tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN June 9, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
miles from washington and now the last generation that could call this tiny island home before the sea literally swallows it up. welcome to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in for jake tapper. moments ago president trump facing hard questions after the man he fired as fbi director basically told congress he believes the president is a liar who cannot be trusted and the president again refused to answer the key question of whether tapes of their conversation exist. cnn's sara murray is live for us at the white house. sara, hard to parse out. what's the headline there? a lot of headlines on tapes and basically him calling comey a liar in return. >> that's right, jim. we really saw a defiant president trump in this rose garden event today, disputing what comey said under oath, saying that he lied and trump even saying he'd be willing to testify about his own version of
events under oath. >> no collusion, no obstruction. he's a leaker. >> reporter: after initially restraining himself during james comey's testimony, today president trump is lashing out. >> frankly, james comey confirmed a lot of what i said and some of the things that he said just weren't true. >> reporter: trump going on offense, accusing the former fbi director of lying under oath, but refusing to say whether he has tapes of his conversations with comey. >> i'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future. >> reporter: but trump did say he'd be willing to testify to his version of events under oath. >> so he said those things under oath. would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of -- >> 100%. >> reporter: this as trump and his allies adopt a questionable defense strategy, insisting trump is in the clear because comey said trump wasn't under investigation when comey led the fbi but arguing other parts of comey's testimony are a fraud.
today trump insisted he never asked comey to back off the investigation into former national security adviser michael flynn. >> i didn't say that. >> so he lied about that? >> well, i didn't say that. i mean, i will tell you i didn't say that. >> reporter: and trump says he never asked comey for loyalty. >> i hardly know the man. >> reporter: both statements that directly contradict comey's testimony, but while the president made feel exonerated members of his own party are still airing their concerns and saying the president crossed a line. >> the president asked mr. comey to do an inappropriate action and that was to drop the investigation of general michael flynn. that was clearly inappropriate. it crossed a boundary that the president should not have crossed. >> reporter: and for yet another week the russia investigation overshadowed trump's agenda leaving the president struggling to drum up excitement for his plan to reform the permitting
process as he capped off an ill-fated infrastructure week. >> doesn't sound glamorous. they won't write stories about it. they won't even talk about it, but it's so important. >> reporter: so one of the sort of lingering mysteries is do tapes of these conversations exist or not? the president would not say, but he tell reporters but they would be very disappointed to find out the answer, whatever that means. >> maybe telegraphing they don't exist. sara murray, thanks so much. lost in the comey testimony yesterday was the original focus of the russia investigation. russian interference in the 2016 election. former fbi director issued a stark warning that russia is, quote, coming after america and wants to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. that is an alarming reality that democrats and republicans actually agree on as new questions emerge about attorney general jeff sessions' own interactions with the russians. cnn's brianna keilar is following that part of the story. brianna, did we learn anything new about the russia
investigation? >> reporter: well, i do want to update our viewers very quickly on something that we're getting in that's pretty fascinating coming to us from the national law journal, and that is that robert mueller, the special counsel in this case, looking into potential coordination between the trump campaign and the russians is adding to his team, who is this, michael drieben, deputy solicitor general, very importantly, one of the top criminal law experts, and this is an indication according to the "national law journal" seeking advice on complex areas of criminal law, including obstruction of justice. as special counsel robert mueller looks into ties between the trump campaign and russia, one senator is telling cnn the investigation is expected to go all the way to the oval office. >> it involves to some degree the president so i would expect at some point, not right away, but at some point mr. mueller would feel he has to depose the president. >> reporter: comey memos, the
former fbi director's accounts of the meetings with president trump, are now in mueller's possession. >> i turned them over to mueller's investigators. >> reporter: descriptions of comey's interactions with the president where he believed the president was directing him to drop an investigation into fired national security adviser michael flynn's contacts with russian officials. >> i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning. >> reporter: sources tell cnn comey told senators behind closed doors the fbi has investigated the possibility of an undisclosed third encounter at the mayflower hotel between russian ambassador sergey kislyak and attorney general jeff sessions. sources tell cnn it was discussed between an intercepted call of russian officials. the justice department insists there was no encounter, but either way -- >> with a third meeting and the even without, it what we have is
a pattern of contacts with the russians by flynn, by sessions, by kushner, secret and then concealed, in fact, denied, possibility in violation of the law, that denial as former -- >> so it could be perjury? >> could be perjury. >> reporter: high-profile hearings continue next week. a senate appropriations committee hearing on tuesday where attorney general sessions will appear is likely to turn into a grilling on the russia issue. >> we need to know the answer to a number of questions regarding are the attorney general. >> reporter: the drip, drip, drip on the russia story shows no sign of abating. >> maybe i'll let you take over for a little while. >> reporter: the senate intelligence committee will interview jared kushner, trump owes son-in-law and senior adviser and flynn has turned over 600 pages of subpoenaed documents to the committee. >> do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek a way for
mike flynn to save face given he had already been fired? >> general flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. >> reporter: another development, deutsche bank is refusing to respond to requests from democrats on capitol hill for information about donald trump's loans. five members of the house financial services committee have asked for this information and deutsche bank said it would violate federal privacy laws. >> follow the money. brianna keilar, thanks very much. president trump says jim comey's testimony completely vindicates what he's been saying. do democrats agree? we'll talk live with congressman eric swalwell right after this. safety isn't a list of boxes to check. it's taking the best technologies out there and adapting them to work for you. the ultrasound that can see inside patients, can also detect early signs of corrosion at our refineries. high-tech military cameras that see through walls,
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dismiss the flynn investigation. when asked if he would testify to that under oath, the president responded 100% he'd be willing to. joining me now is democratic congressman eric swalwell of california, serves on both the house intelligence and judiciary committee, two committees at the center of the russia investigation. thanks for taking a summer friday to join us. >> good afternoon, jim. >> you heard the president give a somewhat cryptic answer on whether there are tapes of the conversations. he said i'll tell you, but you've got to wait for it, and you'll probably be disappointed. i'm just curious. do committee members, yourself, house intelligence committee, senate intelligence committee, have the ability to demand from the president a hard answer to that question? >> on the judiciary committee we're seeking those times. right now that's a sad time in america. you compare what we saw yesterday, a sobering serious testimony from james comey about his interactions the president
and then a clownish performance by a reality show star who isn't acting presidential, didn't sound presidential and didn't look presidential, and it is unfortunate to see him stand in the rose garden and, you know, really take this in an unserious way. >> you accused the president of discussing this in a clownish way. >> yeah. to tease out whether or not he has tapes like a season finale is approaching for a reality show is very unpresidential, and it's really time that he takes this seriously. he has interfered in the fbi's investigation as described yesterday by director comey. he's interfered in the house intelligence committee's investigation. he should really get out of the way and take this as seriously as it deserves. >> he had another answer to a question on whether he did direct comey to end the flynn investigation, and he said, no, i didn't do that, but then he said even if i did do it, it would be okay based on everyone
i've read this morning. how did you take that answer? was he leaving open the possibility that, well, maybe -- maybe he did, and if he did, sue me. >> well, jim comey's testimony yesterday was very compelling and believable. sounded like he was hedging. it seems like the president wants to accept all of the parts of jim comey's testimony that are helpful to him or throw out or dismiss anything that is damaging to him, and you can't have it both ways, and that's what the president is trying to do here. >> a major headline from his comments is that he said he would 100% in his words testify under oath. do you take him at his word? do you believe he'll fulfill that pledge? >> i hope he testifies or at least gives testimony to special counsel bob mueller. i really don't believe he's going to be very cooperative. certainly if i had somebody come to capitol hill, take an oath and describe what james comey described yesterday, if that wasn't true, wild horses wouldn't be able to stop me from
going under oath to disprove, it so we'll wait and see. >> if he testifies under oath, would you believe the president's account of that conversation? >> i think there's other corroborating evidence i would like to see. i would like to see the memos of director comey. i would like to hear from the other individuals who may be witnesses like jeff sessions and jared kushner who apparently were asked to leave the room and then there's admiral rogers and odni director coats who it sounds from reports who may have a story to tell as well. considering all of that evidence, that's really for bob mueller to consider, but as far as the congress, that would help me to determine who is telling the truth. >> congress is determining whether attorney general session had a third undisclosed meeting with the russian ambassador and we learned in closed session that comey discussed this possibility without confirming that it took place, but at least the possibility. i want to ask you this, and i'm aware of the classified nature of much of the information
involved, but just big picture. if he did not disclose a third meeting, would the attorney general be open to the possibility of perjury charges? >> well, i can't say yes or no as to what he did or did not disclose. but the fact he didn't disclose the first two meetings to me is very, very problematic. he was asked in a senate questionnaire and then, of course, asked by his confirmation panel, and he failed to disclose meetings with the ambassador. a third one certainly if true would really i think dismiss his charge or his claim that it was just forgetfulness for the first two, but, you know, that's something we need to get to the bottom of, and i hope that he answers those questions next week when he's in front of the senate appropriations committee. >> congressman eric swalwell, thanks very much for taking the time today. >> my pleasures, jim. one year ago britain stunned the world by voting to exit the european union. now a shocking election prompting the question have are the brits changed their minds?
that's next, and president trump said he will reveal in a very short period of time whether he secretly taped his conversation with jim comey. what's he waiting for? all that coming up. [ dog whimpers ] man: let's go! man #2: we're not coming out! man #1: [ sighs ] flo: [ amplified ] i got this. guys, i know being a first-time homeowner is scary, but you don't have to do this. man #2: what if a tree falls on our garage? woman: what if a tornado rips off our roof? flo: you're covered. and you've bundled your home and auto insurance, so you're saving a ton. come on. you don't want to start your new life in a dirty old truck. man #3: hey. man #1: whoa, whoa. flo: sorry. woman: oh. flo: you're safe. you're safe now. woman: i think i'm gonna pass out. can you stop using the bullhorn? flo: i don't make the rules. anyone can get you ready, holiday inn express gets you the readiest.
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do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount welcome back to "the lead." turk to our world lead now, late today president trump called the uk election results, quote, surprising. overnight prime minister theresa may's conservative party lost its majority in parliament after she had called an early special election to consolidate her power base expecting a big win. now despite the stinging defeat may is vowing to stay on as prime minister by forming a minority government and crucially to forge ahead with brexit. let's get to cnn's phil black outside the prime minister's residence at ten downing street, london. the question for a lot of
americans is a simple one. is the uk still going to leave the eu? >> reporter: jim, that decision made through a referendum last year. that will still stands. in fact, the negotiations to begin that process, they are set to begin in less than two weeks. you could say after this surprise election result there is a question mark over who the british people want to lead them through that process. theresa may insists she is still the best person to do that, and that is why she says she's struggling on to form a minority government. this is what she said here on downing street earlier today. >> this will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful brexit deal that works for everyone in this country, securing a new partnership with the eu which guarantees our long-term prosperity. that's what people voted for last june. that's what we will deliver. now let's get to work. >> now from theresa may today you heard that defiance, but
there was no contrition, there was no acknowledgement of the fact that she and her party are in this position because of a decision she made, to go to an election that she didn't have to go to, to try to increase her majority in parliament. instead, she now has no majority so theresa may is in a position where she's desperately trying to maintain her authority over her party, over the country but also trying to project authority over those eu officials that she's going to begin negotiations with in the coming weeks. jim? >> briefly so americans understand, didn't win a majority, and as a minority has to team up with a unusually small party to get her over the 51% mark in, effect. >> reporter: yes. she still has the most seats in parliament but will be teaming up with a much smaller party from northern ireland, a party that does not usually get involved on big national issues and suddenly finds itself a
power-breaker. it's socially very conservative, even more conservative than the conservative party here on the mainland uk, but they will now be dealing with each other issue by issue and prime minister theresa may will be relying upon that party's support to get every piece of legislation through parliament. jim? >> uncertain times in the uk. phil black in london, thanks very much. president trump is accusing james comey of being a leaker. were comey's actions actually illegal? we'll ask a former intelligence officer right after this victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar better than the leading anded pill, which didn't get me to my goal. lowers my a1c better than the leading branded injectable. the one i used to take. victoza® lowers blood sugar in three ways. and while it isn't for weight loss, victoza® may help you lose some weight. non-insulin victoza® comes in a pen
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switch and you could save $509 on auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. it'that can make a worldces, of difference. expedia, everything in one place, so you can travel the world better. welcome back to "the lead." today the president accused james comey of being a leaker and his private lawyer filed a complaint accusing people of breaking the law as a result, but is leaking illegal? actually the courts for decades have found that most leaks are in fact constitutionally protected free speech. why? because courts have judged they often serve a public interest and because they follow a tradition dating back to the
founding fathers who leaked themselves, often anonymously. the exception is leaking information that is classified. what the president says even in private is not in an of itself classified and executive privilege, which presidents sometimes invoke, protects only the president's deliberations in carrying out his duties, not a conversation with an fbi director about ending an investigation, for instance. finally, the lawyer stephen cohen quoted in "the washington post" makes an interesting point. investigating someone for otherwise legal testimony that you don't like could be construed as something else that is actually against the law, that is, obstruction of justice. we have this just coming into cnn. the house intelligence committee has asked for the comey memos and crucially anyone white house recordings, and they set a deadline, june 23rd, just a couple of weeks away. of course, there is no proof though, it as the president you heard him testimony, that those tapes exist.
joining me now is evan mcmullen, a former presidential candidate and member of the cia. thanks for taking the time to join us today. >> god to be here. >> based on what you know, did comey in your view break the law? >> no, because he didn't release classified information. it's plain and simple in this case, and the -- and i think comey was doing something that he thought was necessary for the public interest, and donald trump is going to, of course, claim that he was doing something unlawful or untoward, and i just don't think he's going to get much traction with that. those conversations are not classified. you can call them leaked, but you cannot call them unauthorized or illegal disclosures. >> the legal standards in the courts right up to the supreme court that it serves -- that leaks can serve a public interest. in your view did comey's leaks meet that standard? >> oh, absolutely they did. i mean, you have the president of the united states claiming one thing about very important conversations that he had with
jim comey about -- about the investigation and about his -- about the president's desire allegedly to stop or not the investigation, at least into flynn, so these are -- you for example the president was making claims about the investigation. comey wanted to correct the record. the american people have got to know either now or in a timely manner what is happening and what happened in the past. the status of these investigations to the extent that it can be known publicly without jeopardizing the integrity of those investigations, and -- and mr. comey did not compromise my of that. he shared information that was unclassified. it doesn't go beyond the rest rast investigation into what russia did, whether there was collusion, et cetera. this is just about the president's engagement with comey. >> i want to play an exchange between senator feinstein and comey yesterday. have a listen. >> why didn't you stop and say, mr. president, this is wrong. i cannot discuss this with you.
>> that's a great question. maybe if i were stronger, i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took it in, and the only thing i can think to say, because i was playing in my mind, because i remember every word he said. i was playing in my mind what should my response be, and that's why i very carefully chose the words. look, i've seen the tweet about tapes. lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> there are comey critics today, i'm sure you've heard him, saying he was in effect a coward for not standing up to trump. did he have an obligation to tell the president in that moment that the request was wrong. >> look, i think the bigger issue here is just think about what comey has been through for the last couple of years. this man has been caught between a rock and a hard place, having to investigate the two major party candidates at a time when i believe frankly many of our elected officials are not living up to their obligation to serve
of first the public interest. he has been in an impossible situation. in that circumstance in particular talking to the president, he sits there before the president with two roles, if you will. one as a subordernality to the president, an adviser on -- in a way in some issues and in another way an investigator looking into the president's campaign and potentially more. so i think comey, as others have said that, comey didn't view the president as an honorable man. i think the president has a long track record of not telling the truth. comby is sitting there and the president starts to say something that could potentially count as obstruction of justice it, and i think he went into collection mode. he went into evidence collection mode, and he let the man talk. he let the president talk, and i think that was the right judgment because comey could have advised the president that what he was doing wasn't right, but many people have tried to give the president similar advice in other circumstances, and it goes in one ear ander out
the other so i think what james comey did in simply listening to the president if that's what he did and reporting it properly as it appears he did was the right thing to do. >> you heard paul ryan, speaker paul ryan say that the president is in his words new to this, and he wasn't steeped in the protocols established in relationships between the doj and the white house. do you accept that explanation? >> absolutely not. president trump, he's just that, our president. he has an obligation to familiarize himself with the laws and expectations and duties of that role. if he hasn't done it already, then that's on him. it is his responsibility. any of us who have jobs or who aspire to have jobs, we know that if we take on a responsibility, you know, it's our duty to -- to learn what it is and how to execute it. first and foremost would be the president, the commander in chief, and if he hasn't done that, that's on him, and really i'm sad to see some republican
leader, not all republican leaders, but some republican leaders, including paul ryan now, make these kinds of excuses, however weak they are, for the president. >> final question. in a word based on what you've know and seen so far, has the president committed obstruction of justice? >> well, i would point out that i'm not an attorney, and so i -- i would caveat with that, but i would focus on the same thing that comey focused on yesterday. comey i think tried to focus attention at least in the end of his testimony on the fact that he was fired because president trump didn't like something about the way the russia investigation was -- was being executed by comey. he was fired because of the russia investigation. he has said that himself publicly. everything else that we're learning about what he said about flynn and the loyalty request and all of that i see as very important and part -- part of the puzzle but ancillary. the main thing still remains
that donald trump fired the man leading the investigation into his own campaign. >> evan mcmullen, thanks very much. >> thank you. the president has retained his personal lawyer to oversee his response to the russia investigation. is that actually helping him? that's next. and in little as 20 years erosion and rising sea levels could swallow this island community. we'll take a tour of this vanishing island coming up. ♪ ♪ isaac hou has mastered gravity defying moves to amaze his audience. great show. here you go. now he's added a new routine. making depositing a check seem so effortless. easy to use chase technology, for whatever you're trying to master. isaac, are you ready? yeah. chase. so you can.
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welcome back. in continuing with the politics lead, we've just learned that the house intelligence committee has set a june 23rd deadline for comey's memos and any white house tapes of their conversations. here with me now to discuss all this is my political roundtable. i want to, if i can, for the group play the president's response to this key question of are there oval office tapes? let's listen again. >> you seem to be hinting that
there are recordings of those conversations. >> i'm not hinting anything. i'll tell you about it over a very short period of time, okay? do you have a question here? >> when will you tell us about the record national. >> over a fairly short period of time. >> are there tapes, sir? >> you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. >> i mean, two questions really. one is why not answer now, but the other key one, do you think he was telegraphing there that there are no tapes. >> this is so classic trump. every time he wants to push something controversial he has a distinct formulas starts with make a wild claim. step two, use some kind of hear say to back it up and step three the promise of more to come. evidence will be forthcoming, what he did with president obama's birth certificate. gets to this step. it's a delay tactic and keeps the media's attention on him and he's in control of the story while he's raising questions. >> definitely a way of keeping the ates. he's the president of the united
states. i actually think he's really got enough attention on him even without this, and i'm not really sure what vaguely suggesting and unsuggesting that there are tapes that he probably wouldn't want out anyway, i'm not sure what he has to say from this. it's a very odd strategy. >> in fairness, something else could happen next week or in a couple hours that would take our attention off of it. >> what do you mean if something is going to happen? >> we'll forget about the tapes. >> the house intel committee has thrown down a marker here, they said by june 23rd, if there's tapes, fess up. >> let's see how the white house simmonds to that, first of all. i'm not how that will play out. i was going to add to this tape notion. add the tapes to the long list of things we can't get a straight answer. does he believe climate change is real, and human activity is contributing to it? is he playing golf on the weekends? can't really get an answer. we see on various social sites that he is playing golf. does he have confidence in his attorney general, 48 hours it took for them to finally say
that of course he does so we can add this to the long pile of issues we can't get a straight issue. >> there's one difference that on this one there is somebody who is capable of getting us a straight yes or no answer. if it's not the house intelligence committee or congress, it's the special counsel. he can find out is there -- are there tapes? if so, deliver them and we know how that one ends. >> the other thing the special counsel, because the headline here is the president offered to testify under oath 100% he said which assuming robert mueller wants -- takes him up on that and assuming the president follows through on this, he'll have to sit there and answer those questions under oath. not the same as a white house press conference or twitter feed. >> but i 100% that will never happen. >> we have to revisit the idea he uses these tactics to delay. what is he doing right now? and this has been very much missed by people watching what the white house is doing. he is pre-judging the investigation, the many investigations every step of the way. the first words out of his mouth today no obstruction.
no collusion and then straight discrediting james comey. they are trying to pre-judge this thing as long as they can string it out and bring public opinion their way because at the end of the day this is a political argument on the hill to advantage trump. >> the dichotomy here, jim comey's word against the.. by talking about the tapes we're holding out the possibility there's objective information that would definitively say who was right instead of having us look at former fbi director, president known for embellishing the truth. >> but it isn't just james comey and donald trump. he apparently asked the dni. he apparently asked admiral rogers. he's asked -- >> that's a possibility in the previous hearing that they did not clear up frankly. >> they didn't, and we don't know what they said in closed session, but there are other examples in reports of him playing the same game with his other officials, so it's not just one person, and once we know the answer to that, because assuming that eventually that will come out, i think a lot of
this will be clear. it's just how long is that going to take. >> the other game he played in effect is cherry picking from comey's testimony saying i'm vindicated. let's throw up the tweet which came before the press conference. despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication and wow, comey is a leaker. he's calling comey a liar so everything he said except the thing he said about me not being under investigation that's true. the rest is garbage. >> all the things i like that comey said are definitely true. all the things i don't like that comey said are total and complete lies about which comey, if you credit this, invent it had before he was fired, before he knew he was going to be fired, made up this story, wrote it in memos to the file and made up a story that actually wasn't as good as you would want to make up if you were making up a story, because if you were making up a story and then you would say and then the president ordered me to drop the case against flynn, drop it, but that's not comey's testimony, so in -- that's he said, he said verse and the memos said, and there's no lawyer on planet who
wants to have donald trump on the stand on his side versus jim comey on his side. >> it's not only the president who is doing this kind of cherry picking saying we're vindicated, blah, blah, blah. meanwhile, comey's a leaker and liar, et cetera. it's many republicans and many lawmakers, republicans on the senate intelligence committee. you could hear that in the questions that they asked. >> they are trying to find a way to make what trump is saying be true. you can see them trying to struggle well that, but at the same time they are not going out on that limb. they are saying maybe he just didn't know better. they know better. listen, to believe that he didn't know better, donald trump knew what was right and wrong when he was king against hill hill. he knew it was wrong when kline kline got on that plane and talked to loretta lynch. he knew that was wrong so clearly he should have known it was wrong when he approached james comey in the same fashion but right now we're not supposed to believe that, tie that together, because republicans are so desperate to try to find a way out of this, but the evidence is piling up, and given their posture now, given that this has only gone on for a
couple of months, i don't think they will have anywhere else to go. >> every week we, i, my colleagues ask the question are republicans getting worried to the degree where that thin blue line, as it were, breaks up, that they start to lose their confidence in him and start to come out, and you have heard it from a handful, but really the same handful, like the ben sasses of the world. speaker ryan, ah, he's just new at it. everything is fine. by the way, let's talk tax cuts. >> because that's what's going to get them re-elected in their district is tax cuts, you know. if a health care bill that people actually like goes through. things like that are more tangible to people's lives than the russia investigation outside of d.c. and new york. that said, if -- if, you know, come close to 2018 nothing got done and we're still talking about russia, i think you're going to see a lot more republicans cast trump aside. >> comes down to self-preservation. >> and everything hinges on mueller. we don't know when he comes
back. >> listen, short of i charge the president with obstruction of justice, right, you can also have -- throughout this investigation people -- it's all been in the eyes of the beholder, right? the firing of jim comey was -- you know, a lightning event for democrats. republicans, like, it's -- you can have the same situation with muler. >> that's been true in past crises. a lot of nixon's base stuck with him and clinton got more popular during his crisis. it's entirely popular that will happen, but when you have bob mueller looking into these very, very weighty issues and he comes back as a neutral widely well-regarded arbiter and says, yes, i have found evidence of this bad behavior, bad behavior, that changes the dynamic a little bit rather than have it be the democrats or news media suggesting that there's something there. >> does it change the dynamic? >> i'm trying to think what it would really take. listen, republicans have been into the wilderness for a long time. they are desperate for legislative victories like you would not believe. they will stick with him as long it is a takes, but i do think if
this rises seriously to a national security issue, where they lied about things that could potentially have national security implications that get to our electoral process, i mean, if it gets to that level, republicans will -- >> i think to assess where republicans are and where they will be, we have to understand that we've just begun and mueller has just begun significantly to figure out what the facts are. the facts are not likely to get -- they may not get very much worse for donald trump, but they could get a lot worse and probably not going to get bert, so if the facts develop in a bad way for him, all his friends fall off eventually. >> route, amanda, jackie, o olivier, thanks very much. we visit a special island for a special lead investigation. >> coming up on "the lead" we travel to an american island on the front lines of climate change, so what do they think about president trump and their future? ♪
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we're back now with our buried lead which is what we call stories that aren't getting enough attention. a small island town off the vat have a coast is at risk of literally being washed away. some 450 people could lose their homes as the waters of chesapeake bay are edging dangerously close to their community. in today's earth matters, we're taking you to the tangier island, virginia where residents, most of them loyal trump supporters, are pleading with the president to save their town. cnn's jennifer gray has more. >> we're running out of land to give up. we don't have to tell them. >> reporter: residents of tangier, virginia, don't have time for washington to debate climate change. >> i agree with science, but our problem is our community is
eroding away. >> it's always in the back of your mind. >> always. >> reporter: they live fewer than 100 miles from the white house on an island in the middle of the chesapeake bay. population 450. area, just 1.3 square miles and shrinking. during severe weather such as super storm sandy in 2012, the island is buried under feet of water. the army corps of engineers tells cnn erosion and rising sea levels alone will make this historic crabbing community uninhabitable in as little as 20 years, adding, that quote, a major storm event striking the island directly could cause abandonment sooner. it's a heartbreaking prospect rejected by many locals whose families have been living and fishing off the island since the 18th century. >> what i tell our citizens as mayor, do not lose hope. >> in a small room in the old town clinic mayor james eskridge meets daily with fellow lifelong residents to discuss the
island's fate. >> there are people out there say just move. why do you live here? >> that's a silly statement, silly statement. you don't just leave your home. >> we've saveable. >> right now we are. >> we've saveable. >> yeah, donald trump, if you see this, i mean, whatever you can do, we welcome any help you can give us. >> reporter: donald trump received 87% of the island's presidential votes last november. some of tangier's locals say they care lows about his controversial on climate change and more about his views on infrastructure. >> he's cutting the regulations. >> i'm hoping he's concerned about our safety. >> reporter: the army corps of engineers will build a jetty to protect the harbor and the rest of the island will need a more expensive barrier to survive. >> we've been studied to death. we just need something done. >> reporter: mapping data shows how rapidly the shore line has waned in the best and without significant intervention the small american town will continue to disappear into the
bay at the rate of 16 feet a year in some places. so what could tangier island look like for future generations if the predictions do come true? well, we're about to find out. carol prewitt moore is a seventh generation islander. she takes the short boat ride from the main island every day to walk along an abandoned shore line and reflect on the past. as recently as the 1920s the entire community lived right here. we're only about a mile and a half from tangier and this is all that's left. what do you think about when you come here every day and take your walk? >> well, i mean, you know, if i find pieces of glass and potry, i try to imagine the people who may have used them and, you know, what their lives were l e like. i'm sure they never thought we'd have to leave here. if we don't get help, we'll just be a memory.
>> reporter: one of your fears has got to be somebody like you one day walking around tangier picking up pieces of glass wondering about your life. >> picking up my life. >> reporter: sea level rise isn't just affecting tangier and its 450 locals. with many larger waterfront cities such as miami and new orleans threatened by climate change, convincing outsiders this small town is worth saving is a challenge. >> it seems to me that the decisions we as a country make about whether or not to save this place will inform how we deal with much bigger problems in cities like norfolk and new orleans and miami and new york city. >> reporter: earl swift is a journalist working on a book about tangier's climate plight. he lives part-time on the island researching life here where residents say they refuse to be climate change refugees. >> if you make the decision that whether or not you save a place is simply a function of head count, then tangier doesn't have a chance. you can't make it cost
effective. you know, that's a dangerous slope to start sliding down if that's your chief decider is because then you find yourself having to -- to come up with what number is the baseline. i think it would be a real shame to see us get to that point. >> reporter: for now the mood on tangier is optimistic with some welcoming the new president. >> i like trump as much as any family i've got. >> reporter: and hoping his view on climate change won't prevent funding for their future. if you could say anything to him or his administration today, what would it be? >> i would say build us a wall. >> build us a wall. they talk about a woman. we'll take a wall. we'd like a wall all around tangier. we'd love a wall. >> reporter: jennifer gray, cnn, tangier island, virginia. >> fascinating story. our thanks to jennifer gray. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter @jimsciuto or tweet the show at @theleadcnn. join us for "state of the union"
with senators dianne feinstein and susan collins. i turn you over now to wolf blitzer. he is, as you would expect him to be, in "the situation room." happening now. breaking news. willing to testify. after james comey's incriminating testimony, president trump says he's 100% ready to tell his side of the story under oath. mr. trump accuse comey of being a liar and a leaker and yet also claiming his fired fbi director vindicated him. very near future. the president playing it coy about whether there are tapes of his conversations with comey, promising an answer soon, but tonight house investigators are demanding to vote if any recordings exist, and they are setting a deadline. sessions in trouble. the attorney general is facing escalating cleel and political