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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  June 8, 2017 9:43am-10:00am PDT

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details of his memos of his conversations with the president in order to create a ground swell for a special counsel, the special counsel robert mueller, the former fbi director who has been named. we're standing by to hear, to get official response, the president's private outside attorney will be speaking over at the white house. we'll of course have coverage of that. in the meantime, let's get quick reaction from all of our reporters and analysts who are with us. dana bash, the white house did not waste any time. sarah huckabee sanders telling reporters, quote, i can definitely say the president is not a liar. >> not exactly a statement you ever want a white house press secretary to president of the
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united states, because as you said -- >> and that was the feeling that he had in that sort of dramatic moment that -- when he asked to clear the room, had the discussion with him, and he -- this is still one person's word against another. and certainly he took contemporaneous notes and that is incredibly important. but when it comes to the political jury of public opinion, the people who are predisposed to believing president trump probably are still going to do that. the other thing that i found and you also mentioned this, extraordinary isn't just that james comey admitted that he asked a friend of his to give the contents of his memos to the new york times, but that he said
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that he did it because he wanted to spur a special counsel. we have said before he might not be a democrat or republican, but boy is this guy political to sort of have the wherewithal to do that and to sort of think ten steps ahead and want that to be the end goal. that just gives you a sense that he's not just a polly anna boy scout. he wants to affect something and he wants to get to the point of something like that and he knows exactly how to do it and use the institutions of washington and the media to make that happen. >> he certainly understands, gloria borger, how things work in washington. it worked for him. there is a special counsel. >> that's right. he wasn't born yesterday. he's been around washington a long time. and he chose his words carefully today. when he said in his opening that the president, they were defaming him and he said those were lies, plain and simple. and then he went on to describe
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these meetings, wolf, in which he made it very clear that when the president said i hope you get rid of this investigation, whatever the quote was, that he said i took it as a direction. this is what he wants me to do. now, it's up to the special counsel to decide whether, in fact, you know, that constitutes obstruction and perhaps it's up to the congress in a political sense. but he also said, and he intimated this, kwyou asked com to stay and you didn't get anything for it. and he said he asked for his loyalty in terms of the context of getting him to do what he wanted. in other words, you get to stay in your job if you behave the way i want you to behave. i think that's pretty damming. he wouldn't comment specifically on obstruction because he did not want to do that. but i think when he said that
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that he took this as direction and outlined this kind of quid pro quo it's very damming. >> the words from the white house and other officials about why he had been fired were lies, plain and simple, and he wanted to get the record straight. he also said that michael flynn, the fired national security adviser, was in legal jeopardy. >> and later on he said -- he was asked specifically about his statements to the fbi and do you have any reason to believe he gave false statements to the fbi and he said that's one of the reasons he was under criminal investigation. a number of significant things. one, this won't get much attention because it's in the rearview mirror but pretty damming about loretta lynch and her handling of the clinte-mail investigation. >> he said he was confused by that and concerned by that. number two, he also made clear he has turned overall of his doums documents to the special
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counsel, but it tells you as we speak today an investigation that was about behavior in 2016, russian meddling, did anybody in the trump campaign circle co lude or co ord nordinate in any with the rauussians in the oval office. as we know from past history, you don't know where it's going to go. the other thing i found interesting is the republicans did not challenge jim comey's account. nobody said you're not telling the truth. nobody said this didn't happen. what they tried to say was well, could you take it in a different context, that this is president trump, he had fired michael flynn, he's a friend, he's a loyalist. cut some guy ss some slack. it is interesting. they didn't say jim comey is lying. they said can we interpret this in a way that's much more kind to the president. but they did not question the facts that he asked for loyalty. he pulled him aside and said can you go easy or do something and this is in a legal context now,
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even as thigh tried to give a kinder view of this for the president, they didn't challenge the facts. they did not say at any point we don't think you're telling the truth. >> it's going to be a he said versus she said on several of these sensitive points, nia and, at one point comey said lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> the tapes have come up because donald trump said that comey should hope there weren't tapes. he put tapes in quotation marks in twitter. sarah huckabee sanders essentially said she didn't know if there were tapes, you should talk to the secret service. that's i think going to remain a mystery. we will see going forward what this white house's strategy is. we' we'll hear from the president's personal attorney. this is a new kind of wrinkle in strategy that this white house has because it's mainly been through twitter. there were sort of suggestions that the president might tweet his way through this hearing,
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live tweet it. that would have been something. i don't think he's tweeted at all, so we'll see this official statement from the lawyer at some point. what was interesting i think from the republicans is they very much wanted to focus on jim comey's behavior, why didn't he resign, for instance. cotton talked about that because at one point in comey's career he did threaten to resign. why didn't you alert someone that this was happening? essentially saying it must not have been such a big deal if you didn't call the president out on the spot even and dianne feinstein got to that tooch. she tried to suggest maybe it was because of the oval office and it was this grand setting and he cowed by this setting. it was interesting to see what the republicans were doing. >> he said i wish i'd been more courageous and he was in the oval office. maybe he should have been more forthright and stormed down and said you can't possibly do this.
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but he admitted, you know, i didn't do that. the other thing that was so interesting was he kept giving us these little bread crumbs today about areas that perhaps the special counsel will be looking at. and in terms of the attorney general sessions, he said, you know, that his role in the russia probe may be more problematic than we know, but he could not discuss it publicly. >> but it was also clear that to the point about why didn't he go to other people. earlier on barack obama was still president of the united states. this started under president-elect trump. he said there was nobody confirmed. it was all acting. so he decided he would keep this to himself and maybe use it down the road. this is again an early chapter. >> can i say really quickly, big picture, the irony of this whole thing is that the president of the united states over and over again was trying to get james comey to tell the american people that he's not under investigation and in this hearing james comey purposely or not made clear that since the
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special counsel has the memos about these conversations that perhaps it wasn't that -- that wasn't so at the time, that the president wasn't a part of the v investigation or under investigation, but now he might be because of his attempts to get the fbi director to say publicly that he wasn't. >> comey repeatedly gsaid re-lease the memos. the law professor currently has those memos. >> i'm surprised they weren't angrier about that. >> we're standing by. the hearing is about to resume behind closed doors. we're also awaiting a statement from the president's outside attorney. >> let's listen in to senator burr. >> the russian involvement in the 2016 elections. it also enabled the american people to understand massive amounts of stories that's been out there and to sort through those and to have an individual that can lay some factual
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context to it. this is nowhere near the end of our investigation. and i think it's safe to say today that next week we hope to work with special counsel mueller to workout clear pathways for both investigations, his and ours to continue, to work on deconfliction of potentially testimony, but we're confident today that we can, through this process, work through a very bipartisan and thorough investigation that at the end of it answers many of the questions that the american people might have today. >> i want to simply add i was very proud of how all of the members conducted themselves today. i thought it was very important that the american people get a chance to hear jim comey's statements about what all has transpired. the one thing, even if we may have different views on where some of these questions may
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lead, the one message that i hope all americans will take home is recognizing how significant the russian interference in our electoral process was, how it goes to the core of our democracy, and that we've got to be prepared to make sure that we are in a better defensive position in 2018, 2019 and frankly in my home state as early as next week where we have a primary. thank you all. >> senator burr and senator warner. go back now with the panel here in washington. so many key points today to go over that the jim comey took what donald trump said about michael flynn as a directive, that he did not go to jeff sessions. he said. because he knew or assumed that jeff sessions would have to recuse himself. jeff sessions did so two weeks later. >> and i think the february 14th meeting remains the focus and the crucial issue in this whole investigation because that is the most incriminating act that
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the president took in terms of a possible obstruction of justice case telling jim comey, and comey clearly felt he was ordered to stop this investigation. >> even though the president said i hope. >> yes. it was an interesting exchange with the senator from maine, angus king, the famous line about thomas beckett, who will rid me of this meddlesome previous. you don't tell someone but you know you send the message. there is also the point where there is the clearest conflict between comey and trump. >> because the president has denied -- >> trump gsdsaid i didn't make sort of order. so i think that remains the most important point of conflict. and the other point i think dana alluded to this, but i think it's very important, is there was a -- in the letter that
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trump wrote firing comey, he said three times you told me that i was not under investigation and that was in may. well, here we know in june donald trump is under criminal investigation, and that's a big deal and that's important. >> jim acosta. >> he's a mart guy too. i just want to focus on what we learned about the various investigations under way from comey today. one, as john king said earlier, that the flynn hope comment is clearly under investigation now. comey said as much. comey said it was immediately of investigative interest which is one reason he didn't go to the attorney general. two, he says something the special counsel will look into. we know because the special counsel has the memos that he is looking into that. >> he also said he did not inform the investigative team about it because he thought it would have an impact on the investigation. >> exactly. on the dossier, the famous dossier, which has been
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dismissed by republicans, it's been discredited, it is not completely dismissed and comey said i captain comment in open session. but two, towards the end he said the issue of whether the russians have compromising information on the president still under investigation. still an open question. towards the end as well he said members of the trump team colluded with rush. on the issue of whether the president himself co sclalluded russia, but when cotton asked him about it he said i can't answer in open session. again, there's still something there that he can't comment on. so to some degree it remains an open question. that's important here. you'll hear interpretations from this because people want to take
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from this what they hear. this issue is closed, that issue is closed. there are a lot of open questions still and it may not involve the president today. and to be clear we should be fair. comey said that when he left the job, there weren't open investigations of the president. that is key. but if the dossier question is opened, if compromising information is open, if trump team collusion is still open, there are things that could touch the president that are still open questions. >> that's exactly right. the open investigation f he wasn't aware of one at the time he was fired, certainly that raises the interest level of saying well, maybe that was part of the now investigation as to why trump was so adamant about having him no longer in office. what this did for comey is reiterate i think what's going to raise some pretty fair criticism once again which is he's so interested in being the last sign of defense for the credibility of the fbi and inherently himself that i think at times it undermines his own arguments he's trying to make to show his object activity. now, i think what he said was
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very important today. it illuminated a lot of issues t. d. it did raise other issues. the obstruction issue cannot foreseeably go away. it is the beginning of an investigative inquiry. it's not the end of one. but he has positioned himself in a manner that he dons a cape to say i alone -- he started his argument talking about i was insulted and the fbi was defamed by what happened here. he goes on to talk about these thing. i think he's going to get the same amount of criticism again, but i did real, from a perspective as a prosecutor, i thought to myself that illuminates an issue and shows there an open door here and perhaps the president's efforts to create road blocks that will become hurdles for his administration. >> to laura's point about criticisms of comey, the criticism that we've heard from republicans is obviously going to continue which is that comey at in point either said look, this is obstruction of justice or at

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