tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN June 8, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
inquiry with whatever the limitations of staff they had. and now the president is being closed in on by the best and most competent investigator in this investigative culture, bob mueller, and a bipartisan committee of the senate of the united states, which is determined to get to the bottom of what he has done. >> carl bernstein, thanks so much. thanks for watching 360. cnn tonight starts right after a quick break. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. two hours and 20 minutes of testimony that had america on the edge of its seat, and it all comes down to this. who do you believe? the president of the united states or the fbi director he fired? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon live in washington. thanks for joining us. james comey repeatedly and bluntly saying under oath the president lied. >> the administration then chose to defame me and, more
importantly, the fbi by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies plain and simple. i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it really important to document. >> the president's response? >> mr. president, any reaction to comey's testimony? any reaction at all? >> thank you very much. >> do you think he told the truth? >> so the question, again, is a question that could decide america's future. who do you believe? let's get right to cnn's senior political analyst mark preston. i'm smiling because everyone in the room is laughing at that comment. mark preston, jason miller, gloria borger. van jones, david axelrod and
chris cilizza. why don't we start with mr. preston sitting to my right here. a remarkable day in american history, don't you think? was this the worst day, do you think, of this president's young presidency? >> we've used that terminology a lot given so many things that have happened during this presidency, but i don't think it was the worst day of his presidency. i don't think it was necessarily a great day to have the former fbi director on national television across every network laying out what he felt was intimidation by the president. i also don't think we can look at this through one prism. there are different ways you have to look at it -- politically, legally. we just saw this past hour from gary tuckerman's piece, we were talking off camera where his supporters still seem to be with him. so i just think it's very complicated, and honestly i just think -- and i've been saying this for the last 24 hours and will for the next six orthopedic sev -- or seven months, this is one little piece of a complicated
jigsaw puzzle. >> i want to get to this quickly and talk about the attorney general jeff sessions because senators learned something in a closed-door meeting. what did they learn today or possibly learn? >> well, they've learned about another potential meeting between sessions and the russians, and we don't know anything more about that other than what jim sciutto has reported. and i think this raises questions because as senator blumenthal said tonight, this could be perjury for sessions if this, indeed, turns out to be the truth. and i think what comey did today, he did it with sessions, he left these little bread crumbs everywhere that you could sort of pick up on. and one of them was this question about sessions and how he didn't feel he could go to jeff sessions with his issues about the president because he knew he was going to recuse himself for this and other reasons. and then we discover now what the other reason was. so, you know, it could be difficult for sessions. >>. you say bread crumbs. i say little land mines because
everyone is saying there wasn't anything that was punitive damagely explosiv damagelyhugely explosive. also learning today that the president's son-in-law is going to meet with members of the senate intelligence committee as early as this month. >> right. he's going to be interviewed by the -- >> what does it say about the speed of this veginvestigation? >> this is congress's job. the special counsel takes a very long time because the special counsel is talking about prosecution, and that takes a long time. the congress needs to shed light, and that's their job. and they are making progress. and i think without being too polly a polly ana-ish about it, what we saw in the senate today was impressive. yes, it was partisan, and yes, democrats came at things differently than republicans. but they all asked good questions. you didn't hear republicans attacking comey's veracity. you heard them asking questions about, well, if you thought this was so terrible, why didn't you
say that to the president? but i thought today you saw the senate doing its job and trying to get to the bottom of this story. >> i think today, though, was a political sort of rorschach test of where you are. if you're a democrat, you saw it one way. if you're a republican, you saw it the other way. and if i don't let jason get in, he's going to leap across you. what did you want to say? >> very important but critical addition to what gloria was just talking about. additional reporting on the sessions story from this closed-door senate meeting said that it was russian to russian intelligence and that kislyak -- take it with a boulder sized grain of salt. that could have been blown out of proportion. this could have been completely cooked up. >> who didn't meet with kislyak? is there anyone in this room that -- >> he had a very busy 2016. >> he certainly did. >> he's the hardest working person in washington. >> he's also one of the most
forgettable people strangely because many people forgot him. >> meet with kislyak and don't tell. >> here more of comey today, and then we'll discuss. >> the administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the fbi by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies plain and simple. i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so i thought it really important to document. that combination of things, i'd never experienced before, but it led me to believe i got to write it down, and i got to write it down in a very detailed way. >> i mean it really was the lying lie, the lying leaker. this is the battle of words, right? the battle lines are drawn. >> you know what's funny, it struck me that washington -- obviously i've realized this before, but that washington is not like the rest of the country in that -- >> what? >> yes. yeah. oh, we've got the breaking news
up there, yeah. good. whew. in this way. for jim comey, who is part and parcel of a political world, i know he's not an elected official, but he is someone who has been around this world for a long time. for him to say repeatedly donald trump lied, the president is wrong, i wrote down our notes because i was worried the president would lie about it -- okay. for the average person, well, okay, he thought he would lie, so he said it. but politicians and people in the political world do not say "lie" easily. i think some of it's a reflection of the fact that jim comey is frankly angry. i think what you heard particularly as it related to trump running down his performance at the fbi and that people are with him -- >> he took it personally. >> right. so that's point one. point two i think is he -- look, he and trump are oil and water. i mean they were never going -- i'm not sure it had to go the way it went, but they were never going to get along. and i think this is a reflection of that.
so i actually -- >> it shouldn't matter. >> you're exactly right, gloria. it shouldn't matter. but i was surprised that he, particularly in the beginning -- that was essentially his opening statement that we played. in the beginning of his testimony, he went there. >> as we say, he went in. >> he did not -- this was not a, like -- he punched him. >> that was my question. are you surprised that he went in because as i was sitting there watching it, i was like, wow, he's going in here. >> look, i see this really differently. i spent a lot of time in trump territory, red counties trying to understand the trump voters. what trump said he was going to do was to come to this town, and he was going to put this town on its knees. he was going to tell this town what it was going to do. he was going to drain the swamp. the big story here is that trha completely lost control of this town and of the narrative, and the guy he thought he had swatted off the board is
basically running d.c. basically comey is saying, comey don't play that. comey don't play that. i'm not even the fbi director and -- >> i think people -- i think the average person at home probably doesn't understand how savvy what he did today was because i think -- >> not just today but leading up to today. >> leading up to today and that there's way more to come than what we saw on the service. >> listen, if you like donald trump and you have very low standards, you're happy today, right, because it turned out there wasn't a huge bombshell. it just turns out he's being called a liar and maybe a criminal. but if you like donald trump and you have low standards, it's a happy day for you. but this is one day, and there are more days coming. and when you have multiple investigations going on, it's not the one drop of water. it's the bathtub filling up that's going to drown you. >> i need to play this because this is comey talking about that meeting in the oval office where he was -- everyone else was asked to leave except for him, to talk about flynn. here it is.
>> my impression was something big is about to happen. i need to remember every single word that is spoken. and, again, i could be wrong. i'm 56 years old. i've seen a few things. my sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving, which is why he was lingering, and i don't know mr. kushner well, but i think he picked up on the same thing. and so i knew something was about to happen that i needed to pay very close attention to. i took it as a direction. i mean this is the president of the united states with me alone, saying, i hope this. i took it as this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> so two things here, david. he said he took hope as that, you know, this is a direction he wanted to let it go. and also he indicated that sessions probably knew better than to leave him alone, and that's why he lingered and he told him to leave. >> yeah. >> what did you think? >> look, i think it is
extraordinarily unusual for an fbi director to meet alone with the president like that, for the president to kick everybody out of the room including the attorney general for whom the fbi director works should raise great suspicions. now, the president denied through his lawyer that he said "let it go." that will be, i'm sure, thrashed out over time. >> but can i ask you something? we all have bosses, right? you work in corporate america. if your boss brings you in, and he says, david, i hope you can do better on that or change this, what does that mean? >> do better. >> well, i mean, let me just say this. i worked for the president of the united states for two years, okay? everybody is responsive to their boss. but the president of the united states -- >> in the oval office. >> -- is a boss like nobody else's boss, in the oval office. and when you're called in there and when everybody is cleared
out and this comes after several meetings in which your status is discussed and, you know, your continuation and so on, it is very hard to -- i understand why comey felt the way he felt. and there's another point to be made, and it goes to van's point because i do think people are going to leave this thing, if you were for trump, you'll find a reason to be for trump. if you are not for trump, you'll probably be more receptive to what comey had to say today. but what is undeniable is how flabbergasting it is that no one intervened, that the attorney general left, the vice president leaves, the chief of staff sticks his head in and gets shooed away. in the white house eye in which i worked, this scene would have been -- you know, it would have been impossible, but the fact that the white house counsel was not sitting there in that meeting with the president is a reflection of either a complete
background -- a complete breakdown or something worse. >> we've got more on the other side, everybody. stick around. when we come right back, james comey reveals what the president whispered in his ear in the blue room. plus live from the uk, there are some stunning election results coming in. prime minister theresa may's fortunes hanging by a thread. we're going to bring you the latest on that. we, the tv loving people, want our whole house to be filled with entertainment. roooooaaar!!! easy boy. but we don't want annual contracts and hardware. you scoundrel! ugh! we just want to stream live tv. and we want it for 10 dollars a month. (raspy) wow. i'd like that in my house. it's a very big house. yeah, mine too.
extraordinary testimony from fbi director james comey. back now with my panel. jason, i want to play how the president's personal attorney, marc kasowitz responded. here it is. >> mr. comey has finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately. that is that the president was not under investigation as part
of any probe into russian interference. the president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that mr. comey stop investigating anyone, including the president never suggested that mr. comey, quote, let flynn go, closed quote. the president also never told mr. comey, quote, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty, closed quote. he never said it in form, and he never said it in substance. >> so comey is accurate in confirming that the president was not under investigation, but then he rejects that he -- you know, what he said about the loyalty oath. so is he cherry picking here? >> i think the biggest takeaway was the first part, about saying that the president was not under investigation. and let's just be completely honest here. when the president put out that statement saying that on three separate occasions director
comey told him that he was not under investigation, i had so many members of the media who would text or e-mail or phone call with little snickers and joking behind the scenes that there is absolutely no way this happened. and when director comey came out and confirmed it, that was a big deal. not only was it a big deal for folks who might be in the middle, it was a big deal for the republican base. it was a big deal for the republicans who hoped the president was completely accurate, but then to hear that directly from director comey, that was spot on. >> why believe that and not believe the other thing, then? >> i think, look, they probably -- [ overlapping voices ] >> but i just can't imagine a scenario -- i think it's just way too fantastic where the president would start asking questions like, you know, will you be loyal to me? that does not sound like donald trump. >> but you're saying the same thing that you said from the other side. i can't imagine a scenario where the acting -- or the fbi director would confirm to someone that they weren't under investigation. you're saying the same thing
but -- >> i'm saying this as someone who knows the president and knows how he talks and how he interacts with people. i can't imagine it would be this -- but let's put aside my personal insight into the president. i think what was stunning today, absolutely stunning, was the fact that director comey didn't go and take that supposed conversation about general flynn to attorney general sessions, that he did not go and write another letter of resignation like i dhe did in 2004. >> didn't he say he couldn't trust the attorney general -- >> but then he continued to have one-on-one phone calls with the president. now, with regard to attorney general sessions, he had a conversation with him, but he didn't go and bring up these supposed allegations. >> this is not fair. >> it's accurate. >> i understand what you're trying to do, but i don't think it's accurate. if you're head of the fbi and you're trying to figure out what's going on, it could be the case that the president of the united states or someone in his camp is colluding with the
russians. that's got to be your main thing. you don't want to lose that trail. you don't want to throw anything off. you've been now put in an impossible situation by the president of the united states shooing everybody out of the room and talking to you. so now we're all sitting back here saying, well, why didn't he do this? why didn't he do that? why was he in this situation in the first place? that has got to be where we start and we stop. he should never have been put there. [ overlapping voices ] >> another thing. why is sessions -- sessions is a weirdo. why would sessions sit there and -- >> no name calling. >> you can answer this question because you love him so much. why so sessions sit there, see his subordinate be left behind, walk out of the room, and then here comes his guy, and he never even asked, hey, man, what happened in there? >> answer this question. >> that is weird behavior. that is bizarre behavior for any subordinate.
>> van, the first meeting with the president and the director was a one-on-one at the director's request. >> no. i -- that has nothing -- >> the january 6th. >> to brief him on the -- [ overlapping voices ] >> even after that meeting, they continued to have one-on-one phone calls. >> here's an fbi director, and he tells his story in a very orderly way about how his concern grew about his relationship with the president and what the president was saying to him. so by the time they had that valentine's day meeting, he says, i remember thinking this is a disturbing development, and he shared it with his team. this is what he did. he felt, okay, i can't share it with sessions for whatever reason. he went to the deputy attorney general, who he, you know, didn't hear back from or whatever that story was. and what he did was what a lawyer would do, is you go to
your leadership team immediately, and you say, i've got a problem here. i'm memorialized this. and he talked it out with them, what should we do? this is why he -- [ overlapping voices ] >> because they had an ongoing counterintelligence investigation. to van's point, that is very important. >> he said that. >> he said, i didn't want to infect -- it was his word. >> why didn't he resign then? >> why should he resign? >> because he threatened to resign or he wrote the letter in 2004 when he had a legal disagreement with the whole ash kr croft in the hospital. >> i don't subscribe to the weirdo theory, so let me just separate myself. >> that's inappropriate. >> you've made that clear. but there are many explanations for why sessions would have gotten up and left the room, some of which would influence you not to go to him to discuss
this. i do find it odd that he is -- you know, the fbi director actually works for the attorney general, and the attorney general doesn't ask the fbi director, saying, what were you talking about in there? but that doesn't necessarily reflect being weird. it could reflect other things. [ overlapping voices ] >> when he goes to sessions, though, and says, remember, you got to stop trump -- like, i can't have these conversations with trump. i found that to be fascinating too. he doesn't say anything. [ overlapping voices ] >> he's still the president of the united states. to me -- [ overlapping voices ] >> if it was such a big deal, why didn't he then insist other people were in on the phone call? >> i think we have to look at the situation which is extremely complicated, and we're all in the weeds of it because we understand it. it's very difficult for people who have jobs and have real lives to understand it, and i can understand the frustration. >> technically we have jobs. [ overlapping voices ] >> no, no. but on a serious note, and i
heard this from several republicans today, and it bears asking not just because of the situation but for every serious situation that the president is confronted. where was jeff sessions this whole time? no, no. where was reince priebus during this time? where was steve bannon during this time? where was don mcgahn, who is the lawyer for the white house, at this time? because as we heard from the house speaker today, listen, he's kind of learning it, right? you know, he's just getting to understand how to work the government. >> what about the staff? >> the staff -- the staff has got to be held accountable. >> let me ask this. >> for making sure that donald trump -- >> you all remember, who do you trust? listen, i'm not defending james comey, but who do you trust in that situation when you have so many people who you're not sure of what their role is or where they stand in this investigation? >> i think the one thing that every ordinary person in america can't understand and why i do think it's odd and strange and, yes, weird. many of us have been in a situation, you got your big boss, and you've got your subordinate.
you go into a situation. your big boss tells you to leave and then starts talking to your subordinate. that is a very alarming, shocking moment for you as a middle manager of anybody else. the very -- the normal thing to do is immediately to ask your subordinate, what did the big boss say? what happened? sessions never does that. that, itself -- >> the answer, don, to your question is that there's only one person here in this story who wrote down his contemporaneous notes, went to his colleagues, reported back to them on it. now, that doesn't necessarily -- he could have made the whole thing up. >> right. >> he could have made it up. i guess that's the argument that you would make. >> saving it until he leaked it. >> you've got a whole bunch of witnesses who apparently will say, this is what he told us at the time. >> if you're going to make something up, why make up a hope
instead of "the president directed me to." >> he didn't make anything up. this is a guy who ran into the car, for heaven's sakes, after his first meeting at trump tower and started typing because he felt that these were things he needed to memorialize and share with his team. i think his overall goal here, if i had to guess, was he had an ongoing investigation that he did not want to stop. he felt it was important. this is important work. this is important work, and it would have sort of stopped it dead in its tracks. as he said today, i wasn't captain courageous. looking back at it, should i have said to the president -- i think it was dianne feinstein who said, you're big and strong. why didn't you say to the president, you know, stop. you can't do that. and he admitted to being sheepish. >> you have interactions with your boss or with a co-worker and it replays. why didn't i say this? i have done this. i should write this down.
we're talking about the truthfulness of both people in this situation, and they called each other a liar. the white house today pushing back on, you know, the president being a liar, being called a liar, saying that he can be trusted. here it is. >> no, i can definitively say the president's not a liar, and i think it's frankly insulting that that question would be asked. >> what do you think of that? >> okay. so first of all, jason, i know, will agree to this. anytime you're in a situation, democrat or republican, in which you have to say the phrase "no, i don't think the president is a liar" it tends not to be a good day. i don't think anyone thought today -- i don't think donald trump circled his calendar and thought, today is going to be a great day for me politically speaking. there are days any politician -- you just have to kind of get through them. the thing that bothers me about sarah sanders' response there is frankly i'd be offended that you
ask -- the former fbi director on at least five occasions by my account, a few hours before she said that, had called donald trump a liar. it's not as though the media sort of said, you know, out of the blue, hey, i think donald trump's liar. so when you have someone -- whatever you think of james comey, this is someone who has a track record, who is a serious person, and who by the way, don, i would like to mention this, was under oath. so there are real penalties for not telling the truth in that situation. >> people realize that james comey is under oath, and the president -- i'm not saying the president is lying, but also, jason, that tactic has been used by trump surrogates even on me, you know. why are you badgering me? why are you lying? it's like i'm not, but if you want to, you know, give someone the -- if you want to pretend that someone is doing that, it's easy to do it. >> if you're a trump supporter
and the worst thing coming out today -- >> why are you lying to me? you see what i'm saying? >> if that is the worst thing that happened today is the name "liar" is getting thrown out there, then this is a pretty darn good day. >> he's actually right. it could have been a really, really -- let me emphasize really -- >> as opposed to obstruction? >> director comey did come out and said he did say to the president he did not try to impede investigation into russia. >> he also said he didn't ask much about it. >> he said he was not under investigation at the time when he left. [ overlapping voices ] >> he even went the extra step and said he couldn't point to a single vote that was changed in the selection by some supposed coordination between the campaign and a foreign entity. >> no one has ever said any votes were changed. and also that's not the nature of the investigation from the fbi or any of the intelligence, whether any votes were changed. that's not what they look at. >> it's big he came out and said
that today, all of those things. so we have some name-calling today. and going to the specific things, saying that the president -- you know, writing in this memo that he might lie or to go through and, look, the director might not have liked some of the descriptions that were given about how he did his job, but those are opinions. there's a difference between people having strong opinions and lying. and so there's some name-calling today. big deal. >> but you can acknowledge that it was a bad day, though? can you acknowledge that? it wasn't a good day. it was a bad day. it just could have been a really bad day. >> i think the dems overreached. there's going to be a big backlash. >> as great as this conversation is, i've got to move on. up next, comey says he released memos of conversations in response to a tweet of the president. we're going to talk about it with both a current and former member of the house intelligence committee. plus a stunning election night battle in the uk for one of president trump's top allies. the latest results are coming in, and we're going to bring them to you.
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stories. james comey's stunning senate testimony and a pitch battle in the uk, the election there for prime minister. theresa may, one of president trump's top allies. frederick pleitgen live for us outside number 10 downing street with the very latest. hello, fred. first, there was the shock of the brexit result in the uk, and now another unexpected election result there tonight. what's going on, and will theresa may still be the prime minister is the question? >> reporter: well, that's a big question right now, don. i can tell you it really is a real nail-biter here in the united kingdom. there are some projections that say theresa may might be able to hold on, but there are also others that say that she will lose her majority. that certainly is a big blow to theresa may because keep in mind that she called this election to begin with because she thought she was going to increase her majority, and there are already people who are calling on her to resign. so certainly it looks as though at this point, don, that there is some political instability
with one of america's closest allies here in europe. >> frederick, people here in the u.s. remember that prime minister may came to the united states, visited president trump, who is an extremely controversial figure in europe. recently, though, he attacked the mayor of london on twitter immediately after a terror attack. what does this mean for the president here? has he lost an ally? >> reporter: well, potentially. and certainly if theresa may does lose this election and if indeed jeremy corbyn, who is the man who is running against her wins this election, then certainly president trump will have lost an ally here in europe. and you're absolutely right. there was somewhat of a trump factor also in this election as well, especially with that twitter spat between the mayor of london, sadiq khan, and president trump shortly after those terror attacks took place. there's certainly a lot of people here in britain that didn't take that very well. some of the criticism coming from president trump. and they felt that theresa may was quite weak at defending the mayor of london, whereas jeremy corbyn, who is running against her, was very strong in coming
out against president trump. so it will be very interesting to see and certainly could shift the balance of the power here as far as the u.s. is concerned as well. >> and twitter causing trouble for foreign leaders as well, frederick. >> reporte fred, are you there? i think we lost fred pleitgen there. we'll get back to him. but again it's going down to the wire. theresa may may not be able to hold on to her seat as prime minister. we'll keep you updated on that. it's still not decided yet. but, again, we'll bring that to you. now i want to turn to the breaking news back here at home. fired fbi director james comey sending shock waves across capitol hill, telling a senate panel president trump lies. joining me now is congressman jim himes and former congressman pete hoekstra, a republican who is a former chairman of the intelligence committee. good evening to both of you. thank you both for coming on. what's your reaction, first, congressman himes to the former
fbi direct or's testimony today? >> when you have a situation where jim comey is saying one thing and the president is saying, no, he's lying, you've got a really profound he said/she said. you've got a president where the conversation has shifted away from what happened with russia to is he liable to being charged with obstruction of justice? that's a pretty bad place to be. >> based on what you heard, do you think it's obstruction of justice? >> it's too early to say. there's a lot of evidence pointing in that direction. obviously as comey said today, that's something for robert mueller to do. we're not going to hear a lot about mueller's investigation. the politics of this -- and that's the other piece of this. you know, today a big win for the republicans is if you believed two things. number one, you celebrate the fact that the president is not under criminal investigation, which he said and apparently it was true. okay. yay, the president is not under criminal investigation. and the other thing is, you know, the speaker of the house, paul ryan said today he did that because he doesn't know his way
around. i can't remember the exact verbiage, but he doesn't know what he's doing. >> sort of a political neophyte. >> the point is the political message for the republicans that they're hoping we will buy is that the president is not under criminal investigation and he doesn't know what he's doing. that is a terrible place to be politically. >> congressman hoekstra, what do you make of what the public heard from jim comey heard today in. >> i think they heard four things. they heard the former director really throw four groups of people under the bus. first he threw loretta lynch and the obama administration under the bus and called into question the political motivations of the justice department during the obama administration. clearly the name-calling towards the president of the united states, he threw the president under the bus. he threw the media under the bus. i don't know whether he actually used the term "fake news" or not, but he really called into question and accused the media of a lot of sloppiness.
and he threw james comey under the bus. this was a strong individual. he was unable to stand up to loretta lynch. he didn't stand up to president trump. and then when the rubber hit the road here at the end when he got fired, he said, i'm going to take my notes. i'm going to give them to my former law professor, and i'm going to have them turn over this material to "the new york times." this is stuff that the senate intelligence committee is trying to figure out how to get their hands on. so we now also established that james comey is a leaker in chief. the bottom line is this is a loss for the american people. they're looking at the swamp, and they're saying, let's see. we can't trust the justice department. we've got name-calling going on. you know, the media is now called into question one more time. and we've got a former director of the fbi who is now also the leaker in chief. and the american penople are saying, let's move on and let's get some issues done and resolved.
>> do you agree with that congressman because he's saying some pretty dire things about american institutions. to me, this seems like it's a political rorschach test depending on where you are politically. he saw some things that democrats didn't see. democrats saw some -- republicans saw some things that you didn't see. is that your takeaway? >> i completely disagree with ex-congressman hoekstra. what he's trying to do is say, this is just one big mess. lots of name calling. everybody is guilty. the fact of the matter is not a single american today saw any name calling. yes, jim comey raised a profoundly disturbing question about loretta lynch and why would she say, don't call it an investigation. call it a matter. that is something that anybody -- again, let's get out of the political bologna that we're hering and say that's something that is very, very serious. but jim comey -- and he admitted it. he was totally up front about saying when you're standing with the president of the united states and he's threatened your job and told you what he wants to do, i don't know about pete. but, you know, that's a tough political moment. so what you're hearing from mr. hoekstra, of course, is,
gosh, nothing matters. it's alterable. no. we have a situation now where the president very clearly decided to ignore the rule of law, the tradition of independence of the fbi. he may very well -- i'm not prepared to say that he did, but he may very well have obstructed justice. whatever you want to say about jim comey or the media or loretta lynch, those facts are true and they are challenging. >> go ahead, congressman hoekstra. >> no, i think that's not at all accurate. what this investigation was originally intended to do and supposedly what they've been working on for, you know, 12 to 15 months is determining exactly what the russians were doing to try to influence the u.s. elections. what the intelligence committees on both sides of the aisle -- or both sides of the hill, both in the senate and the house, their job and responsibility is to identify exactly what the russians did, whether they were successful or not, and then come up with the recommendations in terms of how do we deal with
these kinds of threats for future elections in 2018, 2020? how do we change the rule of law to minimize these types of things? how do we strengthen our intelligence communities to be able to identify these threats and how we stop them in the future. >> it's interesting that he says that, congressman, because james comey said the president never asked him about that, about how you fix the problem, especially when if comes to a foreign entity meddling in the election. >> well, and that's a very interesting question. why would the president of the united states, when there are three investigations under way about russian meddling into the election, the very core of our democratic process, why would he not ask about that? and, look, mr. hoekstra is exactly half right. yes, all three investigations are looking at certainly the congressional investigations are looking at russian meddling into our election. the part that he left out is that the fbi, the senate, and the house -- this is black and white, on the scope of our investigations -- are also looking into what james comey
talked about in march, which is whether there were links between the trump campaign and that russian meddling. now, there is no answer to that question. but that is a very, very serious question, as serious as to the question of how and why the russians did that. so trying to say that this is not actually about the trump administration is a partisan point that is not accurate to what is happening today. >> congressmen, thank you both. comes up, was james comey within his rights to release his own memos about the president? exper. improve our workflow. attract new customers. that's when fastsigns recommended fleet graphics. yeah! now business is rolling in. get started at fastsigns.com.
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adopted new leak detection technology that is one-thousand times more sensitive, and built a state-of-the-art gas operations center. we can never forget what happened in san bruno. that's why we're working every day to make pg&e the safest energy company in the nation. james comey revealed today he asked a friend, a professor at columbia law school, to share the contents of his trump memo with a reporter. let's discuss this now with my legal experts, adam goldberg, phillip lack vera, and leon jaworski, and cnn contributor john dean, a former nixon white house counsel and author of "conservatives without conscience" and ambassador james
woolsey, former director of the cia. was comey within his rights, john dean, to share the contents of that memo with his friend? >> i think he was. we have no official secrets act in this country. he's a private citizen. it was a memo that he made of a conversation that might have been considered a government document. it might have also been considered a diary document. so it's hard to tell. i don't think he broke any law. >> what he did was very salvvy. he said he did it because he wanted a special prosecutor. he said he did it in response to the president's tweet. the tweet said, james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. was leaking a memo the only way to get the special prosecutor? >> i thought it was one of the techniques he thought he was going to have to use because he didn't have confidence at that point in the deputy attorney general, who had been the person who seemed to have been responsible for providing the
grounds for sacking him although it turned out later that the president admitted that the cover story was faultsz. false. so i don't think comey saw he had any other route legal or illegal? >> legal, you know, i think the big problem -- the interesting thing about that, was marc kasowitz in his statement thought he got it wrong. >> let's listen to a memo from him. >> he made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president. the leaks of this privileged information began no later than march 2017, when friends of mr.
comey have stated that he disclosed to them the conversations that he had with the president during their january 27th, 2017 dinner, and february 14th, 2017 white house meeting. today, mr. comey admitted that he leaked to friends of his purported memos of those privileged communications. one of which he testified was classified. mr. comey also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of those memos to the press in order to -- in mr. comey's words, quote, prompt the appointment of a special counsel. we will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated, along with all of the others that are being investigated.
>> so jim woolsey, the question is, to the point here made earlier by adam, he actually get the time line wrong. he pointed to the fact the time story, the dinner, for loyalty appeared on may 11th. the day before the tweet, but the first "the new york times" story that cited a memo, not just sources, it appeared on march 16th. so he got the time line wrong, do you think it should be investigated? >> i agree with my three colleagues. i don't think this is a legal problem. but he is beginning to look like he works for the federal bureau of public information, instead of the fbi, wrong initials. he turned loose the memo about hillary, changed direction on that several months ago.
he was making public statements, saying he now wants to leak five documents, maybe one classified. i heard that perhaps that is not classified, it was on a class y classified computer, and it's just in terms of one thing after another informing the public. the reason it has such confidence in the people of the united states is it doesn't seem to be on a pr twing, and it looks very much like comey is. >> philip, were those conversations privileged? >> no, the president did not assert privilege, and the argument on the nixon tapes, dealing with privilege, i think the conversations that comey had would not have been covered by executive privilege in any event. >> do you think he is sort of a minister of information? >> federal bureau of public
information. >> do you agree with that assessment of james comey? >> no, i don't think so, i think you have a situation where he has just been fired and he has been accused of all sorts of misconduct or lack of effective leadership and he is exercising what i feel to be a very responsible right of reply. he is entitled to defend himself in the court that the president chose to make this battle in, that was the court of public opinion. >> everything you said that was said, you said it was not privileged? >> no, it's not, unless it is classified or does fall in the area of executive privilege. it's pretty narrow, deliberative decision-making, it certainly is not a blanket privilege that everything he says, he immediately gets a privilege connected with it. >> i would just add that comey started this before this last round. he started with hillary, going back and forth, public statements on her.
so it's not the way the bureau ought to operate. maybe in some individual circumstances he has to take a step, i'm not saying he did anything criminal. but -- >> at the time he did this, he had already been fired so he was not in the bureau any longer, that may or may not change your point. but his view was this was the only mechanism that was available to him to make sure that what actually happened came out and was part of the official record. >> let's take it back to his extraordinary opening statement, for the former fbi director, saying the president defamed him, criticized and belittled him, especially to the russians. >> i want to talk about this one specific hope, the president saying i hope you can let this go instead of ordering the investigation of comey, to stand down, watch this. >> he did not direct you to let it go. >> not in his words, no.
>> he did not order you to let it go? >> again, those words are not an order. >> do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, or for that matter any other criminal offense where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome? >> i don't know well enough to answer. >> so "the new york times," adam re-tweeted out an interesting point for this case. he says for instance, the eighth circuit affirmed an obstruction of justice, based on an "i hope" statement, and it was up on the screen where somebody was saying i hope you don't tell anybody about the knife so it would certainly incriminate me. so what do you make of this? can it be based on hope? >> i would multiply that by 100,
i can remember where nixon didn't give a direct order but he suggested what he wanted the staff to do, and the staff takes that as a click your heels salute and get it done. >> you put that fact that comey eloquently testified to today, it doesn't ryequire an order to do something, it only punishes the enendeavor that attempts to influence, he said what he thought the president was trying to do was impede the investigation by letting flynn go. >> and he said i hope and pray to god you do not say anything about a weapon when you were in iowa because it will make it worse on me and even if it promised not to prosecute -- even if they promise not to
prosecute you. >> that is exactly right. that is the attempt to influence or impede an investigation. or a witness's testimony. >> this is like the godfather, saying i made him an offer he couldn't refuse. it was not really an offer. just like this was not really i hope, it was a directive. >> and that is why comey said he felt he was being ordered to do it. >> thank you, gentlemen, when we come back we'll talk about the blockbuster testimony today. garfunkel (instrumental) [ snoring ] [ deep sleep snoring ] the all-new volkswagen atlas. seats seven, sleeps six. life's as big as you make it.
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. it's my judgment that i was fired because of the russian investigation. i was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the russian investigation was being investigated. >> what is next to the russia probes after the former fbi director's testimony, did the firing change anything? >> thank you for joining us, always good to see you, christine, it is friday's