tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN June 7, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
well, we are now just hours from what might be the most highly anticipated senate hearing since clarence thomas and anita hill. today we got a seven-page preview of what director comey will say, his opening statement outlining the discomfort with the conversations with the president, the need to break precedent he says and document them and the president's efforts to get him to drop the investigation of fired national security adviser michael flynn. along with the senate, the house intelligence committee is also investigating. joining us is a member of the house committee, jim himes of
connecticut. based on what you heard from the opening, what you read in the opening statement, is there obstruction of justice? >> well, you know, this is ultimately a complicated question that's going to center for all the noise you're going to hear and hear a lot of noise seeing an effort being ramped up right now to damage the credibility of jim comey, this all boils down and i'm probably not the right person on the panel to make this definitive judgment, this thing boils down to the question of whether the president intended to influence this -- to influence this investigation. it doesn't matter what comey felt at the time. you know, the comments we got out of the senate today where the dni and other says i didn't -- it matters if the president intended to influence the investigation and we have to hear the answers tomorrow from jim comey. the remarkable document, the's a lot of stuff between the lines that as we speak there are a lot of smart senate staffers who are coming up with the questions to get at what's between these lines. >> you said it painted a detailed and disturbing picture of president trump. >> at one level there's something undeniable and that point is in a society and country that values the rule of law that for generations has built structures that keep the
fbi independent, keep law enforcement independent of the executive, the president demanding loyalty, asking that, you know, just let this -- let flynn off, that is something that, you know, you wouldn't accept in a bolivia of 1934. that's something a dictator would do with the law enforcement. at some level, whether the behavior is appropriate for a country that believes in the rule of law. whether it was obstruction of justice is something to listen in to tomorrow on. >> the sheer volume of contact of president and director comey and then president obama is interesting. i mean, comey said basically i think two interactions with -- >> volume is one thing and circumstances is another. it's very interesting that twice according to comey's statement that cleared the room. get out of here. i will have this conversation by myself. why? why didn't he want anyone else
listening in? director comey as he said in the opening statement, that made him profoundly uncomfortable. >> is it possible, though, some supporters of president said he's not a professional politician, not served in government, maybe naive to separations to exist and perhaps the kind of wanting one on one meetings are his way of doing business, developing, you know, a personal connection which is probably something he did in the business world. >> anderson, we are talking a man to wake up in two or three hours and start a nuclear war, who controls -- whose words send armies marching and change markets. the argument that he didn't know better, you know, maybe for one of my interns but for the president of the united states that doesn't cut the ice. >> not a comforting argument. >> to say the least. >> can you explain the standard that for congress to take some
sort of action against the president? because i mean, a lot of people watching this, you know, probably are confused about where does this actually go? if anywhere? >> well, this is why at the end of the day the question of whether you've crossed the legal standard of obstruction of justice is a little bit of an academic point because what really matters and not to get into a lengthy conversation about it but this is not an indictment. this would be a question if in fact all the evidence pointed towards obstruction of justice the remedy, of course, removal from office and that's where all of a sudden the politics become as or more important than the law and, you know, here's what's going to happen. i can predict this. almost doesn't matter what jim comey says tomorrow. already the effort has started to damage the credibility of jim comey. i was one of the people concerned with his judgment on a couple of judgment calls and i don't think anyone not believed in his integrity and honesty and an effort to create a lot of smoke in the air. you know, well why didn't you do this and why wouldn't you do that? and, you know, in a court of law you would create uncertainty on
the part of the jury, and my friends on the other side of the aisle, whatever happens tomorrow, there's going to be all sorts of questions that serve the purpose of making sure that there is not serious discussion about removal from office. >> to that the point of sort of the counter attack against director comey, we have the rnc talking points i understand. one of them reads, president trump knew firing comey would be detrimental to his presidency but, he knew it was the right thing to do for the country so he did it anyways. >> that's interesting. inasmuch as it has nothing to do with the three i think explanations that the president and his people gave of why he was fired. we got that he was a showboat. okay. perhaps lifted pressure of the russia investigation. we got a couple of explanations. the rnc explanations is best interest of the country was not one that we have heard until today. >> when you hear the president's private attorneys saying the president feels vindicated based on what they read in comey's
opening statement, that basically backs up the president saying that comey told him throw times he was not personally being investigated, does that argument hold water? seems like they're ignoring many of the pages in the statement an focusing on this and they're right in that it does confirm that the president said. >> yeah. to be fair to the president, a lot of us read that in the president's firing statement of jim comey, we said, it doesn't sound right and odd for a fbi director to say you're not being investigated but step back from that in march when director comey was in front of the intelligence committee of the house he didn't say that. he just said, we are looking into the possibility of links and collusions -- collusion between the russians and the trump campaign. i can't remember quite the construction but he never told the committee he was investigating the president specifically. so, yeah, the president is indicated on that point. but as a member of the committee doing the investigation, there's three active investigations about the possibility of some sort of link or connection. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> should be quite a day tomorrow and for the viewers just tuning in, here's a quick look at why, the seven pages we
are all talking about from director comey tonight. >> reporter: the dramatic written testimony released a day early at james comey's request outlines in stunning detail his interactions with the president, including a series of nine one-on-one meetings and phone calls with mr. trump. the president comey said was interested in establishing his loyalty. in the january 27th dinner, comey said president trump said 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 get hundredestly from me to which the president responded that's what i want, honest loyalty. on the crucial question of whether the president attempted to influence ongoing fbi investigations, comey said the president told him, quote, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go. to letting flynn go.
he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go. comey makes clear, quote, i had understood the president to be requesting 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 comey told him three times he himself was not under investigation and 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 i am not under investigation. why did you put that in there? >> because he told me that. he told me. >> reporter: in the written testimony, comey largely confirms those occasions but says they were specifically about whether the president was the subject of a counter intelligence investigation. first, on january 6, when comey went to trump tower to brief the president-elect on a dosier of allegations, comey says, quote, during our one on one meeting at
trump tower based on president-elect's reaction to the meeting and without him directly asking the question, i offered him that assurance, that he was not under counter intelligence probe. the second time in a dinner on january 27, comey says the president told him he was considering ordering an investigation into the dosier. comey says, quote, i relied he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him, which we weren't. in a march 30, phone call, comey, quote, explained that we had briefed the leadership of congress on which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those congressional leaders we were not personally investigating president trump. i reminded him i had previously told him that. he repeatedly told me we need to get that fact out. the dossier in particular attracted the attention of the
president saying he had not been involved with russia, had not been involved with hookers in russia and always assumed he was being recorded when in russia. he asked what we could do to lift the cloud. >> and jim joins us now. the president flatly denied he asked comey to end the investigation of flynn and now comey seems to be contradicting that on the record. >> absolutely. a lot of spin. we heard in it hours since the testimony was released. on that issue, may 18, president trump was asked and i quote, did he in any way, shape or form try to tell comey to lay off the investigation of flynn. he said, no, no. next question. today in that testimony comey laid out a very detailed case that contradicts that directly. on that issue, comey saying that the president when asked little more than two and a half weeks ago was lying. >> jim, appreciate the reporting. reaction this evening from the president's attorney. the president, quote, the president is pleased that mr. comey finally publicly confirmed the private reports that the president was not under
investigation in any russian probe. the president feels completely an totally vindicated and eager to move forward with his agenda. we invited the white house to come on the program and tuck about the statement an the testimony. they declined. let's bring in the panel. professor turley, from a legal standpoint, does any of this rise to the level of obstruction of justice? >> well, i hate to be a buzzkill, but no. this is not what comey is describing is not a criminal case for obstruction of justice. it is not. it is rejected by the courts. the courts look at whether there's a pending investigation. they often -- i'm sorry. pending proceeding. they reject that. there's a case of higgins that expressly said that you cannot take these provisions into a pure investigation. even the one circuit that would support obstruction of justice in the kelly case distinguished
this type of case saying if you have a purely law enforcement investigation, that's not obstruction of justice. there's a reason for that. if you broadly define obstruction of justice, they could bring charges for talking to witnesses or midhandling evidence, a wide array of people. and so, i think people are ahead of their skis on this. >> there was a grand jury investigation in the eastern district of virginia. >> not on what he was discussing. >> doesn't have to be the exact same subject. >> pretty much. >> obstruction of the -- of this matter. >> this is -- >> on michael flynn. >> it is on flynn. >> eastern district. absolutely on michael flynn. was it gone on february 14th? i don't know. by march and april it absolutely was going. >> i don't think that the grand jury in that case would satisfy the statute. even if it did, you would have to show he tried to corruptly influence and i don't think there's evidence of that either. >> you're making an argument about what this being prosecuted in courts. jeff, you have talked about it not necessarily being something
that would be prosecuted through courts. >> see, this is the complexity here is i do think there is a very real criminal case to be made for obstruction of justice against donald trump. it will never be made in the real world because there's a constitutional question never fully resolved about whether a sitting president of the united states can be indicted. the only real remedy for presidential misconduct is impeachment. the standard there, high crimes and misdemeanors, is much more of a political standard than legal standard so the detailed parsing of what's a pending investigation wouldn't really matter if this ever got to congress because congress would be making a broader political judgment about whether this president should remain in office. >> i'm afraid i have to disagree with my friend again. i was lead counsel in the last impeachment trial. this doesn't make what you need for impeachment. it's true, you can take gerald
ford's approach and whatever i say or congress says it is. that's not how people actually treat it. when people point to the obstruction case of nixon, read the actual count. read what they allege. they alleged that he was involved in covering up an actual crime of breaking in at the watergate, involved in procuring essentially false investigation. when my friend mentioned that john dean was convicted of obstruction, that was obstruction. he actually paid hush money to the people that broke in to the watergate. >> wait. >> as our friend can -- >> let me try something here if i may. i try to stay away from watergate a little bit. but in watergate, we had a long investigation by a select committee of the senate of the united states. we had a long investigation by a special prosecutor. we had a long investigation into articles of impeachment by the house judiciary committee. we are nowhere near that benchmark yet. we are at the early stages of a sprawling investigation by special prosecutor who is just
appointed a few weeks ago and in the brief time of his appointment, we have seen so much devastating information about the conduct of the president of the united states and we don't even know what the special prosecutor is doing in terms of possible aides, accomplices, underlings. >> we haven't heard from you. >> i don't understand why we're jumping to the conclusion either of impeachment at this point or indictment at this point. where are the facts? and we are seeing the facts being delivered day after day to horrible effect in terms of these investigations. >> ryan? >> on the president. >> getting back to what comey said today in the statement -- >> i just want to make one point of articles of impeachment. this is ahead of your skis as you warned against. article 1 of the impeachment articles against nixon voted on by the judiciary committee,
right here. interfering or endeavoring to interfere by the department of justice of the united states, the federal bureau of investigation, the office of watergate special counsel and congressional committees. so i think arguably jeff's point stands here. but that is language from article 1. right? obviously lots of other crimes thrown in there. nixon was a serious criminal. but we are in the realm of the same exact charge of at least one of the charges that was leveled against nixon in the articles. >> as professor dershowitz said, you can make the case that the president did not order comey to shut down the investigation. he said to him, i'd like you to see your way to get rid of it. that's fairly intent. clearly his intent. >> i'm still intensely interested to find out why michael flynn is the person trump is standing up for. >> right. >> a number of people, you said it. trump is throwing people under the bus left, right and center
for his entire career. >> indicated to comey according to director comey if satellites in the campaign, his word, satellites, you know, that should be investigated. >> and flynn would qualify as an old satellite. they weren't old friend. they met a year before. they'd obviously become somewhat close during the campaign but is there something else there we're missing? >> does that make sense to you, why michael flynn? >> i mean, having been around and seen all guys, from all sides, i have a feeling that this is going to end well for general flynn one way or another. >> the question of the president of all the people that he -- >> clearly, the president is being said to be in trouble here trying to help him. anderson -- >> but the white house hasn't even said that the president's conference of jeff sessions in the last 24 hours, he seems to be speaking up for michael flynn repeatedly. >> yeah.
he does. he does. i mean, i have a different view of his loyalty. i think he's a loyal guy. >> really? >> hello. yes. >> ask chris christie or rudy giuliani or any of the people he's -- >> in listening to everybody here. >> jeff sessions, right. >> two lawyer friends here, just politically speaking, the juice isn't there for this. if you're going to have this much division already and i think the congressman was talking earlier about the blowback that's coming, it is coming. and there is no smoking gun here. this is going to fall apart. maybe right away. maybe gradually. but falling apart, it is. the story isn't there. >> jen? >> politically it is not -- >> i think one of the points a number of people has made this is the beginning of the process. the comey hearing is not the end. not the conclusion for the members of the -- my party who think that trump is going to be, you know, handcuffed and taken to jail tomorrow. that is not going to happen. it is interesting that the fbi director who was fired is contradicting the president under oath in statements he made
so there's a significance. however, at the same time, there's multiple investigations going. they could take years. mueller's investigation could take years. the senate investigation could take months. so, there's a breathlessness in the sense that this is going to be resolved very quickly but i think we are -- there's no smoking gun here. it's not taking into account the fact that there is troves and troves of information coming out and lots of processes trying to get to the bottom of it. >> you had people testifying this morning before the senate who had had encounters with the president trying to get them apparently to stop their investigation or go out there and say there was nothing there. and they refused to tell the senate in open session and the senators were furious about that. when you think about a senate investigation and you think about what happened in watergate or you think about what happened in iran-contra, these people are not cooperating. they're not.
>> can i just say for the record, i think there is a smoking gun here. the february 14th meeting where the president says to jim comey, can you see your way to shut this investigation down, if that testimony is accurate and believed, that's a smoking gun of obstruction of justice as far as i'm concerned. >> possibly, possibly -- when the president says, aloud to the whole country i fired jim comey because of the russia thing, that seems to me also a prime -- >> the problem is he doesn't ask to shutdown the russian investigation. >> that's why i say a prosecutor would develop further information in support of the prima fasciae case of what the president said. let's follow not just the money but also follow the evidence and see where it leads.
>> unanswered questions, you know, matt raises a very good one which is, why -- >> why flynn? >> why flynn of all people? even related and broader question is why russia? why always russia? why are all these people, you know, jared kushner, jeff sessions, why are they all afflicted with bad memories about their contacts with russian leaders? why are they all making false or inaccurate statements of congress and on the security clearances of russia? why can no one remember, why are there so many contracts of the trump campaign and russia? i don't know the answer to this question. >> may there be a conspiracy case that perhaps could develop from this? >> we don't know. >> there was one overlooked detail in comey's testimony posted today and he quoted the president saying that flynn didn't do anything wrong on russia. >> right. >> just that he lied to the vice president and that's why i had to fire him. >> he also said that there was some other stuff. >> yeah. but i think what's interesting about that, there's a question
looming over the flynn investigation is what did president-elect trump know about flynn's contacts with the russian ambassador? did he direct him to have the conversations? and if not, was he at least briefed on the conversations afterwards? comey is at least suggesting trump knew everything he needed to know about the relationship with the ambassador and he thought he didn't do anything wrong. >> that is a big question of how much did president-elect trump direct him to speak to kislyak. >> a huge question and ambiguous. >> let matt speak and then -- >> i mean, apparently, you know, people who have seen the intel said it's not clear. it's not clear there were multiple phone calls. it is not clear what was going on between the phone calls and the who knew what when is still an immense -- it's an unanswered question and there are other meetings, as well. jared meetings with the ambassador and a russian bank who are's deeply tied to russian intelligence. these could just be tied to bad
judgment. we don't know. but they're all as you pointed out a ton of people who are meeting with russians, individually, without anybody else witnessing it. they don't seem to remember any of the conversations they had and when they had them. not clear yet. >> much more ahead and what gloria mentioned, the fireworks of democrats and republicans on the senate intelligence committee tried to get answers on some of director comey's allegations of the top intelligence and law enforcement officials. we'll have that ahead and later we travel with the president to ohio to see if any of this is giving loyal trump supporters second thoughts. that and more when we continue.
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and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. until the comey testimony came out, the lead story was the hearings today before the senate intelligence committee and if they were widely seen as a warm-up for tomorrow, they lived up to the billing and then some. director of national intelligence coats, mike rogers and rosenstein and acting fbi director andy mccabe, all there to talk about foreign surveillance legislation and all asked to talk about russia, james comey and the president and the warm-up to tomorrow turned into the senate equivalent of a house on fire. details now from cnn's ryan
nobles. >> reporter: the nation's top intelligence officials today refusing to provide details of the conversations with the president. >> i do not feel it's appropriate for me to in a public session in which confidential conversations between the president and myself, i don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session. >> reporter: not answering a barrage of questions about whether president trump tried to interfere with the investigation into russian meddling. >> if any of this is true, it would be an appalling and improper use of our intelligence professionals. an act, if true, that could erode the public's trust in our intelligence institutions. the >> reporter: the director of the national security agency only offering this broad claim. >> i have never been directed to do anything i believed to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. and to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, i do not
recall ever feeling pressured to do so. >> reporter: but as the hearing went on, frustration from both sides of the aisle over the refusal to answer specific questions. >> has anyone ever asked you now or in the past this administration or any administration to issue a statement that you knew to be false? >> for me, i stand by my previous statement. i've never been directed to do anything in my three course years that -- >> not directed, asked. >> that i felt to be inappropriate nor felt pressured to do so. >> have you ever been asked to say anything that wasn't true? >> i stand by my previous statement. >> reporter: again and again refusing to acknowledge if the conversations with the president took place. >> you realize how simple it simply would be to say, no, that never happened? >> why is it inappropriate, director coats? >> i think conversations between the president and myself are for
the most part -- >> you seem to apply that standard selectively. >> no, i'm not applying it selectivity. i'm just saying i don't think it's appropriate -- >> you could clear an awful lot up by saying it never happened. >> i do not share with the general public conversations that i have with the president or many of my colleagues within the administration that i believe are -- should not be shared. >> well, i think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes. >> reporter: an increasingly exasperated senator angus king pressed to get answers about the lack of answers. >> why are you not answering these questions? is there an invocation of the president of executive privilege? >> not that i'm aware of. >> then why are you not answering? >> i feel it's inappropriate. >> what you feel is not relevant, admiral. what you feel, isn't the answer. i'm not satisfied with i do not
believe it's appropriate or answer. i want to understand a legal basis. you swore that oath. to tell us the truth. the whole truth and nothing but the truth and today you are refusing to do so. what is the legal basis for your refusal to testify to this committee. >> i'm not sure i have a legal basis. >> reporter: the republican chairman of the hearing closed the hearing with a stern warning. >> at no time should you be in a position where you come to congress without an answer. it may be in a different format but the requirements of our oversight duties and your agencies demand it. >> ryan nobles joins us from capitol hill. clearly, frustration displayed by the centers today. will there be other opportunities to get the answers they seek? >> you heard dan coats suggest maybe he would be more forth coming in a closed session but he also said there was no legal barrier that was preventing them from talking about their interactions with president trump in an open session. so, essentially, there would be nothing special about a closed
session so why then would he be more forthcoming in a setting like that? also, anderson, we should point out at this point both rogers and coates are not scheduled to testify in a closed session in the near future. >> ryan, appreciate that. back with the panel and senior adviser james woolsey. ambassador, woolsy, let's start with you. you certainly know how to be discrete about conversations you had with former presidents or current presidents. did they do the right thing in not answering those questions? >> i think they could have saved themselves a lot of hassle by agreeing to go into some of these issues in closed session. whether or not it's strictly responsive to an individual rule or not i think is less important than helping when you can help. but a private conversation with the president to testify about it in public, i wouldn't. >> even if the president
hadn't -- there's no executive privilege. >> if the president told me, jim, we're talking about in here last friday, ask you about a question about it in the congress, don't hesitate to talk about it, all right. i wouldn't -- i worked for four presidents, and i'm not going to do that just to answer a question. i've also been general counsel of the senate armed services committee back in the '70s and we would work these things out. if a witness had a problem, absolutely sure it was classified, sensitive, we'd get together ahead of time. i'd get together with the government's lawyer and sort it out and we'd have a section at the end of the testimony that was executive. an executive session. and then we'd have that reviewed by the classification people to see when maybe it was put out sometime in some parts of it
excised, we compmizeed. >> professor, doesn't seem like it's classified information here. >> no, no. they did everything wrong. they started to talk, describe a conversation with the president. >> right. >> and then refused to go further. >> right. >> only thing they didn't say is i'm now going to hold my breath. didn't make any sense at all. the correct thing to do is say i don't feel comfortable with. this i'll give the white house a chance to review it. i don't like speaking about conversations with the president, a position a lot of people have held. you don't start down that road, say this is as far as i go to a committee investigating potential crimes. >> they said they went to the white house. they went to the white house. they tried to get some kind of reading on privilege. and they didn't get any. so they went up there without any read from the white house. and that's quite surprising to me because -- >> or some guidance from the white house. >> do we know that -- >> there might have been -- >> that's what they said. >> they said they asked the white house, never got a response.
>> no. >> because that right there -- >> jonathan and i have been having a disagreement about the nature of criminal behavior if any. but i think everyone can agree these congressional hearings are dealing with very important subjects involving russia's involvement in our election, how to prevent it again. the public has a tremendous interest in getting some answers about those issues independent of any criminal investigation. >> more than that. >> let me finish. so that the fact this these people are refusing to answer questions when they don't have a legal basis to refuse is really damaging. >> that's why i disagree with ambassador woolsey on this. the idea to say i'll tell you about this in closed session, no. that's not good enough. that's for classified. the's no suggestion this was -- >> director comey did it all the time. >> and there's a stunning -- >> he would say -- >> in public. >> stunning assumption is you're only doing that when it's something that's classified and can't talk about it in the public. >> a lot of things are borderline classified. may be, may not be. you're not absolutely sure.
>> but the idea of these hearings is for the public to learn about what happened. >> it is not just for the public to learn because when the public learns how things are done that can be classified that terrorists learn, too. >> i agree with you. >> so the public has an interest in here but certainly not a complete and total. >> my point is there's nothing classified about their conversations with trump. they're not saying it is classified but hey, sorry, congressman -- >> really asked about a specific, you know, question. >> right. >> did the president ask -- >> they just didn't want to answer. just say no. >> the stuff the president himself tweeted about. >> can you imagine -- if the president had issued an executive, you know, saying i'm not going to -- executive privilege, you can't talk about that. we would be saying there's something to hide there. they didn't do it. >> a legal basis. >> let's look at a really stunning element of this. here we have the congress of the united states. we finally see a duly appointed
committee of the senate do its job, be methodical. go by procedure. things americans have been saying for years we don't see in the congress of the united states. these guys have every opportunity to go up there, be respectful. if they want to say to hell with you guys, we have executive privilege, we are not going to talk about it, right here i have some classified information that i can only give to you in closed session, that's one thing. these guys went up there, stuck their fingers in the eyes of the congress of the united states including dan coates, who just left the institution a few weeks ago. it's extraordinary. it's inexcusable and a terrible civics lesson for america. >> and he said i'm not sure that i have a legal basis for this. so they couldn't even explain why they were doing this other than they just didn't want to talk about it. >> things you never want to hear your client say. that would be in the top ten list. >> when he asked -- putting the legal basis aside, which i'll leave to the lawyers, what we're probably concluding that
probably trump asked them to do things inaccurate or illegal. so they had a terrible outcome from the white house by not getting back to them. >> that's what the bottom line of the story is that they were asked to comment on in "the washington post." did they -- been suggested to them by the president of the united states that they do something untoward. >> and they didn't deny it. >> and they didn't deny it and one of the things hearings are for and testimony is for is to get to the gray area. we sit here and look at things in black and white on these panels partly because we don't have enough information. the idea is to get in to these gray areas and learn the truth. and these guys said, to hell with learning the truth. >> but they were unified on one point and did work for the white house at the beginning of the hearing saying we never felt pressure to intervene and pushed the door open a little bit and hard to shut it after you've done that and did have kind of a talking point together on that. and it seemed to me like they had both agreed they were going to say that and this was going
to be their strategy. it wasn't a bad strategy because the hearing turned on them. >> you could also -- also interesting, ambassador woolsey, republicans, mccain, rubio who seemed as frustrated as others. >> it's back in the good old bipartisan days of the senate when they did things together. i remember those. >> that's one thing to anger both sides, witnesses come before them and just won't answer their questions. that affects democrats and republicans. >> to the point i guess congressman king made, sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and then you're not. you're not telling the whole truth but you also don't have executive privilege so -- >> they got out what they wanted to get out which is we have not been pressured without the ability to ask a follow-up question. so they ended up carrying the water of the white house.
>> a lot of this falls on the white house counsel. it is the way this happens and the ambassador's absolutely correct. usually there's communications between the white house counsel and counsel for the committee, laid out in advance. they -- the white house counsel can say we want to study this and don't feel comfortable with it and not giving you much information but they also know that investigation. the guys can be brought back and compelled under the right circumstances. jeff and i are in total agreement this is a legitimate investigation. important issues. there might even be crimes out there. no one doubts the jurisdictional footprint. >> this is a conflict of two parts of the government. exactly the kind of clash and argument that kept us free for two and a quarter centuries. important issues. big fight. that's what we do. that's the way we have preserved our democracy. >> but the fight is about laws that favor each side. when you have a witness who says, well, i don't have any law. i just don't feel like answering
the question, that's not -- that's ridiculous. >> we have to take -- >> i must admit i don't want to get in to that. >> we have to take a break. everybody, how this is all playing out for the president's fans, are they still backing him on the subject? gary tuchman spoke with supporters today at an event in ohio today. what they have to say about james comey and the russia president. ore to help control my type 2 diabetes. my a1c wasn't were it needed to be. so i liked when my doctor told me that i may reach my blood sugar and a1c goals by activating what's within me with once-weekly trulicity. trulicity is not insulin. it helps activate my body to do what it's suppose to do, release its own insulin. i take it once a week, and it works 24/7. it comes in an easy-to-use pen and i may even lose a little weight. trulicity is a once-weekly injectable prescription medicine to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes when used with diet and exercise. trulicity is not insulin.
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our breaking news tonight, we are just hours away from fired fbi director james comey's testimony. today an opening statement outlines face to face meetings and phone calls he had with the president and the discomfort he felt he had with the conversations. comey also reveals that the president asked him to, quote,
lift the cloud over the presidency. according to a new quinnipiac university pole, only 25% approve of the job of the president doing. this is a new low for the president in quinnipiac's polling. meanwhile, new abc/"the washington post" poll shows the president far less credible than director comey on the russia probe and a majority of americans don't trust either of them. but what about the president's most ardent supporters? are they worried about the russia investigation and the testimony tomorrow? like to get a range of opinions on the program and, shock, those outside of washington, d.c. here's gary tuchman. >> my shirt says i never met a deplorable i didn't like. >> reporter: if you can't tell barbara warner is a fan of the president, she talked to us waiting for him to speak in
ohio. thinks he is doing a great job but do you think james comey is trustworthy? >> i do. i think james comey is trustworthy. >> reporter: how will she feel watching the testimony if the former fbi director says something contradicting the president? >> i'll take his word for it, yes. >> reporter: that's a complicating factor for many here trusting donald trump and james comey and trying to figure out how to reconcile that. >> i trust james comey, one person in the machine and i think the president like any other citizen of the united states deserves his day in front of the counsel, the senate body, the investigation, former director mueller. i think it will eventually play out and can't rely on one person making the testimony. >> reporter: chris fisher works as a miner. if he contradicts donald trump under oath, will you be troubled by that? >> yes, a little bit. but, you know, you still got to believe in the president. >> reporter: it's nothing new to hear donald trump supporters like these speak proudly and foundly of him. but what is new and increasingly
evident is the concern and anxiety that some of them new feel, too. are you concerned about the future of his presidency with all of the trials and tribulations involving the white house? >> i am. i'm very concerned because there's so many different aspects of the things going on and there's so much to cover all at one time and i hope he gets a chance to do the things that he said that he is going to do. >> reporter: do you think any of this is his fault for the troubles? >> of course. i think so because he is a key player in all of this so it has to be some of it has to be -- somebody has to take ownership. >> reporter: but there are others here at the marina not ready to assign any blame to the president, like the skipper of this boat. do you trust donald trump? >> 110%. >> reporter: what about james comey? >> no. absolutely not. >> reporter: james comey might be talking about the russia investigation and contradict things donald trump said in the testimony. does that concern you? >> not at all. >> reporter: tomorrow's hearing is must see tv for many with a dose of trepidation. is there some anxiety? >> little bit.
>> gary tuckman joins us now from the other side of the ohio river in covington, kentucky. did anyone you talked to say that they are losing faith in president trump? >> reporter: well, anderson, the trump supporters going to his rallies and speeches are least likely to lose faith. however, many of them are very concerned, many told us today they're worried that donald trump will not be able to keep his campaign promises that they're going to fall to the side because of the political, ethical and legal headwinds that he is facing. anderson? >> gary, thanks very much. back with the panel, paul, jason, jen and jeffrey. paul, i mean, that is a very reasonable fear, even if you believe as many supporters do that the president did nothing wrong, if you believe in the president's agenda you want to see that agenda moving forward and right now it doesn't seem like it's happening, and certainly to the speed with which they would like. >> it is not happening.
they control the house and the senate and the white house and can't seem to get the program through. that's not the fault of the evil democrats or the lying media. they have to get that going and some of this is what the president chooses to focus on and focus our attention on. it's why tweeting tomorrow live tweeting that hearing is a disaster for donald trump. those voters, they hope he's okay on russia and didn't collude and steal the election, but they really want jobs, better healthcare, a better way of life, someone -- >> the things the president won on. >> -- someone to tackle this opioid crisis. people dying before their time. he went out and campaigned style rally this week and good. good for him. but he's got to find a way to pull himself out of himself and that's a tough thing to ask of a narcissist. >> fair to blame that it's the president who has to pull himself out of himself? >> yes. >> it is?
you're saying that -- in the past the example of bill clinton you worked for to compartmentalize. >> yes. every day he went out and it was sam donaldson. you have your job and things you're obsessing on but i have mine. we have to get back to work creating jobs and the american people making sure that we have health care for these poor children an he focused on the agenda for real, too. for real. and his team, it was second term more organized than we were in the first but this president is giving his voters a sense only job he cares about is his own. >> jason, do you buy that? >> well, i think the white house definitely has to figure out how to compartmentalize the ongoing russia cloud, i i think this is part of the reason the president was so frustrated, told three different times he was not under investigation but director comey wouldn't put that out. you can see where that clouds everything that's going on with the administration. look. i think reince priebus is setting up a structure in the white house to where they have a disciplined message calendar and june is jobs month abe i think cool things coming up.
they have to stay on offense and aggressively pushing that, the jobs president. jobs, jobs, jobs. jobs, jobs, jobs. what donald trump ran on and russia investigation, the rest of this distraction, they have to find a way to stay away from that and leave that to the outside to be successful. i think they can do it and be disciplined. >> jen, clearly trying to do that saying, look, russia questions go to the outside counsel. whether or not that's going to work is another question. >> sure. and i think as paul touched on some of it is that the president is jumping himself two feet into this by tweeting, taunting on a lot of issues and while the staff may be very disciplined and trying to work to have a message calendar you can't cloud over the president of the united states. i think the big challenge they have with their agenda is for any president, even presidents who are much more popular than donald trump, the first year is really the sweet spot of getting your agenda done. and once you get to september, it's going to be a budget fight and you're really almost done with trying to get anything done, then you're in election done.
-- in election year. really they have june and july to get tax reform or health care or something done, and that's really the short timeline they have left. >> one of the problems that i think the folks were trying to do the russian deal here is the backlash. i mean, i'm talking to people just like gary is talking to. they stop me in the streets there in pennsylvania and they are very revved up about him. and this kind of thing only upsets them, it makes them really angry. i'm not asking, they're telling. >> this russia thing is basically a distraction and not real, and therefore it's being used against the president? >> correct, correct. the folks doing this, at some point they have to put up or shut up, they have to have something here and we're going to go through this situation tomorrow, but at some point, there has to be a there there. [ all speak at once ] these guys are also right, the white house -- they are doing it, they are going to be doing jobs, they are going to move on
infrastructure and do these things. and they need to do it. my one criticism, what are the republicans in the house doing? you know, too much vacation, they should be there doing their jobs. >> is that how investigations work? you know, i certainly get jeff saying, they've got to move this along and get answers quickly, i mean you've lived through investigations, they go on far -- for a long time. >> and this one has the added complexity of involving national security. so this is counterintelligence as well as just run of the mill allegations of corruption. this is going to take years, and it's why if the president wants to succeed, he's got to have his agenda. there are a couple things. i read one story that said tomorrow the house, the house republicans are voting to lim regulations on wall street. that's not what the folks in highway and kentucky voted for. they've got to find ways -- the first is june 20th, the run-off
in georgia in a rock red republican district, if the democrats can win that, that's a big signal. the other date is the august recess. the first 100 days was a phony deal. it has been. august recess is not. every president gets the bulk of his most important domestic accomplishments by august recess. of his first year. that's august 1 this year. time is ticking and he hasn't gotten anything important passed yet. >> paul was touching on it to some degree. off-year elections are terrible for presidents. i can't think of one. 1994, reagan '82, this goes back a long way. this special election in georgia, in richard nixon's first year, they had a similar situation, secretary of defense held his seat in wisconsin for a long time, it went to a democrat. these elections may not go well, but then there is a rebound from all of this. all the bad news is going to be ready until these things go south.
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welcome back. james comey's testimony tomorrow is about to join a long, long line of congressional hearings that have become part of american history. i wanted to take some time tonight to look back at some of those congressional hearings and see how they played out. tom foreman has details. >> for airing gleeve -- grievances or political punch, congressional hearings can be explosive. >> the fact is, we had four dead americans. >> reporter: consider 2013's testimony on the benghazi attack and this moment, from then secretary of state hillary clinton. >> was it because of a protest
or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd kill americans. what difference at this point does it make? >> reporter: it's been that way for generations, from testimony on the sinking of the titanic to joe mccarthy's hunt for communists and his denunciation by army attorney joe welsh. >> have you no sense of decency, sir? if there is a god in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. ♪ we're not going to take it >> reporter: to a hearing on allegedly obscene music in which the lead singer of twisted sister argued with future vice president al gore. >> what does smf stand for? when it's spelled out. >> the sick mother [ bleep ] friends of twisted sister. >> what did the president know, and when did he know it? >> reporter: the watergate hearings proved enormously sfeshl consequential for president richard nixon. >> come a time when you were
asked for intelligence gathering? >> intelligence gathering, the answer would be no. >> he talked about pornographic materials. >> reporter: anita hill's accusations against supreme court nominee clarence thomas spurred debate about sexual harassment. his denial and slamming of the committee, even more talk. >> as far as i'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks. >> reporter: hearings brought impeachment, corruption probes, harsh accusations against the irs -- >> i have not broken any laws. >> reporter: scathing words for cigarette makers. >> difference between cigarettes and twinkies and the other products you mentioned is death. >> reporter: and outrageous questions for the secret service. >> we're talking about a respected member of the secret service who was absolutely drunk. >> reporter: admittedly congressional hearings often lead to nothing, but every now and then, this unique type of political theater collides with something important, and then it really can be a show worth watching.
anderson? >> tom foreman, thanks so much. and thanks for watching 360 tonight. tune in tomorrow, 9:00 a.m., wolf blitzer and i will host special coverage of the comey hearing. right now it's time to hand things over to don lemon, cnn tonight starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. breaking news, james comey's highly anticipated senate appearance just hours away. this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. as we look ahead to tomorrow, we have some of the fbi director's bombshell testimony. comey asked the senate to make his opening statement public ahead of time. and it is packed with dramatic revelations of what happened in his private meetings with the president. we're going to go through the whole thing for you tonight as %-p sometimes awkward, and recorded at a time in memo form by an uneasy comey. he begin