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tv   Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs  CNN  May 17, 2017 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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washington. >> reporter: sources telling cnn president trump asked former fbi director james comey to end his investigation into the former national security adviser michael flynn. if proven true the clearest sign yet that the president tried to influence the fbi's investigation into possible coordination between the trump campaign and russia. this is in many ways a grave turn in the drama surrounding the trump presidency and a big moment in the investigation. another bomb shell in 24 hours. the besieged trump white house facing accusations of obstruction of justice that could lead to impeachment at least in theory. a memo drafted by now fired fbi director james comey details president trump asking him to shut down the michael flynn investigation during a february meeting in the oval office saying i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to
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letting flynn go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. cnn has not seen the memo. the story was first reported by the "new york times". the president told comey that flynn did nothing wrong despite the fact that he was fired for lying to the vice president about his conversations with the russian ambassador. sources tell cnn the encounter happened after a briefing involving vice president mike pence and attorney general jeff sessions who the president asked to leave the room so he could speak privately with comey. comey was reportedly so appalled by the president's comments he documented the exchange. just one of a number of peopleos he wrote out of concern that the president was trying to stop the investigation. the white house flatly denying the explosive allegations saying the president has never asked mr. comey or anyone else to end any investigation. this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and mr. comey. in a tweet last week president
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trump threatened or at least warned comey about potential tapes of their conversations. recordings comey hopes exist in order to corroborate his account according to sources. the oval office meeting happened just one day after flynn was fired and two weeks after the president summoned comey to a dinner at the white house, reportedly asking him to pledge his loyalty. comey refused. less than three months later comey was fired. the president has openly said russia was on his mind when he made that decision. >> when i decided to just do it i said to myself i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> reporter: on capitol hill top congressional leaders stunned at the latest bomb shell and largely silent. >> i think they are shaken and almost shell shocked by this news. >> reporter: but one republican, the chair of the house oversight committee jason chaffetz tweeted he's ready to issue a subpoena to obtain comey's memo if
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necessary before sending the fbi a formal request to supply all notes and recordings detailing conversations between comey and mr. trump by next wednesday. house speaker paul ryan telling reporters he agreed with the move add weg need to h -- addin need to have all the facts. >> frankly i think he should be more aggressive. >> this is not a time for republicans to hide. >> reporter: democrats on both the oversight and judiciary committees demanding an immediate investigation as a growing number of lawmakers call for comey to testify publicly as soon as possible. a move sources say the former fbi director supports. >> the country is being tested in unprecedented ways. history is watching. >> if these allegations are true, senator, are we getting closer and closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process?
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>> i have to say yes because obstruction of justice is a serious offense. >> reporter: against this backdrop the president is preparing for his first trip abroad at the end of the week. no sign those plans are changing. we do expect to hear from the president today. he's delivering a commencement address at the coast guard academy in new london, connecticut. >> joe, thank you. so leaders of both parties want to get their hands on the james comey memo or memos. why did comey take such copious notes? evan perez has more. >> reporter: there are more memos to be revealed according to people close to james comey. the former fbi director known to document big moments in his tenure. an associate close to comey said the fired fbi director wrote peopleos and shared emails with those close him to about major conversation with president trump, particularly those that
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left him uneasy. the conversation about mike flynn left comey concern that the president was trying to stop the investigation. comey also wrote memos about other discussions with the president. congress has already asked the fbi to turn over any memos and emails that comey wrote but with the white house and president now disputes how comey describes those conversations it's going to be comey's word versus the president. one criticism already surfacing is why didn't comey say something earlier before he was fired. his friend say comey didn't want to affect the ongoing russian investigation and believes he had the issue under control and he assured the president's comments did not get back to the agents of conducting the investigation. evan, thank you very much. let's discuss all of this major breaking news with cnn political analyst david drucker, erol
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lewis and jeffrey toobin. >> we're in a very serious moment. this is a clear question of obstruction of justice, whether it actually took place or not, we're going to see. but, look, donald trump is president of the united states. the department of justice and the fbi work for him. on february 14th he goes to the fbi director, as we have understood the story, he tells mike pence and jeff sessions to leave the room and has a one on one with james comey. first of all, why does he tell them to leave the room. to suggest he something very private and inappropriate to say. conscience of guilt as lawyers would assert. then he says why don't you just threat go. let it go. that means stop the investigation. that is potentially obstruction of justice. stopping an fbi investigation, that includes trump himself and
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his campaign, that's the claim. what do comey's contemporaneous memos say. and are there white house tapes which might -- >> corroborate -- >> corroborate or disparage one version or the other. >> you have to ask why do you ask people to leave the room anyway, it's going to be recorded. >> you certainly want the tape if it exists. >> there's a whole legal analysis to be done here about obstruction of justice and what was the underlying crime. none of that is relevant. this would be a political battle and come down to votes not evidence. >> that's exactly right. and people have to sort of really get over it especially many of the democrats. obstruction of justice, i've heard it a million times. jeffrey just laid out a compelling case for it. on the other hand what's your remedy if that's problem. the remedy to deal with the president of the united states, if he has committed this kind of
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an offense is impeachment. impeachment is complicated. impeachment is political. . impeachment is not just jury trial. not like somebody will serve him with papers and he has to go down to the district court. it's a political problem. no amount of sort of massaging it is going to change that. until and unless the political establishment and by that we mean the republican majority in congress starts to develop more information, starts to put more pressure on the white house to come forward with more evidence, starts down that path of holding hearings that then sort of put us on the track to discussing whether or not impeachment is anywhere on the horizon, the white house can, in fact, weather this. it will be chaotic, noisy, unpleasant, but not as if you sort of saying i think the president might have obstructed justice, now he has to resign. it doesn't work that way at all. >> david, in a lot of chaotic weeks we had a lot of breaking news here for the past year.
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but something feels as though perhaps it's shifted in the past 48 hours. hats the feeling in the beltway? >> that's what republicans are telling me. republicans have gotten used to donald trump and his crises and the fact he weathers crises that would fell a normal conventional politician. in my ininquiring in the past couple of days, what they've been telling me they fear and they think that possibly this time things might be different. when you take together the comey firing and how it was mishandled, this issue with the meeting with the russians in the oval office and sharing intelligence where he shouldn't have, and now this memo from james comey, they are worried this could present a level of incompetence to the voters on key national security and foreign policy handling and issues that he could start to lose republicans and independents that are outside of his loyal base and then when that starts to happen you start
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to see republicans on capitol hill abandon him and pretty soon the president doesn't have a legislative agenda because nobody on the hill wants to work with him. so i think that's what i'm watching for over the next couple of days, where are republicans going with this and how much heat do they feel and how concerned are they by the president's leadership, especially as he begins to head overseas? >> so you have something that is certainly fundamentally shifted. you've gone from words to deeds, saying mean things about muslims is one thing, right. but now the actions are something that can be asailed in politics in a different way. this isn't him saying this is a stupid hoax of an investigation, it's him doing something to try to stop it. at the end of the day, how does it work in terms of translating what you did into articles of impeachment. what would the gop have to get behind and how much would it
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require? >> it's true that this is a political process not a legal process. but it is also an evidence-based process to a certain extent and i think as remarkable as michael schmidt's story, pamela brown's reporting it's time for congress to start looking at evidence. the first place they will look is at these comey peopleos which none of us have seen at least in their entirety so far. that's going to be very important. are they corroborated in some way? will pence and sessions say yes they were told to leave the room? you know, this is, you know, a serious process of looking at what happened to the extent we can and determining whether trump's version of this conversation and comey's version of the conversation is accurate. also, we only heard about one conversation between the two of them. were there more conversations. what else was said. did anyone else hear it.
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just evidence matters. >> isn't the evidence complicated? we learned james comey was this note taker and memo writer. but that's it. >> contemporaneous writing is different. >> if you can prove that he wrote it on february 14th, that memo holds more weight than what the president says happened in that meeting? >> this is the question of, let's see what they say and let's see how the facts develop. i'm not prepared to say in advance, you know, whose story is more believable. you have to just see what evidence is out there. but, the process now is unstoppable of getting the evidence. i don't know which congressional committee will do it. i don't know where comey will testify. at this point it is undoubtedly true that there will be comey testimony and these peopmemos w
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get published. >> this is going to be about whose believable and that's very soft ground for the president of the united states right now. >> let's talk about how republican lawmakers are dealing with it. there's an emergency meeting two hours from now we'll tell you about it next on "new day". atho. a world that doesn't exist outside you... ...but within you. where breakthrough science is replacing chemotherapy with immunotherapy. where we can now attack the causes of disease, not just the symptoms. where medicines once produced for all, are now designed to fit you. today 140,000 biopharmaceutical researchers go bodly to discover treatments and cures unimaginable ten years ago... ...and are on the verge of more tomorrow.
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bounty is more absorbent,mom" per roll so the roll can last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty, the quicker picker upper news that cnn has confirmed that former fbi director james comey kept notes about his different communications with the president is really sending shockwaves around capitol hill, especially with the republicans. remember all this is still in a political context. the question is, when will enough be enough for the gop in terms of what the president does with his words and deeds, for example, here's what republican congressman carlos from florida told don lemon last night.
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>> this daily dose of controversy, of scandal, of instability is bad for the government and i think it's also very taxing on the american people. people in this country are talking about politics every day, 24/7 and that is very unhealthy. >> let's bring back the panel. david drucker, he's vulnerable. he's in one of those districts in south florida, big medicaid population, health care was a sensitive thing. he could be primaried maybe to deal with a democrat. that's one type of republican. what are you hearing from republicans who are in stronger positions and more fringe positions, close to leadership. is there any kind of momentum of negativity? >> well there's definitely momentum of negativity. the question though what to do about it. as you point occupant he's in a clinton district and there are 23 republicans in clinton districts.
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their house majority is only 24 seats. that's not significant to see them speaking out because that's where the majority will be held or lost for republicans most likely. republicans are trying assess the situation and figure out what to do here because number one they realize this is serious, number two they are frustrated. they want to focus on deliverables. they feel like the president will not get out of his own way and now he's getting in their way and so this has them concerned about 2018 and just has them concerned about the fact that they might end up squandering an opportunity with full control of government to get a lot of things done that they've been trying to get done for the last 10 or 20 years in some cases. i thought yesterday mitch mcconnell's comments we could use less drama from the white house, if you understand mitch mcconnell, it sound like a very mild rebuke. if you understand mitch mcconnell, he doesn't talk when he doesn't want to and he just doesn't care. when he chooses to speak up and
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says a couple of times yesterday, cut it out. trump coming from him in a public setting that was to me a pretty big deal. so we'll have to see where this thing goes today. >> so, erol, less than 24 hours from now, there's an emergency meeting to talk about next steps. they are motivated because they, frankly like mike pence and wouldn't mind having president mike pence. they want to talk about -- what was said last night reportedly they had an emergency meeting. reportedly a staffer was told who reported to us this is textbook obstruction of justice. let me also just play for you john kasich at cnn town hall last night where he was pressing speaker paul ryan to do more. listen to this. >> i saw that speaker ryan said some things tonight about getting to the bottom line.
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frankly, i think he should be more aggressive. i think he should speak out more. and hopefully he will. >> we're about to see republicans speak out more. >> we'll certainly see them consolidate a position. that might involve speaking, might involve hiding. one of the dynamics going on here you got the president who is very popular with the republican base and until that popularity falls off a cliff all of the popularity is one number. the popularity among the republican base is the other. that's the one that matters for the house majority especially for those in the freedom caucus. until the president looks like he's kind of on the outs with their constituency, they will stay in place. we should keep in mind despite that sort of delicious kind of intrigue that you hinted at, the notion of let's get rid of trump because we like pence better as president, i think there are a number of different outcomes short of that that could get die-hard conservatives of the
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freedom caucus more of what they want. you have a vice president who has, in my memory, unprecedented access to the oval office, to the day-to-day workings of the government. sometimes reshuffle that puts more power, more control of the government in pence's hands they might get what they want. >> pence keeps on being put in a position where he comes out with earnest vision and comes out that says things that are proven false or foolish after we see what the president decides to do. isn't this political, not legal. because they say textbook case of obstruction of justice. it's about whether or not they want to vote on it and whether it bothers them enough to vote on it. they have cover if they want it. okay he told flynn, he cold comey be nice. sflin a good guy. you can see your way to it that would being a great. if i want political cover to it that's not corrupt influence. comey didn't say in his memo i think he's trying obstruct this.
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>> we'll see what he said. we'll see what he said in his people swro. we are so far beyond the moment where this is just a communications problem. at the beginning of the week people were saying will he fire sean spicer or not. who cares. that's not relevant to today. what's relevant today is what the evidence will show and whether the republicans continue to line up behind trump or not. but, you know, this idea that you can have a white house shuffle, that you can put new players in place and that will correct the problem. we're well -- >> this all keeps coming from one place. these are self-inflicted wounds by the president what he decides to say and how he acts. let's take a break and after the break we'll talk about the legalities involved here. what would be the right standard of proof? is it a clear cut case of obstruction of justice in this political context? remember nobody has gone before a judge.
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there was one meeting and two different versions of what happened at it. sources tell cnn the former fbi director james comey wrote a memo afterwards saying president trump had asked him to end their investigation into michael flynn. the white house flatly denies that account. if it's true does it mount to obstruction of justice? let's discuss this with former u.s. attorney michael moore and retired fbi chief of staff and special agent james a,galiano. james, i want to start with you.
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you had a professional interaction with james comey weekly if even by telephone, for instance. do you believe that his account of a meeting can be trusted? >> absolutely. i mean if you contrast him with the president, james comey's word and ethics are unimpeachable. a couple of things first. it's not out of the realm of possibility that fbi directors take notes going back to j. edgar hoover, served under eight presidents. he hand wrote notes or dictated them to his personal secretary. she typed them up and put them into the file cabinet. today we don't do things that way. what would happen the director would have gone back to his office, written down some notes which can be subpoenaed. they go into a 1a envelope. he would basically written up an electronic communication. those things get attached to a file. >> you don't see this as a dear diary moment. this wasn't something he secreted away for a rainy day.
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this is something that's proforma and comey was known for this? >> it's not comey ace first rodeo. going back to 2004 bedside showdown with john ashcroft from the white house, the director has been known in his professional life to take could pi -- copious notes and to file them away. >> where do we get to see these notes? >> they can be subpoenaed if we had a special prosecutor. they can become evidence in a case. i have some question whether the fbi or other guest could tell us if they claim peripheral regular on those. if they put it in an envelope considered evidence in a case they could be subject to a subpoena. this is an interesting case because the question is do we ever get to a criminal obstruction charge or the path of an impeachment in the house which is a different standard
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and different investigation. those decisions are made by the house of representatives. >> almost all the judicial reckoning on this, but usually impeachment is seen as the first step and if there's any penalties they would come after. to your points all of this would be done in a political context which would make it a lot softer in terms of what the fbi has to offer up, who is asking them. probably be politicians. >> right. it's remote that there would be any kind of criminal charge against sitting president. a few people want to argue it could still happen. the chances are slim none. you're talk about whether or not a case is moved forward by the house of representatives. if they do that then ultimately they make the decision. they make decisions on intent, make decisions on corrupt influence and all those things they define them in a political context. >> james, we now know james comey was known for doing this. that he likes taking notes.
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particularly when something was out of the ordinary. if something struck him as a momentous occasion or veering out of bounds of legality or appropriateness he went back and took notes good and bad of everything he could remember in the moment. what was the feeling in the bureau? do people know this about him? >> almost appears to me as if he was being an fbi agent. he was basically building a case. do i believe that -- again we have to stipulate that this quote memo or electronic communication actually exists. "new york times" says it does. let's presume i want does. i have to think that at this junk you're the he was just basically laying out the framework that if things went side ways here's what happened, i recorded these within five days because the fbi is required once there's an interaction, immediate interview to go down on paper within five days. >> which is a nod again to how powerful contemporaneous recording is.
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there's something about being in the moment that makes people less conniving. what about a case of the power of the pen. it's a long range slug. he's got a bullet proof pen. what a metaphor that is. quick legal question, let's say comey did this exactly as suggested, by the book. should he have shown those memos, there's some reporting out there that this happened, we don't know for sure he should have shown this to the doj. shouldn't he have gone to the doj if he had legit concern that anybody let alone the president trying to obstruct the case. >> i think he handled at any time right way. there could be an argument he should have gone to the deputy attorney general at that time. what he did was protect the investigation. he handled it a way where he documented the interaction. made a contemporaneous writing. giving credibility because it was made at the time. and he made that part of the file. and the fbi is a great
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investigative agency and they are accustomed to papering their files ad nauseam, making sure every interaction is documented. so i think he probably did it the right way. >> james, michael, thank you very much for all of the insight. great to have you here. so one self-inflicted wound after another weighing down president trump. can his administration recover from this damage? we dig deeper on what's next. got it. rumor confirmed. they're playing. -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ]
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allies in congress are going to drift away if he looks like a liability. joining us with some perspective is cnn presidential historian and co-author of "jfk a vision for america" douglas brinkley. not only do we need your perspective on how this markens back to the nixon administration when obstruction of justice was a foundation of the political argument there for impeachment but also the idea of crises on influence of anened. what your seeing here and what does this remind us? >> this is a white house unraveling. donald trump has gotten himself in so many difficult situations over the last few days, i don't know how he's really going to be able to work his way out of it. of course, nixon is being talked about for days now but for good reasons. i want does seem that donald trump obstructed justice in the firing of comey and then
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particularly as the statement that he was trying to get the fbi not to look into flynn any more and let him off the hook because he's a good guy. the drum beats of impeachment are here. that doesn't mean he's going be impeached. you'll be hearing that word, the "i" word that any president dreads regularly from commentators and pun departments that come on cnn because the atmosphere of what's going on looks awful for donald trump. he has to come up with a defense. yet he seems very remiss from wanting to produce any documentary evidence such as the tape he mentioned that he had the other day which most people don't think exists of this conversation with comey. so we'll have to see how much the president is willing to cooperate. >> and now james comey, it's been reported, wants to hear that tape. last night david gurgen was on
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and he talked about the impeachment word. obviously he was an adviser in various white houses. here's his perspective. >> nixon and clinton. >> yes. >> i was in the nixon administration, as you know. after watching the clinton impeachment i thought i would never see another one. i think we're in impeachment territory for the first time. ? really? >> i think the obstruction of justice was the number one charge against nixon that brought him down. >> so, doug, give us your historical perspective on how you think, where we are today and how it compares? >> well, we always have to remember richard nixon ran a full term. he had successes. the famous trip to china. he was president when neil armstrong went to the moon. he created the environmental protection agency. nixon had a legacy. in '72 he won the biggest landslide in american history
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and then boom watergate fell upon him. in this case we have donald trump almost from day one of his administration being besieged by this massive russia-gate problem since there's no other problem, we want to say if there is collusion with russia. but it's terrible. he just doesn't seem to know how to get away from it. he's made so many errors in tweets, statements. he now is really seeming like somebody who is being bought and sold out of moscow. and if that's not the case he's got to prove to the american people that he had nothing to do with colluding with russia during the 2016 election. i just don't think he took all this as seriously as he needed to and try to talk his way out and now it is a watergate-like situation and impeachment is in the air. like gerald ford kind of a mild mannered mid-westerner from
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michigan replaced richard nixon you may have former governor mike pence the vice president coming in and becoming president within a year. >> douglas, do you think they are anywhere near that. watergate started with an underlying felony. you had the break in. here we're talking about obstruction of justice which is not helped by his firing of comey. if he hadn't fired comey he wouldn't have much political argument about it absent comey saying i was scared by what he said. if he was that scared. >> we wouldn't know about these memos if he didn't fire comey. >> but in terms of historical perspective what is the relevant level of jeopardy? >> long ways to go. this is a big opening act. watergate we used to say was the drip, drip, drip of water detonate. however this, is like a slap, slap, slap. every week. i don't think you can have much more hemorrhaging out of the
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trump white house. he doesn't have a trusted close adviser. he sort of operates in a free wheeling fashion. he changes his mind at a regular basis. morale is in the basement at the white house now. so, when he's getting ready to go to saudi arabia and israel and the vatican he doesn't have much wind at his sail. he's like a traveling can of worms, wherever he goes people are going to be raising questions about what his involvement with russia and why he fired the fbi chief. >> again, not a bad time to get out of town. >> doug, thank you very much for the historical perspective. >> speaking of perspective, first, he wanted hillary clinton locked up. you remember the chants. then the president tried to convince james comey to lock up journalists who published leaked information. do you remember james comey kind of saying out of nowhere during his hearing testimony,
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breakthrough allergies with allegra®. there is more to the james comey memo. the "new york times" is reporting that those comey memos also say that the president told james comey to consider locking up reporters for publishing laebd information. joining us to talk about this is cnn senior media correspondent and host of "reliable sources" bob stelter and media analyst bill carter. brian we've talked a lot about how the president doesn't like any critical sfoers about him but the idea he would go to the director of the fbi and say can reporters be jailed for publishing some of these stories. that's obviously beyond the pale. >> he has a running war with the
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media. this would be a very dark new chapter in the story. not a chapter that will be written. there are constraints thankfully on presidential fantasy about this. even last night there was a report in the "daily beast" the justice department under jeff sessions is going to be focused on at least pursuing leakers if not the reporters -- >> that's different. that's different. leakers are coming from the white house or wherever, but journalists can publish that information. it's not illegal. >> right. we've not seen in the past prosecutions of journalists directly for publishing information. >> but look it always got a little dicey. this isn't bedrock. it was an allowance over time. remember when comey was testifying a couple of weeks ago, seems like forever where he kind of came out of nowhere in response to a question, maybe directly and said journalists will not be viewed for prosecution in any criminal
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proceeding based on -- i remember thinking why did he say that. >> i think we shouldn't be terribly surprised. this guy described the press as the enemy of the people. trump is not a guy who thinks in terms of legalities. we know that. in this case, what the constitution says. i'm not sure he thinks the first amendment would protect journalists. he thinks this is something the fbi could and should do. >> shows his mindset the angry, the fury he feels about these leaks. the leaks about infight and incompetence of his administration. this president is stewing, furious about these leaks. i think the fact that the "times" detailed this. the white house has not refuted it. >> also have to say there's a failure of his leadership. this white house has leaked like none other than i can remember.
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>> going with the discord in the white house let's jail journalists. >> fix your own house. >> also the hypocrisy. this was a man who celebrated leaks. >> right. >> remember we had the clinton people on here. what do you make of these emails. we're not going to talk about these hacked documents. and trump couldn't talk about them enough who cares where they came from. either it's true or false. and now shoe is on the other foot. >> all leaks are not created equally. some could be agenda driven from obama officials. others are whistle blowers, people blowing the whistle, trying sound the alarms. some of these leaks are from trump supporters. conservati saying hey i know one of the sources for one of the russia sources. he's a trump supporter. he's sounding the alarm about president trump. some of these people are trying to alert the public. they want to look back and think about the courage some of these
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leakers felt. >> just to be clear, there is not a history of journalists having to go to jail -- >> no. >> -- for publishing. >> for not revealing resources that's happened. >> but i'm saying publishing leaked information. >> the obama administration threatened this pretty seriously. then eric came out we'll never jail a journalist. >> it's slippery slope. i you say i need to know who told you this for national security reason. now i need you to tell me who leaked this that's a slippery slope. if you just don't like the information that comes out and you want to punish the people who put it out that's dangerous and it's a big part of our democracy. you wouldn't have known about the michael flynn if "the washington post" didn't put out that report. we wouldn't know about these memos if somebody hadn't leaked that. >> that's why you need
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journalists for. thank you very much. >> a memo that could rewrite american history. james comey detailing how donald trump tried to pressure him into dropping the michael flynn investigation. what happens next? more of our breaking news coverage. getting heartburn doesn't mean i means i take rolaids®. rolaids® goes to work instantly neutralizing 44% more acid than tums® for fast, powerful relief of your worst heartburn. i trust my rolaids®. r-o-l-a-i-d-s spells relief. [fbi agent] you're a brave man, your testimony will save lives. mr. stevens? this is your new name. this is your new house. and a perfectly inconspicuous suv. you must become invisible. [hero] i'll take my chances.
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we'll take 2! [ laughing ] xfinity x1 gives you exclusive access to the best of the billboard music awards just by using your voice. the billboard music awards. sunday, may 21st eight seven central only on abc. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. this is "new day." it is wednesday, may 17th. 6:00 in new york. we start with breaking news. a memo written by former fbi director james comey said that president trump pressed him to stop the investigation of former adviser michael flynn. democrats are saying if true, this may raise the spector of i am peachment. >> there are questions of obstruction of justice. opening is ready to subpoena the fbi for the conversations with
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comey and the president. the question is who will americans believe? the president or james comey? we have it all covered for you with cnn's joe johns at the white house. what is the latest there, joe? >> reporter: alisyn, sources tell cnn the president of the united states asked the former fbi director to end the investigation of former national security adviser michael flynn. the white house denies it. if this is true, it marks a very dark moment in the investigation into coordination between the trump campaign and the russian government. another bombshell in 24 hours. the besieged white house facing accusations of obstruction of justice that could lead to impeachment. at least in thoeory. a detailed memo from james comey
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saying he was asked to shutdown the flynn investigation. asking i hope you can let this go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. cnn has not seen the memo. the story first reported by "the new york times." the story said flynn did nothing wrong despite being fired. sources tell cnn the encounter happened after the briefing involving vp mike pence and attorney general jeff sessions. comey was so appalled by the president's comments, he documented the exchange. one of a number of memos he wrote out of concern that the president was trying to stop the investigation. the white house flatly denying the allegations saying the president has never asked mr. comey or anyone else to end any investigation. this is not a

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