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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 11, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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you can watch "outfront" any time anywhere. ac "360" begins right now with anderson cooper. good evening from washington, d.c. where the president has just made news on just about every controversy facing him and may have stokes the flames on some of them. he sat down with lester holt. we will bring you portions of that interview but start with the russia collusion probe the president called a charade and his answer suggests he's not even entirely sure there is one. >> is there an investigation under way, an fbi investigation, is that a charade. i don't know if it is an an fbi -- there's so many investigations, i don't know if it's an fbi investigation or if it's congress, the senate. >> james comey testified it was an fbi investigation. >> i think they're also helping the house and senate. you have fbi, house and senate
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and they have other investigations. >> the president is speaking with nbc's lester holt. no probably object it, the fbi is conducting an investigation. lester holt said director comey testified to it under oath before he was fired. no shortage of news from this interview a fascinating interview we will bring you throughout the program tonight. another headline the president exposing the white house story line about his firing of fbi director james comey as well there's no other word for it, false. you will hear in this clip he also said director comey did something he had never seen him do namely that the president himself is not under investigation as a result of the fbi probe. the president always refused to testify and did three times after being asked by the president which you could see as obstruction of justice that ended richard nixon's
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presidency. he volunteered it. so far we have no reason to believe anything the president says happened with director comey actually happened. we have no independent corroboration and we asked the white house what happened and got no answer and questions about director comey were flatly refuted by people in a position to know. right now the dissolving comey story line, i want to play for you what the president said to lester holt followed by the original talking points and deputy press secretary sarah huckabee sanders this afternoon. >> he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil, i know that, you know that, everybody knows that. you look at the fbi a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil less than a year ago. it hasn't recovered from that. >> monday, you met with deputy
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attorney general rod rosenstein. did you ask for a recommendation? >> i was going to fire comey. my decision. >> you made the decision. >> i was going to fire comey. there's no good time to do it, by the way. >> in your letter, you said i accepted their recommendation. you already made the decision. >> i was going to fire regardless of recommendation. he made a recommendation, highly respected very good guy, the democrats like him and republicans like him. he made a recommendation. regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey. >> let me ask you about your termination letter to mr. comey, you write i greatly appreciate you telling me on three separate occasions i was not under investigation. why did you say that? >> he told me that. >> i heard that from others. >> would it have been a phone call? did you meet face-to-face? >> i had a dinner with him. he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. we had a nice dinner.
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>> that dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner and he wanted to stay on as the fbi head. i said i'll consider, we'll see what happens. we had a very nice dinner. at that time, he told me you are not under investigation i knew anyway. when you're under investigation you get all sorts of documents and everything. i knew i wasn't under. i heard it was stated at the committee, some committee level that i wasn't. >> that didn't come directly from him. >> during the phone call he said it and then during another phone call he said it. he said it once at dinner and twice during phone calls. >> did you call him? >> in one case i called him and in one case he called me. >> did you ask him if he's under investigation? i said, if it's possible would you let me know if i'm under investigation. he said you're not under investigation. >> he has given testimony there is ongoing investigation into the trump campaign and possible collusion with the russian
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government. you were the centerpiece of the trump campaign. >> i know that i'm not under investigation. me personally, i'm not talking about campaigns, not talking about anything else, i'm not under investigation. >> a lot to unpack there. you heard the president say he had been planning to fire comey for quite some time and it was his idea to do it. keep in mind that's not at all what his surrogates and spokespeople and vice president have been saying. >> when he brought the recommendation to the president that the director of the fbi should be removed, president trump provided a strong and decisive leadership the american people have come to be accustomed from him and he took the action necessary to remove director comey. >> his deputy attorney general -- >> rod rosenstein -- >> -- brought the recommendation to the president that the fbi director should be removed. >> the recommendation of the deputy attorney general. >> he provided strong leadership to act on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general.
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>> he took the recommendation of rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general. >> he brought that recommendation to the president. i personally am grateful we have a president willing to provide the kind of decisive and strong leadership to take the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove an fbi director who had lost the confidence of the american people. >> easy to add it together, they're using the exact same words -- basically the same words. and in the time of nixon secretary ron ziegler no longer operative something huckabee sanders could not bring herself to say. here's a portion of what she said this afternoon. >> i know we sent out a timeline regarding the firing of director comey yesterday because there seem to be misconceptions about the meeting between the president and attorney general and deputy attorney general monday. i will read to it you all again
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just to make sure we're all on the same page. i want the sequence of events to be perfectly clear to everyone. the president, over the last several months, lost confidence in director comey. after watching director comey's testimony last wednesday the president was strongly inclined to remove him. on monday, the president met with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general and they discussed reasons for removing the director. the next day, tuesday, may 9th the deputy attorney general sent his written recommendation to the attorney general and the attorney general sent his written recommendation to the president. hopefully that clears up some of those things. >> i asked you directly yesterday if the president already decided to fire james comey when he met with the deputy attorney general and attorney general and you said, no. also, the vice president of the united states said directly the president acted to take the recommendation of the deputy attorney general to remove the fbi director. sean spicer said directly, it
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was all him, meaning the deputy attorney general. now we learn from the president directly he had already decided to fire james comey. so why were so many people giving answers that just weren't correct. were you guys in the dark? was the vice president misled again? >> i know you'd love to report that we were misled and want to create -- >> but it wasn't true -- >> hold on, jonathan. i let you finish and read off every one of those statements. unless you want to trade places, i think it's my turn now. i think it's pretty simple. i hadn't had a chance to have a conversation directly with the president. i had several conversations with him but i didn't ask that question directly, had you already made that decision. i went off the information i had when i answered your question. i've since had the conversation with him right before i walked on today and he laid it out very clearly, he had already made that decision. he had been thinking about for months which i did say yesterday and said many times since.
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wednesday, i think, was the final straw that pushed him and the recommendation he got from the deputy attorney general just further solidified his decision. again, reaffirms he made the right one. >> was the vice president in the dark, too? >> nobody was in the dark. you want to create a false narrative. >> it's interesting, it isn't sarah huckabee sanders in the dark or misinformed or didn't have all the facts. it was the vice president of the united states, kelly an conway, sean spicer. they all had their marching orders, talking points, they just weren't true. >> they were not true. >> you have somebody from the
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podium talking to reporters clearly thought out, had it on a piece of paper, this is what happened and it didn't happen that way. nobody shared it with her. she was going to go out and talk to the american public, frorget us. >> the vice president. >> the vice president had the same talking points. we have to believe the vice president knew that the president was unhappy with comey. i have to believe he was not in the dark on this, i don't think so. they went out there and gave the talking points about how this was rod rosenstein and now it turns out the president threw everyone under the bus, as is his want often. and said, i wanted to do it all along. i don't know if he meant to do that today with lester holt but he sure did. >> some people suggested these two ideas are not mutually exclusive, yes, the president had a long term decision but did
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wait until getting this thing. does that jive with what his spokespeople are saying. no. yes. you can hold two different thoughts at the same time and critiquing comey's performance and having concerns about the timing and circumstances in the way in which he was fired. no doubt about that. to gloria's point, the president of the united states put his people out there to speak to the american people on his behalf without the full story, with false information. he's undermining the people supposed to be speaking to the country on his behalf. that's a huge problem. by the way, in that clip you played of the lester holt interview, he's prepared to do it again. listen how he's separating himself from his campaign when he says the russia investigation, i can't -- i'm not talking about the campaign, i'm not under investigation. if it comes to be his campaign, there was some inappropriate contact with russia on the campaign, you just saw the clip, he is so ready to throw those
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folks under the bus and take no responsibility. >> they xiaopeng han at the notion they were in the -- they scoff at the motion they were in the dark but maybe they misled the american people. the problem when you lose credibility leading the country you don't know what to believe. the president said things untrue, his officials said things untrue. we don't know what to believe. rosenstein a deputy attorney general, why was he asked to do this investigation? nobody is answering this question. why was he two weeks on the job asked to evaluate comey's performance when the inspector general is already doing that. haven't heard an answer to that. >> you were in the room. >> i was in the room today fraught with many questions and not a lot of answers. the issue of credibility is there, the elephant in the room. the problem is this president, and some of his officials have been the boy and girl who cried wolf. how many times have they done
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that? you want to figure out what to believe. i want to say this, monday, sean spicer after we heard clapper and yates giving testimony, sean spicer talked about it's time for this russia investigation to come to an end. we're hearing today it should continue. it should continue. what some critics are saying is the fact that this report from the deputy attorney general gave this president cover to walk away from comey and say good-bye, which he should have done at the very beginning what they said he wanted to do. >> jack kingston. >> i think it's in the eye of the we holder, i'll tell you why, it's his call. >> truth is true. >> he can handle his personnel the way he wants to. i know, having been in management, firing somebody is never easy. we've all been in that situation where there's timeliness used. >> did his spokespeople say one thing that was not true and the president contradicted. >> i want to get to the second
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point more subjective. if you're a critic of donald trump you will say, look, this timeline doesn't match up. i believe you called say, you know what, he did want to fire him from the beginning. he actually said so in a "60 minutes" interview. >> why didn't he, that's the issue. he said and i know you will agree there's no good timing on this. >> he could have taken the recommendation. >> the time on this about -- i think that the recommendation of the deputy ag really was probably the icing on the cake. maybe the thing that put it over the line or framed it up, but the decision probably was almost there. >> that's not what was said repeated by the vice president or his -- >> but i think his recommendation still was, hey, he's laid it out. if he had said don't do this, i think it could have swayed the needle in a different direction. >> the optics are very ugly right now. >> unless you're a trump
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supporter. critics of trump are always looking for something to jump on. >> i'm a reporter who has covered four presidents now and seeing the inner workings, optics are everything. the optics are very ugly with this. >> they're not everything. they're important. substance is more important than optics. he got the decision right and did it the wrong way. if only somebody had said this two days ago. >> we have been saying it. >> the deputy attorney general memo was that comey should be fired because he was so mean to hillary. i happen to agree with that but the notion that donald trump believes that is preposterous. he fired comey because of russia. >> we have to take a break. >> testimony under oath today proves that. >> the president is described as being white hot and raging yelling at the tv about james comey. you'll hear what the president himself says about being publicly contradicted by the man
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talking about the wide ranging interview with lester holt and the president, and confirming what was coming out of the white house was not the
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real story, he was thinking a while to give the deputy director a boot and surrogates including the vice president have been stating as the rationale. you will see he did perpetuate another story line about sally yates' warning about michael flynn is no big deal, all contained in this next clip. take a look. >> were you angry with james comey when he went public and said he can't support your unsubstantiated charges of your predecessor wiretapping you? >> i was surprised he said it but i wasn't angry. there is a big thing going on right now, which is spying. you can call it anything you want, the unmasking and the spying. to me, that's the big story right now. that's a very very big story. >> you didn't take that as a sign of disloyalty? >> no. i didn't think of it as loyalty
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who ever the director is i want him to do the right thing. >> what about going public on the russia investigation and your campaign. i asked that because there is a sense of you building anger here. >> no, i neverry once in a while you will see that in the newspaper, anger, somebody will report or have false sources that maybe don't exist because of the media, the way the media is. no. i will tell you i want very simply a great fbi director. >> would you expect they would continue with this investigation? >> sure. i expect that. >> general flynn patient's of this investigation, sally yates recently testified at the white house, notified he had been compromised, he was at risk of being blackmailed. it was 18 days later he was finally fired. during that 18 days he had access, i assume to all the nation's top secrets. one day you meet on the issue of
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comey and you fired him in a humiliating way, sitting in a room with colleagues and seeing it on tv. >> my white house director came to me and didn't make interest sound like an emergency and she didn't make it sound like an emergency in the hearings like it had to be done immediately. this man has served for many years. he's a general, in my opinion, a very good person. i believe it would be very unfair to hear from somebody you don't even know and immediately run out and fire a general. >> acting attorney general at the time. >> my white house counsel came to me. we had i believe two meetings and ultimately fired but we fired for a different reason. >> you're talking about general flynn. >> general flynn. >> lying to the vice president. >> everything plays into it. we fired him because he said
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something to the vice president that was not so. >> did you know he had received payments from the russian government? >> no. >> payments from the turkish government? >> no. obama perhaps knew because he had clearance from the obama administration. this is something they don't report. he had clearance from the obama administrati administration, the highest clearance you can have. i think it's a very unfair thing the media doesn't talk about that. you're talking 2015. i don't know that i knew him in 2015. >> back now with the panel. >> for days the white house has been pinning the decision to fire comey on the recommendation of attorney general rod rosenstein. i talked to senator langford a republican yesterday on the program who actually met in the white house with the president yesterday and asked him face-to-face about why comey was fired. this is the explanation the president gave senator langford,
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a man on the senate committee investigating. >> i did have a side by side time with the president personally and the question i had to him in the last 24 hours, why right now? i understand there's been lots of controversy about director comey, been there for months. it depends on the week whether republicans or democrats like director comey, who hates him. the question is why right now. >> you said the american people deserve clarity and an explanation. did you get clarity? >> i did. he didn't hesitate at all. he said rosenstein. >> he tells the senator it was rosenstein. now he tells lester holt it wasn't rosenstein. >> i have a theory, maybe that did play a role in his final decision, i don't think it was the ultimate decision because i don't think he would fire him because of something he did to hillary clinton and maybe this was the story that would go out there and then maybe he wasn't
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getting credit for firing comey. he wanted to look decisive and he then came out and started to contradict it because i don't think he felt he looked as strong maybe as he wanted. >> is it possible rosenstein didn't like being the one named as the reason? >> i think he wanted to pin this on mr. -- rosenstein has a well-deserved reputation for integrity and ethics, career prosecutor. bring him in, democrats and republican all vote for him, great. they want to pin it on him. the problem is he didn't put up with it. plenty of leaks say he threatened to resign. >> he didn't resign. >> did he threaten to resign? >> he didn't. >> he threatened to resign and why they switched their story. >> he's denying that. there are plenty of stories he was upset or angry -- >> the content of the memo -- the content offers the memo are the same. whether it was his intention -- >> for you, is the problem just
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that they're not in the same -- that there's disorganization in the white house and they don't really have the power to quiz the president and get their story straight? >> they do have the power to quiz him if they would do it hard enough. they can be tougher than the media. and they should be. it's like before you go into oral argument, it should be harder than the case. that's clearly not what's happening here. i said two nights ago, the management of this and timing, all the process pieces were terribly mishandle. you all have been talking about another one a changing narrative. that just goes to the original point. this is a repeated problem. the management of the process is a repeated problem in the first four months. >> can we talk about the mystery around rosenstein? there's things we don't know. i'm confused. i've asked people. for all we know, he wrote the memo. he may have in fact recommended
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and in fact may believe he should be fired and maybe fired now and he is a guy with great integrity. he is among those apolitical that thought comey did a horrible job. we don't know. we don't know whether the white house is telling the truth whether they used him and set him up in a way or if there was some combination. it would be great to hear from him. there are a number of things possible including what would surprise me, if he thought this was appropriate to fire him in the middle of the russia investigation which i cannot believe. s. >> i want to know what jeff sessions role was in all of this. >> as he has recused himself from the russian -- >> here we go again. >> you have an attorney general who said he wasn't going to do anything about russia. you're going to say this isn't about russia. sarah huckabee sanders when she ended her press conference said this should get us closer to a solution of the russia problem. >> this is a double gift to the
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democrats and they got rid of somebody they wanted fired for a long time and now they get to complain about it. this fairned indignation by democrats, everybody knows he was a media gadfly and political pretzel. >> it's insulting to reduce all of this to peer politics. i guarantee when history is written years from now, this notion of democratic hypocrisy, republican hypocrisy is not going to matter. what matters is running roughshod over our institution. i think as a matter of substance it is inappropriate to fire the fbi director in the middle of a major investigation on russia, there may be other investigations, this is the big one. >> let me say this. i think -- >> the russians hacking the
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election -- >> there's -- >> how about parking tickets? >> 150 agents are investigating this case. getting rid of this guy is not stopping the investigation. let me finish this. i do believe that the head of the fbi should not be a public figure who runs out to the media every few weeks and -- he needs to be quiet and be behind and needs to be above the fray. he entered into the political theater. >> talking about partisan politics and reporters, i want to go to something i talked to condoleezza rice, former republican secretary of state today. the president today said something to the effect he doesn't believe there's a problem with russia. he didn't do anything with russia. former secretary of state, republican former secretary of state condoleezza rice told me today she believes in the intelligence community and she says this investigation needs to continue, they need to get to the bottom of it, your own
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republican. >> a lot of republicans say that. >> at what point -- >> you don't believe anything he says. >> because he fired -- >> at one point -- [ talking over each other ]. >> that investigation will continue. >> here this is the question. >> at what point does the democrats say we admit there is no evidence of collusion, none whatsoever and that's what we hear. >> that's what the investigation is for at the end of these investigations. >> i think to some, it's about -- >> you hear alarm bells going off. >> i say there should be an investigation. >> you hear alarm bells going off? >> not about collusion. none whatsoever. >> the acting director of the fbi, no trump fan, you could tell if you watched his testimony today. there were several dings that hit trump coming from mccabe today, he said very clearly the same thing i said two days ago to some people here the
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investigations would continue a pace without a moment's hesitation thanks to the professionals in the fbi. that's exactly what the democrat leaning acting director of the fbi said under oath today. he is there today. >> he won't be there for very long. he will be replaced. i think your point is well taken. >> we have to take a break. more on the new interview the president had and reaction from the senate intelligence committee. get off the computer traitor! i won't. (cannon sound) i won't. anyone ever have occasional constipation,diarrhea, gas or bloating? she does. she does. help defend against those digestive issues. take phillips' colon health probiotic caps daily with three types of good bacteria. 400 likes? wow! try phillips' colon health.
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as we reported in a new interview with lester holt, president trump repeated that fbi director comey repeated three times he was not under investigation. one associate called it farcical. >> he's given sworn testimony there is an ongoing investigation into the trump campaign and possible collusion with the russian government. you were the centerpiece of the trump campaign. >> all i can tell you, i know i'm not under investigation, me, personally, not talking
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campaigns or anything else, i'm not under investigation. >> did you ask him to drop the investigation? >> no. never. in fact, i want the investigation speeded up. >> did any from the white house ask him to end the investigation? >> no. why would they do that? >> any surrogates on behalf of the white house? >> not that i know of. i want to find out if there was a problem with an election having to do with russia or anybody else, any other country. i want that to be so strong and so good and i want it to happen. i also want a competent capable director. he's not. a showboater. he's not my man. he was appointed long before me. i want somebody who is going to do a great job. i will tell you, we're looking at candidates right now who could be spectacular. that's what i want for the fbi. >> what you said a moment ago
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about supporting the idea of the investigation, a lot of people find it hard to believe the man who just said that tweeted it's a total hoax, a taxpayer charade. >> i think looking into me and the campaign, look, i have nothing to do -- this was set up by the democrats. there's no collusion between me and my campaign and the russians. the other thing is the russians did not affect the vote. everybody seems to think that. >> there is an investigation under way, an fbi investigation. is that a charade? >> i don't know if it's an phish -- there's so many investigations, i don't know if it's an fbi investigation or if it's congress, if it's the senate. >> james comey testified there was an fbi investigation. >> yeah. i think they're also helping the house and the senate. you probably have fbi, you have house, you have senate, they have other investigations. >> joining us now, senator angus king, a member of the committee.
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you hear the president talking to lester holt unable to say, yes, there's an fbi investigation going on, sort of hedging on that. what do you make of the changing narrative from this white house that the surrogate is saying one thing on tuesday, rosenstein and -- >> it's troubling because the assertion -- i just brought the letter with me. the firing was based, he says, i have this memo from the deputy attorney general and the attorney general recommending your dismissal. i've accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated. that's what the letter says, very short three paragraph letter. that was the story for 24 hours. then it started to unravel and we got another story comey was a grandstander and the fbi was in turmoil and today we had testimony from the acting director and also hearing from fbi people that's not true.
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comey was very well respected in the fbi. >> and also that morale is very low and comey is very disliked. >> i talked to a man 30 years just retired from the fbi. he said comey is one of the most well respected leaders they've ever had. he's loved in the fbi -- he characterized the fbi was a mess or in turmoil as nonsense and unbelievable. those are the words he used. >> a lot of people want to see these investigations done properly, want to see them conclude and whatever the conclusions may be, why should the american people have confidence that this will not have any impact? do you believe the firing of comey will have any impact on the fbi investigation and your investigation? >> i don't think it will at the end because the fbi is full of professionals. as the acting director said today, they will keep going with their investigation. i do think leadership matters, however.
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i do think this whole process tainted the senior leadership to the point they have a statutory ability to appoint something called a special council. i think that's what they should do. i don't know mr. rosenstein. he has a great reputation as having high integrity. he was used in this case. the whole point of this investigation both by the fbi and senate and house is come to a conclusion the american people can believe. credibility is the key. i think a special council on the fbi side would be very helpful just in terms of credibility. some people say a report will come out and say nothing was done, there was no collusion and no cooperation. we want the public to believe that if that's the conclusion or the contrary. that's why i think we need a special council tomorrow and that the senate and the house have to continue their investigation. >> your committee has called former director comey to testify next week. do you believe he will and what do you want to hear from him? >> i'm not sure whether he will
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because he's a private citizen and believe he will. the idea of him being a grandstander and showboat, he comes to congress when he's asked to come. i've never known him to volunteer to come or volunteer to be on a tv show. he does his duty. i've worked with him for four years. i characterize him to my friends and people back home ask what's comey like? a boy scout, one of the straightest arrows i've ever met. i disagree with him on some issues and over the past four years. he is an absolute straight shooter and anything but a showboat. >> for people to say it's hypocritical of democrats to complain about firing of come when they were saying before he should be fired. >> i think the real question is timing. at first the justification what he did with hillary clinton almost a year ago. that could have happened on january 21st. it's the firing in the midst of this investigation as it is
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really starting to heat up, subpoenas being issued, that's what makes it so difficult to swallow when the story has changed now twice in 48 hours. >> angus king, i appreciate you talking to us. more on the president's new interview including how he answered when asked if he had any dealings with russia and he brings up his old beauty pageant. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪
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more break news to report. the "new york times" is reporting on a dinner the president had with james comey. as they ate the president and mr. comey made small talk about the election and crowd sizes at mr. trump's rallies and then turning the conversation whether mr. comey would pledge his loyalty to him. mr. comey declined to make that pledge, instead mr. comey recounted to others that he would always be honest with him and not quote reliable in the conventional political sense. more on the conversation of the president with mr. holt and business deals with russia that could present a conflict of
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interest. >> there is an investigation under way, an fbi investigation? >> i don't know if it's an fbi there's so many investigations, i don't know if it's an fbi investigation or if it's congress, if it's the senate. >> james comey testified there is an fbi investigation. >> i think they're also helping the house and senate. you probably have fbi, you have house, you have senate. they have other investigations. >> you put out a tweet it's a total hoax and charade, are you not sending that person a message to lay off? >> i'm not doing that. we have to get back to work. i want to find out. i want to get to the bottom. if russia hacked, if russia did anything having to do with our election i wanted to know about it. >> there's always virtually every intelligence agency, yes, that happened. >> i'll tell you this. if russia or anybody else is trying to interfere with our elections, i think it's a
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horrible thing and i want to get to the bottom of it and i want to make sure it will never ever happen. >> the senate intelligence committee wants information from the treasury department's financial crimes unit about your finances, your business's finance. can you tell us whether you, your family, businesses, surrogates have accepted any investments, any loans from russian corporations? >> i just sent a letter to lindsey graham from one of the most prestigious highly rated law firms in the country, i had nothing to do with russia, i have no investments in russia. i don't have property in russia. a lot of people thought i owned office buildings in moscow. i don't have property in russia. i'm in total compliance in every way. i have to tell you, i file document, hundreds of pages worth of demonstrates with the
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federal elections bureau, everybody's seen them. i built a great company but i'm not involved with russia. i have had dealings over the years where i sold -- a house to a very wealthy russian many years ago. i had it in moscow a long time ago. but i have nothing to do with russia. and i have a certified letter. just so you understand, i'm not just saying that, i've given the letter to senator lindsey graham. he has the letter. and, i think, frankly, i assume he's going to give the letter out. but it says i am not involved in russia. no loans, no nothing. >> did you worry at all when you made the decision to fire comey when you did, the day before lavrov was here in the white house and the russian ambassador, did you think through the opt iics of the way this would look. >> i never thought about it. it was set up a while ago and,
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frankly, i could have waited, but what difference does it make? i'm not looking for cosmetics. i'm looking to do a great job for the country. i'm looking to create jobs. i'm looking to create strength and security, i'm looking for strong borders, i'm looking for things like that. i think it's really a good thing that i meet with people. this is a public meeting because when you cover this, the people watching, they say, oh, he met with lavrov. this was announced that i'm meeting with lavrov, just like a number of days ago i spoke, had a very good conversation, very public in the sense that everybody knew this was taking place, i took all the time, just spoke with the new head of south korea who just got elected. i speak with the head of india, i speak with the head of china, i have to speak with putin also. it's called russia. but when i spoke with putin, he asked me whether or not i would see lavrov. now, should i say, no, i'm not going to see him? i said i will see him. during that discussion with lavrov, i think we had a great
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discussion having to do with syria, having to do with the ukraine and maybe that discussion will lead to a lot less people getting killed and will lead ultimately to peace. so i'm okay with those discussions, lester. i think it's a good thing, not a bad thing. >> back now with the -- one of the thing that was interesting, again, in the days -- the day that comey was fired, his people said this had nothing to do with russia. one of the things in the interview was the president was thinking about russia when he decided to fire russia. quote, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump is a madeup story an excuse for the democrats for having lost and election that they should have won. doesn't that contradict his saying it had nothing to do with russia. >> in ancient times it said all roads lead to rome. with donald trump, all roads lead to russia. you see it top of mind, you see it when he fires the guy leading
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the investigation against him. you see it when he defends his investments. his son in 2008 said russian make up a cross section of our assets. we see a lot of money pouring in from russia. at least at one point -- >> he could have been talking about rich russians buying houses and properties. >> can i take on jackie kent on this topic. you both made the point, you may be right, you may not be right. because we have the acting fbi director saying the investigation absolutely continues. you're right, the senator just said a couple of minutes ago the investigation continues. but what do we see in this reporting? one he thinks the whole thing is a waste of time. two, he found comey to be disloyal. according to "the new york times," i know the president thinks that's all fake news, but he asked him will you be loyal? then he fires the guy who is doing this russian investigation. can't we just isolate on that? that's wrong. you shouldn't do that. i'm surprised that you would
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defend that piece of it even if you think things will be okay in the future. >> is it okay for the president of the united states to ask for loyalty from the fbi director? >> everyone should be loyal to our country. >> i think he should have. but i want to get back to a point that kristin made earlier -- >> you don't think he should have a loyalty test, just to be clear. >> i don't know what you mean by a loyalty test. >> you are saying -- do you believe it's inappropriate for the president of the united states to say to the fbi director over dinner which was apparently a lovely dinner according to the president, will you be loyal to me? >> i think if he asked that question, if he did and it came from "the new york times," so you know, automatically -- >> let's just answer the question. >> jake tapper reported yesterday also -- >> but. >> well, hold on. just let him answer. >> you do answer that. >> no, the context of that question or the conversation, so i'm really -- i can't give a good answer to that. but i want to get to a point that was very important that
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carson writes earlier in regard to the rosenstein letter because it was a thoughtful letter, it wasn't just about hillary clinton and the treatment of it. he goes on to quote deputies attorney general gorelich who was under clinton, larry thompson under bush, then eric holder under obama. and he cited all these people and said, here's what they have to say about the -- >> we now know that that letter was just an after -- that letter had nothing to do with the president -- >> but it's still a factual -- >> you're right. that's not fair. but the president had already decided -- >> that letter was a solid indictment. what carson was saying was if the letter had gone a different way, i don't think we'd be having this -- >> no, that's not true. >> that was said in the interview tonight regardless of the recommendation from rosenstein i was going to fire comey. that's what he said. >> okay. well, he said that tonight, but i'm saying i've read the thorough -- the whole letter which i know all of you all have
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and it wasn't just focused on hillary clinton. >> that wasn't my argument. but i think, look, even if there is a major indictment to be made of james comey, there's no question, i think what he did during the election was inexcusable. and he potentially could be fired over what he did. the problem is when you have the person doing the firing who has his campaign being investigated by that person. so if it wasn't for that, let's just none of this ever happened. there was no investigation into the trump campaign and donald trump did what he did, i don't know that there would be a problem. >> ken, do you think this idea, if it's true the reporting that the president said, you know, will you be loyal to me -- >> the phrasing i don't buy. >> but i'll be very categorical. no fbi director would or should ever pledge fealty to a president. they have an obligation to be objective and independent, and i will say the most accurate charge you heard from the president in his own defense was the grandstanding charge. by fbi director standards, he
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fits that category. >> but it's -- >> whoa, whoa, i have one more. >> david said earlier this is the guy doing the russian investigation. he isn't the guy doing the russian investigation. as we heard under oath today, there are hundreds of people at the fbi -- >> comey -- >> who are doing this and continue to -- >> the loyalty question, which "the new york times" reported, okay, he wouldn't answer that. why would he then say to donald trump you're not under investigation? seems to me like comey would not answer that question either. >> here's the question -- >> this is not a question. >> easy misunderstanding. it's a term of art for one. so both sides of this conversation could think and mean very different things. not under investigation means you are not currently the target of the investigation. that can change with one fact. >> but perhaps -- >> perhaps not. >> that's another question. >> but this is a very easy piece of this discussion. >> do you think it's possible that comey does not agree with
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the interpretation that the president is putting forth -- >> yes, so every time this president sort of interprets things the way he wants to hear them. >> okay -- >> i think you're probably absolutely right. >> okay. >> -- loyal, he's certainly not going to say, okay, you're not under -- >> we have to go. >> as a matter of law you could be told you're not being investigated now, that could change tomorrow. where i do disagree with you, you're suggesting that the fbi director doesn't matter. we know in the clinton e-mail investigation who was more important than jim comey in making decisions about how it happened, what was talked about -- >> we'll have to continue this discussion after this break on this roller coaster day here in washington, a lot more ahead. the explanation of james comey's firings untrue 48 hours after the firing the contradictions are hard to keep track of we will ahead.
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activate your within. ask your doctor about once-weekly trulicity. tonight's breaking news, the president making headlines on many controversies surrounding him. his firing of james comey and his characterization of how that came to be which contradicts the storyline until now. take a look. >> look, she's he's a showboat, grandstander, the fbi has been in turmoil. i know that, you know ta, everybody knows that. you take a look at the fbi a year ago. it was in virtual turmoil less