Intel chiefs challenge President Trump's national security claims

Key defense and intelligence officials met on Capitol Hill today for the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment hearing, where they discussed the biggest threats facing the U.S.
22:48 | 01/29/19

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Transcript for Intel chiefs challenge President Trump's national security claims
And. Everybody welcome to the brick and or mom ABC's Devin Dwyer deputy political director Mary Alice parks here with us on this. Frigid. Tuesday afternoon the federal government is actually shutting down right now no not another government shut down the ice is coming down here in Washington some of the workers are going home early some good news. News everywhere else were here. And the negotiations. To avoid another government shutdown hopefully come to some sort of a border compromise. Border security compromise do begin in earnest tomorrow we have that one of the Republicans on that committee standing by Tom graves of Georgia we'll hear from him in the second but we just caught up with the woman. Leading the bipartisan group. New low in New York here's that she had a sick. I'm joined now by Democrat Nita Lowey of New York congresswoman thank you so much for being here in the briefing him you're going to be leading. The group of negotiators trying to find a compromise to avoid another shut down here also from queens New York. President trumps hometown. You think you guys can speak to same language and come up with a deal. I show are how so I would point in the Bronx raise my kids in Queens. Now I lived in Westchester and I represent Westchester and Rockland. But we should talk the same language there is no excuse not to come to a deal. If this president says he's the deal maker and he knows how to make a deal we'll let's put the deal on the table and gets some. Being done. Net net I know you're is no stranger to deal making yourself have a long history have it as one of congress is top appropriators in the first woman we should say to leave the appropriations. Committee and the house what's on the table here they're spent so much talk people hearing about doc. TP asks him Lindsey Graham today suggested perhaps. Raising the debt limit should be part of the deal in your view how narrow should this conversation. We welcome second shouldn't miss softball hall a lot of issues like the debt ceiling. We have to resolve the issue a boy there's security. And every one Democrats Republicans. Know what we have to do where appropriate as I have worked with pat play he had worked as senator Shelby. I know how do. Yeah an appropriations. Bill done so let's keep the extraneous facts out there. Deal with the issue. And hopefully. Within a week which is what we've been given we can come to a conclusion welcome all of us who have been living through the shut down. No that that's not on the table people are suffering people haven't gotten their paycheck they're not going to work. I was visiting with TSA they almost close down unarmed fact they did close down the Guardia airport. For a short period of time let's not keep those extraneous issues out. Let's work is appropriate is put all the issues on the table and resolve them and complete the process. Yang you're you're getting your work underway at officially begins tomorrow the president though already talking about the possibility of another shut down we've been hearing from so many workers some of them. You're talking about there. Very concerned very fearful to hear that. At the center of this of course is the president's request for some sort of border wall funding. Border barrier funding. Can you give us a sense would you support any money for a physical barrier may be its offense maybe it's something else but. Is that on the table for you is that something I could. Entertain. I want to make it very clear. I raise my kids in Queens. Presidents from grew up in Queens says in Queens boy he says he knows how to make a deal. And you don't start throwing an extraneous facts like stealing the facts let's deal with the bullet the security issues. As it is outrageous. To me. That this president would even threaten another shut down. Doesn't understand the suffering does an amnesty and that when the bloody airport almost closed in fact for awhile I think they did. As I mentioned how could you even talk about a shutdown doesn't understand that pain that people of stealing my mate. Can't get their money out of the bank and they don't have any ability. Two frankly write checks. We eat we need a session on how the average person leaves the lives at the White House. Sick and he argues congressman that you need Democrats seem to need in the half way on border security our usage I don't hear you ruling now. Any potential appropriation for a border barrier of some conduct I've I'm an appropriate I don't go into a session. Where we're going to discuss every issue. And make deals in advance that's not fair you get things done fair enough turn up in the president and that interview before I let you go. It sort of cast some ominous odds on the talks that your about to leave beginning tomorrow he said he sees it. As potentially less than 5050 chance. I take your slightly more optimistic than that but we're where do you put the prospects of the deal what what do you tell people worried about a shutdown luck. People who have suffered during that shut down would say that the president. Work cooperatively. We Democrats and Republicans. And let's make a deal. And not threatened that there's gonna be another shut down this is outrageous doesn't get the pain that people are feeling all through the country. Congresswoman that I need a low we have New York the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee in the house also leading us negotiations throughout thanks so much for joining us thank you very much. And we're joined now by another deal maker this one a Republican Tom graves of Georgia is also on the Appropriations Committee and part of that group that will begin negotiating tomorrow Republicans and Democrats. Congressman thanks so much for your time thanks for coming in. What what is start by asking you about one of the points that congresswoman Louis was making mirror she should the threat Alicia another shot down even beyond that he won't. As you guys begin this. This process. Well first I mean this is are really great new beginning of the process is a new phase we're we're moving into a conference committee rear. Working out differences and that's that's really quite frankly where there should be. I'm very optimistic. I I think you've you've heard from the chairwoman there that there is a willingness to bridge some of the differences that we've all had. But you know really. Forecasting of future shut down is not something that we're talking about because I think were very. Optimistic that we can reach a consensus within this group then and I'll tell you why I mean that's myself and sixteen other. Colleagues that I work with on a daily basis were on the same committee together. We may disagree philosophically in many different areas but so we've spent years working together to find. Areas in which we can agree and reach a consensus so I'm really excited about. Of course the key is going to be whether president trump will accept whatever your group comes up when he's put the odds at less than 5050. You going to this how much are you going to be thinking about channeling your inner Donald Trump. And whether he won't sort of except to weather this sort of concepts tradeoffs compromises that you guys may be working out in the room. Or at what I just. I felt what we're in the legislative process and that's what we do. I know he is. Very clear clearly articulated his goals and objectives which are exactly the same as mine and that is making sure that we provide necessary. Resources to protect our homeland. That should be our our number one objective but also through that I think you were basing missile fast basing on evidence basing it on experts' opinions. Surely we can all agree on on a package that can come together and provide that common objective while at same time keeping the government. So. He may place odds at less than 50% that's me just present a great challenge for us to to take on enough bankrupted. And if you're not ebooks or reach consensus based on the lot and facts and evidence that you've seen. Do you think you be appropriate for the president to declare a national emergency and use other funding to build a wall. You know that's just that's an assumption of failure that I'm not willing to accept I think we should stay focused on success we should be positive about moving forward tonight. Solution oriented mindset. And so why certainly the president has many options at his disposal. I think our goal and objective that we saw me as a representative of the GOP in the house is an entry doesn't have to exercise and incidents. We are able to come together in any injury in consensus house and senate with solution that protects our country. Texas citizens of this country while at same time keeping the government open. Congressman you know I mean I can negotiate out here in public with us but you know can you give us a sense it could there be potential for compromise. On the definition. Border barrier border wall border fence I mean it is status they. In area of this discussion that you think will be. You know which will hinge on whether we can be successful I'm not whether you guys can work out some sort of agreement for. Whether it's drones but not concrete whether it's France but not. Steel. That's kind of is that kind of work harder this is. It seems to me a lot of focus based on terminology. I get that I've heard that over the last. Several months. My perspective is there should be a comprehensive solution. It's not pioneering nature at all and in fact it's very dynamic. So I imagine you'll see a lot of new terminology. Implemented you'll see a lot of new concepts. Offered but that's what conference committees are for quite frankly is to bring forward all the best ideas put on the table and let's put a solution here. Do you think that part of that comprehensive solution will include sound and pathway to citizenship or legality for the dreamers. You know I think that's outside the scope of this committee quite honest I. Personally believe all things you know probably will be discussed or considered. But in the short time frame in the magnitude of the situation that is a discussion probably deserves a little bit more time. Hands and other jurisdictions. Representatives from other committees but put commerce committee's open all good ideas that can bring us to solutions. Whatever our work room listening. All right congressman Tom graves in Georgia route one of the Republicans on the committee that's gonna hopefully. Bring us out of another possible shot down in three weeks time Tom grace thank you so much returns we appreciate your time. There's been under house then. The in the clock will really begin ticking tomorrow that is win those negotiators will start meeting in Rome. And you've got to believe they're going to be thinking about Donald Trump with into. Saying that both well yes I. Hub but I think there's an opponent Democrat and Republican there. Talking about limiting the scope of this wind to really just get. At the crux of border security and funding for border security and that's going to be difficult because the way you sweeten deals as often by adding things on. But appropriators want to keep this small. Right they're not the specialists and policy they just deal with the money soon we Christine to see that. Moving on though on Capitol Hill today in major. Hearing and foreign the foreign policy world who is the worldwide threat assessment hearing all the major players. I from the defense and intelligence agencies were testifying in public it's an annual thing they sit down talk about the biggest threats. To the United States and there was little they are ones that was. It was always a little scary that's right we had Tom postured ABC news. Contributor and homeland six former Homeland Security advisor present from peered out let's break it down Tom. I always good to see you what what stood out to you in this new assessment that came out today. Any new system risks new surprises. What I am the world's full of Townsend says today's a few things jumped that and meet today. Obviously the big headline was Dan Coats I think some of the headlines tried to suggest that the Director of National Intelligence was suggesting that the north Koreans. Would never do what president trump those state his policy in that region on which is. Well while he says that there's a bleak assessment I think he has a responsibility to convey to congress and the American people the assessment of the community. What didn't quite get the scored as well as far as much was that director code suggested. A couple of positive insights first that the leadership in North Korea has been willing to. Can tap down the violence and they've maintained that willingness so they've. They've they've ceased their missile strikes in tests for some period of time. And yet he also communicated to remain open to denuclearization despite the fact that our intelligence community doesn't assess that as they optimistic picture. Somebody called me earlier today instead the intelligence assessment that valley forge wasn't that good either and it worked out so is a little bit of room for optimism there. The other two things that Jones out of me today were. A potential deal announced between the US and our coalition forces and the Taliban that could bring to an end a seventeen year war in Afghanistan. If that agreement in principle holds up. And then again this continuing potential. Specter of China. And the confluence of our potentially protectionist trade policies and national security interest coming together in a way that. Suggested. That state interest tanking the release medical. Backgrounds and histories of foreign leaders and so forth it's actually terrifying in some way but. It seems to be that there's a plan in place in western powers are coalescing around it so lots of taken today and it ended with South America where there's a the grim senate developments. And Venezuela as the people there running out of food more. You're making me tired just. Listening to your list the litany of threats that we do face combat I do encourage anybody you look at the assessment online di and I has posted it. It's it's an interesting read speaking of Venezuela which cover that here in the briefing here in the past few days want to ask you. How prepared do you think Americans should be. For the possibility. US military intervention in Venezuela do you think that's a real possibility. Well I think the president's right to not taken off the table but this short answer that is no. There's really three things this president will look at before uses force the first is whether it's justified. We could be in that rains pretty soon here the second is whether it's necessary. Hard to understand whether it be necessary to deploy American troops at this point and the third is whether we can achieve any real and through the use of force and I don't think that I've heard anyone. Really in any credibility calling for a plan that would field a better results for the use of force so. Right now are doing the right thing and employing this last kinda set of economic pressures on their oil reserves was there around money maybe it'll come back the table and recognize that democracy has its has is benefits. Our Tom thanks so much we'll keep an I'm and as well of course always appreciate you coming in appreciate you being here. Army or else can we return talking also speaking in Afghanistan and the Taliban and that potential for. Peace deal there Mitch McConnell and remarkable move today on the senate floor actually sort of broke with the president said we need to stay in Afghanistan. And Syria to propose. An measure that would really urge the United States to stay. In that conflict zone and we seen this repeatedly now from senate Republicans pushing back on the administration's plans to begin rolling. Troops out of that region and one thing we didn't hear talked about today and then hearing of course was born of the southern border which the president has ranked very high threat to national securities a survey. And though there could see it screen Donna rather kicks really be a link between what's hot in the southern border and the continues to happen in Venezuela. Certainly indeed. Moving on another major development in the U Muller investigation today here in Washington Roger Stone the president's longtime confidant. A close friend and ally indicted. Last week on seven counts by as a special counsel five for line one for witness tampering. Warren for obstruction of justice showed up in Washington today for his official arraignment I was there it was a spectacle as you would imagine. As you can see some of the protesters people there waving Russian flags. Stone wood and Mary Alice he pled not guilty he's gonna fight this he's one of the only trump. Associates who says he's gonna fight this and hanging over the whole thing is this notion of whether president trump might pardon Roger Stone whether he might be fishing for pardon. That's something I put to Chris Christie yesterday the former New Jersey governor went to who is very close to president from. And asked him whether he thinks the president could pardon stone or any of those other associates who were indicted it. Do you think that any of those six people. Deserve to be pardoned do you think they've been caught up in have been a political storm and and really in our and a wrong way. Well listen I either or I think that I exercise pardon power as governor. And I think it's it's a purely personal decision to make that my opinion root them manner much I would just tell you that. I think what you're gonna pardon somebody you'd better. Understands. All of what they've done. All what they know. And the ramifications. Of a party. And if you're caught with all let them that X you're in the pardon authority but you know I don't think that many of those folks should be win by the mailbox. For pardon I I don't think the president's gonna do it he would rule that out for us to our loosen its Donald Trump. I'm so you don't rule anything out anything is in play impossible but. I don't think in humor to get. Easy told George Stephanopoulos yesterday and this week that you actually think the president has sort of develop some political sense about the pardon game you said. I think he'd views pardons is not politically viable DC he really think he's just he's decided that this would not be a good move to parlance for. I think he's I think he's got real concerns about it as he rightfully should. He does not she has told me from minute one he did nothing wrong. And I take him at his word. So that's the case you do not want to put yourself. In a bad situation as president. Because few are trying to help. Other people who have admitted to crimes. And so you know with the exception of Roger Stone oversees folks are admit their crime. Christie was convinced he told me afterwards as well he's convinced the president is not get into this. I don't know distributed you know in Akron information are just blowing smoke. And you know trying to lean on the president not to do this which is advised the president you know not to do but. Seems very comfortable presents come to a census he realizes that it would be politically disastrous departing these people especially because they pled guilty. Well we've heard senate Republicans again tell the president just as much for the last year that it would be. And politically disastrous for him they think if he were to begin pardoning some of these two women have been. Accused of crimes with the Russian investigation we shall see him my Russian investigation now twenty months in county another weird yesterday it's. Likely to wrap up soon. Meanwhile all eyes in the 20/20 race to challenge. President trump in the White House and we have a new poll out today from the ABC news Washington Post Paul. I'm Mary Alice you've been you've got some of the highlights here's Simpson interest you red flags for president trump is he mounts a reelection campaign. Yeah that's right let every time he plays to his base he runs a risk of losing the middle. And that's exactly what this poll shows a real creator and with independents 59%. Of independents saying now. You know a year and a half out two years out from Election Day that they would not consider voting for the president when he expanded out to all registered voters this. 56%. Saying they definitely a broader and this is a broader number 56% of registered voters they're saying they would not vote to reelect president trough. That's twice as many as that 28% of that city definitely one that number should really Alan how. The president nerd additional morally though I mean and I'll have to such short memory spans that you now six months from now they'll forget that there was unit shut down well perhaps and that's. The president remembers his polling early in the sweet sixteen or as he didn't poll well early on ends. Obviously we know where that turned out and how that turned out so your right it is really early. But I was struck by one more number 32%. Of Republicans and Republican leaning independents so more than a third. C taping the GOP should nominate someone besides president trump. For quite funny. From interest and we still haven't seen any Republican come forward as a wanna be primary challenger yet but we have seen a lot of Democrats coming out of the woodwork. Their lineup in droves in fact charge for Howard Schultz the C former CEO of Starbucks is better than the latest she's making a lot of waves. Since his announcement. And really frustrating alliant and frustrating your priorities that he could sanction is gonna be used as a Democrat he's Cameron as an independent right. What do we know from the poll about where Democrats stand renowned terms of their preference for her while demand side talking. Out early what we know is that democratic voters have not made up their minds in and you. There's no clear front runner we just pull a little bit differently asked people. To come up with an Annie we didn't offer names and you can see here no one breaking over 10% among democratic voters still biting Pamela Harris Bernie Sanders at the top but we're looking at teeny single digits there a democratic voters basically saying it's anyone's game. In the most of the people of the top there with the exception of Pamela Harris Arnie I'm aren't happy Obama O'Rourke so we'll see. About what happens there thanks for that and as a footnote today a week. From today we will be here as special coverage you NI for the State of the Union Address is due back on the shutdowns gonna happen has concluded its gonna happen we will have a full fact check team assembled for your with Smart analysis. And as that speech takes place and we've just learned some news just in the past few minutes about who Democrats who put forward to get their response to president from. If you choice this year it's this woman DC Abrams. It is an interesting choice Stacey Abrams Odyssey ran for governor there and Georgia was a big citing candidate for Democrats. Who are really interest and in in making sure that women and women of color at the top of ballots across the country. And she's a real TrailBlazer out obviously rumor that would Oprah bears really exciting campaign. For voters in Georgia and I'm she will have a lot to say. And she energized Democrats across the spectrum became came within striking distance there and in deep red state of Georgia so will be interest in her from smoking can be fun to be with you thank you for watching us here on ABC news live in the briefing we're here every 3:30 PM eastern time. Hockey don't have BBC news that given download it's a great resource on your phone for the latest on the storms we've talked about today you can also watch us live there. I'm meantime we'll be back here tomorrow at 3:30 eastern return their announcement on Devin Dwyer. What's next on.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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