tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN February 9, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
>> "at this hour with kate bolduan" begins right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. as the world waits for the imminent ruling on president trump's travel ban, any moment the president will swear in his new attorney general, now former alabama senator jeff sessions. in a bruising nomination battle, senator elizabeth warren called him a rhacist and was silenced n the senate floor. any moment now, democrat chuck assumer and other democrats are expected to take the microphone to take on another of president trump's nominees, andrew puzder
under fire for admitting he employed an undocumented worker in his home. first, the war of words over the president's supreme court pick. the president fires back after his supreme court nominee answered to trump's attack on federal judges. neil gorsuch calling those attacks disheartening and demoralizing. for more let me go to cnn justice correspondent pamela brown. pamela, we're waiting any moment for the country to have a new attorney general sworn in. that could be coming at any moment. this also comes as neil gorsuch is making maybe more news than he wanted to. >> reporter: that's absolutely right, which is highly unusual for a new supreme court nominee. what we have been told from senator blumenthal and others is that when he was asked about donald trump's comments about judges, calling the judge in washington state a "so-called judge," you know, lashing out against the judiciary, saying that they're biased, calling the oral hearings in the ninth circuit "disgraceful," when he was asked about that, he said
those comments were disheartening and demoralizing, according to senator blumenthal, and an attack on his brothers and sisters in the judiciary is an attack on all judges. and a spokesperson for judge gorsuch confirmed to cnn yesterday that he did indeed make those comments. but now donald trump is lashing out, saying that senator blumenthal is misrepresenting what judge gorsuch said. there seems to be some contradiction there. but certainly it's highly unusual for a brand-new supreme court nominee such as neil gorsuch who was rolled out to such fanfare by donald trump to be making this kind of news with these kind of comments. clearly he's been put in this interesting dynamic, interesting situation. democratic senators are saying this is not convincing them yet that he is going to be independent of the white house, that he's not going to be beholden to the white house.
they actually want him to take it a step further and speak out against this publicly. it's unclear what kind of forum they would want that to happen in, he hasn't even had his confirmation hearings yet. you can bet this will come up in the confirmation hearings as well, kate. >> absolutely, you can assure that will come up in confirmation hearings. republicans think this shows his independence, democrats say it doesn't show his independence enough. >> reporter: right. >> great to see you, pamela. breaking news also on capitol hill, democrats are continuing their fight against the president's cabinet nominees, now taking aim at labor secretary nominee andy puzder, ceo of the parent company of hardee's, carl's jr. phil mattingly joins us. phil, democrats are going after puzder very much in the same way that they've taken on other nominees, with very little success. what's different this time? >> reporter: what's different this time, kate, there's not an
all-in lockstep confirmation that republicans will be behind this nominee. what we've seen repeatedly is no matter what democrats did, no matter what kind of levers they tried to pull procedurally to slow the process down, they simply could not break off enough republicans. now, there's a very good chance andy puzder ends up being confirmed, that's what senate republican leadership has continued to say. but over the course of the last 48 hours, particularly as it became clear, as you noted, that he had employed an undocumented immigrant for a number of years and then worked to help her move through the legalization process, a handful of republican senators have decided to who would their support. that doesn't mean they're going to vote no, kate, but that means they're not all in yet. this is the type of issue that's sunk a number of cabinet nominees in the past. democrats see an opening, because of that. during this press conference that's about to kick off here in a couple of minutes, they're going to ask andy puzder to withdraw his name. obviously we've been given no indication by the trump folks that that is going to happen. but you see democrats sense at least a modicum of an opening here, one that they really haven't been able to grab onto
on any other nominee up to this point, kate. >> and they clearly feel they've got some momentum, coming on the heels of the senate floor battle between elizabeth warren and basically the rest of senate republicans over jeff sessions, right? >> reporter: yes. look, no question. the energy has been there on the outside. the problem has been on the inside. they just simply on their own don't have the power to stop anything. the belief now, i talked to one senate aide this morning who said, if there's going to be one, this is going to be the one. i've heard that on a number of different nominees over the course of the last month, so take that with a grain of salt. but what they believe is, you can find the energy on the outside that we saw with education secretary betsy devos, that you saw with jeff sessions as well, with the kind of unwillingness for every republican senator to get behind this nominee in lockstep right now, they see an opening. how big is that opening, how real is that opening? we'll have to wait and see. andy puzder's confirmation hearing, which has been postponed three, maybe four times, is now officially on the schedule again next week. that is going to be a much-watch
as the democrats really try and rally that support and take that momentum, as you noted, into an opportunity to try and sink at least one of president trump's nominees, kate. >> momentum, again. but you just could i have have to say, look at the scoreboard, they don't have the votes. but we'll listen to see what happens when democrats take to the microphones. good to see you, phil, thank you. it's he said, she said playing out in washington right now, except this time it's more of a game of he said, yes, he said it, no, seriously, he actually did say it. supreme court nominee judge neil gorsuch answered to president trump's attacks on federal judges, calling them, quote, disheartening and demoralizing. that's according to at least three sitting senators, as far as who has spoken out publicly, plus kelly ayotte, plus the spokesman for judge gorsuch. the one person who doesn't seem to think the judge actually said
this is president trump. joining us is kirsten powers and cnn analyst alex burns. alex, all of these people say gorsuch said it. where do you think the confusion is with the white house? >> i don't think it's clear that the white house broadly is confused here, kate. i think the president is out there on twitter trying to make this claim that no, the judge didn't really say anything intended to push back on my own comments. but that may just be president trump individually sort of saying what he has to say in order to feel like he hasn't lost the loyalty of a member of his team. what we've learned in the primary, what we've learned in the general election so far in the administration, loyalty is everything to donald trump. and he has not tolerated virtually any criticism from inside the tent. so even this, you know, pretty well-calibrated statement, disheartening and demoralizing is not exactly a thunderous denunciation, that is more than trump has ever accepted from a member of his team in the past. >> and the fact that senator
blumenthal has a whole lot to say about that private meeting, the fact that he said to msnbc that gorsuch gave him the go-ahead to come out and publicly disclose what they talked about in the meeting, that tells you what? >> well, i just talked to somebody at the white house. so there's been confusion because the spokesperson had confirmed that this happened. so i asked, why did he confirm it? and the person at the white house said, he was confirming the specific words were used. he wasn't in the room, he wasn't confirming what was said. and according to people in the room, what was said is basically what gorsuch's statement from kelly ayotte said, that he was speaking generally. at this point people are going to have to decide whether they trust neil gorsuch and what his recollection is or whether they trust the democratic senators. >> hold on, i want to turn to this really quick. president trump is reigniting his on again/off again attacks today with senator john mccain. this time for his assessment of
the recent u.s. raid in yemen. the white house has been calling the mission a success for the intelligence that it gathered. navy s.e.a.l. william ryan owens, you will remember, lost his life in the operation. we'll get back to this conversation in a second but let's go live to the white house, the oval office. jeff sessions is about to become the next attorney general of the united states. >> i've worked with them over the years. i know how good they are. their talents need to be directed at this nation's benefit in a lot of different ways. we have a crime problem. i wish the blip -- i wish the rise that we're seeing in crime in america today were some sort of aberration or a blip. my best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a dangerous permanent trend that places the health and safety of the american people at risk. we will deploy the talents and abilities of the department of justice in the most effective
way possible to confront this rise in crime and to protect the people of our country. we have an increased threat, since i was united states attorney, from terrorism. mr. president, you've spoken firmly on that. you've led this nation to say we're going to respond to the threat of terrorism and you can count on your department of justice to do so on an effective way. you've said something that i believe and i think the american people believe, that we need a lawful system of immigration, one that serves the interests of the people of the united states. that's not wrong. that's not immoral. that's not indecent. we admit a million people a year plus lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down wages of working americans. it is an honor beyond words to serve under you and your leadership. you're putting together a great
cabinet which is just a thrill for me to have the opportunity to join. and i look forward to making sure that every ounce of strength i have and that the people of the department of justice have is going to be focused on preserving and protecting the constitution and the safety of this country. we will defend the laws of the country as passed by congress. we'll depend the lawful orders of the president of the united states with vigour and determination. thank you all for being here. i see a lot of good friends. and may god bless all our efforts. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much.
preventing violence against federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officials. very important. all very important. thank you all very much. jeff, you're going to do a fantastic job. good luck. >> and with that you saw president trump say right there to now-attorney-general jeff sessions, "you're going to do a great job, good luck "adam
schiff is a top democrat on the house intelligence committee, congressman, thank you so much for joining me. we now have a new attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions. your reaction. >> well, deep concern. i spent six years with the justice department as assistant us attorney in los angeles. i have a great love for the department. i think there's a lot of concern among members of that incredible agency about the future direction of the department. in particular, many of us on a bipartisan basis have supported criminal justice reform. that's something he's opposed in the senate. i'm concerned with this rash of law in some parts of the country designed specifically and politically to disenfranchise minority communities from voting. we saw in the obama administration a pushback against those efforts. i'm afraid we won't see that same position from this new attorney general. and that's a grave concern to me. >> jeff sessions saying he will
vigorously enforce the laws of the country and the president's actions. this back and forth now between senator john mccain, the president of the united states, and the white house, over the raid in yemen. a success or a failure? john mccain said the mission is not a success, in part pointing -- partly because he was pointing to the death of a navy s.e.a.l. in that raid. the white house, though, has said over and over again, the operation was a huge success, and also now saying that no one should criticize or talk about or evaluating a mission like that. who should be talking about or evaluating a mission like that, congressman? >> i certainly think if anybody has standing to talk about it, it's john mccain. look, all of us have a responsibility to do oversight, to question the administration, to make sure they're thinking out and thinking out seriously and thoughtfully what they're doing when they put american
service members in harms' way. i'll tell you this from an intelligence point of view, and the white house is using their characterization of this as a success based on the intelligence we've gathered, we don't know yet the full value of what was obtained. and sean spicer was out there immediately after this raid saying by any measure it's a success because of the information we got. they don't know, we don't know. we're going to see what we can exploit from what was obtained. but it's far too early to be crowing about this mission where we lost a navy s.e.a.l. and there were also civilian casualties. and clearly we're going to have to continue to hold this administration to account because they are going to impel-iimpe embellish and exaggerate the success of their efforts despite what the facts may show. >> if it's too early to call it a success, is it too early to suggest it's a failure, as john
mccain suggested? >> well, i think it's really too early, frankly, to characterize this in any way. it certainly was tragic in the loss of life. and regardless of whether we gained good intelligence or we don't from this, the navy s.e.a.l. that lost his life is a hero and we should honor his service. but from my point of view, i think it is too early to say. we had a raid, for example, in syria that was designed to capture the oil emir. it wasn't successful in carpeting him but it was successful in getting very valuable intelligence, lots of intelligence. now, we didn't have a loss of one of our service members as we did in the yemen raid. so it's going to have to be awfully valuable to justify the risk we put those service members to, and the phenomenal price that we paid. >> the broader point, what sean spicer said from the podium was that saying it is a failure on the part of john mccain, he said anyone who would call that
mission a failure is a disservice to the life of william ryan owens. do you think -- do you believe that to be true? >> no, i don't believe that to be true. and frankly i think honoring our service members, including those who have lost their lives, the best thing that we can do is be truthful about whether efforts are successful, whether we're making progress, whether we have met our objectives. so no, we need to speak out. and where we are not successful with a mission, we need to say so. we need to analyze what went wrong. we need to figure out what to do differently. if the reports are true, and the go-ahead for this mission was based on a dinner conversation that wasn't fully vetted, it wasn't fully thought out, that's a real problem. and we've already seen inaccurate administration from the administration. this was apparently not approved by the obama administration. and this may have been something broadly considered in terms of do we increase the tempo of
counterterrorism operations. but to try to lay the responsibility for this on the obama administration i think is completely false. so we need to -- >> but also saying this might not have been fully thought through before it was approved is also a very -- very strong statement. are you going to be investigating this? if you believe that to be true? >> the armed services committee will have primary jurisdiction over this because it was a military raid. we're certainly trying to do our oversight on the intelligence committee. but yes, it's very serious if these missions are being authorized in a kind of an ad hoc, ill-thought-out way, without proper thought to what the adverse consequences may be. let me give you one. right now the yemenis are pushing back against these counterterrorism operations. initially it seemed they might prohibit us from doing them. they'll certainly be much more reticent to approve these kind of operations in the future.
so there are costs we're already paying. frankly there are broader costs we're paying by this muslim ban because it's becoming toxic to work with our president, so getting approvals we need, whether for counterterrorism operations or the use of overhead assets, all of these things may become much more problematic if it's toxic to work with this president. >> congressman, let me also ask you about the president's supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch. he called attacks on fellow judges demoralizing and disheartening in meetings with lawmakers. republicans are now saying that -- all this morning i've heard them saying that him saying that in his meetings is proof that he's an independent jurist. you do not have a vote on neil gorsuch, but do you think with these statements he's made, he's locked up his confirmation with that? >> no, i don't think so at all. there may be something quite calculated in these statements. >> wereally?
>> and the willingness to have these comments published. >> congressman, these are democrats coming out saying this. are you saying that democrats chuck schumer, democrat senator blumenthal are in coordination with the white house? >> no, i'm saying it might have been quite calculated in terms of what judge gorsuch said. it may have been very well choreographed. he may have had very specific intention to use those terms knowing that essentially they would be leaked to the press. that might have been part of the confirmation strategy. i don't know. but i can say this, on the merits of whether he ought to be confirmed, that my own view is that given the tactic that was used by mitch mcconnell, given the fact that they did this deplorable thing to a co-equal branch of government by leaving it open for a year because they wanted to deprive president obama of the ability to appoint a justice, that tactic cannot be
rewarded, ratified by the approval of this justice. my own feeling is if the republicans don't put up someone moderate in the mode of merrick garland, and this justice is not, he ought to be rejected by democrats. so that's been my view all along. >> congressman adam schiff, always great to have you, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up for us, a commercial interruption straight from the white house. a pitch from the briefing room, nonetheless, to go shopping, and not just for any clothes but for trump brand clothes. the details on that, ahead. and right now, senator lindsey graham, a great close friend of senator john mccain, is weighing in on the back and forth that we were discussing between president trump and senator mccain over that raid in yemen. that's next. the future of business in new york state is already in motion. companies across the state are growing the economy, with the help of the lowest taxes in decades, a talented workforce, and world-class innovations. like in plattsburgh,
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and the nomination of andrew puzder, one of the most anti-worker nominees to any cabinet position and probably the most anti-worker nominee to the department of labor ever. remember the days when republicans would actually nominate labor leaders to be head of the department of labor? my fellow new yorker, peter brennan, was nominated by richard nixon. he was head of the building trades. this is amazing. they ought to withdraw puzder's nominee before he further embarrasses this administration and further exposes the hypocrisy of president trump in saying one thing to the workers of america and then doing another.
>> i want to thank senator schumer. >> all right. that was just moments ago, democrats calling on president trump's labor secretary nominee, andrew puzder, to withdraw his nomination. that of course was chuck schumer speaking at a press conference just moments ago. back with me right now, kirsten powers and alex burns. kirsten, democrats have not been successful in their attempts to spike the football, to ruin any of these, to derail any of these nominations. do you think there is a chance it could be different with puzder, is there something different about this? >> i think it's unlikely. i think the democrats think in the beginning they thought with devos they couldn't get any republicans on their side. they feel the more time they spend trying to go after these nominees, there's a possibility more information about come out about them and that could possibly pressure republicans to go against trump. i think it's very unlikely. but they're under a lot pressure, obviously, from their
base. teachers' unions are pushing for them to go after betsy devos, and labor unions are powerful in the democratic party so it's natural this would be one they would focus on. >> does it have to do with ant - anti-puzder or what puzder represents? >> i think it's both. other nominees would have had an easier time than puzder. because of his financial baggage, his ethics baggage, they've delayed the hearing a number of times, democrats have an opportunity that they wouldn't have had if president trump had chosen someone else that would have been confirmed more easily. >> chances that he'll be withdrawn? >> i will not go there. historically, when people don't make it through the senate, it's typically because they see the writing on the wall and they
pull out themselves, not because -- the scenario where someone like betsy devos would get voted down on the floor, we haven't seen that in a long time. >> this also again is not a typical year for these nominees. great to see you guys, thank you so much. also moments ago, senator lindsey graham, a close friend of senator john mccain, weighing in on the president's attack of mccain over the deadly u.s. raid in yemen. we'll play that for you, next.
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some terrorists were killed and some information was obtained. that's a good day. but i had eight years of overselling things, how things were better than they actually were in iraq and syria. so my advice to the administration is, let's be one team, one fight, and see if we can move on. >> hmm. interesting comments right there from republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina, saying -- this is in response to this now back and forth between president trump, the white house, his press secretary, and john mccain over the success or failure of that yemen raid that occurred. lindsey graham right there saying let's all move on, let's work as one team. let me bring in cnn's senior political commentator, former republican senator from pennsylvania, rick santorum. and former press secretary under pretty obama, bill burton. guys, great to see you. senator, you served for years on armed services. you've served for years with john mccain and lindsey graham. i want to get your take, where
do you land on this? the president kind of reigniting his attacks, on again/off again, with senator john mccain, for saying that -- mccain saying he wouldn't describe the yemen raid as a success. the president says he shouldn't be evaluating the operation at all. what do you make of this? >> i actually found myself agreeing with lindsey here. john mccain wants more raids. john mccain and lindsey graham have both been pushing harder for us to go after radical islamist terrorists. the fact that he would criticize a raid, obviously there's reason for criticism, obviously in the sense that we lost a soldier and civilians were killed. that's a very tragic thing. but the bottom line is lindsey's right, if you want more of these types of activities, don't pick a fight with the guy who is doing what you're asking him to do. but this is just -- expect more of this. >> senator, do you think john mccain was --
>> they don't like to be criticized. i'm sorry, what? >> i'm sorry, senator. do you think john mccain was picking a fight or president trump was picking the fight here? >> yes. look, this is the nature of both of them. neither of them like to be criticized. both of them like to sort of have their statements put out there and be taken as truth. and so you're going to see a lot more of this between trump and senator mccain. i would just go back to what lindsey said. we need more of this type of activity. and picking fights about it is not going to get more. it's probably going to chasten the white house from doing these things. >> this came from president trump via twitter, we saw that. this also came from president trump's press secretary from the briefing room, bill, where you spent much time. sean spicer saying this yesterday, listen. >> did the action that was taken in yemen was a huge success. american lives will be saved because of it.
future attacks will prevent it. the life of chief ryan owens was done in service to this country and we owe him and his family a great debt. i think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice. >> live with john mccain. >> in the case of his -- >> i think we ought to hold the people responsible and we know that boris nemchoff was murdered in the shadow of the kremlin. we need to understand vladimir putin for what he is, a murderer and a thug. and he has murdered people. and this is just the latest example of the kind of kgb activities that he engages in. >> we did an interview with his wife and she told us in moscow she finds it unacceptable and intolerable for president trump to turn a blind eye to a killer
like putin. what do you believe? >> i already stated last week, after the president of the united states equated the united states on the same moral plane as vladimir putin, i strongly disagree. >> senator, you talked about your main focus is just winning in afghanistan. does that get harder when there are disagreements, interparty disagreements like the one between you and the president right now? >> i rely to a large degree on the national security team that i am very good friends with for many years. general mattis, general flynn, general kelly, i've known them all many years and i worked very closely with them. i talked to to general mattis again this morning. >> senator, in your role -- >> i don't know. i hope that he listens to general mattis. i think he will. but i can't predict. >> have you heard anything similar from the general?
>> oh, no, i have good conversations often with general mattis, general flynn, general kelly. i have good conversations with them all the time. >> should the trump administration reach out to the family of vladimir merza? >> i can't tell the president what to do. >> should the u.s. have any role in trying to help him? >> we should try to help him in every way we can. the best way to help him, and i'm sure he would tell you that, and boris nemchoff would tell you, who he murdered, was stand up to putin. [ inaudible ] we had a classified briefing just the day before yesterday. >> no hearings planned on that? >> no. >> and senator -- >> that is just a typical
thursday on capitol hill, yes, that happens quite often, senator mccain fielding questions from reporters, including our phil mattingly, asking if he would be having hearings about the raid. he said no, there are no hearings planned. back to this conversation. we can leave russia over here for a moment, senator. does that bring back nostalgic feelings? >> yeah, reporters traipsing around you, sticking microphones in front of you and asking you questions that you're not prepared for is part of the daily routine. >> sean spicer going even further than we even heard from president trump in saying that anybody who undermines the success of the yemen raid owes an apology and it is a disservice to the life of chief owens. you've been behind that podium. did president obama have the same feelings of criticism of raids under his watch?
>> well, you know, there's no perfect equivalence to some other raid that happened while president obama was in office. but i will say, this is where the rubber hits the road on credibility for that podium. when they lie about crowd size, when they lie about the murder rate, when they lie about any number of things they don't tell the truth about, those things in and of themselves probably don't matter, the american people don't care. but when you have to talk about issues of national security and you're not being totally straight with the american people about what went down, you had a mission where you didn't succeed in getting the guy you were going after, and many civilians were killed including small children, i think you erode the credibility of what you can do in the press briefing room and of the administration in way that's going to make it very hard for americans and the global community to take them seriously. but the second thing that i'll say on this that's disappointing about what john mccain had to say just now is that, you know, he seemed totally satisfied with the briefing from the administration about what happened at that raid. i think the reason people hate politics is that if this were
reversed, if president hillary clinton had conducted a raid, there would have been a completely different reaction to that. there would be hearings. it would be benghazi part two. they would be decrying the fact that an american serviceman was killed, that civilians were killed. instead, republicans are just walking away saying, we're satisfied with the amount of inquiry that we've had here. it's disappointing. and for john mccain, who often is so honorable in his comments, it's disappointing that he's walking away from the opportunity to have some accountability and oversight over this administration. >> senator, what do you say to that? >> i couldn't disagree more. i mean, this is the kind of partisan stuff that you keep hearing, you know. to do it so closely related to a raid like this, look, military action is difficult. there are always complications. the enemy has a role, has a vote, as they always say, and horrible things happen in war. to suggest that every time a raid is conducted, that we have
to have a hearing, if a civilian is killed or someone in the united states military is killed, or you're not doing your job, is frankly just ridiculous. the role of the executives to take on that responsibility, i don't think there's been any accusations that there was -- you know, there was some sort of problem from the leadership point of view. missions don't succeed all the time, as they're written up on paper. if we're going to have a congressional inquiry every time there's a raid or every time there's a military action or someone doesn't go perfectly well, that's not the standard. this is the politics that people deplore. if a raid goes as well as it's supposed to go, that there has to be accountability goes to the president, that's not right. >> take the mental exercise, imagine everything senator santorum just said, and think about benghazi. the disingenuousness with which
republicans have approached this and benghazi is bald, before the american people to see. i just think it's disappointing to say it's partisan, to think that there ought to be some inquiry into this, when that is the duty of the united states senate. the united states congress should be asking tough questions when americans die, when civilians die. and there's no reason to walk away from it, saying, oh, this is just partisan, that democrats want to ask questions. no, americans should ask questions. there should be checks and balances on the system. >> after a raid, senator, on this, after any mission, after any operation, do you think it should be objective -- do you think there is an objective line if it is a success or a failure? that's what i want to know. >> absolutely. i'm not suggesting that people shouldn't look. they just had a briefing laying out what happened at that raid. again -- >> and coming out of it, people were saying it was a failure. >> okay. but the question is, is that the responsibility -- did the
administration or people high up in the administration do something to compromise that mission, or did the mission go in, we had a plan that was a reasonable plan that was approved, and things didn't go quite as well on the ground as they should have been. that is fundamentally different from benghazi where the administration went out and lied about the reason for the attack, and then continued to lie about the interactions between the secretary and those on the ground. so that's a fundamentally different thing. the obama administration conducted many, many raids. they conducted many strikes. you didn't see the republicans go out and question every one of them. only when there is some culpability up the chain of command for this problem do we get into that. and i don't think there's any evidence of that here. >> bill? >> i think that there aren't -- as you said, kate, john mccain walked out of that briefing room and said that the raid was a failure. the briefing was classified. the american people didn't have access to that information. there's no sunlight on this process. there's no availability of information for the american
people. so, you know, i'm with senator santorum, yes, in times of war, bad things often happen. and sometimes bad things can happen and a raid or a mission can be a success. in this case it looks like there was a very specific reason that the american military went in on this raid. that was not achieved. and so the fact that we lost a service member, which is tragic, that these civilians died, including small children, the fact that we're not asking questions, i think think it's a disservice to the american people and to the military. there should be accountability. people both in america and across the globe should have confidence in the american military and the way that we're conducting missions all around the world. >> we'll leave it there but i do wonder, even though john mccain, as we well know, wanted to end that conversation with reporters and said there are no hearings planned, i do wonder if they are asking questions and they still may well be asking questions especially if donald trump, the
president, continues to go back and forth on it. >> i guarantee you john mccain is asking questions and asked a lot in that hearing. it sounds to me like he was satisfied. i suspect more questions will be asked but that doesn't necessarily mean in a public failure. >> if calling it a failure means satisfied, i'm not sure that's right. >> thank you, senator, thank you, bill. coming up for us, she called it a, quote, free commercial from inside the white house briefing room. counselor to the president kellyanne conway saying on tv that americans should go out and buy ivanka trump's clothing line. did that cross a line? details ahead. but first, the new cnn original series "the history of comedy" takes a look at how comedy has impacted the nation's history. in the premiere episode, the early pushback, risky and risque comics faced. >> when you went to the record store, you often had to ask for these albums, you couldn't just pick them up out of the bin. they were often hidden or in a
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did president trump's top -- one of president trump's top advisers break the law this morning when she told tv viewers to buy products from ivanka's clothing line? kellyanne conway was speaking to "fox and friends" and called her pitch a free commercial. those were her words, for the president's daughter after nordstrom decided they were going to cut her fashion line from their stores. take a look at the clip.
>> they are using the most prominent woman in donald trump's, you know, most pr prominent to get to him. go buy ivanka's stuff. i am going to go get some myself today. this is just a wonderful line. i own some of it. i fully -- i'm going to give a free commercial here. go buy it today, everybody. go buy it online. >> cristina alesci, jeff toobin and media correspondent brian stelter, the host of "reliable sources." jeffrey, why are you laughing? >> because it's so ridiculous. >> did she break the law? >> i don't think she broke -- don't make a federal case out of it. there's a possibly technical violation but this is a law that is not frequently prosecuted. but it's just so inappropriate.
it's so wrong. it's so ridiculous that a white house official is saying go buy the president's daughter's project. and politically, i think it is significant when you think that, you know, the trump -- the idea that the trump business and the trump administration, they've pretended they're different. they're the same. this administration exists to support the trump business. >> let's talk about the facts of this because ivanka trump removed herself, yes, from the brand? >> yes, technically, she did. but this is the question, right? i have been reporting for the last several months on whether or not trump org, or the trump presidency, has effectively separated itself from the trump business. and the answer has been, not really, right? now the question is, can the white house, can the entire white house staff separate itself from trump org?
or is it just another arm, as jeffrey just mentioned, of the trump business? >> donald trump, president trump, the conflict of interest laws really don't apply to president trump. >> they don't. >> when it comes to kellyanne conway and what she said, jeffrey toobin has the word on where the law is and isn't, if there's really a problem there. is nordstrom responding to this this morning? this has been happening now -- started with donald trump tweeting about it. now it's continuing. >> nordstrom is responding saying this was not a political decision as kellyanne suggested it. this was a business decision. specifically, it said that sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn't make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now. so, clearly, nordstrom pushing back on this idea that it was political. and, remember, i spoke to ivanka trump's brand company and they told me they were targeting young women. young professional women.
well, guess who was boycotting the brand online and everywhere else? young professional women. this was clearly a business decision, not one that was politically motivated. >> clearly many republicans would say that's not entirely clear if it's clearly. and here's why because there are a lot kof companies who came ou and spoke out against it. nordstrom was included. >> the company is trying to thread the needle. fig are out what the right position is. i'm shocked by nordstrom's stock. gained a lot after trump's tweet. then gained the rest of the day. 3.4% now today. i watch that fox interview. first of all, the "f "fox & friends" hosts are entertainers and didn't follow up on the comment from conway when it was clearly an ethical issue. members of the executive branch should not be making endorsements. jeffrey was laughing about it. what is it next, conway on qvc? what we are going to see from the trump brand?
>> it seems everyone involved won. you have nordstrom stock is up and donald trump got to speak about it and kellyanne conway got to speak about it. >> let's see where the brand is a year from now. >> i don't think ivanka -- ivanka trump's brand may not make a comeback even with the kellyanne commercial today. >> okay. here we go. thanks, guys. great to see you. what happened when bill maher tangles with a very staunch donald trump voter? watch this. >> the president in office barely three weeks. why can't you guys in the media and hollywood give him some slack? >> because of what he's done and said. slack? >> only three weeks. >> three weeks? give him a break. >> give him a break? do you read the news? do you follow -- >> the toughest job on earth. >> the toughest job on earth has never been done like this. this is beyond the realm of politics. if you're just talking about politics, let's pretend it's
just politics. i'd have big problems there because it's a giant con what he's done. he ran for the little man and then what does he do? gets into office. the coal companies can dump sludge in the river because that's what the little man is aching for. undoing dodd/frank because so many of the town halls in appalachia, people were standing up and saying, mr. trump, please get rid of the volcker rule. because if i can't make certain speculative investments, it's killing us here. so that's just the political part. we could have a normal conversation about that. but this presidency is not about the political part, even three weeks in. it's beyond politics. it's about sanity. it's about somebody who makes stuff up, who doesn't read. his information is either anecdotal or pulled right out of his -- what word, reverend, should i -- his behind. of course, we're worried when the president sees multitudes that don't exist, as in the
illegal people, the illegal voting, 3 million. that should bother you, sir. i'm not the crazy one here. >> bill maher and van jones right there. "the messy truth." that's tonight at 9:00 p.m. you don't want to miss it. let's go to "inside politics" with john king. >> thank you, kate. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thanks for sharing your day with us. attorney general jeff sessions is on the job. this oval office swearing in, one last salvo in a bitter confirmation battle that leaves washington raw. >> i jeff sessions, do solemnly swear -- >> that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> against -- >> and speaking of raw, the president launches a morning tweet bomb against a democratic senator. the