tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and John Berman CNN March 3, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST
he's great on these shows. >> he's clip pi and funny. >> only in the age of trump could george w. bush be totally celebrated by everybody, right, left and center. >> david gregory, have a great weekend. >> you, too. time for cnn "newsroom" with poppy harlow and john berman. good morning. >> berman doesn't know who beyonce's husband is either. >> i didn't know who her sister was. there was news about solange. i asked michaela at the time, what is a solange? >> this is my every morning. we're going to do it now for two hours. guys, have a great weekend. >> let's get started. good friday morning to you all. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. thanks so much for being here. we have a flurry of new information this morning about previously undisclosed contacted between associates of then candidate donald trump and the russians.
we'll get to that in just a moment. first, just in, president trump's still unreleased revised travel ban may face a new obstacle even before it is released. >> we haven't gotten any indication. it was supposed to be last week, then this week. this challenge is not one from the courts or even from the man that the president once referred to as the so-called judge who blocked the ban initially. this potential hurdle takes root in the administration's own department of homeland security. let's go straight to justice reporter laura jarrett who is here with more. what are you learning? >> reporter: this new report from homeland security is yet another piece of evidence that potentially undercuts the traigs's argument that a travel ban is needed to keep violent extremists out of our country. the report tracks the immigration history and radicalization of 88 foreign-born terrorists and found most are not radicalized when they come to the u.s., but rather they become radicalized after living in the u.s. for a
number of years, poppy. according to homeland security, the work on this assessment started back under the obama administration under 2016, the final product is dated march 2017. it's very recent. a specs person for homeland security confirmed to us that authenticity this morning. she points out it's based on unclassified materials. still the timing here is so noteworthy as we wait for the unveiling of that new travel ban, and this report follows another from homeland security that leaked last week which concluded that country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of whether someone actually poses a terrorist threat. john, poppy. >> that's the basis of the administration's argument on this. thank you very much. new this morning, the president back on the offense attacking democrats calling the controversy engulfing attorney
general jeff sessions a witch hunt. this coming hours after sessions recuses himself. >> a growing number of democrats say this does not go far enough. that it attorney general jeff sessions has resigned. overnight he down played his failures to disclose at the senate hearing. >> i had not had any such meetings, was not meeting with russian of fishlts on a continuing basis to advance any campaign agenda. some time before that i had met in my office in an official way with the russian ambassador. and so that was the answer i gave and i think it was an honest answer, tucker. i thought i was responding exactly to that question and it really became a big brouhaha. >> it was not in fact the question at all. we'll get to that later. first let's go to cnn's sara murray at the white house with the latest on what's happening there. sara? >> reporter: good morning, john.
attorney general sessions and the white house are acknowledging he could have been clearer in his answer at the confirmation hearing. now jeff sessions said he will supp mitt a supplemental record to go along with the testimony. let's hear what he said. >> i'll submit, yes, a supplement to the record. my response went to the question as i indicated, about the continuing surrogate relationship that i firmly denied and correctly denied, and i did not mention in that time that i had met with the ambassador, and so i will definitely make that a part of the record as i think is appropriate. >> reporter: now, in president trump's eyes this appears to be settled. in a statement last night the president called jeff sessions an honest made. this isn't the end of questions about president trump, his advisers and suspected russian operatives and even actual russian officials. we are learning that there was yet another meeting with the
russian ambassador. this one took place in december at trump tower. it included michael flynn, the national security adviser who was ousted because he was not forthcoming about his contacts between the russian ambassador as well as jared kushner, donald trump's son-in-law who is now a senior adviser in this white house. a senior administration official i spoke to down played the meeting, called it an inconsequential hello, an introductory meeting. one of the things that i think is telling is when sean spicer back during the transition process, now the white house press secretary, he was going to be at that point, he was laying out the timeline of michael flynn's contacts with the russian ambassador. this meeting was nowhere in this timeline. the senior administration official i spoke to said that was because they didn't know about that meeting at that time. >> that's crucial, previously undisclosed meeting on top of the previously undisclosed meeting by jeff sessions and the meetings at the convention with trump advisers.
sara murray, great to have you with us. the calls for the attorney general to resign are getting louder, among those pressuring the senator to step down. >> many republicans appear to be standing by his side after his recusal. listen. >> i think the recusal was the right move. it doesn't say that he's necessarily add manying guilt. he's saying, look, we need a process to go forward that people can trust. you have some people saying the russians -- we need to be calm and move this back to the middle in a bipartisan way. >> i believe for the good of the country he should resign. >> i'm glad he came out yesterday forcefully and removed himself. as the story unwinds, i think more questions will be asked. at this time i'm satisfied. >> i think he needs to make a clear statement under oath about what took place in these meetings with the ambassador and whether there were related conversations with anyone associated with the trump
campaign. >> joining us now, democratic congressman eric squallwell. let's get right to it. >> good morning. >> good morning to you. the attorney general has recused himself. he says even last night on fox, look, my answers i felt were honest at the time. are you satisfied? >> no, i'm not satisfied. with this administration it seems with each passing day we learn about more russian ties that are followed with more russian lies. here, i don't know what country would want to have its top law enforcement official having lied under oath twice about another country that had just attacked this democracy. he knew why those questions were being asked. two times he had an opportunity to be forthcoming and truthful. it looks like he boldly lied. >> he said he was not lying, it was not his intent to mislead the committee.
as a lawyer that's a legal term and something argued over time. i want to move to something else you got to, the idea that there are these previously undisclosed meetings between trump associates and the russians. the meeting at the convention with carter page, j.d. gordon and others. a meeting we learned about with jared kushner and the russian ambassador that happened during the transition. you sit on the intelligence committee. you have information we do not have. do you have reason to believe there are still more meetings out there that we don't know about? >> i don't think you have to sit on the intelligence committee to follow the pattern of deceit that you see here with michael flynn not disclosing prior russian ties, jeff sessions not disclosing prior russian ties and now learning about trump family members and prior russian ties. to me it's a consciousness of guilt. we should continue to pursue this. i've called for an independent bipartisan commission. every democrat reports that. walter jones, a republican, just
recently came on board. the only way to get to the truth, because it seems there's not much independence in the trump administration would be to take this outside congress and find out what were the political, personal and financial ties that donald trump and his associates had with russia. >> you want something akin to a 9/11-style commission that would be much more done in the public. >> that's right. >> what you do is largely in private. >> that's right. the intelligence committee, we are undertaking our own investigation, but that will largely be classified. so i think we should depoliticize this, take it out of congress. we should declassify as much as we can so that the public findings that have come forward, the public understands the facts that the intelligence community has put out and also debunk the continued effort that the president has made to try and undermine the findings that the intelligence community has made with respect to what russia's involvement was in our past election. >> donald trump, the president calls this a witch hunt. the former attorney general mike
mukasey says what's the alleged crime that you're investigating here? he thinks there needs to be something allegedly criminal or the suspicion of something criminal going on in order to justify the investigation. again, what are the possible things you are looking for that happened that you think are criminal? the fact of a meeting in and of itself isn't criminal. talking about aside from the fact that whether jeff sessions perjured himself in the hearing, but dating back to the meetings in the summer, where is the crime? >> sure. the question is whether donald trump or anyone in his orbit, anyone on his team, had knowledge or worked with russia as they were seeking to undermine our election. so were they working with them as they were hacking democratic documents? were they working with russia as they were putting out fake news through their social media trolls? were they working with russia as russia's broadcasting company, russia today, was also disseminating unfavorable news about hillary clinton and trying to help donald trump? that would be collusion, that
would be conspiracy, that also could be racketeering. looking at the personal, political and financial ties between donald trump and his team and russia. >> so the ranking member of kwlour committee, house intelligence committee, representative adam schiff said just yesterday that you guys are not getting everything you think you should be getting from the fbi and james comey. listen. >> the director spent about three to three and a half hours with us, and on the areas he was willing to discuss, we had a very in depth set of questions and answers, but there were very large areas that were walled off. those walls are going to have to come down if we're going to do our job. >> can you explain what he's talking about, what you're not getting? can you give us more detail? >> poppy i don't want to go into what was discussed in a classified briefing. i appreciate director comey speaking with us.
what we're asking is just follow the evidence. it's in the president's interest; if there is nothing there, that that also comes out. right now all the arrows continue to point in one direction, that there was a personal, political or financial tie between at least his associates and russia or all the way up to the president himself. none of these are coincidences. this is not an ambassador from a friendly country that continues to meet with trump's associates. this is an ambassador from a country that attacked us during the election. >> i'm confused though, because paul ryan, the chairman of the committee, david nunez, a republican, they say there is no evidence of collusion. they say they've seen nothing -- >> they shouldn't be talking about that. they should not be talking about anything they learn in a classified setting. >> but they are. >> i agree. perhaps they shouldn't be talking. >> that's wrong. >> they said that out loud. you say there is evidence -- you say everything we see indicates that there could have been. you're sort of talking about it too, right now. i want to get to the truth. you say you want to look into
this possible collusion. again, have you seen any evidence that suggests that there was such collusion? >> so when you look at the public findings that the intelligence community put out, the 17 agencies who came forward and said russia attacked our democracy. it was ordered by vladimir putin, it intended to help donald trump. so that's one bucket of evidence. >> stopped short of collusion as you know because we've read the report. it says they tried to meddle, but it made no reference to any collusion. >> right. and so the question about collusion, that's being raised because of the prior russia contacts that donald trump's team, people in his orbit had. so michael flynn who traveled to russia, had been paid by russia. you have carter page and roger stone and others who were advising the president who had prior business relationships with russia. so those questions have to be chased down. right now, i'm not going to comment on what we learn in a classified setting other than to
say that all of the arrows continue to point to a country that attacked us, had a very unusual relationship with donald trump and his team and had unusual amount of access which, for an adversary, i think requires us, demands us to protect our democracy and chase down these questions. >> so do you think paul ryan and david nunez are lying when they say they've seen no evidence of collusion yet? >> i'm not going to accuse them of lying. i'm saying they should not comment on what is discussed in a classified setting. >> we could argue that makes the case for the 9/11-style commission. congressman, thank you. we appreciate it. still to come for us, what a difference the few days makes. the white house under a new cloud of russia controversy just days after the president got all those positive reviews for his speech to congress.
and then this, forget where's the beef, how about where's the bill. just days before lawmakers are supposed to vote on some kind of obamacare replacement legislation, some say they can't find a copy of that bill. >> the hunt on capitol hill. also donald trump made, as you know, very will promises on the campaign trail across the rust belt. can he deliver? we take you there. if your sneezes are a force to be reckoned with... you may be muddling through allergies.
credit karma. it's free. that's great! um hm. just whip bam boom, it's done. that apartment is mine! credit karma. give yourself some credit. president trump taking off for mar-a-lago next hour. he will fly through new clouds, metaphorically, hanging over the white house this morning, as the questions mount over trump campaign associates' tie to russia. >> joining us, david berger, laura coates as david drucker, senior congressional correspondent of "the washington examiner" and ho
examiner". david, let me begin with you. as sessions' recusal, he went farther than the president thought he needed to. president trump tweeting this, calling this all a witch hunt, et cetera, et cetera. i can't help but find the irony in the man who said that the world should see president obama's birth certificate just because, calling this a witch hunt. how do you see it? >> i think the president would have been well advised to stop short of calling it a witch hunt, accept and embrace jeff sessions for calling for recusal. that's the appropriate state. i think the attorney general did a wise thing. i think the white house has to go further than this. smart white houses in the past when faced with a cloud of uncertainty and unpredictable facts coming out that they don't know about in a situation like this, what they've done is launched their own internal probe.
find where the bottom is. you can't do damage control until you know what the absolute worst charge is that can be made against you, and then you can prepare and go transparent. i would think -- i don't think there's any reason -- sometimes the legal counsel of the white house says we shouldn't do our own probe because it's a criminal investigation. i don't think that's where they are now. i think they still could. they could call everybody in. we've had such a string of denials. the white house needs to be aggressively in front of this story, not behind the story and they need to be completely -- make sure there's complete transparency. that's the only way they'll gain their credibility back. it would be for the country and frankly good for their politics. >> there isn't much transparency at all. we keep learning about previously undisclosed meetings. they may be benign, but we didn't know they were going on. laura coates, attorney general jeff sessions says he's going to provide a written statement, a
revision to his testimony. some in the committee want more, they want him to come back and testify again before that committee. can they compel him to do that? >> they could. the reason they could do so is because he has essentially misl misled, either by a misstatement that was intentional or otherwise. but it's very convenient now that you're the sitting attorney general to come and try to explain in a retrospective way, doesn't really hold a lot of credibility for people. credibility is the key here. there is an issue of proving intent when it comes to perjury. it's very difficult. but there is a bigger issue here about the credibility of the justice department. people have to understand it works best, obviously, when you believe objectivity is controlling the game. here we have the tip of the iceberg. we don't really know whether or not there was a wrongful discussion between the ambassador and sessions. even if it wasn't a wrongful discussion, we don't know if this is just the tip of the iceberg of an investigation that talks about a larger issue about
campaign-related issues. if that's the case, sessions has to recuse himself down the line. and at that point, does he become a lame duck attorney general who is a figurehead, or can he actually control the justice department. that's what makes me the most uncomfortable. >> overnight what has also come out is a number of also previously undisclosed to the public or to anyone meetings between the trump team and the russian ambassador, to name them, jared kushner, his son-in-law, and general flynn meeting with the russian ambassador in december. three national security advisers, carter page, j.d. gordon, walid ferris meeting with the ambassador at the rmc in july like sessions did. here is what the president said just two weeks ago. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> no person that i deal with
does. now we know about all these previously undisclosed meetings. this is a white house that constantly complains about what they call fake news. >> well, they can keep complaining, but it doesn't mean it's fake news. look, i don't think it's necessarily out of bounds that a candidate for president, a republican nominee, especially somebody who is not a part of the political process for very long, that major players in the world would want to meet with him and people connected with him to figure out what he's about and what his administration might look like. the issue gets back to the president's soft treatment, apologetic treatment of russia and vladimir putin from the beginning of the campaign and the fact that we know that vladimir putin sees donald trump, the president, as a fellow nationalist, and putin in his spy apparatus has always worked to boost nationalists in races and other countries, whether we're talking about france or scotland or anywhere else. that's why i think that the
problem ultimately is not necessarily about the meetings, although, if you're not disclosing a meeting and then it comes out, it looks funny. it's about the president's treatment of russia and russia policy when he doesn't afford any other u.s. adversary and even our allies, the same deferential treatment. >> look, there's a russia problem clearly. that's a big issue i think a lot of people want further investigated. now there's this honesty problem because the president said none of his associates, to the best of my knowledge, no person i deal with deals with russia. we know they did. carp carter page said he had no meetings with the russians. now we know he did, david ger ginn. there are problems with honesty and they all may be benign meetings, but why not fess up to them. >> they've given the appearance they're intentionally hiding things. rather than trying to get to the bottom of it themselves, they're allowing this process to go on and compromising one individual
after another within the administration. but it just isn't very smart. that's why they need to get in front of this. i do agree with david drucker that a piece of this is about why, and it goes back to why is donald trump being so solace us to of vladimir putin. the bigger issue is, the russian government intentionally invaded and tried to throw this election. they meddled in this election and the question becomes were these meetings, which are so unusual -- meetings with the russian ambassador during the middle of the campaign in the middle of transition, they don't happen like this. this is an extraordinarily abnormal situation. so there's a serious question, if you're hiding things, what have you got to hide, why don't you put it all out there, let us see what it is and let's move on the there's nothing there. >> instead the white house is saying there's nothing to see here folks. >> also saying that jared
kushner met with a lot of ambassadors during the transition. >> that wasn't the only meeting. >> have a great weekend. we appreciate it. still to come, we take you to the rust belt, a place the president probably can't thanning enough for his election victory. his supporters in michigan say they're holding him to account. >> i'm not wearing a banner say, hey, i voted for trump. i'm in a eld whoing mode, a wait-and-see mode. i don't know if he would have any inkling of what it takes to be a little person like us. it's an important question you ask,
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wisconsin. that name means something to political watchers. no doubt he'll be talking about jobs and the repeal of obamacare and bringing the favorite son of janesville, house speaker paul ryan. he's from there. he'll talk a tour of some farms. health and human services secretary tom price will be there also. wisconsin is one of those states, one of those formerly blue states that now became red. donald trump won it by about 30,000 votes. >> another one, michigan. neighboring wisconsin, where today we begin a year-long series taking you to the heart of what has become trump country. his promise, a better jobs, better future, some taking the chance on the president, making him the first republican to take that state since 1988. they loved his talk about scrapping nafta, but now they're holding him to account. >> i'm very hopeful. >> hopeful, hopeful. >> president trump will bring jobs back. >> bring jobs back home. >> create new jobs. >> focus on the country.
>> we don't want to fall back anymore. >> make this nation strong. >> we want to go forward. >> i want to see american made. >> american made, something these michigan voters want to see a whole lot more of. it's a promise that helped tipped michigan in president donald trump's favor. >> my economic agenda can be summed up with three very beautiful words, jobs, jobs, jobs. we're bringing our jobs back. >> reporter: it wasn't just trump's promise of more jobs it's his promise for what he calls fair trade. >> this is a manufacturing state, and all of the states in the rustbelt, these people are hurting. >> michigan's unemployment rate just hit 5%, the lowest in 15 years, but that's a rose sier picture than the reality some here told us they're living. michigan has lost nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. >> it's kind of like this quiet depression that's going on publicly where people, they're
okay, they're getting by. >> reporter: many here blame free trade deals. since nafta was signed in the early '90s, michigan has lost 26% of its manufacturing jobs. but it's important to note many good paying jobs haven't just been lost to trade. they've been lost to automation, robots doing the work of humans. >> nafta was one of the worst, worst contracts ever negotiated for the american worker. >> reporter: frank and salvatore have been union auto workers for decades. both say they voted for president obama twice, but despite having pretty good paying jobs, when they heard trump's talk on trade, they were sold. >> it was very, very difficult for me because uaw member, been a long democrat and people needed a change. >> the uaw brought us into the middle class. when i hear trump talk about
solidarity, it sounds like he's almost a union guy right there. i was happy to have somebody stick up for us. >> reporter: their fellow auto worker dennis washington didn't vote for president trump, but he's encouraged. >> just the fact that he's bringing or trying to stop jobs going out of the country, i feel that's a big opportunity for americans. i'm very curious to see what else might happen. >> reporter: manufacturing out put in the u.s. is near an all-time high. but these workers say that the jobs that have come back since the depths of the recession aren't wha that the used to be. >> with the auto company i was making about $40 an hour. >> reporter: rick worked at one of the big three automakers for two decades until he was laid off at 55. he's been looking for work for the past year. >> i put out resumes of all kind, not looking for just engineering, looking for anything i can find. >> reporter: donald trump wasn't rick quinn's first choice, but
he voted for him in november, and he's got a lot on the line, facing ought most $60,000 in debt. >> i would like to be able to get a job, work another ten years, get the debts paid off and then build up some retirement money so my wife and i can enjoy a decent retirement. >> i wanted a change, but i wanted somebody with a spine. >> reporter: at 62, peggy stewart is no stranger to hard work. after struggling to find work, she's now a security guard earning $9.00 an hour, barely above michigan's minimum wage. the hours are tough, she says, making it hard to find time with her husband jim, but she feels lucky just to have a job. >> i wouldn't trade my job for nothing right now, and i don't care what they pay, what they don't pay, i'm working and i feel like somebody again. >> reporter: she also voted for president obama twice. this year trump got her vote. >> i'm not wearing a banner saying i voted for trump.
i'm in a holding mode. i'm in a wait-and-see mode. i don't know if he would have any inkling of what it takes to be a little person like us. >> reporter: president trump didn't get her husband's vote. >> he's going to follow big business lines, that's what scares me. >> reporter: he's worried the president will push to dismantle unions. >> i say go ahead, president trump, show us what we need to see from you, but be careful man. >> ready? "the cat in the hat" by dr. suess. >> there's not too many jobs out here that are paying very good. i'd like to get my diploma so i can go to college and get a better job for not only me, but for my family. >> reporter: at 28, angelica west has a lot to juggle. she's a single mom of three boys. she's in school and wants to become a nurse. the jobs angelica could find in manufacturing she says didn't pay nearly enough to support her
family. >> i ran oil machines and i was a line leader and assigned people jobs, where they were supposed to go. i was making $8.15 at the time, so i knew i wasn't going to make a life working those kind of jobs. >> reporter: she notes she's not very political. it's the president's lack of political experience that has her hopeful. >> he is not a career politician. i think he thinks of people like me that are struggling just trying to get by. and i think he's going to be very good. >> about an hour outside of detroit is adrian, michigan, home of what used to be one of the country's largest cabinet manufacturers. when this factory shut down in 2008, it took nearly 900 jobs with it. >> when the factory shut down, it devastated adrian. it was the largest employer. >> now bill decker has reopened the ones thriving plant as lilly ann cabinets.
he employs some 30 people and his daughter is a manager there. business has been booming over the past year. but despite strong growth for his company under president obama, decker has what he calls a love-hate relationship with president trump. >> all the cabinets we have here are directly imported from china. that tariff, as he puts, on the chinese import would increase the cost dramatically. it would be at least a 40% increase in cost due to the regulations and all the costs of operating in the states. >> so why did he vote for president trump if it could cost him? he says three reasons, obamacare, taxes and the supreme court. >> i believe trump and the administration is going to do good things for america, not necessarily for lily ann cabinets. but i think it's best for the country. if we're the sacrifice we're willing to take. >> he has a request for the president. >> i would ask he focus not on his tweet, not on his comments,
and just on the country itself. >> so will shuttered factories open again and jobs abound? these are the promises michigan's trump supporters are clinging to. >> a lot of doors shut behind me over the years, and those opportunities were no longer there. i hope that they will come back home. >> these people who are trying to live the american dream, they want to have a house, a car, an education, and i want that opportunity for my kids. >> it's been very difficult for me to see myself not working. that's where i want to be again, and i'm hoping and praying that i will be there again. >> mr. trump, please take care of us. we're looking to you. >> a special thanks for the tremendous work on this series. we'll spend the next year going back to michigan, checking in with those voters and hearing from them, do they think the president has kept his promises. >> it's very interesting.
the president, when he tries to keep the focus on jobs and manufacturing, it seems to be when he does well it's when he veers away he gets dragged into other things. yesterday was an interesting case. except for the tweets he was talking about manufacturing, talking about military spending in virginia. >> you heard that voter tell us, i wish he'd stop tweeting. >> interesting to see. great piece. >> thank you. we'll be right back. as a control enthusiast,
for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges. what can i say? control suits me. go national. go like a pro. the u.s. government this morning pursuing new leads uncovered in the deadly yemen raid two months ago. several u.s. officials say the information that was retrieved from computers and cell phones has been critically important, so important that they're
searching for hundreds of people linked to al qaeda, some of whom they believe to be in the west, not necessarily though in the united states. >> you do know in some parts this raid has been controversial due to the death of u.s. navy s.e.a.l. ryan owens, also a number of civilian casualties. we're joined by cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. i also understand there were new air strikes overnight? >> that's right, john and poppy. good morning. the pentagon confirming there were another series of u.s. air strikes in yemen overnight as they continue to escalate this campaign against al qaeda in yemen. so far no reports yet of additional civilian casualties. always a big concern for the u.s. military. we are also learning in that first round that occurred overnight wednesday, they believe they killed a top al qaeda omtiperative they had bee looking for, no formal ap announcement from the pentagon yet. they're continuing to sift
through the intelligence. they do believe there's a good possibility they got to that person. so what about all the intelligence they did gather back on january 29th in that initial ground raid? we are told that, in fact, they are beginning to act on it in some very interesting ways. they are sifting through laptop computers, cell phones. they're looking at contact information, numbers, data, names of people, as you mentioned, trying to figure out are these people real? can they find them? can they track them? the concern if your name is in a database of al qaeda in yemen, are you an al qaeda sympathizer, are you helping them plan more attacks. that's what the u.s. intelligence community wants to know. that's the information they're trying to act on right now. john, poppy. >> barbara starr at the pentagon, thanks so much. still to come for impossible, capitol hill style. senator rand paul says he wants to see the house version of the
consider it a political game of hide and seek, which are the best games of hide and seek, i'm told. senator rand paul on the hunt to find an obamacare replacement plan that he said is being kept secret. >> he stormed through the halls of capitol hill where he thought house members were reviewing draft legislation. the only problem, it wasn't there and he apparently had the wrong room. that didn't stop him from railing against fellow republicans in the house. listen.
>> this is being presented as if this were a national secret, as if there were a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security. that's wrong. this should be done openly, in the public, and conservatives who have objections, who don't want obamacare lite, should be allowed to see the bill. >> remember, this is a republican looking for the republican plan. and the timing here matters, right, because next week the house will begin the process of trying to launch of official repeal effort. all right. joining us to discuss this hunt, sunlen serfaty on capitol hill. what are you learning? >> reporter: this certainly was a wild scene up here on capitol hill with certainly a heavy dose of theatrics. but behind it is some real concern from republican, as you noted, rand paul about the direction that house republicans are taking with the current draft of this bill. and he's trying to make a point that this is a process that should be much more open, much
more transparent, not just allowing committee members at this point to view it in a so-called dedicated reading room, not making copies, not making any sort of notes coming from that. but paul really made a big show of this yesterday. he took to twitter ahead of time, declaring that he essentially was on the hunt, in his words, for a bill that is under a lock and key in a secure location. it led him to go room by room up here on capitol hill. democrats actually joined in on that effort, which led to this rather bizarre moment with steny hoyer, who was looking for the same so-called secret bill, and ended up having an imaginary conversation with a bust of president lincoln. here it is. >> that's not democracy. that's not good for our people. i know, mr. lincoln, you are as upset with your party as i am. >> reporter: the chairman of the energy and commerce committee which they are working on this
draft bill, he really tried to downplay any perception of secrecy here. he said, look, this is just regular order, we want to make sure our members can get in and review the draft as it is currently being written, to refine it going forward. but certainly leading to such a big week last week, there is an extra level of caution here. you guys recall late last week when the draft was leaked to several media outlets including cnn, there was a firestorm of criticism. so leadership wants to make sure they're going into next week with some momentum behind this draft bill. >> you can't make this stuff up, talking to the bust of lincoln. >> the real news would have been if it had responded. coming up for us, attorney general jeff sessions facing pressure from democrats to resign, something former attorney general alberto gonzales has experienced.
>> what he thinks about the relative level of honesty right now from the white house. stay with us. if your sneezes are a force to be reckoned with... you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin®. because it starts working faster on the first day you take it. try zyrtec®. muddle no more®.
good morning, everyone, i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. so glad you're with us. this morning in just minutes, the president will leave the white house, bound for what has become a typical weekend getaway to sunny florida. but new clouds hang over the administration. instead of basking in the glow of his well-received presidential speech, he's calli accusing democrats of engaging in a witch hunt. >> a growing number of democrats say attorney general