tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN May 26, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
thanks very much for watching. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." for our international viewers, "amanpour" is next. for our north american viewers, brooke baldwin is here right now. . >> wolf, thank you so much. i'm brooke baldwin. we begin with breaking news regarding the fbi's role in the 2016 presidential election. we're now learning why the fired fbi director went public to announce the investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails was ending. you remember james comey held an infamous news conference last summer. turns out, he was worried about the russians impacting the integrity of the investigation. dana bash has the new breaking news here. what exactly have you learned? >> cnn has learned, brooke, that then fbi director james comey knew a critical piece of russian
information related to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation was fake but felt he needed to take action anyway because he was concerned that if the information became public, it would undermine the investigation and the justice department itself. now, this is according to multiple sources, talking to my colleagues, simone and gloria and myself. now, these concerns were a major factor in comey deciding to publicly declare that the clinton probe was over last summer without consulting then attorney general loretta lynch. now, you may remember that earlier this week "the washington post" reported on this intelligence and the doubts about its credibility. the fact that comey felt he had to act, based on russian disinformation, is a stark example of how russia's interference impacted the decision making at the highest level of the u.s. government during the 2016 campaign. now, the russian information at issue claims to show that then attorney general lynch had been
compromised in the clinton investigation because e-mails between then dnc chair debbie wasserman shul wasserman schultz and a clinton campaign operative believed that the fbi investigation would go away. comey told lawmakers that he was afraid the information would drop and undermine the investigation but he didn't tell lawmakers that he doubted the ac accuracy of the information even in a classified setting. the fbi felt that the validity of the information really didn't matter because if it became public, they had no way to discredit it without burning their sources and methods, brooke. >> right. and then we saw jim comey recently testifying up on capitol hill. let's go back to that moment. >> i struggled as we got closer to the end of it with the number of things that have gone on, some of which i can't talk about yet, that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the
investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the confidence in the justice system. and the capper was -- i'm not picking on loretta lynch -- but her meeting with hillary clinton on the plane was the capper for me. >> let's talk about that moment between president clinton and the former a.g. >> you heard him talking about it that it was the capper but i'm told in these classified sessions, comey didn't even mention the plane incident. instead, he told lawmakers that the russian information was the primary reason he took the unusual step to announce the end of the clinton probe. i can tell that you gloria borger has heard that there are other issues and factors as well that played into it. >> okay. dana, extraordinary reporting. thank you. i've gone eric with me now, someone who has covered the fbi and james comey for years and years.
eric, my question to you is, the fact that comey was inspired to hold this news conference last july, announcing this into the probe, the clinton probe, to beat any leak of the fake russian documents, having covered comey as much as you have, does that decision surprise you? >> it was a stunner, to be honest. >> it is? >> it kind of changes the whole story line. as you say, there was the famous tarmac incident which apparently factored into his decision to go public with this nonindictment/indictment of hillary clinton that was percolating behind closed doors for the last few months was this cryptic russian information that was really the driving force and there have been reports about that the last few months. he's been asked about that in congress just recently before he was fired and he did not respond. so now the indication, the reporting from dana that not only was this disinformation
from russia but that comey and the fbi might have actually known it or did know it is, you know, really bad news for the fbi and for comey. a few weeks after his firing from president trump, he's been in the news constantly as sort of the stand-up guy who stood up to the president and got fired for it. >> can i say one thing there? >> go ahead, dana. >> certainly you can look at this as bad news for comey but my sense -- and the sense of others reporting on this as well -- is that the way that comey saw it and i think this speaks to the way he saw a lot of other things, is that he was trying to protect the investigation and the justice department because, again, the notion that this russian intelligence, fake or not fake, could become public, he was worried would hurt the credibility of loretta lynch, then attorney general, and, of course, this investigation.
so maybe sort of in retrospect it looked bad but at the time, he thought he was doing the right thing. >> right. we've heard from the good, good friend of comey's who has come out publicly and he said that comey really felt like he was this protector. >> right. >> that was with the department of justice. erin, from that july news conference to the anthony weiner revelation, if this was any other fbi director in modern history, do you think he or she would have made the same choices and all of those myriad of decisions the way that comey did? >> that's a tough one to answer because nothing about this situation with the hillary investigation was normal. nothing went by the book and certainly comey him seven just blew up the book when he went public with that july press conference and then even more damaging, in the view of hillary
clinton, is when he sent out a letter 11 days before the election about the anthony weiner e-mails. and this suggestion that this loretta lynch and cryptic e-mail was bogus and was used as a pretext to do this, i think they are going to have a lot of means to answer and comey is obviously out now but the acting director, mccabe, was also apparently involved in analyzing this and is now on the list for fbi director at the white house. >> that's right. you said it perfectly. the book was basically blown up. eric lichtblau and dana bash, thank you both very much. from that to this. right now, springtime, class of 2017 at the receiving ends of inspirational commencement
speeches. today, we saw a fiery, passionate, warning call. hillary clinton back home, delivering the commencement at her ala mater wellesley college nearly five decades after doing so as valedictorian. there she was back in 1969. she actually ad libbed the speech and calling out a senator at the time who was standing there making a note to students. this year she said the state of politics isn't so different. drawing parallels to president trump without actually naming him and she cautioned graduates and perhaps others watching what the future of this current administration. >> if any of you are nervous about what you'll be walking into when you leave the campus, i know that feeling. we were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of
color, religious minorities, immigrants would ever be treated with dignity and respect. and by the way, we were furious about the past presidential election. of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice. [cheers and applause ] after -- after firing the person running the investigation into him at the department of justice. the advance of technology, the impact of the internet, our fragmented media landscape make it easier than ever to splinter
ourselves into echo chambers. we can shut out contrary voices, avoid ever questioning our basic assumptions, extreme views are given powerful microphones. leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism have tools at their disposal that were unimaginable when i graduated. and here's what that means to you, the class of 2017. you are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason. when people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society.
that is not hyperbole. it is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. they attempt to control reality. not just our laws and our rights and our budgets, but our thoughts and beliefs. >> john avlon is with me, cnn political analyst and editor and chief of the daily beast. also, joining me is john phillips. great to see you all here on this friday afternoon. i'm going to kick it off to you first, john avlon. she did not hold back. >> this is hillary clinton speaking to a home town crowd and that constantly questioning, highly calculated completely thrown aside and very revealing and oftentimes funny and
sometimes in short supply in her career but very full-throated, critical about the rise of the trump administration without ever naming him by name and the dangers it can represent. it was a very powerful and effective speech and a clear contrast. >> she was there 48 years ago in an era when president kennedy and king had been assassinated and the parallels she was bringing with nixon, she went on to work on the watergate committee. >> right. >> but what about the way forward for the democratic party? is that a problem for dems listening to her today? >> no. i don't think so at all. in fact, this is exactly what democrats and what our entire country needed to hear right now. her getting out there and talking about what she is fighting for and making it clear she's not going anywhere and she's going to stay in this fight but also going back to her
roots. wellesley made her into the woman she is today. so much of her training came from there. i was struck, as you just mentioned, when listening to her speech of the irony. listening to this 48 years ago, nixon was under the same microscope that trump is dealing with and it was quite the contrast. especially with memorial day weekend and everything else we're facing. >> so adrienne is inspired. john phillips, were you? >> i'm surprised the vegans did not walk out because all she did was serve red meat. >> ooh. >> way to use that line, phillips. so close to the election, hillary clinton presentation we've seen like an oscar speech that goes on way too loong and the dnc orchestra is planning her off the stage because the longer they stay on the stage, the more they suck up the air in the room and there's no room for any other democrats to come forward and establish themselves as the leader of the party.
we saw a claw your eyes out race for the dnc chair and a bonkers election and it was all clinton/sanders debates and clinton/sanders fights going on. that's going to continue. >> you do have the president handing out red electoral maps to reporters still interviewing him in the oval office. but i think i take your point, and adrienne, can you respond to that? with hillary clinton still at center stage, how is that clearing the way for the new, younger democratic voices? >> i don't think hillary clinton going back to her ala mater and giving a commencement speech is necessarily getting in the way. >> but she got very political. >> she did get very political. this is why she's very good at doing this and getting under donald trump's skin. she gave an incredibly inspiring speech at her ala mater reminding girls that if you get
knocked down, jump right back up and that's exactly what i think our country needed to hear right now. >> john? >> i would just say, you know, the serious core of the speech was about the danger when people in power try to choose their own factses and people get intimidated into silence or straighten up their backbones and push back. it should transcend the political party and it's very timely. whatever the politics inside the democratic party, however people want to spin this, that cuts through a lot of the spin in an important way today and i thought it was an effective speech and what folks need to hear right now. >> i couldn't help, while i was listening to her at wellesley college, do you think president trump responds at all to hillary clinton on twitter? >> if i'm going to predict what he does on twitter, i should be in las vegas and not los angeles. >> or an insane asylum.
>> no one else on planet earth has. i thought it was very interesting that in her interview with christiane amanpour that she blames her election laws on james comey. today she compared trump to nixon. i can't wait to hear what she thinks about anthony weiner. >> oh, it's the weiner question. i'm two in a row with bringing him up. i'm going to leave it there. you came with some zingers, john phillips. john avlon, thank you. adrienne, thank you as well. talk about a full-circle moment for hillary clinton at wellesley college. jared kushner's role in the white house after it's revealed that he's under fbi scrutiny and the russia investigation. we'll look into that. also, president trump praising the victory of a republican who beat up a reporter, didn't admit it and then won the election. find out what's next. and we're now being told
that that concert bomber in england made a phone call about 15 minutes before his attack. we'll tell you who he called and how police are trying to contain his network. we'll be right back. pcountries thatk mewe traveled,t what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna
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will i have pain and bloating today? my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. we have just learned that ariana grande who had just left the stage a couple of nights ago when the terrorist who killed 22 and injured many others. ariana grande wants to hold a benefit concert and return to manchester. the strength and kindness you've shown one another this past week is the exact opposite of the heinous intentions it must take to pull off something as evil as what happened on monday. she'll be returning to perform this concert for the victims and the survivors.
also, jared kushner is now under fbi scrutiny, caught up in the ongoing russia investigation. president trump's son-in-law in the spotlight for his interactions with russian officials during the election and during the transition. investigators say the focus is on the analytics operation which jared kushner was very much involved, his relationship with michael flynn as well as contact with russian officials. joining me now is mark geragos. you have all of these democrats coming in saying he should have his security clearance revoked. according to reports i've read, yes, he's a target, but he's not actually accused of any wrongdoing. so is that even fair?
>> no, it probably isn't fair, except that it has been reported that he did not reveal the context when he got the security clearance. that's a separate basis from the investigation for them to revoke the security clearance. you have to go through certain -- or jump through certain hoops under the appropriate governmental forms that you fill out. so they could -- not as a result necessarily of a preliminary investigation revoke it but they could do it if he did not reveal something in the forms that he attests to. and people in washington and investigations get caught up. it's in the forms or failure to disclose. it's not necessarily the actions that you took in the first place. >> so if you were watching last night, alan dershowitz was on. he was suggests that they are actually working backwards on
this, that unlike other investigations where you have a crime and that's where you begin and instead they are starting this investigation without a crime. is that fair? >> i don't think it is. what he's misunderstanding or comprehending is, show me the crime, the term collusion is an undefinable concept in terms of a statute that it attaches to and tl wouit would be able to st the collusion was more than just that. it was a criminal action taking place. to suggest that this is somehow a premature conclusion, that would be right if they had made a conclusion. what they have done is say, look, we've got an investigation, we've got a special counsel now. we're going to investigate whether or not there is some link or connection or reason why there have been so many misstatements on verifiable
facts with regard to russia. >> go ahead, mark. do you want to jump in? >> early in my career, in the '90s, i was involved in defending the whitewater defendant susan mcdougall and i railed against ken star, for these very same things that alan dershowitz was talking about. this is under a different statute. this is now under a special counsel statute because the independent counsel expired in 1999. this statute is triggered when there is some issue of a probable cause or some kind of a strong suspicion or just the idea of a recusal. so it isn't quite like the independent counsel. the independent counsel statute and what i used to complain about -- in fact, alan did as well back then, was that idea,
as laura said, where you show me the person and i'm going to investigate him up one side and down the other. here you have to have something. you have to jump over a couple of hoops first in order to get a special counsel appointed and you have to show that there actually is some "there" there. there is a qualitative difference that i think shouldn't be lost. >> what about this fact that apparently jared kushner's voice was one of the loudest in the room calling for jim comey to be fired? >> well, you have someone in a glass house throwing stones here. that's perhaps what has happened with the comey investigation, they are ridiculed for what they have said and trying to find solutions to problems. here's the issue with jared kushner. unlike this dragnet of people who may have been involved in a collusion or collaboration with russia to a nefarious end, he has offered to testify and give testimony about what he actually means and what he actually
knows. now, that offer of testimony is always one you can give until you get the subpoena and faced with an attorney telling you, maybe you shouldn't talk at all. that's what happened with michael flynn. you have the offer here for the actual truth to perhaps come out. i think we should see what he says about that and whether he feels as though his contacts in terms of under the suspicion that muddies the water further. any time somebody is in the same behavior which is the obstruction issue, the inability to find the actual solutions or the answers. >> mark geragos, laura, thank you. in 24 hours here, a republican candidate body slammed a reporter, didn't own up to it and got a ticket to serve in congress anyway. how are democrats plotting to
win upcoming races in this environment? also, melania trump's big moment. her big revelation about her religion and this jacket. $51,000 jacket that has everyone talking today. is this is my body of proof. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can take on psoriatic arthritis with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the #1 prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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interior secretary, greg gianforte, who was charged with assault, later apologized but only after he won. >> last night i made a mistake. and i took an action i shoucan' take back. for that, i'm sorry. >> president trump gave a quick comment on this race during his stop in sicily. this is what the president said. >> great win in montana. >> thank you. >> let's talk now to cnn national politics reporter m.j. lee about gianforte. this is a man who has a court date and a criminal charge coming early june. this is someone who won this ticket to congress. is there a chance that he could -- republicans could not seat him? >> you know, purely he's speaking as a pr matter, this is the last thing that the republican party needed.
they expected this to be a relatively easy race. they thought they would just be celebrating. for a period of 24 hours, you saw members of congress being barraged with questions like, well, how do you account for this rep presensible reprehensible behavior. whether or not republican leaders would actually speak out against him and i think we got the answer to that from paul ryan's statement earlier today. he said, gianforte is an outsider with real world experience creating jobs in montana. le bri he will bring that experience to congress where he will be a valuable voice in the house republican conference. >> he still has a court date coming up. he's always going to have the reputation as the guy who got physical with a reporter. >> totally. you can also look at this as a
half glass full or half empty when he won with a margin of victory of only 6% in a state that trump won with 20 percentage points in november. how does that translate as we look ahead to the special election in georgia? >> the story is totally different depending on who you ask. republicans say all of this happened at the last minute, it was a huge controversy and yet he was able to win pretty easily. but if you ask, you know, democrats, they would say that this is a state that trump won by 20 points and look how close we got. so like these circumstances matter and it also matters that democrats would say that the democratic candidate quist made a very full and strong push at the very end to talk about the house republican health care bill and they are saying, look, when we talk about these issues that matter to people in a red state or district get this close to, you know, taking a seat that is historically very republican. >> he talks very smart.
political wonks say georgia is a different terrain. kansas and now montana, they need a win and we'll be covering that. that is june 20th. >> right. >> in georgia. m.j., thanks very much. moving on, the terrorist who bombed that concert in manchester made a phone call 15 minutes before the attack. we'll tell you who he called. also, he says he's busy drinking wine, golfing and ironing his clothes. former house speaker john boehner not holding back when he refers to president trump. why he calls this presidency a disaster. se to lie down. why suffer? stand up to chronic migraine with botox® botox® is the only treatment for chronic migraine shown to actually prevent headaches and migraines before they even start. botox® is for adults with chronic migraine, 15 or more headache days a month each lasting 4 hours or more. it's injected by a doctor once every 12 weeks. and is covered by most insurance. effects of botox® may spread hours to weeks after injection,
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secretary of state rex tillerson is in the uk today trying to calm the nerves of this very important ally by taking responsibility for investigation leaks to the media. meanwhile, new arrests in the raids in manchester today. eight people now in custody and, according to reports, a suicide bomber, salman abedi, had just called his brother over in libya 15 minutes before the attack in that concert. let's bring in cnn investigative reporter michael weiss, the co-author of "isis: inside the army of terror." welcome back. >> thank you. >> the fact that he picked up the phone and called his brother from that manchester arena in libya, what does that tell you? >> oftentimes the jihadi networks are populated by members of the same family. the reason being, it's simply easier and you're more likely to
trust members of your own family. if it's a sibling, you grow up in the same house. whatever the external factors are to contribute to radicalization will happen to both of you at the same time. very often a younger brother looks up to his older brother and is mentored into this pathway into jihadism. this is so far very, very typical from what i'm hearing. >> we don't know if it's, hey, i'm go to do this or pass along x, y and z. >> no. chances are, though, if it's 15 minutes before, it would have been a valid victory. or, by the way, i'm doing this now, if the brother in libya was aware of the plot, now is the time to tell the other brothers, quote/unquote -- >> this is about to happen? >> exactly. >> when you hear investigators say they are trying to contain the network, what does "trying to contain" mean? >> you just alluded to the eight figures arrested in manchester. this guy probably did not act
alone. he obviously blew up the bomb himself alone but he will have coordinated with other facilitators. there's a good article by my friend and the term is virtual entrepreneurs. you have somebody who grew up in the west. they are connecting with isis terrorists in iraq and syria who are either radicalizing them or facilitating their contact with other agents and fellow travelers and operatives already in the west. you can also kind of distinguish these things, according to linguistic lines. i've often referred to the francaphone network. they all spoke french. it made it easier to communicate. in this case, an anglo jihadi, not sure if i'm saying his name correctly, killed by the coalition two years ago. he was the guy to bring the
first american jihadist over to the caliphate. that can be a very easy line of communication because you all speak the same language. >> so with those connections, we were talking at the commercial break and i said what do you think about the fact that uk had initially shut down any sort of intel sharing with the u.s. because of the leaks and now all of a sudden they are sharing again and you were saying to me, precisely your point on english speaking, if the u.s. might have intel, the uk needs to know. >> what if the guys in manchester are also talking to operatives or want-to-bes on the same channel and all of a sudden u.s. intelligence are leaking this stuff to "the new york times" and "washington post," the name of the suspect and suicide bomber is out there and suddenly this network goes silent straight away. we don't know, then, when the next plot is going to take place. anything we do to reverse engineer where these guys are and what they are planning, it comes to dust. keep in mind, the u.s. has no better intelligence sharing partner than the uk. in my own work and in
interviewing isis, i can tell you oftentimes the uk has better intelligence on syria than the u.s. has got. this was a huge and, frankly, shameful example and i think they were quite right to put a pause on this relationship. but as you see, it's back up now because out of necessity. >> it has to be. michael weiss, thank you for dropping by on that. >> sure. from her infamous jacket and the chatter about it. yes, this jacket right here with apparently a price tag of $51,000. plus, hillary clinton today not holding back, going off on president trump without actually mentioning his name during a speech at her ala mater. stand by for that. umbrellas!! you need one of these. you wouldn't put up with an umbrella that covers you part way, so when it comes to pain relievers,
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center stage here. the first lady today stepping out in italy in this $51,000 floral jacket. the designer is dolce & gabana. melania trump is the first catholic first lady since jackie kennedy and her style is being compared to the kennedys. so let's talk all about melania's big week and her choices. i have kate bennett and kate anderson brower, the author of "first women." and to the kates on this friday, let's begin with melania's faith. i don't even think a lot of people realize she was catholic before this trip. why is she just now revealing this? >> yeah, i don't think anyone realized it and it's probably something really private to her. she described the meeting with a the pope as an experience she'll
never forget. she wrote a letter to the pope asking if she could visit a children's hospital when she went to visit him and it's very telling and keeping with everything we know. she's very private, she doesn't want people to necessarily know about her faith and we still don't know if she's a practicing catholic. but i think for a catholic first lady to meet with the pope, it's a very special moment and makes it very different from other first ladies. >> from her faith to fashion, kate bennett, i mean, $51,000 for a jacket? what's it made of? >> unicorn wings and fairy dust? >> gold dust? >> it just came off the runway. it's a new piece. it's very fashion-forward. she's been really nailing it, i think, on this entire trip. she's using fashion diplomacy to her benefit. however, this jacket, just because of the price tag, i think may have ended up being a misstep for her.
again, $51,500 is a tough price tag to justify and it might be tricky to sort of extricate that herself from that cost. >> okay. so that's a chunk of change. i've been following you this week and you have been all over her style. let's walk through some of her outfits beginning with the killer black jumpsuit in saudi arabia. >> this is an example of fashion diplomacy. it's a stella mccart neney jumpt but it has a flow of a muslim robe. the gold belt was a nod to saudi arabia. when she was in israel, she wore a lot of white that, you know, the israel flag is blue and white and, also, they feel it's a color that means purity and it's sacred. so she was very smart there. this is a michael khors jacket
she's wearing. again, smart, using her fashion to showcase a bit of friendliness to the country that she's visiting. when she visited the pope, she wore dolce & cabana. this was a custom black lace outfit. very traditional. you need to wear long sleeves and black formal wear when you have an audience with the pope and cover your head with the head veil. again, very appropriate. >> and we have one more in belgium. as we're looking through all of these pieces, kate brower, you were thinking maybe as we watched melania trump, it would harken more towards the jackie o. fashion. do you still stand by that? >> absolutely.
it's fashion-forward. looking at someone like michelle obama who mixed high and low. you don't see that with melania trump. >> i'm not seeing any j. crew here. >> no. you can't even imagine her wearing that. i don't think she's apologetic about it and in some ways that is refreshing but i agree that a coat over $50,000, which is around what the average american family earns, is a misstep and past first ladies, including mrs. carter, made her own inaugural gown. they want to have an accessible first lady and i'm not sure that something that high fashion is going to play well for her. >> kate, let me know when the black jumpsuit goes on sale. i like that. kate bennett and brower, thank you so much. let's get you ba being to o back to our breaking news. one of our experts calls this stunning. why the fired fbi director james comey came forward to publicly
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[ seagulls squawking ] you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. following the breaking news involving the fbi's role in the 2016 presidential election, we're now learning why the now fired fbi director went public to announce the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails was ending. it was last july when that conference was held. dana bash is joining me. nick ackerman is also joining me, former u.s. attorney. dana, the floor is yours here. you tell me exactly what you've learned. >> well, we've learned that then
fbi director james comey knew that a critical piece of russian information related to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation was fake but he felt that he needed to take action any way because he was concerned that the information would undermine the investigation and the justice department itself. this is according to multiple sources. now, these concerns were a major factor in comey deciding to publicly declare that the clinton probe was over last summer without consulting then attorney general loretta lynch. you may remember earlier this week "the washington post" reported on this intelligence and the doubts about its credibility. the fact that comey felt he had to act based on russian disinformation, brooke, is how decision making was impacted at the