tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 12, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
journey from chicago to the world stage, an incredible story, history made, the legacy of michelle obama. it airs tomorrow night at 9:00. right here on cnn. thanks to all of you for joining us. you can watch "out front" anytime, anywhere, go to cnn go. see you back here tomorrow night. "ac 360" begins right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. new developments in the russia/trump story. cnn's reporting of it. and the fudging by the trump transition team surrounding it. this began with cnn's exclusive reporting that mr. trump last week was presented with classified documents alleging that russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about him. we did not report any of the unverified, unproven claims, not a single one. that is fact. this exclusive story about the briefing was led by a team of experienced cnn correspondents, anchors, producers, backed up by multiple trusted sources. the news today is vice president joe biden confirmed intelligence
chiefs presented him and president obama with the same two-page document, mr. biden saying intelligence leaders felt obliged to tell the president because they were planning on informing mr. trump. on top of that, about 10:00 last night, director of national tension james clapper put out a statement summarizing a phone conversation last night with the president-elect. he confirms there have a briefing and suggests the alleged claims came up, saying, "part of our obligation is ensure the policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matter that might affect national security." he's talking here about a two-page summary of unproven allegations about information some people have claimed russia has. two very public confirmations about what cnn reported. just about two hours ago cnn learned again from multiple u.s. officials that it was fbi director james comey who told mr. trump of the information. no comment from the bureau. so cnn's reporting was correct, we should point out. last night kellyanne conway came on this broadcast.
we had a lengthy interview where she was misleading on two points. one, according to her, our reporting that president-elect trump was presented with this information was not true. and, two, that we, like the online news site buzzfeed were hyping or linking to a 35-page memo full of unsubstantiated allegations against mr. trump that the shorter briefing document was based on. let's take item one. i pointed out multiple times last night to kellyanne conway that we have multiple sources telling us this information. again, as we just learned tonight, the information actually came from mr. comey himself directly to mr. trump. that's not fake information. that's not fake news. that's accurate reporting. as for item two, the unsubstantiated 35 pages which we never reported any details of and continue not to, here's thousand ha exchange went last night. do you acknowledge here and now that cnn did not release the 35 page unsubstantiated claims against donald trump and was
misleading and untrue to suggest otherwise? >> no. our incoming press secretary sean spicer was right as was the president-elect. cnn went first yesterday and buzzfeed went second. >> we didn't report what buzzfeed reported. >> i didn't say you did but you linked to it in your story. >> sean spicer did. >> let's back up. cnn must be feeling the heat today of having a headline yesterday around 6:30 that said, quote, intel chiefs presented trump with information that russia could -- russia had information to compromise him. that is just false. and as you saw through nbc news reports today, tweets from people at politico, no friends of donald trump, and a lot of -- frankly a lot of outlets, print and electronic, so reluctant and hesitant to go forward with anything close to what cnn and buzzfeed did. >> you're continue flatding what buzzfeed -- >> i know what cnn did.
>> what cnn did was accurate. for the record, i can tell you precisely what cnn did not do. we did not describe the unfounded allegations. we have not described them. we will not. we did not link to that document. we did not link to buzzfeed or promoting their reporting. shortly after the interview, miss conway tweeted out a cnn.com page that says we did link to it. for the record, it does not actually show that. had she licked on the link it linked to a dylan buyer's article that neither links to buzzfeed or what they describe. kellyanne conway challenging our reporting conflating it with a document dump that buzzfeed made, she asked me this. >> what if it's not in the briefing documents? what will cnn do? >> we'll acknowledge it. >> will heads roll? >> you have yet to say -- >> all the chirons and consultants were wrong.
>> you're talking about polling during the election. >> i just don't think you'll clean house if the report is wrong. >> so given what's happened today, the fact that vice president biden has come out, clapper has made the statement he made and that we know according to multiple sourcing it was james comey who spoke to donald trump about this, it seems that's a better question for her. i agree with kellyanne conway, if we were wrong, we would admit it. but we were not wrong. she was. the question is will she hold herself and her team to the same standard? we asked her to come on the program tonight to discuss these new developments. she declined. she is welcome anytime. jim acosta and two journalists who broke the stories and jim sciutto, jake tapper. jake, the trump team continues to misrepresent the facts over and over again on multiple fronts even when i present clear facts to kellyanne conway last
night, she would not admit they were wrong. now that we also have confirmation, fbi director james comey personally briefed president-elect trump verbally about the two-page synopsis, do you expect the trump version of this story to change at all? >> no, because it's been the modus operandi for trump and his team to say what they believe to be true even if it is disputed by facts. and then stick with it. it doesn't -- you know, if it's mr. trump's claim that vaccines cause autism, which is false, or if it's his claim that there were thousands of muss limbs celebrating 9/11 in new jersey, which is false, or it's hi claim that there was a report that seems credible about ted cruz's father and lee harvey oswald and the kennedy asass nuclear facility -- assassination, which is crazy, they'll keep doing and
saying what they want. it's a fact-free campaign. what is important for us is to continue to report aggressively and be precise and careful with our facts and our reporting and continue to inform the viewers about this administration, the good and the bad that they do and just the facts of this administration. and that's what we'll to. i don't think we can really at this point get hung up on where r they going to finally admit we're right. at this point honestly i think our attitude has to be it doesn't matter what we're presenting needs to be right and it's our bond with the viewers. >> jim sciutto, how rare is it to have james clapper putting out a statement about a phone conversation he had with the president-elect and in it referencing it seems the information that was included in
this briefing? >> extremely rare. there are a lot of classified briefings that go on. this is the most classified, the most sensitive because it is a briefing delivered to the two most powerful people in the country, the president-elect and the current president and his vice president. and there's a reason why they protect these conversations. and yet we now have two people who were in the room, two people, the vice president and the director of national intelligence, james clapper, who are offering an account of that briefing that contradicts the president-elect. in addition to the many sources, jake, evan, myself and carl bernstein talked to before these most senior intelligence officials went public with this information, before that, we spoke to people who had knowledge of that conversation who told us on background because of the classified nature of the information involved they couldn't go on the record, they told us on background, we were
confident of that. but now you have this second step of director of national intelligence clapper and the vice president of the united states going public in effect contradicting, correcting the record, not just that kellyanne conway laid out but frankly i'm more concerned as an american, as a journalist, with what the president laid out. he accused our network, our reporters of spreading fake news when in fact we were right. and why does that matter? it doesn't matter, you and i know, anderson and jake and jim would agree, it doesn't matter because of our feelings or whether we can sleep at night. it matters because this is a democracy, an open society, and we rely on our public officials, our leaders giving us an accurate presentation of the facts. and the president went out with an inaccurate presentation of the facts which was then contradicted in public by two people in the room, the director of national intelligence and the vice president. >> interesting, jake, because one of the things kellyanne conway last night was saying, this was a classified briefing
and donald trump said this as well so it wouldn't or wouldn't be discussed what was said or briefed on, but you have the vice president talking about information that was given which, by the way, was not classified, i assume this false information or unverified information, you know, was collected by not a government official, not by anybody from the u.s. intelligence community and also clapper at least kind of referencing the information that was briefed. >> it's unusual that vice president biden would say anything about that meeting in which he and president obama were briefed by the heads of the intelligence agencies. i can't get to his motive as to why he would but he acknowledged exactly what we reported happened, a two-page synopsis of that dossier full of uncorroborated information, and the reason that the intelligence chiefs put it together was to make sure that president-elect
trump knew about it. james clapper, the director of national intelligence, said he did that because it's important for him to know anything that might have an e fact on national security. that's why they shared that information even though it wasn't a product of the u.s. intelligence community. and vice president biden said that the intelligence chiefs said they were going to tell president-elect trump about it and now we know from our reporting from multiple sources that in that meeting it wasn't the actual four intelligence chiefs with president-elect trump and his team where that oral briefing went on, the verbal briefing about what was in that two-page synopsis. it was in a one-on-one pull-aside between fbi director comey and president-elect trump. now we know the facts. it is just as unusual that the director of national intelligence general james clapper acknowledged this as much as he did as it is that
vice president biden did, and i can't really speculate as to why they would other than the fact it was clear that our report and the reporting that was matched by "the new york times" and "wall street journal" and "the washington post" about this was being disputed and even lied about by the trump team. >> jim acosta, you tried to ask a question at the press conference to president-elect trump. he refused to take questions saying you were from fake news. that? >> he came toum me and said what i did was crossing the line and inappropriate. we should repeat during that news conference when i was trying to ask that question spicer threatened to throw me out of the press conference if i kept persisting. speaking of sean spicer, we should report on a conference call this morning he was asked whether donald trump was going to sue over these stories for
libel and sean spicer told reporters that the president-elect would hike to move on. this is something worse than fake news and that's the denial of real news and beyond that, anderson, something that might be worse than that is they're just not in command of the facts at this point. when you listen to kellyanne conway go sort of all over the place on this, they're just not in command of the facts. this has been a pattern for the trump campaign and the transition, they don't like the news that's being reported and they go after the messenger and i think that will just continue. >> jim sciutto, why not just say this happened? if you're the trump transition team. you, jake, carl bernstein, the cnn story was about that the intelligence agencies presented this to them, not that the unsubstantiated allegations are true, not even what those
unsubstantiated allegations even said, what they are. we've not said any details of that. that is not part of our story. >> listen, i don't know. i've asked a lot of people this question, asked a lot of republicans this question. many will say to me it's a sensitive area for the president-elect because for him it gets to the legitimacy of his victory. he thinks people are trying to attack his victory. let's be clear, the intelligence community has not made a judgment, has not asaysed e celticsed or attempted to that russian interference elected donald trump so let's make that clear. but there's a political sensitivity here. i worry about a broader issue, a hostility to facts and an effort, concerted effort by donald trump and his team to call into question the very existence of facts, right, the very existence of nonpartisan news. forget about cnn for a moment. i care about cnn and i know we do very good work and i'm
confident in my colleagues' work but it's more about the function of journalism as a whole, of the fourth estate, going back to george washington's times. this is a pillar of the way open societies work, and one is allowing us to do our work, for instance, letting my colleague jim acosta ask a question, not shout him down, but beyond that, when you produce work that is well sourced and you've done your work on it, that can be accepted. here you find nearly an administration that seems to be part of its strategy to attack information it finds inconvenient or critical. that's a problem for the way this country functions. >> i want to thank everybody for their reporting and join us tonight. jake's at george washington university for a cnn town hall. his guest is house speaker paul ryan. it gets under way at the top of
the hour. next for us, more breaking news involving the fbi director, now being investigated in connection with the bureau's probe of hillary clinton's e-mail server. whatever you think about that it rays all kinds of questions including what the new president plans to do about it. we'll talk about it with jeffrey toobin and the rest of the panel ahead. (vo) the holidays may be over but if you hurry, you can still get the best deals on the best network. like verizon's best smartphones for only $10 per month. like the samsung galaxy s7. the pixel, phone by google. or the motoz droid. for only $10 per month. plus, hurry in and switch to verizon now and get up to $650 to cover your costs. there's still time to get amazing deals at verizon.
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a report that sources say fbi director james comey briefed donald trump on the document suggesting russia may have compromising material on him was one of two stories breaking on him. the other he's facing a probe into the bureau's handling of the clinton e-mail server investigation. james comey saying he's grateful for the investigation and hopes the results are shared with the public. here to talk about it jeffrey toobin, maria cardona, jeffrey lourd and in washington, john king. does this surprise you, jeff toobin, this is coming up eight days till inauguration? >> not really. this is why inspector generals exist. this was a huge controversy over
whether director comey appropriately released that letter on the. >> efan: -- >> that's the focus. >> one focus. that's the key issue here, something that clinton supporters remain enraged about. thnd this is why inspector generals exist to examine the propriety for internal investigations. >> why would it be made public there will be an investigation? >> it's fairly common that it's -- that they are public. it's not like a grand jury investigation. what's interesting is that michael horowitz, the inspector general, is a political appointee, which means usually, like most political appoint tees, he would leave on january 20th. but there has been historically an exception for inspect generals. 1981, jeffrey may remember, ronald reagan fired a bunch of inspector generals, caused a big stir of outrage, and since then there has been a tradition of allowing inspector generals to
continue, but that's all it is, just a tradition, not a law. so donald trump come january 20th could get rid of michael horowitz. that's something to keep an eye on because he doesn't like these sorts of rempblss to the fact that may raise questions about his legitimacy. >> is politics a play to investigate? you think a lot of democrats wanted to see this happen. >> is there gambling in the casino, you ask? ostensibly, no. to jeff's point, this is what an inspector general is supposed to do. if there's a huge contract that goes out in iraq or afghanistan, it's your job. if you ear the inspector general of the justice department, did james comey follow procedures michelle obama three times in this investigation. how did the attorney general end up on a plane with the former president of the united states bill clinton? there are a whole number of
questions about this. that's the inspector general's job. ostensibly it's not political. however, everything about this, around it is political. democrats will be looking for proof that what james comey did impacted the election, they'll say it cost hillary clinton the presidency. donald trump will be president assuming this investigation goes to fruition, donald trump will be president, period. but does he like this? because it extend this spy novel drama that kapt victim impact statement -- captivated the end of the presidential campaign carrying over into 2017. it could take turns again. >> maria, do you like the fact this is being investigated? >> i do. i think it is welcome by a lot of hillary clinton supporters. i think this was a long time in coming. certainly the letter he put out 11 days before the election is a key part of it. but it started back in july when he gave an unprecedented press conference the day he gave the
recommendation to not move forward with charges. that is not done. that is one of the protocols he broke in addition to then yet again putting forward a letter injecting himself politically into an election 11 days before hand. >> the propiety of that news conference is also part of the investigation. >> bill clinton going on the plane? >> i don't think -- that was not specifically referred to by the inspector general. but since it's related to this whole story i have to believe -- >> jeff, what do you make of this? >> i find it ironic. the original sin is she had a private server and that's what all of this sprang from. none of this would have occurred if she didn't do that. >> that's true. >> you don't believe there should be an investigation. >> based on what i've seen in the last few days i would like to see a look at intelligence agencies period and these leaks.
not picking on cnn or news organizations but the fact they're getting leaks from inside the security, you know, the national security apparatus, the intelligence agency, i just think, you know -- >> but act two -- >> part of the investigation. the fbi leaks -- >> that's right. >> in connection with this drama. >> with the e-mails. >> john king, how rare is it for -- whether it's intelligence agencies, fbi -- for there to be leaks from, you know, all around in washington? >> there are always leaks in washington. this is the way it goes. want to go back to the pentagon papers, there are leaks in washington. watergate. often those leaks shed light on something that the public deserves to know. are they sometimes controversial? of course. the obama administration is facing controversy for prosecuting and going after journalists with some of these national security leaks. leaks are a time honored tradition and some would say a problem and some say great
things in washington. cnn called its book on the presidential e election unprecedented for a reason. everything about it was unprecedented including this story and investigation and how it was handled. the fbi director coming forward not once but twice in a campaign to explain what he was doing and how the investigation was taking its turns. this is unprecedented but it is the inspector general's job to look at big things when they happen in his or her department. that is not abnormal. everything around this is so political that i just assume as it goes forward there will be more fireworks. >> leaks come from presidential campaigns and transition teams and democrats and republicans as well. >> we should also point out we like leaks. i seek them out. i'm not going to pretend otherwise. >> jeffrey dash toobin -- >> i'm easy to find on twitter,
facebook. i think it always makes these discussions by us a little awkward. >> i want to make two points. jeffrey is right. clearly hillary clinton's use of her private server is her fault and she's the first to say so. there's also no question -- >> she's the first one to say so. >> if you look at analytically at the polls, state by state and then nationally, comey's letter absolutely had an effect on where she was and i to this day, so many clinton supporters believe it's because of that letter she's not president today. >> that's not the point of an investigation. >> it's not. can i just make one other point to your point, jeffrey, that horowitz is a political appointee and can be fired but i think that's probably why he announced this now, to make it more difficult. >> presidents also have to be careful of investigations. if you're old enough you remember nixon's plumbers. you don't want to go down that
road. >> appreciate it. coming up, was that pile of file folders at trump's press conference filled with blank sheets of paper? ♪ ♪ after becoming one of the largest broadband companies in the country. after expanding our fiber network coast to coast. these are the places we call home. we are centurylink. we believe in the power of the digital world. the power to connect. and that's what drives us everyday.
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some ethics experts are saying donald trump the not doing nearly enough to address the enormous potential for business conflicts given his empire. at his press conference he said he could run the country and the company but won't. here's what he said. >> what i'm going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, don and eric, are going to be running the company. they are going to be running it in a very professional manner. they're not going to discuss it with me. again, i don't have to do this. they're not going to discuss it with me. and with that, i'm going to bring um sheri dillon, and she's going to go -- these papers are just some of the many documents that i've signed turning over complete and total control to my
sons. >> as to the details of the plan, it includes the president-elect resigning from all positions he holds in the organization. no new foreign deals would be made during his presidency. new domestic deals will be vigorously vetted. jeffrey lord and robert reich, professor of public policy at berkeley. jeffrey, as a trump supporter, the nonpartson office of government ethics said yesterday about the trump plan, called it meaningless from a conflict of president in the past four decades has met and the only thing it has in common with the blind trust is the label trust. >> first of all, this is an unusual situation. he's got this global empire all over the world that bears his name. you can't say to a family, okay, you've got to get out of business while your father goes and is president. they're not working in the
government. they work. to somehow suggest the sons get out of the business i think is unrealistic. this is like the release of the taxes. i grant you politically anytime there -- there's going to be a political story about this. i look back to the kennedy administration. they had all these vast interests of merchandise in chicago for one. they never gave it up until 1998. went through jfk's presidency. nobody said a thing about it. nobody cared. the former president, sergeant schrieber, he went into the administration. the whole thing was held by the family. i think you've got to understand this is the way this is going to work and we have to cope with it. >> the president-elect said no conflict situation because he's president. he said if he wanted to be president and run the trump organization at the same time. is he going above and beyond what's legally necessary?
>> first of all, lawyers differ in terms to-their interpretation of what the law requires. but somebody who's going to be president of the united states in eight days, you would think would go out of his way to build public trust and public confidence, particularly when he has an empire that is across 500 different companies across dozens of countries where issues have been raised about his closeness to vladimir putin, where there are questions raised about his taxes and debt and who he owes debt to and under what circumstances. you would think somebody who is going to be president would cross every t and dot every i. instead, donald trump is doing exactly the opposite. he's saying don't worry about it, i'm not worried about it, the public isn't, i don't have to gif yve you my taxes or establish a blind trust or an independent trustee -- this is total disdain for the democratic institutions of government. it's total disdain for public trust. and it's going to end up costing
donald trump a great deal because the next -- you can bet there are going to be scandals and ethical problems all over the place because the federal government regulates and provides and distributes money to so many businesses that donald trump is involved with and his sons and family are involved with. the idea he's not going to talk to his sons and the sons won't talk to him about business is clearly and patently absurd. >> legally, mr. secretary, isn't he doing more than he has to? >> no. as i said, lawyers have interpret interpreted these laws very differently. i would say he is not doing nearly what he should do and that is the conclusion of the independent et ibs officer and the office of ethics in the united states government, who is independent, nonpartisan, supposed to be looking at these things objectively.
he is saying exactly what i am saying. many people until the public are saying what does he have to hide? why isn't he providing his taxes? for four decades presidents have been doing this, establishing blind trusts. for even longer than that providing their taxes. when ben carson, the nominee, trump's nominee for hud, today in his confirmation hearing was asked by elizabeth warren, can you promise us that you are not going to distribute any of your $32 billion of hud money in ways that benefit donald trump, and what is ben carson going do? he said essentially he could not make that promise. why? because there is no blind trust, there is no institutional way for any cabinet member to be absolutely assured he is not going to do this. >> one, we just had the election. this has been litigated. all these things were out there for the american public to see. they could have rejected donald trump. they did not.
so that's been decided by the american people. it's over. but secondly, i will say that we have a bit of a problem here with folks in the quote/unquote political class saying that people who have all these business interests have all potential conflicts of interest. what about conflicts of interest for people in the political class? what happens if you, like many suggest with senator cory booker, that he's using his position in the united states senate to run for president? is that a conflict of interest? we don't examine these things in a political context because all the focus is political people focuses on business. >> this is an absolutely crazy set of arguments. first of all, we're trying -- >> thank you. >> let me just say this. donald trump came into government saying that he was going to drain the swamp. one of the rps he was elected is so many are concerned about all this money in politics. all this money in washington. that was the whole -- this
anti-establishment fervor that said effectively we don't want the status quo, we don't want politics as usual, we don't want big money in politics, that was what he was elected for. he's turning that around. this is another 180 death dpree turn or 360-degree turn on behalf of donald trump. >> no. draining the swamp has to do with washington, d.c., and the culture of washington, d.c., the culture of lobbyists, the culture of consultants, the consultant class, et cetera. >> and a big part of the culture of washington has been conflicts of interest that are scathing the letter of the law. maybe they observe the letter of the law but not the spirit. there are ethical problems. donald trump is creating an ethically challenged administration before he even begins. one other thing, i was amazed at that press conference yesterday, he says, oh, well, the public doesn't care. how does he know that? >> because he's the president-elect of the united states, that's how. >> just because you're the
president-elect, a lot of people held their noses and voted for donald trump. it doesn't mean he has ji legitimacy, that he can say to -- and regard all of the institutions of democracy as his play things from now on. being president doesn't give you a license to undermine the integrity of your government. >> i understand, secretary reich, that you and your colleagues op your side of the line are going to be making this argument for four years or eight years. >> this is not about that. >> i think donald trump understands that. but the american people made their decision. it's over. get on with it. >> what are you talking about? nothing is over. he could be impeached in a year from now. >> ah. >> jeff, you made the point, you can't tell his sons not to be in business. the question is should donald trump still have an ownership of the business? he could have handed it all over to the sons and, you know,
completely stepped out of it, not just in the running of it but actually in any ownership. >> are we going to say to any businessman who runs for office you can't do this? >> but there are rules for -- >> that's what we say. we say you have to get out of your business. and there's something called article 1 section 9 of the constitution. the emoluments clause which says particularly -- >> mr. secretary -- >> let me finish. if your businesses are international, you have got to be especially careful not to get any cash from foreign governments because then you are actually violating the constitution of the united states. >> then mr. secretary it should have been applied to secretary clinton because the clinton foundation is in essence a business. >> well, secretary clinton was not -- one, she was not president of the united states. >> she was secretary of state. >> and they started to make -- the clintons started to make changes that i wish they had made long before in terms of
their holdings, but they put -- she put her holdings into -- everybody puts their holdings into a blind trust. when i was secretary of labor, i had to put all of my -- >> the foundation -- >> i had to put my holdings into a trust. so i would not make any decisions that affected in any way anything that i had invested in. do you understand how important this is from the standpoint of public integrity and public trust? >> the trump team is saying because their interpretation is the white house is not an agency they don't need to go by the same rules that people in the trump transition that secretaries have to go through. secretary reich and jeffrey lord, thank you. ahead, how one of trump's nominees faired in his hearing. the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine.
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pleb's disparagement of u.s. intelligence agencies was part of the backdrop at the confirmation hearing of mike pompeo, the pick to lead the cia, during his gliling before the party, he broke ranks with donald trump on torture and on russia and the threat it poses. pamela brown reports. >> do you accept the conclusions of the i.c. regarding russia? >> everything i've seen suggests to me the report has an analytical product that is sound. >> reporter: today mike pompeo testifying in front of the senate select committee on intelligence, blaming russia for interfering in the election.
>> it's pretty clear about what took place here. about russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on american democracy. this was an dprif action taaggr taken by the senior leadership within russia and we have an obligation to protect that information. >> reporter: he blasted russia for its role in international affairs. >> russia has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying ukraine, threatening europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of isis. >> reporter: he also addressed reporting first on cnn that u.s. intelligence chiefs provided a synopsis of allegations compiled by a former british intelligence official to president-elect trump and president obama. the specific allegations which cnn has not verified or included in its reporting claim that people within trump's campaign communicated with russia before the election and also that the russians have compromising personal information about the
president-elect. >> these are unsubstantiated allegations. i will continue to pursue foreign intelligence collection with vigor no matter where the facts lead. >> reporter: and pompeo, who was once a supporter of enhanced interrogation techniques, split from trump on his campaign promise to bring back waterboarding. >> would i approve waterboarding? you bet your ass i'd approve it. >> can you commit to this committee that you will comply with that law and that the cia is out of the enhanced interrogation business? >> yes. you have my full commitment to that, senator. >> reporter: next week will also be busy with hearings on tuesday, ryan zinke goes before committee for interior secretary. betsy devoss for education second to secretary. wednesday three hearings, wilbur
ross, scott pruitt, and nikki haley for the u.n. ambassador post. there are still three posts that have not been scheduled yet for treasury, health and human secretary nominee as well as labor so we don't know the dates of those hearings yet. back to you. >> just ahead, president obama gives vice president joe biden a surprise sendoff. as you'll see it's a real tearjerk tearjerker. at the top of the hour, cnn's town hall with paul ryan, taking questions about his party's strategy for the fist 100 days of the new trump administration. mom, i just saved a lot of money
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today president obama surprised joe biden by awarding him the highest medal of freedom. a tribute as moving as it was ex speng spected, so much biden was left momentarily speechless. >> folks don't feel like they know joe the politician, they feel like they know the person. what makes him laugh, what he believes, what he cares about, where he came from. pretty much every time he speaks, he treats us to some wisdom from the nuns who taught him in grade school. [ laughter ] >> or an old senate colleague, but of course, most frequently sited, kathryn and joseph senior, his mom and dad. no one is better than you but you're better than nobody. [ laughter ] >> bravery resides in every
heart and yours is fierce and clear. when you get knocked down, joey, get up, get up. [ laughter ] >> get up. [ applause ] >> that's where he got those broad shoulders, that's where he got that biden heart and through his life, through trial after trial, he has never once forgotten the values. for the final time as president, i am pleased to award our nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom. [ applause ]
>> mr. president, dthis honor i a -- is not only well beyond what i dezeserve but it's a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit. i don't deserve this, but i know it came from the president's heart. it's indebted to you. i'm indebted to your friendship. i'm indebted to your family, and as i'll tell you, i'll end on a humorous note, we're having lunch and mostly and it's -- it's neater one of our minds.
we talk about family a lot, and about six months in, the president looks at me and says you know what joe? you know what surprises me? how we've become such good friends. i said surprised you? [ laughter ] >> but that is candid obama. [ laughter ] >> and it's real and mr. president, you know as long as there is breath in me, i'll be there for you, my whole family will be and i know, i know it is precr mutual. >> he got an award given to few. gloria borger, watching that, at least in the public arena, it's very rare that politicians get surprised very often. it does seem like the vice president was genuinely surprised. >> he was genuinely surprised. he thought he was going to yet another ordinary farewell vent. his staff kept it a secret from
him and i was told by one of his senior advisors that in fact, this was an idea that was hatched awhile back by the president himself who wanted to do something to honor joe biden and he thought this would be appropria appropriate. >> john, you know, the relationship between a president and vice president, it's usually born of political, talk about the relationship between these two men and how it compares to what we have seen in past relationships. >> the biggest difference, anderson, over time most of the vice presidential relationships get worse or there are three or four big breaking points near the end. al gore was very frustrated at the end with bill clinton. they had policy fights, policy differences during the clinton presidency and al gore had differences because of the prominent role. at the end it was because of monica lewinsky. bill clinton wasn't welcome on the campaign trail. incredibly tight and important sor soured and not only frustration but the president publicly
disagreed on north korea, on iran and other steps. this relationship has gotten better. has it always been perfect? no. the vice president got ahead of the president on same-sex marriage and other examples of communications, frustration on the obama team with vice president biden and the biden team was frustrated early in the presidential campaign where they thought before the vice president had said i won't run, that president obama was putting his thumb on the scale for hillary clinton. so not perfect, but remarkable, actually, and the personal part of it is real. that's not an act. that's real. >> gloria, what do you make of the relationship? >> i think that it's aged well and i think that these two men particularly in the last years of the administration relay to each other as family men and as fathers, and we know that when beau biden got sick that there was this moment that joe biden told us about on cnn where he knew that he would have to help his son pay for medical bills, and that there this was moment in the oval office where the
president said to, to biden, biden said he would have to sell his house and the president said to him don't do that, joe, i'll help you out. and biden told that story today and it got him in trouble with the president, but it just tells you something about their close personal relationship as fathers and as real family men who care about their families so deeply. >> john, that was certainly something we heard echoed by president obama in his speech in chicago. >> look, the president is going out. they paid tribute, the moving part was the tribute to michelle obama but make no mistake, if you're president and you talk to president and do this job for eight years as barack obama has done, george w. bush has done and bill clinton before him, which is rare in the history, three successive two-term presidencies, it's a beast. so many decisions maybe he was the last guy in the room but the president carries the burden of
that. presidents come to respect the people who are loyal from day one to the very final day. a lot of the staff leaves. it's a grurling job. >> that does it for us. the cnn paul ryan town hall starts now. [ applause ] we're at the george washington university for a cnn town hall event with the speaker of the house of representatives, paul ryan. republican of wisconsin. i want to welcome the viewers in the united states and around the world. we're being seen on cnn, cnn in espanol and cnn international and on cnn channel 116 on