tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN May 12, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
there's more breaking news tonight from the president's conversation with lester holt. he revisits the notion he fired james comey. he seems more concerned that director comey exonerated her and in reconciling the opposing thoughts the president may have revealed something of how he sees his responsibilities as a candidate and a president to the truth. >> was there justification he shouldn't be doing that or you didn't like that the investigation didn't lead to the indictment? >> when i'm a candidate that's a lot different from being
president. i will tell you what he did, what comey did had good moments for me as a candidate. i'm only talking as a candidate. not as president where i want to do what's right for the country necessarily. purely for me to get votes. when he came out with the scathing set of circumstances, the server, the illegal server, the e-mails -- 33,000 e-mails that you get subpoenaed and then you don't show and you erase those, delete them, get rid of them, acid-wash them. when he did that stuff it was disgraceful when he's covering everything point after point. >> this is only one of a string of new developments today including the president issuing what many saw as a thinly veiled threat against former director comey denying he tried to extract a loyalty pledge from him refusing to deny he records conversations in the oval office. details from sarah murray. >> reporter: president trump firing off an apparent threat to the ousted fbi director. trump tweeting, james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. trump's barbed warning comes as
the president faces scrutiny for his private conversations with comey before he was fired. today the president is refusing to explain what tapes he was referring to and whether he's secretly recording conversations in the white house. >> i won't talk about that. all i want is for comey to be honest. i hope he will be. i'm sure he will be, i hope. >> reporter: as comey was overseeing the investigation into possible collusion between the trump campaign and russia trump said he asked comey repeatedly for reassurances he wasn't under investigation. >> did you ask am i under investigation? >> i asked him, yes. i said if possible would you let me know am i under investigation. he said you are not under investigation. >> reporter: those conversations which raised ethical red flags coming twice in phone calls and once over dinner. when trump said comey was vying to keep his job. >> the dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner. he wanted to stay on as the fbi head.
i said, i will consider -- we'll see what happens. >> reporter: a source close to comey disputes that account saying comey didn't request the dinner and had already been reassured by the president that he would keep his job. during that dinner a source says comey was taken aback when trump asked for a personal pledge of loyalty which comey refused to provide. this as the administration struggles to get the story straight about why the president ultimately decided to fire comey. after administration officials initially said it was at the prompting of department of justice officials now trump said it was his call. and says he was thinking about the russia investigation when he made the decision. >> in fact, when i decided to just do it i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> reporter: trump took to twitter to explain the discrepancy saying as a very active president with lots of things happening it is not
possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy. >> sara murray joins us now. with that tweet i find it amazing, the idea he's so active that his surrogates can't catch-up with him to find out what's true and what's not and actually speak the truth at the podium. what are you learning about morale at the white house at the end of this week? >> certainly for white house staffers it's been a demoralizing week. like you were saying about the president's pace some staffers refer to him as the hurry-up president. it comes with high risk and also high reward that he's able to pull the trigger and make
decisions. this week they certainly saw the down side of taking those risks. i think we saw it over and over again as the white house struggled to figure out their narrative, their story around the president's decision to fire james comey. we are told the president tried to personally offer assurances to the staff and maybe people are more buoyed into the weekend but a number of staffers acknowledge this was not the president's best week by far. >> he might make decisions quickly but reverses them when >> no, it doesn't. in fact, it indicates the exact opposite that this investigation is only moving forward and picking up pace. and james clapper, the former head of the dni today made clear that his previous comments he's made that he's seen no evidence of collusion doesn't mean there
isn't hard evidence that exists. he said that information would be closely held by the fbi. it wasn't shared with him by the fbi before he left his post on january 20. in fact, he said he didn't know this investigation existed. here is what he said on nbc today. >> it's not surprising or abnormal that i would not have known about the investigation or even more importantly the content of the investigation. so i don't know if there was collusion or not. i don't know if there was evidence of collusion or not. nor should i have in this particular context. >> you were not intending to clear -- convict or clear anyone of collusion. it was just outside of your scope. >> that's correct. >> previously former fbi director james comey said there is an ongoing investigation on the matter. several people with knowledge of the probe said there is
information suggesting possible coordination. so it's something the fbi and committees on the hill will continue to pursue, anderson. >> the "wall street journal" just posted a story that a treasury department unit focused on money laundering will share financial records with the senate intelligence community to aid into the ties between the trump campaign and russia. how would this be significant in moving the senate investigation forward? >> a couple of ways. this is in response to the senate intelligence committee requests earlier this week. now we are learning the treasury department will share the financial records that the committee has asked for to help with the senate probe into the russia and possible ties with president trump and his associates according to the "wall street journal." this is coming from a unit in the treasury department that specializes at combatting money laundering. we have heard on capitol hill they have made clear they are particularly interested in that issue -- money laundering, shell companies, and whether russia used money to gain leverage over trump or his associates.
the records may shed light on that. they may not. we should mention today donald trump's lawyers released a letter to senators on capitol hill stating their review of the last ten years of his tax returns do not reflect, quote, any income of any tape from russian sources. >> pam, thanks. more on the question of recordings in the white house and questions about the president's behavior. joining us now david axelrod, current host of "the ax files." at p.m. eastern, 6:00 p.m. pacific. i want to ask about the recordings. first, this notion that donald trump tweeted out that because he's so fast-moving and so busy that his surrogates -- sean spicer, his spokes people -- can't accurately speak from the podium because he's so improvisational that they can't keep up. does that make any sense to you? doesn't everybody sit down in a room and say, here was my thinking on this, go forth and explain it to reporters.
>> generally there is an agreement on what it is you are trying to communicate. that agreement is in concert with what the president believes and what the president is going to say subsequently. that's not the case in the trump white house. he is an improvisational figure. he always has been. and that means he makes stuff up. he's sent people out there this week including the vice president of the united states with a cover story for his decision on why he got rid of the fbi director. then he cut them all off at the knees. that's not a problem with his spokespeople or him being an active president. it's a problem with telling the truth, sticking with a story and coordinating properly with your people so you're not exposing them the way he has exposed them. >> seems if you are telling the truth that's the easiest thing
to do. it's the truth and everybody repeats the truth as opposed to what we have been seeing this week. here's this story, it's rosenstein, lo and behold it's not. >> yes. no question about it. rosenstein. i have sympathy for the people who go out and speak for him. this is monstrously difficult job. a, you don't know if the story is going to stick. secondly, you're constantly called upon to react to things you didn't expect. what's clear about what happened this week is the president in an apparent fit fired the fbi director and fired off a series of tweets. his people were spinning madly trying to explain all of it. if donald trump wants to deal with the communication problem he should look in the mirror. that's where it begins. >> innew clip we just heard a
moment ago, the president making a distinction between what's good as a candidate to get votes and what's good for the country, seemingly comfortable toggling between those worlds relating to the comey firing. obviously many candidates say something on the campaign trail and reverse it in the office with the seriousness and the responsibility weighing on their shoulders. he seems to just embrace it and say, look, i was doing things which were good to get votes and now i'm doing things which are good for the country. >> you're right. that wouldn't be unique to donald trump among office holders or presidents. but the fact is in his presidency and through the first hundred days it's been now. he's still seems highly political in how he reacts to things. he judges it through the narrow prism of how it affects him. this was a good case this week. he has no compunction though he's the trustee of our
institutions of democracy, he has no compunction about going after anyone or any institution -- the fbi, the cia -- you know, the intelligence community, the media, the courts. and so, you know, i know he wants to claim the mantel of responsible president looking out for the country. he ought to start by looking out for the institutions of our democracy that are essential to the functioning of our country. >> the notion he also raise oden twitter, there may be tweets -- whether or not or not -- you worked in the white house. was everything recorded in the obama administration? would it be normal to have taped recorded conversations. not just conversations with world leaders on the phone but like nixon had of voice
activated conversations in the oval office. >> yeah. i think it was normal to tape conversations between the president and the news media. for example if they came into the oval office to tape an interview, an author who came to tape -- >> you would usually see an aide take a recorder and put it down. if i have an interview with somebody often they record it to make sure i'm not going to misquote them. >> exactly. i was not aware of a taping system and certainly -- first of all, let's start with the fact that it would be very unusual. i could not see a set of circumstances where the president would invite the fbi over -- fbi director over for dinner and certainly not one where he'd invite him to ask whether he was under investigation. so let's stipulate that. i knew of no such taping system when i was there. i don't know whether donald trump was actually taping or
whether he was just trying to menace mr. comey. i don't know if anyone on the planet would be more delighted to have tapes of the dinner disseminated than jim comey. i suspect he feels that would support his version of what happened there. i'm sure people will be challenging the president to produce such tapes if he has them. >> thank you very much, david axelrod. "the ax files" tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. jerry brown, looking forward to that. up next, breaking news on what the justice department thinks of calls for a special prosecutor on russia and what gop lawmakers are saying. we'll update you on the state of the investigations. a half dozen and counting when we continue. when you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, the unpredictability of a flare may weigh on your mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go, and how to work around your uc. that's how i thought it had to be. but then i talked to my doctor about humira,
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that said many top democratic lawmakers as well as the foreign intelligence director believes otherwise. >> in light of the events the last day or so, i am moving toward that -- that pendulum is swinging more towards some kind of independent effort, whether it is a commission or a special prosecutor. >> what must happen now is that mr. rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor. >> an independent prosecutor should be appointed. >> there needs to be a special prosecutor. >> house democrats have called for an independent investigation. >> the necessity of an independent investigation is increasingly being recognized. >> this president cannot oversee an investigation into his own associates. >> has to be clear to everyone, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of where you are in the justice department. >> it is not a partisan issue it's ultimately an issue of patriotism. >> it's in the best interest of the republicans or democrats, i don't care what the stripe is. >> democrats calling for a special prosecutor, which gets
to the question what about the gop. >> manu raju has the latest on thaet for us tonight. >> republican leaders are tired of president trump's tweets. paul ryan was asked about the treats, about the threats to james comey from that one tweet. he didn't want to comment. he said i'm not going to get into all the president's tweets. mitch mcconnell has said repeatedly he thinks these are a distraction from the agenda on capitol hill. and a lot of democrats and republicans feel the same way. they want to focus on health care reform, tax reform, and when the president sends tweets about fbi director james comey it distracts from what they are trying to do on capitol hill. 1 thing the white house does have going for it right now there's really not a ground swell of support on the republican side for a
special counsel, a special prosecutor in light of the james comey firing. only a handful calling for a special committee and nobody embracing the idea as a special prosecutor as democrats want. right now that's what the white house has going for it. but if the controversy continues that sentiment could change. >> if the justice department doesn't name a special prosecutor in the russia investigation, what? things just continue on as they have been? >> perhaps. yeah, but democrats say they are actually going to put up a fight if there is no special prosecutor. i spoke with marc warren, the top democrat on the senate intelligence committee who said they are going the use leverage, that means trying to block the fbi director nominee, the new fbi director nominee if there is no special prosecutor named. this is what he said. >> if he doesn't do it i think it's going to be very difficult to solicit a lot of support from democrats and support from
democrats in terms of whoever president picks to be a permanent fbi director. >> reporter: in that same interview mark warner would not say if he had confidence in the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. would not even go that far, saying he wants to see the special prosecutor named. but to block an fbi director nominee, anderson, they would need three republicans to vote against him. there is no indication that will happen yet. we will have to see who that person is first. clearly you are seeing some of the controversy building, continuing to build in light. james comey firing. >> manu raju, thanks. >> thank you. of course there are five other investigations now underway in addition to the fbi probe. it is a lot to keep up with. tom foreman has a run down of where things stand tonight. what can you tell us? >> reporter: when you look at the russia connection and all this investigation whether or not somebody was involved or the trump administration was involved, there are many
different agencies that are involved in investigate it right now, from the deputy of justice and the fbi to congressional competents to the department of defense, and the defense intelligence community out there. lot of different ways this can be looked at. point of the spear, fbi over here. the fbi around the clock is collecting evidence. they are questioning people on the record and they are analyzing data. if they find evidence of something really being done wrong here along with the department of justice they can pull together a grand jury. and then they can actually press criminal charges. is this aimed specifically at donald trump's team? no. it's at the russian investigation overall. but as the departed director has already said, yeah, they are considering whether or not somebody on team trump might have been involved. >> that's the criminal part of all of this. what's congress up to? >> the congress -- this is the political part, look at all those committees right there. what they can do is pull those committees out and put people on the spot, summoning witnesses to appear on tv and on the record telling them what they know, establishing timelines just
pecking away at the story and keeping the story front and center in terms of the politics and the news cycle. now, you can expect that with republicans in charge of the house and the senate they might want to be somewhat protective of a republican administration. but if they get bombshells coming out of this that they can't avoid or if the fbi produces such a thing then what you might see is them producing a special commission or committee to move forward. if you look forward to the special elections you see the democrats hanging on and pressing for this. >> who has oversight on a special commission or panel? >> it is oversight committee in a sense. they don't have oversight normally. here's what i could tell you about it. it could be a bipartisan group. most likely it would reflect the majority. the republicans would shape it owe even this special group would have a majority of republicans on it.
they would have more of an independent feel generally in terms of their fact finding. and i say it is what it is because there aren't rules that stand up for all of these committees. they basically come up with them from time to time. that means if you get a committee out there work with strong members to it it could be something that had real teeth or you could winds up with people who simply shuffle papers, ask a lot of questions and let the issue die away. >> coming up, white house said several times this week that james comey lost the confidence of the rank and file in the fbi. the fbi's acting director says that's just not accurate. we will look at the white house's defense next. z282uz zwtz y282uy ywty dearthere's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony.
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the. >> the president over the past several months lost confidence with director comey. bipartisans of congress made it clear they had lost confidence in director comey. and most importantly the rank and file of the fbi had lost confidence in their director. . >> that was wednesday. yesterday acting fbi director mccabe questioned him. >> no, sir, that is not accurate. i have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity. and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him. i can tell you also that director comey enjoyed broad support within the fbi and still does to this day. >> so gnat contradicts what
sarah huckabee sanders said the day before. let's hear what she said. >> i've heard from countless members of the fbi that are grateful and thankful for the president's decision. and i think we may have to agree to disagree. i think there are people who are disappointed, but i've certainly heard from a large number of individuals. and that's just myself, and i don't even know any people in the fbi matter of principle between emales, text messages absolutely. look, we're not going to get into a numbers game. i have heard from a large number of individuals that worked at the fbi that said they're very happy with the president's decision. >> joining us now, two people with experience working for fbi, philip mud and james galyano. james, you are no longer in the fbi, but you talk to rank and file fbi agents since comey was fired. what are they saying? >> i have got to tell you, listening to the white house
spokeswoman speak, i don't know know who she has spoken to, i spoken to a number of agents n the hundreds, the fbi is not a monolithic group. it represents america today. there were folks what said director comey made missteps. there are folks that came down on the other side and supported what he did. the only thing that united fbi agents is the mistreatment at the hands of the president by -- you know, to jim comey. >> the way it was done? >> absolutely. utterly the way it was done. decent people can come down on the two sides and say he should have gone, submitted his rest i and the president has the right to let him go. he does. if he had done something wrong, been accused of high crimes and misdemeanors. i can understand treason, bribery. the moment he made that
decision, it had nothing to do with the russian collusion investigation, nothing to do with rank and file fbi members, you know, disagreeing with him. it was the day when the president was inaugurated and invited jim comey forward and the press cameras were there and he said hey here's jim, and he is almost as famous as i am. and that was the day that he made the emergency note this was not going to be a long marriage. >> because the president doesn't like that sort of competition? >> you heard the conferring today. what struck me, the grand standing and showboating. what i'm offended by and i talked to a number of agents that felt the same way when the president was having the conversation with lester holt, you played the clip, he never referred to him as director comey, or former director comey. he referred to him as comey. in washington where titles are important and we teach our children no matter what you think about the president you refer to them by their title. and to refer to him in such a
dismissive way, i think a lot of people were offended by that. >> he had praised him for the way he handled the clinton investigation. >> jim nailed it. in this investigation particularly, violating that basic principle, speaking publicly about case, but i can't find anybody who agrees with the president's handling about this. anybody. let me be blunt. money talks, bull shit walks. you can figure out the rest of that comment. i talked with a senior fbi official ten minutes, he disagreed with the director's mishandling of those cases. he was you united with every official i have talked to sitting and former, saying it's -- everyone says speak truth to power. the message of this is and fbi is when you speak truth to power, you get your head cut off. the word at the fbi subpoena morale, it's anger because the
man who spoke truth to power lost his job. >> if that's the message, if you speak truth to power, you get handed your hand, what does this do to the ongoing russia investigation? >> and that's a good question, anderson. and i think a lot of people -- i've heard a lot of this. there's going to be a chilling effect on the fbi. the fbi has been around since 1908. the agents, the folks that did these jobs, their supervise, their gs 15st, gs 14s, gs 13s, the folks doing this job are not going to be frightened by somebody tweeting 140 words in a veiled threat. they are going to live by the fidelity, integrity, and the fidelity is not the president. it's to the constitution. >> it was a high level official
at the fbi who ended up being deepthroat because of what he saw going on. >> this is simple. think about when you get out of college you join an accounting firm, join a bank, you become a teacher. at the fbi you chase a terrorist, chase somebody who is trying to steal defense secrets or political corruption or someone interfering with an american election. can you imagine the motivation of an individual who has to been told you have got to find out if there are american citizens who violated the principles of american democracy that you can vote for a president? they will hunt for anyone who did wrong in this case. >> nice to see you begun. attorney general jeff sessions recused himself from any investigations because of his own failure to report a meeting with a russian ambassador. stay with me, mr. parker. when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient.
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because quality public schools build a better california for all of us. president trump admitted when he decided to fire james comey he said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story which raises questions not only about the president firing the man leading the investigation into russia but also jeff sessions' involvement in the firing and
the search for a new person to head the bureau and therefore an investigation. randy kaye tonight reports. >> i have decided to recuse myself from any matter relating in anyway to the campaigns for president of the united states. >> reporter: attorney general jeff sessions recusing himself from the investigation into the trump campaign's alleged ties to russia and its meddling in the presidential election. that was march 2nd. after sessions failed to disclose his meeting with russian ambassador sergei kislyak during his confirmation hearing. during the thick of it many are questioning if sessions violated his recuseal by advising president trump on the decision to fire fbi director james
comey. the fact is sessions promised to recuse himself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related to the campaign. so why was he in the oval office on monday this week counseling the president about comey who was heading up the russia investigation? >> he asked them for their recommendation base odthen conversation they had an monday. he asked them to put the recomme recommendation in writing. they came to him on his own. >> reporter: the white house say the president reviewed written recommendations and made his decision the following day. still, let's remember the white house initially said comey was fired because of how he handled the hillary clinton e-mail scandal. we now know according to the president himself that's not accurate. he says the russia investigation played a role in his decision to cut comey loose. >> reporter: which brings us back to jeff sessions and his
so-called recusal. >> he violated that public commitment when he made a recommendation to donald trump -- to president trump to fire comey. there's strong evidence that the firing of comey was related to the investigation of russia and the trump campaign. >> reporter: democratic senator al franken slammed sessions in a statement saying he was deeply troubled. franken called it a complete betrayal of his commitment to the public that he wouldn't be involved in the investigation. we have learned sessions is also interviewing candidates to replace comey, meaning jeff sessions will have a key role in picking who will be in charge of the russia investigation. the very investigation he vowed not to be a part of. >> based on his commitment from march, attorney general sessions needs to recuse from participating in the vetting of those candidates as well. attorney general sessions shouldn't be involved in selecting the next director of the fbi. >> reporter: the white house sees it very differently.
>> look, the fbi is doing a lot more than the russia investigation. he should absolutely have a role in seeing who runs that agency and that department. >> reporter: randy kaye, cnn, new york. >> well, paul butler worked with rod rosenstein at the justice department and is now a law professor at georgetown. he joins me along with laura coats. professor, we hear senator franken saying basically senator sessions said he would recuse himself he should not be part of this, that it is inappropriate to be part of looking for a replacement. do you agree? >> the senator is wrong. the attorney general recused himself in the investigation of the presidential campaign of 2016. he remains the boss of the fbi director. he has a responsibility to evaluate him and to say something when the director exceeds his authority, when he acts unethically in the way director comey did. >> the white house is saying essentially it is a personnel
issue and you seem to agree. >> yes. the problem with the focus on recusal is where do you draw the line? do we think he should have no role in evaluating the next director? he will be the boss of that person as well. should we say he shouldn't have conversations with the president of the united states because the president may be under investigation as well? recusal is supposed to be narrow, about a limited conflict of interest. director -- or the united states states attorney general remains the nation's chief law enforcement officer. >> what about that point, laura? you heard not only a professor here but sarah sanders say the fbi has a lot going on. it is inappropriate that sessions should have to recuse himself from any oversight of it. >> that's certainly true they are saying it is a personnel issue. if all points indicated it was a personnel issue we may have an
agreement. me and paul. however, you have a slippery slope not just in terms of the limitations of the attorney general. you have a slippery slope when it comes to figuring out whether or not jeff sessions was aware of any of the political motivation that there may have been by president trump to fire james comey in order to impede or somehow stall the russia investigation. if he was aware that there was even the slightest basis that he was going on then his issue was not about personnel. it is a foundation for his reason for thinking he had no longer had the confidence of the fbi agents or was no longer to be trusted as his chief investigator under the umbrella organization of the justice department. if that was even based on an iota, based on the russia investigation it is not a personnel issue. it swings the pendulum back into the area of perhaps the attorney general himself being involved in the obstruction of justice in our country. >> i see you shaking your head. >> i disagree with my friend laura.
look, the president asked rod rosenstein for his opinion about director comey. rosenstein said what every federal prosecutor i know says that when comey inserted himself into the election and made all of the spurious allegations against hillary clinton without giving her a chance to prove herself in court, to defend herself in court, comey violated every rule in the ethical investigator's playbook. so he had to go. was the timing wrong? yes. but, look, if your boss asked for your thymy evaluation of someone, you have to give that evaluation. do you think -- would he know there is a possibility that trump would use it in a political way? yes. that shouldn't stop him from rendering his ethical opinion. the problem i have with folks going ballistic when comey -- when the attorney general makes any move that undermines their credibility.
let me keep it a hundred. i'm not a big fan of sessions. when he does something that's concerning i don't want the credibility to be undermined when folks complain about it. >> laura, i want to give you the final thought. >> let's be clear. i'm not questioning rod rosenstein's ethics in the case. i'm questioning the ethics of someone trying to parse words on a highly ethical issue about whether or not he is limited to personnel issues or whether or not he had some part and was aware that his recommendation was going to form the basis of the president's decision to terminate based on the russia investigation. it's neither ballistic and certainly 100 to say that when you have the attorney general of the united states who certainly has oversight over various departments within the fbi he still has a responsibility to not obstruct or enable somebody to try to do so. remember the law says even to endeavor to impede or aderholt is enough. >> i should have gone to law school. laura, i appreciate you educating me.
paul butler as well. thank you so much. just ahead a world away from the drama rocking washington, anthony bourdain tells me what drew him back to laos for his newest "parts unknown." my belly pain and constipation? i could build a small city with all the over-the-counter products i've used. enough! i've tried enough laxatives to cover the eastern seaboard. i've climbed a mount everest of fiber. probiotics? enough! (avo) if you've had enough, tell your doctor what you've tried and how long you've been at it. linzess works differently from laxatives. linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. it can help relieve your belly pain, and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements that are easier to pass. do not give linzess to children less than six, and it should not be given to children six to less than eighteen. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain, especially with bloody or black stools. the most common side effect is diarrhea, sometimes severe. if it's severe stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away.
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it has really been an eventful week to say the least. this weekend you can count on anthony bourdain to deliver a new episode of "parts unknown." this time he goes to laos. >> from the first time i heard of laos, i was hooked and wanted to see the place. a mysterious, land-locked nation boarded by thailand, china, cambodia and as fate would have it, vietnam. ♪ ♪ ♪
s. >> the best restaurant ever. butchers. >> reporter: the chef earned his star in san francisco. he learned to cook from his mother and never looked back. >> pork. >> it's crispy pork, beef broth, steaming hot. >> he fled, like many, the communist takeover in laos. now, things are looking up a bit. and some, like james, are returning. >> i talk to anthony about his trip over a beer here in new york. so this episode is about laos, which i went to 20 years ago and
i'm dying to go back. you went to a city that's a magical city. >> it's beautiful, spiritual. we were there where all the local villagers and temples spend weeks of building these elaborate boats filled with candles that they silently push out into the river. it's the second time i've done a show in laos and focused on the unexploded ordnance in the country. most people are unaware of the gigantic war that took place in between the late '50s -- an enormous effort. and that more bombs were dropped on this tiny, little, low-population agrarian country than all of world war ii combined, germany and japan.
and a lot of those munitions are unexploded and blowing people up who weren't even alive during that time. so that's a story worth looking at always. and it's just an incredibly beautiful country. it looks unlike any other place on earth. >> as you said you had focused on unexploded ordinance before. and i read in "the new yorker," the white house had seen the show and hadn't realized the extent to which there were unexploded ordinance in laos. >> i don't feel like an activist. it was an unanticipated thing. most of the people stepping on these millions the bomblets cluster bombs in particular, weren't even alive during the conflict. they were not on one side or another. to see that again and again and again, it changed my life the first time i went and i think it will change the point of view or
the outlook of i think anyone with a heart who sees it now. it's a beautiful, very gentle country. it's a government i don't have any particular love for and a system i don't like, but the people and the country and the cuisine and the landscape, it's really enchanting. >> i look forward to seeing it. >> makes me want to go. tune in for a new episode this sunday night at 9:00 eastern here on cnn. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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that's it for us. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" start right now. have a great weekend. did the president of the united states threaten the ousted head of the fbi? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. the white house insists president trump's tweet is not a threat but judge for yourself. here it is. "james comey, better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press." democrats on capitol hill demanding any copies of recordings, if in fact they exist. the president also saying because he's so active a lot of things are happening, don't count on white house aides to give out 100% accurate information.