tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN February 17, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PST
♪ the idea of wearing a wire into the white house, in an explosive interview, the former acting zrdirector of the fbi offered the attorney general a recording device to wear about the u.s. president. plus, hundreds of militants are believed to have fled to iraq from isis territories. and -- >> there's no way you're going to stand in the way of a people whose children are starving to death, and they don't have the medicine. >> as piles of aid wait to get
into venezuela, one lawmaker is sending a warning to nicholas maduro. let it in or else. this is cnn "newsroom." looking at why the former director of the fbi launched a counterintelligence investigation into president trump. saying his own words triggered the probe. president trump asking james comey to drop his information into the national security adviser raised concerns of obstruction of justice. mccabe said rod rosenstein even offered to wear a wire in his meetings with the president.
>> the deputy attorney general offered to wear a wire into the white house. he said i never get searched when i go into the white house, i could easily wear a recording device. they wouldn't know it was there. he was not joking, he was absolutely serious. and in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had. i never actually considered taking him up on the offer. i did discuss it with my general counsel and the leadership team at the fbi after he brought it up the first time. >> the point of rosenstein wearing the wire into a meeting with the president was what? what did he hope to obtain? >> i can't characterize what rod was thinking or what he was hoping at that moment. but the reason you would have someone wear a concealed recording device would be to collect evidence. in this case, what was the true nature of the president's motivation in calling for the firing of jim comey?
>> a statement from the justice department said rosenstein never authorized any recording. and an investigation is promised into mccabe's claims. >> i know he's selling a book. and maybe we need to take it with a grain of salt, but he went on national television and made an accusation that floors me. if the shoe were on the other foot, if we were talking about getting rid of president clinton, it would be on the air waves all over the world. we need to find out who is telling the truth, because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning. >> challenges to president trump's national emergency declaration are already in the works. the state of california planning
an imminent challenge, and u.s. law makers are trying to block the president's funding for the border wall. but the white house is ready to fight back, as sarah westwood reports. >> reporter: trump's national emergency declaration has opened up even more divides among lawmakers on capitol hill. democrats have always opposed the idea of the president building a border wall, but they say the president using his emergency declaration powers in this way is unconstitutional. while some republicans have expressed discomfort, others are arguing there's a genuine national security and humanitarian crisis on the border, and they're also saying this is not a subversion of the will of congress. because congress did include some funding for the border wall in the spending package signed
for on friday. take a listen to adam schiff and jim jordan on sunday. >> this is the first time a president has tried to declare an emergency when congress explicitly did not fund the project. and just staying he didn't need to do this, he just wanted to do it because it would help things go faster, he's pretty much daring the court to strike this down. >> all i know is, this is a serious situation, a crisis. look at the drug, human trafficking, the border problem. >> reporter: the white house is prepared to fight congressional battles, the house is looking to try to prevent the president
from using his executive power in this way. but stephen miller said the president may be willing to use his veto power, so there are a number of road blocks facing the trump administration before they're able to touch a single penny of the additional funds that trump had hoped to unlock. sarah westwood, cnn, florida. >> for more on all this, i'm joined by natasha linstead, good to have you with us. >> thanks for having me. >> so many explosive revelation in this mccabe interview. we learned the president's own words triggered a counterintelligence probe. but let's start with rod rosenstein apparently discussing removing president trump from office by invoking the 25th amendment after he fired james
comey. rosenstein said he wasn't in a position to consider invoking that amendment, and it appears nothing came of it. but what did you make of this revelation? >> well, it's incredible. i mean, we have a president that people within the government, within the department of justice and the fbi, don't trust. there was the revelation earlier that the fbi thought he may even be acting cooperatively with the russians in undermining u.s. elections. so, it's not, in some ways, that surprising that rosenstein would be suspicious of trump's actions. that there was a case of obstruction of justice when he fired comey. and so, you know, this gets to the heart of the issues with this particular president. there's very low levels of trust in his abilities. >> now, we also learned another shocking revelation from the mccabe interview, president
trump did not believe his own intelligen intelligen intelligence agencies when they told him that north korean missiles could hit the u.s., that he believed putin. that's unprecedented. >> it is unprecedented. it's unbelievable that our own president doesn't believe the quality of the intelligence, and would prefer to listen to someone who is a dictator, and also an enemy of the united states. you know, intelligence community has to be able to work with the president, they're supposed to provide them with vital information that is critical to the safety of u.s. citizens. and if you have a president that is undermining that, going around them and believing a dictator over his own intelligence, it's really quite
frightening. >> it is remarkable. and mccabe also revealed that rosenstein was apparently willing to wear a wire into a meeting with president trump. and he denies the recording, but mccabe insists he was serious. what do you make of this, and what would rosenstein have been trying to get on tape from the president, do you think? >> i think rosenstein was serious. i look back at what happened with james comey, in the different meetings he had with president trump, that he thought were suspicious, that he thought were a cause for concern. and he took very careful notes of those meetings, because he wanted some proof of what was taking place, and he wanted to make sure to remember thinkings. and i think it's the same line of thinking for rosenstein, he wanted some evidence, some proof
of the misdeeds of the president, to be able to understand further the level of obstruction of justice that was taking place, and possibly other events. >> right, and just shifting for a moment, on friday, president trump declared a national emergency over funding for his border wall. but he admitted he didn't need to do this. let's just listen to how stephen miller justifies this. >> i didn't need to do this. how does that justify a national emergency? >> what the president was saying is, like past presidents, he can choose to ignore the crisis, as others have. but that's not what he's going to do. >> so, how does that constitute a national emergency, when the president says he doesn't need to do that? and what is the likely legal outcome of this?
>> well, it is a national emergency, with the threat immeai immine imminent, and possible harm could be facing americans. he's been in power for two years now, and the issue is, because it's not a national emergency, and he went off to play golf afterwards, illustrating the lack of urgency in the situation, and he himself admitted it wasn't an emergency, there will be legal challenges to this. and looking at what the house and senate may try to do, they will probably try to pass a resolution of disapproval, and then it will go to some legal challenges. there are challenges coming from the aclu, from consumer rights groups, from the state of california, and also from private property owners.
>> we'll watch to see where it goes. thank you so much for joining us, natasha. appreciate it. a new warning on the reach and remaining power of isis. officials say more than 1,000 isis fighters have likely fled from iraq syria to iraq in rece months. this comes as the last enclave in syria remains under siege by u.s.-backed forces. and washington special envoy is trying to reassure them about the pullout, saying it will be neither abrupt or hasty. barbara starr filed this report from baghdad. >> reporter: perhaps 1,000 isis
fighters have fled syria into the western deserts and mountai mountains of iraq, and they may have $2 million of cash with them to finance operations. all of that according to the latest u.s. assessment. all of this comes as the u.s.-backed syrian fighters are struggling to take the last isis stro stronghold in syria. there may be hundreds if not thousands of civilians in the area, many of them perhaps being held by isis. the top u.s. general in baghdad, talking about how little the u.s. may be able to predict when that last stronghold is taken. >> it's an active battle. they could capitulate while we're sitting here, or it could be days. we were moving at a pretty good clip three or four days ago, then the amount of displaced civilians starting to come out,
fighters that were trying to come out with families, we slowed it down so we could do the proper screenings. >> reporter: and what happens after the last stronghold falls? the top commander says the syrian democratic forces that the u.s. has been backing will have to make some key descision. the u.s. is willing to continue to provide weapons and aid, but that may only last so long, if it decides to align itself with the assad regime. >> we're here because of the threat to iraq. once that relationship is severed, because they go back to the regime, which we don't have a relationship with, the russians, we don't have a
relationship with them, the u.s. will no longer be partners with them. >> reporter: the usdf cannot ally themselves with the turks, and the u.s. cannot legally align themselves with assad. >> all of this comes after a series of tweets with trump that read to many like a threat. he said europe has to take back hundreds of isis fighters and put them on trial. if it doesn't, the u.s. would be forced to release them, and they could, quote, permeate europe. bob behr joins us from washington. always great to talk with you. it's not the first time we're hearing the defeat of isis won't
mean a total end to the group. but now, a u.s. military official tells us more than 1,000 fighters have fled from syria into iraq, with about 200 million dollars. what does this mean? >> it's become a guerilla movement, as it was before 2014. what you have in iraq are the tribes are very receptive to the islamic state, they have gotten a lousy deal from the government, and we'll see them reforming in guerilla groups, s and more people joining it. that's a pretty safe prediction.
>> and they're closing in on the last isis-held enclave in syria. but the u.s. special envoy suggests that won't be a rapid operation. nonetheless, is this really the time to be pulling u.s. troops out of syria? >> no. the islamic state will launch some sort of attack in europe, in the united states, somewhere, to announce its presence. and it will also continue to attack baghdad. and i think that's what the government in baghdad is worried about, all the people showing up. there's no political settlement in iraq that would, which they say, squash this movement, at this point. and as long as the political tensions continue, the islamic state will be looked at as a vehicle for resistance. and we haven't heard the last of
it. >> what about president trump's request to europe to take back some of the fighters taken in syria, or else we release them. what do you think of that? >> absolutely catastrophic. it's not the way this is going to be solved. and as likely as not, some of the fighters will go back and launch a terrorist attack. this is not the way to bring this conflict to an end. >> but then, also, to threaten to release them, if europe doesn't take them and put them on trial? does that seem an astounding thing for a u.s. president to say? >> it's a threat against our closest allies. it's never happened before. it's more of trump picking away at nato. this completely shocked the europeans, that we were even
considering releasing these people and sending them back home. they're still dangerous, they're committed, and the possibility of them launching attacks are very good. this is just, trump has no idea how to bring this conflict to an end. he's simply made up his mind, he wants out of the middle east, and whatever the consequences, be damned. >> and in this same tweet, president trump said the caliphate is ready to fall. what kind of advice is he getting on this? >> it will fall, but i think it will be more dangerous once the people are let loose and driven underground, because it will be impossible to find them in anbar province. and a lot of them are going to end up in turkey. you know, this is an underground
movement at its heart, and it's most dangerous as an underground movement. >> and he's getting advice, but he doesn't seem to be processing that information. >> trump doesn't listen to the cia or the pentagon, both of whom understand what's going on in this part of the world. if the caliphate should fall, it's not the end of it. it's a resistance movement, very much like marxism, it will carry on until there's some sort of political resolution. he's disengaging way too fast, and he will regret this, and i would say, very soon. >> bob, always great to have your analysis on these matters. many thanks to you. >> thank you.
>> we'll take a short break. still to come, venezuela's standoff over aid heats up. the sitting president still won't allow the aid into the country. but a u.s. senator says it will be delivered, with or without him. let's be honest: dealing with your insurance shouldn't be more frustrating than the accident itself. that's why esurance makes it simple. just take some pics. [picture noises] go to sleep. wake up. grab a bite. maybe some racquetball. and boom - your money's on the way so you can get back on the road fast. well, not that fast. the editor had to make it fit in 30 seconds. it's pretty tricky actually trying to ... and ... tagline. when insurance is simple, it's surprisingly painless. little things
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u.s. senator marco rubio is slamming nicholas maduro for ejecting humanitarian aid. he was visiting a columbian warehouse where the aid was being stored. >> the aid will get through, and ultimately, the question is whether it gets through in a way he's cooperative with, or in a way that he's not. there are certain lines, if they are crossed, i'm confident, everything i know about this tra administration, the consequences will be swift. and he knows this. >> reporter: for most of her long life, this young baby has
only known hunger. and now her body is feeling its impact. frail and in pain, she's unable to keep anything down. but her little tummy, suffering from severe mall knnutrition, c keep it in. several famililoors away, i mee women who have faced this for months. i go further down the hall, and i come face to face with tragedy. she's telling me her baby is dead. no heartbeat, nothing, no life, she's telling me.
[ speaking foreign language ] 29, six months, so basically 29 weeks. her baby has died. this is the toll of the humanitarian crisis maduro deni denies. i travel around and meet others desperate for health. this 19-year-old recently arrived from caracas. he made the journey simply for survival. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: he says he's hiv positive, and desperately needed drugs unavailable back home. as he gets a checkup, the doctor
at the ngo for which he volunteers for tells me nine of his hiv patients died in 2019. all venezuelans. he got out just in time. but getting here has come with sacrifice, and the wounds he carries are still fresh. i do my best to delicately ask, did he have to sell sex to survive? [ speaking foreign language ] >> the battle over donald trump's border wall goes on in washington, but landowners fear a fight with the government is coming. some say it's a fight they can't
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just say get "dragon tickets". welcome back, everyone. i want to update you on the main stories we've been following this hour. the former acting director of the fbi says he ordered a counterintelligence probe of donald trump for a number of reasons, including the president's own words. mccabe said the president's request that james comey drop the investigation into michael flynn and comey's subsequent firing were among the reasons for launching the probe. the defeat of isis likely won't be the terror group's
demise. a u.s. military official says more than 1,000 have likely fled into western iraq in recent months. they may also have up to $200 million in cash. sources tell cnn that police investigating the alleged attack against jussie smolett believe the crime was staged. they're checking the cell phones of two brothers they believe smollett paid to commit the attack. smollett denies the attack was staged. and amid the emergency declaration for a border wall, landowners are waiting to see what comes next. ed lavandera reports. >> reporter: there's a place just home to butterflies, hundreds of different species.
and mary anna wright has spent the last two years to keep president trump's border wall from cutting through the national butterfly. last year, congress approved the construction of 33 miles, and the construction is about to begin in the coming weeks. part of the wall was supposed to come right through the butterfly center. the government used eminent domain to take the land. >> they're seizing the land and pushing the boundaries of mexico north of the rio grande river, something santa ana was able to do. trump is making america smaller, not greater.
>> reporter: but the congressional spending bill allowed a last-minute reprieve. for now, no border wall in the butterfly center. but wall will come right up to their property lines, and leave a quarter-mile stretch of property wide-open. but officials say they're worried the trump administration will use the national emergency declaration to keep trying to close the gap. and they're worried about what it is doing to the other landowners who haven't been spared. >> this is a shame. this is a national disgrace. and the idea that it's going to happen, and produce none of the purported benefit, that's like going and buying a new car, and driving it into a building. why would you do that? >> reporter: the center's legal battles paint a poignant picture of what lies ahead. the bill allocates $1.4 billion
to construct another 55 miles of barrier. >> we're going to get rid of drugs, and ganggangs, and peopl. it's an invasion of drugs and criminals that we stop, but it's very hard to stop. with a wall, it would be very easy. >> reporter: much of this new construction will be on private property, which means the federal government will likely have to sue landowners to acquire land. this man and his family are trying to stop the construction of the looming barrier. >> we've had this property for all of our lives. >> reporter: they own 70 acres that will be left south of the border barrier, in a no-man's land. they've been tied up in litigation, but are losing hope they will stop the wall from being built in the next few weeks. you're running out of time. >> yes. what can you do? you can't fight the government. we'll try.
we'll try to stop them, and stall a little, but we can't stop the government. they'll do what they want to do. >> reporter: so, the rio grande valley braces for what most residents say is the unwelcome wall. >> senator amy klobuchar is making her way across the u.s., as she reaches out to voters on her bid to become the democratic candidate for president. suzanne malveaux is with her campaign. >> reporter: there is a great deal of anticipation and excitement about the town hall on monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. it will be a spontaneous format, with students, faculty, democratic activists. and of course, she's been emphasizing some of the campaign issues on stops, a very busy
weekend. three stops in iowa, the critical state that will hold its caucuses about a year from now. and also wisconsin, also a critical stop as well. it was back in 2012, barack obama won that state by more than six points. but 2016, hillary clinton lost that state by 1% to trump. she did not visit the state in the general election, it was a state trump visited multiple times. and really a missed opportunity. senator klobuchar telling me it was a place that was largely ignored. so that's her focus, the midwest. it's not so much a focus on the minnesota nice, if you will. but it's more heartland economics, is what she calls it. the notion that people in the rural areas of america, in the midwest, in the heartland, should have the same opportunities. education, jobs, and health care, as the rest of the country. that's her focus. she's also talking about big
agenda items, like climate change, bipartisan legislation, pragmatic ways of getting things done. maybe tougher online privacy laws, election security as well, and other things when it comes to voting rights and things of that nature. she wants to form a movement, a grassroots movement that she believes will build from the center of the country to bring people together. >> it means looking at the challenges that are right in front of us. not looking down at our owns all the time, as much as we love them, right? not looking away when we don't want to watch what's on the news in the morning. it means looking at each other, dealing with what we don't agree with, and looking up at those challenges and meeting them. >> reporter: some of klobuchar's challenges are going to be name recognition.
as well as winning over african-american voters, latino voters as well. one thing that has happened, she's got quite a bit of momentum out of the gate. within the first 48 hours, her campaign saying she raised $1 million, also tweeting that she's received contributions from all 50 states as well as puerto rico and d.c. one of the challenges she will be faced with, desperately trying get on the debate stage. she will have to hit a 1% mark when it comes to various polls, and also being able to get donors, 65,000 donors from 20 different states, to be on that stage. so, she's trying to build momentum, get her name out there, and address all of the questions that will come her way. >> in haiti, the government is pleading for peace in the
streets after days of violent protests. officials asking schools, universities, and businesses to reopen on monday. for more than a week, crowds have been demanding haiti's president step down over crippling inflation and corruption allegations. miguel marquez has more. >> reporter: there's a tenuous calm here in the capital, at this point, after nine days of protests, where they lit tires in streets, blocked roads with boulders, shut down the entire city, as well as cities around the country. the police on high alert throughout the entire country. haiti is known for its hardships, for protests. the protests we're seeing now are part of a string of protests we've seen over many, many months. we talked to one activist about
why this is different. >> normally, we have a job, live our life. we complain on social media. but now, people are saying it's enough. >> reporter: the prime minister saying he called for an investigation into the corruption here. called for a 30% cut to his own budget, encouraged the rest of the government to do the same. saying government workers should lose their perks. and also said there should be an increase in the minimum wage, and would work toward those things. what is not clear is whether that is enough. the protesters say the president himself is ensnared in part of the corrupt culture of this country, and they've had enough. so, what the prime minister is talking about, it's not clear where that fits into what the protesters want, and whether the government itself will allow an
investigation to the degree that can win back the trust of the people of haiti. all of that we're waiting to see, as there are calls for more protests in the days ahead. coming up next, hateful and arrogant, that's what iran is calling remarks made by the u.s. vice president over the weekend. we'll explain my tehran is so upset, in a moment. i'm just glad i never fixed it. listen, you don't need to go anywhere dad. meet christine, she's going to help you around the house. the best home to be in is your own. from personal care and memory care, to help around the house, home instead offers personalized in-home services for your loved ones. home instead senior care. to us, it's personal. bipolar i disorder can make you feel like you have no limits.
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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. welcome back, everyone. the war of words between the u.s. and iran is getting even more intense. over the weekend, mike pence called on european allies to abandon the iran nuclear deal, and openly accused iran of another holocaust. >> yesterday, right here in munich, mr. pence repeated when
he arrogantly demanded that europe must join the united states in undermining its own security and breaking its own obligations. his hateful accusations against iran, including his ignorant allegation of anti semiti-semit against a man described -- it's ridiculo ridiculous, but at the same time very, very dangerous. >> the trump administration prides itself on its tough stance on iran, saying the goal is to stop the regime. but doctors in iran say sanctions are putting lives at risk. we take a closer look. >> reporter: when this doctor
visits patients in iran, he faces two challenges. diagnosing their illnesses, and then getting the medication they need. unfortunately, he says, we've been having problems getting special medication. but since our policy is to give patients everything they need, we need to work double duty. hospital staff say that double duty even involves buying drugs and parts for medical devices on the black market, at huge additional costs. when president trump pulled the u.s. out of the nuclear agreement with iran, they also hit them with huge sanctions. a state department spokesperson said the united states allows for the sale of agricultural
commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices from the united states to iran. but doctors say the reality is different. with medical companies unwilling to do business with iran, afraid of facing a response from the u.s. >> we have the procedures, but we don't have the instruments. and it's very difficult for patients and maybe death for some patients. >> reporter: back in the icu, this doctor is checking on a patient with a heart condition. he doesn't speak much english, but did want to convey a message. >> why we have sanctions? why? >> reporter: instead of asking
why, the staff at this and other iranian hospitals ask themselves how they'll be able to supply patients with the treatment they need. >> severe winter weather bearing down. we will look at where the storm is set to strike next. oh no no no. your new boss seems cool, but she might not be sweatpants cool. who is that ready this early? it's only 7 am. somebody help me. close call. not quite ready to face the day? that's why we're here with free hot breakfast and a warm welcome. book at hampton.com for our price match guarantee. hampton by hilton. give the gift of devotion with our incredible selection of jewelry including hundreds of pieces under $299
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call for your free publisher kit today! 60 million americans bracing for a heavy winter storm. it's already dumped heavy snow on northern california. now headed to the u.s. southwest. now we have a look at these very nasty weather conditions. >> it's going to be nasty today and will continue the next few days. we're bringing winter back after a respite. i tell you what, it is a holiday in the united states. not so bad for the morning commute, but if you do have to be uf and around, it's going to be a mess. we have a front here that extends low pressure. it's raining for the mid-atlantic and the southeast, but up across the north, cold enough for snow. we have some north of new york. this is going to be for connecticut, rhode island, massachusetts. we actually have a winter storm warning here because i think the accumulation will be pretty significant. where you see the purple, wintry
mix. the further south you go, you get into a glaze and icing on the roadways. further north you go, that's when we were accumulating snowfall, and we're going to do that at a pretty good clip here. all of this happening today. this quick-moving system, but it will be memorable for whatever we leave behind. look at that. i mean, this thing is by lunchtime almost out of the entire east coast, but we'll have to wait for new england to clear out. we're done. no. another storm is already brewing. look at this. it's already going to climb up, and tuesday we're looking for snow in missouri and heading to the central u.s. and then continuing to head top of the east. if you are traveling on the east coast, wednesday into thursday, we're going to continue with some problems here. look at this map. this is the five-day accumulation as far as rainfall. snow for today. look at this. this is going to be a mess. pretty much going to rain every day of the week across the southeast with very heavy rainfall. at times, rosemary, we're talking about anywhere from three to as much as five inches
of rainfall here. it's going to be a messy time. in the north country it will be snow. >> horrible. we want to get through february. >> march is come. >> into spring. thank you so much. appreciate it. thank you so much for joining us. i'm rosemary church. i'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. you are watching cnn. do stick around.
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spying on the president. in a shocking interview the former acting director of the fbi says the deputy attorney general was absolutely serious when he offered to wear a wire to gather possible evidence against president trump. pl plus, this is your intensive care unit? >> yes. >> violent protests in the streets and no medicine in the ward. cnn goes inside a hospital in haiti struggling to care for patients. and after another deadly shooting rampage in the u.s. on friday, a town in illinois is saying good-bye and remembering all the victims. hello, and welcome to