tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 14, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
because they can drop hundreds of thousands of dollars and get on a private jet. you can understand. >> yeah. follow me @jaketapper. tweet me @the lead. our coverage on cnn continues right now. thank you so much for watching. happening now, the president decides to go around congress to declaring a national emergency to get funding for his wall. raising the bar. william barr sworn in, becoming special counsel robert mueller's boss with broad powers over his russia's investigation. what are the plans for his probe? concern or coup? former acting fbi director confirms that there were high-level discussions inside
the justice department about moving to invoke the 25th amendment to have president trump declared unfit for office and removed. and alleged spy's friend, m maria butina and her friend taking a trip to disney together. but even then there were signs of something unusual. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." dramatically revealing on the senate floor, white house confirming that president trump will sign the spending bill, averting another government shutdown. but also will declare a national emergency to secure the money he wants for a border wall. i'll talk about the breaking news with congressman joaquin
castro. our analysts and specialestiiste also standing by. jim acosta is joining us. jim, it's been a rather chaotic process to get to this point. >> reporter: that's right. and there was a stunning moment this afternoon, as you mentioned, when senate majority leader mitch mcconnell came to the senate floor. the high drama came as president trump was taking the prospect of another government shutdown down to the wire. first, aides were hopeful that the president would sign this spending bill, then the white house was sounding less certain. the president says he will take executive action to build his wall but that plan could hit another barrier in a court challenge. president trump's latest cliffhanger, whether he would plunge the nation into another costly government shutdown came to a climax. days after hand wringing at the white house, it was not the president who made the big reveal, it was senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> i've had an opportunity to speak with president trump, and he would say to all of my colleagues have indicated, he is
prepared to sign the bill. he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. and i've indicated to him that i'm going to prepare -- i'm going to support the national emergency declaration. so for all of my colleagues, the president will sign the bill. we will be voting on it shortly. >> minutes after mcconnell made the announcement, the white house finally revealed what the president was planning to do, saying president trump will sign the government funding bill and as stated before, he will also take other executive action, including a national emergency, to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border. house speaker nancy pelosi accused the president of trying to pull a fast one. >> it's not an emergency what's happening at the border. it's a humanitarian challenge to us. the president has tried to sell a bill of goods. putting that aside, just in terms of the president making an end run around congress. >> a little more than a day before the government runs out of money, some in his own party
were starting to worry. >> we've got to pass it and then we all pray that the president will sign it. >> reporter: as republican lawmakers were praying the president would sign the bipartisan spending deal. >> let's all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so government doesn't shut down. >> reporter: part of the reason for the high drama, the president's allies on conservative media were pleading with president trump to reject the deal, as it fell well short of his promise to build a wall on the border. >> any republican that support this is garbage compromise, you will have to explain. >> reporter: as one fox news personality tweeted, this bill must not be signed. as the president was dragging his feet, he was once again making it all about him. despite his wish to blame democrats, should there be another shutdown. >> i don't think you're going to see a shutdown. i wouldn't want to -- if you do have it, it's the democrats fault. >> there's a reason why republicans were pull ago way from the president. >> on the funding of the
government, i don't think republicans want another shutdown. it was disastrous for them and their brand and it really hurt this president. they don't want to repeat that. >> reporter: after the president signs this bill and declares a national emergency, he is simply setting up the next fight in the battle over his border wall. house speaker nancy pelosi said earlier this afternoon, you just heard him, about whether to mount a legal challenge to block the president to use a national emergency to go around the congress. white house press secretary told reporters a few minutes ago they're ready to take this fight to the courts. wolf, the president doesn't have the best record when it comes to having his policies challenged in the courts. you remember the travel ban and any kind of legal challenge at this point could add a delay to the president's quest for his wall. one thing we also have to point out, wolf, it seems there's always a tweet for something like this. check out this tweet from the president in 2014. he tweeted this. when barack obama, the former president took executive action on immigration, the tweet from donald j. trump, republicans
must not allow president obama to subvertical the constitution of the u.s. for his own benefit. now you have republicans, who were very critical of the president at that time, standing with the president in all of this. you'll have plenty of new legal assistance and guidance as to what he should be doing. new attorney general william barr was sworn in as the new attorney general at the white house a short while ago, wolf. >> the legal challenge will be significant, i am sure. >> reporter: that's right. >> jim acosta at the white house, thank you. very serious concerns about the president's declaring a national emergency to fund a border wall with mexico. let's go to congressional correspondent phil mattingly on capitol hill. what's happening there right now, phil? >> i ran into one republican senator, asked him how he felt after the vote 83-16, moving the process to ensure no government shutdown. he said relief. there's also a recognition, according to senators and aides that i'm talking to, that this
is just the first battle of another one to come. as you know, there are several republicans, including high-ranking republicans, who have been raising significant opposition to the idea of a national emergency. they're worried about it on precedent grounds as well. mitch mcconnell said i don't think much of that idea. i hope he doesn't go down that path. you heard senate majority mitch mcconnell, in order for the president to sign the bill, will support an emergency declaration. that doesn't mean other republican senators will. a number of senators said they thought it was a bad idea and still had concerns. congress has the ability to block any emergency declaration, something the house is almost certain to take up under democratic control and which would force republicans in the senate to have to vote on that. an open question right now whether or not both chambers may block that vote as to where democrats are right now, speaker nancy pelosi, democratic leader
chuck schumer putting out a statement decrying the president's decision that he will declare a national emergency and adding, this congress will defend our constitutional thoert. one thing is clear. the house is about to vote in a couple of hours, should pass the bill rather comfortably, thus averting a government shutdown. it's become clear on capitol hill there's another fight to come and likely more votes to come on this issue, whether it's on legal challenges, the fight for the border wall is over for the moment but will return in the future. >> certainly will. there will not be a government shutdown. let bring in dana bash. you're learning more about the behind the scenes negotiating that was going on, including what the majority leader got to engage in to ensure that the president would sign the legislation. what are you hearing? >> well, it was now or never for mitch mcconnell.
recognizing that he needed to pass this, he needed to have the congress send the president this compromise because there was, as phil has been reporting, no plan b. it was this or another shutdown. and so what mcconnell did -- mcconnell, by the way, we should remember, has been, over the past six weeks or so, on the -- obviously very involved behind the scenes but at least publicly not been as aggressive until now. until he had to be. i'm told he got his ducks in a row, he made sure that he had the votes, even though people weren't saying publicly that they would vote for it. he knew that to get it over the finish line in the united states senate, he had to have the blessing of the president because if the president didn't say publicly or at least through mitch mcconnell that he was going to sign this, mitch mcconnell might not have even gotten enough republican votes for it to even look good
politically. so, what mitch mcconnell did, once he got his ducks in a row, he put the phone call into the president and got the president to say explicitly, i will sign this. and, remember, the context. we were on the air reporting. kaitlin collins and others reporting that even though the president said he was going to sign it, he was having second thoughts. mcconnell wanted to quash that and fast and get this thing passed and get the president on the record, which is why he did what he did. the missing to this, the missing link, wolf, is the national emergency. mcconnell clearly felt like he had to give the president something. he to show the president that they really are on his side by going to the floor of the senate, saying that he was for a national emergency, which as phil was just talking about, he has made very clear along with most republicans. never mind democrats in the united states congress is a bad idea to go around congress. >> you know, it's interesting, deigna that the final vote was so lopsided on the floor of the
u.s. senate. 83 in favor. only 16 senators voting nay against the legislation. 83 in favor, a lot more than the two-thirds necessary to override a presidential veto. that is 67 votes you have. this is 83. does the president have any choice? if they would have held firm they could have overridden a presidential veto. >> that's a great question. the problem with look at it that way, because i was thinking the same thing. would the president or mitch mcconnell or anybody, would the deal have gotten those 80 votes without a promise from the president to sign it? we won't know the answer to that. maybe mcconnell has the head count on that. you would think that the fact that he went out and said what he said, particularly about supporting a national emergency, which he does not like, makes you think that he felt like he had to do that in order to get a
big vote. or maybe even, you know, again the majority of the republican caucus. it's possible that that 80 vote would not have been anywhere near that high had mcconnell not come out and said the president is going to sign this. >> all right, dana, thank you very much. lots going on. i want to get some analysis right now, some reaction from democratic congressman joaquin castro of texas. thank you so much for joining us, congressman. it passed the senate overwhelmingly. how are you going to vote on this legislation? >> i'm going to vote no, actually. although i think you're right, it will pass. i was concerned with two things, number one, not building any border wall or fencing, specifically in texas. and the bill specifically spells out fencing will be built in the rio grande valley. the second is on detention beds and the bill, unfortunately,
still enables the administration to move money around and increase the number of detention beds being used by inc.i.c.e. because of that, i will vote no. >> you would be willing to go along and see another government shutdown affecting hundreds of thousands of families even though the bill isn't perfect? >> no, you're right. that is a big concern. none of us wants a shutdown. i think we could do very short term cr and go further, especially now that the president has declared or is going to declare a national emergency and try to spend billions of dollars more on a wall basically on his own by circumventing congress. >> do you think the president has a legal standing to go ahead and declare a national emergency, move existing appropriations around to build his wall? >> i don't, wolf. i think this would be a fake
emergency. if you look at the active national emergencies right now, they mostly revolve around national security issues. if the president does declare a national emergency to build his border wall i am prepared to file a document that would terminate his national emergency resolution. we would have a vote and that resolution would have to be voted upon in the senate. and there have been very critical comments that have been made by senators, including republican senators, about the president's ability and the wisdom of declaring a national emergency for this purpose. >> they're concerned that if this republican president does it a future democratic president could declare a national emergency and skirt around congress as well. >> right. >> this president seems determined. what if he just uses his executive authority to move money around, which is also a
clear possibility? other presidents, as you well note, have done that many times over the years. >> yeah. obviously, it depends on what he's trying to do. we also believe he's very limited in his ability to move money within dhs to build a wall. so we'll challenge him in congress. we'll challenge him in the courts and i think the american people will challenge the president. >> who is the winner in this battle? there was a 35-day government shutdown. the longest in american history. the president is going to sign this legislation now into law. he doesn't get what he really wanted, more than $5 billion for fencing or border wall. he's going to get a whole lot less, almost 1.4 billion. looking back from right now, who wins and who loses? >> you know, wolf, that's hard to say. honestly, i haven't thought of it in those terms, about whether republicans win or democrats win. the government was shut down for 35 days. it was a loss to the american people and really a loss for
congress and getting the work of the american people done here. >> so, specifically, what are you going to do? you're going to file some lawsuits? is that what's going to happen once the president declares a national emergency or uses his executive authority to go ahead and move money around? >> i believe a lawsuit will be filed in the courts and also here in congress, in the house, we will likely file a joint resolution to negate or terminate his declaration and hopefully take a vote on that. i believe it will pass in the house of representatives and, as i understand, the senate would then have to take a vote on it, mandatory vote so they couldn't block taking a vote on the resolution. and i don't know that the president would have the votes at that point to uphold in the united states senate his declaration of emergency to build a border wall. >> let's turn to the russia investigation. i want to get your quick thoughts. you're on the intelligence committee, following this very closely. there's a new interview, a new book out by the former fbi
dire deputy director andrew mccabe. listen to what he told scott pelley on "60 minutes" about the president of the united states. >> i was very concerned that i was able to put the russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion, that were i removed quickly, reassigned or fired that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace. >> so what's your reaction? >> i think that's a legitimate concern, the idea that the president, based on his actions with regard to mr. mccabe, mr. rosen -- or rod rosenstein, with regard to james comey, how he tried to bully them and, i believe, obstruct justice. the idea that he could do something to interfere with the investigation or someone else in the administration could do something is a reasonable concern. >> congressman joaquin castro,
thank you for join iing us. >> thank you. >> we have a lot to discuss with our political correspondents and our analysts, includiing dana bash, who is still with us. you heard what joaquin castro has to say. they're getting ready to fight but don't have a majority in the u.s. senate. >> they don't but that's what's so interesting about that dynamic among republicans, wolf. this is going to be one of those classic cases. there have been a lot of them but this may be the biggest, of whether or not republican like roy blount, for example, senator from missouri, member of the republican leadership, has been saying before today -- today's vote and since today's vote, he still thinks the national emergency is a terrible idea. if somehow, some way that was put before him and he had to vote on it, how would he vote? with the president or with his conscience? potentially, if we get down the road that far, the house passes a resolution to try to stop the
president, it goes to the senate, how those republicans actually vote. >> interesting question, pamela brown listen to a whole bunch of republicans expressing, as dana pointed out, their deep concern about the president declaring a national emergency. >> the national emergencies issued in the past have not been contentious. i'm pretty sure that this one would be. >> it entitles him to go out and do something, we all support that. tomorrow the national security emergency might be climate change. >> just another erosion of congressional authority in this particular area. >> i think it's a dubious constitutionality. >> as you know, cnn has been reporting that the president initially thought that the republicans had been outplayed in the negotiations leading up to this point. you just heard what a bunch of republicans are saying.
there's a whole lot more who express their deep concerns about a national emergency. >> that's right. the big concern, of course, is that now this sets a precedent for a democratic president down the road to do something on a polish that republicans don't like. that has been the concern all along. in talking to sources certainly there's been a shift in tone on this idea of the president tlaring a national emergency. one source said we viewed this as a last resort. we're at the last resort. we've been through one government shutdown. we don't want to go through another government shutdown. had there not been a back and forth in the conference, we wouldn't be okay but now there has been. we have no choice but to back this some republicans, not all of them, of course, but some republicans have been urging the president to do this. look, if you want to build your wall, it's a campaign promise, and you don't want another government shutdown, the only way to do that is sign this bill
and declare a national emergency. >> just to echo what pam said, there are two big parts of mitch mcconnell. mitch mcconnell, political strategist and mitch mcconnell institutionalist. these things often work in coordination, sometimes they don't. mitch mcconnell, institutionalist, opposes this, because he understands in the same way when harry reid, senate majority leader earlier this decade changed the rule on how judges get confirmed, he understood the precedent. we have brett kavanaugh and neil gorsuch because of that change. a democratic president may think that guns in this country are a national emergency. in the constitution, article i, it says it's congress' job to appropriate the money. if you are setting a precedent
that says congress can appropriate the money, we're going to put it over here in sabrina's cup and then you can say i'm going to take this and this and move it over here, it's a hugely dangerous precedent. mitch mcconnell knows that but he also knows the hit that republicans took during the 35-day shutdown and believes it would be exponentia lchlexponen they did it so soon after. >> a national emergency, too many homicides going on all over the country. >> right. >> assault type weapons are now banned across the united states. a lot of republicans would react very negatively. >> house speaker nancy pelosi all but said in her response to the president declaring a national emergency that that is what he is creating and she
invoked the anniversary of the park land shooting saying gub gun violence is a national emergency. what's now to stop a future democratic president from declaring a national emergency to advance some of the democratic party's priorities on those issues? a lot of republicans from whom you heard pushback, they're not exactly changing their tune in recent hours as the president hases poised to make this declaration. senator marco rubio put out a statement saying there is a crisis at our southern border but no crisis justifies violating the constitution. and you're hearing a lot of republicans say that they are skeptical of his authority. they're going to wait and see exactly how he justifies it. that does bring up this question of how republicans would vote, to dana's point, if democrats are to move some sort of resolution terminating the president's national emergency, that would put the republicans squarely on the record of having to take a position and put that
in the official record. >> it's crass but true. it keeps it front and center politically, which is just fine with president trump. it really is. he wants to keep the fight going. the fight brings in small dollar fund-raising to his campaign and it keeps his base excited. his political advisers understand it's time to move beyond the base, it's time to try to get those independent voters back and perhaps there's another way for him to do it. the president, since almost day one of his campaign has thought of the wall as an extension of himself and politically imperative for him to keep fighting for and so the fact that there is going to be a new fight, whether it ends up on the floor of the house and the senate or the court or both, politically it's fine with him. >> $1.37 billion in this compromise for wall funding less than $1.6 billion that passed the senate before the shutdown
and 4.63 billion less than he said he would need. i can't sell a quarter loaf of bread as a full loaf of bread. i'm good but i'm not that good. and therefore this was a deal. mcconnell had to back down on the national emergency in exchange for trump keeping the government open, giving mitch mcconnell what he wanted, which is not another government shutdown. >> it's interesting, pamela. a recent cnn poll showed two-thirds of the american public, 66%, don't think the president should declare a national emergency. 31% said they're okay with a national emergency. it's interesting. when the president indicated when there was a deal in the senate and the house, a compromise, appropriators came up with a compromise, it looked like he was okay with it. some of his friends and some would call them advisers in the
conservative media, said this was a garbage compromise, it was awful. next day, once they got indication from the president that he was going to sign it, they said sign it but only if you declare a national emergency. the president seems to have accepted their advice. >> he listens very closely to what some of his conservative allies say on television. in talking to white house sources and allies of the president, he certainly has sort of been waffling on the idea of a national emergency, on declaring that. i talked to a white house source a couple of days ago who said i thought he was going to do it. now i'm not so sure. he knew what the political blowback would be. why didn't you do this before? and it's going to take years to build which is the wall at the bord border. when the white how looked at the numbers, the only way he could get to the $5.7 billion, which is the number he said he needs for the wall, is by declaring
this national emergency not just an executive order. it is also worth noting that president trump did ding president obama back when president obama declared a national emergency, criticizing him for not negotiating with congres congress. >> frankly, that all reinforces this is an overtly political move on the president's part. if there was truly an emergency, he could have tlared one on december 22nd when they hit that first funding deadline which caused what was the longest government shutdown in this country's history. he could have been, at any point in those 35 days declare a national emergency. even then he made it clear he was acting politically. if i don't get a deal i like, i will reserve this as an option to take. he is, in fact, fund-raising off of it. the president's 2020 election campaign sent an e-mail to supporters polling them. this all just keeps the issue
alive for him as you look ahead to the 2020 election. >> and what pamela just said that she's hearing from her sources is important to underscore, that the president even understood how politically perilous the notion of declaring a national emergency would be and he was going back and forth. that underscores how important it is and how much of a political win it was a couple of hours ago to have mitch mcconnell stand on the senate floor, the senate majority leader, who, as chris said, is an institutionalist, and say he backs the national emergency. that is huge for president trump. >> everybody stand by. more breaking news. chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. the white house has just released some of the results of the president's annual physical. give us the main points. >> well, you know, the letter that the doctor, dr. connelly, released along with these results mimics sort of what he
released friday, basically saying not only is the president in good health but dr. connelly predicts that the president will remain in good health for the rest of his presidency. there are more test results that came out, just a few. quickly, wolf, we put up last year's results, this year's results. he has gained four poiunds. on a higher dose of this statin medication. total cholesterol has come down from 223 to 196. last year he was sort of borderline obese. now he is clinically obese based on those numbers. let me show you something else, wolf. this exhaustive press conference where they talked about the several tests he had done, looking at his heart.
he had an echocardiogram of his heart, stress test. he had a coronary calcium scan. he also had a montreal cognitive exam at the president's request, the doctors told us last year. he scored a perfect score on that. we have no indication whether he had these tests this year. there was no mention of it in this report we just receive sfwld there was some concern, and you expressed it a year ago when we got the results of that coronary calcium test, apparently there's no information if he had a similar test this year what the final number was. >> that's right. we don't know that he had it or not had it -- had it this year. i should point out last year that test was not part of his official report either. i asked the doctor about it and then that's when we figured out that, in fact, he had had that exam. the doctor did not disclose it or make it part of his official record, which was surprising because the numbers were important on that test. let's show that for a second
here. this coronary calcium test he had in 2009, 2013 and again last year. when you get above 100 here, the number is relevant because that increases the chances that you could have a heart attack over the next three to five years. that's why doctors pay attention to that. it's good news that his total cholesterol has come down. that's something doctors want. we don't really have any new assessments, if you will, of his heart. and that's probably the biggest concern here, wolf. >> let's talk about the president being technically obese. by just a pound or two or three. talk a little bit about that and what it means. >> you know, this is based on what's known as bmi, body mass index. that is not a perfect assessment by any means. there are people who can have high bmis and be fit and people who have lower bmis and not be that fit. you have to put that information along with all the other information, if someone is very muscular or are they carrying a
lot of fat around their abdomen specifically? how does it fit in with their cholesterol, other testing? i think what most people will say when they look at that complete picture that there is a concern here and the concern is specifically around cardiovascular disease. so concerns about his heart. concerns about the blood vessels that lead to other parts of his body. that's the real concern. so, clinically obese in and of itself is an important thing to know. and typically denotes that someone is not in good health. when you start to add in all this other information, it kind of makes a clearer picture, that there's a real concern about someone's heart health in particular here, wolf. >> did his cholesterol go down because of increased levels of medication he was taking? >> it seems to be, wolf. the numbers did go down. before, they were over 200, 223, i believe. now below 200. that's what you want to see, certainly. it's worth noting that his hdl -- people may know that as
the good cholesterol. that has also gone down. you don't want that to go down. you want that hdl number to go up. the way it goes up is due to exercise. the fact that it went down may suggest that exercise is not something that's impacted his lipids so far this past year. i think most of what you're seeing with his cholesterol numbers is probably due to that bottom line, which is the fact that his crestor dose went from 10 milligrams to 40 milligrams. they increased that significantly. >> significant increase from 10 milligrams of the statin he has been taken to 40 milligrams. that would explain why the cholesterol was going down. >> that's right. >> how often should someone check for potential cardiac disease get a calcium score? should they take that test every ye year, every three years, every five years? >> you know, i think it's not something that people typically take every year. there's not really a consensus as to how often people should
get it. people who are at the very low end have no calcium. people at the very high end, they probably don't need it as frequently because you kind of know where they sit. unless something dramatically has changed with them. it's sort of people in the mid range where you say we're going to follow the coronary calcium scores. even then, wolf, it's still a test that involves radiation and you want to sort of limit the exposure to radiation, unless you think it's going to change something in terms of how you treat the patient. in this case, they knew the president was going to increase the medication that lowers his cholesterol. he doesn't complain of any symptoms, chest pain or anything like that. he doesn't have any clinical problems. you could make a reasonable recommendation not to get that this year and maybe not even next year. if something were to change more drat dramatically, maybe that's when they would recommend additional testing. >> dr. sanjay gupta, helping us appreciate these results.
more breaking news we're following with more on president trump's decision fund his borde with mexico. plus what the swearing in of the new attorney general means for the mueller investigation. to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management.
so, i started with the stats regarding my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. like how humira has been prescribed to over 300,000 patients. and how many patients saw clear or almost clear skin in just 4 months - the kind of clearance that can last. humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to symptoms. numbers are great. and seeing clearer skin is pretty awesome, too. that's what i call a body of proof. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had
tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. want more proof? ask your dermatologist about humira. this is my body of proof. chief justice john roberts performed the ceremony at the white house a little while ago. let's bring in our senior justice correspondent evan perez along with former supervisory special agent josh campbell, cnn law enforcement analyst.
is this an indication that mueller will issue his report fairly soon? >> it could be an indication that we might see something from robert mueller soon. look, i think everybody at the justice department did not want the mueller investigation to end under matt whitaker, former acting attorney general. they wanted to wait at least until bill barr was in place. he will get a national security briefing and second thing will be briefing on the most important investigation that he will oversee. then we'll see how long it takes before we hear what he is going to do with the muller investigation, whether or not congress will get to see a lot of what mueller found or very little of it. >> this comes as the former acting director andrew mccabe detailed extraordinary
discussions he said he had about recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to the u.s. constitution to remove donald trump from office. how far did it go? >> wolf, it really depends on who you talk to. mccabe's account is that there are very high-level discussions within the top levels of the justice department and fbi about potentially recruiting cabinet members to oust the president, remove him from office and he also had discussions with the deputy attorney general as we reported, duty attorney general with rod rosenstein wearing a wire to record the president. the justice department has pushed back on those reports, pushed back again pretty hard on rosenstein's behalf. deputy attorney general again reject mrs. mccabe's recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect.
based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment nor was he in a position to consider invoking the 25th amendment. they're not saying it didn't get discussed but it wasn't pursued or authorized. another thing that he raised in his "60 minutes" interview, is turmoil at the fbi because officials couldn't figure out why the president was seeming to take alcohols that seemed to benefit russia. i want to play a little bit of his exchange on "60 minutes" if i could. >> i was speebing to the man who just won for the presidency and won the election for the presidency and might have done so with the aid of the government of russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage and that was something that troubled me greatly. >> how long was it after that, that you decided to start the
obstruction of justice and counter intelligence involving the president? >> i think the next day i met with the team and asked them to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward. i was very concerned that i was able to put the russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that, were i removed quickly, reassigned or fired, that the case could not be close d or vanish in the nigt without a trace. if someone were to come in behind me, they could not close it without making a record of why they made that decision. >> the president calling his book a disgrace and the justice department pointing out that
mccabe has been under investigation for misleading investigators in an internal unrelated probe. wolf? >> eight days between when comey was fired and robert mueller was appointed the special counsel. set the scene for us on what was happening during what seemed to be that rather chaotic time. you were there at the time. >> wolf, i've heard that word chaos being used. i'm not sure that really applies to this situation. i was there at fbi headquarters and wouldn't describe it as chaos. it was certainly disconcerting the fbi director had been fired. it was more people wondering why did this happen. and so the organization was shocked but i wouldn't say it was chaos. for mccabe's part, i sat in on many meetings with him that said look, this is a blow, but we're going to continue to do our job, continue to do our work and
conduct our investigations, that's what the american people expect. i'm still bound by nondisclosure agreements but going based on what mccabe got approved, the question he faced as a leader was what do i do now? it looks as though the president of the united states may have obstructed justice. i have to protect this investigation and the last thing i'll say is that you have this small but very loud stable of comey and mccabe haters saying the fbi overreacted in opening this investigation. this is not a banana republic. if someone breaks the law, the fbi has information that there's a violation of federal law whether you're the dog catcher or president of the united states, the fbi will investigate and that is what happened here. >> swrosh campbell, laura jarrett, evan perez, thanks to you as well. stick around. much more on all the breaking news coming up. new insights into the gunrights activist and allegedr russian
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who knows her. >> reporter: we have gotten an exclusive interview with this woman. she and her family went to disney world in 2015 with her. the family took the couple in as friends. now she says they are left with many questions. it's a view of maria butina, the 30-year-old accused of being a spy for russia, previously never seen. instead of carrying a gun, she's playfully pointing to a moscow sign at disney world. the pictures were taken by a journalist who befriended bet ea in 2015. they met through paul eraierics. they shared a mutual interest in guns. >> he made her laugh. she tended to be on the serious side. >> reporter: they took a trip to disney world with butina and
ericsson in 2015. it captivated the young russian. >> we swam with dolphins. maria's favorite ride ever was space mountain. right after space mountain she paused and looked at my sister and me and she said, that was the most fun i have ever had in my life. in those instants, she seemed like a kid. >> reporter: she was not a kid. in december, maria butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to being an unlawful, unregistered agent for a foreign government. butina infiltrated groups like the nra to network with republicans. in an exclusive television interview with cnn, she said back in 2015, butina came across as a fun loving 20 something with a fondness to things disney. these pictures were sent to her family by ericsson of them on a cruise before that disney world trip. the two of them wearing pirate outfits and beauty and the beast
costumes. >> that was their relationship icon, beauty and the beast. she was very beautiful. ♪ >> reporter: her beauty and the beast affinity reflected in a recorded duet she sang with ericsson in russia. even during that disney trip, butina displayed mysterious behavior. like missing a whole day of activities after claiming she chipped a tooth. >> she may have done something to her tooth or maybe she was gone for different reasons. i don't know. >> reporter: she wrote about her experiences with butina in an online publication, says they made splashy entrances at two parties. ericsson dressing in a toga. in one bizarre moment, the future accused russian spy read her palm. >> i remember giving her my hand. she looked at it and looked at me very seriously and she goes,
i am 21, i think at this moment. she goes, you will definitely cheat on your husband, 100% cheater. i was really taken aback. >> reporter: she says butina at the time was open about her interests in advocating for gun rights in russia and working closely in the united states with leaders of the nra. looking back, she says she didn't suspect butina was a spy. >> i wasn't surprised when i read all of the allegations, because those were what she was open about, what she was saying she was doing. i'm not sure if she's a spy. >> reporter: a former justice department counterintelligence attorney says butina's interactions with her might have been part of a plan to blend in. >> just because her activities were out in the open doesn't mean that she wasn't doing them at the behest of the russian government or russian intelligence. >> reporter: as for paul ericsson, she calls him a con man. ericsson was indicted last week on fraud charges. he duped her parents out of
money. we reached out to him and his attorneys. we got no response from them. ericss ericsson's attorney in south dakota had said about his indictment for fraud that eric s ericson's side believes a different story will emerge. boo t >> fascinating developments. thank you very much, brian, for that. breaking news next. president trump sets the stage for a new battle with democrats as he decides to declare a national emergency to get money for a border wall. ybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. we're the tenney's and we're usaa members for life. call usaa to start saving on insurance today.
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happening now. breaking news. emergency declaration. the white house says the president will take executive action to build his border wall as he agrees to sign a bill to avd a government shutdown. he is creating new controversy even as he averts a crisis. outplayed by democrats? we are told mr. trump has been griping about the bipartisan compromise, complaining republican negotiators got a raw deal. did nancy pelosi trump the president? william barr has oversight over the special council. could that sway him to release his final report? talks on ousting trump. the former fbi acting director is confirming the top justice department officials discussed the