tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN June 6, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
that's all the time we have. thanks for watching. i'll be anchoring from washington for tomorrow's hearings. join me with wolf blitzer thursday morning for special coverage of james comey's testimony. i'm going to hand it over to don lemon with cnn tonight. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. there is so much breaking news for you tonight. we're going to bring you all of it, bring you up to date on all of it. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. here are the stories you need to know about right now. they all have broken within just the last fou hoew hours. james comey expected to say president trump misinterpreted his conversations with him. on top of that, "the washington post" reporting the director of national intelligence told associates back in march that trump asked him if he could convince comey to back off the
flynn investigation. and there's more. "the new york times" is reporting comey told attorney general jeff sessions no the t leave him alone with the president. that's how unnerved he was by their contacts. sources also telling cnn tonight that sessions and trump have had a series of heated exchanges. a senior administration official telling us at one point sessions threatened to resign. and tonight the white house still cannot -- cannot or will not say whether the president has faith in his attorney general. and meanwhile a justice department spokeswoman insists tonight sessions is not stepping down. and a cnn exclusive. russian hacking didn't end with the election. u.s. investigators believe that fake news planted by russian hackers blew up into a crisis among u.s. allies in the middle east. that as "forbes" magazine reports that hundreds of thousands dollars raised by eric trump's foundation for a children's cancer charity was
tranl channeled into the trump organization. okay. you got that? i told thank you was a lot and it is, but we'll get you through all of it in this broadcast tonight so stick with us. let's get to cnn's evan perez, also michael isikoff, the chief investigative correspondent for yahoo news and tara palmieri. a lot to get to. evan, i'm going to start with you. good evening to all of you. tonight we have an escalating triesis between attorney general jeff sessions and president trump. what do you know? >> well, don, we were told there's been a series of heated conversations between the attorney general jeff sessions and the president. a lot of this stems from the fact that back in february, the attorney general decided that it was time for him to recuse himself from the russia investigation, including the fact that he hadn't disclosed some meetings with the russian ambassador, sergey kislyak if you remember. the president was sort of surprised -- definitely surprised that the attorney general had recused himself and he sort of blames that fact for the fact that now the
investigation has grown and has become a bigger crisis for the white house. now, we're told, though, that justice department officials are frustrated themselves. they think that the frustration goes both ways because they believe that certainly the firing of james comey was poorly handled by the white house, and the president sort of threw more fuel on the fire by his tweets and some of his comments that linked it back to the russia investigation, making things a lot messier for the attorney general and for rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general now. >> here's what sean spicer said about jeff sessions today earlier at the white house in the press briefing. here it is. >> how would you describe the president's level of confidence in the attorney general, jeff sessions? >> i have not had a discussion request him about that. >> last time you said that, there was a development. >> i just -- i'm answering a question, which is i have not had that discussion with him. >> does he have confidence in his attorney general? >> i said i have not had a discussion with him on the question. i don't -- if i hadn't had a discussion with him about a
subject, i tend not to speak about it. >> tonight the white house still cannot say whether the president has confidence, though we understand, and i heard jim acosta reporting on this a little bit earlier. i understand we may get a little bit later. what is going on? >> this is astonishing. i mean it doesn't -- it should not require a conversation with the president to know if he has confidence in his attorney general. this is one of the top cabinet members, one of his most loyal supporters for the longest period of time during the campaign season, and the spokesman who is speaking on behalf of the president either, a, doesn't have access to the president's thinking, which is a problem to them be the spokesman for him, or, b, feels that he needs to check in maybe every day on every high-level cabinet member or staffer to know if the president still has confidence in them. so what you have now is the president of the united states, don, letting his attorney general just dangle in the wind out there and hang out there over all these hours of still not being able to say that the president has confidence in him
and now waiting to see if, indeed, we get a statement. imagine being in jeff sessions' shoes and what that feels like tonight. >> yeah. one can only imagine. michael, i have to ask you about this "new york times" report as well. comey told jeff sessions he didn't want to be left alone with president trump. i mean this is something that could potentially be corroborated by sessions and speaks to comey's concerns, right? >> right. well, look, obviously we're going to have to hear from comey. we will hear from comey on thursday. but just a couple of notes on the sessions story which are worth pointing out. first of all, that the president has expressed frustration with sessions, and there's been heated talks. look, the president does have a habit of blowing up at people, seeming fits of rage, and then a minute later he's talking as though nothing had happened. i've had experiences with donald trump like that. lots of people have experience with donald trump like that. >> but to david's point, that doesn't give you much confidence
if you're supposed to be a -- you know, in the president's inner circle. he's supposed to have your back. you're supposed to have his back. >> absolutely i agree. but i do think this has to be looked at less charitably as part of the larger picture here. we know from -- and we're going to hear more from james comey about the president trying to get him to back off the flynn investigation. we know from new reporting tonight he also talked to the director of national intelligence about getting the fbi to back off. why was he so upset that sessions recused himself from this? because that meant that his guy, his political appointee, would no longer control that investigation. and the president felt like he was losing his ability to shape, influence what the fbi was doing. and that does raise the questions of what the president was so concerned about and whether there was an effort to obstruct justice. we're not there yet, but we've
got to hear from all the key players now. >> let's get to the back story, though, tara because reportedly the president blames sessions' recusal for where he is now with the russia investigation. but isn't it all the president's own making? >> i mean the issue is that sessions really wanted to take politics out of the department of justice. he consulted with department of justice members, and he asked them, you know, what do you think i should do? should i recuse myself? and they said that he should, and he thought he was bringing more honor to the office and more integrity and, in effect, he actually displeased the person who hired him. and that's why my sources say that he went to the president about two weeks ago and offered his resignation because he felt that he served at his pleasure and that if he had disappointed him in some way, that he should move on. but at the end of the day, his real thinking was he wanted to take politics out of the department of justice and he wanted to show he was above it. >> david, you can see the countdown clock there on your screen. just hours away.
35 or almost 36 hours away from the former fbi director's testifying before the senate intelligence committee. and now we're learning he's expected to say that trump may have misinterpreted his conversations with him. that's going to be a major bombshell on thursday if that happens. >> yeah. i mean this is part of what we're all waiting to hear, and our colleagues and others reported out sort of what comey is coming prepared to say on this front. remember, don, you remember that when he fired comey, in the letter, he referenced these three separate occasions where you told me that i was not under investigation. well, apparently we're now learning that comey is going to come to the hill and testify sort of the context around those conversations where maybe donald trump emerged from conversations with comey with some interpretation that he had been told he wasn't under investigation even though that may have not been comey's intent going into the conversation. there must be some sort of
characterization that comey gave perhaps that left donald trump with this interpretation. but from comey's perspective, we may hear him say that that was a misperception on donald trump's part walking away from that conversation. you remember, though, he told lester holt -- the president did -- in that nbc interview about the in-person meeting and the phone call conversations where he did, indeed, feel that he walked away that that impression that he had been told he wasn't under investigation. >> he said in interviews. i mean he put it in the letter. tara, here's what david was talking about. president trump wrote in this letter when he fired comey, while i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation, i nevertheless concur with the judgment of the department of justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau. that was a letter to comey. i mean so -- and we hear that comey is just going to give his account and his answers to what he is asked and not make any judgment about whether it was obstruction or anything like that. so senators will be left with
their own decision on who to believe -- the president or the former fbi director. >> right, and you have to know that comey actually knows what it's like to be on the other side, on the side that's actually grilling, you know, a witness. and i don't know that -- i think that using the word "miscommunication," that's obviously a very loose phrase. >> or misinterpreted. >> yeah. i mean to say that they've spoken three times, i mean we'll find out if they had actually spoken three times and the actual details of the conversation. that's what we've been told will come out from this. and, you know, we're going to have to see if the president was being, in fact, factual or if comey is maybe massaging the truth about how much he did tell the president and maybe perhaps he did assure him in some ways or other. but, you know, at the end of the day, i think the word "miscommunication" is not enough to explain their conversations. >> i want to jump in here. i'll ask you, it's not just thursday's testimony with comey. dan coats, deputy attorney
general rod rosenstein and mike rogers will testify tomorrow. what can we learn about this russia probe with all of those people we're going to hear from? >> right, don. this is sort of like the warm-up hearing. i think you can bet that dan coats, the director of national intelligence, is going to be asked about this "washington post" report and other reporting in recent weeks about his interactions with the president and whether or not he was asked to push the fbi to sort of put aside the michael flynn investigation. you can also bet that rod rosenstein is going to be asked questions about his interactions with the president, especially with regard to the firing of james comey, the fbi director. look, part of the issue here, though s that these men are all trying to make sure they're not adding to the headlines, especially rod rosenstein, who basically has turned over this investigation to the special counsel, bob mueller. he is in a position now where he's going to try to essentially deflect all the russia questions over to mueller, who is now in charge of this investigation.
it's important to make clear, however, that rosenstein is not recused from this investigation. as a matter of fact, when mueller is finished with the investigation, he has to come to rosenstein, and if he makes some kind of recommendation for charges or for something to be turned over to congress, rosenstein is going to have to make the final call as to whether or not there's a referral to congress to handle perhaps impeachment or whatever final answer comes from all of this. >> i feel like we need to be handing out primers to our viewers, a workbook to follow along. >> no kidding. >> seriously, it's a lot. michael, i wonder if the white house is prepared to push back, if president trump is prepared to push back. i saw the report today that kasowitz, he had trouble -- he's hired him as his outside counsel, but you're reporting that he tried to hire other law firms but was turned down. he was having trouble finding representation? >> absolutely. there were top lawyers, at least four major law firms,
prestigious firms, top-notch lawyers. they were all approached by the white house about representing the president on this. and all of them turned the white house down, which is pretty extraordinary. now, there were a number of factors cited. in some cases, they had existing commitments, upcoming trials. they had clients who had gotten subpoenas already as part of this investigation. so they were conflicted out. but the continuing theme was would the president listen to their advice? would he do what they say? and when you talk about some of these guys like ted olsen or brendan sullivan, you know, the preeminent people in their field, they're not going to take a client if they can't run the show and the client is not going to do what they tell them to do. >> stick around everyone. we have another breaking news story, other breaking news stories that we haven't talked about in depth. when we come back, why u.s. investigators believe that fake
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before they spread, we may someday prevent outbreaks before they begin. breaking news tonight. back with me now, my panel. so evan, let's talk about this. suft investigators have uncovered new information on a cyber hack in qatar that is helping to drive a new middle east crisis among the u.s.'s closest allies. what more have we learned about who is behind this hack? >> well, that's right, don. u.s. investigators believe that russian hackers were behind a cyber breach against the qatar state news agency. the hackers had planted a false news report that was presently to iran and critical of president donald trump that is now being used by u.s. allies as a reason to carry out an economic and political blockade
of qatar. the fbi sent in a team of investigators into doha to help the government investigate the allege hacking incident. russia continues to try to use some of the same cyber hacking measures on u.s. allies that it used to meddle in the u.s. election in 2016. qatar, as you know, hosts one of the largest u.s. military bases in the region, and u.s. officials say that the russian goal here appears to be to cause a rift between the u.s. and its allies in the renagion, don. >> do investigators believe this is russian government or russian hackers? is the government in fact behind this? is that what they believe? >> right. it's not so clear whether the u.s. has tracked the hackers in this incident to russian criminal organizations or the security services that are blamed for the election hacks here in the united states. one official told us that based on past intelligence, however, not much happens in that country
without the blessing of the russian government. as you know, the president was tweeting criticism of the qataris that is mirroring what you're hearing from the saudis and others in the region. the president didn't actually mention the hack, but he voiced support for the regional blocka blockade. the cia and the fbi both declined to comment for this story, don. >> the president's tweet today, he said during my recent trip to the middle east, i stated that there can no longer be funding of radical ideology. leaders pointed to qatar, look! michael, it appears that president trump is taking credit for allies cutting off ties, but now it seems he got ahead of himself. >> yeah. look, this is a vevery complica but if this is correct, this would be a classic example -- maybe the preeminent example of
fake news really influencing public policy, world diplomacy and threatening military confrontation, and that is at a level far beyond anything we've been talking about when we talk about fake news here in the united states. but the other point is if this, again, can be traced back to russian government hackers -- and that's a key point -- it is also a vivid illustration that whatever steps were taken by the obama administration in those last few months to try to retaliate or respond to the election hack and whatever the trump administration has done -- not much in this area -- nothing has worked. the russians would seem to be unimpeded, and the responses to date have been ineffective. and if that's the case, then we really got to rethink what our cyber strategy is vis-a-vis the russians. >> tara, we were just reporting a week or two ago, that there
was some fake news that influenced james comey's decision about the hillary clinton investigation as well. >> right. and this is the issue. fake news has been used to even influence our president as well as politico has reported that some of his aides have actually put stories in front of him because he doesn't use a computer and he doesn't actually look through blogs himself. they're printed out ask given to him. he's been influenced by articles that were presented to him, and some of them not exactly factual. so it's not just a matter of influencing officials. it's been used to influence our own president, and i think there needs to be a real, you know, clarification between what is legitimate news and what is not. and, you know, the problem is the president keeps throwing around this word fake news and people are becoming more ask more confused and people are using it against him at the same time. >> i think people are confused as to exactly what fake news is. so, david, you have to wonder whether the president -- you
know, is he being briefed on these matters before, you know, he makes a comment on them or before he's taking to twitter? >> we know the president's being briefed. >> is he listening? >> how that briefing impacts what he puts out on twitter is not at all clear. we should make clear for our viewers, you're talking about fake news possibly having this kind of impact. this is not the definition of fake news that donald trump uses when he hits the mainstream media. >> anything that's not glowing or positive about him. >> it's this program, don. >> we're actually talking about what is the real fake news program, and go back to what evan reported, don, which is just really intriguing if you look at the president's tweet. if indeed these russian hackers, who were creating this fake news, their goal was to drive this wedge between the qataris and others in the middle east. well, donald trump played right into that with the tweet. he sort of aided and abetted
their effort in doing that, driving a wedge between our own partners in the region. it is an odd moment of tweeting of his to say the least. >> i think it shows you how impulsive his tweets are. we know he often dictates them to staff, literally down to the capitalization of the words. >> but i think you're going where i want to ask you the question. so then you can weigh in because remember last time we were discussing whether the president -- whether it was the official record, whether it was policy, his tweets or what have you. then sean spicer said today that it was. they are official. they're straight from the president. so if they're official, okay, so that's what they say. but can they be treated as accurate, then, tara? because they're not always accurate. most of the time they aren't. >> we saw that with the misspelling from the prior tweet which was just a late-night tweet that was fired off. >> or about the mayor of london
or the president wiretapping trump tower. >> it shows an impulsiveness. it shows the president just acting on his gut, which helped him in the campaign, but governing is very different from the campaign. it's not a white house proclamation. i think in a way they're trying to skirt around that. but now that little twitter check mark is basically the same thing as if it's verified, it's coming from the president of the united states. you're getting his thoughts and you're also realizing a lot of the statements e making not just on twitter but to people personally, perhaps world leaders, maybe isn't as informed. i mean if he's tweeting it off to the whole world, i mean how much is he actually -- like we saw with the classified information he passed on to the russian ambassador. i mean he didn't know that it was classified information as we were told, but it's just showing you how he feels so confident with information and maybe isn't as concerned about if it's factual or not, which brings us all back to the fake news bit. >> fascinating. thank you, all. i appreciate it. yet more breaking news to tell you about. new questions tonight about the
eric trump foundation run by the president's son. and eric trump is speaking out about it. ♪ this is a story about mail and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪ i was thinking around 70. to and before that?re? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that.
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i want you to pay attention closely to this story. a lot of numbers are involved, and i have the person here who wrote it to explain because there are new questions tonight about the eric trump foundation run by president trump's son. so here to discuss is dan alexander, who broke the story for forbes. so, dan, in 2007, this was the first eric trump government tournament took place, raising
$220,000. it seemed like a really great formula. a free trump golf course and the goods and services were all donated, assuring donors that every penny possible went to charity. but after about four years, things changed, and i just want to read part of your piece. you said in reviewing filings from the eric trump foundation and other charities, it's clear that the course wasn't free, that the trump organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the trump organization, golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament. so explain this. where did the money go? >> well, that's the big question. you know, what we know is that in 2011, after years of running this without big expenses, donald trump comes in, and he tells his son and the charity, i know that you're doing a good thing. i know this is for kids with cancer, but you're holding this in my course, and we're going to
charge you. and so they started charging them. and you can see the expenses go up immediately when he does that. then they continue to inflate over the years, keep on creeping up, keep on creeping up. and as that's going on, the accounting that the foundation is doing doesn't make much sense. they list one golf tournament every year, and the numbers seem too high to be just one golf tournament. then you have former board members who are saying, well, sometimes we would count other events that we worked with. some years we wouldn't, but they always only listed as one event. there's a lot of murkiness there. the one thing we know is that donald trump's company was getting paid by his son's charity. >> okay. so we saw the numbers up on the screen. i mean that was a lot of money that they had to pay back to dad, right? to donald trump. you have two sources that have told you that president trump, just donald trump at the time, is the one who commanded the trump organization start billing his son's charitable foundation
to hold the tournament there, right? >> that's correct. there's one guy who was at the time at the course, who was sitting in on all the meetings. he says basically donald looks at this, and he says, hey, this event's getting -- it's getting to be a pretty big thing. and we're not just going to support this. everybody gets billed. he said he totally flipped out, had a cow, and said, you know, if you're going to be holding an event at my course, you're going to be paying for it. >> let me ask you that because we put those numbers up. why would the price of a tournament suddenly triple in one year? why is that? >> well, it looks like there are a couple of things going on. but the first explanation is that's the first year that donald trump says, you've got to pay. >> so the first year they didn't pay? >> in the early years, it looks like they were paying just outside vendors maybe. >> got it. okay. >> but their total expenses are still about what you would expect for a total government tournament. so even if they were paying the club. so it's not entirely clear if they were paying only vendors or
where exactly all of that money is going. then in 2011, it becomes much more clear. >> so short lid before the spiking costs, the donald j. trump foundation donated $100,000 to the eric trump foundation. why was this donation made, and what happened to it? >> basically it was a business deal. they said, hey, we're going to start charging you. but to make up for that, we're going to give you a donation from the donald j. trump foundation. sounds good, you know. the charity doesn't lose any money. everything's good. the only catch here, though, is that the money in the donald j. trump foundation was not donald j. trump's. it was other people's money. so then he makes an agreement. all right. other people's money is coming into my foundation. then he hands $100,000 to his son's foundation. and then his son in turn pays his club. so you have money that starts as other people's donations where they think that they're giving to charity, and it appears to end up as revenue at a trump club. >> okay. these are your words.
you say this has more in common with a drug cartellanding money than it does with charity practices. >> that's right. you talk to charity people about this, and they're just floored. they say, how could you arrange something like that? and when you look at it, you're taking money that starts as one intent, starts as charity money given to an organization, and on the other end, it becomes revenue for a company. >> i understand that you asked eric trump for an itemized list of expenses. what was his response? >> there was no response to that. once we started asking the tougher questions, that's when they shut down. >> okay. and has he responded? >> no, not yet today although he did send out a tweet that said, you know, hey, i've raised $16.3 million. i think he's on tv right now, you know, and he's talking about a bunch of different things. but also saying, hey, i raised a lot of money for -- >> here's the tweet. i've raised $16.3 million for terminally ill children at the saint jude with less than -- at
saint jude for less than 12.3% expense ratio. what have you done today? so you think he's trying to distract from your story by saying -- and has he done some good things? >> he certainly has. you know, this is a guy -- again, we can't forget this. even given all of the weird, shady stuff in this foundation, this is a guy who comes out of college and he says i want to raise money for a children's hospital that does cancer research. that's a good thing. >> he's raised money. but, still, it doesn't make up for the shadiness. >> it doesn't forgive what they did later. >> you said, in order to understand the eric trump foundation, you need to understand the donald j. trump foundation. the president was never known for giving his foundation much money and from 2009 to 2014, he didn't give it any at all. outsiders still donated allowing trump to dole out their money to a smattering of monre than 200
charities as if it were his own. so the board of the eric trump foundation started as a group of eric trump's friends, right? >> that's correct. >> with no business connections to the trump organization. did eric trump start out with all good intentions for this charity event, and then did it just sort of snowball into something that -- >> it looks like he starts out with great intentions. then in 2011, his dad gets involved, and his dad says you've got to start paying the club. he puts trump organization employees on the board. the board members who are eric's friends start dropping off the board. if you look by 2015, which is the most recent year we have documents on this, the board is made up of 17 people. two of them have the last name trump. six of them are trump organization employees, and one of them did $16 million in business with the trump campaign. so you're looking at a majority of the board who are financially dependent on donald trump at the time the board is making the decision to hold a golf tournament at a donald trump course and pay the organization. >> he hasn't responded to you,
dan. what questions -- what would you want to ask eric trump right now? >> well, i think the first thing is, is there any plausible explanation for this? you said that all of the expenses were paid for. you said that you guys weren't charging. you said that you weren't charging on food. you said that you weren't charging on drinks. where did all of this money go? if you break down the expenses of the tournament, how could one tournament cost this much? were there other tournaments that you guys were lumping in with this one tournament? there's just a lot of questions about the accounting of all this. >> dan alexander from foerrbes, thank you very much. when we come right back, the white house in turmoil and president trump's agenda hanging by a thread as a flurry of breaking news stories hit a white house in crisis tonight. ♪ experience the first-ever 471-horsepower lexus lc 500 or the multistage hybrid lc 500h.
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cnn thri an ana navarro, good evening to all of you. so glad to have you on. keep up, everyone. a lot to talk about. anna, sources are telling cnn that comey is expected to say president trump misinterpreted his conversations with him. what's your reaction to that? >> man, i want these sources to stop telling me anything, okay? i want spoiler alerts on all of these sources saying things. i am looking forward to this testimony, don. i haven't looked forward to anything this much since the episode of "dallas" of who shot j.r. let the excitement build up. let us hear what the man is going to say. don't start ruining it for us. i think there are so many questions that are going to be asked and that need to be answered. and i suspect this is not going to be the end of it. what we learned today about dan coats, who is going to testify tomorrow in front of congress, tells you that the warm-up act is going to be pretty good in itself. this is a telenovela that keeps going and going and going.
i kind of feel like i've got -- like we all have to start keeping a diary. you know, crazy crap that happened today because i already forgot the crazy crap that happened last week. >> well, yeah, you're right. i was going to say something else, but i'll just move on. so, scott, we're told that james comey is going to dispute president trump's blanket claim that he was told he was not under investigation multiple times. here is what the president said to nbc. it was just last month. >> we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, you are not under investigation. which i knew anyway. he said it once at dinner, and then he said it twice during phone calls. >> did you call him? >> in one case, i called him. in one case, he called me. >> and did you ask, am i under investigation? >> i actually asked him, yes. >> so he also wrote that in a letter to comey. so is the president not telling the truth here? >> well, look, i think we have a classic he said/he said. comey is going to say one thing.
trump's going to say another. apparently according to the reporting today, comey is not going to testify that donald trump was engaged in obstruction of justice. and that sound you hear, that low hissing sound, is the air coming of the balloon of all the liberals who were hoping tomorrow was going to be the end of the trump presidency. i think you can also smell the cooking on capitol hill, and what you smell is maybe a nothing burger cooking up. comey, i don't think, is going to say anything that is going to live up to the expectations of the liberal democrats who want to see donald trump run out of washington, d.c. so i think ana. we're going to see more hearings with more people, but i don't think tomorrow is going to be as dramatic maybe as some people wanted it to be. >> he said he was going to lead the investigation, part 2, robert mueller and he just wouldn't pass judgment on and just reveal their conversations and ask questions from the senators. i don't think he's saying there's no "there" there. he's just saying i'm not the
head of the investigation anymore. i'm going to leave that up to the people who are investigating. >> sure, but this guy has a long and storied career in the fbi, a justice department official that's been involved in some major stuff. a u.s. senator i imagine is going to ask him, in your professional opinion, which probably matters more than just about anybody else in the country, did he engage in obstruction of justice. if he won't answer that or isn't able to say yes, i really think that's going to deflate what people were wanting comey to do to trump tomorrow. also, was your may 3rd testimony accurate? your deputy on may the 11th said, we don't think anybody is pressuring us on russia. he's got a couple of tricky questions to answer himself. we'll get some trump news tomorrow but comey has got a few sticky ones to get out of tomorrow as well. >> how do you think he'll respond to that? do you think he'll say, i can't answer that question or i'll take the fifth on that? >> i would say that that is so wrong, that scott got the day of the hearing wrong. it's actually thursday. that's how wrong everything he actually said was. look, a couple of things.
first of all, the reason that james comey is unlikely to say that president trump obstructed justice is because that's a legal conclusion, and he's a professional, and he's not going to reach a legal conclusion. he's not a judge. he's not a jury. he's just going to do his job. the second part of this is the idea that it's a he said/he said between the two of them, look, if this really happened over a dinner. if james comey said, pass the salt, i'm sure what president trump heard is, you're not under investigation. it's not a misinterpretation. it is a he said, and the first "he" is a guy who has over and over again said things that are treatly untrue. he's doing it every single day, multiple times a day, and the other guy is james comey. so i'm going to go with him. >> is jeff sessions, the attorney general, on thin ice because the president won't say if he has confidence in him even tonight. we'll discuss that when we come right back. [ intense music playing ] it's here, but it's going by fast.
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. back now with my panel, let's continue this conversation on the breaking news. jason, also tonight we're learning president trump and attorney general jeff sessions have had a series of heated exchanges over the last several weeks since sessions recused himself from the probe, from this russia probe. things got so tense that sessions even threatened to resign. what do you think about that? >> i think that it's pretty
clear that president trump thought that he was shutting down the russia investigation when he fired james comey. that didn't work, and now he's really irritated and realizes that the chief qualification he's actually looking for in an attorney general is someone who can shut down the russia investigation. given the fact that attorney general sessions had to recuse himself for ethical reasons, he's unable to shut down the investigation. so president trump feels that he can't do the job, which president trump apparently sees as protecting president trump exclusively and not apparently protecting or pushing for justice in the united states of america. >> here is the house >> here is nancy pelosi's take often working with the president. >> it's unusual but if you want a job at a white house know your blood type because you will be thrown overboard at some point, or discredited, and you see that happening. >> the white house won't say tonight in the president has
confidence in jeff sessions, over six hours after this press secretary sean spicer declined to do so. session syst sessions is one of the president's earliest and closest supporters. >> i'm not sure that the white house not saying that the president does have confidence in sessions is not a good thing for sessions. the last time we heard that was about michael flynn, who they professed to have greatest confidence in and was out a few hours later. i think he's sending a chill down the spine of everybody working in the white house. nobody more than sessions was helpful to trump. he was the first one in the senate helpful to trump. he was out apologizing for trump every time he did something insane, crazy, stupid, unforgivable, jeff sessions ed was loyal to donald trump from start to finish.
if he's on thin ice everybody else is under water. >> why can the president not say whether he has confidence in jeff sessions? >> i don't know maybe he didn't want to participate this >> -- maybe he doesn't want to participate in this or generate a drama tonight. i do think you have a new president, new attorney general in a new job, two guys trying to get used to each only in tough jobs so i'm sure he has heated conversations with a lot of people. i know this, jeff sessions is around long enough to know if he wanted to resign, he would have. now the deal offering to
resign, feels to me it is being overdramatized as the news of the day. >> i think completely the opposite. i think he wants to generate drama, all sorts of drama between today and the end of james comey's hearing. brace yourself because god only knows what could happen in the world generated by donald trump on thursday. right. i think, you know, at practically everything he does from the perspective that he is trying to generate drama and distract us so we chase a shiny object. >> ana may have a point as donald trump said he may live tweet the james comey hearing. >> he might be dancing lambada on thursday to get us distracted. >> go ahead, jason. >> before we move on from attorney general sessions, i think a point that should not be lost here, is, if he ends up resigning or gets fired, it's because donald trump can't get him to shut down the russia investigation because he's recused himself. what should not be lost he's a terrible attorney general.
the choices he's making about sentencing, the fact that he may is perjured himself, lies on official forms twice. he should not be attorney general, it may be that he gets fired, this is the irony, because he chooses to make a single ethical choice under pressure which is recusing himself from the russia investigation. that may get him fired. and that's life in the trump white house. this is from "the wall street journal" editorial board. it writes, if this pattern continues, mr. trump may find himself running an administration with no one but his family and the breitbart staff. people of talent and integrity won't work for a boss who undermines them in public without thinking about the consequences. are we far away from that now? what do you think of that? >> we haven't seen a lot of resignations out of the white house.
we've had a couple of people go, but not en masse. we've had that much turnover. i read a tweet, sean spicer has now outlasted george ste stephanopoulos's tenure when he worked for clinton. people are trying to make a lot of this, but no personnel stuff is actually happening. i think the president really wants is wins. we're not talking about obamacare. i think some movement happened today among the senate republicans, but here we are talking about non-existent personnel issues that haven't actually come to pass, when mitch mcconnell is saying we may be voting on obamacare by july 4th. >> why do you think the president is not talking about that? >> he made a statement and was talking about the agenda a little bit, but all of this agenda stuff is swamped by discussions of non-existent personnel matters. i don't dispute that there are going to be people that come and
go, but let's talk about it when it happens. we've been hearing predictions that reince priebus is leaving, predictions about spicer. a lot of it hasn't come true. and all that time, we're not talking about the real serious policy matters that the american people want us to talk about. right now, there may be a vote on obamacare repeal and replace in the senate before july 4th, and that's a big story that's breaking today. >> thank you, everyone. i appreciate it. gentlemen and lady, thanks so much. we'll be right back. [vo] what made secretariat the greatest racehorse
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the safest energy company in the nation. this is cnn breaking news. breaking news tonight on a white house in crisis. this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. sources telling cnn, james comey is expected so say president trump misinterpreted his conversations with him. the director of intelligence told associates back in march that trump asked him if he could convince comb t convincey comey to back off the flynn investigation. and there's more. comey told sessions don't leave me alone with the president. that's how unnerved he was. and sources say sessions and trump have had a series of heated