tv Smerconish CNN January 14, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. t-minus six days to donald trump's to the white house but the honeymoon seems already to have ended. congressman john lewis said he will skip the inauguration because he does not view trump as a legitimate president. never allowing an insult to pass, donald trump capped lewis a typical no-action, all-talk
politician. >> and plus a new d.o.j. report charges chicago police with excessive use of force and lack of accountability. but if jeff sessions gets confirmed as attorney general, which seems likely, will he embrace those findings? and if you had any doubt that tensions are high about russia, well, nato just sent these u.s. troops into poland creating the biggest u.s. military presence in europe since the cold war. and as you can imagine, russia's not happy. yet donald trump's national security adviser, lieutenant general michael flynn called the russian ambassador to the u.s. the same day that president obama imposed sanctions against russia, and trump is now saying he might remove those sanctions. but first, here last saturday i commented on the then just
released, declassified sum rmar regarding -- what i didn't know then, what none of you news then was that the classified version given to the president and the plbt included a two-page summary of an unsubstantiated report suggesting that russia iengaged in kompromat. two points. first, just like i said about the intel report, we lack the evidence necessary to make an informed judgment on the
unsubstantiated file. second, the presumed author of that dossier, christopher steele, a respected retired britt, spy has gone underground. according to numerous published reports, steele was last seen in his home southwest of london last wednesday, after had your the stakes when dealing with vladimir putin and russia can be much more than political sport. they can be life and death. just ask marina. she's the wife of a former russian spy, alexander sasha, poisoned with radioactive poison
and died. he came to the same conclusion. >> the operation to kill him was probably approved by mr mr. papruchev, then head of the fsb and also president putin. >> is it any wonder, then, that christopher steele is now m.i.a.? joining me is the widow of alexander. you heard that probably vladimir putin was responsible for your husband's murder. do you have any doubts? >> first of all, it's very important to remind people for what happened a year ago because it was the first time when an official name of putin was just saying in this context because
before never, of it was approved putin even probably could behind of this crime. it very important to know who you're going to work with, even now with this. >> do you have any doubt in your mind that it was vladimir putin who killed your husband? >> it was sasha himself who said before he died on his death bed it was definitely putin behind his death. i tried to prove. >> lugowar is a member of russian parliament and he received all support directly
from vladimir putin. >> do you know whether our president-elect, president-elect trump, has been accepting of the conclusion of that u.k. inquiry into the murder of your husband? >> it's difficult it f it was based fully on evidence of sash ashe's murder and fully investigated this criminal case. but the inquiry was based on a two part and secret part wharkts we don't know, the material, and we don't know what was behind of closing door when he was hearing about this closing material. and i can't say exactly what was more than we heard in this public inquiry. >> i know that you're paying close attention to the case of christopher steele. do you think based on what we
know of this. >> of course. it not difficult not to be closed because all newspaperthis case. it immediately was linked to i can't say i cannot use this person or sasha made him at all. but all stories about my husband's -- how do you prove this? >> when you crossed the serious line your life became endentured. >> your husband's murder was a decade ago and you've already explained to me you. >> do you thatrussia's borders
and carry out incidents such as the one that killed why are it was a radioactive material used to kill my husband. and this material, you can't simply buy from internet to buy in a pharmacy. . sfwrrn sfwrrn sfwrrnlsand now we'll never know what was the next victim and what operation was this taken against. >> a final question sfwm the mart of putin as political sport. i invited you hear today
because. fuchgs -- >> not in m. any political motivation. it was a criminal case and murder with using prior acts with blownium. when i heard comments. mr. trump about this case and about public inquiry verdict, i realized mr. trump doesn't realize how it's insidious. it f. >> what comments by donald trump are you rrg prfrp sfrfrp.
>> marina, we rish you good things. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> now, more on the man who prepared the dossier on trump. former appropriate, psh abroftly, rsh in the 90s, fruchlt cnn np fchl what is his reputation within the intelligence zmunt. >> i reached out to friend who know him in the british service and our service. he's a very credible person, he livedash snrnlt if the credibility of the source of the information that we can talk about is the bigger issue. >> well, speak to that issue. because would christopher steele have been in a position where he
could have england that intelligence firsthand or would he have been reliant on others? >> in this case he would have been reliant on others. he was out of power. he didn't have the resources of the intelligence community, the bittish es -- or question of more serious danger. the report is it's not the intelligence or the report that you've seen here. i don't mean to suggest it's an intelligence report but it's the stuff not in the report. it's the information about the sources. his roar said source a what we
would do in the intelligence community for every one page in a might go over to people like full mudd to really about, who are their super sets, why is this person talking? we would have to know if that person really has the information access that they say they have and can they be trusted along before we put out a roar so let's assume that this had come your way. what, then, are the considerations as to whether it should rise to the left of a briefing of a president and a president-elect? >> look, let's be clear here. this is gossip, it's not intelligence. so your question obviously is appropriate, why do you pass gossip on to the president of the united states? i think this is a decision
debatable. >> has. >> number two, we have passing this time on to the fbi, an fbis that been attacked and sometimes rid kpum so when you have a decision to put this fchbl sffrmt find out the other channels that the fbi is investigating information that mr. trump had a relationship with russians. what do you think would happen in that circumstance stance in nch the fact that this is question under it, question and the fact that he questioned the fbi must have different
officials to say if woo don't tell him he's the president-elect, he'll got a bigger problem. >> steve: i will accept fill mud's gone. >> he seeks to gather this kind of data on. >> woman pleatly knowing, headquarters have no idea of cross reference it, interview people, find ut pmt p those of us under the thumb of the rgs frpg it sound very real to people who have been there. this is exactly how the russians
operate. whether that sell ashs stuff about mr. trump is true or not, i doubt it. but the feel of this is real. this is how the russians operate. the russians -- it been a police state for hundreds of years. they're the best in the world at this kind of compromising information, potentially using blackmail, collecting information on people when visitors we would go through a long wayne twrrng, to prepare for having our audiences bugged, everybody we talked to being interviewed. this is how the russians do this it how they've done forever. so the strange details that would prn or not so drazy in the
russian sense. >> tack my final 30 seconds. i hope you'll speak to the way putin tax nvgs. >> i know the mitt owe. . in we're involved in conversation fnk has not trt the pross sfr pross led by a dictator in russia who murder opponents. let not take this lightly. this is not a political game. this is real life. >> thank you, gentlemen. appreciate you being here. up ahead, did fbi director james comey's actions and inactions change the results of the u.s. election? and should who now resign? zit classified and we can't tell you anything.
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fbi director james comey resign. that's what was urged in an editorial yesterday. if he demonstrated anything last year, it's that he's lost the trust of nearly everyone in washington, along with every american who believes the fbi must maintain its reputation. and now among areas of inquiry, ko comey sent to the congress questions about newly found e-mails and then said they didn't amount to anything. on friday when he met behind closed doors with members of congress, he refused to answer
their inquiries. joining me now, former united states attorney general under president george w. bush, michael mukasey. judge, there are three areas of inquiry by the spector general, one pertains to fbi director comey's video. let's watch this and remind us all of what he said. >> although we did not find clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. >> he said that the circumstance called for unusual transparency, hence he stood up and offered that explanation. did he cross a line? >> i think he crossed several lines and i said it before. i think it was not his function to call to question whether he
should or should not be prosecuted. that was something for the attorney general or her designee and i think he went way out of his lane. >> in the second instance, it was 11 days and it was the whole anthony weiner e-mail cache, he wrote to the congress notifying there was newly developed information. was that also beyond the line, over the line for what he did? >> i think part of the problem is that when he held a press conference and remember that secretary clinton's campaign billed that as a clean bill of health, he then felt he had to correct the record, there might be more and then recorrect the record. it's like watching a car gradually go out of control. focusing on that is missing the investigation here. there was no grand jury empanelled. the records of cheryl mills and heather samuelsson, their
computers, had to be consulted at their behest and one of the conditions was that they wouldn't look at anything past a certain date and that they would then destroy the computers and the fbi allowed that. there was an e-mail in march of 2015 that was leaked by wikileaks that showed that john podesta was very concerned on e-mails on her server. that was march in 2015. the condition with heather mills was that they not look at anything past january 2015. it's like investigating a bank robbery on whether the bank robber ran a red light on the way to the bank. >> big picture, do you agree
with the wall street journal that he should resign? >> big picture i think so and we ought to get a complete soup-to-nuts account of what happened this. maybe at the end of it president trump will pardon hillary clinton, which will be poetic and justice and we can get on to things like russia and iran. >> thank you. >> whether fbi director comey resigns, did his actions affect the election results? joining me now hillary clinton supporter, former white house special counsel in her husband's administration, lanny davis. lanny, the president-elect has been tweeting on this subject. that won't surprise you. let me put up on the screen a recent tweet of his on the subject. what the hillary clinton's people complaining about with respect to the fbi? based on the information they had, she should never have been allowed to run. guilty as hell, they were very nice to her.
she lost because she campaigned in the wrong states. no enthusiasm. to donald trump this is all sour grapes. >> to donald trump, barack obama was not a citizen and created that smith and continued it after it was proven otherwise. for donald trump to ignore the constitutional presumption of innocence, pronounce someone guilty as hell and lead cheers to lock her up without any trial or anything are the words of somebody who thinks like a fascist. you don't pronounce guilt without trial. one of the reasons i have respect for former attorney general mukasey is he recognizes a law enforcement officer has no right, it is unethical and a violation, supreme violation, to offer an opinion on evidence. that is not james comey's role. donald trump doesn't care about the constitution and due
process, but james comey was a great prosecutor, a courageous deputy attorney general who stood for the rule of law in the hospital room with attorney general ashcroft, as we all know. i challenge his extremely careless judgment and i use extremely careless ironically because he had no right or role to express an opinion. he's not allowed to as a law enforcement officer. indeed a prosecutor is not allowed to opine on evidence before due process and a trial with everybody following the rules. >> lanny, you'd have to acknowledge comey was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. if he made a decision he wasn't going to recommend charges against secretary clinton without saying a word, people would have questioned his motives. he stand up and offices an place and uses the verbiage "extreme
carelessness," they get on him for that, too. there's no way -- >> i fundamentally disagree with this. >> quickly. i have ground to cover. >> quickly, there was no rock in hard place. following ethics has nothing to do with political considerations. he acted unethically and improperly not on when he opined on extremely careless, he has no right to do that, but he had no obligation to write a letter and you left this out in your characterization of the october 27th letter in which he said i know nothing about the evidence. he did not have to write that letter, there was no pressure to write a letter where he knew nothing. he could have waited ten days out until he had something. it turns out four days before the election he said i have nothing. there was no difficulty in his resisting political pressure. that's not his job. >> congressman john lewis is questioning the legitimacy of
the trump presidency already. donald trump never one to let a sleight pass without response has tweeted this morning. put it up on the screen and read it allowed. "congressman john lewis should spend more time fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention complaining about the election results. all talk, talk, talk, no action or results. sad! >> donald trump attacking an iconic hero of selma, who to this day is a hero in the civil rights movement. he has a right to say
illegitimacy when we now know that the hacking weighed in favor of donald trump. whether that caused hillary clinton to lose is impossible to prove. but one half a percent change in pennsylvania, michigan and wisconsin certainly there's a strong case to be made that the october 27th comey letter and the russian hacking caused one half a percent change in those three states. i can at least say there's a strong inference the same way if you go to bed at night and there's no snow on the ground and you wake up in the morning and there's snow on the ground, can i prove that is snowed? no, but the strong inference is that hillary clinton would have been president but for james comey's october 27th letter and but for vladimir putin. >> and i would simply add that i agree with the part where you said we'll never know definitively because there were so many other intangibles, it's hard to say that she lost just because of this. lanny days, thank you as always.
i appreciate it. keep tweeting me @smerconish. "if right-ring represent was refusing to accept a clinton victory, you and the rest of cnn hacks would be going out of your minds. >> my thought process is evidentiary. that's my folks. and the chips, they can then fall where they might, harming conservatives, harming liberals. that doesn't matter to me. i want the truth. coming up, friday the department of justice slammed the police. how will that sit with incoming attorney general jeff sessions' very pro-police views? we'll discuss.
chicago police officers are poorly trained, too quick to use excessive force and too apt to use that force against plaqblac and latino, according to a 164-page report released by the u.s. d.o.j. on friday. the report describes, quote, a culture in which officers expect to use force and not be questioned about the need for or
propriety of that use. the report also could be firmed a long-time contention of black and hispanic chicagoans that police unfairly target minorities. the city has signed an agreement to work with federal officials and an independent overseer. among the remaining questions, will the decidedly pro place incoming attorney general jeff sessions embrace the findings? joining me now former chicago police officer brian warner, who is the chair of chicago police survivors and civil rights attorney areva martin. let's look at the data relative to police stops. unquestionably what has gone down by 80% of the number of chicago police stops between august of 2015 and august of 2016. now let's look at the murder rate. the murder rate of chicago in 2016 in comparison to new york and los angeles, in fact, i should say new york and los angeles combined from a distance, it looks, areva, like
there's a choice. either you let the police take the gloves off and the murder comes down or you put them in short pants and then you've got this explosion of crime. respond to that logic. >> that's a completely follows narrative, michael. you're making the assumption that making unconstitutional stops of african-americans and latinos somehow impacts the murder rate. you're conflating thanksgiviing have not been analyzed and should not be conflated. i was a college student in chicago in the 80s and the racist reputation of the chicago police department was known widely in that city. african-americans and latinos in chicago have known for decades that they were targeted by police officers, that their rights were violated and some of the facts in that report are really too hard to imagine. taking young black men into gang
territories, threatening them by saying we're going to expose you to other gang members, using the f word repeatedly, using excessive force when there was no purpose or justification for using it. and now the question becomes what happens to that investigation, what happens to those findings when we have jeff sessions saying he doesn't believe that the federal government should investigate police departments, nor should it feel the kind of civil rights lawsuits that we've seen under eric holder and loretta lynch. i am terrified for the african-american men and women that live in the city of chicago because there is no guarantee their rights will be protected under the attorney general. >> i'm going to come back to jeff sessions in a moment. brian, first respond to the way in which i looked at that data and i said, well, maybe this is what happens when the police feel inclined to take it down a few notches. >> well, let me first start by saying my worst nightmare has just been confirmed because we're using this report as not a
cool to grow and learn from and move forward, we're using it for another example to vilify the police. if we can take this report and look at it in its entirety and implement all these things that the d.o.j. is recommending, we have the best-trained police department. we put cameras on everyone, we put tasers on everybody's hip, we train in deescalation, we train in crisis intervention and we have the best trained, best equipped police department money can buy. great thing, right? >> i'm not vilifies the police department and i don't think areva vilifies the police. to look at the data is to conclude that when there are fewer encounters with the public by the police, there is a dramatic increase in the murder rate. >> sure. we talked about that last week. we talked about the reasons. if i can finish my sentence, the -- we get the best trained police department, we change our practices and policies, we do
everything that you're asking us to do. what has not changed is what's happening in the communities. we have a real epidemic here, young blackmen a men are killin themselves at a rate of 800 a year. 25 people shot and two murdered -- i'm sorry? >> go ahead, areva. >> i'm just going to say black-on-black crime has nothing to do with the findings in that report. we can deal with black-on-black crime, but we also have to deal with what that report tells us. it is unambiguous that the chicago police department has violated a pattern and practice of african-american and latinos' rights for decades in the city of chicago. that has to be dealt with and dealt with very acceseparately
the fact that you're talking about, which is african-americans killing other african-americans. let's deal with the police. they are hired to serve. that's very different than what's happening in the communities in chicago and we can't conflate the two. >> brian, i'm going to let you respond to that but let me say to areva, if i might. i hear this criticism from radio calle callers, don't we spend more time evaluating the police conduct than we do investigating the underlying problems that create the -- yes, that's correct. but let's talk about the issues of poor schools and lack of jobs and lack of opportunities in those communities. when pundits want to talk about black-on-black crime, they want to talk about thugs, they want to talk about the causes but
they don't want to talk about the things that are happening in the communities that perpetuate that crime. i want to have a conversation about lack of economic opportunities, i want to have a conversation about the poor school systems, the inability of african-american men -- the criminalization of small crimes like marijuana. let's talk about the privatization of the prison population. there's so many things we should be and we'd love to talk about but we can't ignore the things in that report that justify a really deep dive into the violations of the rights of african-americans in the city of chicago. >> let me give brian, you got the final 30 seconds. go ahead. >> i certainly think we're being short sighted by saying these things are not all connected. the breakdown of the family unit in the black community, the lack of positive black male role models, all these things that
we've talked about, the 52% unemployment rate of black males between ages of 18 and 24, these are not police issues. these are the root of the cause of the hopelessness and senselessness of what happens on our streets today. we have to stop pointing fingers and saying you're the problem, you're the problem. we need to get together, the mayor can't stand up there and say this report is all about the police. we know that's too short sighted. >> brian warner and areva, i wish we had more time. it's an important subject, i wish we had more opportunity. thank you. imagine that you're moving in just six days but didn't have to worry about packing. next friday white house staff will handle all the details of getting the ballparks out and
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completed in just six short hours. it's one of many abrupt transition to rock the white house, including having a nonresident first lady. joining me is the author of two relevant books on the residence, inside the private world of the white house and "first women," the grace and power of america's modern first ladies. kate, if it were my house or your house it, would be in cartons right now anticipating six days from now what will transpire. what makes this move most unique? >> well, by this time in 2009 the obamas' interior decorator had already walked around the residence with the chief usher of the white house, who is essentially the general manager of the white house and gotten into details of where headboards and dressers should go. right now there has been no
social secretary named for melania. it's really a question mark how involved the trumps are going to be in redecorating. i think it was because they were surprised that they won. so this specific issue has taken a back seat to some of the bigger parts of this administration. but it's an incredible feat and it will happen on friday. you know, this five-hour period around 11 a.m. in the morning and around 5:00 in the afternoon when -- a six-hour period when the staff has to move the new family in and the obamas out. it will be happening in some capacity on friday. >> how much control does the incoming president have over the physical space in i remember reading that president obama wanted a bigger shower head. are there limits to what you can do? >> there are. for instance, the obamas wanted a wall closing up malia's room on the second floor of the white house in the living quarters. something like that that's structure, you have to get
permission from the white house curators to do. you're right, if president obama wanted a rainfall shower head and he got one. there are little things like that. can you do some painting. but you can't get in there and do any of that until the family's gone. i any that's a really important point, that the staff feel really loyal until the family there now and they don't want to shove them out the door. it not until noon on friday, january 20th that the new first family has temporary ownership of this house. so when the obamas, they moved a lot of their things into the ground floor of white house and just kind of kept them there until the bushes were out so they could just quickly move them upstairs. so it remains to be seen if that's being done now. >> speaking of the staff, something that we will not get to see but one of the most poignant moments at least historically is a meet and green between the outgoing first family and those who have worked
most closely with them. >> all of our eyes are trained on the ceremony but what is really touching is this meeting and 7:30 in the morning between the president, the and these are the people who they've grown to know. their family -- when butlers pass away, the first lady goes to their funeral in some cases and delivers the yule gi as laura bush did for this butler, james ramsey who pass away. this is when the staff says good-bye. there's usually not a dry eye in the house. and they usually give the president a box with the flag that's flying the first full day he was inaugurated and the flag that was flying on his last day in office. still to come, your best and worst tweets to me.
i don't see them until you see them. let's find out together what just came in. smerconish if putin was not aware of the hacking and other things he's completely lost control of russia, i thought it was important to have maria here to bring home the serious stakes we're discussing when we talk about putin. in the statsd we discuss this as if it's political sport when in fact it is political blood sport when you're deal with putin. next tweet, put it up there. smerconish, think you can be truthful? were you -- pardon me with your cnn viewers and be clear the actual election wasn't hacked, dnc was and voters made decision in. >> donald trump said this week he believes the russians were responsible for the hacking. i don't think there's any disagreement now as to russia and their role. the only issue that's subject to debate, as i discussed with lanny davis is whether it altered the outcome.
people will be debating that forever. one more. put it on the screen if you can. smerconish, in comey resigns and trump chooses fbi director, why oh why would democrats want that? >> i don't know that anyone is satisfied with the status quo rel di to ative to comey. but he was cdamned if he did an damned if he didn't. he knew he was in a no-win situation. he probably shouldn't have had the presser. that's my takeaway. one more if you can put it up there quickly. smerconish, james comey misled congress, the public to help elect trump. yes he needs to resign. his conduct at different stages helped and hurt donald trump. i don't buy into it. i don't think it's clear that you can say comey set out to help or hurt trump or clinton. thank you for all of the tweets. i'll see you back here next
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top of the hour. you're live in the cnn newsroom. i'm poppy harlow in new york. we begin with the growing list of democratic congressmen and women who say they will skip the president-elect's inauguration. six days from now. a list that seems to be expanding by the hour. the latest count 16 members from the house from states all across the country, including georgia congressman john lewis. and john congers of michigan. congresswoman barbara lee made the decision days