tv Outside Source BBC News June 8, 2017 9:00pm-9:31pm BST
hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. a month ago, the director of the fbi was fired by donald trump. today, he gave his side of the story. james comey gave an extraordinary account of his dealings with the president in the weeks ahead of his sacking. and he pulled no punches. it is my judgment it is myjudgment that i was fired because of the russian investigation, i was fired in some way to change, or the endeavour was to change the way the russian investigation was being conducted. and james comey used a word some shy away from when talking about mr trump. the administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the fbi. those were lies plain and simple, and i am so sorry that the fbi workforce had to hear them, and i'm so sorry that the american people were told them. the white house has been quick to respond. the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to move forward with his agenda, with the business of this country, and with this public cloud removed. and, of course, we can't forget
that voting is under way in the uk general election. we'll bring you the exit polls in just under one hour. the former fbi director james comey gave testimony to the us senate today. this is how glenn thrush of the new york times puts it. "history made, former fbi director calls a sitting president a liar." or you could take the view of bill o'reilly. "hearing is pretty much done." "the president took hits on flynn but nothing that was not already known." mr comey answered questions from the senate intelligence committee for several hours. and his contact with donald trump was the focus. as was alleged russian interference in the us election. there's a lot to take you through. let's start with this. i understood that i could be fired
by a president for any reason or for no reason at all. and on may 9th, when i learned that i had been fired, for that reason, i immediately came home as a private citizen. but then the explanations, the shifting explanations, confused me and increasingly concerned me. they confused me, because the president and i had had multiple conversations about myjob. so it confused me when i saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the russia investigation, and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the russian investigation. i was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly, that i was fired because of the decisions i had made during the election year. that didn't make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time and all the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions that had to be made. that didn't make any sense to me.
and although the law required no reason at all to fire an fbi director, the administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the fbi by saying that the organisation was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. he was also asked why he thought he was fired, this was his answer.m is myjudgment was fired, this was his answer.m is my judgment that was fired, this was his answer.m is myjudgment that i was fired because of the russian investigation, i was fired in some way to change, or the endeavour was to change the way the russian investigation was being conducted. that is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me — the nature of the fbi and its work requires that it not be the subject
of political consideration. and on top of that, you have the russian investigation itself is vital because of the threat, and i should have said this area, but it is obvious, if any americans were part of helping the russians do this to us, that is a very big deal. i am confident that if that is the case, the director will find that evidence. rajini vaidya nathan was in the hearing. on the face of it, a bad day for donald trump, so how do we explain that a lot of republicans seem quite bullish at the end of the testimony? well, i think, from the republican perspective, many are saying that, actually, james comey‘s version of events is nothing new, and that some of the things that he talked about in that hearing, and of course he released the testimony the day before, just confirmed what we have already heard. people on the republican side are not necessarily jumping to the president's defence,
but they did pick some owls, even during the testimony, about the way james comey handled this. we might come to this later, he went to a friend to leak some information about one of his meetings with president trump. that was picked up in the meeting as a question of concern. also, people said, well, so many things were leaked during the time in the last few months that there was concern over the dealings between james comey and there was concern over the dealings betweenjames comey and president trump, yet the one thing that actually presents mr trump in a positive light, the fact that he is not being investigated as part of the russian inquiry, well, that was not believed. also, i think one of the wider concerns the republican side is that they don't see this as any grounds for a case for impeachment. the democrats i have been speaking to here on capitol hill say this gives them more of a case, it emboldens them. lots of elements to pick up on, before we
talk further, let me show all of you watching what donald trump's lawyer has been saying, he spoke to the media a little while ago. contrary to numerous false press accounts, mr comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately. that is that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into russian interference. the president never in form or substance directed or suggested that mr comey stop investigating anyone, including the president never suggested that mr comey, quote, let flynn go, close quote. the president feels com pletely quote. the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this
country, and with this public cloud removed. we heard reference to michael flynn there. he was president trump's national security advisor. the senators were particularly interested in whether donald trump asked mr comey to drop the investigation into mr flynn. why didn't you stop and say, mr president, this is wrong, i cannot discuss this with you? it's a great question. maybe if i were stronger, i would have. question. maybe if i were stronger, iwould have. i question. maybe if i were stronger, i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that ijust took it m, the conversation that ijust took it in, and the only thing i could think to say, i was playing in my mind, i could remember every word he said, i was playing in my mind, what should my response be? that is why i carefully chose the words. lordy, i hope there are tapes. ireland is saying, i agree he is a good guy, as a way of saying, i am not agreeing with what you asked me to do. maybe
other people would be stronger in that circumstance, but that is how i conducted myself. i will never have another opportunity, maybe if i did it again, i would do it differently. rajini, the senators have heard all of this information, what do they do with it? well, this is all part of ongoing investigations that are being conducted here in congress about whether or not the trump campaign had any contacts with the russians, that they had yielded influence in some way, and more principally as well about the connection between the russians and their hacking of the election last year. in that hearing, james comey was an equivocal in saying that he believed that the russians did hack the election last year. he said this was not a case of republicans or democrats, this was a case of americans who needed to be concerned about the potential for russia to do
this again. so that is the focus of the inquiries here in the senate and the inquiries here in the senate and the house, but the main event, you could say, is the fbi investigation, which is being overseen by the special counsel appointed recently, robert muller, a former head of the fbi as well. so lots of investigations going on, and it could be a long and drawn—out process. please stay with us, i want to pick up on one of the things rajini referred to. one of the most significant revelations was james comey admitting that he had asked a friend to leak details of his conversation with president trump about michael flynn. the memo was mentioned multiple times today, here isa mentioned multiple times today, here is a couple of them. what was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? combination of things. i think the circumstances, the subject matter and the person i was interacting
with, the circumstances first, i was alone with the president of the united states, with the president—elect, soon to be president. the subject matter that i was talking about, matters that touch on the fbi's core responsibility and relate to the president—elect personally. and the nature of the person — i was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it important to document it. that combination of things i had never experienced before, but it led me to believe i had to write it down ina me to believe i had to write it down in a details way. rajini, whatever anyone's politics, impossible to deny that the former director of the fbi and looked relaxed, what did it look like? yes, i shouldjust say that quote that you just played is staggering, and that felt like a moment in the room that will certainly be replayed and played again in history. you have effectively got the former head of the fbi complying that the president of the united states is a liar. in that room, james comey came across,
as you say, as very relaxed, he did not hesitate when he was asked questions by senators from both sides of the political aisle. he had no notes, and even though he was questioned for a number of hours, you barely took any sips of water from the glasses on the table in front of him. i wrote this down, quite a staggering quote amongst all the others that we have picked apart, but one that is quite telling, ros. he said at some point, i remember every word he said, and you get the impression, rose, the james comey is a man who has an attention to detail. if you read the testimony that was released, where he described the encounters with the president in great detail, you got that impression. people watching this, not just where that impression. people watching this, notjust where i was, a few seats behind him, but across america, they might actually think that james comey‘s details and america, they might actually think thatjames comey‘s details and his account could be believable because of the detail and level at which he went into it. i must stress that the
president's lawyer has come out and denied several areas of that account, but really this does come down to what donald trump said, president trump, and whatjames comey said. ok, rajini, appreciate you taking us through that. in a few minutes, we will be back in washington to take some of your questions on the story, so if you are getting confused, and it is understandable, send them my way. the e—mail address is on the screen. any questions on what has been happening in washington, dc, you are welcome to send them my way. we will get some questions answered for you a little bit later. the day the british liberated the
falklands. by tonight, british troops had begun the task of disarming the enemy. in the heart of the west german capital, this was gorby mania at its height, the crowd packed to see the man who, for them, had raised great hopes of a vision of europe. michaeljackson was not guilty on all charges. the screams of the crowd testament to his popularity and their faith in of the crowd testament to his popularity and theirfaith in his innocence. as long as they paid to gozie ugwu, iwill get innocence. as long as they paid to gozie ugwu, i will get at there and ta ke gozie ugwu, i will get at there and take them down the hill. —— to go see me. iam ros i am ros atkins with outside source, we are live in the bbc newsroom. our
laid story is that james we are live in the bbc newsroom. our laid story is thatjames comey we are live in the bbc newsroom. our laid story is that james comey has testified in the us senate about his dealings with president trump and the alleged russian interference in the alleged russian interference in the us election campaign. he says he documented all of his meetings with mrtrump documented all of his meetings with mr trump because he was concerned the president might lie about them. the white house has responded, saying the president is not a liar. some of the main stories from bbc world service, first of all, as you will know, it is the uk general election today, we are into the last hour of voting, that has been taking place in more than 40,000 polling stations. a total of 650 members of parliament are going to be elected, and nearly 47 million people are registered to vote. the polls will close at the end of this programme in about 45 minutes. bbc news will be broadcasting an election special, we will get the exit polls very quickly, and whether you are watching in the uk or outside of the uk, you will see that right here. let's look at the timeline that leads us to today's
testimony from james comey. his first clash with donald trump was during the election campaign. mr comey had announced the fbi was dropping an investigation into hillary clinton's use of a private email server. although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, ourjudgment regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is regarding the handling of classified information, ourjudgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. mr trump was not happy. "fbi director said crooked hillary compromised our national security. " "no charges. wow! #riggedsystem." remember, later on, mr comey announced that the fbi was examining new emails of mrs clinton's, less than two weeks before the election. mr trump said that had taken guts. next, let's move on to when donald trump became president. he appointed michael flynn as his national security advisor. questions quickly arose
about his connections to russia. at the end of january, james comey says mr trump invited him to dinner, alone. he says during this dinner the president said, "i need loyalty, i expect loyalty." "i didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed." now, we knew this before today, because the same account had appeared in the new york times. it turns out james comey had leaked it. well, at the time of the leak, the president denied saying any such thing. meanwhile, the allegations about general flynn continued to leak in the press, including one that said he'd misled the vice president, mike pence, about talks he'd had with the russian ambassador. then, this happened.
the president was very concerned that general flynn had misled the vice president and others. the evolving and eroding level of trust asa evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation, and a series of other questionable insta nces, series of other questionable instances, is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. general flynn duly resigned. the day after, mr comey claims that mr trump kept him back after a meeting and told him, "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go." he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go." again, this these lines had been leaked before mr comey confirmed the today. here's how mr trump responded to a question about them at the time. did you at any time ask james comey to back down on the fbi investigation? no. next question.
allegations about key members of president trump's administration and links to russia had been surfacing since the early days of the trump presidency. in march, his attorney—general, jeff sessions, recused himself from any federal inquiries into the alleged russian interference in the election. that had followed an article that claiming he'd not disclosed meetings he'd had with that same russian ambassador who met with michael flynn. in announcing his recusal, he admitted he'd made a mistake but said it was an honest one. next, we move on in march. this statement from james comey at a congressional hearing. the fbi, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and
that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. it was the first time the fbi had confirmed it was investigating those links. mr comey has claimed today that in the time that followed, mr trump called him twice to talk about the russia inquiry. then, in may, mr comey was fired by letter. at the time, he claimed that it was because of the deputy attorney general‘s criticism of the handling of the inquiry into hillary clinton's emails. but then in a later interview, the president said this. i was going to fire comey, my decision. i was going to fire him. now one of those articles i showed you, the one onjeff sessions
was written by ellen nakashima of the washington post. earlier i spoke to her from their newsroom and got her to assess mr comey‘s statement today. newsroom and got her to assess mr comey's statement today. he did not disappoint. he lived up to the hype of, you know, being someone who was just a master at giving dramatic testimony. it was remarkable, nearly three hours long, opening remarks in which he basically accused the trump administration of the framing him and the fbi. —— the —— defaming. and putting out information that was all lies, he said. some have said that mrtrump was unfair lies, he said. some have said that mr trump was unfair in his description of him, and of not telling the truth, and on one level that will not hurt the president, is it? it is not going to hurt him amongst his base of supporters who
firmly believe that there are people who are just firmly believe that there are people who arejust lobbing firmly believe that there are people who are just lobbing accusations and falls and without foundation, and are doing so with political motives. but what we have here is an extraordinary showdown of sorts between a well—regarded former fbi and director and the president of the united states over whether or not the president of the united states sought to interfere in any way into an investigation of russian interference in the presidential election, and whether or not there was coordination between the trump campaign and russian officials. one of the big takeaways was that mr comey was the source of bailey got a story which contains details of conversations that he had had with mrtrump. you conversations that he had had with mr trump. you yourself have written
very high impact articles, i wonder what it is like working in washington at the moment with this be reilhac must be and with the media and your publication right in the middle of it. —— with this febrile atmosphere. the middle of it. —— with this febrile atmospherelj the middle of it. —— with this febrile atmosphere. i have never seen febrile atmosphere. i have never seen anything like it, and never had such a per and of stories and revelations of almost a daily basis. you just wonder how long it can go on. help our viewers around the world understand what changes because of the day's testimony, where do we go from here? what changes is, in a sense, the focus now is in part on whether or not there was obstruction ofjustice by there was obstruction ofjustice by the president himself. jim comey said he could not answer that
question, it would be up to the special counsel, himself a former fbi director who was appointed after jeff sessions recused himself. in fa ct, jeff sessions recused himself. in fact, another remarkable revelation today at the hearing was that mr comey himself leaked these memos in the hope that they would spur the appointment of a special counsel. and that detail, that he had hoped to provoke the appointment of a special counsel, does that make james comey a political player now, someone james comey a political player now, someone who james comey a political player now, someone who ceases to james comey a political player now, someone who ceases to be above the political fray? someone who ceases to be above the politicalfray? one someone who ceases to be above the political fray? one could reasonably, you know, argue that, i think, or i can definitely see a debate about that point. i mean, it was certainly i opening enough for us was certainly i opening enough for us to want to make that our lead story during the hearing, once we heard that revelation. you know,
first of all, to acknowledge that he had written these detailed memos after a ll had written these detailed memos after all of these meetings with the president, then to say that he purposely shared them with close associates and ask one of them to get it out to the public and the media through a leak, that was just stunning. thank you very much indeed, ellen nakashima. we have tried to bring you up to date on what has happened today, and also the context that has made it important, but if you want more information on the story and all the allegations and statements that have come with it, you can find that wherever you wanted on the bbc news website or the bbc news app. let me quickly mention, before we end this half—hour, something that all of you watching, i am sure, are completely aware of. across the uk millions of people are voting in the general election. these are some of the party leaders. prime minister theresa may
cast her vote in her constituency of maidenhead. every politician is notjust seeking to become a member of parliament, whether they are the leader of their party or not. jeremy corbyn, the leader of the opposition, labour party voted in islington north. tim farron is the leader of the liberal democrats. he voted in kendal in the north of england. polling stations will stay open until 10pm local time. that's about half an hour from now. very soon after they close, a glorious shot we have of westminster there and the river thames, almost immediately after those polls shut, we get the exit polls, which would give us simply indications of he is old. you can see those, of course, on the bbc. hello. we have seen a little more
sunshine through the afternoon, but we have also continued to see some areas of rain, and one part of the country has been plagued by some showers near wigan. you can see the main area of cloud and rain pushing northwards across scotland, showers coming in behind, but the wettest weather has been across northern ireland. that weather warning should be fading away as the wetter weather works northwards, up into the north—west corner of scotland. still some showers running across other parts of the uk, clearer skies around as well. not cold overnight, especially the temperatures being disappointing today, 11 or 12 degrees in the morning. this is a dick lock in a morning, heading to work perhaps, into the rush—hour, a few showers into south wales. —— this is eight o'clock in the morning. for many places, across england and wales, it will start dry with some sunshine. dry across northern ireland, a bright and sunny
start after the downpours of earlier on. still some rain for scotland north of the central belt, but not as heavy, and it will peter out a bit through the day. a mixture of sunshine and showers across the uk, we will see the main shower risk transferring from the west into the east by the afternoon, more sunshine following on. forward good part of the day, it will be dry with sunny spells. —— for a good part of the day. certainly only a brief respite, low pressure coming from the atlantic, these weather fronts will be spilling our way. not everywhere will catch rain on saturday, it is mainly going to be running northwards, away from northern ireland up into scotland, then the rain getting stuck across northern england, parts of the midlands, wales in the south—west. in the south—east, it may stay dry, quite humid, 22 or23 south—east, it may stay dry, quite humid, 22 or 23 degrees. elsewhere, the number is more typical than we would expect for the time of year. that band of rain runs eastward and
then fade away overnight, it should be clear by sunday morning, and then we are left with sunshine aymen —— sunshine and showers. a mixed bag for the weekend, some rain around, a bit of a breeze on saturday, and then on sunday it is sunshine and showers. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. a month ago the director of the fbi was fired by donald trump. today he gave his side of the story. it is my judgment it is myjudgment that i was fired because of the russian investigation, i was fired in some way to change the way the russian investigation was being conducted. james comey gave an extraordinary account of his dealings with the president in the weeks ahead of his sacking. we'll be live in washington to answer your questions on what this means, send them in on #bbcos. meanwhile, republican reaction to mr comey's testimony has been mixed. paul ryan said the president was still learning. we'll hear from a supporter of donald trump.