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tv   New Day  CNN  May 11, 2017 3:00am-4:01am PDT

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because of the russian investigations, the probe grinds on. senate intel committee with a subpoena for fired national security adviser michael flynn and they will question the man who took comey's place in a public hearing. we have it all covered. let's start with joe johns at the white house. >> reporter: good morning, chris. that firestorm over the firing of james comey only intensifying here in washington. new reports suggesting that the president was stewing for weeks over comey and very much wanted him out. new details emerging about donald trump's closely held decision about firing james comey. a long time friend of the president says he was white hot over the russian investigation. the anger has been mounting over the unproven claims that obama
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wiretapped him. two months ago over trump's baseless allegation of obama and the times going a step fert. >> further. >> a source close to the president says the presidentexp. >> it made me nauseous to think we had an impact on the election. >> other sources say the president ultimately concluded that comey was quote his own man. fiercely independent. ultimately firing him for never providing personal loyalty and the russian investigation was k acceleratin accelerating. he looked for more resources from the justice department a week before. this as the white house continues to change the narrative on how the president reached his decision. initially touting deputy
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attorney general rod ro rosenstein's letter as the reason comey should be fired. >> the president took the advice of the deputy attorney general who oversees the director of the fbi. brought the concerns to the attorney general who brought them to the president. >> reporter: the president's explanation changes yesterday. >> why did you fire director comey? >> he wasn't doing a good job. >> he had been considering letting director comey since the day he was elected. >> reporter: sarah huckabee says it went beyond the letter. >> having the letter he received and having that conversation that outlined the basic atrocities in circumventing the command in the department of
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justice. any person in legal mind and authority dm authority knows what a big deal it is. >> i think everybody wants to attack comey and make him the enemy here. i think he has done the right thing by opening it up. >> reporter: in the midst of all this, the president meeting on wednesday with the russian foreign minister lavrov and the russian ambassador sergei kislyak. kislyak is known to work closely with the russian intelligence services. he is the individual the president's first national security adviser michael flynn had contacts with and caused trouble for him. flynn was eventually fired. american journalists were not allowed into the meeting. the pictures of that meeting were shot by russian official photographer and tweeted out.
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>> one of the many ironies we are getting from the russian official photographer. let's bring in the panel. we have senior analyst ron brownstein and jason johnston and sarah westwood. great to have all of you. ron, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together this morning and there are a lot of pieces that went into whatever this prompted president trump to make the decision about comey this week. what do you see? >> look, i think the more evidence we have, the more clear it was the only thing that is relevant here is the president fired the senior law enforcement official leading the investigation into the conduct of his campaign in 2016 and whether it colluded the russians and everything else is noise. you have to see this as part of
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a pattern. it goes along with the attacks on the fake news and so-called judges who rule against him on members of congress. this is a president who simply is systemically undermining any institution to check or challenge him. we all know that now. all of the members of congress know that now with this decision. this question is how does the political system respond. does it have the will to defend the checks and balances to strain the exercise of presidential power. that is the question that president trump indicated his direction. the issue is how everyone responds. >> sarah, what do we know in terms of by paipartisan resolve? >> i think the republicans have been resist eant to the idea of
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the special prosecutor since that was floated at the beginning of the term when jeff sessions came in and there were doubts of the truthfulness of his hearing. unless another shoe drops that implicates donald trump's people, i don't think republicans feel they have to support a special prosecutor. this point, the trump administration is scrambling to find someone who's credentials are unimpeach able. that is the only way they can move on is to nominate someone who is in the position to obstruct someone well qualified. if they do nominate someone to replace director comey that comes from a political background who has a resume who isn't up to snuff, they are facing democrats who are energized in the mid terms and one of the biggest misstep to
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date. >> jason. >> like i said, this is how democracy dies. that's not hyperbole. when you have a situation with issues of national security and s sublemated on the whims of the president of the united states, this is no longer a democracy. this is a clear call to every member of congress to stand up and ask for an independent investigation above what happened with russia. it doesn't matter who the president picks. this is a constitutional and soef sovereignty crisis. chris and alisyn, comey should have gotten fired anyway. the reasons why the administration did it because he would not give them a cheat sheet about his testimony last week. >> ron, let's unpack that for one moment.
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the initial defense of the move in terms of political fallout from the white house was what are you democrats upset over? you have been trashing him for a long time. the tale is in the timing. if you had taken him out when he first came into office, not in deference, that would be one thing. doing it now, it strains credibility to be about clinton. fair point? >> it is beyond straining credibility. we talked about it before. the original explanations were so absurd. so paper thin that it reinforces my belief that the white house is not interested in making arguments that they think will kind of pass the applauplausibi
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test. it is what kellyanne conway called alternative facts. an ecosystem that is designed to energize their supporters. the real issue in 2016 is president obama allegedly tapped candidate trump. this is not really about, i think, talking about the broad country and trying to put out convincing argument that after a year and a half of chanting lock her up and being too soft on hillary clinton, they were gripped by a conscience. to this day, no matter who they that person enters office with - the judge that the guillotine fell on james comey. whoever enters the job, the president set the message
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boundaries or limits of the fbi that governed other presidents. that will be there. the issue is will congress and other institutions react as forcefully as when richard nixon fired archibald co cox? >> sarah, that leads us to the deputy ag rod rosenstein. he is the person who presented the letter to him to make the case for comey to be gone. the president got the letter and immediately acted. now a washington post reporting and based on a single source. we normally need two source. this is a single source. this is rod rosenstein. making him take the blame for this and he threatened to quit
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over this. to your point, sarah, how there needs to have great credentials. now we see tension there. >> and the narrative surrounding rod's arrival at the department of justice being the catalyst for the decision is where the white house is inconsistent with the timeline. the white house said president trump has been stewing on the issue. he has long been pleasdispleaseh the fbi detectiirector. it was executed with such urgency that it doesn't fit with the argument that this was the result of long simmering tensions and months of deliberations. that is the question the white house hasn't answered. to ron's point about this all
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being about stymiing the investigation. all of this is the public pronunciations about the investigation and less about the russian investigation. he was unhappy that comey repeatedly referenced the russia investigation and unhappy that comey would not publicly speak to the wiretapping. he was unhappy with the public display of disloyalty. he wanted that public facing echoing of the white house narrative. this investigation wasn't serious. >> jason, one of the reasons it might be a blrilliant political move is bring me legislation for a special prosecutor. if he has nothing to fear about the substance of the investigation and he keeps saying that. we don't care how long you look, this is the best political move.
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put it in the hands of three judges. let it be independent. sign the legislation. show i did transparency in a way no president would. nobody would sign this law the way i did. he would remove himself. we see no indication of that and it raises the question. who will you believe about any of the matters? if the fooish bi is compromised then the new director may be afraid. whom do you believe? >> no one is going to believe this white house. no one in the administration even believes the story. that's why they keep changing things. no one was out defending him. this is a uniquely damaging irresponsible and petty type of behavior. literally yesterday, you had the nixon library trolling trump saying nixon did not fire the
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head of the fbi. that is how bad it has gotten. chris, i think the larger problem here and we saw this with the intelligence agencies last fall with trump attacking and now going after the fbi. these are career civil servants. if he is was angry about comey for not stopping leaks before. he just needs to wake up tomorrow more thning. the leaks will come fast and furious as people in the fbi say if you will not respect the job we will do, i guess we have to take it to the press. >> we have to talk about what congress will do. we will come back and talk about all of that. house oversight chairman jason chaffetz is asking the inspector general to review the firing of james comey. the ig was already reviewing comey. all of this comes as the senate
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intel committee issued a subpoena to fired national security adviser michael flynn. suzanne malveaux is live on kpil wi capital hill. >> reporter: now you see this in congress. investigations ramped up. some already in progress. you mentioned the house ov oversight chair jason chaffetz involved in the investigation of the hillary clinton e-mails and now asking the tough questions of what was behind comey's firing. what makes this extraordinary, chris, this is one of the few republicans who is not in support of trump's decision and not silent on trump's decision, but asking the tough questions. he is on his way out. he has nothing to lose. that may be part of the reasoning there. on the senate side, look to the
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senate intelligence committee. you mentioned they have subpoenaed the former fired national security adviser michael flynn over documents regarding his relationship with russian officials. the committee frustrated they did not get what they needed. now they are forcing them to turnover documents. we expect additional subpoenas as well. the same committee will hold the open hearing on global threats. it is an annual open to the public hearing that they have, but what is different about today is all eyes on who will attend the hearing. it was supposed to be comey. he will not be there. the acting fbi director andrew mccabe. he will go forward and be asked about what was behind the firing and look to next week. next week is when comey goes before the senate intelligence
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hearing. it is a closed hearing. which wi we will have a lot of questions. alisyn. >> suzanne, thank you very much. subpoenas and testimony and inspector general reviews. where is this headed? we discussion the actions congress takes 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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the senate intel committee ramping up the investigation into the possible collusion of the trump campaign and russia. isstcssuing a subpoena for fire michael flynn related to the documents with interactions with russian officials. let's bring in our panel. ron brownstein and sarah we westwo westwood. >> can i respond to one thing sarah said earlier. the president was upset about the public actions of comey than the private. that is a distinction. it is equally inappropriate for the president to shape the public utterance. i felt he has been trying to do
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this from the beginning. lock him into a con lukoconclus shape or prejudge the outcome and shape and constrain the investigation. the constant even in the statement about the dismissal he told me i was not the subject of the investigation which fbi sources are telling the wall street journal which is false. all of this is trying to lock the fbi in the conclusion to make this difficult to reach a different outpoint. this is one game remaining in town. it does have limits. congressional investigation as opposed to the criminal investigation is a very different beast. often in previous scandals, it has been personal legal liability for individuals anywhere involved in the chain of the story that has proven the break that moves forward of our understanding of what happened. it is an important front. it is not the most important front that remains the fbi. >> let's talk about the fbi,
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jason. he says he has a story to tell. then he doesn't produce the documents that congress asks for and they have to subpoena them. what game is being played here? >> michael flynn is still under belief this is law & order and he will get immunity to tell a story. congress, the senate at this point is we are not going to give you immunity if you provide us with some information that says you will be helpful in the investigation. there is a good chance he is stalling. michael flynn has lost his job. he still wants to be able to be a power broker in the international relations issues. i see no reason he will turn any damning evidence over about donald trump or if he were in a private testimony. i think right now, it is a red herring unless he can produce the documents the senate wants. >> sarah, it is not point
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specific. it was an open public review for oversight purposes. what do we expect today? >> obviously we're going to see a lot of questions about the series of events that led up to the removal of james comey. there were reports that the justice department is denying that comey requested more resources for the russian investigation just before his removal. you can expect that will come up at the hearing today. look, part of the reason why we can expect to see more out of the senate intelligence committee is because it will move toward doing more of the closed hearings. it is counterintuitive to think that is how the investigation moves along. if you watch sally yates and james clapper's testimony when they were asked, they had to deflect in the open setting because they could not discuss classified information. officials don't have that luxu y
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luxury. >> in terms of real progress, ron, here is what is so confounding. we keep seeing the guests or subjects called in front of the intel committee or the judiciary committee and then we have on our program members on those committees saying what we really need is a special prosecutor. what we really need is an independent commission on this. it leaves you wondering what can congress do if they don't trust their powers to make progress on this. >> look, i think there are limits. i think there are limits to what a congressional investigation can do. ultimately, the main arenarena, investigation is important, the main arena is the fbi investigation. this are questions about the full extent of the access of the committees to the underlining signals that may be relevant to
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this investigation. you know, i was talking about it before. if you go back and look at what happened after richard nixon fired archibald cox in 1973. across party lines uniting to defend the rule of law. barry goldwater was the republican presidential nominee before richard nixon. the president who fired cox. the aba held an emergency meeting to condemn the action. aflcio condemned it and called for impeachment. not saying we're anywhere near that today, but i'm saying president trump has i think absorbed the lesson that republicans and congress are willing to accept almost any infringement on traditional checks and pbalances because thy view them on the political
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project with them. they want to decide the legislation. he has signalled his direction he will fire sally yates and the district attorney. people investigating people in his orbit. the real question is is there push back? without it, you can bet this is not the last time we have seen some of the traditional boundaries. >> jason, what would be push back? we hear talk of special prosecutor. first of all, we don't know what there is to prosecute. there is not a criminal investigation going on to harness. there doesn't seem to be bipartisan approval. you have blumenthal saying this may be grounds for impeachment. it seems like he is matching hyperbole. and you have chaffetz here. what is the term of the likely push back against the comey ouster? >> i think a chance of the ig
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coming in. i honestly think that most of the members of the congress and what we hear from mcconnell and paul ryan is they will slow roll this as long as they can. i don't think they want a sort of modern day ken starr running around snooping in the investigation. that is why you see focus on it. you saw in the hearings where members of the republican party were saying well, did it affect the election? should we be digging into it? to which the problem is this. it doesn't matter if it affected the election. it is still a crime. if the trump campaign helped, that is still a crime and worth investigating. >> that image from yesterday just sticks with me of lavrov laughing at the media when asking about the comey firing and russia investigation and secretary of state saying mum. irony in that. panel, thank you.
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when all the investigations are done, where does it lead you? that is what alisyn was talking about. what can congress get done? was this always residing with the fbi? does the president have to answer to the law here ? we debate it next. i count on my dell small business advisor
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new concerns about president trump's motives behind firing fbi director james comey and who will replace him. senior editor of "the atlantic" asks will the law answer to the president or the president to the law. david frum joins us now along with jeffery lorde. jeff, you do not believe the rod rosenstein letter was the basis for why comey was fired. you believe this was over russia? >> when lying, one bad story is better than four good stories. the administration doesn't have a good story, but a number of stories. it is not possible.
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the massive flood of leaks from the administration and fbi give the lie at this point. i don't know anyone who believes the trump administration story. some people are paid to pre-toned beliepretend to believe it. russia is the most plausible explanation. it is one of the biggest scandals of the american history. donald trump lashed out. he will not succeed in silencing the questions, but may succeed in shutting down the fbi. >> jeffery. >> with all due respect to david, i just truly think this is the political elite to washington, d.c. of president trump looking for anything and everything. let's talk about the leaks. mike flynn and carter page. where are the rest of the leaks? all of the leakers have gone sigh end. why is that? there is not much more to leak. this is ridiculous. an attempt to overthrow the duly
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elected president of the united states. that is what this is about. washington detest the president and they want to get him. it is not harder to figure out. they have no proof. >> i think jeffery is right about that. political national security media elites in washington to follows closely are triying to warn the country. obviously washington finds things out first. what happens is we use media like this to tell the country whats has happened. the president of the united states excluded american photographers from the oval office and let russian state photographers in. in a day when he received the russian ambassador which presidents don't normally do. this is an administration as jeffery said, we don't know the nature of what happened with the trump campaign and russia. it may not have been a crime,
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but it was certainly unethical. it was probably worse than that. or possibly worse than that. we need to know. the trump administration is desperate we not know. that makes it more interesting. >> jeffery, do you believe that james comey was fired because of how he conducted the clinton e-mail investigation and not because of what is going on with russia right now? >> look, i read the rod roseenstein memo. this was a career prosecutor. obama appoint see eappointee. he had a thorough reputation with a handful of democratic senators voted against him. he is the guy who proper cause du produced this. he specifically says the guy
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meaning comey, yusurped the powers. we talked about sally yates here. well, when director comey says he was put off by attorney general lynch's meeting on the tarmac with clinton, as the wall street journal points out, where was sally yates? she should have been doing that. >> now rod is telling the washington post i want to quit the job because the administration is making me the fall guy. he should quit. that letter on its face did not call for firing james comey. that was like what comey did to hillary clinton in the summer of 2016. layout infractions he committed which he generally committed. he made important mistakes as head of the fbi. that is not why donald trump fired him. the tsunami. you have never seen -- we have
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sources and stories to 30 open efficient officials? that is a soccer field of players and bench as well. >> jeffery, you have to explain. i don't know where you go with it. if this wasn't about russia, it sure was odd for the president to include in that letter that second paragraph where he made a suggestion that he was or it was communicated to him three different times he wasn't a subject or he wasn't being investigated. we can't find anyone in the fbi and not only to validate that notion, but to support it theoretically. nobody who knows james comey says he would ever tell anybody that they weren't the subject of the investigation. they had nothing to worry about. why is it in the letter if it had nothing to do with russia and what does it mean if the president lied about it? >> chris, i don't think the president lied about it. are you kidding me? chris, this is a reason we
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should have a 9/11 style commission. that is a much of hokum. we learned the hard way. a 9/11 style commission and get it out. why isn't susan rice testifying? why isn't president obama? get everything out on the table. get it all out. >> david frum? >> a commission is a good idea. what the trump campaign probably did in 2016 probably wasn't a crime. it was just a betrayal of the democratic process in the country. we need to know about what happened there. yes, it may well be there are no recommendations to prosecute. what do you do if a political power? >> that is within congress authority to convene such a commission. gentlemen, thank you very much. let's see if there is the political courage in washington to do that.
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thank you. alisyn. chris, it was a rough reception for education secretary betsy devos. watch this. that was new college grads booing and turning their backs on the secretary at their graduation. we'll show you what happened next. a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter v8 engine. a 10-speed direct-shift transmission. a meticulously crafted interior. all of these are feats of engineering. combining them with near-perfect weight distribution... a feat of amazing. experience the first-ever 471-horsepower lexus lc 500 or the multistage hybrid lc 500h. experience amazing. well, what are you doing o take care otomorrow -10am? but... staff meeting. 3:45? tai chi. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do?
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homeland security officials meet with the airline industry to consider expanding the ban on laptops and other largedevices. this ban stems from terrorism concerns. the laptop ban is in place in ten sites in africa and the middle east. betsy devos met with resistance after invited last minute to the commencement address at the historically black college in florida. here is the scene. boos and heckling of the secretary throughout. graduates at bethune-cookman
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turned their backs. one student was kicked out. a town hall got heated as voters vent frustrated over the gop health care plan. >> you're an idiot! >> that was republican tom macarthur trying to answer questions. he crafted the amendment. some objecting to the possible changes to pre-existing conditions. >> what will happen to them when they are suddenly 17 and 20 and 30 and they are denied health care? >> some in the crowd suggesting repeals obamacare will cost him his seat. sarah huckabee sanders back behind the podium. has sean spicer been sidelined? what is going on with this and what is going with the messaging out of the white house?
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word of fbi director james comey's firing. here is one moment of the chaos. it is press secretary sean spicer struggling to answer questions at a briefing in the dark monday night. >> hold on. turn the lights on. we'll take care of it. if we can do this -- we'll talk to you for a little bit and do one-on-one. i don't want to have 18. let's do this. >> a gaggle here? >> let's talk for a minute and we'll do a thing with nbc and abc. i don't -- >> no cameras at the moment. >> relax and enjoy the night. >> joining us now. the two white house reporters who were at the bizarre outdoor briefing. jeff mason and jena johnson. great to have you here. jena, when i read your reporting of the hours after comey's
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firing and what happened it read like a french farce. spicer huddled behind bushes and meetings in the bushes in the dark. explain what happened at 5:40 when the news started to break that sean spicer had something important to tell you. >> it was a memorable day at the white house. i just happened to be in the briefing room and all of a sudden spicer was in the doorway between the press office and briefing room telling us to check e-mail. we're hitting refresh. the e-mail wasn't going through as quickly as the white house wanted it. they wanted to get the news out there. >> why couldn't he just talk to you? why did he open the door and say check e-mail? >> they wanted the documents to speak for themselves. they wanted the president's letter to speak for itself and
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memo to speak for itself. they could not get it out quickly enough. they had to tell us. we kept asking again and again to repeat himself to make sure we heard it right. it was such bombshell news. >> jeff, was there a moment where he shut the door and locked it and you could not get more information. >> in fairness, not everyone sits in the briefing room whitiwhit waiting to get the information out. the reuters booth is behind the press room. that is where i was sitting with my colleague. they brought out the paperswork which is old coschool. they drop off pool reports or other information via paper decades ago. that is how it worked this time. the e-mail wasn't working. yes, instead of leaving those doors open for people to rush
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back and start asking questions, they lock doors. it led to people looking later in the evening once it was dark for sean and other white house officials going outside. >> right. finding him around the bushes outside and jenna, it was your sense he was ill equipped to answer the questions. he didn't know the answers to why comey had been fired that day. >> many of the answers that we got were i don't know. ask the department of justice. i don't know. i don't know. about 8:30 that night, suddenly several aides were rushed out on the white house lawn to do interviews with cnn and fox news and fox business. this seemed to happen quickly. a lot of the reporters who work for those networks did not know that these white house aides
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were going to be on their networks talking. when we heard that was happening, we rushed out and waited to talk to people after it was done. it was in that moment that sean spicer finished the interview with fox business. he huddled with people on his staff back in the very dark area with a lot of bushes on a pathway that has huge shrubs and finally agreed to answer questions. you know, as we saw did not want it on camera or bright lights. all of a sudden, we're standing in the dark with him shouting questions. >> literally and figuratively. where does that leave sean spicer and the future of the press secretary role? a feeling the president wasn't happened with how that unfolded. there are some whispers being
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sidelined and maybe sarah huckabee sanders is taking his place. >> i don't know about that. the fact that sean took questions was good. in fairness, he was out doing television when we found him. could it have been more efficient in the briefing room? sure. we did gather there and stop him. he was willing to take questions. he wasn't willing to run away from us. it is unusual in the darkness of night. he answered the questions and that was key. >> good to snknow. jeff and jenna. chris. the issue with getting rid of the fbi director is not about the ability. the president can remove the director. the question is why he did it and when he did it. there's a lot of new details. there is also a new wide ranging interview from president trump on what it is like to be
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president. there are some interesting insight in it. we will bring it to you next. [ dog whimpers ]
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that president trump fired director comey. >> director comey has shown a lot of missteps and mistakes. >> jason chaffetz wants to look
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into the comey firing. >> comey evidently just last week asked for more resources saying he wants to push this investigation forward. >> it is entirely within the president's role and authority to relieve him. >> michael flynn now subpoenaed by the senate committee. >> the investigation is barely beginning. >> the white house owes the american public an explanation. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota. >> good morning. welcome to "new day." it is a firestorm in washington over the firing of fbi director james comey. te timing and story from the white house getting shot down from a dozen different directions. a flood of new details for you on what led to president trump's decision. the the white house is continuing to change the story and timing and reasoning into why comey had to go. >> the president is talking about his new


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