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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  July 19, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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gandhi gand . we are out of time. thanks for watching. i'll hand things over to don lemon. have a great night. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news tonight on two huge stories. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. president trump on fire about the russia investigation unloads on his own attorney general, the fbi director he fired, and the special counsel investigating it all. i want you to listen to what he tell it is "the new york times" about jeff sessions. >> sessions should have never recused himself and if he would -- if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and i would have picked somebody else. >> he gave you no heads up at all? >> zero. so jeff sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses
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himself. i then have -- which frankly i think is very unfair to the president. how do you take a job and then recuse yourself? if he would have recused himself before the job, i would have said thanks, jeff, but i can't -- you know, i'm not going to take you. >> president also accuses fbi james comey as using that dossier as leverage over him and issues a warning to the special counsel robert mueller about delving too far into his family's finances. this comes as we're learning tonight dates are set next week for hiss son, don junior, his son-in-law jared kushner and former campaign manager paul manafort to testify under oath in the russia investigation. plus this. senator john mccain, patriot, presidential candidate, war hero facing another battle tonight. diagnosed with brain cancer. our dr. sanjay gupta has information on that tonight amid
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an outpouring of support for the senator. let's get to that interview with president trump. joining me on the phone is maggie. maggie, you conducted that interview. block buster is i think too small a word for this interview. the president blasting his attorney general jeff sessions over russia. is his position in jeopardy? >> i think that the president has been very upset with jeff sessions for quite some time. my colleague peter baker, he was pop of the people who i conducted the interview with along with michael schmidt. we had reported a few weeks ago that the president, you know, essentially had not stopped blaming sessions. that he had been angry at him the whole time. i've heard some several sources that has remained throurue in rt weeks, his frustration with sessions and belief he would not be in this situation had sessions not recused himself over russia is very well. i think he knows that he can't fire the attorney general. i think he recognizes that is
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not where this is going. i do think his anger at him is sincere and genuine. i'm not saying it's necessary, you know, where it should be, but that is how he feels. but if anything, i think he may be, and i am speculating here, trying to make it very hard for jeff sessions to remain on the job. remember, jeff sessions offered to resign in a sort of half hearted way several weeks ago. he has already been uncomfortable and put into a bad position and i think you could see a scenario where the president, who doesn't like to fire anybody under the best of circumstances, but who certainly knows that it would be problematic right now to fire the attorney general in these investigations is creating a situation where it's untenable for sessions to remain. >> it goes on to say if he would have recused himself before the job i would have said thanks, jeff, but i'm not going to take you. it's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word, to the president. the question is, is he trying to
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force jeff sessions hand. and you said maybe he is sending a message to jeff sessions. but no comment from jeff sessions tonight. >> i think jeff sessions is deciding what he can do. i think that jeff sessions is not a bare knuckles fighter. i can see him leaving. i can also see him deciding to stay on and believing he is doing the right thing for the administration and country. >> i want to talk about jeff sessions and talk with comey and a bunch of things he mentions. he also faulted mr. sessions in his testimony during senate confirmation hearings when mr. segs said he had not met with any russians even though he had met at least twice with ambassador kislyak. sessions gave some bad answers the president said. he gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple and goes on, should have been simple answers but weren't. a spokesman for jeff sessions declined to comment. so he wasn't happy with that testimony. >> no. i mean, he was frustrated that
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look, to be fair to the president, there are a lot of people who said they think jeff sessions had a pretty simple question of what were your contacts and he turned into a complicated comment by not being forthcoming. i think it's not surprising that the president is frustrated and upset by that moment. i just think what's more remarkable is hearing him be so critical on the record. >> but isn't it interesting that everyone thought it was behind us because we asked if he had confidence in jeff sessions at the time during that questioning and when he had to recuse himself and he said yes. everyone at the white house said yes. they called it fake news. apparently even though it's been months ago, some time ago, that looks like it was not true. >> i don't actually remember them saying yes, forgive me if i'm misremembering me but my memory was they didn't respond. i think sean spicer was asked repeatedly whether the president had confidence with jeff
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sessions and he declined to answer the question. i don't think this is a departure. >> let's talk about comey now because he made some explosive charge against the former fbi director james comey accusing him of using that dossier containing some of those details. -to-show the president has something on him he says. is the president now saying that the then fbi director essentially threatened him with that dossier? >> i think threatened is not the right word, but i think certainly was trying to use what he had for maximum position and to retain his job seemed to be what the president was saying. >> to retain his job. >> yeah. he wanted to keep his job but he was -- they're telling the president, you know, what he had in his possession. >> that it was leverage over him. he was trying to use that as leverage. >> right. >> let me see the quotes in the interview. mr. trump said he believed mr. comey told him about the dossier to make clear he had something to hold over the president. in my opinion he share today so that i will think that it had -- that he had it out there.
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mr. trump said as leverage. yeah. i think so, mr. trump said in retrospect, he thinks it was leverage. maggie, the president took on the special counsel robert mueller as well accusing him of running an investigation full of conflicts of interest and warning him about digging into his money. i want to quote here, because this is from your article. when asked if mr. mueller's investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look into his family finances beyond any relationship to russia. mr. trump said i would say yes, he would not say what he would do about it, but i think that's a violation. look, this is about russia. so is he making the case here to fire -- the possibility of firing robert mueller? >> it's a great question and we tried pressing him repeatedly about where he is on this and what he will be willing to do, both mike submitted achmidt and. he wouldn't go there. what i think he's doing is
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something and you i have both seen him do repeatedly over many years which is keep his options open. he very rarely rules something out. he doesn't always rule something in. i think that he likes having the option open of potentially firing mueller regardless of how dangerous the proposition he may know that is. >> okay. so he's unhappy with mueller. he's unhappy with comey. heads unhappy with sessions. he's unhappy with rod rosenstein. which he mentioned in the article. he's also unhappy who with a former federal prosecutor. he was upset that rod rosenstein was from baltimore and he didn't know that. why was that upsetting to him? because it was a democratic city? >> yeah. i don't think it was so much that he was from baltimore. just that he questioned the political leanings not overtly of rod rosenstein. the president tends to sort of
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boil things down to politics and people choosing a side. >> let me read it. it says the president also expressed discontent with rods, a former federal prosecutor from baltimore. when mr. sessions recused himse himself, the president was irritated to learn where his deputy was from. there are very few republicans if any in the democratic city. it sounds like a strange thing for someone to say. >> it is. it's how he views it. i can't explain it. >> okay. and then the reason i say that, because andrew mccabe who, who the acting director of the fbi, he said he too had a conflict. mr. mccabe a wife received nearly $500,000 during a losing campaign for the virginia state senate and goes on to talk about that and governor terry mccollum and on and on. who is he happy with? anyone close to the investigation and people he appointed and people he hired,
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he's not happy with them already and it's just six months in. >> i think that -- as i said, i think for him in his mind, jeff sessions recusal was sort of an original. jeff sessions botching that testimony was an original sin. he was very frustrated that week. there was a whole -- what set off that whole chain of events where he was tweeting about his phone being tapped by president obama was a day earlier he had vent vented in frustration that jeff sessions had recused himself without telling him. he's been very, very angry about this for quite some time. having cover thd aed this and w about it before, it is not a surprise he feels this way. it all comes back to one thing in his mine. it was surprising he said it as forcefully. >> as usual maggie, great reporting. thank you so much for joining us. >> i'll bring in lar ra, gloria
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borger and jeff zeleny. where do we start here? i mean, we were spoft to tauppok about -- i thought the big day was about health care. also made in america, here he is again stepping on his own message. i'm not sure why he gave this interview, but it is quite an interesting interview, gloria. what do you think of this? the most fascinating thing to me is the department of justice has somehow now become political. how is that -- >> well, you know, first of all, let's talk about jeff sessions as you were talking about with maggie. i think it's very hard for him to continue in his job. i don't know how he does t. he's supposed to have a press conference tomorrow oh another subject. i'm kind of wondering what's going to happen. you have a president who is not only expressed no confidence, but he's expressed anger in his -- you know, in his attorney general. this man, by the way, was the first person to endorse donald
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trump in the senate. was there from day one. was a close adviser and very important to him. and the loyalty has gone out the window because jeff sessions felt after he miscommunicated, if you want to call it that, in testimony before the senate about meetings with russians that after that he had to recuse himself. and this just gives you an eye opening look into how donald trump regards all the people who work for him. forget about comey whom he fired. but sessions and rod rosenstein and andrew mccabe, they work for him in his mind and not for the american people. because the grievances that he stated against, all of them in particular jeff sessions was how could he do this to me. it's not fair to the president. when actually the right thing to do for the american people was to recuse himself.
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but he blames sessions for the eventual -- all of the things that eventually led to the appointment of the special counsel mueller whom he also believes is conflicted and in some, you know, in some way because people who work for him have given contributions to democrats over the years that they're out to get him. >> jeff zeleny, i'm going to read a little bit and i've got a question. while the interview touched on an array of issues including health care, foreign affairs and politics, investigation dominated the conversation. he said as far as he knew he was not under investigation himself despite reports that mr. mueller is looking into whether the president obstructed justice by firing comey. i'm not under investigation. for what? i didn't do anything. he insisted, you know, to the "times" that he is not under investigation but he and others in his administration and his family have hired lawyers as part of this investigation. so what do they really think at the white house?
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do they think they're not under investigation and they're hiring lawyers just for the fun of it? >> well, don, you clearly know what is on top of the president's mind. this has been something that he has repeated again and again in virtually every one of the rare interviews he gives it seem its does come back around to whether he is or is not under investigation. that has been a particular question he's addressed many times. the interview he did a few months back with lester holt of nbc news wanted to make clear that he was not under investigation. of course people have hired lawyers. his son-in-law has. his son has. his former campaign chairman has. >> his own lawyer has. >> he has. the reality is this is a -- as much as -- he hasn't called it a hoax recently. the reality is there are a lot of inquiries going on in this town at this time. there's a special counsel who is looking into this. robert mueller, obviously.
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there's the house inquiry, the senate inquiry. we're going to start to see next week potentially paul manafort, former campaign chair and the president's oldest son, donald trump jr. have been invited to testify before the senate judiciary committee by republican chairman chuck grassley. we'll see if they accept that invitation f. they don't, they can subpoena them. on monday jared kushner speaking to the senate intelligence committee behind closed doors. yes, they've hired lawyers because this investigation is really at pretty full speed. >> real quickly before i get to laura. do you think part of the reason for giving this interview is because they're going to be testifying or they're going to be in front of -- >> it's a great question. i'm not sure why he gave this interview in a day he was supposed to be turning the page to focus on health care. republican senates sat with him at lunch today and asked him to become more active in selling the idea of the health care bill. not the specifics. but to try and get red state
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america, trump america if you will, more on board with this. then he gives this interview and completely changes the subject once again. i'm not sure if it's to sort of get ahead of that. i don't think so because the interview that maggie and peter baker and michael schmidt did at the "new york times" was earlier today before those invitations went out to appear next week. i don't really know why he did it. certainly very interesting. >> i was reading it going is he -- did he realize that this was being recorded? it's fascinating to me. laura, being the legal expert that you are, if you were jeff sessions, what would you be thinking? how could you continue on? >> the attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president. i'm no longer pleasing you, sir, so obviously you have that conflict. but you also have a man who's pretty ambitious and that's jeff sessions who knows that the department of justice figure head role is far more expansive than simply the russian
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investigation and the russian probe. the president of the united states is saying had i known that the attorney general of the united states was not going to be a marionette of the president, i would have found a different puppet. imagine what that would feel like to the morale of the department of justice if he was somebody the president considered to be a marionette. in a twisted way jeff sessions is almost somebody who's at odds with the president of the united states over the russian probe. he followed the advice of his counsel, the ethics advisers to say i should not be a part of that. except for the firing of comey. he did reinsert himself in there. even that did not please the president of the united states. >> he's saying that about everyone. he's saying that about the acting head of the fbi, the former, he's saying it about mueller and everyone who's investigating him or who does not fall in line and praise him. he's saying there's something intention -- nefarious intention there. >> this is the definition of
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scapegoat. even baltimore, the city itself is being scapegoated as a reason this president is paranoid to the degree he is. >> that's a very good word. >> it reeks of paranoia. the reason it's so profound, you have somebody saying i'd like to -- you know, this may have been an issue. i'm not saying who was the actual culprit. it should be investigated. i'm talking about hillary clinton as being a villain in many respects. anyone who tries to vilify me must be against me and contrary to patriotism. very bizarre. >> gloria borger, can you imagine tonight, none of the representatives are on, but i'm sure the morning shows, make sure you tune in to new day by the way. they're going to have to explain what the president meant by this interview and somehow call it oh, this is the president somehow didn't say what he said and it's fake and it's not real and the media is out to get him for putting his own words back in front of him.
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what must his advisers be thinking tonight? >> look, i can't imagine they're happy. don't forget, as you were mentioning earlier, the president today gave, before his meeting with republicans, before his lunch, if you go back and you listen to that, he had a lot of talking points in front of him that were supplied by his staff who finally got him to talk about health care reform and why their version of health care reform, how that would help the american people. they have not had a message about that previously. they have been trying to get this to come out of the president's mouth to talk about this. and he gave a very cogent sort of defense of their health care proposal. then you fast forward or backward, i don't know when this interview actually took place, to the interview that he gave to "the new york times." and it is full of grievances. it is dominated by russia, although they went out of their
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way to say yes, they did hit an array of issues. but there is no unspooling this. i mean, the president said what he said. and it is very clear to me that he has no confidence in his own attorney general, that he's angry at his attorney general, and i think it's very difficult to see how those two operate in the future. and i wonder what jeff sessions is thinking of doing tonight? because i don't think he has a lot of great choices in front of him. because what the president said to him is you could have avoided all of this for me. now, if jeff sessions wants to get up and answer a journalist's question who's clearly going to ask about this and say on my own man i have to do what's good for the country, good for him. but, you know, you have to -- >> i think one other thing, to add to what glor yea was saying, today at the white house was all about trying to get republican senators back on board.
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republican senators like jeff sessions. he's one of them. so i think it's ending in an extraordinary way. as gloria was saying, he has now certainly aggravated republican senators he was trying to sort of appease and win over on health care by saying this about jeff sessions. it's a very sort of odd set of events here. but in many ways i think it could strengthen the attorney general as laura was saying earlier. it certainly shows he is his own man in this respect. but tomorrow will be a fascinating day when jeff sessions reports to work. >> remember robert mueller can't just be fired willy-nilly by the president of the united states. rod rosenstein is the one who holds the power in that. if rosenstein tries to do so, the special counsel has protections with congress. he has to actually do it for a reason. he can't have a willy-nilly reason and congress can hold a full hearing to figure out whether or not the reason was sound. it can't be as the president tries to air a grievance and
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suddenly the strings are cut. >> way to alien nate the people around you. stick around. we come back, an american's hero's latest battle. jay john mccain diagnosed with brain cancer. that news his shocked them. we have the latest from dr. sanjay gupta who spoke directly with the senator's doctors. neulasta helps reduce infection risk by boosting your white blood cell count, which strengthens your immune system. in a key study, neulasta reduced the risk of infection from 17% to 1%... ...a 94% decrease. applied the day of chemo, neulasta onpro is designed to deliver neulasta the next day. neulasta is for certain cancer patients receiving strong chemotherapy. do not take neulasta if you're allergic to neulasta or neupogen (filgrastim). ruptured spleen, sometimes fatal as well as serious lung problems, allergic reactions, kidney injuries,
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if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca... ...may be able to help. we have more breaking news and i hate to report this. americans may be divided over the russia investigation and the health care battle. the country united in prayers for senator john mccain. that true american hero diagnosed with brain cancer. president trump in a statement tonight saying senator john mccain has always been a fighter. melania and i send our thoughts and prayers to john mccain, cindy and their entire family. let well soon. dr. sanjay gupta who spoke with sae senator mccain's doctors. really awful sad story about john mccain tonight. tell us what you know. >> well, you know, you remember he had this operation on friday, don. he was having a blood clot
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removed from above his left eye. we found out subsequent to that that blood clot was within his brain and they actually removed a portion of the bone there to get to the brain. we just found out just over the past few hours now that that blood clot was caused by a tumor. a type of brain tumor known as gleblastoma. it is an aggressive cancer. he is hearing this news now. i talked to the doctors. they said that he did very well from the operation. they feel like they removed all of the tumor. he was sent home the next day. has been recovering at home. but with this particular time of t tumor, it almost always requires follow-up treatment. that's the discussion senator mccain and his family are having with his doctors. i think you put it well, don. everyone is thinking about him, rooting for him. i think they're thinking right now the best course of action going forward. >> i know that you're want his doctor, but when something like
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this happens, what's -- what is the usual prognosis? >> well, you know, it's tough. it's an aggressive brain cancer. if you look at numbers alone, average survival is around 14 months. this is the same type of tumor that senator ted kennedy had. this is the same type of tumor that beau biden had. but there are people who with treatment do survive longer. about 10% of people will survive five years or longer. so it's very tough to put numbers on this sort of thing. that's the data that you'll read if you look at the current literature. >> we talked about this earlier in the week, sanjay, but friends became concerned about senator mccain's recent questioning of former fbi director james comey. let's listen to that moment and we'll have another conversation about it. >> in the case of mr. comey, you -- president comey -- in the
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case of president trump, you have an on going investigation. you're going to have to help me out here. in other words, we're complete, the investigation of anything former secretary clinton had to do the campaign is over and we don't have to worry about it anymore? >> i'm a little confused, senator. >> sanjay, when we discussed it at the time we didn't know what we know now. you didn't know what you know now. he said it was a baseball game, he stayed up late watching a baseball game. do you think it was related to the tumor now knowing what you know? >> lwell, i asked his doctors again today, the doctors who cared for senator mccain and they sort of say the same thing. it's possible that this tumor and the blood clot could be related. the reason they hesitate, the reason i hesitated when you asked me earlier in the week is because this part of the brain is not really responsible for speech or your ability to
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remember. what senator mccain was complaining was about a routine exam. he said i've been feeling tired for the past few months. so this blood collection, according to the surgeons, really had probably been there for about a week and that clip you just showed was earlier than a week ago. all that to say it's possible. it's possible that maybe a headache or something like that or it's possible it could be the fatigue that was compounded by the fact that he stayed up all night. regardless, clearly now we know what was happening, what caused that bleeding inside his brain. that much is clear for sure now, don. >> sanjay, stand by. i want to bring gloria back in. there has been a tremendous outpouring of affection and prayers for the senator. very moving letter from his daughter. i want to read part of that. it won't surprise you to learn that in all this, the one -- the one of us who is the most
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confident and calm is my father. he is the toughest person i know. the cruellest enemy could not break him. the a gregs of the political live could not bend him. so he is meeting this challenge as he has every other cancer may afflict him but it will not make him surrender. >> i think that's beautifully written and beautifully stated. there was a tweet tonight from of all people congressman steve scalise, don, who as we all recall was shot just a month ago and he said praying for my friend john mccain. one of the toughest people i know. the outpouring has been quite honestly as you would expect. this is a man who is a lion of the senate, who ran for the presidency twice, who has been known to work across party lines. he's angered people in his own party. he's angered people of the other party. i can say as a journalist, he's
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one of the people i've had the most fun and learned the most from covering. he calls us those jerks, right? but he has -- there's a joy for him in his career and in his political life. and dana bash and i earlier this evening were talking to people who worked for him and worked with him. they say that he's been on the phone talking about what are we going to do about health care, what are we going to do next, how are we going to handle this or that. don't forget that over the july fourth break he was in afghanistan. and that was the tenth time he's been there since 9/11. so, you know, this is a man who is not going to just sort of throw in the towel and say okay, fine. he's going to fight it. >> and he's served his country in so many ways. he was a prisoner of war, right? and we sometimes throw the term hero around, but this is a person who is really a true
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american hero and we wish him the best. sanjay, gloria thank you very much. i appreciate it. president trump tweeting tonight about john mccain is an american hero and one of the bravest fighters i've ever known. cancer doesn't know what it's up against. give had hell, john. let's see, there are the wildcats 'til we die weekenders. the watch me let if fly. this i gotta try weekenders.
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we're back now with our breaking news. president trump lashing out at attorney general jeff sessions, former fbi director james comey, special counsel robert mueller and others. here to discuss, editor at large at the weekly standard, cnn political commentator, steve isreal, and political commentator alice stewart, a republican strategist. it's a block buster story. no one is spared. sessions isn't spared. rod rosenstein isn't spared. what did you think of this interview? >> donald trump is obsessed with this investigation and he very much resented the fact as he says that attorney general sessions recused himself, though
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he was just doing what the ethics counsel of justice advised him to do. why is donald trump so worried about this investigation? i always come back to that. he's worried about this investigation because he's worried about what they can find. he's not irrationally worry ied about this investigation. he knows there are real problems i believe in his campaign's product with russia, his own dealings with russia, his family dealings with russia. you saw the way he bristled in the interview with maggie and the other reporter, said you better not look at the financial stuff. if you lived a straightforward life and you don't have much to hide, you can't say oh my god, no one can look at the financial stuff. >> here's what's perplexing to me, alice. so many people in this country, millions upon millions of people are affected by health care. that was the big story of the day. the person affected most by this investigation is donald trump. why is he focusing on the thing that affects him rather than the thing that affects the people he
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is supposed to be serving? >> because in his mind everything is about him. and the reality is you can sit there and criticize the media and those for talking about russia, russia, russia, but the best to get them to stop talking about it is to stop talking about it yourself. givi give an interview to the new york about health care and what you're going to do to repeal and place obamacare and bring the members of the senate together. this is his m.o. when someone stand up to him he criticized them and shames them into submission. you go back four months ago when sessions recused himself in this case, he had no choice. it's improper for him to be investigating a campaign that he was part of. the optics moving forward for him to be investigating a campaign he was part of would have been much worse than him recusing. unfortunately i think the president needs to get in his head the russia investigation has nothing to do with his winning the presidency.
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he won fair and square. let's move forward. and if there's nothing to hide, don't shy away from anyone that's shining a light on it. >> steve, so much blaming going on. sessions should never have recused himself. comey's testimony is, quote, loaded up with lies. mueller has tons of conflicts of interest. why is it everyone else's fault? the president and this administration, have they not made some critical mistakes here that they can't -- they're not accepting responsibility for? >> that is the m.o. of this administration. when something goes wrong, it's fake news. when there's an investigation, there shouldn't have been. the attorney general should have recused. i was on the hill all day today talking to my former col colleagues. this kind of stuff drives them crazy. just a few hours ago the republican house members were saying well, the president is going to -- there's going to be a meeting tonight of senators, the president is going to be on message, we're going to get repeal and replace or repeal and delay. whatever it is, we're going to get it behind us. then a few hours later they're talking about everything but
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health care. and the final point i would make, don, is this -- >> before your final point, today wasn't it kumbaya, i'm going to win these guys over and get the health care bill through? wasn't that what it's supposed to be? >> yes. >> that's not doing this. this is alienating them. >> today me basically threatened senator heller from nevada. that's not a way to win people over. then he goes off message. this is an administration that wants to keep moving beiyond th russia story and it is the president who continues to blow oxygen in. >> make your third point and i want to play that part with heller. do you remember what your third point was? >> the point was that the white house says we have to get beiyod the russia story and the president keeps rewriting the narrative. >> speaking about dean heller who had been against the health care bill. seated next to the president on the left of screen. watch his reaction as the
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president goes on. >> the other night i was very surprised when i heard a couple of my friends, my friends, they really were and are, they might not be very much longer, i think, i have to get them back. you didn't go out there. this was the one we were worried about. you weren't there. but you're going to be. look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he? and i think the people of your state, which i know very well, i think they're going to appreciate what you hopefully will do. >> bill? >> look, donald trump is a vindicti vindictive billy and you see that with senator heller. it was semi light but i wish he would have said you didn't win my state. i won my state. i come back to the russia thing. the truth is trump does not go
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after everyone the way he's obsessed with russia, the way he went after sessions today. trump sunhappy with various of his cabinet appointments. you get leaks he doesn't like this or that. the degree of his sensitivity on rush is unique. k i come back to asking why is that? >> alice -- that is a good question. why is that, alice? >> well, clearly he has it in his head that the only reason people are bringing up the russia investigation is because their influence and interruption in the campaign affected the outcome of the election and he isn't the president of the united states. >> maybe he also has in his head that he did things wrong, that his campaign did things wrong with republican to russia, that there's fire beneath that smoke. >> but for -- as a journalist, it doesn't have anything to do with his son meeting with a russian lawyer, with michael flynn having to resign, with his attorney general having to recuse himself, and on and on
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and on. doesn't have anything to do with that? just that he thinks it sort of undermines his credibility as president to say that thinking that he didn't win fair and square? >> i think it's both. clearly is both. but the only thing that he will continue to say publicly is that it undermines his victory. clearly there's a lot of smoke here and right now it's turning into fire. the more he continues to point the fingers and try and intimidate those that are trying to investigate this, the optics are really bad. >> steve, the president dismissed questions about his second undisclosed meeting with vladimir putin saying it was only 15 minutes, it contradicts witnesses there, and what white house sources told our jeff zeleny, which is that it was an hour long meeting. why will the president say something that could so easily be proven false? >> well, because this president is used to saying that can be proven false. the facts and truth don't necessarily get in the way of this president. that is how he operates and that
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is a fundamental part of the problem. when you're in politics, and you know that something you say can be disproven, don't say it. he hasn't learned that lesson yet. >> thank you all. when we come back, president trump seems to be picking a fight with his own attorney general tonight, not to mention taking pot shot at his former fbi director and special counsel. all this as he marks his first six months in office. ation. we're non-profit and have kept our tuition the same for the last five consecutive years. find your online program today at ♪ it's happening, it's happening! in the modern world, you can control just about anything with an app. your son is turning on all the lights again! and with the esurance mobile app, you can do the same thing with your car insurance.
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this week president trump marks his first six months in office and tonight like many nights of breaking news is on russia and the investigation into this administration. it is a story that has had tremendous impact on his domestic and foreign policy agenda and there is no end in sight. here to discuss james woo, so mk about gentlemen. this interview i think from "the new york times" to me is just jaw dropping. saying that he would never have appointed, the president saying he would never have appointed jeff sessions if he had known he
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was going to recuse himself. >> i thought the sessions stuff was remarkable. i must say to me was the really big take away was reserving the right to fire bob mueller as special counsel. i mean, that would be even more of a national trauma than firing jim comey. there would be nothing since the saturday night massacre of the firing of archibald cox. it would be extraordinary when bob mueller has impaneled a number of people who seem to be mike making a serious investigation. >> it seems me believes mueller is compromised? >> or making too much head way. he mentioned the finance sas as potential red line, he didn't want bob mueller going into his finances. at a time when there are serious national question s can ties wih
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russia, to even talk about potentially firing him just left me kind of aghast. >>ist to give specifics into to this >> yes. almost as if there's nobody at the top levels of justice in the fbi and throw in baltimore for good measure that he's not worried about or opposed to. it was really kind of an across the board blast at pretty much everybody in this part of government and it did not help him at all in trying to pull the health care plan together and is certainly isn't helping him get people thinking that they understand and appreciate his point of view with respect to russia or anything else. it's really very negative effect
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and very bad decision to go this way. >> what's interesting to me is it appears that he's intentionally undermining institutions that aamericans have had had confidence in because he's undermining the justice department and fbi and all of that. he tries to undermine the media as well. and it seems like a deliberate campaign because he goes down the line in this interview. and talk about james comey. he accused him of trying to leverage the dossier and trying to keep his job, the salacious dossier that came out. in my mind he shared it so i would think he had it out there as leverage. mr. trump said as leverage? "yeah, i think so," mr. trump
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said "in retrospect." and comey testified the exact opposite of that. >> what distinguishes president trump from other presidents is a systematic assault on institutions since he took office. since before then and obviously the media is one example of all that and the the intelligence community and i think there is an abroad sense, a battle between these classic institutions that are mounting these investigations that there pursuing them and i must say i am more confident now than i was january 20th that these institutions do remain strong and in the long run they will write president trump's obituary, rather than the other way around. >> where it talks about the array of issues they covered but
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he kept going back to the fact he wasn't under investigation. he says i'm not investigation. for what? i didn't do anything. a lot of folks at the white house, even his own personal attorney has hired an attorney. but he keeps going back to i'm not under investigation, i didn't do anything wrong. >> defensive a little bit? he's clearly under investigation. there's an investigation that seems to involve him about russia and one about obstruction of justice and we don't know the details at this point but there are really serious questions and what we know in the public arena does not explain our policy to russia. even the latest meeting between trump and putin, even if it was as simple as the white house said, why with putin rather than angela merkel? why not with prime minister may,
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our traditional ally? there is so much going on with this white house and russia that can't be explained except in the context of some other piece we don't fully understand. >> the people you're talking about would not need interpreters because they speak english. >> that too. >> i would assume at least there are counterintelligence investigations looking at russia and when those are the basis of a legal investigation you don't have the same kind of approach toward anything that you do when there's a criminal investigation. >> would you say donald trump jr. is under investigation? he has the same name as the president. >> i think unless you have evidence of a crime, if the investigation is focussed on the counterintelligence issues, it
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is not what most people mean when they talk about under investigation. it's not as if he's a target or a subject of investigation. he has come up perhaps in the discussions. >> collusion. >> well, collusion is an interesting word but in and of itself is a crime. the interesting thing here, the thing to focus on is is there a real crime going on? and is there a real criminal investigation of that sort of behavior? i've seen a lot of what i would regard as not good judgment. >> nothing has been proved or disproved. i get what you're seeing but you have to investigate it in order to figure it out. >> if you're conducting an investigation of counterintelligence and what the russians are doing, you don't
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have to charge anybody. that's what you would do if had a evidence of a crime. but it's not a crime to talk to somebody. it may be unwise to talk to a russian and then not go talk to the fbi or not follow up on the procedures of filing what you're supposed file but in a number of circumstances here, it's not a crime but it may be unwise. those are two different things. >> i think we need look beyond don trump jr. to kushner. donald trump jr. is interesting because the family. but this isn't a soap opera. this is about power and american politics and jared kushner is -- i mean, he has power and we know that he attended this meeting. his stated purpose was to collude with russia. >> i know you want to say something about senator john mccain. >> in many ways he's the untrump
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and in many ways an unpolitician. you and i we've seen so many politicians and it's often a curage free zone and john mccain exhibited that curage maybe more than the six years in vietnam in politics. in 2007/2008 when he was seeking the republican nomination for president and every republican primary voter wanted a tougher stance on guantanamo bay and torture and to have john mccain stick up on behalf of those prisoners was curage. er. >> he worked for me in the late '70s in the carter administration and he also -- i was on the bus with him up and in new hampshire.
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and he's a remarkable american politician. we all have flaws and john does too. but he's a brave man. he's a good man and he's the sort of personyi i'm proud to he as a u.s. senator. i wish we had more like him. >> and we wish you the very best. thank you, gentleman. ♪ if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective.
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only at applebee's. get your favorites on top of your favorites. you're in the match app. now tap on the new missed connections feature. it says i've crossed paths with kate six times this week. that is a lot of times. she's cute too! yea! how did i miss her? you didn't. match picked it up for you. check out new missed connections on match. start for free today! ready to of your back pain? new icyhot lidocaine patch. desensitizes aggravated nerves with the max strength lidocaine available. new icyhot lidocaine patch. this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight on two huge stories. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. president trump on fire unloads on his own attorney general, the fbi director he fired and the special counsel investigating it all. i want you to listen to what


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