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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  February 2, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST

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intelligence website is the most logical place to do it. the president tweeted it out. i can't imagine it going out through any other channel than through the house intelligence committee web page. >> we'll be keeping an eye out for that. michael zelden, thank you so much. breaking news that the president has released this controversial publicly written memo. our news will continue with dana bash right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news this hour, a white house official tells cnn that president trump has authorized the release of that highly controversial house republican memo about the russia investigation. the fbi still says it has grave concerns about the memo which cnn is told alleges agency abuse with the secret surveillance
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warrant process. i want to get straight to cnn's jeff zeleny at the white house. jeff, what can you tell us? >> dana, good afternoon. we do know that president trump has indeed signed the order to declassify this house republican memo that he has been studying and reading for the last several days. he just spoke about this a few moments ago in the oval office at the end of another event. we'll be hearing from that shortly, but he did talk about what he's been talking about for days now, what he believes the bias in the top ranks of the fbi against him. of course, this all goes back to the trump campaign, the beginnings of the russia investigation. he is making the argument that the fbi was biased against him in their application for a fisa warrant, for a wire tap warned essentially here. this document written by house republicans is going to be released later today. word is being sent from here at the white house over to capitol hill and the speaker's office to have that three and a half page memo released that will go into at least some detail, again,
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from the perspective of supporters of the president here, about that warrant. but dana, we should also point out there are no redactions to this memo. for the last several days, there have been big considerations, big discussions here underway if this memo would be changed in some respect to ease some concerns of the fbi. as you'll remember, the fbi director said he had grave concerns about this. they said it was a national security risk. we are told by a white house official this morning there will be no redactions to this memo. so it will be released as it was written by the committee here. so, dana, this is really setting up and escalating an already pretty major confrontation, a very major confrontation with the president and his justice department and his hand-picked fbi director. now, the fallout from this, we'll have to see how that develops. also rod rosenstein, of course, the deputy attorney general who is supervising special counsel bob mueller's investigation here, he is also mentioned in
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this memo likely here. so what will his fate be? dana, many shoes left to drop and fall on this. important we keep this in a perspective and context here. this is one slice of the russia investigation. the main one, special counsel's bob mueller, of course, continues. but there is concern this discredits that investigation. that's one of the reasons he signed off on this, dana. >> i should tell you we are waiting to hear from the president in less than a minute, so stay with me while we wait for that tape. you mentioned -- here we go. let's listen to the president. >> thank you very much, everybody. thank you. >> what do you think of the memo? >> i think it's terrible. i think it's a disgrace what's going on in this country. i think it's a disgrace. the memo was sent to congress,
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it was declassified. congress will do whatever they're going to do, but i think it's a disgrace what's happening in our country. and when you look at that, and you see that and so many other things, what's going on, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that. so i sent it over to congress. they will do what they're going to do. whatever they do is fine. it was declassified, and let's see what happens. but a lot of people should be ashamed. thank you very much. thank you very much. [ questions all at once ] >> you figure that one out. >> we haven't seen it yet, though. >> these are just great people who have suffered incredibly. there were many, many others like them that have suffered so much. and they were here and i said, let's tell you a story very quickly. we have others in a different room, as i told you, that are really petrified to be here.
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petrified. so it's tough stuff. it's tough stuff. [ inaudible question [. >> we're doing a lot. we have many administrations that should have acted on this a long time ago when we weren't in this kind of a position. we ran out of road. you know the expression, the road really ended. they could have done it 12 years ago, they could have done it 20 years ago, they could have done it four years ago and two years ago. we have no road left, so we'll see what happens. but in the meantime we'll get through the olympics and maybe something good can come out of the olympics, who knows. thank you very much, everybody. thank you. >> do you still have confidence in rod rosenstein? >> thank you very much, everybody. [ inaudible question ] >> i better not get involved. >> that was president trump moments ago talking about the
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fact that he has formally, officially declassified this controversial house republican intelligence committee memo, told that committee that they are free to release it to the public, which they have made clear they are going to do. and, in fact, we are waiting. that could happen any moment now. and while we wait for that, i want to bring in our team who has been covering this for months and months and months and been breaking a lot of news on it. let's bring in cnn's crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz, cnn anna henderson and cnn reporter david chalian. also in new york we have cnn analyst michael zelden. let's start around the table first and foremost with those comments we just heard from the president. gloria, talking very specifically and very openly, like he did on twitter this morning, accusing his own doj, department of justice, his own
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fbi, of being political. >> right. it's a disgrace, he said. what's going on is a disgrace. so i think what you may see in this memo are republicans claiming that somebody, carter page, was under surveillance because of politics. and that the whole dossier was the rationale, which the president hates, of course, was the rationale for the surveillance, and this is a way for the president, dana, to discredit the mueller investigators and, thereby, without directly poking his finger in bob mueller's eye, discredit the special counsel. so what he's done is he sent this to capitol hill now. it will be released, it is in the process of being released, and the whole purpose of it is to discredit the top echelon of the fbi who approved this
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surveillance. >> and we really should, as we're waiting -- and forgive me for looking at my phone, reporting and talking to you on tv realtime here. but shimon, it's very, very important to underscore as we get this memo and as we go through it, the real deal here, which is it is a highly political memo, it is just done by the republicans on the intelligence committee, which breaks with precedent for this committee, which is generally an oasis of non-partisanship, never mind bipartisanship. and that is why your sources at the fbi and doj are upset, right? because they think this is cherry picked. >> and certainly they've been bracing for this all morning with news that this is now coming, and we'll see how they react once it comes out. this has been their central issue with this, in that it is extremely one-sided. it does not paint the full picture of what the fbi was
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doing and the intelligence that they were gathering and the work that they were doing, so their concern is that this is just going to show a one-sided sort of way this investigation was going. thereby making it seem political, discrediting fbi agents who have spent months now, perhaps more than a year, working on this case. and because really the fbi can't talk about this, they can't talk about fisa material, they can't really defend themselves. their only defense was that statement, and that was obviously a stunning statement. >> as we wait to see this memo, which is three and a half pages, it's not very long, i want to read to you what senator john mccain, who is the chairman of the armed services committee in the senate. he is back in arizona dealing with treatment from cancer, but he said just now, the latest attacks on the fbi and the department of justice serve no
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american interest, no parties, no presidents, only putin's. the american people deserve to know all the facts surrounding russia's ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why special counsel mueller's investigation must proceed unimpeded. our nation's elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan side shows. if we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing putin's job for him. that is some strong stuff, david chalian. >> it sure is, and thank you, john mccain, for bringing this back to what this is about. that is where this all stemmed from. i have a feeling if john mccain heard the president's words he might think disgraced or people that should be ashamed of themselves should apply elsewhere, not where donald trump is applying. here is the reality.
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gloria is talking about this effort to discredit the mueller investigation, which is clearly what this is about. but that's a month's long effort. and this is another data point for him. what he is missing here is, to shimon's point, the severity of what you do when you are saying to your law enforcement agencies that you should be ashamed of yourselves. this isn't just another data point -- should not be just another data point in donald trump's efforts to discredit. and by the way, the month's-long effort to discredit the mueller investigation is working. it's working with republicans, it's working to help muddy the waters as donald trump wants to. it puts everything in the russia realm into this partisan lens that john mccain is arguing it should have been. >> you're talking about politics. and i think that it also bears highlighting, underscoring, putting on a billboard here that nobody is saying that this fisa
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process, which is all about obtaining a secret warrant to surveil an american citizen should not have very strict oversight, very strict scrutiny. and if there are problems with it, it should be uncovered and it should be corrected. the problem is the system here and the process through which they have to go. >> the republicans aren't focusing on that, right? if they wanted to talk about that, talk about the fisa process, talk about very specific instances of abuse, they could do that. that's not what they're doing. they are a part of what david and what everybody around this table is talking about, which is an effort to taint this bob mueller investigation. and as they're doing that, they're sort of pretending that they're not doing that, right? paul ryan is essentially like, yes, let's release this memo but also let the bob mueller investigation go on. >> as this comes out, we need to keep this in mind.
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there are layers and layers of process. it goes from u.s. attorneys, it goes to the court. lawyers for the fisa court who review this before it's submitted to the actual judge just to make sure that everything is in order. and also what you're going to see is going to come up in this, and there's been reports about this, is that this has to do with renewals. which is a much different issue. and this, i think, is what the fbi has an issue with. in order to get a renewal at the fisa court, you have to go to the judge and say there is stuff coming. we're getting information out of our original fisa, so therefore we need to keep this going. >> it needs to prove it's of value. >> right, it's of value. what i think we're going to see is that it was fruitful, there was value in the work that they were doing. we'll see what the memo says. >> i just want to go back to something that the president, in that tape we just played from the oval office, was asked by our cnn contributor maggie
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haberman. she asked the president if he still had confidence in rod rosenstein, who is the deputy attorney general. listen to that exchange? >> do you still have confidence in rod rosenstein? >> you figure that one out. >> that was a glowing endorsement. and just by way of context, we can explain why, as we anticipate this memo being released, why rod rosenstein and the questions about him is pertinent. >> right. well, rod rosenstein would have to have approved this fisa renewal. so he's in the crosshairs right now. we have known from our own reporting, and you've done so much of it, dana, is that the president hasn't been thrilled with rod rosenstein, and that privately he is telling people that this may be one way for him to get rid of rod rosenstein. why would he want to get rid of rod rosenstein? because if he were to ask rod rosenstein, say, to fire bob
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mueller, rod rosenstein probably would not do that. but that's a story for another day, okay? right now rod rosenstein is in his crosshairs. his name might be in this, we don't know, but the president looks at this, and i can't emphasize this enough. he looks at this through his own personal lens about what it means for him. he has never had any loyalty to institutions. shimon talks about the fbi. you talk about the justice department. he got elected by busting norms and being against institutions. so now that he's in washington and he's taking on institutions, it doesn't matter to him. it's not as if he has any loyalty to that or any sense of history about it. it is about how will this work for him in front of the special counsel, period. >> so true, so true. as we wait for this memo to be released, i want to go back to the white house to jeff zeleny.
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jeff, i want to talk about something that you reported at the top of the show about the question about redactions, meaning blacking out anything that is in this memo for whatever reason. traditionally it's for national security reasons. who knows in this case. you're saying that there was no white house-initiated redactions, but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be redactions when we see it. explain. >> indeed, dana, that is our understanding. a white house official here told us just a short time ago that there were no white house redactions to this three and a half page house intelligence committee memo here. so what that means is there has been a discussion, as you know, as we reported yesterday, there was a discussion inside the west wing with the chief of staff john kelly. should there be some changes made, some language perhaps omitted or struck that would ease some of the concerns of the fbi. it was part of the white house sort of going through the steps of doing their due diligence or trying to show they were doing
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their due diligence, even though the president acknowledged on a hot mic in the state of the union address that he planned to release this regardless. but there are no redactions to this memo. now, the house committee could certainly -- it's up to them to release what they want to release. so they could potentially redact or change something. but from the white house, after the president reviewed it, he has declassified that memo in its whole. so there are not any redactions coming from here, so that is the point there. but the rod rosenstein case was asked in the oval office, probably the most significant thing from the president today. he is overseeing the special counsel's investigation here. he, of course, like many, is a republican. the president, of course, was pointing out this morning that the top ranks of the fbi biased against him, important to point out here, these are all republican appointees here, so not exactly the divided partisan
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lines he would like people to believe. no redactions here at the white house, dana. >> what you said about rod rosenstein is really key, because if rod rosenstein is undermined in any way for the fallout for this, he is going to either be fired or feel that he has to quit. that gives the president a very large opening in his mind -- there you see who rod rosenstein is and the top point there is the key here. that there is an opening there. i and my colleagues have been told there is very preliminary chatter about what he could do to change the way this russia investigation is going. okay, everybody, we are waiting for this memo to be released. we're going to sneak in a quick break. stand by, actually. forgive me, everybody. this is breaking news, so we're not going to go to a break because we have somebody who is really, really plugged in and
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has incredible experience on this, and that is our cnn analyst and former house intelligence chair, mike rogers. i just want to get, as we are sort of on the precipice of your former committee, the republicans on it releasing this memo, what are your thoughts? >> well, listen, i'm a little bit concerned. because now we're going to have dueling memos. now the democrats are going to put their memo with their spin on it, republicans have clearly put their spin on it. the intelligence community has expressed not only publicly but private concerns about this memo. >> and i'm going to interrupt to tell and you our viewers, the memo has been released. our team is going through and looking at it. i wanted to let you know at home that has happened. we'll get to you as soon as we get the specifics. go ahead. >> i think we'll have a very different conversation after we've all read the memo. clearly, i do think it speaks to the dysfunction of the committee that they can't do a joint
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investigation. if they believe there was malfeasance in the application for a fisa warrant, if somebody did something either illegal or untoward, they need to have a full investigation in the confines of classified space and put out a joint report of what happened. this back and forth is only going to lead the public to pull against themselves. >> i'm just going to ask you point blank, do you think this is a raw political exercise? >> it sure feels like it to me. there is no reason to have a republican memo and a democratic memo. that's not to say that there's not differences in these committees. normally what would happen is you would put out the report and you would have dissenting views in the back of that report, so you get to some of the flavors. i don't agree with the report but i don't disagree. that's a better product and it's easier for the american people to look at and come to a conclusion. >> i want to get to new york, to michael zelden, our legal analyst who has experience with
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all these matters. maybe not with the house intelligence community but working on the doj side and working with robert mueller. we're just getting information and until we have a few seconds to digest it, what is your thought, michael? >> rosenstein seems to be on the bubble based on the president's answers. they are going to attack the comey team that probably applied for this fisa warrant initially, and they're putting the interests of the president ahead of the national interests of national security. this is not a good day for the intelligence community or for law enforcement generally. the thing that has to be kept in mind about this fisa application that seems to be at the heart of it is that carter page is an american. so you can't target him. you can only target foreigners, and if there is incidental
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communications, then you can apply to get that. now, in the 702 fisa reapplication hearings, the republican majority on the house intelligence committee pretty much said this is a foolproof process, the warrant process. the judges on the fisa court are particularly adept at this stuff, they are appointed to that court by chief justice roberts, so they said to america in 702 hearings, you have nothing to worry about. now, however, when it affects them personally, they say the whole system is flawed and the intelligence that was brought in may have some of the steel dossier in it, and it just speaks to terrible, terrible policymaking and pretty transparent politics. that's bad. it's bad that the president bought into that in what appears to be his view of his own self-interests over national interests. >> bought into it, and more than
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that, encouraged it, instigated it here, and i think that is one thing we have to also keep underscoring, that the president of the united states, despite the fact that the house speaker has said that this is important, that this is about congressional oversight, this is about making sure that the secret court is kept in check and not about the credibility of the mueller investigation. the president, according to our reporting, has been saying the opposite when he's been talking to sources. >> if that were true, when christopher wray asked to brief the entire committee in a classified session to answer all of these questions, the committee would have said yes. but they said no. they denied wray the opportunity to come up and brief the committee about their concerns with respect to this fisa application or fisa generally. so that, i think, sort of bursts
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the notion this is in the private process and this is about much more than trying to undermine the mueller investigation by attacking one fisa warrant against carter page. and that's not good. and the irony, of course, if you're bob mueller and you have the president of the united states, if it's true, that he's telling friends on the phone that he's going to release this because it's going to interfere with the mueller investigation or undermine the mueller investigation, essentially he's giving mueller exhibit number whatever, 22, in his mosaic of obstructionist behavior as to the mueller probe itself. so the president says, i'm going to try to interfere with the mueller investigation by releasing this memo. mueller probably writes down in his list, all right, here's another thing the president is doing to try to interfere with my investigation and i'll have to evaluate that in terms of my obstruction of justice analysis. incredible. >> michael, thank you so much. i was just handed the memo. we have it right here, but
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because we are on live television, we are waiting for our expert reporters who are going through it as we speak. so don't go anywhere while we just wait for them to come on and give us the highlights of the most important things. david chalian, as we wait for this and as we have it here, i'm going to let you talk and i'm going to go through it. >> i don't think there are going to be any surprises here, right? i think a lot of what we anticipated beforehand seems to be in here. again, i think one of the clear things here, and perhaps we haven't hit on this quite as much, they spend a lot of time that i can tell here really trying to discredit christopher steele, the author of that dossier. we are going to be back in a very large conversation about that original dossier for quite some time here. because they are really attempting to discredit that as a basis for anything they did. >> david, stand by. i want to get to our chief national security correspondent
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jim sciutto who has been part of the team looking through this memo. jim, give us some highlights. >> these are the highlights. i've been sitting down with team members evan perez, barbara brown, manu raju as to what are the main points here. first a few of them. one, that we now know that there were four applications for fisa surveillance warrants here. an initial warrant to surveil carter page during 2016. now, the allegations that republican chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes, makes in his memo is that andrew mccabe, the now former deputy director of the fbi, that he told the house intelligence committee that those warrants,
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that initial warrant, would not have been issued without the information contained in the steele dossier. something we've reported on before. just for the sake of our viewers, this was prepared by former british intelligence agent christopher steele with money coming from opponents of donald trump and later from the intelligence committee. this was an effect of democratic research that led to this memo. so andrew mccabe told the committee that that warrant on carter page would not have been issued without information contained in that dossier. i'm going to provide context on that, but first let me run through some of the other bullet points. another point the nunes memo claims is that the judge who issued these warrants and renewals of the applications to monitor carter page, that he was not made aware of the source of the funding for the steele dossier, specifically some $160,000, according to the the
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memo, came from the democratic national committee, or the memo says the political origins of this. in other words, the judge issued those memos not realizing it had democratic backing and funding behind it. there are a couple other points he makes in here, charges, allegations. he says that the spy, christopher steele, the former spy had an agenda against trump. it's not clear what exactly the evidence is for that, but an official told the department of justice that he believed steele, who wrote this memo, had a strong anti-trump bias. the memo also claims that the spy's contact with the fbi was cut off in claims due to ties he had with reporters. for instance, it claims that he leaked some of this information to yahoo news. i should also note that this memo -- i'm sorry to run through this because there is a lot in
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here -- it also mentions manu raja told devin nunes in a conference call that information from george papadopoulos, another campaign adviser where he told an australian diplomat that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton in a conversation, that that australian diplomat then reported to his u.s. colleagues that that was included in these applications here. it's a lot to digest. i would say the headline there, dana, is this claim that andrew mccabe told the committee that those warrants, four of them, one warrant and three renewals, would not have been initiated without the dossier. but i will say that cnn's previous reporting is that the fbi had other corroborating information about carter page beyond what was contained in the dossier. the fact is my colleagues evan perez, barbara brown, i'm told from intelligence officials this is not the way the fisa court
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works. you don't come before that court with information obtained by a third party and say, listen, this is all we got. you would need, and it is cnn's reporting that the fbi had further corroborating information on that. a lot to digest there and i know i've got a lot of colleagues with a lot of depth of knowledge here, but that's our best first reading of what's in here. >> very important, and i think that last point is so key, jim, about the fact that this is a memo of allegations, but our source for months is that this probe did not start with the dossier that cnn first reported about in january, it was much more of a robust picture. jim, hang with me for just a second. i want to bring in our viewers from around the world who are joining us. if you are just joining us, the house intelligence committee has just released this dai-- now i would even say infamous memo
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prepared by house intelligence, and they allowed that to be declassified. i want to bring in evan perez, and evan, the warrant was extended multiple times. what does that mean? explain it. >> i think that's an important point for us to remind viewers that not only was it authorized by the fisa court in 2016, but there was renewed, every 90 days, three additional times. for you to do that, for the fisa court to do that, twooit would to be the fisa court released that it revealed they were getting something useful. so, you know, we don't know again what's the outlooig.
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they're not able to tell us here what the court was also aware of, but their point is this is fruit from a frozen tree. because this dossier was prepared by political activists, someone who was paid by the organization, that it never should have been used or granted. the key to remember is beyond the first time it was approved by 2016, and the way the justice department are able to get that is by showing to the court that not only is this warranted, they are continuing to get valuable intelligence information that supports the idea that carter page, again, the principal here, they have reason to believe he was acting as an agent of a foreign power. those are the key words in every fisa application, including the renewals, which is the reason for a judge to be able to approve this, dana.
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>> evan, stand by. i want to get back to jim sciutto. you had another point to make on this memo. >> highlighting what he said, you do not renew those warrants. first of all, the fbi would not seek to renew those warrants unless it felt it was getting valuable intelligence. mixed in with the allegations coming from the republican devin nunes is a hard fact, that there were four in-effect warrants issued by carter page, that he was acting with a foreign government, and you would have to believe, then, the fbi sought the renewal of those surveillance warrants, you know, in bad faith, right, or on
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made-up information and that the judge as well decided to approve those applications for renewal on bad faith as well. it's a remarkable charge here and that does affect where we are because that's where the president is. the president is charging that the fbi, the nation's premiere law enforcement agency, acted in bad faith here to surveil his campaign. >> he's not exaggerating, that's exactly what they've been saying, manu, you've been speaking to the house intelligence chair, devin nunes on a conference call they had. what is he saying? >> it was devin nunes' staff who laid out what they believe were the top lines in this memo. this happened just before the release of the memo. the main point they are trying to make here is the fact that this warrant was sought on
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carter page without the disclosure to the judge who approved that warrant, that the steele dossier was used for that warrant. according to andrew mccabe's testimony before the committee, he said according to the memo and according to the aides who viewed this as a very significant part, that no surveillance form would have been even been sought had it not been for the steele dossier. then they lay out a number of allegations against christopher steele, saying that he communicated very clearly his anti-trump bias, that he was desperate to get rid of trump and make sure that trump would not be elected president. he said steele had communicated this with senior doj officials who did not disclose this at that time. i tried to get them a little further about what they viewed as real problems with rod rosenstein. they didn't really want to get into that. they didn't address questions or concerns about rod rosenstein. as we know, heading into this, he had been a major target of a
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lot of conservatives who wanted to push him aside. but what they see as general misconduct in getting that fisa warrant and not disclosing that steele dossier. that's what they viewed the real problem here. in addition, steele having alleged discussions with yahoo news back in the campaign season about the carter page warrant. they said improperly disclosed information to yahoo news. as we know, dana, republicans have sought an investigation that christopher steele did not debate this. they spoke to the fbi about those conversations with the news media. these are discussions he allegedly had with yahoo news. but that's one of the points here alleging misconduct by
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christopher steele, alleging misconduct about getting. on monday the committee itself voted to approve the release of the memo. they downplayed it. they said it was to make it more precise, the language about how that conversation between christopher steele and yahoo news occurred during the campaign season, and they said it was really just a minor changes that was not disclosed to the committee as it was sent to the president. we're going to hear from the democrats, adam schiff, especially, saying this is full of inaccuracies. we'll see what they say now that the memo was released, dana. >> i want to go back to evan.
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manu just ended on an important point that we need to remember, which is this is a three and a half page memo written by republicans based on the way they view the underlying sort of -- not necessarily raw intelligence here but raw information and analysis of what happened, starting -- how the russia investigation even started. and this is just one side of the story. the democrats' side of the story, the memo that they have prepared for rebuttal still has not been declassified so we don't know what that is. actually, hang on one second, evan. stand by one second. we just got a statement from the fbi agents' association and i want to read it to our viewers. the men and women of the fbi put their lives on the line every day in the fight against terrorists and criminals because of their dedication to our country and the constitution. the american people should know
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that they continue to be well served by the world's preeminent enforcement agency. fbi special agents have not and will not allow parse san politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission. you talk to fbi agents a lot. that is an important point to infuse into this conversation, the fact that these people are on the line every day. certainly people make mistakes. it is possible there were mistakes made when we get the full picture, but at the end of the day, having the president of the united states impune this agency, and by extension, these agents, cannot be great for m e mora morale. >> that's exact many what i was going to get to, and the democrats will have their point of view, and frankly there is a third point of view. that is from the fbi itself. you heard from a statement they issued a couple days ago from chris wray that made the point, look, there are omissions in
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this document, this three and a half page document that was issued by devin nunes' staff and written by them that they believe paint a false picture of what occurred here. beyond what the republicans are saying and what the democrats are going to say whenever they issue their own memo, there is also the fbi point of view which obviously they can't talk about the entire picture here because this intelligence and this information is still under seal by the fisa court, which is supposed to operate in secret. so they're kind of -- they're a little bit hog tied with what they can say. but it's very important to remember that you can -- as you said, there can be mistakes that were made by the fbi, and look, there are some things here that probably will bother americans about how this was done. but it's different from saying someone made a mistake from saying they were acting on a partisan point of view or trying to stop donald trump or trying to act for partisan purposes. which i think is where the fbi really takes offense about what
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happened here. there may have been mistakes that were made by some people in leadership, but it wasn't necessarily for partisan purposes. at least that's the point of view of the fbi. and i think what you see in this memo is obviously they believe that the fact that this dossier was used is the end of the story. it's the beginning of the end of this memo. they believe it should never have been used. it's important to remember that the law was written by these members of congress -- by the way, they just reauthorized a section of the fi issa law. and they knew what was in these documents that they reviewed, and they made no significant changes. so if you are so bothered by the way the fbi carries out fisas, then maybe they should change the law. >> then change the process. jim sciutto, go ahead. >> two quick points. one, this is not principally republican or democrats, right,
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although there is certainly disagreement between them. this is republican and its allies against the law enforcement here. on the issue of transparency, because that's been brought up you'll often hear as a talking point, we'll just release it all and let americans make their own point of view. a kia serey assertion by the fbt this memo lacks is the underlying intelligence used to go about this investigation. it's not about redactions, et cetera. you can't be fully transparent, you can't understand the judgments they made without seeing the underlying intelligence on which they made their judgment. >> it's about what is already left out, it's about cherry picking. you guys stand by. david chalian, you've been reading this. i see you out of my peripheral vision. what's up? >> this is something they will rally around, there is no doubt.
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the trump supporters will point to -- maybe it was jim this mentioned this, perhaps it was manu, that steele, according to, again, this political document from the majority staff and the house intelligence committee, that steele was talking to michael izakopf of yahoo news before the fisa application and that he should have been already fired at the time of the first application for fisa. you see some republican commentary, but you are going to see a lot of trump supporters and perhaps republicans more broadly to start using this to rally around the notion that too much has been made of this. there are some chinks in the armor here. >> too much has been made of -- >> the whole russia investigation. this is going to be a data point as the president views.
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however, look how the white house is doing in mcgahn's statement we got that just came out in our report. the white house is also trying to separate the president from this in some ways, saying all national security considerations were made here, and he understands that's his highest obligation, and everything in here reflects the judgment of its congressional authors. they're trying to create some resistance, but once again, donald trump undercuts his own staff because he sits in his office saying people are disgraced and should be ashamed of themselves. >> you mentioned that, and i just got that as well across the desk here. don mccgahn, the white house counsel says the president understands that it is his highest obligation. he has combined lawyers and
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officials to look into this. you're a republican. what are your thoughts? you've gone through it. >> they actually did application 3 qualifications, which is a fisa warrant in criminal court, so i've been through this process. i don't see anything that was overly classified, except the fact that this came from a fisa application which is secret. the thing with this is, and this is what i worry about, the first thing it succeeded in doing is having the fbi agents' association come out and make a political statement on a document like this. >> this is so rare. >> it almost breaks my heart to even hear we've gotten into this place. these are people that certainly have political views. they never get up in the morning and think about that when they're doing an investigation. that bothers me more than anything, just seeing tom o'connor, the president of the fbi association, a good guy and a great agent, that bothers me
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more than anything. when i read it, i think, if i'm doing this fisa application, there are some things that concern me, no doubt about it. the fact they were using news reports in a fisa application concerns me a little bit. the odds are, and that's a part of this, if this is all they used, well, the judge ought to get in trouble, too, and i doubt that happened. i think there is a lot more information that supplanted the information that they provided. in addition they went through separate renewals, and each renewal, according to the law, you have to actually reconfirm probable cause, meaning you had to get something off that wire. remember what the target was here, an individual american citizen who was meeting with russian officials they believe to be intelligence officers. that's the nature of a visa court which they mayor may not be involved with the special counsel of the united states.
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>> evan described really well how your colleagues are viewing this whole russian investigation. he said this is fruit from a poison tree. just having read this, do you think that the whole russia investigation is fruit from a poison tree? >> again, it really depend on what other information they have. i think not disclosing to a judge that there was information in a dossier that has political implications is a problem for them. and i also think news articles is a problem for them. but again, we're not seeing the whole thing. >> we're also not seeing what they received. we're not seeing what the judge received as, yes, we got this, we got this information, we got that information. what we see here is something that i think is become portrayed as quite necessafarious in its way. that the fbi knew, according to this, that they had a biased source here, an important source
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in steele, and that they hid it. they're effectively saying they kept it a secret, and that as a result, they were -- steele, who was trafficking in what may have been bad information. so you have these two charges, which are nefarious when you think about it, against the fbi, but what we don't know is the rest of the information that the judge had. >> guys, i want you all to listen to this. one of the people who was kind of at the source of this, carter page, who was a national security adviser to the trump campaign just put out a statement. here's what he said: the brave and asiduous oversight in congressional leaders in discovering this unprecedented abuse represents a giant historic leap in the repair of america's dm a's democracy.
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he said now that a few misdeeds of the trump administration have been revealed, i look forward to releasing my pending investigation in the long potholed road in helping to restore an order in our great country. >> okay. this is the whole idea of the deep state, right, and this is, i think, a memo that really kind of corroborates this conspiracy theory, that there is this kind of longstanding element in the government that is now targeting the trump administration. i think what's interesting here is what now happens to christopher wray? i mean, he was noted to be an impeccably qualified person who could really restore the morale of the fbi when he was appointed. what does this mean for his tenure now? i understand from our reporting there was some concern about whether he would stay. but also the irony of the republican president attacking -- a law and order,
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president, rigattacking the preemptive order of the country. >> my law office just texted to me which i think is an important point. his point is informants are not always as clear as the snow. >> just the opposite. >> so you want to say, well, steele was dealing with democrats or was paid by democrats. i mean, you can get good information from sources who come at you with a bias one way or another, can't you? >> that's the whole nature of these things. remember, you're -- if you're paying an informant to give you information in a criminal organization, trust me, that person is committing or has committed crimes prior to that in order to get there. so veracity is always a little bit in question. that's why you would filter in other aspects of this, which they don't tell you that information. >> i think that's a good point. >> we have a new statement from
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the house intelligence chairman, devin nunes. here is what he said. the committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust and the american people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes. and he went on to say, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies exist to defend the american people not to be exploited to target one group on behalf of another. and he goes on to say -- this is again devin nunes, the house intelligence chair that led the compilation of this memo and pushed for it to be released. he said, it is my hope that the committee's actions will shine a light on this alarming series of events so we can make reforms and allow the american people to have full faith and confidence in their governing institutions. mike rogers, i have to say since you're his predecessor, do you agree? i'm guessing you wouldn't have done it. >> i would not have done it.
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if they had enough information to have members say, i think there was a problem. they were either purposey, by the way, and if you accuse somebody of purposely altering the facts in an application, that's perjury, right? so they're saying somebody may have perjured themselves or wrongdoing. bring the democrats in one space, do an investigation where you have all of the facts. now we have, unfortunately, affirmation memos. if you love trump, you're going to say this is the best thing ever and i'm done with all of it. then the democrats will come out with one and say, if you hate trump, this is exactly what i needed to hear. >> and you're not going to have the full story. >> and you won't have the full story. so the way they should have done this is a full investigation off of the committee in classified space and then put out a report, even if they disagree all on the conclusions, then americans can make their own decision. >> i want to get to our legal
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and national security analyst asha. asha, please pick up on that point as you read this memo. >> this memo, just on its face, appears incomplete to me, and let me explain why. when you prepare a fisa affidavit, as i have, you have to show the court, particularly for a u.s. person, that the target was knowingly conducting clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power. we know the fbi had carter page on their radar as far back as 2013. they went and warned him he was being recruited by russian intelligence. he was on notice. if he continued to be in contact with the fbi after that, you have your knowing element right there. he is knowingly continuing to
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engage with them. so this fisa application, in my opinion, would have clearly had information going as far back as 2013 because they would have needed to establish that knowing requirement, that higher bar for a u.s. person. now, the other thing that you show in a fisa affidavit is the so what? what is this foreign intelligence service doing that is so bad? here is where the bigger picture would come into play. for example, the tip about papadopoulos. what they would have outlined is the russian intelligence service is now engaging in an unprecedented effort to interfere in our elections. here are the ten pieces of evidence that corroborate this. papadopoulos, we know manafort, they were in communication with him, and he was part of the campaign. the dossier, if it was used at all, would have likely been used to provide this, you know, additional, look, somebody that was working on this completely independently came up with this whole -- you know, came across
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this as well. you don't staple a dossier to a cover sheet and send it to the fisa court. that's the whole point. this would have been a very large application, and i would not believe that anything would be needed to support page's probable cause, but it should have given some context. this is a very scant memo, i would say, in terms of laying out what would have actually been in an affidavit. >> i want to pick up on what you were just talking about, about the kind of, the basis for this fisa memo and the whole question of whether it really was just the steele dossier. david, you've been going through it. do you want to make a point? >> one of the last points in the memo, remember, this is the nunes staff memo, but it's included in here. it says the carter page fisa application also mentions information regarding fellow trump adviser george
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papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of cooperation or conspiracy between page and papadopoulos. they admit right here that this fisa application was not completely based on steele, because papadopoulos was mentioned and we all know how that started to trigger the russia investigation. i think that's important, because as there will be so much conversation certainly about mccabe's comments and what he said about the warrant not happening, the republican majority themselves admit here this wasn't just based on steele which again begs what we're all saying, which is wouldn't it be wonderful to see the full application? >> the fact that mr. papadopoulos was mentioned in the memo tells you he was part of the fisa warrant at one point and likely had his communications intercepted and now he's pled guilty. >> not only pled guilty but is talking. >> cooperating. >> yes. >> so this is the part -- you make a great point. there is so much to this we don't know, and that's why this is candidly unfair, and i think
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it's unfair, even if you agree or disagree with the names in these documents, because they won't get a full assessment. i worry that we don't do this ju dishs -- judiciously rather than politically. >> rod rosenstein. did we learn anything? >> i think, as the president said, you can figure that out. he's here as having signed off. >> that was his job. >> it says he signed one or more fisa applications on behalf of the doj. you heard the president today, and the president now clearly considers him part of a cabal
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that unfairly did this based on a dossier which the president considers unfair and not factual and also is detrimental to his ca case. >> the president appointed rod rosenstein. that's a trump appointee. >> one point that they could make is they could say that because he was a participant in the fisa applications, he should not be in the russia investigation stream. they could make that case. >> that he should recuse himself. >> he would have to recuse himself from this. >> he's calling his allies saying, this could, should, undermine the mueller investigation, so is that the preside president's desire? >> if you look at this paragraph, where they talk about rosenstein. james comey, i don't believe he's there anymore. andrew mccabe, also gone, sally yates and acting d.a. dana
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winte. >> perhaps that's why they're gone. >> we don't know why they're gone, but these people aren't there anymore, and they were targeted by trump. >> who is left? >> yeah, who is left? >> are you saying rod rosenstein was a witness inside this russia investigation because of the signing of -- >> if you're looking at this from a defense attorney's perspective, he's saying, hey, this guy signed it and the fact that he was proactively seeking a fisa may not make him the most neutral person in an investigation. >> and if you're president trump looking at it, knowing what he said just, you know, within the last hour, you would say either leave or recuse yourself. >> and if he recuses himself, then the question is, who is bob mueller's boss? and that would be according to the lines here, rachel brand.
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this all has to play out, but if you look at the list, there remains one person standing right now and that's rod rosenstein. okay, everybody, thank you very much for bringing us through this. thank you for watching. we have a lot more to discuss here on cnn. our breaking news is going to continue. wolf blitzer is picking it up right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> hello i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we begin with breaking news. the release of a partisan republican memo alleging abuses of fbi surveillance authority. president trump authorized making the document public in direct defiance of both the fbi and the justice department, and just moments ago the president spoke about the alleged abuses that are now the focus of this document. >> i think it's terrible, if you want to know the truth. i think it's a disgrace what's going on in this


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