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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  June 6, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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several big breaking stories
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tonight and what fired fbi director james comey will and won't say when he testifies thursday morning. we begin with evan perez's reporting moments ago. multiple reports that attorney general jeff sessions has offered to resign. today at the white house press secretary sean spicer declined to answer questions about the attorney general. >> how would you k d scribe the president's level of confidence in his attorney general? >> i have not had a discussion about him. i'm answering a question which is i have not had that diskus discussion with him. i don't -- if i haven't had a discussion with him about a subject, i tend not to speak about it. >> so i understand you're learning more about what's been going on behind the scenes. >> this follows upen the posting
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that peter baker and i did that there have been tensions between the attorney general and the president going back to when jeff sessions decided to recuse himself from any russia related probe that was going on. a disaster. he did not disclose he had at least one meeting with the ambassador from russia. and it became controversiacontr. he has continued to intermittently seed over it, at some point in the last eight weeks, the attorney general told the president, according to two of my sources that he needed to be able to do thiz job, and if he couldn't have that, perhaps i shouldn't be here. it was making clear to the president that he was also frustrate would where this relationship has devolved to.
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he was one of his earliest and most vocal supporters. one of the people who helped put policy planks between the trump campaign. and so to arrive at this stage is something. >> you said according to two sources this happened sometime in the last eight weeks. >> the president has been continuing to be frustrated with jeff sessions. the president too, be clear, is frustrated with almost everybody on the staff at the moment. including but not limited to white house staff don mcgan. but he's been venting to really anyone who will listen that sessions made a huge error. they said one of the few times they've seen him get genuinely angry was about jeff sessions. he's frustrated both by the russia recusal decision and also he's angry and feels hamstrung
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about the fact the executive order the president himself signed related to a ban on travel, temporary ban quote on quote from muslim majority nations, seven of them, was struck down by the courts. this was within the first week of the administration. it set the tone going forward and jeff sessions was tied to everything. >> and lastly your colleagues at the new york times, they just broke news which is fascinating about former fbi director not be to left eloan with the president. >> it's quite striking. based on reporting you have the fbi director concerned about the position apparently that the president might put him in based on any kind of inappropriate conversation. it recalls when the u.s.
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attorney for the southern district of new york who had been asked to stay on and then got a phone call from the president the night before a broad dismissal of a number of obama appointees in federal prosecutors aufss and he did not return the president's call other than to say it would not be appropriate and he alerted his superior. this is the latest in a number of instances where people have been concerned about out reach from the president and what it could mean given all these investigations going on. >> thanks very much. want to go to cnn sarah murray who's at the white house. what are you hearing from anyone there about the tension? >> we know it's been a very frustrating relationship with the president. rrm, this was the decision that came as a surprise to the white
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house and the president has been fuelling in his conversations about the fact that sessions recused himself and once you are in a spelshz counsel, there is no way to unring that bell. that could delve into a number of different matters related to president and the people around him. we've already seen how this investigation has touched members of his innercircle. it's touched the president's own son in law and when the president appeared briefly in of the cameras was saying jared kushner now he's more famous than i am and i'm a little upset boit this. and so there are moments i think when we get closer to james comey testifying on capitoler hill where thes president tends to get more spun up, about the fact he's now in this position
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because one of his closest allies iticided to recuse himself from this investigation. when he said to jared kushner he's more famous than i am, didn't he also say that to director comey at some point? he's used that line before. it's never a good development. >> never a good development if you're between president trump and the most important person in the lime light. when steve bannon appeared on the cover of time magazine. this is a guy even more famous than i am. that's not the position you want to be in if you're jared kushner. most people feel his position is relatively safe. but that's not necessarily a compliment when you hear it from this president. >> want to bring in the panel all more famous than i am. i mean fascinating developments. the idea that the director of the fbi doesn't want to be in
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the room alone with the president of the united states and that jeff sessions, who has been such a long time early supporter of president trump. >> two people, comey and sessions -- he's credical about his testimony. he is a little bit more of an institutionale institutionalest. he was on the judiciary committee for years and -- >> how solid is the notion that sessions offered his resignation? >> sorry. go ahead. >> so he knows these rules and obviously comey had a very strict wall he believes should be placed between the fbi and the t white house. sessions say figure you don't
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let me do my job, you're going to leetd me resign. and trump doesn't understand that there is this tradition of separation sdw appears he violated that again and again. >> and saying he has -- sean spicer said i haven't had the chance to ask him that. >> it seemed like a very telling omission. as ryan was saying trump used these all as people who work for him, not the country. and jeff sessions used himself as someone who works for the united states and the constitution. and to be put in this position where he's being told by the president you have to be loyal to me, that's a difficult position for him. and seeing an increasingly inranged president and to put
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that above everything else. none of us know what james comey is going to say on thursday but these are all of the questions that are going to come up blout the president is demanding loyalty to him. >> matt, what does it tell you about things that white house? >> it's about loyalty to donald trump and rour you're not allowed to be independent. and james comey cares very dopely about an independent fbi. any other pres secretary would have said acov the president has full confidence, especially if they were lying because i would have heard about it if it wasn't true or that they would have the loyalty of the president, right. but i think what sean spicer realizes is that the president might take that as a slight. that he was off the reservation,
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that was too far out of a risk. might even tweet about it to contradiks dict him. >> if someone had asked him if the president has confidence in the vice president or the secretary of state, striezed he wouldn't ask him for tat. and he didn't say that. people begun saying waet a ment remember -- and i want to bring up this question of loyalty you were tuck about earlier. i spoke to a source who's known the president for twrent years at least. and this source said to me everybody says donald trump is a really loyal guy but i will tell you this. he is not. he will fire somebody. he will cut someone auf if he believes they are not loyal to him.
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and that it's a one-way street. so the president has binl bad mouthing jeff sessions to anyone who will listen and he's bad mouthing his counsel, his inhouse counsel. he's bad mouthing people on his staff, all of whom have been quite loyal to this president. sean spicer, i would say and to his own detriment and yets the president trump doesn't have any compungz to restrain himself when criticizing people openly. and based on two sources saying he hafz i can resign, how do you read that? >> for starters it's important for people to remember i've heard a lot of talk about loyalty here but not.
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and having an independent role in enforcing the law and that may at times be under ---ing involve undertakings the president doesn't appreciate and may involve protecting investigations from it outside influence or even knowledge that the president may not appreciate. that is part of the unique role of the attorney general. the first obligation is to the constitution and the law, not president. and that's not as clearly the case. of course they're all obligated to obey the law. but they're implementers of the president's ajenna and that's not the case with an attorney general. so if jeff sessions believes that element of independence that is necessary for an attorney general who believes in the rule of law and the primacy of the constitution to be able to do their job correctly t
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shouldn't surprise anyone he might offer to resign. it may just be -- and still hasn't learned a lot of these things, frankly and that may be going on, on oo rolling basis, even if it may not be pretty. >> is this possible it's arpresident's learning curve? it might be but i think we're burying the lead. which is jeff sessions recused because he didn't want to have this hanging over there justice darmnts and its investigation into russia. if he's mad about him for recusing, he's rur mad he doesn't have the ability to control the investigation into russ russia. the real constorn is has ps been involved in obstruction for gists. frarsh the reezn are he's so
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upsets is because he tlaes the bic. lauls and an ability he shouldn't have had in the first place. next hour we're going to dedicate this to james comey's testimony. next more on attorney general sessions, his working a relationship with the president and what happens next? rngts and my conversation with the family of. it's balanced... it's easy-drinking... it's refreshing... ♪ if you've got the time ♪ it's what american lager was born to be. ♪ we've got the beer. ♪ welcome to the high life. ♪ miller beer.
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there's no shortage of breaking news tonight. reporting including the new york times that sessions offered to resign. the times reporting that fbi director comey asked sessions not to leave him alone with the president of the united states. all of it as tension's rising about comey testifying. we're going to preview the comey
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hearings in just a moment. back with a panel right now . the idea of jeff sessions offering to resign. he left his job in the senate for this. hard to imagine him broeching the possibility of leaving unless tensioness were really high or he felt this would impede his ability to do his job. >> don't forget he was the first senator to endorse donald trump. a close advisor and a difficult conformation. it wasn't as if it was a cake walk getting to this job and he knew it was going to be difficult. you can imagine the tensions that arise and it's specifically because sessions feels that perhaps the president was trying to stop him from doing his job. which is as was stated earlier to be independent. and donald trump believes that everybody works for him and that the people who work for him
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ought to be able to fix things when things go awry. people work for the government and country and not in particular for the president of the united states, particularly when it comes to questions of law enforcement and i gather that's his trouble with jeff sessions. >> again according to the new york times and two sources but if jeff sessions did resign, then the deputy attorney general would take over. not something the president was all that thrilled about. >> right. and i would point out that when they fired director comey that left mccabe in charge of the
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fbi. and that didn't stop that decision. but at the same time comey was somebody a lot of us had been calling for the resignation or firing for a year now on both sides of the aisle. so there's a little more substance to that. it's a little different with attorney general sessions where presumably the only reason he might offer a resignation is if he didn't feel he could be left free to do the job where he's independent of the president to do it independently. who knows when we'll know that. that would be the only -- >> and that's a worrying -- if that is in fact a concern about his ability to do the job, that's ocly -- that's a cause for concern. >> sure it is. >> it's also extremely rare for tensions between the president
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of the united states and his attorney general to get out in public like this. >> you have to wonder if sessions wanted this out, wanted this to be known. the fact that he has offered his resignation, that is, to his credit, right. that means he is trying to maintain from trump. so either he or people around him wanted people to know that. because so far we know his mistake in his testimony saying he would recuse himself from the russia investigation but not recusing himself including recommending the actual investigator get fired. most of the acs trump has taken
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on the bottle up this investigation have backfired. if he hadn't fired comey, we wouldn't have this special counsel. this is probably worse for him than it being in the leadership of the justice department. he tried to control nunes. that backfired. >> keep in mind. it's been less than 36 hours since president trump threw the entire justice department under his tour bus when he basically said anything that goes wrong with the second iteration of the travel ban is all the justice department 's fault. >> as if he was a bistander to it all. >> exactly. i think we're reaching a point where it's getting hard for senior government officials to want to serve in this administration if the price for doing anything independent, anything even that they're told to do is to be called out
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publicly by the president and why it's been so hard for president trump to find nominees. >> when you declare war on the fbi, say things about the department of justice. surprise, surprise. information starts leaking out. >> we got to take a quick break. reportong what director comey says when he testifies on thursday. and an nsa contractor accused of leaking classified information on a website. i. rickie fowler is confident on the course and off.
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intelligence if he could intervene with the fbi to back off its probe of michael flynn's russia connections. that's just posted by the washington post. there's another story you'll only see here on what fired fbi director james comey will or won't say before the senate intelligence community thursday. what are you learning about what comey is going to say? >> we're learning that james comey's go toing to dispute president trump when he was assured three times he was not under any kind of investigation. our sources say that comey's expected to tell them that he never gave trump such assuran
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assurances. but one source hinted to me today that perhaps the president misunderstood or misinterpreted the exact language that comey was using to talk about any investigations. because as you know, anderson, it can be complex whether you're the target or the subject or some other kind of investigation. that perhaps he was hedging his words. >> the president says he told him three times. >> point blank. >> the big question is whether james comey is going to suggest thet that president ubstructed justice. >> he's going to testify as a fact witness. he's going to talk about his meetings with the president. we're not sure whether he's going to read from his memos. we know congress has asked for
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those and hasn't got them but he's going to recount what occurred. but sources say he's not going to be in the business of legal analysis. the prosecution, if there is one up to the special counsel, mueller. but instead he's just going to appear and tell congress what happened. look, will people walk out saying oh, yeah the president ubstructed justice? he said maybe some will but that's a political judgment and not a legal judgment and comey is not willing to offer either one. >> so even if he bleevled personally -- he's just going to try to report the facts. >> right. one source suggested things could look very different.
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>> and joining us. first of all, glorious reporting on this. because again it's not going to be as satisfying for some opponent whose want him to say he was trying to ubstruct justice. >> you can understand why he would have coqualms about makin such a bold accusation. but what might be powerful is hearing from comey the sequence of events with details coming from his mouth, rather than from anonymous sources. hearing from him. did he -- was he indeed asked by the president for some loyalty test? does he contradict the president on thiz idea that he wasants a subject or target of the investigation. does he provide details about trump to say let go --
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>> and did he say to the attorney general i don't want to be alone in the room with the president of the united states? >> putding -- >> it's kind of a startling idea. >> and senators will ask him why and the answer is they thought he was trying to influence him on the investigations. and comey, we've seen him testify before. he tell as powerful story. >> and the idea that the president may live tweet this as well. which, from a legal standpoint i would imagine every attorney on the planet don't coo that. this is comey giving their version of events. you don't need add to it in real time your response. that comes later. >> every presidential counsel on earth would be physically restlaning their client to get them not to to that.
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because there's almost no good he can bring himself. all he really has to do is confirm the results that have been reported in various news accounts. where he is intangled with the drapes, that has been recounted second hand. were he to confirm that, he repeatedly warned the president he should not be calling him. simply for him to say yes, that happened to a lot of things we already think we know is going to be very explosive. >> one can only assume the white house is preparing a rebutel for whatever james comey says and would go after the character of james comey from all the things in the past. >> i don't think you need to go
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to the character of jim comey. he's going to say any type of interference took place. >> what he's going to say is what facts happened and people can determine whether or not -- >> he was the director of the fbi. if he was in the middle of something, he has an obligation to speak forward and whether he's no longer the current fbi director. he was the fbi directser for the bulk of this investigation. and he never did. now we know by tomorrow's testimony, he's going to state the facts and they are that nothing took place. that's what we know. >> what about that point that if there was obstruction of justice and he believed there was, that he had an obligation then to come forward and say stheng. >> brian acerted we know what's
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going to be said on thuz. the fact that this is such an unorthodox series of events. that the former fbi director is testifying in this way about the president of the united states. and i never expected comey to draw a conclusion. that's not his job in his case. it's to tell us what happened and lawyers, elected officials, etc. will draw conclusions on a political and on a legal stage. but let's be clear. we know he said to the attorney general i don't want to be alone with the president of the united states. that's certainly a conversation that may have lead to disclosure. ielected official and the people you didn't meet with were people who were bad
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more breaking news. another consequence of fake news, not the fake news the president talks about. we're talking about real fake
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news, an oxy moron. they believe russian hackers got into a qatar fake news agency and planted fake news partly in reaction, qatar's neighbors severed tied with the country. cnn justice correspondent joins me now. what have you learned? >> this is a real cries and u.s. investigators believe russian hackers were behind a cyber breach in the news agency. friendly to iran and the president donald trump that is now being used for saudi arabia and some of the other u.s. allies in the region as a way to carry out economic and political block aide of qatar. they tell thus fbi sent a team of investigators to help the
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government investigate the alleged hacking incident. the alleged involvement would add to concerns by u.s. intelligence that russia continues to try to use some of the same cyber hacking measures that it used to medal in the u.s. 2016 elections. they host one of the largest military bases in there region. they say the russian goal appears to simply cause rifts among the u.s. and its allies in the region. >> is it believed that the rushz government is behind this? >> it's not clear if they've tracked it to russian security or organizations. one official said nautd much happens in that country without the blessing of the russian government. president trump was tweeting criticism of qatar. and his tweet president trump didn't mention the hack but he
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voiced support for the regional block aide and sited qatar's funding. they've rejected those accusations. the fbi and cia declined comment. "the hacking of the qa trngs ar news agency -- these do not support the unity of the region to fight terrorism, instlkt and -- >> the president of the united states must have been away, no? he didn't refer to the hack in his tweets we know the investigation is still ongoing. their they hope todiscuss some of the findings in the next week or so. >> joining me is former cia
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officer, steve hall. russian security services wld be behind something like this. >> it's not criminals and that distinction is somewhat plows. butted something of this nature, another cyber operation, in this case a u.s. operation, definitely if the reporting is acchart a russian intelligence security services type of operator but this is extremely consistent with what we'vall red a eseen. >> if the was directed by the russian government, this is what they do. in many cases covert actions are about. >> absoolutely.
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when you look at what she wants politically, he wants to drive wedges between the united states and its allies. it's been a very good cup olof weeks for putin in that regard. especially if you look at our nato and european allies. and so that was a win for putin. and now i think it's only rational andger sense on the part of the russians to say this worked really, really well in yurm. really, really well in the united states. there's really no cost, not much of a cost trying to do this in the middle east. they can't conventionally go with us with their forces. but this new use of the cyber capability is proving useful aaround the world. >> and it would show it's not just the u.s. or europe it wants
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to show dominance in. >> what are vladimir putin's goals? >> a u.s. loss is a win for frushau, about because at the end of the day are krncerned about liberal democracies. because united states represents the rule of law, that's not his system. so whatever king can do to wooek weaken our alliances, the more dwrb koent want to tuach kpb friendship. and finally, president trump earlier taking credit for the golf nation moves. wouldn't this have been. included in the president's daily briefings. >> probably it would have ben and there's still a lot of
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analysis. but again you -- the russianseralliy understand us, the west and i think the president of the united states, so much better than we understand them. they have watched these shoes and other seelsh media to kind engs and much more methers and analytic about. if we mess around in the middle east and give the president fodder for tweeting about something, let's give it a shot. that's possible one of their calculations here. >> coming umrussia's medaling efforts come home. accused of sending classified information to a news age frenss. what her mom and step father told me a short time ago
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>> a wife-year-old woman, a federal contractor with top secret security clearance is in custody in georgia tonight. a reality winner faces ten years in prison for allegedly taking classified material from a
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government facility, mailing it to an online news outlet "the intercept" the classified material and nsa report on a russian cyber attack. there is no evidence votes were affected. winner's life certainly has been. i soak with her mother and stepfather gary davis. billy, what has your daughter told you about what happened? >> oh, well, she hasn't told us that much. she did tell me that she she, well, it was basically saturday night. she came home from the grocery store. she was followed into her home by fbi agents. she said she was very scared. they, you know, took herbie surprise, shelves not expecting any of this. she said they were all armed. they took her into the back room of her hours, which is a room
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she never goes into for reasons. anyway, but you know basically she was arrested from that point. so and we did not have any information with regard to the charges that were anything until after the hearing on monday. >> and prosecutors had said that when confronted, that she did admit to leaking a classified document. has she admitted that to you as well? >> she hasn't admitted it to us at all. what she told me was that she was terrified. she was terrified, the situation and she did tell me also that she was afraid she was going to disappear, that they were going to make her disappear. and she felt like she needed to give them what they were asking for at the time and so, know, she was terrified. >> how much communication have you had with her since the
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arrest and has she given any reason to you as to why she might have done something like this, if she did snit. >> we have not discussed anything about the case or the charges. she calls me on saturday afternoon and, you know, told me she was in trouble. >> that there was, that's why she was calling me. i spoke with the fbi at that time and as far as discussing anything, our contacts had been very limited because basically she had been talking to her mom and we don't discuss anything about the case, bake amy, our conversation -- i haven't even had the conversation with her. we briefly got to see her he taerg e hearing. we have not had a chance to talk with her privately at all t. phone conversations we said are between us and the prosecutors. so we can't ask her necessarily what's going on with that. >> were both of you aware of what she did for a living? had she given any information
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that she had classified information, doing something like this? >> no she you know for obvious reasons, she didn't share what she did. i didn't know what question and answer e company she worked for, anything, it's a rule you don't ask, you just i didn't know what she did. i don't know what she did when she went to work. no idea whatsoever. >> she never discussed her job or details of her job or anything but in very, very general terms. >> if, in fact. she did what he is being accused of doing, what do you feel about tha that? >> well, let me say this, i don't care, she served her country. she's a veteran with the united states air force, served with distinction for six years. she's a patriot and to see her
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maligned and slandered in the media is very disheartening. this young lady has served her country well and received praise of her commanders and she still continues to serve after she got oust of the air force. >> i just want to say that, if she did what she's being accused of, she is, i know that she's ready to pay the price. i know that she's going to do whatever she needs to do to pay that price. our fear, my biggest fear in all of this is that she's not going to get a fair trial. she's not going to be treated fairly. she's going to be made an example about and that's my biggest fear. you know, i know that if she did something wrong, she's always come clean with it. she's always been willing to
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accept the consequences, but i'm terrified for her right now because of the news, the climate, the social media, i'm terrified that she is not going to be treated fairly. >> you believe she will be made an example of? >> yes, i do. >> because what she's accused of doing is a, it's a severe offense? >> yes, it is, and, you know, we haven't actually seen anything other than what's been posted online and it sounds horrible. but we don't know the details. we don't know what it was that she's alleged to have released. we are finding more about the actual raid in her alleged admission it's. you know, i understand the government's' on this is to, you know, go strong with the case at
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first, but we don't have enough information to talk about that aspect of it at this point. you know, we're just here for our daughter and to put a pace on her that's not, the true face of our daughter. >> thank you very much for speaking to us. sorry to be under these circumstances. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> coming up, what part of fbi james comey's testimony is two days away. we will ask him what comey will say, what's at stake, also all the breaking news stories that have broken really, details on all of them ahead.
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. . >> by the way, reporters questioning the white house and the timing and all that, finding time to get things done isn't easy. but we've got the digital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay?