tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 18, 2019 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
>> okay. thank you for your reporting there on the ground in haiti. be sure to tune into cnn tonight for amy klobuchar. you follow the show on twitter and facebook. that's it for this special edition of the lead. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now breaking news, not sugar coating it. tonight a close ally reveals what he calls a general disappointment at the white house with the nation's top intelligence official and suggests it may be time for a major change. now on his way out. the president unleashing a ferocious response saying former acting fbi director is deranged and calling his actions illegal and treasonist.
tonight he says he has memos detailing conversations and giving them to special counsel. throwing stones. roger stone trying to back away from a social media post going away from the judge that put him under a gag order. stone posted and then removed a pia picture of a judge. stone says it is just a show trial will the judge throw stone in jail? a cnn presidential town hall tonight klobuchar will to the country. i'm wolf blitzer.
this is the situation room special report. we are following breaking news. a close ally pointing to white house sources is now hinting at more significant clangs in the trump administration chris tells cnn there's a growing sense of disappointment by trump's director of national intelligence. all of this comes amid new questions being raised by acting
andrew. he preferring instead to take the word of russian president putin. the illinois the standing by to take our questions we'll have full coverage of today's top stories. we have more ton director of national intelligence. they come to cnn after the president after coats testified on capitol hill several weeks ago and contradicted saying nor north korea to meet with the north korean leader. >> hello miami.
he fires back at the former fbi director. telling cnn the president may get rid of national intelligence. >> the intelligence chief just went before an open session of congress and i'm hearing from sources around the white house there's general disappointment with director coats. that's feeling that maybe there needs to be a change of leadership in that position. >> tonight's revelations come as the president is lashing out at mccabe. trump tweeting he was for lying.
they looked like they were planning a very illegal act and got caught. there is a lotover explaining to do to those who just elected a president who they really like. this is a treasonist insurance policy. he described discussions with rosenstein about using the 25th amendment to oust trump from congress. >> rosenstein was talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president. >> right. >> and possibly wear ago wire. >> he 15id i never get sher ched when i go into the white house. they wouldn't know it was there.
he was not joking. he was absolutely serious. >> they did not deny that the conversations occurred. they never authorized any recordings that mccabe references. ba prompting trump to tweet an illegal cue attempt on the president of the united states trump adding true. mccabe says the public excellents after firing comey were cause for investigating obstruction of justice as well as to include the word russia. >> that kshed him in the same way it concerned me. >> all this as activists
converge to protest the national emergency declaration. to build a law along the southern border. it is to override congressional attempts to to p the wall. the trump administration continued over the weekend. the president's pick for u.n. ambassador withdrew her name from consideration after concerns were raised in the voting prous. sources tell cnn they were tushing to the drying board to lead that ambassador post. >> yes. let's get more on the bomb tell. it sounds like he was suspecting maybe he wanted to be moved.
he wanted it to move along. >> i think there's no question that he felt strongly and wanted to put it on solid footing in case he was ever fired. he describes what officials were thinking at the time about why they decided to open the investigations for obstruction of justice as well as counter intelligence. let's take a listen about what mccabe detailed here. >> the president had gone to jim comey and asked him to discontinue the investigation of mike flynn which was part of our russia case. the president then fired the director they told him to include russia in the memo it
was on the president's mind. >> put together these circumstances work. they are facts that indicated that the crime may have been committed. the president may have been engaged in the firing of jim comey. >> his allies suggesting there was some sort of cue going on between the fbi and justice department to remove trump from office giving statements and talking about wearing a wire. of course rosenstein denies that. >> he took a lot of notes, the acting fbi director. all of those are in the hands of special counsel robert mueller.
he has gotten himself sinto a lt more trouble. we are blurring her face there so we don't become part of the story. he originally posted it and took it down. i want to read a statement about how he explains all of this. a photo of judge jackson has been misinterpreted. he was criticized because of the cross hair that appear until this photo that was taken down. there is a gag order that is suppose today bar sides from doing anything that would sort of taint the waters. it is anything that could protect the case. the question is whether putting that photo up is some how
discredited. it is not a good idea to post a picture of a judge. >> she could throw thim him in for this. >> all right. thank you very much. he is a key member of intelligence committees. thanks for joining me. >> thanks for having me. >> a close friend of the president spending the weekend with the president in palm beach says the president is seriously thinkingover replacing the director of national intelligence dan coats. what concern does that raise to you, if any? >> it raises serious concerns. they dais bastically said things
such as thousands of isis fighters still roam syria. there is still a threat. climate clang is a grave national security threat. he didn't like the conclusions. that's why he was so upset with them. andy just said when the intelligence munty they say north carolina doesn't pro dus mills that could reach meerk. i think m saying we don't believe in testimony. >> so it might have influenced things. i want you to listen and what watch what he that to say.
watch this. there's to have your director undercutting your position was very bad form. zb he was unlikely to complete fwlif. how is that under dpts cutting the be. >> he believe and that they shoul should to support whatever. >> that and they have to dell truth in front of the. that's what they do every day. >> andrew mcc db be. coming up the aftermath of
firing. do you they dejustified? >> absolute ult wps and. so understandably they appointed special counsel mueller and we have to allow it to proceed unimpeded and it has to be shared with congress and the american people. >> the fbi director says that the deputy attorney general was completely serious in his discussion of possibly removing president trump in the 25th amendment in his proposal also to wear a wire to record president trump secretly in the oval office. does that concern you? >> well, it concerns me when someone talks about wearing a
wire and collecting evidence without any judicial safeguards. a lot of people were wondering whether the president was able to discharge his duties in light of pressuring him or asking him to drop the investigation into michael flynn and later on saying the firing was because of the russia investigation. >> you also serve on the house oversite committee. >> yes. >> they say attorneys representing president trump might have actually given your committee false information to stormy daniels. will she ploou to see the documents behind that painting? >> possibly. i think he has made it very
clear that we have to bring some light. you may be aware. we have asked numerous times for information for instance about the trump organization's dealings with the government soond forth. >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. up next, trump lashes out at mccabe. will it lead to new investigations up on capitol hill? sorry, i dropped you. it's really dark down here. don't let this happen to you. the weathertech cupfone fits virtually any size cup holder. that's better. order you're cupfone today at weathertech.com. i felt i couldn't be at my best wifor my family. c, in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured and left those doubts behind.
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. >> may be on thin ice after revealed general disappointment. our experts are here with more. the president's friend was at this dinner and now suggesting coats may be out. what do you make of this? >> first god bless him. unlike most that are affiliated with trump he actually talks openly. multiple times cnn reported that. maybe not listening to all of it but seeing how they suggested he was disagreeing. he has been a senator twice. he came back and is serving.
>> it is hard for me to imagine how people in their senior levels who have had long runs in washington stay because donald trump undermines them at every opportunity he can. he says i don't believe them. or putin told me this. it would be a hard job to keep any any circumstances. >> you also say people around the table, mattis, coats, sessions, people with experience -- >> mcmaster. >> yes. particularly the generals. the president seemed to rely on a lot. so it's a question of all of these people who came to
washington saying i'll help the president coming from manhattan. they are all gone. >> what do you think of the flow of information that chris has dinner with the president and a f few others. he says he is hearing from sources that dan coats may be vulnerable and may be gone. i think the real question is if coats goes they have to say when i do public testimonies am i supposed to say what i think or what the president wants many we to say? i think i know what the answer is. >> yeah. when they testified at that hearing and on global threats there was no mention of the
border with mexico and the threat coming up. >> right. >> and there were major disagreements. they consider and to the constitution and plot to go ahead and see how many cabinet members including the vice president. >> he takes pains to say despite everything rosenstein has said he was not joking. he mentioned it more than once. it was taken quite seriously. i have spoken to a source who was in the room for at least the wire comment that said look, rosenstein was being sarcastic.
it is his humor. that's the way he described that conversation to maie. it appears to be. >> mccabe took it seriously. >> he took it seriously and went back to the fbi. it is about what was said and what the tone was. even the fact that it was discussed is extraordinary. >> won conversation the president said i know the u.s. intelligence community believes that north korea to launch a bomb against the united states. put putin said those who were with him i believe putin.
>> six important words there. he says i don't care. i believe putin. a long string of patterns so to speak really down playing the significance of work he always seem to give. >> let's remember, donald trump, podium one putin. do you think russia meddled into the election and our intelligence people say no. you know, who am i? i mean you don't get in a bigger world stage than that. it is to say something here. it is to say he says this and intelligence says y.
we can be shocked. >> and we did call the leader. i don't know whether he characterized it. he knowledged we were concerned about north korea now because it's not very convenient. they haven't been very sort of commital. >> i think part of the reason it includes this tidbit is they have trying to piece together all of this information about why the president is taking actions that seem to continually side with putin. he lays out a series of events that all were kind of on their minds before they opened the investigation into the president. when he went on nbc and said he had the russia investigation on his mind when he fired james comey. those are the things that were
so troubled by. that's why it comes up here. >> you think his thoughts were accurate and precise when he wanted to open up these kinds of internal investigation and the justice department against the president? >> no. i don't. let's make sure we draw a clear line here. they say i want to memorialize this. >> which he did. >> he did. he wrote everything down. >> you're saying i don't know how it will roll out in the future but if there's a further mountain of evidence i don't want to remember this three weeks down the road. so let's distinguish between talking about whether it is a conversation. >> what's interesting about it is that period between comey
being fired and special counsel being appointed. >> he never uses it and he comes close. it sounds a little bit like they were panicked or running around like chickens with their heads cut off. >> he says the stress was getting to rosenstein. so some of this stuff you say it sounds a little crazy. it is clear they were quite taken aback by this and didn't flow what the future holds day-to-day until special counsel. we have much more on breaking news right after this. ♪ the first-of-its-kind lexus ux and ux f sport, with the latest safety system standard, best-in-class turn radius and best-in-class mpg. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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. >> we are back with reporters and analysts. we'll play a couple of clips. this is european national affairs conference. this is mike pence in europe. awkward moments. >> i bring greetings from the 45th president of the united states of america, president donald trump. >> the time has come for her partners to stand with her and the iranian people. to stand with our allies and friends in the region. the time has come for our european partners to withdraw from the iran nuclear deal and
join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the people the region and the world the peace, security and freedom they deserve. >> painful silence there. speaking about iran. beyond the awkward silence it does underscore major differences between the trump administration. >> it certainly does. definitely walk wa definitely awkward moment. it speaks how he is not very well liked right now and speaks to deterioration specifically between our european allies. it is where he gave the president a shout out and said he brings it to the president. that kind of pause in the room was deafening silence. it should be noted that senator
graham, he mentioned him and he did get applause there. it speaks to how much trump has let that relationship go downhill. we heard a little bit from merkel this week. it speaks to not certainly the tone was difficult. it was described by many there. the white house leaving an applause line in his written transcript, the fact that he didn't he was a little ruffled by it. >> my gosh, the whole watching that just reminded me of the jeb bush please clap moment. and this is the part where you guys applaud for me.
so he doesn't care if they applaud him because you know who liked all of that? donald trump. >> president trump likes to get applause when he makes those kinds of statements. pence was waiting for the applause. >> why? why is this a surprise? 16 years after we go into iraq let's replace names here. we would like you to stand with us relate today a big country in the middle ooeeast. we have to sit there and say they might say well, asking us to stand behind you maybe not so much. you should say thanks for us being in iraq because we lost a lot of our people. i think if you spent ten seconds they will say nobody will say it is a good idea. >> and i want to play a clip. this is saturday night live. they asking a little fun at the president's expense. >> i'm taking money so i will sign these papers for emergency
and i will pleadly be sued and they will not go in my favor and i'll end up in the supreme court and i quote my buddy kavanaugh and they will say new phone who dis. >> the president treated nothing funny about saturday night live on fake news nbc. how do they get away with these republican hit jobs without total retribution? very unfair. it should be looked into. this is the real collusion. as far as i remember snl has been making fun of all of the presidents over the years. this is a president that is saying they have got to investigate nbc for making fun. >> yeah. that word retribution really struck out to a lot of people. this is a comedy show and presidents -- hollywood for him
is an easy target. he knows this kind of back and forth. we'll see many many many more chapters. >> it continues as he did on sunday to go after the news media. the rigged and corrupt media is the enemy of the people. stick around. we'll have a lot more on all of this including the growing democratic field including amy klobuchar. we'll have details on tonight's cnn town hall right after this break. to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best to make you everybody else... ♪ ♪ means to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can fight and never stop. does this sound dismal? it isn't. ♪ ♪ it's the most wonderful life on earth. ♪ ♪
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an exclusive town hall as she wraps up the bid. our political director is joining us from manchester. where does she fit into the democratic field at least so far? >> you know, it's a great question because she fits slightly differently than some of her competitors that we have seen get in this race. so many folks come from the coast and are embracing the more liberal wing of the party. what she is selling is her midwestern values. we were talking about campaigning. she is the senator from next door. she is touting the ability and campaigning on a bipartisanship. this is not to kind of red meat
that has been driving so much of the energy we have seen in the democratic nomination. this is the first one trying to carve out a path in the middle and, you know, it could be a potentially smart move. so many on the left split up that progressive vote. >> how close is is sanders right now to a decision on whether to run? >> that's a good question. we are waiting on big names. joe biden, but reports that said sanders had shot a video and there was a report that they are scoping out a location in brooklyn, his hometown in new york for a part of a rollout. i don't flow whknow when he is o announce but the field is getting quite crowded. if he is looking to make a second run and try to capture the magic it is getting awfully crowded. >> all right.
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in the latest interviews as well as in his new book the former fbi acting director andrew mccabe recounts a time president trump refused to believe information from top u.s. intelligence officials, preferred, instead, to take the word of russia's vladimir putin. cnn's brian todd has found other instances of the president's belittling the u.s. intelligence community. brian, this is the president in his own words. >> it is, wolf, and we get word of this tonight as we also hear from the president's ally, chris ruddy, who told cnn's christiane amanpour that president trump is thinking about firing his top intelligence official, dan coats, because ruddy says there's a belief that coats implied the president's efforts with north korea are going to fail. this, plus the andrew mccabe revelations, are leading to a lot of concern tonight over the president's battles with his own spy agencies. andrew mccabe describes it as a head-spinning moment, an oval office meeting with president trump in 2017, when mccabe, then-acting fbi director, had sent a senior fbi official to brief the president.
according to mccabe, the official came back and told him, the briefing had gone, quote, off the rails. >> the president said he did not believe that north koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the united states and he did not believe that because president putin had told him they did not. president putin had told him that the north koreans don't actually have those missiles. >> reporter: mccabe says intelligence officials in the room told the president that was inconsistent with everything they knew about kim jong-un's missile capability. >> to which the president replied, "i don't care, i believe putin." >> reporter: for veteran intelligence prolfessionals, it is yet another alarming example of the president not trusting his intelligence experts. >> now we have a president that thinks he's established a personal relationship with an adversary like putin and he's going to take his word over the intelligence community. there is no precedent in american history for this, ever. >> reporter: analysts say previous presidents' trust in
their intelligence briefers had been almost absolute because they've known how well scrubbed each piece of intelligence delivered to the president is and it's above politics. >> each assessment is highly scrutini scrutinized. these experts look at this and obviously want to bring their boss, the commander in chief, only the best available intelligence. >> reporter: but president trump seems to think differently. in helsinki, he took putin's word over his own intelligence leaders on russia's attack on u.s. elections. >> i have great confidence in my intelligence people, but i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> reporter: on twitter, trump has attacked the intelligence community. writing on january 30th, "perhaps, intelligence should go back to school." a few days later, another attack. >> iraq had nuclear weapons, had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. guess what, those intel people didn't know what the hell they were doing and they got us tied
up in a war that we should have never been in. >> reporter: and he's been publicly contradicted by his own director of national intelligence on matters like the war against isis. >> we have won against isis. we've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. >> isis is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in iraq and syria. >> reporter: tonight, intelligence veterans worry about what the mistrust between the president and his intelligence agencies will lead to. >> what i'm really worried about is a pearl harbor could be on its way and you're going do have a president that's going to reject it. we may be faced with an attack b and this president is going to say, i don't believe you. >> the white house has pushed back on andrew mccabe's book. press secretary sarah sanders saying mccabe, quote, has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the fbi. but we're getting other warnings from former cia and fbi officials about the fallout from all of this, they say because of the mistrust between the president and his spy agencies,
u.s. intelligence officials going forward will likely be reluctant to give president trump sensitive secrets about russia fearing he may tell vladimir putin and they say american spies will have a harder time getting their counterparts overseas to believe their intelligence, knowing the president often doesn't believe them. wolf? >> very interesting, indeed. significant. brian to brian todd, thank you very much. president trump fires back at the fired andrew mccabe calling mccabe's allegations deranged. [indistinct conversation] [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪
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firing his director of national intelligence. will dan coats be shown the door for publicly contradicting the commander in chief? stone cold attack. trump ally roger stone blasts the judge in his criminal case, appearing to show we're in the cross hairs in a social media post. is he violating a gag order issued by that same judge? and supported by robert mueller? diplomatic liaisons. just days before the second trump/kim summit, we're learning about a potentially significant move toward building formal relations between the two countries. standby for the exclusive details. and democrats divided. white house hopefuls are converging on early voting states as the split widens between the left and the center. tonight we'll hear a moderate voice as senator amy klobuchar takes questions at a cnn town hall event. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. this is a cnn "situation room" special report.