tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 25, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
football players from high school to college to pro. they believe encephalopathy is caused by repeated hits to the head. it can cause memory loss, suicidal thoughts and in some cases dementia. the tiebreaker. the closely divided senate votes to move forward with debate on a health care bill after vice president pence cast the tie-breaking vote. but huge hurdles remain for republican voters. can they get a bill to the president's desk. bullying sessions. president trump refuses to say if he supports jeff sessions after multiple twitter attacks on the attorney general. mr. trump said he endorsed him only because of the huge crowds that he drew. how long can this humiliation to
a.g. sessions last? does the bill take power away from president trump and would he even sign it? begging for unity. john mccain makes a dramatic return to the senate and gives an emotional speech, urging order and consensus. will they hear his plea? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. president trump is fueling new speculation about whether he'll fire the attorney general jeff sessions. just a little while ago, the president said he's disappointed in sessions for recusing himself from the russia investigation. and in a twitter attack, he called sessions' positions, quote, very weak. asked about sessions' future, mr. trump said, quote, time will tell. also breaking. this senate has approved a motion to begin debate on a
health care bill with vice president pence casting the deciding vote, breaking a 50-50 tie. but right now it's unclear what the final bill will look like and if the gop leadership can muster the votes to pass it. and former trump campaign chairman paul manafort has been subpoenaed by the u.s. senate judiciary committee as part of its russia investigation. earlier he met behind closed doors with senate intelligence investigators while the president's son-in-law jared kushner talked to the house intelligence committee. we're going to get more on all of that with our guests, including a top democrat on the house intelligence committee, congressman adam schiff. our correspondents and specialists are also standing by as we cover all the breaking news this hour. let's begin with president trump's unrelenting public disdain of the attorney general jeff sessions. cnn white house correspondent sara murray is in youngstown, ohio where the president is getting ready to hold a rally tonight. sara, the president says time will tell as far as sessions'
fate is concerned. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. donald trump may have built his rally television career by telling people "he's fired," but if that's jeff sessions' fate today, the president isn't saying. donald trump using a crucial day in his presidency to hurl insults at his attorney general. but trump dodged questions about whether sessions should step down at a rose garden conference today. >> i'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we'll see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. >> reporter: trump tweeting attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very weak position on hillary clinton crimes. where are e-mails and dnc server and intel leakers? he says the real reason trump is doing this is he's still livid from sessions' decision to recuse himself from the russian probe. that decision made back in march with other department officials. >> he should not have recused himself almost immediately after
he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office and i would have quite simply picked somebody else. >> reporter: sessions said earlier this year he would bow out of any investigation into clinton. >> to be very clear, you intend to recuse yourself from both the clinton e-mail investigation and any matters involving the clinton foundation if there are any? >> yes. >> reporter: and trump himself said after the election, he didn't want to see the clintons investigated. >> i don't want to hurt them. i don't want to hurt them. they're good people. >> reporter: trump's newly minted communications director, anthony scaramucci, made no apologies for the president's behavior today as he acknowledged that trump probably wants sessions to step aside. >> i have an enormous amount of respect for the attorney general, but i do know the president pretty well, and if there is this level of tension in the relationship that's public, you're probably right.
but i don't want to speak for the president on that because he's a cabinet official, and i sort of think it has to be between the president of the united states and the cabinet official. >> reporter: trump was once sessions' strongest allies. >> i am pleased to endorse donald trump for the presidency of the united states. >> reporter: now the president's public flogging of his former friend isn't sitting well with other u.s. senators. republican senators, including rob portman, ted cruz, tom ti tillis and lindsey graham shot back at trump's criticism saying, trump's tweet today suggesting sessions' recusal of a political ally is inappropriate. they are making the case to keep sessions on board and they're pointing to that outpouring of support that sessions is getting
from republican senators, but even they acknowledge this rift may be too far gone for these hen to mend fences. >> sara, thank you very much. we're also following breaking news on capitol hill in a dramatic vote this afternoon. pence broke a 50-50 tie to allow the senate to debate health care. senator mccain, who was just back from being diagnosed with brain cancer, made a passionate plea for both democrats and republicans to work together. ryan nobles is on capitol hill for us. ryan, what happens next? >> the senate is set for 24 hours of debate after offering amendments to this bill which is now on the senate floor. it was tense right up to the final moment. even though senators have a long way to go, republicans finally have a much-needed win on health care. tonight senate republicans have pulled off what even a week ago seemed impossible. >> on this vote the ayes are 50 and the nays are 50, the senate
being equally divided. the vice president votes in the affirmative. >> reporter: securing enough gop votes to bring it to the floor and secure obamacare. >> we can't let this moment slip by. we've wrestled with this issue. we've watched the consequences of the status quo. the people who sent us here expect us to begin this debate. >> reporter: but it wasn't easy, even up until the last minute, the majority leader was whipping republican votes. he held a conversation with johnson on the cabinet floor just moments before he cast a final vote. mcconnell also secured support for this stage of the vote from skeptical senators like dean heller of nevada, rob portman of ohio and capiteau of west virginia.
and john mccain got a standing ovation just days after being diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer. he warned his colleagues the current process was doomed to fail. >> let's see if we can pass something that will be imperfect, with lots of compromises, but that might provide workable solutions to problems americans are struggling with today. what have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? >> but while the successful vote to proceed was a big win for mcconnell, the war over health care is just beginning. lawmakers will now begin the fight over what exactly the bill will ultimately become. >> for many it depends on what the final bill contains. that's essential in doing your job as a senator. >> reporter: it means the final bill could go in a number of different directions. they could strike a grand deal to repeal and replace obamacare. they could vote for a straight repeal, one that conservatives favor but will start the clock and up the pressure on finding a
full replacement. or they could pass what is called a skinny repeal, which strips out the worst of obamacare but leaves many of the positions in place. they open up a flood of amendments that would likely fail but would force republicans on the record in a number of key areas. >> the best the majority leader was able to cook up is a vague plan to do whatever it takes to pass something, anything, to get the bill to a house and senate conference on health care. my colleagues, plain and simple, it's a ruse. >> two republicans did vote no on the motion to proceed today and they weren't surprises, alicia murkowski and susan collins. we could still be waiting for a while before the final bill comes up for a vote. they said it may not be until
september until a final vote is cast. wolf? >> thank you, ryan nobles on capitol hill. the senate judiciary committee has subpoenaed campaign chairman paul manafort to testify in its russia investigation. let's go tower senior congressional reporter monu raja. they also spoke to the intelligence committee today. update our viewers on the latest. >> they are confident that a deal can be reached with the senate judicial committee to avoid a public hearing tomorrow. they are talking behind the scenes after manafort was hit with a subpoena last night asking him to compel tomorrow. diane feinstein, a top democrat on the committee, told me earlier today that she believed a deal could be reached. last week the committee invited
him to appear in a public session. instead. >> agree to a transcribed interview, agree to give records to the committee, but the committee broke down after apparently manafort only agreed to give one single transcribed interview to the congressional committee, that being the intelligence committee. earlier today he did speak to the senate intelligence committee and i am told that conversation was exclusively about the trump tower meeting he was at along with donald trump jr. and jared kushner. and paul manafort, i'm told, has agreed to come back and talk with members of staff about a mission in the manafort camp after a showdown in which he was subpoenaed to appear in front of the senate committee may not happen because of a deal in the
works, wolf. the president's son-in-law jared kushner we're told may return to capitol hill to answer even more questions, that he answered questions on the hill earlier. >> house members pressed him about that 11-page statement he released yesterday discussing his ties, connections and contacts with russian officials. republicans generally applauded his performance afterwards. yesterday a lot of democrats said he did not answer a lot of questions that they would like. i recently spoke to scott werner, and he said, absolutely. they want kushner to come back before his panel. yesterday kushner talked to staff of the intelligence committee. he said that is one question as well. i tried to ask jared kushner that repeatedly over the the.
it's uncertain about whether or not he'll come back before the senate intelligence committee and the members clearly have more questions than they want to answer. thank you, wolf. storm adam schiff of california is joining us, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee. lots to discuss. but very quickly, you just voted. the floor 118 to 3. i assume you're among the 419. >> absolutely, and i'm very proud we passed this. we should have taken it up frankly some time ago when the senate passed because we knew this was the inevitable result. it has overwhelming bipartisan support. the members understand, i think, in both parties the importance of sending a message to moscow about their interference in our election as well as their continued efforts to destabilize
and occupy parts of ukraine, and i'm very pleased that we have done this. it will cabin what the president can do, his ability to unilaterally for whatever reason lift sanctions on russia. so i'm very pleased with the result. >> you combined new sanctions out of all three of those countries, right? >> yes, we did. i think all three are very important. the iran sanctions to go after those entities that are involved in the ballistic missile program or other nefarious iranian actions, but as well to take steps dealing with north korea and clamp down further on that regime and its efforts to expand its nuclear program, its intercontinental missile ballistic program. that's probably the most direct threats facing the country, so a very important bill in all three
respects. >> a slightly different version passed the senate 98-2. i assume you have total confidence the president will sign this into law. if he doesn't, you certainly have the votes in the house and the senate to override his veto. >> yes. i don't see how he could veto this bill. it's very important on a policy and national security basis, but more than that, he ought to see the writing on the wall, which is, if he were to veto out of some. i don't know his relationship to putin. th that. >> this has to come back to you to get that approval, is that correct? >> they would have the vote to disapprove it and i think it would be a rejection. as a practical matter, the president will no longer have the unilateral authority to lift sanctions imposed by the prior
administration. >> let's move on to another important issue. and the house colleagues had an opportunity to question jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, senior adviser. what did you learn? >> we had about a three-houmpld. there are certainly questions based on those four meeting that we disclosed. i can't go into the particulars but of course our investigation is looking at the whole range of instrumentalities that they've us used. it involves the use of paid security. we wanted to explore with them
all the possibilities. >> did you read his public statement yesterday? >> i don't want to characterize his testimony, but we can't accept any representation on its face. we have seen, unfortunately, with other members of the trump family and organization that they will say one thing and then the truth will prove to be something quite different. certainly that meeting with don jr., mr. kushner, mr. manafort with now multiple russians or russian americans where there was initially by at least on jr. an effort to deny that such a meeting ever took place and a lot of phony indignation that we would suggest such a thing and then wondering what the meeting was about. unfortunately, we tp. >> so i would understand you
saying trust would do figure? >> verify where we can, corroborate if there's corroborating evidence and not take too much for granted. >> did you ask about the trump campaign's analytical or digital operations which he was involved in during the trump campaign, senator? >> that is an area we are deeply interested in, subject to any. russian targeting, that is something our committee is deeply interested in and any. >> i don't want to comment on the evidence, wolf. >> why has it been so difficult
for various members of the house and the senate to get paul manafort to testify? you spoke with the intelligence committee behind closed doors, but specifically behind your meetin meeting. >> well, i can only speculate. we've been in communication with mr. manafort and his counsel in the process of obtaining documents. we will want them to come before our committee. it sounds like he came before the senate committee. ultimately we'll want him before our correspond he almost had a kerkz. you can imagine a number of reasons why mr. manafort might be concerned about giving testimony on those issues, but we're going to need that if we
are to get to the bottom of this. >> the house speaker had this to say about president trump's meetings. >> he is the executive branch and the legislative branch. he determines who is hired and fired in the executive branch. that's his prerogative. if he has concerns, prewe will learn about them. >> i hope we have a more courageous response than that one, and we've heard similar responses from the speaker in the past along the lines of, well, you've got to meet us and he doesn't know what he was doing. what we wonder why he's.
that's what third rate banana republics do. when we have democratic reactions in. and tmt. we are meant seems to be suggesting we follow that path that is certainly hypothetical to our country's history and tradition and values. but in addition to that, the president isn't even transparent here. he wants to fire jeff sessions but he would rather not have to do it, so he's trying to force him to resign and he wants to do that so that he can bring if a new attorney general that will limit the scope of what bob mueller can investigate. we cannot allow that to happen in any way, shape or form. and this constitution needs to stand up and speak out, and i think it's deeply distressing to hear the speaker is not willing
to do that in the least. but we are going to count on senators from both parties to reject any effort to interfere in the investigation by appointing a new attorney general who is more malleable to the president's interests. >> congressman, there is a lot more we need to discuss, including the president of the united states. he's now beginning to attack you personally. we'll have that, much more right after this quick break. t's in t? (cat 1) *gaspá is that a crunchy kibble?! (cat 2) is that a ring of gravy?! (cat 1) it's gravy... made crunchy! new friskies gravy swirlers! (cat 2) real gravy baked right in! (cat 1) crunchy! gravy! crunchy! gravy! (cat 2) we get it buddy, we get it. (vo) feed their fantasy. friskies. so how old do you want uhh, i was thinking around 70. alright, and before that? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement? we're absolutely doing that. but there's no law you can't make the most of today. what do you want to do? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. yea. hope you're fast. i am.
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...nausea, heartburn, when indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea! nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea! here's pepto bismol! ah. nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. the president's former campaign chairman and son-in-law on capitol hill talking behind closed doors about russia. paul manafort who led the campaign last summer is now also being subpoenaed by the senate judiciary committee. we're back with democratic
congressman adam schiff of california and chairman of the house committee. you mentioned that the president wants jeff sessions out of the way so they can limit mueller's investigation. what would you do if trump were to remove mueller? >> i would reintroduce a president's counsel law, one that is limited to the russia investigation that would be for a period of time and that would allow for the reappointment to bob mueller in a position that would be beyond the reach of a president to hire or fire. that would allow this investigation to go on unimpeded. you don't let the president pick the one that investigates or potentially prosecutes cases involving his own organization. and i would hope we would have strong bipartisan support for that. it would certainly be a crisis here, it would be a constitutional crisis, and i think that would be the only responsible way forward.
>> president trump yesterday attacked you personally, tweeting this. quote, sleazy adam schiff. the totally biased congressman looking into "russia," spends all of his time on television pushing the dem loss excuse. what is with the president? >> i think his tweets are below the dignity of the office. one he might have thought was particularly funny. my impression was a character on "ghostbusters" that had just been slimed. the president is reduced to insults that you hear when you're in grade school. i think about the staff that has occupied that office in the past, and it troubles me to see this kind of thing going on. but it is what it is. i suppose it's a measure of the fact that the president views me as a threat and certainly has
enhanced the budget with one that says, i'm with sleazy. >> what's been the reaction of your republican colleagues to the president of the united states calling it sleazy. >> just zegenerally, i think we all wish he would give up his twitter account or make sure there was adult supervision before he sends things out. we looked back and just before he sent out the tweet attacking me, there was a segment on fox news attacking me, so he tweets that and fox news and breitbart and the others amplify his attack. so it's an echo chamber of people listening to themselves, and it is what it is, but i don't think it's in the national best interests, that's for sure. >> congressman adam schiff of
california, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we'll have much more in-depth coverage of news. john mccain pleading with his colleagues to start working together. > . criticizing the attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions. >> he should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office. and if he chose to tell me that prior to taking office, i would have picked someone else.
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we are following multiple breaking stories right now, including president trump once again criticizing the attorney general jeff sessions saying, quote, time will tell when asked about sessions' future with the trump administration. let's bring in our political and legal specialist, gloria borger. the president in that news conference was asked about all the criticism he's leveled against the attorney general. listen to what the president said. >> i am disappointed in the attorney general. he should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office and i would have quite simply picked somebody else. so i think that's a bad thing not for the president but for the presidency. i think it's unfair to the presidency and thaet tt's the w feel. >> it's pretty extraordinary to hear the president speak about
the sitting attorney general publicly like that. >> well, it is, it's unsettling, and he's broadening it out to this is bad for the president as in it's bad because i wanted you to be in charge of the russian investigation so we wouldn't have had a special counsel. but then he said it is bad and unfair for the presidency, broadening it to the office. so the question i have is, how is that unfair to the presidency if, in fact, what sessions did was try and eliminate for the american public any conflict of interest whatsoever in the russia investigation? i mean, i think that bears some explaining from the president about how this is unfair to the office that he holds. >> what does it say, jeffrey toobin, about the president's respect for the independence of the justice department? >> that he doesn't have any.
you know, he has never appreciated the concept of conflict of interest. that's why his children work in the white house. he has just -- this is just not part of his makeup. the whole reason that attorney general sessions recused himself is because he was part of the campaign. the attorney general understood that he could not lead an investigation of the campaign that he was a part of. i think that's a very simple idea. every member of the senate apparently, including the republicans, understands that. certainly that's the rule in the justice department. and the idea that the president not only doesn't support that application of this neutral standard but would -- is on the verge of firing the attorney general because he observed this norm, it's just -- you know, we
sort of -- we get tired of saying it's shocking, it's unusual, it's not normal, but it's shocking, it's unusual, it's not normal. >> the president also, in that tweet, expressed his disappointment that the attorney general is not investigating hillary clinton right now. he tweeted this. attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very, in all caps, weak position on hillary clinton crimes. where are e-mails and dnc server and intel leakers. i'm going to play that clip. >> it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump are not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you would be in jail. >> you know, he was the law and order candidate, but does that show respect for law and order? >> you heard people there cheer
and certainly conservatives were cheering him as he talked about hillary clinton and lock her up. those are chants that were often heard during some of his campaign rallies. but this idea that you use the department of justice, that you see your attorney general as someone who should go after a former political opponent, i mean, that's certainly not in keeping with the way most americans understand the relationship between the presidency and the department of justice. you talk about this language of law and order. if you look at what sessions has done, he has been a law and order attorney general. if you think about what he's done in terms of sanctuary cities, in terms of cracking down on immigration, cracking down on the reinvigoration of war on drugs. >> it's certainly different than
what he said about, they've suffered enough, they're good people. in this new wall street journal interview, senator sessions at the time was the first senator to endorse him very enthusiastically, and in this interview he said, you know what? he did it because of huge crowds he was attracting in alabama. i had 40,000 people. he was the senator of alabama. i won the state by a lot, massive numbers. a lot of states i won by massive numbers, but he was the senator and he probably says yes. that's what he said about senator sessions. >> i don't even understand that. i'm sorry, it makes -- jeff sessions is a popular guy in alabama. he didn't need donald trump to come to alabama to get adulation. he was about as safe as they come when it comes to a senate seat. that doesn't quite make a whole lot of sense. but i will say, you were saying,
nia, about the fact that jeff sessions and the people around him who wanted him to stay and pushing back against the president, he's a law and order president, he's going to push back on some of the ideas, and you saw public senator after public senator coming out and saying, we think the president is wrong, we think jeff sessions is a good attorney general, he needs to do those things, to push those policies. >> the president has just arrived in vienna, ohio not far from youngstown, ohio with the first lady. they're going to get in the limousine and head to a huge rally he's organized for tonight as well. >> to add onto what dana is saying, i think the president, if he fires or if jeff sessions decides to say, you know what, i'm going to leave, which no one would blame him for, by the way, he could face a backlash with his base. because, you know, you have
breitbart talking about this now, jim demint, a conservative, just tweeted, hope he sees jeff sessions as a great leader who will defend the constitution and the rule of law. jeff sessions just announced something on sanctuary cities right now. so jeff sessions, you could say, is arguably doing the most of any member of his administration to implement what the president ran on. >> gloria, i respectfully so disagree with that. this mythical backlash. with all respect to john mccain, it would be exactly like his speech today where john mccain said, oh, this is disturbing, the senate shouldn't work this way, we need bipartisanship and then -- let me finish -- and then he would vote in lockstep with all the other republicans just like mccain always does. >> i think you misinterpreted me, jeffrey, because what i am
saying is conservatives, the right wing of the party, you know, whom jeff sessions represents, those who are with him on immigration, those who are with him on sanctuary cities and a whole host of issues, those people are getting upset now. and they don't want to see sessions leave and that's the president's base that he has been depending on for whatever popularity he has. >> and it's the president's base that he borrowed and he got, you know, kind of the seal of approval for on from jeff sessions, who represented that base and was oftentimes kind of a lonely guy in the senate representing the hard right of the conservative wing -- >> where are they going to go? >> they could stay home. >> i think toobin raises an interesting point, right? there have been all these episodes where wes this is going to be the final straw in terms
of donald trump's behavior and we would see something from folks on the hill, whether it's on the house side or the senate side, and we haven't seen that yet. privately they express frustration, but you can imagine if he did something to sessions, they might take the poor mine approach which is to say, it's the president's prerogative to hire and fire and see the cabinet he wants to see. so i think toobin's skepticism is warranted. >> toobin is always skeptical. >> you're a former assistant u.s. attorney, whatever your former title was when you worked for the government, but you see the president not only criticizing the attorney general but the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, the acting fbi director andrew mccabe, the special counsel robert mueller. have you ever seen anything like this before? >> no, not since richard nixon was president when you had the attorney general of the united states, john mitchell, go to prison because, you know, the entire leadership of the justice
department then was corrupted. and, you know, there is annett i can in the justice department that it is not just another department. the president can do what he wants at the department of commerce, he can do what he wants in the state department. he is in charge of american foreign policy. but the justice department has two missions. it is part of the administration but it is also part of the administration of justice which is supposed to operate neutrally and the same from one administration to the other, and that is a concept that is completely foreign to how donald trump is running his administration. and jeff sessions is trying to honor that tradition, and it's not working out so well for him so far. >> do you think it's just rhett could you s -- the recusal that sparked all this or is there something deeper here? >> it could be. today he talked about the fact that the justice department had not done enough on a leak investigation. he tried to kind of use that as
a cover story but that also leads back to russia. the president cannot -- and, you know, in reporting to people who have worked for him for years and years, the president cannot separate the fact that you work for him and you might be independent. that just doesn't compute. >> all right, guys. everybody stick around. we have a lot more on today's breaking news coming up. is president trump's criticism aimed at the attorney general jeff sessions part of a larger strategy to get rid of the entire russia investigation and possibly fire the special counsel robert mueller? your insurance company
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investigation. democrats are asking whether the criticism is part of a larger strategy, not only to get rid of the attorney general, but also the man now leading the investigation. the special counsel, robert mueller. cnn's brian todd has been looking into various possibilities and brian, what are you finding out? >> wolf, we're finding a growing number of people who believe strongly that is the president's ulterior motive in appreciating jeff sessions to get to the point where he can fire the special counsel robert mueller. >> i am disappointed in the attorney general. he should not have recused himself. >> reporter: president trump doesn't let up in attacking his own attorney general, tweeting today attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very weak position on hillary clinton crimes. tonight a growing number of observers see an ulterior motive in the president so publicly criticizing even humiliating jeff sessions. >> it appears to me that the president's objective here is to force the resignation of attorney general sessions. that will then position him to ultimately force an end to the mueller investigation. >> reporter: special counsel robert mueller has been investigating whether trump's campaign colluded with russia. trump has criticized mueller's investigation as a witch hunt. normally the president could instruct his attorney general to fire robert mueller, but because of his role in the campaign, sessions recused himself from the russia investigation. so, if sessions is forced out, trump could appoint an attorney general who would fire mueller. but there is a big debate tonight over whether president trump and his new presumably more compliant attorney general would have the power to fire
mueller. >> the only way they can legally fire him is for cause, and mueller hasn't done anything that justifies for cause so they have to create cause or ignore the regulations in order to fire him. >> reporter: trump reportedly has been looking for cause. he could cite a conflict of interest. mueller's firm has represented members of trump's family. but the justice department has already said that's not a conflict. another potential conflict, three lawyers hired for mueller's probe gave money exclusively to democrats. but there could be another way to end mueller's investigation. >> a new attorney general could look at the mueller investigation and say, in my opinion, it should be terminated because mueller's come up with nothing to implicate the trump campaign in criminal activity. >> reporter: but if any of this happens if could end up looking like the infamous saturday night massacre of 1973. richard nixon ordered his attorney general to fire the watergate special prosecutor, but his attorney general refused and resigned.
then his deputy attorney general refused and resigned. the third in line solicitor general robert bork, was willing and fired the special prosecutor. >> after the saturday night massacre, not only did some democrats begin to talk about impeachment, but the public started to send telegrams to members of congress saying that it's time richard nixon left the scene. you could actually see an effect on richard nixon's national popularity as a result of the saturday night massacre. >> reporter: we pressed the white house today to respond to the belief by many that president trump is really pressuring jeff sessions to -- trying to pressure jeff sessions to resign, and whether the president's ultimate goal is to fire robert mueller. the white house did not respond to our repeated calls and e-mails. wolf? >> brian, sessions is getting some significant support up on capitol hill, right? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. several senate influential republicans lining up behind jeff sessions. a short time ago, majority leader mitch mcconnell voiced confidence in sessions.
majority whip john cornyn supports him as do lindsey graham, senators rob portman, tom tillis richard shelby and mike lee, also republican senator susan collins not long ago said it would be catastrophic if the president fires robert mueller. >> all key republicans indeed. brian todd, thanks very, very much. breaking news next, new attacks by president trump on the attorney general jeff sessions. will the president fire him? >> a lot of things we need -- >> very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. ♪ no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you
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one vote margin, senate republicans barely scrape together enough votes to move forward on health care with the vice-president hauled in to break a tie. tonight president trump is applauding his party despite continued gop infighting that could still dom an obamacare repeal. time will tell. after publicly and repeatedly blasting his attorney general, mr. trump is leaving jeff sessions' future a mystery. why won't the man whose catch phrase was, yoep you're fired" say those words now? subpoena dropped. tonight a senate panel has pulled back on an effort to force the president's former campaign chairman testify publicly. what can a deal manafort might reach with investigators? scolding the senate just days after his brain cancer diagnosis, john mccain rejoins his colleagues to vote on health care to plead for unity and to encourage republicans to stand up to the president. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room."