president's attorneys are not going to get a chance to corrupt the report. classified information may be an issue. there may be confidential report
delivered to him and he may provide his own executive summary. >> so he will have discretion what to release publicly. >> i think we should start calling it the barr report. we have been calling it the mueller report. i think it will remain under wraps. he believes it is a confidential document that will allow him that he will try to thread the needle here. i'm not sure if his is the final answer because obviously there's a legislative branch. they have subpoena power and even republicans i think in the senate would want to get a cop copy of this. his may not be the final answer. >> it is very complicated. does it go to the gang of eight
who are privy to high level intelligence manners? does he say this should be redacted. today he was asked would you explain why you're not giving us some of the things you're giving us? he answered yes. then if the congress says wait a minute. we think we should have gotten that information, this is going to go back and forth. it can go to the courts. it's just not like everything in life, it is not simple. it could grow more and more complex. >> how do you see it? >> no one wants to see that when it comes to this issue. i think to throw him a lifeline one of the reasons i think he was saying is that lawyers are known he will be the chief hedger of the land is instance of having to have deck la nations. it means they will decide not to
prosecute some or not to go forward on certain things. he said i do not appreciate it and approve of what he as done without making a decision to prosecute them. in many ways she is hedging to say i don't flknow if anything to be told. >> you are talking about doeck ly -- declinations. >> he has been willing to say all of the reasons he thought hillary clinton was but not to prosecute her in the end. everyone was against that.
writing a memo about that. it wasn't why he was fired but that's what everyone was talking ability. >> you wanted to weigh in. >> not to mention that barr spoke act comey and being frustrated but the fact that comb p comey didn't knowledge the fact. there was no sense of comey saying look back i shouldn't have done that with how he views the situation. >> lastly i would say unlike jeff sessions, there is no real history between barr and the president. he wasn't on his campaign. he wasn't with him since day one like jeff sessions was. you do see a bit of a separation. it is in many circles there.
>> how many times a week does the president of the united states say the whole thing is a witch hunt? this is a hoax. this is a witch hunt. today we heard his attorney general say he does not believe robert mueller would ever be involved in a witch hunt if the president were watching he would probably not too happy. >> i find this fascinating. let's put it there a broader context. we have a flnominee seeing he h disagreements on the most significant law enforcement of our generation. it is the attorney general. when the president nominates a second tear of defense i suspect that secretary of defense will be up before the camera saying i believe we should be committed to nato regardless of what the president said. we had a previous secretary of state who when the president was talk act little rocket man said i will negotiate. the distance between the president of the united states
who is supposed to set policy for the u.s. government and not only members of his cabinet but perspective members, it's like the president does public di home diplomacy. >> do you think that the president when he nominated bar to be the attorney general of the united states knew that barrrk abarr and mueller had been friends and that their wooifrs are very close and he doesn't believe this investigation is a witch hunt? >> as barr said today he had met with the president previously because the president was interested in potentially putting him on his personal legal team. at that time barr turned him down. he said at that time, you know, he did tell the president that, you know, he was asked what do you think of mueller. he said i told him he is a straight shooter and he should be dealt with as such. he told the president he couldn't do the job because of personal obligations. i think the president flew that
but also saw the 19-page memo which said that mueller's theory of obstruction is wrong. he clarified saying it may have only been one of his theories of on instruction but in any case i think that was a of greater interest to the president because if barr was saying this and distributing it widely i think the president probably figured barr is on my side. this is what is important to me. >> i thought an interesting moment is when he asked him, listen, given what you saw your predecessor go through with the president constantly attacking him and personal insults by recusing himself which most agreed it was the right thing for him to do, why do you want the job? he said listen, it is because i respect the institution.
he did not spend much time answering with regard to his personal feelings about the president. it was more about the institution. >> yes. what was impressive, he answered the questions including very very tough questions. he didn't dodge. he was very forthright. up next there is more breaking news. the torn general nominee splits with the president. can barr remain independence from the white house? they suggest the flfgs is not over when he announces rick gates is still cooperating. [kno♪king] ♪
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more breaking news coming into the situation room right now. robert mueller provided a vuj to follow his ak accusation that -- here it is. 32 1 pages. this court document just released. a lot of it redacted right now. give us a little detail of what we are learning. >> we tried our best to learn what is behind the redacted parts. look, i think the two filings that we saw today, one has to do with rick gates and special council indicating they are not done with that part of the investigation. they are not done with him. now just in the last few minutes
we got this new filing. a lot of it has to do with planafoplan manafort. they say is very close to russian intelligence services and someone he was in business with. the two have been indicted. during one of the trials last year and so according to this document the special council is providing new information to the judge to explain why they believe manafort was lying at a time he was supposed to be providing cooperation to this investigation and to explain why they believe he broke that.
>> we found out about this whole bit with the polling data. why is he interested in this polling data and what was he willing to do to act on it and what was being done if anything? all of that we still don't know possibly behind the redactions that mueller provided today chltd it was sort of the put up or shut up moment. the judge said explain exactly what you have here. manafort's team wanted to know what was he being accused of? i think even they didn't know at first. >> one of the things that these documents does say is that one of the reasons we have so many redactions is they say there is a matter that is still under investigation and it has to do with communications. so that matter is still under investigation. we don't know what that is. it clearly means that is
something that is very important that needs to be, you know, kept under seal for now. >> and kiliminik is at the enter of this. who is meeting with him and who is talking with him and e-mailing with him? paul manafort. so when you want to talk about collusion you have to say why and when did this occur. tell me if i'm wrong but it seems manafort opted not to go over detail by detail how he wasn't conspireing in any way shape or form or communicating or breaking his deal. he said we are going to pass by that. they come back and say okay. we are going to detail everything you did and they did. >> he didn't do that.
he talked about how it was an inadvertent. hope he very much angered somebody who who has said he will prosecute those who lie to him. it's not like an ongoing investigation but because he is providing receipts. you'll see he talks about through text messages. you still chose to lie. when you were given opportunities to try to rehabilitate yourself you still chose to lie showing it is not someone that is inadvertently not telling a complete truth. it is somebody they had information to believe he was telling lies. he is being held to it. the judge wants to see this because he wants to know about that issue of intent. you're not going to prosecute
someone to a very big sentence unless you can show they intended to do so. >> there are 30 pages in this. another 70 or 80 pages of vario various appendixes. he was still in touch after he left and no longer the campaign chairman and he was also involved after both of them were formally indicted by the federal prosecutors. >> i think there are a couple of take aways here. you put a match and you'll get a blow torch response. this is about fbi evidence. it includes interviews with rick gates, financial information, telephone calls, e-mail records, trafrl records. manafortd manafort is trying to get off the hook. he has already been burned bay wide margin. they crushed him lie a bug and
said allegations are true and you're going to spend time in the big house. why now after he has been convicted is he doing this in the face of a blow torch of robert mueller? i think she looking at this saying it is much more significant than financial irregularities. it is about engagement with russians. mueller is going to crush him. >> go ahead. >> let's put this binto context. he was replacing him and the biggest argument that the campaign had at the time and going back and ansziwering all these is listen, we were naive, we never brought a campaign before. kushner joked we couldn't collude amongest each other. how could we do it with the russians? he is a well seasoned operative. the question is whether he acted alone, whether it was because of his past relations with russians
and pro russian ukraineans and was he doing with donald trump who signed off on it or not. what did donald trump know and when did he know it? as far as rick gates even though he left the campaign he stayed on and he worked through the inauguration. a lot of questions raised about what happened to all of that money that was raised during the inauguration. so, you know, when you're tieing to two together you wonder who knew what when. >> she is asking for another 60 days. he pled guilty but he needs another 60 days which suggests this investigation is continuing. >> it does suggest it is continuing. the president's legal team has rebuffed a request from mueller to have the president have some follow-up answers, to answer
some follow-up questions in response to the written answers he provided right before thanksgiving. what it has to do with is this investigation is still ongoing. we don't flow what public schooler wants to ask the president. perhaps it has to do with some of this stuff. we do not know. it tells us there is a lot more pieces of this puzzle to be put together. >> this is why it matters as attorney general. he is going to get a report from mueller which will tell us exactly -- >> a subpoena request for the president. we don't know that. >> right. >> but he is going to tell us why kilimnik matter and why the american people should be concern concerned about it and what it has to do with russian interference into the election. that's why members of congress are so worried about getting the whole picture. you know, as chuck said today, a
republican and former clarm of the committee, he said the american people have spent $25 million on this investigation. they deserve to know what's in it. >> i think based on everything we heard he wants to release as much of it as he can. stick around. other big stories we are following including the crippling of federal government shutdown. let's go jim. what's the latest? >> president trump stayed behind closed doors as barr sparred with lawmakers at his confirmation hearing. it is up and running as the shut down continues. there is the other shutdown talk, whether steve king should be run out of town over his latest racist remarks. one thing that's not shut down, the president's twitter feed. he was asking the question why is nancy pelosi getting paid
when people working are not. other signs the shutdown is dragging on republicans slammed democrats slamming an invitation to the white house. >> how are we going to come to a solution? >> democrats pointed to the federal workers and key jobs that were suffering consequences. >> you have coast guard workers who are working without pay. you border patrol agents working without pay. tsa patients working without pay. that is uncon shenable. >> the only sign of bipartis bipartisanship is steve king for his excellencomments to the new
times. >> con trustruct itself to be a 12 foot finished wall. >> when showing off his he compared migrants to livestock. >> we could also electrify it with a kind of current that couldn't kill somebody but be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. we do that with livestock all of the time. >> i haven't been following it. i really haven't been following it. the president brushed off the notion he would go that way. >> i think i probably can but that's unnecessary. the people have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before. >> a senior official tells cnn
allied officials did work hard to convince the president to remain in the alliance saying have raised it multiple times at all levels. some were concerned about the president's repeated complaints that some member countries were falling behind. >> we have nato and the u.k. and we have putin. i said putin may be the easiest of them all. you never know. >> not to mention his acceptance of denial that is russiaer into feared in the election. >> i have great confidence in my intelligence people. i will tell you putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial. >> as for the rumblings that the president may pull out of data the white house says mr. trump does believe in nato but every time a question pops up it questions how much the president is committed to that his to k
alliance. >> okay. thank you. joining us now is john from new york. thanks for joining us. you're only one of a handful of republicans that decided to reopen parts of the federal government without funding for a border wall. did you hear a plan today from the president to end this partial government shutdown? >> the plan from the president i heard today was that he wanted to continue to engage in negotiations to find a solution he is hoeching that the other side will get engaged. let's get to the bargaining table and find a solution. >> the white house did invite democrats to the lunch you attended today. not a single one attended the invitation. do you believe it was a mistake for democrats to skip this
meeting? >> i understand there's a tremendous amount of pressure not to do anything that might be perceived as caving. we have 800,000 federal workers not working right now. we have a border that needs to be more security. i think moving forward we have to allow this nonsense and get a deal done. i have a great opportunity. let's get done with this. >> some republicans including lindsay graham, they have been urging to reopen the government for three weeks or so, a few weeks and negotiate during those three weeks if nothing happens then the president can go ahead and declare his national emergency in order to fund the
building of the border wall if necessary. if you believe that is a viable solution? >> do i personally? yeah. i believe it is a viable solution. from the signals i received today that's not what they are thinking about doing. they are thinking about trying to engage the other side and try to get them to be engaged. instead of saying no. no. no, that's the attack he is taking. >> do you believe the president appreciates the hardship this shutdown is causing not only to the 800,000 federal workers but to the millionsov of others tha are indirectly effected by this. do you think the president understands the we norenormity s pain? >> they both should understand it. i think the president signalled he understands it but he sees that border security is such an important issue he is willing to stay the course no matter how tough it is.
i don't think democrats can give all of these speeches about how they are so concerned when they are not willing to strike a deal of any sort. we all have to find proper balance. i contintried to reach a soluti. they both have to do that now. i urged them to do that and for the sake of the workers and for the sake of the country. we need compromise. it shouldn't be a dirty word. >> let me get your reaction to the breaking news we have been reporting. mueller has just filed fact chul evidence to support that the former campaign chairman lied while he was cooperating in the russia probe. what does it tell you about whether mueller's investigation is heading? >> it doesn't tell you much about where it is heading but it tells you mueller is going forward with the investigation.
so many people were concerned about that investigation being impeded. it has gone on unimpeded. i support that. it is a good sign. we would all like to find out for better or worse what the ultimate conclusion is for the good of the country so it can move on. she deaf flitfinitely running t investigation like it should. i charged people with false statements before as well. it is a legitimate crime. manafort sounds like he screwed up big time. >> thanks for joining us. all right. a lot more on breaking news right after this. s huntsville, . aka, rocket city, usa. this is a very difficult job. failure is not an option. more than half of employees across the country bring financial stress to work. if you're stressed out financially at home, you're going to be too worried to be able to do a good job. i want to be able to offer all of the benefits that keep them satisfied.
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it's all on us, and it's all coming soon. you've got some serious watching to do. >> doubts about whether the government of can survive. the british lawmakers rejected the deal. she had negotiated for withdraw from the european union. what's now, nick? >> yeah. it was a historic 432 votes against 202 votes. it was a loss of 230 votes, far greater than the prime minister was expecting. more than 100 members of her
party voted against her. she said she must clarify the united kingdom's position. she is also under pressure from parliment to come up with a new plan by monday next week. the most immediate thing she faces is a vote of no confidence in her government tabled by corbin. >> she cannot seriously believe after two years of failure she is aib cape l of negotiating a good deal for the country. the most important issue is that the government has lost the confidence of this house and this country. i therefore mr. speaker inform you i have tabled a motion of no confidence in this. >> yes. >> well, this evening we have seen the chancellor.
we go there and come without saying a word. she played everything so far and it is not clear she has given up yet on her plan even though there seems to be no more possible concessions coming from the european union. >> see what happens with that vote of no confidence. thank you. coming up plenty of fallout after a new york times report revealed that on several occasions last year president trump floated the idea of pulling the united states out of nato. would it give putin exactly what he wants? ran out of ink and i have a big meeting today. and 2 boxes of twizzlers... yeah, uh...for the team. the team? gooo team... order online pickup in an hour. and, now get 20% off with coupon. at office depot officemax. you might or joints.hingf for your heart... but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish,
president trump on several occasions last year privately said he wanted the united states to withdraw from nato. the white house put out a story calling the story meaningless. >> the impact of that could be devastating. the security of europe could be placed at huge risk because the move would embolden the kremlin to act much more aggressively toward europe. >> tonight there's new concern that one of president trump's foreign policy goals is playing into vladimir putin's hands. the new york times reports that several times last year, the president privately said he wanted to withdraw from nato.
the 70-year-old military alliance designed to protect europe from aggression by leaders like putin. the president has long objected to america's objection to nato. telling wolf that nato allies don't pay enough toward the shared costs of military defense. >> the united states needs to rethink the involvement in nato? >> yes, because it's costing us too much money. >> america pulling out of nato completely would be an incredible gift to the russian president. >> it's beyond putin's wildest dreams if trump were to decide the united states should pull out of nato. putin has viewed nato as an enemy for a long time. >> the times reports that around the time of a contentious nato meeting last summer. president trump told his top aides he didn't see the point of the nato alliance. he complained at that summit about germany's energy deals with russia. >> how can you be together when a country is getting its energy
from the person you want protection against? >> tonight the news trump was even talking about pulling out of nato, experts say strengthens putin's hand. the former kgb colonel has always seen a threat to its borders. >> he sees nato as a superior military alliance. he's avoided confrontation with nato, because he knows he would lose the fight. >> that's because one of the key components of nato is article five. an agreement that says if any of the 29 member countries is attacked, the other members, including the u.s. are duty bound to step in and defend it. while putin has not attacked a nato country. he has harassed nato forces. by having his fighter jet buzz american ships and planes near europe. putin's submarines and ships routinely spy on american and european vessels. he's built up his vessels arsenal near nato borders. if trump pulls america out of
nato, putin could become even more aggressive. >> we would see a putin who is more emboldened to use military force. and he would certainly be emboldened to be much more provocative and seek to disrupt the politics even into western europe. this from putin's perspective would be a game changer. >> the administration calls the times report meaningless. experts are concerned that the spy master in the kremlin could in their next face to face meeting try to privately manipulate the president into cutting the nato cord. >> he could encourage that and say to trump, you know, this is an institution that stands in the way of better u.s. russia relations. if you really want better u.s. russia relations, it's better if we move on. >> what analysts are worried about tonight is the talk that president trump considering pulling out of nato, even if he doesn't end up doing it, is going to prompt america's allies
along russia's borders, to start hedging their bets, cut their own security deals with vladimir putin, for their own survival and start bernding to his will. wolf? >> i understand you've been told that the concern over president trump's potentially pulling out of nato is even greater now that james mattis is no longer the defense secretary. >> that's right, analysts were telling us when mattis was defense secretary. america's european allies, they were reassured that a senior trump administration official had their back, mattis had been a former nato supreme commander. the allies are said to be worried that the security net is also gone. >> thank you, brian todd. coming up, the breaking news. the attorney general nominee who will oversee the special counsel's probe. he won't be bullied, and robert mueller should get the time and resources he needs to finish his job. [cell phone rings]
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happening now, breaking news, not a witch hunt. william barr flatly rejects the president's claims about the mueller investigation. and vows to be independent from the white house, at this hour. is he feeling reassured? proving manafort lied. the special counsel files a 200 page brief, packed with evident as to why he believes the former
trump campaign chairman repeatedly misled investigators, he was supposed to be cooperating with? where does the manafort case stand right now? not shutting the gates, mueller also revealing rick gates is still cooperating in multiple investigations. is it a sign that the russia probe will continue for months? and brexit dismade. british prime minister theresa may suffers a defeat, as lawmakers throw out her plan for the u.k.'s exit from the european union? how will the crisis impact one of america's closest allies and the world? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the situation room. we're following breaking news on the man poised to oversea the end