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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  June 7, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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the evil they promote. >> thank you very much. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "out front" starts right now. >> up front front fired fbi director jim comey's testimony saying the president pressured him demanding loyalty. but the nation's top intelligence chiefs refusing to answer questions about their conversations with the president. why are they stonewalling tonight? republicans pleading with trump to stay off twitter during comey's testimony. let's go "out front." >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. "out front" tonight the breaking news. the stunning t.j. of the form r fbi director james comey. here is comey's first-person account of his meetings and conversations with the president. i've got it right here. it's six pages.
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these are contacts laid out in this document that comey felt "gold document" something he had not done in the past. he said there were nine one-on-one conversations with the president in four months which, by the way, compares to two conversations with president fwhoim three and a half years. comey writes about a dinner with the president. comey expected other guests but it was just the two of them. at that dinner comey writes that the president made an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. he said trump made things awkward, his words when the president said "i need loyalty, i expect loyalty." one senator says comey's testimony rises to almost watergate level but the president is also claiming victory tonight. trump's personal lawyer representing him in the russia investigation mark kasowitz says -- and i quote him -- the president feels completely vindicated. we're covering this story from every angle.
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we begin with jim sciutto. jim, in every way this is stunning, to get this testimony a day in skrans, to have it so personally written. roipts no question. one way it's stunning, director comey, fired director comey extra tickets the president. testimony. was asked if in any way, shape, or form, those exact words he tried to interfere with the investigation of michael flynn. he said no twice and next question. in his testimony, his written testimony director comey fired director comey lays out in detail very much the opposite case, saying the president asked him to stop that investigation. on the crucial question of whether the president attempted to influence on yog fbi investigations, comey said the president told him "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go. to getting flynn go. he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go." comey makes clear "i had
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understood the president to be requested that we drop any investigation of flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the russian ambassador." in his letter firing the fbi director, the president said that comey has told him three times that he himself was not under investigation. he repeated that claim in an interview with nbc. >> let me ask you about your termination letter to mr. comey. you write i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation. why did you put that in there? >> because he told me that. he told me. >> and comey largely confirms those but disimmigration about whether the president was the subject of a can'ter intelligence investigation. first when he went to trump tower to brief the president, first reported by cnn, comey says that quote during our one-on-one meeting at trump tower based on. elect trump's reaction to the
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briefing and without him directly asking the question, i thaufrd assurance that he was not under fbi counterintelligence probe. the second time, in a dinner on january 27th, comey says the president told him he was considering ordering an investigation into the dossier. comey says, quote, i replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigatesing him personally, which we weren't. and in a march 30th phone call comey quote complained we had briefed the leadership of congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating are president trump. i reminded him i had previously told him that. he repeatedly told me, we need to get that fact out. the dossier attracted the president's attention. he said he had nothing to do with russia,ed ha not been involved with hookers in russia and always had assumed he was being recorded when in russia.
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he asked what we could do to licht the cloud. president, comey says, was interested in establishing his loyalty. comey said president trump told him quote i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. comey went on, i didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. he said he told trump finally, quote, you will always honesty from me to which the president responded, that's what i want, honest loyalty. >> comey left some not so subtle clues for investigators sprinkled throughout his written testimony. one, he describes his memos describing those meetings with the president as unclassified saying that in his view there's no legal reason they should not be made public. he lists people like vice president pence, toerchl sessions who were witnessed to events he described, for instance, the president asking them to leave, in effect, i've
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spoken to people involved in the investigation, lining up possible witnesses to be called by the special counsels and others who are now investigating this. erin. >> jim, thank you very much. let's go to sara murray in covington, kentucky, near where the president spoke earlier today. the white house coming out with a very clear response to this tonight. >> reporter: well, erin, it was interesting to watch this play out. the president was here. he was speaking and essentially as soon as he left this stage that is when the testimony dropped. we have not heard from the president directly on this. but we have heard from his special counsel mark kasowitz. he pointed out that the president feels completely and totally vindicated. that was the message from mark kasowitz. from the white house's perspective, they are directing everything to the special counsel or they are directing it tost republican national committees. actually pointed to a statement from the rnc chair woman today defending trump, also saying he
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feels totally vindicated. this is a little bit of an unusual relationship to see the republican national committee sort of playing the rapid response effort for the white house because the white house could be at the zmaerlt of this investigation and so they they would have felt better standing up this arrangement allowing the committee to spearhead this response. the that's what we're going to continue to see on the hill tomorrow. >> thank you very much. let's go to republican senator susan collins. it's nice to have you on the show. thank you. you just heard the presidents feels completely and totally vindicated. do you agree? >> i think that's a bit of a stretch. i do believe that the president's statement that he was told on three separate occasions that he was not under investigation has been proven to be correct.
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mr. comey clearly dolphin yates those three occasions in his testimony. >> yes, he absolutely did. now, i want to ask you when you said you think that's a bit of a stretch just to ask you about some other parts of the testimony that we have. the fbi director serves a 10-year term expressly so that the director is not a political arm of a president, of any president. comey said the president did something highly inappropriate. he says the president asked him to dinner, a dinner that the fbi director thought would include others but it didn't. it was just he and the president. he writes my instincts that the one-on-one setting and the pretext that this was the first question about my position meant that the dinner was at least in part an effort to have me ask for my job and create a patronage relationship. the president said i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. as for comey, i didn't move, speak, or change my patient expression in any way. we simply looked at each other
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in silence. senator, do you think the president was right to do this, to ask for the fbi director's loyalty? >> no, i don't. it was clearly inappropriate for the president to ask for a loyalty pledge from the director of the fbi. i think perhaps this are flekts -- reflects a lack of understanding and appreciation on the president's part of the role of the fbi and his lack of understandings and appreciation for separations of duties and responsibilities. it was clearly inappropriate. >> it could have, of course, been a lack of understanding but the president was asked whether he asked for a loyalty pledge and he was definitive. i want to play for you the exchange kchlt it was with gene peero on fox news. >> would you suggest that the question that apparently the new york times is selling that you
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asked comey whether or not you had his loyalty was possibly inappropriate. could you see how -- >> i read that article. i don't think its inappropriate, number one. >> did you ask that question. >> no, no i didn't. but i don't think it would be a bad question to ask. i think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the united states is important. you know, i mean, it depends on how you define loyalty. number one. number two, i don't know how that got there because i didn't ask that question. >> which of course the fbi director is saying that he did. i mean, senator, who do you believe and how significant is it that they are -- one of them is not telling the truth, it would appear. >> well, clearly does he -- is there are great disagreement on what the president n meant or he is certainly contradicting the testimony that we're going to hear. and this is an issue that we need to learn more about. i can't imagine circumstances under which it's appropriate for
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a president of the united states to demand loyalty from an fbi director. that's just not the way our system works. >> so you will be asking the fbi director questions tomorrow. you've now had the chance perhaps unexpected chance, right. we never get testimony a day in the advance. you've had a chance to read its. what are the key questions,000 you, senator, collins, will be asking mr. comey tomorrow. >> i want to know more about the conversation that mr. comey had with the president regarding michael flynn. he appears to say in his testimony that will he intercepted it as a request that he end the investigation. i'm curious what his response was. that is an important point. >> have you seen the memos yet and still hope you will get
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them? the complete memos upon which this system is based. >> i have not seen the memos and to the best of my knowledge they have not been turned over to the committee. i firmly believe that we do have the right to see those memos, particularly now that mr. comey has testified personally at -- or after his testimony tomorrow. i think we should have gotten them in advance of his testimony but i see no reason for them to be with held. >> certainly would seem not. if he's going to give a summary, he should give them out so you can sberptd what they say yourself versus what he says. the top intelligence chiefs were all there, senator. i have to say they were not really answering questions. it was incredibly frustrating when they were asked about their conversations with the president. let me give a quick play here. >> i don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session. >> you're not going to discuss
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the specifics of conversation wsz the president of the united states? >> woir default position is that when there's an investigation, we do not discuss it publicly. it. >> it would not be appropriate for me, sir, to discuss issues that are potentially within the purr screw of the special counsel's investigation. >> you of course also have an investigation. it's an important one. do you feel frustrated? why do they even bother to show up if they're going to say that? how do you feel about that? >> well, first of all, there was no assertion of executive privilege. and that's -- i don't understand why these individuals did not answer all of our questions today. if the special counsel bob mueller had put constraints on them or if the president had made the mistake of asserting executive privilege, then i would have understand their failure to respond. i did ask about whether there were conversations with the
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white house about executive privilege and it appears that there were. but that they were not resolved, so they were in this limbo where they apparently did not feel comfortable responding to the questions. but i personally believe that they should have responded. >> all right. senator collins it's a pleasure. thank you so much. >> thank you, erin. >> and next comey's blockbuster testimony, we're going to break down what he wrote. you can see each of these crucial lines. what he is saying. plus democrats charging that comey's statement is further evidence that the president tried to obstruct justice. did he or not? and former zmert joe liebermanerman he was one of the leading candidates to replace comey as director of the fbi. did trump ever ask him for a loyalties pledge? you'll see his answer because he's "out front" tonight. special night?
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ask your doctor about once-weekly trulicity. [ barks ] radio: scorching heat today, staywalter!ut there! stop suffering with hot ac. cool it yourself with a/c pro. in just 3 easy steps, enjoy the comfort of 2 times the cooling boosters from the #1 selling coldest air. nothing cools like a/c pro. . jeerkts breaking news, live pictures of capitol hill. that is where the fired fbi director jim comey will testify hours from now. he reveals in his prepared remarks that the president of the united states, president trump asked him about his former national security advisor michael flynn and comey says that the president said of flynn "he is a good guy, i hope you can let this go" referring, the fbi director says, to the -- any investigation into flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the russian ambassador. "out front" now former advisor
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to four presidents, including clinton and nixon david gergen, gloria borger, jeffrey toobin and former white house nixon counsel john dean. we have the people here that need to be here to understand this. this is a crucial moment in this investigation. the most crucial moment perhaps thus far. when you read through these prepared remarks, it is six single spaced pages, going through meeting after meeting after meeting. does this to you look like obstruction of justice or not? >> it does, because it tells a story. it's not just one isolated incident. it's a demand for loyalty. not just where -- not just to -- not to the constitution, not to the fbi but a demand for loyalty to the president. comey dodges that with you it's clear that he is looking for response from comey and he has a demand and that demand is made over and over again, vindicate me, vindicate me.
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and finally on february 14th, he says drop the investigation of mike flynn. that february 14th meeting, if it's believed, if comey's testimony is accurate -- >> right. >> -- is frankly a smoking gun in my view. and the capper is when comey does not drop the investigation he gets fired. that's obstruction of justice. >> john dean? >> it looks like obstruction to me. first of all, the most striking thing is that comey's norm of late has not been to use prepared statements. he's obviously carefully prepared this statement. it reflects that it is just the tip of the iceberg of this investigation. that he has worked with his colleagues and kept them briefed throughout the drill, because he probably was alarmed and did see problems and knew indeed he might be a witness. indeed he -- right after a conversation went to his laptop
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and typed up the conversation which is fairly remarkable. so -- >> yeah. >> we see a man who acts like he knew he might be a witness and i'm -- >> let me ask you about the point that he just made. john dean. first of all our lawyers are saying they believe this was obstruction of justice. what john's referring to is the -- >> john has an advantage because john was convicted of obstruction of justice, so he knows. >> there is that. which i know you say without bias. >> no. it's true. >> i mean, yes, yes. david, what john is referring to is how compelled, how pressured jim comey felt from the second he met the president. the he writes i feld compelled to document my first conversation with a memo. i began to type on a laptop in an fbi vehicle outside trump tower the moment i walked out of the meeting. creating one-on-one conversations from mr. trump was
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my practice forward. this has not been my practice in the past. nine meetings with the president-elect in a few months. just two with president obama in three and a half years. how significant is the fact that he went down after that first meeting and did that in the fbi vehicle? >> it's highly significant because it's contemporaneously done. he went to sessions and said never leave me in a room alone with the president and if sessions, you know, verifies that that really speaks to the veracity of the whole report. i must say -- >> uh-huh. >> first of all, jim comey did do a couple of favors for the white house today. one very importantly he released this early. i think the fact there have been leaks -- we'll talk more about this. but the fact there has been some leaks takes some of the bombshell quality out of this. this confirms a lot of what has
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been said -- >> the irony of the president who wants to squash leakers. >> three times he told the president you're not under personal investigation on this. that's important. but i think the fact that he -- his gut instinct right from there beginning with was i can't trust this guy. he's trying to use me. this sounds fishy. it sounds swishes. i think tomorrow will be very important, how he characterizes it. >> he uses the word instinct. my instinct told me the one-on-one setting meant that he'd ask for my job and create some sort of relationship. it shows a clear pattern of interfering with the investigation. whether that amounts to -- other lawyers may dispute the question of obstruction but it's a clear pattern. >> david just mentioned, though, something crucial here that does
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vindicate the president. he had been questioned about this. did the fbi director tell him he was under investigation? he said three times the fbi director said that he was not. there have been reports that said that jim comey would say that that wasn't true. >> right. >> but he did, he came out and said yes indeed. he did tell the president each of those times that he was not under investigation. >> he stated it directly in his written testimony and my colleagues and i were reported last night that in fact comey would dispute that the he had actually told them three times and instead would offer a more nuanced explanation. in his written testimony today he did not do that. we have corrected our story on line to reflect this written testimony. we are all looking forward to seeing how under questioning from senators comey actually gives the details of his personal conversations with the president and how exactly he spoke to him about the lack of
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an investigation, because i'm sure the senators are going to want to question him more about it. >> and james, this does of course raise the question here for the fbi director. he felt sol -- as we read the quote, so compelled to document this right away but not compelled enough to share it more broadly or to raise a flag to anybody. that is still a crucial question for the former fbi director to answer. >> we're going to go ahead and stipulate so jim comey's honor and character. nobody questions that. i read this and i literally wanted to rinse myself off afterwards. i felt completely disgusted, beginning with that first awkward hand shake that we saw on camera when director comey and the president met and it started as a hand shake, turned into a half hug. you cool tell how uncomfortable director comey was. i went through this line by line. the only problem i had with drosh comey's actions.
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i've spoken on air many times about people on both sides of the issue can come down and say we disagree or we supported how he handled. . my question is why didn't he go to his superiors. i think this explains why. he knew that attorney general sessions had reaccused himself. he knew the folks were only going to be there for a short period of time. he was concerned about influencing the russian collusion investigation. he didn't want his agents or prosecutors -- >> he said he didn't want them to be afraid to go ahead. so he said nothing. >> yes. >> and you buy that? >> i do buy that only because as you look through this document, this statement for the record -- as david pointed out, this is uncommon for this to be released before hi testifies tomorrow. this is a testimonial document. in 25 years in in the fbi i was forbidden from putting my prn into a testimony yam document. this is rife with opinion. >> he says my instinct, i felt -- >> yeah.
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>> there's another points. >> yes. >> he did go to his superior. >> yes. >> he goes to attorney general sessions -- >> uh-huh. >> -- and says b don't leave me alone in a room. the weirdness of that is that he excuses vice president pence, attorney general sessions from the room. talk about consciousness of guilt. >> so -- >> why couldn't he talk in front of him because he knew what he was doing as inappropriate. >> i wants to read the quote. i think the word -- comey is not a guy who uses, insane veshs, except for in this case. let me read it. shortly arveds i spoke with attorney general sessions in person to pass along the president's concern about leaks. i took the opportunity to implore the attorney general to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me. implore is the word he used. >> implore. >> he goes ahead and lays out a couple phone calls between he and the president. the president did not heed that
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advice if he received it from the attorney general. >> this also portrayed someone in james comey who felt like he couldn't go to anybody. he said as he wrote in his testimony he didn't want to, quote, infect the investigation, so he had to wall off the people who were doing the investigatesing. he goes to his superiors. he goes to sessions. he goes to venta and he doesn't get an answer about what to zoo. so it portrays this picture of james comey as sort of trying to figure out what the write thing to do is here and there seems to be very few people he can confide in except his leadership team with whom help entrusted, you know, his notes and his memories of these meetings. >> i think it's very important that he shared it with his leadership team. as gloria's just pointed out
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because that has become a contemporaneous telling to other people about what's happening. this isn't mapd after the fact after he was fired. he told people then. but would you expand on your sentence you felt like you had to rinse off? >> i was going to ask that. was it james comey that made you want to rinse often or -- >> no, no, the division of a small table in the green room with the president and the fbi director seated there having a quiet luncheon with two navy stewards waiting on them and director comey feeling uncomfortable -- >> this is the loyalty pledge when the president asked for the loyalty pledge. >> do this for 48 years -- david you can speak to this -- dpib director hooufr pulled puppet strings and had presidents on their heels. we have a president attempting to put an fbi director on his heels. >> when it comes to obstruction of justice, which i know john and jeff agree on.
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i want to read the quote for you all about what jim comey says happened with the flynn investigation. all right. just to get your full analysis. this is obviously going to be one of the most crucial parts of this along with, of course, the loiltd pledge and the president not being under investigation. here it is. i had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of flynn in weks with false statements about his conversations with the russian ambassador in december. i did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into russia or possible links to his campaign. i could be wrong, but i took him to just be focusesing on what had happened with flynn's departure. jefdry toobin, taking all that in context, what do you see? >> well, it's like saying, you know, i mean -- forget theably. he's say rg drop this investigation. he -->> right. >> and this is -- the incredible power that a president can have
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and you know, again, i de23er to john on watergate. but the whole watergate coverup. the june 23rd, 1973 tape, which john was not present for is h.r. haldeman and nixon saying how can we use the cia to get the fbi to stop investigating the water goitd breakin? this is trying to stop the fbi from investigating his close soeshs. that's what trump is doing. >> i agree with that. >> do you take its -- take all of this to mean that as well, given of course that comey d.l. say in here he was willing to assure the president that the president himself was not under investigation. if he wasn't under investigation, how could he be obstructing that or do you see the flynn thing as enough to do that. >> i also -- you have to look at this statement in a larger context and that is the firing of jim comey. >> yes. job and what was said by the president in the -- and the reason for it, that he wanted to stop the investigation. also i think we ought to clarify -- and i don't know the
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answer to this -- but i don't think comey released this statement. typically the senate has rules for their committees. >> he did not. >> it was the senate committee that released it. >> he asked for it to be released. >> oh. >> he did want it to be released. >> actually it's a smart thing to do. >> yes. >> he was pre tweeting the president, if you want to look at it that way. and i think, you know, it shows you how clever he is. i think what will be interesting tomorrow to see is how he answers questions about was this obstruction. i mean, because we've been told in our reporting that he's just going to be a fact witness. you see that in his written testimony today. this reads like his diary in a way. >> it does. >> he is a fact witness. and i don't think comey is going to make any judgment about obstruction, which he's going to say, you know, this is a political -- >> yeah. >> -- this is a political decision and he's not going to make a political decision nor is
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he going to make a legal argument. >> i agree. i don't think he'll say it's obstruction but i think he'll say it's a clear pattern and why he was so suspicious right from the beginning. he never took a note with his two meetings with the fwormer president over eight years. here he is taking notes from the beginning. he has to address issues like that. >> right. >> he'll lose his credibility if he starts drawing conclusions. if he's a fact witness he's stronger staying with the facts and not drawing conclusions. i think that's another reason why he'll stay there. >> i appreciate your time. i want to do to a member of the house intelligence committee investigating russia's involvement in the trump captain pain election. congressman nice to have you back on the show. you heard jeffrey tiebin and john dean say they believe the document adds to obstruction of justice. do you believe that also? >> i think ice very close to obstruction of justice. i think we need more evidence,
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certainly. the question is did he have the mens rea. did he have a guilty mind. i think you can make that conclusion when you hear that he asked books everyone to leave the room so that he can talk privately with jim comey, especially the a. ghmplt and his son-in-law. then having the one-on-one dinner again with nobody else? he clearly was attempting to persuade james comey in a setting where no one else could hear him. >> he goes into great detail on that. he says who was standing by the grandfather clock, by the edge of the door. if you ascribe accuracy to great detail in his memory, that is all in here in this memo. in comey's statement he writes about several meetings. one of them on january 6. at that time, this is the first time he met him, is the briefing with the president-elect at trump tower. he writes that he remained alone with presidents elect trump to
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brief him on sensitive information. talking about that dossier. ok. so this is what we have here. the first time they meet the fbi director comey meets privately with the president-elect because the fbi director chooses to do so. he said he and senior intelligence officials decided this is the way to do it. did trump set the press dent? >> no. i think he was doing it because he didn't want to embarrass the president. that's certainly what his statement suggests and it was an consensus of all of the persons within the intelligence community that he do it because he was staying on and they were all leaving. so i don't think he was setting a precedent. furthermore -- >> no. i understand what you're saying. i'm not disagreeing with that. that's what the fbi director says. i'm saying could trump have skberpted it as the fbi director wanted to meet one-on-one with me, so it's all right when i want to meet with him one-on-one? >> that's part of the problem. everyone who has had any
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engagement with the government knows that there's three separate branches of government and certainly me as a member of congress would never attempt to influence a court proceeding or a judge, so i think here what we have is a lot of smoke coming, billowing out of the white house and there's probably fire as well. >> so you do think there's probably fire. let me ask you on that note about this. we also learn in this testimony tonight that comey did tell the president three times, twice in january, once in march, that the president of the united states united states was not personally under investigation. talking about march specifically comey wrote i explained that we had briefed the leadership of congress on which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those leaders we were not personally investigating president trump. the president's outside attorney said the president feels totally and completely vindicated in no doubt because of statements like that. >> well -- >> he wasn't under investigation. >> he wasn't under investigation
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in terms of whether or not trump operatives were in collusion with the russians in terms of trying to influence the election. the question really before us is the president has the president obstructed justice by hounding, literally hounding the then-director james comey about dropping the investigation of flynn. it's also interesting to remember, when flynn first offered himself up to the two committees to tell his story, he says i have a story to tell. >> right. >> soon there after you have did president wanting very much to have the investigation dropped on flynn. but there was also something else he said that was really interesting that we need to follow up on. he says i know there's other frobs with flynn. >> yes, comey said the president says that. we don't know and comey did not say whether they discussed that. that will be a big line of questioning tomorrow. congressman spear, thank you so much. i appreciate your time.
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>> thank you. >> next republicans making a plea to the president to please not tweet during comey's testimony. and joe liebermanerman, who was really the frontrunner to replace comey is on the show. he will tell you what he sees in this testimony tonight
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. breaking news tonight. republicans have a new message for the president, put away your phone during fired fbi director jim comey's m the. the feeshz that the president could pretty more problems on what will be a very, very important day. ryan noebels is out on capitol hill. republicans are worried. >> reporter: yeah, they are, erin. this isn't the first time republicans have given this kind of advice to president trump. it takes on new scope when you think about live tweeting during james comey's testimony tomorrow. take a look at what richard burr had to say. he's the chair of the zmet intel committee. he'll be presiding tomorrow. i wish he'd do something else. it's not going to change the
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testimony. then there was jeff flake, the senator from arizona, he said there is some speculation that the president may live tweet. it would not be a good idea. i think anyone would tell him that. also, bobs corker from tennessee suggested that the president shouldn't be talking about comey at all. instead he should be talking about his agenda. that seems to be a broader theme among republicans. they still believe that the president can win on some of these big issues like tax reform and health care and infrastructure, but if he spends automatic of his time defending himself from the russian investigation and from what james comey has to say, that's less time than he's spent focussing on that agenda and there are many republicans here on capitol hill, erin, that would much prefer he focus on his agenda instead. >> all right. thank you very much. out front front, jack skingston, and van jones former special advisor to president obama. congressman you've made your point of view clear on the twitter issue. you would hope he'd have better
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things to do. i want to start with this issue of a loyalty pledge. i don't know if you heard earlier on the program we opened up with somebody who's going to be in the room, republican senator susan collins. she said in terms of whether this document vindicated the president, i think that's a bit of a strechl. she's worried about the issues with the flynn investigation and she's worried about loyalty. she point blank said is inappropriate. what do you think in the president of the united states saying i expect loyalty. that is what the fbi director said happened. is it ok? >> well, number one, if we assume that this is true and for the sake of this question we are going to assume that it's true, i think the next kwep would be loyalty to what? it's incomplete the way comey has outlined it. the president can say i example loyalty. loyalty to the truth, tloilt an investigation, loiltd to the usds of america. i hit the all that is appropriate. i think that had he said i want you to be loyal to me and that's
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paramount to anything else, then that would have been a different matter. >> congressman, let me interject here. here's what comey said. he said my instincts told me that the one-on-one setting and the pretext about this being our first meeting was part of the president's having me ask for my job and create some sort of relationship. this concerns necessity greatly given the fbi's independent status. he then continues to say a few moments later the president saidsaid it need loyalty, i expect loyalty chchlt the fbi director says was followed by a long and awkward silence. it's clear the fbi director took it as a personal pledge of loyalty. >> let's say this. this is the world according to james comey and he's already had his testimony go back and be corrected the last time he testified before the senate. he's not exactly always accurate. again, this is a defensive statement, something that he has written to sort of clear
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himself. if he really -- and this is what i don't understand. if he says i didn't want to be in the room alone with him. i felt like i had to run out to the limousine immediately and type what he said. >> that's what when he says. >> why didn't he say something back in february or say something in front of the senate committee in myself that, hey, i believe i was intimidated. i believe there was obstruction. i believe there was an attempt to ok struktd me. he sat on this information since january 6. if he felt that uncomfortable, he had nearly six months -- five months, clearly, to say something about it. >> he did tell his inner circumstance m. >> that doesn't count. >> he asked the attorney general, implored him to say the president couldn't have anymore direct contact with him. van? >> look. i think this kind of speaks for itself vrmt hit looks like honestly donald trump spent some dime watching godfather movies or something. maybe he should have been watching west wing. this is not the way presidents
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need to act. >> this is the loyalty pledge? >> the loyalty pledge, that -- i just think that he didn't understand how this thing is supposed to work. i think you have to give comey some credit. he's in a tough swagsz. you do have somebody who's coming into the white house from the private sector. they don't have that government background and he has said in the past and it makes a lot of sense, i got to put some training wheels on this guy, i got to figure out how to keep this guy inside the four corners of how we do things around here. it would have been very, very bad for him to run out and call a press conference of something terrible. the president is putting him in a terrible situation. he's trying to navigate them but he's taking contemporaneous notes. that has tremendous weight. >> he had all the anaheim the world to say something to somebody. i don't buy -- he needs to go to
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everybody. say listen, i think this guy's trying to intimidate me. i think there's obstruction going on here. i don't want any part of this administration. instead -- >> congressman. >> do you believe he would have quit? >> he did say he spoke with this about senior leadership. >> but the answer says the d.o.j. he should have gone from the d.o.j. >> he said he thought jeff sessions would be recusing himself. le. >> how would he know that? >> later he did. >> i guess he's accurate because hi did. >> i think he's rewriting that. that's no his testimony. that's not in his mechl. if the memo said i know what's going to happen in two weeks jeff sessions is going to recuse himself but he did not know that at the time. i'd love to see a memo where he predicted that. >> here's the thing, the trump supporters are now having to put themselves in a swrags they just want the american people to believe stuff that doesn't make sense. let's make this a normal situation. suppose you had a ceo and
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something happened in the ceo's office and the head of the hr department started investigating what's going on in the ceo's office and the ceo brought that hr director in and said stop it. she doesn't do it and the boss fires her. everybody knows what's going on with that. you had a mayor or a police chief she appointed. >> no. >> and the police chief investigates the campaign and the mayor fires the police chief. if this were happening in any other situation, no trump for supporter, no plunl would say this is normal. it does not make sense and something is shady going on. >> what do you make of the fact that john dean and jeffrey toobin, their read of this, putting all these facts together, fact according to jim comey, their read is that this is justice of -- obstruction of juflt. >> their lawyers have opinions. plenty will say absolutely not.
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we'll have that opportunity tomorrow, by the way. again, comey said three times that trump was not the focus of the investigation. now why would trump turn around and fire him if that was the reason he wanted to stop the investigation? the reason why he was fired is because of incompetence. think about feinstein's statements about him, schumer, johnson. think about all the democrats all fall were saying he has no credibility anymore. he needs to pack his bags. that's what hank johnson did. >> he should have done it on the day he came in the white house. >> there's no good time to fire this guy. all i could say the democrats all were on one page that he was incompetent and needed to go. >> quick, vinyl word. >> look, trump himself said that he was worried about the investigation. you can't come back and say, oh, we already -- >> only national security. >> trump himself -- trump himself took that card away when he said the reason he fired this guy was he was thinking about this russian investigation. and so i think damage to the
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country. >> 11 months and we still don't have anything. >> i will hit pause. >> try to ask people to believe stuff that doesn't make any sense. >> i will hit pause. you will be here tomorrow night. trump and loyalty. what did he ask joe lieberman, who was the front-runner, to replace jim comey as the head of the fbi. did he ask him for a loyalty pledge? he will tell you. he's my guest next. for 10 years my tempur-pedic has adapted to my weight and shape. so i sleep deeply and wake up ready to perform. now through june 11th, save $600 when you buy select tempur-pedic adjustable mattress sets. find your exclusive retailer at tempurpedic.com.
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i appreciate you taking the time. the world will be watching jim comey tomorrow. you have seen his prepared remarks that are going to kick off the session. what's the bottom line for you? >> before i get to the bottom line, i should say by way of disclosure, and i hope not invalidating everything else i say, that i'm a member of the law firm that the president and his campaign committee have retained to represent on these matters. >> which is why you actually withdrew your name from consideration. >> exactly right. >> so two things. the first is that in essentially validating president trump's claim that he, comey, said to him, the president, that he's not a subject of the investigation. you have both of them agreeing on something and that effectively means at least when comey was involved that there was not evidence that the president was involved in any
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potential collusion with russia or anybody in his campaign that assisted their interference in the campaign. on the other matters, of course, based on the prepared testimony, former director comey has made some serious allegations. kind of interesting. i don't remember in my 24 years in the senate, and i was involved in a lot of investigative hearings, ever having testimony released the day before. one of the things it does, it gets it out there, but it also gives the members of the committee that he'll be before tomorrow overnight to really sharpen their questions and you might say cross-examination. >> he writes in a statement trump said to him during a one-on-one dinner comey thought was not going to be one-on-one and then it was, he felt uncomfortable. trump said i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. you met with the president when you were one of his top picks to be the replacement for jim comey. did he make any demand like that
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to you? >> well, i don't want to talk about the conversations between me and the president during that period of time in any detail. i can say he did not make any demand like that at all. >> nothing like that at all? >> in fact, you might say the contrary. >> are you concerned when you read the words about loyalty? >> well, i'm concerned about that and other things. i think you have to be fair here and say those are no allegations by director comey. >> right. >> what happened in two-person conversations, they are serious allegations, and i'm sure that he'll be questioned on them in great detail tomorrow. >> what else concerns you the most in here? >> well, i mean, the most serious allegation is the statement by director comey that the president asked him essentially not to pursue the investigation of general flynn, the former national security adviser. i mean, again, we'll see what happens. i'm sure they'll ask him, why didn't you do something about it then? >> right, of course.
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>> the president, i presume, will say that he never said anything like that. >> right. 24 years in the senate. if you were sitting there now, would you view that statement -- obviously it's an allegation, but if it were true, would you view it as obstruction of justice? >> not yet. really because we have to see what the testimony is. this is a prepared statement. there will be very aggressive questioning tomorrow. and then, in fairness, there is another side, there is the president. >> you have a new op-ed you have put on cnn.com, and you're talking about partisanship which fits you role with no labels. you write, by all means congress should carry out its functions of investigating such matters as russian covert activities and possible illegal unmasking and leaking of classified information. these cannot take a car already moving at only five miles an hour and grind it to a halt. >> right. >> if congress is so distracted by these investigations and, let's be honest, they are
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focused on it, obsessively so, should they stop looking into the russia issue and leave this to mueller? >> no. i would never say that to congress. mueller provides an independent, very credible place through which a lot of these investigations will occur, and they would occur outside of the public glare of congress. these are important questions particularly the fact that everybody seems to it agree on that russia tried to affect the outcome of the election. what i'm saying is my friends in congress, you have to do two things at once. if you're going to investigate, investigate. but don't stop legislating. i mean, there's still a lot of families in the country that have seen the standard of living drop, the economic growth is weak. we need to you do tax reform. we need you to do infrastructure. and to do that you have to come together. and now the opposite is happening. the republicans don't seem to be able to agree with each other. the democrats are in resistance
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and ultimately the country suffers. it's part of why president trump got elected, i believe, because people were fed up with the status quo. >> all right. thank you so much, senator l lieberman. good to see you. and thanks so much to all of you for joining us. "ac 360" starts now. and good evening from washington where the stakes, frankly, could not be higher. tomorrow a fired fbi director james comey will tell the senate intelligence committee the president of the united states asked him to drop the investigation of his fired national security adviser for possible improper contact with russia. he'll tell the committee the president did so after asking others, including the attorney general, to leave the room. those are just two headlines of many from his opening remarks which the committee released today. it's no exaggeration to say they hit this town with some seismic force pushing today's other intelligence committee hearings which were contentious, even combative in their own right, almost off the stage. that's because no testimony has been so hotly anticipated nor potentially so consequential to a sitti