tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN May 9, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
papers and personal belongings. this was some what hand fisted the way it was handled. it's unfortunate he was out here to give a recruiting speech and was not given any warning as to what was going to happen and that's why it's mysterious why they did it this way when it was bound to create a reaction to this happening. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> our live coverage of today's big news continues right now with my colleague jake tapper in washington. jake. good evening, you're watching special live coverage of breaking news. in fact stunning news even for president trump that has been known to shock people. president trump fired fbi director james comey just hours ago. first the official version of what happened according to the white house is that fundamentally this was done based on the recommendation of
deputy attorney general just confirmed by the senate attend of april. he is in charge of the investigation into russian interference in the u.s. election because attorney general jeff sessions was not forth coming about his meetings with the russian ambassador and recused himself. so he came into the job. he looked at comey's behavior relating to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation last year according to this account. he found it wrong. he found it deeply troubling and he recommended that since comey has refused to admit his errors he should be fired. he recommended it to jeff sessions that passed it on to president trump. end of story according to the white house. here are the problems according to those that are sceptical of this decision and this president. first, president trump shares exactly zero of rosensteins concerns about how unfair he was to hillary clinton.
the only problem he ever had about comey's behavior was that he didn't charge her with a crime and president trump then citizen trump loved it when comey reopened the clinton case late in the campaign. it's as if we're expected to have all been blinded by that memory eraser thing from men in black and we wouldn't remember all the times that trump expressed concern that comey didn't charge hillary and then praised him. >> i respect the fact that director comey was able to come back after what he did. >> it took guts for director comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they're trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. >> let's us not forget that the fbi is in the middle of
investigationing whether anyone in the trump campaign orbit had anything to do with the russian government attempts to interfere last year. in fact the firing comes a day after potentially embarrassing testimony for the white house about the russia investigation from the then acting attorney general sally yates. yates also fired by president trump days after warning the white house that she thought then national security adviser michael flynn had been compromised by russia. though the official reason was her refusal to implemented the travel ban. i spent the last several hours trying to find an rational for the timing of comey's filing and i can't do it. he called it disappointing and said the decision to remove the fbi director only confirms the need and urgency to investigate russia's interference in the 2016 election. the chairman of the senate
intelligence committee, i am troubled by the time and reas reasoning and one editorial note coming in with the nixon library objecting to anyone on social media or the media calling this. fun fact, president nixon never fired the director of the fbi. joining me now on the phone is the democratic congressman of texas on the house intelligence committee. first of all what is your reaction to the firing? >> i agree with you. it was a stunning development. i didn't have advanced notice. after this fbi director just five or six weeks ago talked about how there may be trump associates that may have conspired with the russians that interfered in the 2016 election.
so the whole thing is very strange. >> let me play devil's advocate here. the trump white house is saying this is all predicated on this letter where he says comey's handling of the clinton e-mail server was wrong and undermined public and congressional trust. do you disagree with anything he wrote in that letter? >> well, certainly many of us on both sides of the aisle have had issues with director comey's actions but as i said a few months ago in january i believe that i trusted jim comey to be more indepen dendent than anyon donald trump might have as fbi director and also suspicious that president trump actually complimented jim comey after he took the actions that he did with regard to hillary clinton and so did jeff sessions so to
come back now and lay that out as your main reason for his firing seems odd. president trump tweeted something about chuck schumer noting that schumer had said and you have not said that but schumer said a few months agatha he lost confidence in james comey, crying chuck schumer stated recently do not have confidence in hymn any longer. then acts so indignant. there's many confused that democrats that didn't seem to like what he did would object to his firing this evening. >> and no doubt. there will be political finger pointing back and forth. >> but they're going to answer to the question whether any american coordinated or conspired with the russians that
interfered in the 2015 election and aside from democrat and republican politics we have to get to the bottom of that and this is big bolder obstruction in the road to getting that done. >> do you believe the white house account that this happened because deputy attorney general rosenstein came in examined what comey did during the hillary clinton server investigation and confused he did not have the confidence of the agency. did not have the confidence of the conference and had to go and told that to sessions that told that to the president and that's what happened. do you believe that? >> no, i don't. they laid no foundation for any of this and as you mentioned it happens within a few weeks of when this gentleman takes office. that's not how you go about it with the intelligence.
>> democrat of texas thank you so much. appreciate it, sir. >> thank you. the letter that i'm referring to was released earlier this evening. it was written today. let's talk more about all of this with the democratic senator from massachusetts. senator you said after the firing that this was reminiscent of watergate. how are we car reening toward a constitutional crisis? senator are you there? >> i am here. i am here, yes. >> how are we careening toward a constitutional crisis. >> there's few moment where is our democracy has been more fragile than it sat this moment. what the president did is an insult to our constitution and
we he have to ensure now that the congress exercises the role of checks and balance to ensure that a president cannot fire the person conducting an investigation of that person. and that is after president trump himself called the investigation a taxpayer funded h cherade and a hoax. so we know this is in many ways a cover up. it's an obstruction of justice and it is something that ultimately could turn into russiagate because that's the subject of the investigation that jim comey was probing this white house and the campaign that donald trump ran to win the job. >> but senator you call it a cover up. do you know that for a fact? or you just suspect that? a lot of democrats have a lot of
issues with james comey. the deputy attorney general voiced a lot of those concerns. frankly the letter could have been written by you and then apparently and maybe you don't believe this but apparently he submitted the recommendation to attorney general sessions who told president trump and president trump said if he doesn't have the confidence of the agency or the congress then i'll seek his resignation. do you have evidence that that did not happen? >> well if the reasons outlined by the department of justice are really true then why fire james comey now and not months ago and why not wait until the inspector generals report has been completed? i believe that this goes right to the heart of this compromise of our election by the russians
and the subpoenas that were being shissued by james comey a the fbi. of general flynn's associates and others that are being probed because of their connections to the russians during the campaign and after the campaign and otherwise, this actually makes no sense. this is something i think that has happened because this investigation was getting too close to the oval office. >> but that's your suspicion. you don't have evidence of it. >> well, i think that's the question that we should be asking in the wake of this episode because otherwise it doesn't make any sense. >> let me read to you from the letter to comey from president trump. he wrote in an odd second
paragraph of the letter. while i appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation i never theless concur with the judgment of the department of justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau. just to remind our viewers here what is former fbi director comey said. >> have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counter intelligence mission is investigating the russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russias efforts. >> that's what comey said at the hearing in marchand then this letter today to james comey firing him saying comey informed
him on three separate occasions he's not under investigation. what do you make of that? >> i think that first of all that was an extremely curious way to fire someone, by leaving the impression that comey had cleared him and his white house and his campaign of any wrong doing, any relationship that was inappropriate with the russian government because i do not think there have been any conclusions that can be reached with finality with regard to that subject. there are subpoenas that are being issued right now is to those related to general flynn and his activities and others being investigated by the fbi so what i think is that any
comments made up until now are still extremely preliminary. there's a house and senate investigation but i think for this purpose, most importantly an fbi investigation and the person being investigated just fired the person conducting the investigation and as a result in order to ensure that our democracy gets the answer to whether or not there was a compromise of our most sacred institution that there be a special prosecutor that now gathers all the facts and ultimately asked the question what did the president know and when did he know it. that is the only way that we can proceed given the fact that james comey is now a modern day archibald cox that has been fired as the chief investigator of a sitting president of the
united states. >> thank you so much. appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you. >> i want to bring in my panel. let me start with you. the white house said they lost confidence in comey's ability to effectively lead the bureau. new leadership is essential to restore public trust. you have both been reporting this evening that the white house did not anticipate this fall out. how can that possibly be. >> it's a great question and i asked directly that how could you have not expected this and they told me that they believed that republicans would stand by them and the democrats were never a fan of james comey so they thought they would be happy that he was gone. but the reality of this how it went. and they did try to alert people in a bipartisan way. they called diane feinstein, a top democrat on the committee but boy the white house now tonight, i just came over here from the white house. the lights were still on. every communications staffer was
still and talk to them all day long. and back up for why they did it was hillary clinton. not mentioned once he talked about russia and the investigation saying he was cleared so that is something he is going to have to clean up tomorrow. i talked to the communications director at the white house. he said the president does not plan to address this tomorrow. he didn't address it tonight. >> he did address it on twitter some what but not speaking about it and until he does that these questions will persist after that but the white house caught flat footed by this. >> just a note we have invited people from the white house to come on the show to talk and they have declined our invitation and of course it's been a lot easier to book democrats this evening than republicans as you may or may not find surprising. you're the one that first informed us that the white house was caught flat footed. they didn't anticipate this blow
back. did they not understand the cloud of suspicion under the white house? >> the answer must be no. or the motion of the fact that the president's campaign is being investigated as you remind people that james comey told congress a month and a half ago but the idea, exactly what jeff said inside the white house is well, we're going to put out there that we thought that he should be fired because of all the things that he did to hillary clinton and democrats aren't going to complain about that. never mind what's going on present day as we speak. today cnn reported about a grand jury and subpoenas going on. but the idea that they didn't understand that magnitude of this and the fact that it would immediately remind people of no matter what the nixon library
says would happen during nixon's presidency. this came from a source familiar with the discussions inside. they didn't understand that this would be political. >> let me go to you because we just heard the senator make an illusion to your reporting earlier this evening about subpoenas. what is going on with subpoenas. >> just in the last couple of weeks, the department of justice issued subpoenas to associates of michael flynn. of course the emotions battled former national security adviser to president trump so they issued these subpoenas asking these people for business records and this is relating to financial dealings that michael flynn has had with russia and turkey and all part of this broader probe. and ties with trump campaign associates and it is a significant step in this
investigation. and will no longer be there and i have been asking folks within the fbi about that and one person i spoke to tonight said it's going to continue t. bureau will not blink. we'll continue to move forward. we're clear agents and career prosecutors working on this case but i imagine there is still a lot of unanswered questions this could have a chilling event of course but i think that you'll see growing calls for a special prosecutor. >> i want to ask you about russia because eight piers that president trump is actually going to meet with the russian foreign minister tomorrow. >> you know 24 hours bad optics. it only adds to it. there's legitimate reasons to meet the russian foreign minister. lots of things to talk about. syria, et cetera. the day after this raises more questions. if i can just add on to a point pamela was making, the president in his letter kelly anne conway
on our air, this investigation is going nor. it's done. it doesn't target the president. that is not true. you heard director comey in march saying we're looking at contacts. we're looking at the possibility of collusion. there's no answer to that question. that's still an open investigation. i spoke to democratic and republican members of the house and senate intel committees whether to them collusion is still an open question and they said in unison, that's what we're investigating. still in progress. keep in mind in addition to that republican senator lindsey graham wants to investigate trump's business ties to russia. president donald trump's business ties to russia and president donald trump sent a letter for him and his lawyer today to senator lindsey graham. are you telling me, how can the american people or any of us buy the line that these investigations are going nowhere when you have multiple stands and developments.
>> my colleague reporting today about now grand jury subpoenas going out. >> this is why. if the nus oose is tightening. i have no idea to believe if it is or isn't and you've seen the presidents tweets recently that foreshadowed how he feels about james comey. he has gotten negative on him and we have seen that. this was a firing in search of a rational. and the rational was provided by rosenstein because i believe he believes every word he wrote. approved as the white house will tell you, 94-6 in the united states senate. >> very widely respected. >> very widely respected and criticized comey in a way as you pointed out that every democrat has criticized comey. the only person that didn't criticize comey for his press conference in which he called
hillary clinton reckless was donald trump. donald trump would have liked to see hillary clinton indicted but he didn't criticize the october 28th letter that he sent. so that's why this is not believable because it's coming from donald trump's administration. he wanted to fire comey and only figured that out recently. he could have figured it out on january 20th but he didn't so now we're looking at something very disruptive to the country and that the congress is going to have to investigate because this is a challenge to the balance of power i believe. >> pamela quickly. >> it's so interesting with this letter he cites that the handling of the clinton probe, there is a department of justice inspector general investigation that is on going looking into this very matter so there could be a scenario where the inspector general comes out and the findings say oh comey acted perfectly within his bounds. we don't know what's going to happen but one would think you
might want to wait to see what the results of the investigations are before using that as an excuse. >> comey will testify. >> we have to take a quick break. thank you so much. we have a lot more on our breaking news including the up and down relationship between president trump and now ex-fbi director james comey. we'll be right back. y286oy ywty
atmore than one flavor, oruch texture, or color.ing. a good clean salad is so much more than green. and with panera catering, more for your event. panera. food as it should be. i am benedict arnold, the infamous traitor. and i know a thing or two about trading. so i trade with e*trade, where true traders trade on a trademarked trade platform that has all the... get off the computer traitor! i won't. (cannon sound) even if you're trying your best.be a daily struggle, along with diet and exercise, once-daily toujeo® may help you control your blood sugar. get into a daily groove.
♪ let's groove tonight. ♪ share the spice of life. ♪ baby, slice it right. from the makers of lantus®, ♪ we're gonna groove tonight. toujeo® provides blood sugar-lowering activity for 24 hours and beyond, proven blood sugar control all day and all night, and significant a1c reduction. toujeo® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. it contains 3 times as much insulin in 1 milliliter as standard insulin. don't use toujeo® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar or if you're allergic to insulin. get medical help right away if you have a serious allergic reaction such as body rash or trouble breathing. don't reuse needles or share insulin pens. the most common side effect is low blood sugar, which can be life threatening. it may cause shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision. check your blood sugar levels daily. injection site reactions may occur. don't change your dose of insulin without talking to your doctor. tell your doctor about all your medicines
and medical conditions. check insulin label each time you inject. taking tzds with insulins, like toujeo®, may cause heart failure that can lead to death. find your rhythm and keep on grooving. ♪ let's groove tonight. ask your doctor about toujeo®. ♪ share the spice of life. welcome back. more on our breaking news coverage. donald trump fired director
james comey in the middle of the investigation between any possible links between associates and the russian government. it's the final breach in a long relationship between the two men. comey that was then the man heading the investigation into hillary clinton's private e-mail server said the fbi would not bring charges against her. trump tweeted quote fbi director said crooked hillary compromised our national security. no charges, wow, hashtag rigged system. later he criticized him for seeming to build a case against clinton but not following through. >> after reading all of these items where she's so guilty he let her off the hook. >> two weeks later he announced he reopened the investigation into clinton's e-mail use and now scoring the fbi director trump changed his mind as well and repeatedly praised comey. >> have to give the fbi credit.
that was so bad what happened originally and it took guts for director comey to make the move he made. what he did, he brought back his reputation. he brought it back. i respect the fact that director comey was able to come back after what he did. i respect that very much. good job by the fbi. >> i have respect that the fbi has given it a second chance. >> even in march after comey confirmed that the fbi was investigating russia's interference in the investigation including collusion with the trump campaign. still trump said comey enjoyed his confidence but he added we'll see what happens. >> was it a mistake not to ask jim comey to step down from the fbi at the outset of your presidency. is it too late now? >> no, it's not too late. i have confidence in him.
we'll see what happens. it's going to be interesting. >> so what changed? joining me to discuss this, former white house communications director. former senior communications adviser for the trump campaign, jason miller and also former virginia attorney general. you have been communicating with the white house. what are you hearing? >> they focused more than anything on this letter and that is it. people say why did it take so long for this to happen? he just got into his position two weeks ago. and he cited case after case of others in his position that say this is the way he reacted. it's a departure from the norm. it's not the traditional role of the fbi director and they need to get back to traditions. that's what he they continue to point on. also from the department of justice, hearing from them, they're also saying that it was his decision to make. he was comey's boss and they
also point to his testimony that he said just the other day about forwarding e-mails. >> comey's testimony. >> comey's testimony and the inaccuracies that he made and those in addition to what comey has testified in the past is a series of events that have culminated. >> the white house is paying on our leg and trying to tell us that it's raining outside. the idea that the trump white house is the least bit concerned about how hillary clinton was treated with respect to the e-mail investigation is laughable and if he came in and had serious concerns about how director comey conducted the investigation he would have been on firmer ground to await the results of the watchdog investigation that is already afoot and if it came out and said that they disagreed with director comey's handling of that they could have cited that and then taken action against director comey. it was political and getting too
close for comfort for donald trump. >> let me ask you. it's indisputable that president trump doesn't agree with anything in the letter. he thinks his issue with comey from the hillary clinton investigation was that he didn't charge hillary clinton. he is on record saying that a million times. he doesn't have a concern about all the deputies attorneys general that thought what comey did regarding hillary clinton was unfair to hillary clinton. even if it was completely insere in saying they don't believe what is going on. >> we don't know that because the president hasn't yet spoke to the country and when he does or when he decides to sit down and do an interview on this we'll get to more information. >> until the president comes forward and talks about the entire process. what went into it and his thinking behind it. we don't know. i don't think you can cast aside
and say he didn't agree with anything. >> the last two years. >> you don't know. there's two very important things to point out here. nobody tonight is out there campaigning and cheering and saying we need to have doirecto comey in that position. people might disagree with the timing of it. >> i'll say that jason. >> no one feels more wrong. >> you even tweeted that you'll feel bad. >> i'm not shedding any tears for him from a personal standpoint but i think he would have been the most independent fairest person to conduct this investigation. do you know why? he's a lightning rod for how he mishandled the hillary clinton investigation. >> i have no sympathy for jim com comey. but i have no doubt he wouldn't have pulled any punches with respect to this investigation. i have no confidence that this investigation will proceed now. >> pelosi wanted him go.
valerie jarrett wanted him gone. >> that's not true. >> he wrote last year after the whole e-mail debacle james comey should not simply be fired as the director of the federal bureau of investigation he must be barred from any form of public service. so much hate from the left and now to hear this is terrible. >> he would have been credible for firing him. >> the difference is having worked in the obama white house when he went out and made that statement on october 27th our jaws all dropped as well. he wouldn't have won a popularity contest in our white house no question. but fbi directors have ten year terms. there's processes in place including investigations that can review whether or not they
acted appropriately the only thing that changed here is the russia investigation heated up and donald trump wanted a way to get away from that to take away the person leading the independent investigation. so i don't think it's more complicated than that. he's being used as a pawn right now. i don't think that he knows that. i don't know that for sure. but the fact that we're looking at his memo as if it's justification that takes away from what trump said last year is ludicrous. >> a couple of points. one this will not stop or slow down any investigations going on at the fbi. none of the hundreds or thousands of investigations will slow down one bit. the same thing in the russian investigation that would have happened tomorrow will happen without him. that's going to go forward. this doesn't impair that. they know that in the white house and the notion that
somehow this ends looking into any issues related with russia is silly in light of what's going on on capitol hill. the republicans themselves demonstrated a commitment to taking that look. that's item one. two you said it's indisputable that the. >> it's not. first of all the first career professional in the hierarchy with donald trump over comey has been rosenstein. got there 94-6. voted the senate two weeks ago proximately and so this would have a very different cast but if jeff sessions had made the recommendation if sessions had
recommended this to the president as opposed to someone who had been in this line of work for most of his life and the ultimate judgment. a lot of speculation around motives. the ultimate judgment really should be withheld until we see who they propose to bring forward to replace comey. >> that's a fair point. the reason that i said it's indisputable that president trump doesn't agree with anything is because the -- >> the statements during the campaign. >> everything he has said and he's done a complete 180. he thinks that hillary clinton was wrong. i agree that is a possibility. i think it is highly unlikely but that is why i said that. but let me ask about the notion of what if president trump appoints somebody excellent to the position of fbi director.
he has put people in his administration that are supported by both sides of the aisle. there's people in there respected by everyone in washington d.c. with the exception of steve ban non. so let me ask you what if that happens? what if there's a fbi director appointed to he replace comey. >> two answers to that question. number one we have already seen that sometimes you put them in a politically appointed situation where they owe their job to the president of the united states. they can be put in a compromising situation. they're leading an investigation into their boss and it becomes unworkab unworkable. with all due respect to him if he knowingly submitted this memo for the purposes of carrying out a firing of jim comey he's in the wrong too. >> everyone stick around.
♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ i was thinking around 70. to and before that?re? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. hope you're fast. i am. get a portfolio that works for you now and as your needs change with investment management services. as after a dvt blood clot,ital i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding.
if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you.
we're back with breaking news this evening. president trump firing the director of the fbi james comey with a letter unlike any we have seen from a president of the united states in recent memory. sarah murray is live for us at the white house at this late hour. this had apparently been in the works for more than a day? more than a week? what are you learning? >> we have learned that this is something that donald trump was considering for quite awhile but as you pointed out the letter is very interesting that trump used to fire james comey. the white house is saying the president that they did this was because of comey's handling of hillary clinton's e-mails but the letter makes no mention of hillary clinton's e-mails. what it does mention is russia. in one of the most controversial moves since taking office, tonight donald trump firing fbi director james comey. the move ousts the man overseeing the probe over whether the trump campaign colluded with russians to
oversee the presidential election. but the white house says the reason trump fired comey was because of his handling into the investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails. a probe often praised during the campaign. >> you're looking at the wrong set of facts here. you're going back to the campaign. this man is the president of the united states. he acted decisively today. he lost confidence in the fbi director. >> the administration defended trump's decision saying it came with the recommendation of attorney general jeff sessions and deputy attorney general but in his letter dismissing comey trump turned back to russia writing while i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation, i never theless concur with the judgment of the department of justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau. it's a perplexing assertion after comey testified that the fbi is investigating ties
between trump's presidential campaign and russia. >> you have confirmed that the fbi is investigating potential ties between trump associates and the russian interference in the 2016 campaign, correct? >> yes. >> trump's bombshell announcement inspired fierce political blow back and prompted democrats to call for a special prosecutor to take over the investigation into trump and russia. >> i simply said to him mr. president in all due respect you're making a very big mistake. and he didn't really answer. >> but concerns on both sides of the aisle tuesday evening. a republican saying in a statement i am troubled by the timing and reasoning of director comey's termination. >> he's become more famous than me. >> the firing caps off a roller coaster relationship between trump and comey. trump gave comey a warm welcome
once he was in office but by tuesday the president was relying on one of his most trusted aids to hand deliver a letter to the fbi dismissing comey. the only problem, comey was in california. he learned of his firing through tv news reports while visiting a los angeles field office. >> now the white house is of course aware of all of these calls for a special prosecutor to take over investigations into trump and russia but as of tonight the white house doesn't see any need for that kind of move. >> live for us at the white house this evening. thank you so much. let's get to our next panel. let me start with you. you're a former member of the obama administration senior adviser to president obama. he appointed james comey fbi director. have you spoken with president obama or anyone from the obama white house about this? >> not today. jake i just learned the news. i was getting on a plane from chicago to california and
learned of the news when i got on the plane so i haven't spoken to anyone about it. though i'm sure their reaction is very much like everybody else's reaction which is this was a stunning development. my concerns are policy. policy come and go. that's the nature of elections but our institutions have to remain strong. our democratic institutions and with the action they took today they put a cloud of suspicion around the justice department and the fbi. how are you going to appoint someone now that's going to be trusted to lead an investigation of the president who appointed him. there's so many issues that flow from this and i think the special prosecutor call is going to grow. they greatly miscalculated on this one. >> and president clinton early
in his first term fired the fbi director william sessions for a different reason. he was accused of improperly using government money to visit relatives and build a fence around his house that didn't provide any security. et cetera. this is unusual even given that preceding event. >> it's more than unusual it's never happened before in american history that an fbi director has been dismissed by a president who is being investigated by that fbi director. the only near precedent is october 20th 1973 when president nixon fired archibald cox that was the watergate special prosecutor and i think the anlage is a very close one. the fact that a some what
independent investigation is going on and the president does everything he can to stop it. >> the former deputy attorney general under president george h.w. bush told buzz feed news that he believes the firing of comey was a sham. do you agree? what do you think of this? >> one would always like to believe the president of the united states and the white house team are telling us the truth and what we're finding in this situation is this president and his team have been so fast and loose with the truth and we had so many instances when untruths or lice would come out of the white house. they found that only 35% of americans think they can trust donald trump. 60% think they do not think he is honest. that makes it hard to persuade people in a case that looks highly suspicious. you know, having gone through and been in the white house for t during the saturday night
massacre, this is not as big in scale and scope but it is very nixonian and i don't find the story that the white house is putting out credible. i think fundamentally what happened with sessions and the president decided that comey had to go. they looked for a pretext. they found a deputy attorney general that could write one up for them and they went with it. there's no chance in the world that today they sent over without trump knowing it was coming, letters and recommendations saying fire him and he wrote it out and they did it all today at one time. they had to do this. they planned it several days ago. they have been working on it and the white house staff was caught by surprise. the white house during the nixon days as a staff we were always caught by surprise because it was a very small group of people that cooked things up and i think that's essentially what's
happened here and i don't think that even someone who is excellent will not be seen by the public under these circumstances as problem for our democracy. i don't like the idea of going to special prosecutors. they sometimes become rogue prosecutors but i don't see how you restore trust and confidence unless you find someone who's not only independent but seen as independent. >> one of the things we're hearing from the white house is that they're caught off guard and surprised by the push back from democrats especially considering how many have expressed serious concerns starting with his press conference last summer and extending to now. if you look at his twitter feed, the former campaign chairman of
the hillary clinton campaign. earlier this morning he tweeted something about how americans -- the american public is getting mildly nusauseous listening to james comey -- that's a reference to comey saying he felt mildly nauseous that he may have efefected the election. and he wrote didn't anyhow know you're supposed to wait until saturday night to massacre people investigating you? i think that will make the case that opposition to this stunning move by him is just political. >> he already hit chuck shumer for the very thing in a tweet tonight. i don't think that it is invalid to criticize comey for his handling of the hillary clinton matter. he may have been motivated by trying to protect his agency but
he handled it very badly. there were a lot of people mad about that but most democrats are looking at the situation and most americans we face now which is the real intimation that there was something going on between the russians and the trump campaign and certainly there's a conclusion that the russians invaded our election and tried to impact on it and people want answers. and most people saw him as a person integrity and he seemed independent enough to carry on this investigation and now this looked very much, as david gurgen described it, an attempt to short circuit the investigation. i'm sure that it will go on but the person who leads the investigation is important and the public's ability to believe in that person and their
independent is important and all that went out the window tonight. i don't think the white house had any idea how much they were sacrificing with this move today. >> you pointed this out. donald trump -- there is a stated rationale for why he fired james comey. we know that donald trump doesn't believe enthat rational. he said over and over again that jim comey was doing a great job investigating hillary clinton and now we learn today that james comey was fired because he was too mean to hillary clinton. who believes that donald trump thinks that? so it can't be that. there's got to be another reezb and the only other possible reason is he was getting too close to trump himself or people around him in this russian investigation. >> i think one of the things --
i don't know how we're going to resolve this. i think the republicans are going to be looking for who is howard baker in the republican party? who is going to stand up and go where the facts go? it will do wonders for the republican party and restore trust if they play a responsible role. wherever it leads. donald trump may be totally innocent. >> thanks one and all. with all these comparisons to richard nixon's saturday night massacre and whether you buy them. during the saturday night massacre, president nixon wanted to fire the independent water gate special prosecutor, this man. the attorney general refused. number two also refused. both resigned. who then ultimately fired the
before the break we asked you a little trivia question. who was the justice department official who finally agreed to fire? the answer? this man. then solicitor general of the united states and a highly controversial and ultimately earejected supreme court nominee. this explosive headline is already the big story in the morning newspapers. front page, top fold plainly reading trump fires fbi director. "trump fires comey amid russia inquiry." that's election night winner headline size. below that the president's entire letter signature and all and when readers open up the times they see a quote saying comey was fired because he was leading an active investigation
that could bring down a president unquote. and coup detrump. i'll see you again at 4:00 p.m. thanks for watching. have a great night. and good evening from washington. we're of course covering the unfolding of the president firing the head of the agency investigating whether his presidential campaign colluded with russia and whether improper contact continued. this after embarrassing testimony from sally yates. done on the recommendation of the current attorney generalic jeff sessions. the same sessions that had recused himself because of his own contact with russians he didn't i