tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 8, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
former top law enforcement official testified bch before the senate judiciary kmp and the president weighed in on that testimony. the hearing took place a few blocks from here in a world removed from anything remotely conceivable until now unless it's a spy 1/3. sally yates talking publicly the first time today how she went to the white house to warn them the president -- the president's national security adviser my knowledge flynn was vulnerable to washer russian blackmail what's more the notion was neither the only headline from the hearing to date more the only big story however a good place to start. jim skrut skrut o with today's key moments. >> the national security adviser could be blackmailed by the russian. >> a hearing sharply divided along partisan lines form acting attorney general sally yates sharply contradicted the white house version. regard being michael flynn. yates sold senators she gave the white house a forceful and detailed warning. that flynn lied when he denied
discusses u.s. sanctions with the russian ambassador. >> we walked the white house council who had an associate with him through general flynn's underlying conduct. the contents of which i obviously cannot go through with you today because it's classified. we took them through a fair amount of detail of the underlying conduct what flynn had done and then we walked through the various press accounts and how it had been falsely reported. we also told the white house counsel that general flynn had been interviewed by the fbi. >> michael flynn. >> in nesh the day after his firing by the president, sean spicer claimed yates had only give and much less substantive heads up about flynn's comments. >> the acting attorney general informed the white house counsel that they wanted to give quota heads up to us and some comments that may have been louisiana may have seeped in conflict with what the -- he had sent the vice president. >> but yates said it was much more than just a heads up. she spoke with the white house three separate times.
warning that the president's closest adviser on national security was in danger of being blackmailed by russia. >> we felt like it was critical that we get in information to the white house. because in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that general flynn was compromised with smekt with respect to the russia zbloons the hearing was intended to focus on russian interference in the u.s. election on the key question whether trump advisers colluded with russia the former director of national intelligence said he has not seen evidence as he said in the past. >> is that still accurate. >> it is. >> yates however was less definitive. >> ms. yates do you have any evidence are you aware of any evidence that would suggest that in the 2016 campaign anybody in the trump campaign colluded -- colluded with the russian government or intelligence services in an improper fashion.
>> and more my answer to that question would require me to reveal classified information and so i can't answer that. >> overall the hearing was a tale of two hearings many democratic senators folksed on flynn many republicans focused on leaks. >> have either of you ever been an aanonymous source in a news report about matters relating to mr. trump, his associates or russians attempt to meddle in the election? >> no. >> absolutely not. >> and unmasking. >> do we know who unmasked the the conversation between the russian ambassador and general flynn. >> was there unmavericking in this situation? >> i don't know. >> do you ms. yates. >> i can't speak to this specific situation. >> jim skrut ofr joins us dpiet all the different topics this was a hearing about russian interference in the u.s. election did we learn anything new about that today. >> well director clapper today girmd we report thd before russian hackers targeted by democratic and republican party
affiliates et cetera but only leaked on the democratic part part of the intelligence communities' assessment that the russian intended to advantage trump process. but looking forward agreement that russians will they believe attack again. and attack both parties oddly we did not hear much about what to do in this hearing. one more note director clapper contradicted both sean spicer and the president saying the seenier level national security officials when they come into a white house post like white house security adviser they are normally subject to a far more ins vasive clearance process than the clearance director flynn already had that coming from direct clapper of course ez habs through nurm administrations seen this process before. >> that's significant because the trump administration is saying that flynn was vetted by the obama administration and they're the ones who messed up. >> exactly. i mean they're saying that because he basically had a courtesy clearance as a lot of retired officials coming out of positions like flynn had in the
obama administration did when i you go no the white house for the senior positions they are in that record eword invasive is the one director clapper used subject to more invasive security clearance. >> thanks very much we mentioned the president weighed in firing off a string of kweets colleague two sally yates made the fake media extremely unhappy she said nothing but old news also quote the trump russia collusion story is a total hoax when the certainly not before the panel gets to say. april ryen matthew rosenberg gloria bourjier and gloria was today's testimony problematic pr for the trump administration. >> i think it's trouble for them because they have been -- telling a story about sally yates effectively giving them a heads up as they put it about some issues with -- with general flynn. what sally yates described today was her telling them that there was a category 5 hurricane aimed
directly at them and that they had better do something about. manual somebody who is the acting attorney general calling the white house counsel saying i've got to come down there. we have to have this discussion. and then explaining to the white house counsel that your national security adviser could be subject to blackmail by -- by the russians. that's not a heads up. that's something that needed to be dealt with very quickly and from what we now understand from the time line that we know of, it took 18 days for that -- for that to occur. and only after the "washington post" reported that in fact flynn had lied to the vice president. >> and matthew i mean the president tweeted again a short time director clapper reiterated what everybody in the fake media already knows there is no everyday of evidence of collusion with russia and trump what clapper said based on a what he had seen january 6th when he left he saw no evidence.
but he didn't know about the fisher counterintelligence investigation. >> clapper made it clear he was staying out of the way. the fbi was doing their thing. we heard this from people at the white house they saw the fisher investigation as something they separate couldn't meddle in. what clapper knew and didn't noy has a big question. clapper's statement he undercuts his own statement on that. we know yates when she was asked about it she kind of said well i can't talk about it that doesn't mean yes with doesn't mean any it's really inconclude disbelieve april that's important because the clapper statement is the something the trump white house pointed to all there is no there there james clapt kwlaper didn't see anything by the time he left. >> what i'm hearing from sources close to the white house they are concerned about the issue of russia they're trying todown play it when you hear sally yates who is not being partisan in this doing her job saying that she had information and she went directly to the white house counsel's office not once but twice to tell them the category
5 hurricane was happening about the fact that -- that flynn was trying to overkourn turn the sanctions that the president -- president obama had put in place. there are tent kals here and this could be prosecuted if indeed there is something more than more deeper >> although ryan there is plenty of people on the panel ted cruz among them who believe she is being partisan. >> he brought in some extranz issues such as hillary clinton's emails. i don't know it didn't like like a partisan democrat at that table. this is someone hired by bob bahr in anyone hired in the 1990 ban bahr is one of the more conservatives at the time she a representation reputations a prosecutor who put away a lot of democrats in georgia. i didn't see a -- a partisan person. i mean eric holder lorta liverpool maybe slightly more partisan. people at the head of the osh justice department. sally yates that was not her
reputation. one quick point what matt was talking about. it was interested what with showed the different spoons to the collusion question clapper can be the dni did not have visibility in the investigation saying he didn't know about collusion. yates who was at justice did have visibility into the fbi investigation said, i can't talk about that. to me that is incredibly revealing. >> jason i mean one of the things though the white house hasn't really talked about and the question wasn't answered today because sally yates isn't able to speak to it 18 days from when she warned them about mike flynn to the time he was actually fired, why that length of time. >> well if you go back and look at some of the original reporting some of the things said at the time was that it was a bit of gray area. wasn't completely clear what exactly happened in the conversation, what exactly was said. also backed up by what general flynn said in his public statement. it would have been insane for the wlous to have gone and immediately fired general flynn
right on the spot without having done their own investigation and review all the facts it was good they took their time got it right. >> should he have been sort of not -- well i don't know if isolated he was sitting in on key meetings in on phone conversation was vladimir putin. if you've been told your national security adviser is subject to blackmail should he have been in the meetings. >> well again i think it was important that white house had to go through and verify things. also too talking about a retired general who had been in the military for 33 years had been given top secret clearance by the previous administration. >> former head of the. >> but the bigger take away all day we were told there was going to be the bombshell there were bunch of a reports saying there was going to be bombshell testimony. >> a woke ago it was -- a week ago it was leaked out what sally yates was going to say and specifically saying there is not going to be a bombshell. >> there wasn't one single piece of evidence saying there was coordination between the
campaign and some foreign entity. we're into may of 2017 there hasn't been one single thing put forward i think at a certain poirnt this is getting ridiculous. >> i would say, one clapper said something we've heard a lot before which is that there remains a risk. this is ongoing. putin is not a registered republican. he is after creating confusion. he is going to get into our system again we've seen that recently in france. seen that in italy. so that we've heard it before but that was interesting. are the unfortunately there wasn't a ton of focus on the actual russia investigation really by either party frankly today there is a lot more questions should be asked. but i will say it's an entirely different scenario but i was there when stanley mccrystal was fired not as bad and certainly a different situation but that was a 36 hour turnover. and when you're the president of the united states when you have a person who may be vulnerable to a foreign government you put every resource toward that and make a quick decision.
and that didn't happen. so it is perplexes that there was three weeks. that's not tu. >> got to take a quick break continuing the skigs when we get back. we'll talk about president obama's warning about to president-elect about michael flynn. jared kushner's sister the question was she trying to cash in on the first family's name? make sure they're producing. woo! employee of the month! you really shouldn't leave their side. vita coco coconut water, hydration comes naturally. go to great lengths frto find relief.ain finally there's drug-free aleve direct therapy®. a tens device with high intensity power that uses technology once only available in doctors' offices for deep penetrating relief at the source. aleve direct therapy. blue moon is brewed mwith valencia orange peel,
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i need to know i'm ready. no matter what lies ahead. get a free sample at depend.com president trump is on something of a tweet torm about it this evening all talking about jamie clapper and sally yates' testimony today. ms. educates speaking for the first time about the warnings that michael flynn might be a national security risk he did it told a senate committee today. she didn't say whether that action should be by the senate committee np before she was sworn in as a witness another story was swirling around this town namely her warning wasn't the first. another came from president obama to president-elect trump more on than from jim acosta.
>> i just had the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with president trump. >> >> on the superiorities seemed like cordial meeting between the outgoing president. >> the meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half. and it could have as far as i'm concerned it could have gone on a lot longer. >> but behind closed doors former obama administration officials tell cnn former president obama offered president-elect trump a clear warning don't hire michael flynn. one obama official said mr. obama told mr. trump there were more qualified people for the position. that caution from one president to another came more than a month and a half before flynn spoke with the russian ambassador about sanctions on moscow. and nearly two months before flynn was fired by president trump for not coming clean on the conversation. it's true the president -- president obama made it known that he wasn't exactly a fan of general flynns. >> still the white house is putting the blame on the obama administration for granting flynn a security clearance in
early 2016. the president tweeted, general flynn was given the highest security clearance by the obama administration but the fake news sell domes like talking about that. >> why didn't he suspend his security clearance which they just approved a plont earlier there were steps if that was a concern more than just a person that didn't -- had bad blood. >> but former obama administration officials point out flynn was in fact fired by the obama administration over the contention management style. >> it's a huge effort at zrask wolf in april 2016 mr. flynn was no longer working for the osh administration he had been let go in 2016 o 2014. >> president trump repeatedly defended flynn since firing the general himself np in late march mike flynn should ask if for immunity this is a witch hunt excuse more big election loss by media and demless of historic proportion similar to the complaint the president aired after he showed flynn the.
>>reporter: he has been treated very unfairly by the media, as i call it the fake media in many cases. and i think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. >> i'm pleased to appear you this afternoon. >> the president also questioned the credibility of sally yates who raised internal questions about flynn and warned the white house before fired by mr. trump over a different matter. he tweeted ask sally yates if she knows somehow classified information soon after he explained to the white house counsel. >> does the president believe sally yates the leaker. >> the tweet speaks for itself the senate should ask the questions. >> the white house is not saying much about its effort to vet flynn. but the retired general did not undergo a vigorous vetting process as he was a favorite of president trump he is not only as a twirds but a surrogate who regularly appeared at rallies during the campaign. asked how much vetting flynn
received one former trump transition official told me in one word, none and we should point out tonight a white house official is tell us in reaction to the -- the testimony that we heard today at the hearing that they -- their big take away from this is that no evidence of collusion was presented at that hearing earlier today anderson. >> jim acosta thanks nuch back with the panel. it is interesting -- i mean i hadn't realized that the vetting for a national security adviser would be higher than what he had previously received as the director of -- are oh the defense intelligence agency. >> that was a bit of news coming out of the hearing really kind of a bit of fog around that issue. because the white house was saying it was blaming the obama administration for the security clearance. >> the president veeted that was the highest vetting he had had that won have been the case. >> are the barack obama fired flynn and warned donald trump not to hire him there is no universe by which you can blame flynn on the obama
administration. one other piece of news today just to answer jason's point before sally yates said something strg. she talked not just about flynn's lying to the vice president and others but the underlying conduct. now she was a little unclear what the underlying conduct was. but i know some democrats like adam schiff on the how intelligence committee saying that's a bit of news here. there was something else that flynn was doing this underlying conduct it's not just that he was lying to superiors. >> jason, do you still blame the obama administration for the vetting of michael flynn and not the trump administration given that according to clapper he would have had a liar vetting for new position. >> i can't speak to what additional background checks would have needed for the nsa position, i can say why did the obama administration go and rethorson his top secret clearance? further it fires mere up a the president obama told president trump not to hire general flynn this is a thursday on when on
monday. he was out spelling the entire wire you can't make the pif off the record when you say go don't hire g in guy. if he saw something so untoward so over the line then he had a responsibility to go and say something and make that public. >> he fired him. he fired him. >> no process but this is immediately after if he saw something. >> he saw something and he said something and he fired him. >> the reason osh didn't want flynn brought into the energies is because general flynn had been a sharp contradict of. >> it was about the good of the country. >> let me he had a responsibility to say something. >> one, the night that donald trump won president obama invited him to the white house. he wasn't his choice for the president but felt it was important to do that for the continuity of government he came in had a meeting with him and gave him honest advice. he was concerned about the suitability of flynn and the competence of flynn. he was right. and that was from his experience having fired him two years
before. and that was a concern that was shared by a lot of people in the national security community. >> let me. >> it's important to understand is that there are security clearance updates and you know that are reviewed that are done by -- by the -- by the career staff. and dia was his home -- was his home agency. he is somebody who had been at a high level. he came back and asked for update on his security clearance. that was done in february. long before the campaign was done. >> but it it was in regard to 2015 trip it was from a trip earliery why did any rethorson his top secret clearance. >> it's a courtesy. >> we're just giving ou top secret clearances as a courtesy. >> four million people about who have security clearances that doesn't mean that they meet the bar to be the national security adviser. and it is the right of every new president to pick who they want that to be and the responsibility. >> we don't just give out top secret cleaners as a court. >> he disclosed.
>> we don't know he disclosed that trip when he is getting the security clearance updated there is some talk there. >> but it was a public ning therkd have known. >> it was public how often do you watch rt i don't. >> do you guys not think it's at all hypocritical the president obama is out there i do not hire donald trump on monday then. >> i think sometimes you can speak as president of the united states to the incoming president, just as -- just as sally yates can go to the white house counsel and clearly you know she is knots going to be their choice for attorney general and she knows it sometimes you do a job that is above partisanship. >> okay april. >> everything is viewed through that lens then you're not getting anything done. >> april. >> i have watched the transition of power from severalants u-clinton go to bush and work with bush. i have seen bush to obama work with bush -- bush worked with obama i saw obama take that favor from bush to do the same thing with a manna he did not
necessarily agree with. but -- i want to take you back to that room. i was in that room that day when in the oval office when donald trump and barack obama were sitting side by side talking. they talked so long. it took us long time to go into the oval office she kept talking. donald trump even called then president obama on numerous occasions to get more information. tlfrs an olive branch for the same esake of the american people. the continuance of the democracy. so when you say, yeah they had their differences but for the good of the country that's what that was about. and then when he said that about flynn he did that again for the good of the country. the stakes are very high when it comes to issues of national security. and it's not about personality. it's about the american people and. >> unless when it suits your fleeds to go and leak classified information. >> there's been a lot of leaks you say yates but let me say this even the trump administration i'm in that room as well they have they have said there are leaks within their own administration. so okay let's say sally yates
did leak something let's say that the hypothetically. >> we're going to have to leave it throw the panel returns the next two hours much coming up big day on capitol hill and the russia white house watch speak with someone of senators who questioned clapper and sally yates next. coors banquet. that's how it's done. so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you.
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the big news from here in washington tonight fired acting attorney general sally yates testifying he warned the white house that michael flynn was compromised that he could be blackmailed by the russians she was questioned by a panel of senators including senator blummen that you will saying there has to be a investigation about the truth of the russian interfering. >> you said ms. yates we're not going to prosecutor our way out of the russian continued attack on this country. but putting americans in prison if they cooperate, collude, aid and abet, or otherwise assist in that illegallity might send a strong deterrent message correct. >> i expect it would, yes.
>> and there are indeed criminal penalties existing on on the books. we don't need new laws which involve criminality and potential criminal prosecution for the acts, correct. >> yes, that's right. >> and senator richard mum blumenthal joining us thanks for being with us. >> president trump tweeted a while ago nothing new was learned it was old news. >> to you what is the headline frommed. >> the headline from food is that the trump administration waited for two and a half weeks before it took action against flynn to fire him. >> is it clear to you why they waited so long? finally there was a leak in the "washington post" report after that he was fired. >> and that is in fact a very important point. michael flynn might still be there but for the "washington post" report that in effect shamed them into getting rid of him. while there the two and a half weeks he present add real national security threat. the other take away is that the
need for a special prosecutor is well illustrated by sally yates herself who was fired for disagree wg the president. she was acting attorney general, deputy attorney general under president obama and she was fired when she disagreed with the president. the president has now tweeted out that the investigation is a hoax, a char aid a waste of taxpayer money. >> what would a special prosecutor independent investigation how would that be different than what we're seeing in the senatance and house. >> that is the key question what we're seeing in thes house and senate are well bengsed a well organized determined investigations even if they're successful the most they can do is produce recommendations or a report and perhaps a referral for prosecution. they can't themselves take action to hold people accountable. what i hear as i go around connecticut i hear colleagues say from the townhalls is people want to uncover the truth and they want accountability.
and special prosecutor is the only way to have an independent impartial objective prosecutor to holed people accountable. >> have you heard any evidence of what the trump white house was doing in the 18 ao days after being informed. >> it's pretty damning to have the -- the to have sally yates go to the white house and say look your national security adviser is the subject of potential blackmail and yet michael flynn is allowed to sit in on meetings even a phone call with vladimir put sfwloon allowed to sit in on meetings, allowed to lie to the vice president, to be in national security briefings where he is party to very important classified information. at the same time vulnerable to blackmail. >> is there any evidence what the white house did in the 18 days whether they were investigating this. >> that will be the next step in the investigation to determine what they did during the 18 days because sally yates was fired several days after she warned the white house counsel about it. and of course jim clapper wasn't
around that's the next step. >> so interesting when you watch it is a tale of two hearings democrats like yourself asking about any potential collusion, about the russia and the election, it seems like all the republicans are asking about is leaks and we saw that again today. we've seen that in the house now the senate side. >> that's absolutely right. it is a tale of two hearings. except -- except very importantly for senator graham, senator sass, some of the republicans, and my hope is there will be more of them who will see what jim clapper described very, very powerfully if there is another take away it's jim clapper's reference to the power and seriousness of the threat to our democracy, a foundational threat resulting from the russian hacks, the cyberattack, really an act of cyberwar. >> a threat still ongoing still out there. >> still very much ongoing. as we saw in france. >> yes it will be a threat again
and they tried to hack in the election equipment. they are leaving no stone unturned and the answer is we have to act. >> senator blumenthal appreciate your time thank you very much. >> thank you. >> senator john cornyn tried to grill sally nates we'll have news from the courts about the travel ban next. ...we turn feelings... ...into jewelry. jewelry that tells her she's the best thing that's ever happened to you. in a way... ...that goes beyond words. it could be a piece jewelry designers created
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in addition to question base president trump's fired national security adviser senators act former acting attorney general sally yates about the issue costing her own job np she was fired after she refused to defend the president's travel ban she betrayed the department of justice senator cornyn asked her about her opposition to that ban. >> i find if ee normszly disaping that you somehow vetoed the office of the legal counsel and decided that you would countermand the executive order of the president of the united states because you happened to disagree with it as a policy matter. >> well it wasn't. >> i just are have to say that. >> i appreciate that, senator. and let me make one thing clear.
it was not purely as a policy matter. in fact i remember my confirmation hearing. and in an exchange that i had with you. and others of juror colleagues where you specifically asked me -- in that hearing -- that if the president asked me to do something that was unlawful or unconstitutional -- and one of your colleagues said or that would just reflect poorly on the department of justice would i say no? and i looked at this. i made a determination that i believed that it was unlawful. i also thought that it was inconsistent with the principals of the department of justice and i said no that's what i promised you i would do and that's what i did. >> i don't know how you can say it was lawful and say that it was within your prerogative to refuse to defend it in a court of law and leave it for the court to decide. >> senator, i did not say it was lawful. >> i said it was unlawful. >> well that travel ban is caught up in the courts right now today the trump administration tried to defend it against accusations the ban
discriminates against muslims in the hearing the had fourth circuit court of appeals the statements president statements were at issue got audio in the hearing. in this section the judge questions the lawyers about the statements. >> as has the president ever repudiated the campaign statements that he made upon a muslim ban? >> judge king he has as i say some of the briefs walk through this. he said look, over time i. >> he changed it from religion to nationality. he explained that he wasn't going to call it religion anymore. he was going to call it nationality and mayer gulny adviced him to do that way. territories but he -- he's never repudiated what he said about the muslim ban. it's still on his website. the district court found that it's on his website campaign website today. >> they're talking about a press release touting candidate trump's plan to ban all muslim travel into the united states which was still on mr. trump's campaign website today.
it was taken down after sean spicer told reporter did he noent it was there. the you'll here a different judge. representing aclu attorney about how far back president trump should be held to account for some of the things he said on the campaign trail. >> can we look at his college speeches? how bow his speeches to businessman about 20 years ago are we going to look at those too. >> no, urn we're not giving you any of that sort of evidence in in case. what we're looking at here is statements specifically about. >> i know. >> but you made those type of statements as a technology student perhaps. perhaps he made it to a business club in new york. during a speech 20 years ago. perhaps he ran for office earlier and made similar statements are we going to look at those too. >> urn, those would obviously be much less probative than the statements he made over the last two years. >> well joining me now is
jeffrey first of all there came multiple times in sally yates's testimony today some of which we heard. the bottom line her decision not to defend the executive order has it been supported by the courts. >> so far it has. that's where the -- why this appeal is going -- is taking place. there is another appeal on the best coast because courts in miami and washington state took -- took the position gnat executive order was unlawful. but i tell you anderson, i think this is a very hard case. the fourth circuit now has a very substantial majority of democratic appointees. so i think it is likely that the fourth circuit will rule in favor of the challengers against the trump administration. but when this case gets to the supreme court i think it's very difficult to call because this is about national security. and national security is an area that the courts have traditionally very much deferred to the judgments of the executive branch. and when the executive branch
says these people are dangerous it's -- judges tend to defer to that kind of -- that kind of conclusion. >> can -- i see you're nodding your head do you believe that sally yates was on firm legal drowned. >> no i don't. and also understand while the attorney general is unique in the cabinet they do need to make independent legal decisions for instance prosecution decisions and so forth when the president gives a directive the standard is is this legally defensible not will i win or do i agree with it? and that was the standard sally yates appears to have applied. that is not an appropriate standard. your option at that point is resignation or implementation it doesn't mean you'll succeed. but do you have a legitimate argument to made on behalf of the principal, cht united states she clearly did. >> laura the fact that other lawyers in the department of justice felt there was a legal argument to be made doesn't that make sally yates's position
difficult to maintain tlfrs no legal basis for. >> no and i think that to suggest that the court was just saying there is no deference given here to the president is actually a little erroneous here. what she was sayingible is more akin to look i don't have the basis for me to make a straight face argument in this court this actually passed strs constitutional mufrt at this point. the court supported that. if national security was in fact the real motivation which he argues it is then why hasn't been there been the vetting part of the hearing was well you had a 90 day ban talk about the vetting and review processes. you haven't done that leading the court to believer you prior advertised. doesn't bode well forethe argument when i have not been urgently trying to achieve just that. >> let me make one other point i sued over obamacare as ray attorney general and we tried to bring in the president's statements this is not a tax. famously said pounding the chair with george stephen op lus.
no court no matter who pointed the judge allowed toes though weigh into decisions. yet here the issue has been put on the other foot. now the justice department is being ordered to defend positions from outside the boundaries of the document that defines the legal standard and that is the executive order. >> jeff, should the courts look at those past statements by candidate obama -- excuse me candidate trump. >> i don't think so. but that's certainly a controversial position. especially since he was so explicit about calling -- calling for a muslim ban. but it is worth noting the supreme court of the united states in the entire history had has never had a case where they said oh well the candidate said xy and z so we're going to use that as a factor in in ee vaflting the constitutionality of the law we've never had a president like donald trump we've never had a president talk explicitly against a religion. maybe this is a time they will take it into consideration.
but it is worth noting it is never happened before in american history. >> and lawyer are sally yates was asked by ted cruz about has this happened in the history of the justice department where somebody rfrzedded to what she it and she said no. >> her response was particularly important. because what she said was there's also been never been a case i know where the office of legal counsel was instructed not to inform the department of justice prior to making a roll out at this. there is the first travel ban essentially indefensible for the first amendment establishment clause and the second one questioned about now primarily. there is a distinction. at the time of this decision she was the perfect and the only person to make the calculus she actually did. it wasn't a policy decision we were talking about the constitution let's that shou a policy move at this points it the constitution of the united states and whether it would be successful in the long run in as a career prosecutor line attorney that is part of the
calculus. >> as a pr prosecutor toentsen don't you make appropriatings you may not personally believe in doept you argue cases you may not think you can win but you think there is technically a legal basis for you to make those arguments. >> sabtly anderson. and people routinely do that. that is the burden and the honor of being on behalf of the united states of america high pressure. however you don't make arguments you not only personally disagree but the constitution actually says is not a good argument to make. remember at the time that first travel ban did include references to aspects that were violates of the constitution of the the second one i agree with jeffrey it's a harder case to not defend because that's a different travel ban a little bit more neutral facially. >> laura coats ken, jeff as well. president trump's son-in-law and senior jared kushner is facing heat over what his sister told chinese investors did she cross an ethical line?
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court of appeals the trump administration tried to defend the travel ban against accusations that it discriminates against muslims. the white house was facing a new firestorm. the controversy centers on a program that gives wealthy foreigners fast track and a sales pitch that kushner's sister made to investors in china. what she said renewed allegations that kushner, senior advisor of the president, has not resolved the conflicts on the interest involving his family's company. dana bash has details. >> reporter: an american real estate company courting chinese investors in beijing. it would be an unremarkable event except that it was kushner company and nicole kushner myer dropped her brother's name saying my brother jared kushner joined the company as ceo and recently moved to washington to join the administration. the goal was to raise funds for a real estate project in new
jersey, telling wealthy chinese investors if they give half a million dollars to the project, they could also secure a green card. it's completely legal if not highly controversial, a visa program known as eb5 used by many real estate developers. at issue here was the context. an ad for the kushner properties event said invest $500,000 and immigrate to the united states, plus during the event there was a warning that the special visa program might soon end. a photo flashed of president trump. >> this needs to be investigated. we need to find out what was said in that room to the chinese investors and whether it did amount to the solicitation of a bribe. and furthermore, based on what we know thus far, i believe it's clearly inappropriate for the kushner family to participate in this program. they should be disqualified from the eb5 program investments with the kushner company.
>> reporter: richard painter has been critical of donald trump for not doing enough to shield himself from potential conflicts of interest as president. when jared kushner became a senior adviser, he complied with the law by resigning from his family's real estate business and selling his assets. the issue is that his sister's presentation a half a world away left the appearance that his family may be trying to profit from his position. a kushner spokesperson said an event organizer put up the president's image without them knowing and in the wake of the controversy, nicole insisted that in mentioning her brother's name she was trying to make clear he had stepped away as ceo. kushner company apologizes if the mention was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors said the company. damage control at the white house, too. >> jared has done everything to comply with the ethics rules to make sure that had nothing to do with him, per se.
he wasn't involved. secondly, i think we talked about this before, the president and congress are looking at how to look over the entire visa program, all the various visa programs and whether or not they are serving the purpose that they were intended to. >> dana bash joins us now. you have been talking to sources. what are you learning? >> according to a source who is familiar with what nicole kushner meyer was trying to do insists what she was trying to explain at the time that she dropped her brother's name is the history of the kushner family talking about her father and talking about her brother and so forth. but that she realizes now there's a backlash, that was regrettable. she shouldn't have done that. one thing we don't know still is whether or not when jared kushner divested himself and moved away from his company, whether he explicitly said to his family, don't use my name, don't say anything about me, because that would in effect be at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. that's what some ethics experts say he should have done.
we don't know if that happened. >> it's hard to believe that they're blaming whoever people -- i don't know who she's blaming for having a picture of the president in there. the fact there was a picture of the president in there -- >> we don't have the answer to that yet. >> her point was do the slide show. in part of the show somebody else -- it's hard to believe somebody else inserts a picture of the president. >> it is. we don't know -- there are a lot of unanswered questions. one is who the organizers were, if it was not the kushner company that actually decided to flash the picture of the president. the answer was not available when i asked. >> thanks. appreciate it. today's testimony by a former acting attorney general and james clapper was highly anticipated. what they said and the tweet storm it sparks from president trump next. [vo] the grille is distinctive. but it's usually seen from the rear. the all-new audi q5 is here.
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