tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 28, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
good evening. thanks for joining us. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes says he invited to comey to testify again. we did not hear james clapper, or former acting attorney general, sally yates. they were supposed to testify today at the second public hearing but late last week chairman nunes abruptly canceled without saying why. and was supposed to testify about communications between flynn and russian ambassador.
they denied they tried to block yates from testifying. sean spicer pushed back hard on the allegation and at one point it went off the rails. >> how does this administration try to revamp its image two 1/2 months in? you got other things going on, you've got russia, wire tapping -- >> no. we don't have that. >> on capitol hill -- >> i've said it from the day i got here that there is no connection. if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad, that's a russian connection. that's -- i appreciate your agenda but the reality is -- no. at some point report the facts. >> so let's talk about the facts tonight. the facts about this white house and those close to it and ties to russia.
we want to show you a flow chart because it's confusing. there are the facts about former national security advisoadvisor michael flynn. he sat next to putin which the kremlin paid flynn to attend. and during the campaign flynn had regular contact with russian nationals and discussed sanctions with russian ambassador and lied about it to the vice president and others. that's a fact. then there are the facts about president trump's son in law, jared kushner. he met with the ambassador and a president of russia's state own bank in late 2015. facts about paul manafort. he worked for years in ukrain
and partnered with a russian oligarch in business deals and worked for a russian oligarch to benefit the putin government. fact, foreign policy advisor, carter page worked in russia for three years, and involved with state-owned gas giant and travelled to russia over the summer while he was a close advise shall to the president. and then he spoke to cis leacon the sidelines. and attorney jeff sessions was the first to support candidate trump and he also met with him twice during the campaign. michael cohen is president trump's personal lawyer. last month he met with a guy named felix sader a russian immigrant connected with the mock and he founded a grain company in ukrain. cohen. and the facts about roger stone
who communicated with someone known as goose 2.0 through private messages on twitter. the u.s. intelligence committee says it was a front for russian intelligence and claimed responsibility for hacking before the dnc election. we'll stop there because we have lot to talk about. and the ones we listed might be legal, or nefarrious. but we do know they exist. tho those are the facts. so the white house is denying it tried to block sally yates from testifying. >> the white house is vehemently denied that. they did not try to block her from testimony. a review of letters from her to the department of justice shows at the very least they tried to discourage her testimony. let's take step back and remember who sally yates is. she was the acting attorney general for the first 10 days or so. she was fired by the president.
and she was the dep outy attorney general in the obama administration and the one who fired warning flairs that there were communications going on between flynn and the russian ambassador. that's why her testimony is important. but sean spicer said no we're not trying to block her. he explained it like this. >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to. let's be honest. the hearing was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward, great. we have no problem with her testifying. plain and simple. >> and again that hearing was supposed to be today on capitol hill. but the white house did not want another russian related hearing to dominate everything and one of the reasons she was not testifying was because of executive privilege. the president owned the
executive privilege. >> we have question about who signed him in. >> and let you know more. they said look, we're not going to say who swore him in, who escorted him in. but talking to former government officials, we know that even house intelligence chairman, even members of commerce must be escorted in the same way as everyone else. the log could easily access it but they have chosen not to at this point. they're not releasing their visitor logs as they did during most of the obama administration. >> the only person who knows for
certain why they canceled today 's public hearing and then there was the closed hearing that didn't take place. is devin nunes himself. what information did he give you about sally yates and the canceled hear sng. >> to have a private classified briefing with rogers and fbi director james comey. he has a lot of unanswered questions. they wanted this private classified briefing today but that also was canceled because of all the partisan acramony. all meetings of the houses intelligence committee were cancel canceled, showing how grid locked this committee is. nunes was asked by me and other reporters this question. did the white house ask you to prevent sally yates from
testifying? this is how he responded. >> look. you guys are just speculating. whenever there's time we'll do a press -- >> but did they ask you to cancel the hear sng. >> come on, guys. >> why did you cancel the hear sng. >> nothing has been canceled. >> so after that, chairman nunes spokesman put out a statement suggesting they had no discussions with the white house saying no one at the white house spoke whatsoever with any members of the committee or chairman nunes himself. but the question really raising questions about whether there are any discussions ever that did not happen today. >> i'm confused. he says nothing was canceled. there was supposed to be a public hearing. i remember it last week. i had it penceled in. it didn't happen.
how is that not canceling? >> and he said -- he suggested there was no official noelts that went out, even though they announced publicly there would by a hearing today. curious explanation from the chairman nonetheless. >> i'm sure yates, clapper and all those people were preparing -- they had all been told they were to have a hearing, correct? >> they had been told and private discussions that were ongoing with staff and witnesses planning to go forward. perhaps we learned more from l salsa sally yates and blackmailed potentially with his connections with russians. and why a lot of folks don't want this issue to be aired publicly. but nunes saying it was more important to have this private briefing with comey and rogers.
but that hearing also not going forward. so uncertain on how this committee could proceed forward as it investigates the ties between russian campaign and offici officials. >> it didn't happen today and not scheduled to happen. >> and it may not happen yet. they still want to hear from sally yates. the question is when that will happen. we just don't know that. >> what a day. thank you very much. democratic congressman hines a member of the house intelligence committee. was this meeting canceled? >> of course it was. a room was reserved. we had our questions and it didn't happen and the idea was because of the comey/rogers meeting was to have happened. there's more than two hours in a week. they're on capitol hill a lot.
>> technically a public meet squag private meeting. >> it was scheduled precisely for the time the open hearing was to happen. >> what is nunes trying to do? >> all of his behavior since last monday's open hearing is bazar. that's not a partisan statement. no less than they have said what this guy is doing. since that monday open hearing. >> i believe lindsey graham referenced inspector cuso. >> director comey confirms -- and forget what that congress is doing. he confirmed there is an fbi investigation into links between the trump campaign and possible links between the trump campaign and russia. and they completely shut down
this idea that president obama was wire tapping trump tower and i have to say that was not an accident no hearing today. >> if there had been in your opinion a certain momentum after last week, was he basically trying to shut that down? >> you can draw your own conclusion. an open hearing you can say canceled, didn't happen. the american public did not get the opportunity to hear from people who would be able to contribute. >> so sally yates was supposed to be one of the people to testify. her attorneys sent a letter telling nunes that she would testify about conversations relating to mike flynn and russia and that executive privilege would not apply if they did not hear back from
monday. that very same day it's announced okay that hearing is canceled. >> you can surmise that the deputy attorney general was a particularly painful potential witness. she was at the senter of the whole michael flynn thing and stone, manafort, carter, page. flynn is the one person who lost his job. and so i do think probably her testimony would have been particularly difficult for this white house. >> does this surprise you to learn that the new york times were reporting that jared kushner during the transition met at the suggestion of the russian ambassador with this guy from a russian bank that is under sanctions and the russian bank -- the white house was saying oh, no, this was a pre fungtry courtesy meeting. this was a business meeting with
him as part of the kushner family. >> and there's other circumstances that make it odd. the head is a russian intelligence officer and the whole thing gets to a much larger issue. there's nothing illegal or bad and the risen we're having this conversation is there are a half dozen people who had bazar set of -- i'd be surprised if any people in my committee had cone with russia pch and they were not entirely up front, to put it nicely, about the nature of those contacts. >> squr thathat's just a quick chart. there's a lot more. and for the white house to say this is all a media creation. the president put russian salad
dressing on his salad -- which is a clever line. michael flynn lost his job. >> the white house has said all along there is nothing there. i would point out that a midnight run to the white house that puzzles republicans and democrats alike by our chairm that doestant -- that's not a republican or democrat thing to do. and there's an active fbi investigation underway. that is not a partisan thing. >> has your work ground to a halt? >> the veinvestigation certainl has ground to a halt. we ordinarily have a meeting when we come back. that was canceled. and the word in the committee is now that we will not get together as a committee. we're charge would oversight of profoundly important and potentially scary things. we're apparently not going to do anything until this closed door
meeting occurs. >> any idea when that's going to happ happen? >> no. >> how deep do former campaign manafort's ties to russia go? grown man now. i don't want to pry... dad. but have you made a decision? i'm going with the $1000 in cash back. my son... ...a cash man. dad, are you crying? nah, just something in my eye. the volkswagen 3 and easy event... ...where you can choose one of three easy ways to get a $1000 offer. hurry in to your volkswagen dealer now and you can get $1000 as an apr bonus, a lease bonus, or cash back.
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appropriate. joining me now is washington correspondent for the new yorker and matthew rosenbering. former georgia congressman and u.s.a. today columnist jason powers and trump campaign. sally yates to testify. i think that starts pealing the onion away from why devin nunes didn't want her to appear. i've been told from multiple sources that she did not go to see the white house counsel just to give him a heads up about flynn's communications as had been said by reince priebus and
sean spicer. but in fact she went over to say she had significant concerned about an issue of compromised and that he may have been compromised and then we have to ask the question about after she went to the white house why did it take so long for them to finally decide they were going to fire general flynn only after the washington post had revealed in a story about his communication only after it became public. >> see in real time a house intelligence committee essentially break down. even their regular meetings have stopped. >> it's amazing. and we've heard the same thing and that sally was going to get up there. sally was going to get up there and talk about conversations they had in the white house
about flynn being compromised potentially, about flynn being a real security risk and then you took another two weeks before he was let go and it looks like it was security and that doesn't break any security clearance. and he did not want a repeat of monday where he had the director get up and say yes, there's an espionage investigation going on and this is an attempt to shut it downtop. >> that is startling for those who want to believe this is a bipartisan commission that want to get to the bottom of what's going on. >> monday to monday shows nunes allowed himself to essentially become a tool of the white house on several levels. i reported on new yorker.com that the morning of monday hearing, a white house official
told me what essentially was going to be in nunes testimony and predicted it would be about incidental collection. there was coordination from the get go about that hearing. and nunes went to the white house grounds and briefed the president. so the white house, the executive branch using nunes as a tool to start this conversation about incidental collection that over shadowed the comey testimony. >> you have a source telling you that the white house -- somebody at the white house -- >> the morning of the monday testimony i spoke to a senior official. he's going to lay the predicate. and directed me to an article on the hill about incidental collection. so very clearly saying we know what he's going to say and what we want is a conversation about incidental collection. then he gets these secret documents, the next day briefs the white house about it and we
have that whole arguablytia raid taking the focus away from comey's testimony that the fbi's investigating trump 's associates and putting it on the purview of incidental collection. and then the canceling of today's hearing. there were two other witnesses that were going to be hostile towards donald trump. clapper and brennan. >> if you combine all of that, you basically have the white house and nunes blowing up this investigation. >> and sean spicer from last week saying wait till the end of the week. and the president himself saying -- >> exactly. trump's comment has been over looked. something's coming out. >> in fact, we should pull that tape but the wording was particularly odd because if memory serves me correct, he was talking about what the white house was going to be -- i don't
want to characterize but it was stunning in retrospect. >> i've shut down committee hearings right at the last minute. that's your puraugative. you don't have to explain it to your witnesses or minority or majority. i think his decision was a good one. i think this whole thing has become political. for the democrat or republican committee members to rush out to the press on every little hearing piece when you're talking about felons who have leaked -- >> didn't nunes run out to the press? >> oh, i'm glad he did. >> that's a good run out to the press? >> but i'm so glad he has shut down some of this talk this week. i think it's helpful. >> what talk? >> helpful to whom? >> i believe his own committee members are doing a disservice
to this investigation. >> as you look at this from a legal standpoint, what do you make of it? >> yates testifying is by no way a common appearance in d.c. the people objecting in the justice department were career people, not political people. and i often litigate against some of these people. the idea that you could have someone involved in an early investigation in the middle of the investigation go and talk about any part of the investigation who held the role of a prosecutor raises ethical questions. i think she's right. there's a waver issue that might let her get around presidential privilege. her description, her letter is laden with privilege. >> when we come back, i want to pursue that more. because there's lot of folks who don't know what some of those things mean. we're going to take a quick break. we'll also take a look at the
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major story we're following tonight. nunes asking for him to step aside. and two top republican senators are adding their voice to the chorus. to see whether nu nurne, is is for his job. >> if he's not willing to tell republicans and democrats who he met with and what he was told, then i think he's lost his
ability to lead. as to whether he should step down, i'll leave that to the white house leadership. >> i've never heard of any such thing. there's so much that needs to be explained by the chairman. >> we were talking before about an interview that president trump had given march. >> i think you're going to find very interesting items coming to the forfront over the next few weeks. >> you seem to have the president saying something's going to come out that's about his claim on the famous tweet about trump tower being bugged by president obama and then you have the white house, at least to me and i assume other journalists saying this is about incidental collection and then you have nunes on that monday hearing last week making it about incidental collection and
nunes saying ah-hah, i have secret information that trump associates were incidentally collected on and the entire news shifted from fbi investigation of trump associates to this periferal issue. >> i want to connect some dots here. when chairman nunes came out and told the press that he found this incidental surveillance, he's going to brief the white house. sean spicer said we have no clue what he's talking about because we have no idea what he's going to say. that turns out to be big lie. he was at the white house the day before. that's where he got the documents. i think those documents may have been what president trump was telegraphing to tucker carlson. they thought they had the goods,
nunus make as big deal and it's not. >> you said you have a different take. that it's good this has been stopped. >> the issue of incidental collection and american's being unmasked is a very serious issue. >> more so than russia's hacking of the election? >> absolutely. there's no evidence there was collusion -- >> no, i'm talking about russia's involvement in the election? >> there's no evidence that russia was involving themselves in the u.s. election -- >> that they were colluding with the campaign. >> but they clearly were involved in the u.s. election. >> clearly there were some efforts being made. >> successful efforts, no? >> what we do know is there was this incidental collection. >> we know russia was involved. we know emails were released.
i mean some could say that is an act of war. >> the substance coming out of the house intel committee is over shadowed everything or the lack of substance coming out and so what we have really is this running back and forth between the capitol and up to the white house with this back and forth and everyone's why is he going here at that time and here at this time? there's a basic p.r. tenant where you've got to tell your people here's why you're doing it. you don't see the people from the house supporting the chairman. the speaker's comments were muddledality best. i don't know how the chairman is going to push ahead with this. >> you think he should recuse himself? >> either lay out the case of here are the people, here's the evidence or he needs to step back and have speaker ryan put
in someone else because this is stepping on the president's message when we have this drip, drip, drip every day. >> i think that's why canceling the hearings was a good thing because you have to huddle with your team. >> he's not huddling with his team. >> but i think he will in time. >> what do you mean in time? there's 24 hours in a day. >> they have a cooling off period. the investigation is going on -- >> they're not children that need a timeout, are they? >> hearings should not be confused with investigating? investigating is not going on. the committee's not. we just had the congressman from the committee saying the investigation is over. >> what investigation are you talking about? because devin nunes wants to investigate the unmasking and incidental collection and other people say we're not saying that's not important because
that has to be looked at but what they want to investigate is russia and the russian hacking of the election and potential ties -- the trump campaign to russia. that is what they are investigating. >> does it seem to you that the house intelligence committee -- it seems like he's saying they're not doing anything. >> that's absolutely what it seems like and the integrity has been called into question. even if you say it's his porogative to cancel, why did he cancel? they are eported that sally yates was going to show up and probably john brennan and say things that were embarrassing to the white house. so if he's doing it to protect the white house from an investigation, that's actually not okay. >> which is what he said on fox. he said the president was getting a lot of heat from the media.
>> at least connect the squares and stepping stones. immediately after the comey testimony last week that he did not say in public the things he was saying in private. comey is a very clever guy and he selectively answered questions. he's a savvy testimony guy. >> what did he say in private that he didn't say in public? >> well, i don't know. but that's what they were saying. >> wait, stop. what you're saying is i heard from a guy who said this. i don't know what he was talking about but i hurd this. >> how come everybody in press land can say i heard from source -- i heard it from committee members themselves. not staffers. >> what you're talk about is
nunes and shift did get a private briefing by comey about the precise nature of the fbi investigation. and nunes was clearly not happy with some of the answers about whether the trump white house and trump himself were under investigation and reading between the lines the way i interpreted what he said privately versus publicly was how close to the white house this investigation is. and this is the reason the nunes says there's a cloud over the white house. >> somewhat. now getting back to kirsten's questions about clapper. what they want is to have comey come back in a private closed door session first. but he would not do that until he got a letter of request sign fwhied minority member, the ranking member. he did not sign that, so comey would not come. and those are things that i
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her testimony. why? >> for the white house to say we're cool with this. testify. that is very uncommon. the obama administration, bush administration, going back to the clinton administration they hold these privileges jealously. >> for people that don't follow this closely, it's communications in the white house np president has to be able to feel that conversations he's having with people -- >> ever since george washington with the j tree, they've felt they needed some confidentiality. they recognized that in a substantive way and said it warrants protection. there's a lot of ambiguity there. one is deliberate privlgage. building cases and investigating. and the concern that you have when the prosecutor, which she was, talks about an ongoing
investigation is it raise as question about fairness for criminal defense attorneys like myself. we crawl into fetal positions when you see prosecutors go out in the middle of an investigation because -- >> even if she's not revealing classified information or talking about things in the public record? >> if she can thread that needle, then she's a very good lawyer. this has to be a very careful performance. but if you read what she's not going to talk about, this could be a mono sulauvic testimony. >> i've spoken with multiple sources about this. her claim is that privilege ought to be waved because there have been multiple public comments of current senior white house officials describing these communications in january of 2017.
and i believe that she wrote to the justice department. she asked for permission. the justice department sort of said the buck stops at the white house. so her attorney sent a letter to the chief counsel and said the letter from her attorney said if i do not receive a response by monday at 10:00 a.m., which is when she was supposed to testify, i will conclude that i can testify and then ---ing. >> it's oron the same day. >> she has to -- she still has ethical obligations. she's a former prosecutor, has access to information that can embarrass an unindicted person. >> we're burying the obvious. sally yates is an obama appointee. lets rr see what the opposition party has to say. sally yates was appointed by
president obama and i think -- >> didn't she have -- she had an extensive career that department of justice under many different administrations. >> she has been recruited by the democrat party to run for governor in georgia. it's not like she's a casual person who obama selected simply because of her intellect. >> she's not switzerland. >> she is considering running for governor of the state of georgia. but what is important is as you're saying her testimony. i don't see how she can walk that line and do justice for it. >> i'm not too sure why you would want this. her departure led to serious ethical questions about whether she acted correctly. those wondering whether she was acting -- >> you're -- >> yes, where she told them to stand down and not assist a
sitting president. she can resign, the way it worked out in the nixon administration. >> i'm just a talk show host, okay. but all this talk about sally yates, misses the point. the point is the military have a phrase, fubar. that's what this is all about. it will never be put back together again with devin nunes as a chair and the white house has lost all credibility on this issue as well. they're doing everything they can to try to make this russian connection go away. it's not going toing go away. >> up next we have more breaking news. about an hour ago president trump selling senators something that was unexpected. we'll play you what he said when we come back. ( ♪ ) upstate new york is a good place to pursue your dreams. at vicarious visions, i get to be creative, work with awesome people, and we get to make great games. ( ♪ )
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more breaking news. moments ago during a reception at the white house president trump made a surprising comment about health care reform. listen to what he told a group of senators. >> i know that we're all going to make a deal on health care, that's such an easy one. i have no doubt that's going to happen very quickly. i think it will, i think it's going to happen. >> so this is obviously in stark contrast leading up to friday's failed vote on health care
reform, white house secretary sean spicer said they had no plan "b." >> how confident are you that the bill will pass, and if it doesn't pass, is there a plan "b"? >> no, there is no plan -- i mean, there's plan "a" and plan "a." we're going to get this done. i'm not looking -- we're not looking at a plan "b." we have plan "a." it's going to pass. we're going to go from there. >> you said there is only plan "a." >> right. >> at this point is there an acknowledgement perhaps there does need to be a plan "b"? >> no, plan "a." the president's plan is on to pass the bill tonight, get to it the senate, sign a bill. once it goes to conference. that's the president's plan. >> is there any plan if the bill does not pass tonight? >> no. >> what is the plan "b" -- >> it's going to pass, so that's it. >> now the president saying, i know we're going to make a deal on health care, that's such an easy one. joining us to talk about it, former labor secretary robert reich, author of "saving capitalism for the many, not the few." stephen moore, heritage foundation, a former senior
economic adviser to the trump campaign. secretary reich, what did you make of the president saying this? it also seems to stand at odds with what he said previously, nobody knew how difficult health care was. >> i don't think donald trump has any credibility left on this issue of health care. he said he only had plan "a," there was no plan "b." all of a sudden a couple of days later he has plan "b." presumably has plan "c," "d," "f," "g." every time he takes a stand it looks like there's no stand there. a lot of republicans called his bluff over this health care, and he it turns out was -- there was no ability. he had no ability to stand his ground. so i don't know what he's talking about. unless he's talking about maybe a back channel with, what? the democrats? maybe donald trump -- i mean, the chance that donald trump is actually going to be making a deal with democrats and have enough votes with a few republicans to come up with some changes strengthening the
affordable care act, i'll eat my hat but it would be great if he did that. >> stephen, do you know what the president means? because if it was such an easy thing to make a deal, i mean, we wouldn't be here. there would probably an deal last friday. >> well, i'll tell you, by the way, bob, you're not going to have to eat your hat. because the negotiations going on right now, i've been in touch with a lot of the house members today, anderson, that is they are getting very close. look, by the way, this is standard negotiating tactics. when you have plan "a" on the table, you don't tell the people you're negotiating with, by the way, there's a plan "b." but there is a plan "b" and they're getting close i think to getting this thing sewn up. as i said the other night, they're going to get this done. they're going to get it through the house. they're going to get it through the senate. here's the argument by the way that's been i think persuasive for these people, these republicans that have been on the fence. a lot of them have said, we can't vote for this because any negative ramifications of this bill are going to affect us when we run for re-election.
one of the points i told them, look, obamacare is falling apart, the premiums are going to keep going up and up and up, barack obama isn't going to get blamed for that, it's republicans. fix this now or have a tough re-election in november of 2018. >> i agree they better fix it, that it is not barack obama's problem anymore, its republicans' problem. on the other hand, how are they going to fix it? they want it repealed, the taxes that actually keep it going, they also want to get rid of the individual mandate that requires healthy people to have insurance. if you get rid of both of those you don't have any funds left to actually provide the subsidies that are needed to enable these to function -- >> you are wrong, my friend. i was looking at the bill that passed the house, you may recall, two years ago when they repealed obamacare. the congressional budget office said that bill saves $500 billion over 10 years.
by repealing obamacare. so here's the plan. you use some of that $500 billion to cover people now. so as i said on your show, you basically say it's repealed on january 1, 2019. for the next two years, you provide coverage for people so nobody loses coverage. then you come up with a plan that is market driven. this is an ideological struggle -- >> so you're saying it's not repeal and replace, it's repeal for down the road and then that pressure forces people to come up with a plan to replace? >> that sounds not only unfeasible politically but also -- >> why? >> because these people are still going to be up for re-election next year. and the congressional budget office has said that 14 million people are going to lose their health coverage. and you're saying, where is this -- >> hold people harmless. >> you say if you've got coverage we'll continue to fund your coverage. then you come up with the kinds of solutions like we talked about last night. do interstate competition, medical malpractice, things that
do save money and reduce premiums. >> what i don't understand is if they had all of this, why wasn't this plan "a"? >> that's a good question. >> why go through all of this -- >> i wish it happened. >> we've got to leave it there. stephen moore, robert reich, thanks very much. he says he has nothing to do with alleged russian hacking, of the u.s. election, with any coordination between the trump campaign and russia. it's largely because of paul manafort that the questions will not go away. we'll take a look, who is he, how deep do thinks dies with russia go? drew griffin investigates tonight when we continue. can i get some help. watch his head. ♪ i'm so happy. ♪ whatever they went through, they went through together. welcome guys. life well planned.
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