tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 4, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
bannon has to say about all these quotes that were ascribed to him. >> maybe monday, but we're soon to move on to president trump and the republicans clearing the agenda. our coverage continues next. this is trump one year later. president trump's effortses to keep control of the russia investigation. and what looks to be an obstruction of justice inquiry by robert mueller. cnn has a copy of this book attempting to push back against vivid descriptions of the chaotic first year of the trump presidency, and also, raising
questions about mr. trump's fitness for office. a new report by the new york times derails attempts by the president to scuttle the russia investigation. and now damaging information in the hands of robert mueller. the president asked mcgahn to lobby sessions to keep control of the investigation. sessions rejected that request. four days before the president fired james comey, one of session's aids asked a congressional staff member, whether that staffer had damaging information on comey. another startling revelation, a white house lawyer was so unnerved by trump's talk of firing comey. he actually misled the president about whether he had the legal authority to do so. mueller is examining the false statement dictated by the president on air force one, soon
avenues broke that his son met with russians offering dirt on hillary clinton. >> let's bring in our legal and political experts here with us this evening. jason miller and laura coats. brian fallin, who was hillary clinton's press secretary. and executive editor of the cen continual newspapers. thank you all for coming on. another night this week, with a lot of news, laura, first to you, about this "new york times" report that came out tonight. president trump gave firm instructions in march to the white house's top lawyer, stopped the attorney general from recusing himself and the investigation into weather mr. trump's associates had helped the russia campaign.
the white house council carried out the president's orders and lobbied mr. sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry according to two people with knowledge of the episode. >> what are the legal implications of an order like this for the president. >> the white house counsel il. not the personal lawyer of the president of the united states. the white house council is there to serve the office, not the occupant of that particular office. when you have that at the get go, you realize that the president of the united states believed he could use a marionette function to control who had access and who would be able to give advice to the head of the department of justice. that's never how it was supposed to work. from the outset, you see yet again with the other clues we've had over the course six or seven months, you're seeing that the president of the united states seems to fundamentally misunderstood the role and the independence of the justice department, and certainly jeff sessions' decision to not accept that request shows that he was following regulations to actually recuse himself.
>> he was more prudent than the president? >> i want to bring in jason miller. the new york times reports that the president erupted in anger after sessions recused himself, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. protect him from what, exactly? >> well, we're seeing a lot from this story of unnamed sources and such. it's important to point out we need to take that with a little context. >> he's not happy that sessions recused himself. he's been public in that part. >> he's absolutely right. the attorney general was hearing the chatterings folks in washington saying he needed to recuse himself. if he did recuse himself, that would make those -- the political opponents die down with their criticism of him. i think what the president knows is whether it be from the campaign or in his time in office as president, is that's not going to slow people down at all. all it's going to do is make people double down and say, see, see, see.
i think president trump was wrong in saying, you don't need to step aside and recuse yourself. the president was spot on here. >> brian, you've heard the defense of the president there. give us your response. >> well, this is -- you know, my dad from kentucky had a saying. i've been to three county fairs and a goat wrangling and i've never seen anything like this. this presidency hasn't told me once they made a mistake. i've been in the pressroom for more than a year now. this guy has never said he made a mistake. he's never admitted wrongdoing of any sort. this guy has come forward and manipulated. he doesn't understand the fundamental ways this government works. and i think it's very -- >> you think that extends to him not understanding the role of the attorney general -- >> i think he doesn't understand the role of the government.
he thinks of himself as a december pot despot or a king. >> jason, i have to ask you, this is part of a pattern of this president seeking, it appears, to undermine this investigation, right? whether it's telling his attorney general not to recuse himself. whether it's directing the attorney general to look for dirt on james comey. and then he fires james comey. he's said as much in public that he fired james comey because of the russia investigation. >> i have to correct you, i did go through and read the story twice to make sure i was getting it right. >> not only does it not say in the story that the president asked for someone to go and look for dirt on comey, the allegation was that someone in the justice department asked some low level staffer to do it, and the justice department has flat out denied that. and said it did not -- >> you're just parsing words. >> no, it's very important, if it's not true, we need to make sure we're being clear here. please don't try to throw shade, because i'm making sure that -- >> i'm not throwing shade, i'm
just trying to -- >> no, you are. >> the simple fact is, this president has never -- >> properly. >> at all in his entire year about. >> i'm sorry that you hate the president so much. >> i don't hate anybody. i'm just the guy asking questions. how could you make that judgment that i hate the guy, simply because i ask a question about him -- >> because you absolutely started off -- >> he hasn't been truthful. >> let's listen to what jason has to say this. >> this is a pattern of the president taking multiple steps by his own admission to get in the way, it seems of the russia investigation. he said, for instance, with the firing of james comey, that's why he did it, he instructed his attorney general to try to get -- rather the white house council to instruct the attorney general or encourage him not to recuse himself, it's part of a pattern here, is it not? >> it's his prerogative if he wanted to fire the fbi director. there's nothing wrong with that, the legal experts have come on
and talked about it at length. he can go in and fire him any time he wants. he can fire the current fbi director tomorrow, if he wanted to. there's absolutely nothing -- >> that would be interesting. >> there's nothing wrong with that. they serve at the discretion of the president of the united states. >> i want to bring in brian fallin here, you works at the justice department, how do you see it. >> let me go back and correct something jason said. he speculated that jeff sessions was bowing to pressure from his outside liberal critics by recusing himself. that's none sense. there's a formal -- within the justice department, that would govern when jeff sessions should recuse himself. he would have been told point blank, you need to recuse yourself. >> he said he was told by department officials. >> exactly, for him to have rejected that advice, he would have lost the confidence of the
building. i think he's probably lost it by now anyway. >> not necessarily, i think he may have stayed. he should have gone on as long as he could have. >> he acted on the guidance by the career lawyers, whose job it is to give suggestions in these scenarios, what has he done despite that? >> he didn't recuse himself, but he's gone about trying to please trump in every other way. sessions aide, according to the new york times report. i'm sorry, but the spokesperson at the justice department who's denying it has been caught denying things that have been proven true in the past. >> mueller is looking at all of this, this has all been handed over to him, everything is a piece in the puzzle, as you well know, including the crafting of that first misleading statement aboard air force one, that's talked about in michael wolf's new book. the president's legal team thought that statement was an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation's gears,
and it led one of mr. trump's spokes men to quit, because he believed it constituted obstruction of justice. how significant is that? >> extremely significant. if you were to look at those things as the tendency is -- look at it in isolation, you cannot do that, you have all of the context that's been provided to say, you have a pattern and a theme here that's emerging. the president of the united states, who is having a hand in either crafting or trying to someone a particular narrative, as opposed to providing truth, that is what the premise of any obstruction of justice charge is going to be, essentially saying, are you getting in the way of an investigation? an active investigation? are you doing all this within your drudgers to try to undermine our ability to seek the truth. >> even if it's lying to the media? >> you can lie to the media any time you want. but what you should remember at this point in time, they were aware it wasn't just the media who was listening, it was robert mueller, his very existence and edict at that point in time, said that when they were lying
to the media, it may be a suggestion that they were trying to have the true audience be mueller and his team. one would hope that mueller and his team probably much more well versed in this than certainly the nonmedia savvy trump campaign team was. but this is what mueller already knows. >> let me ask you this, this gets to an essential legal question here. and i should note that it's not just michael wolff's book that has the details of this air force one crafting of the meeting. saying it was about adoptions, when we know that russians were offering dirt on hillary clinton. from a legal standpoint, if a president crafts a false statement about this with his staff members present. and them taking part, from a legal standpoint, does that constitute instructing subordinates to lie? >> what it constitutes, instructing subordinates to not provide forthcoming truth and be forthright in their statement.
>> not provide forthcoming truth? >> the reason i'm makinging it a new answered statement, mueller's objective is to figure out whether a crime has occurred. and whether or not somebody is impeding his ability to do that very thing. and so part of the inquiry will always be whether or not someone has played some relevant hand in trying to undermine his ability to do so. if somebody is saying, that i'd like you to not be forthcoming, not to disclose the truth, even though we know that the fbi probably already had the e-mails in their possession, and the e-mail trail that said this was not about natalia vesstalking a adoption. it was more than that. >> we were told in the pressroom, in the beginning there was no collusion, no contact with russia, then there was limited contact. now, you've had two people that pleaded out, and two others that have been charged. there's obviously been some contact, and also, go back to what the president himself said as a candidate. when he encouraged russia to
check into e-mails from a podium during a public event. so the -- the truth of the matter has always been very different from the narrative that has been spun from the white house. and it's disturbing to anyone in that room who's in search of mere facts to have to sit there and listen to that story change and to be told day after day, that we're the fake news, that we're the false media, and then they tell us stories that never pan out. >> you know who -- >> exactly, because when you have reporters go and bundle things all the way up like this, and come to their own conclusions and skip way ahead. let's talk about what he did. he tried to say, that -- back there in your statement a moment ago, that people on the campaign were including with a foreign entity. you had a couple idiots who clearly weren't completely forthcoming when they had their interviews with the fbi, that doesn't mean the campaign was including with a foreign entity. >> of course, that's not the
entire truth. >> president trump won this election. i'm sorry that secretary clinton didn't win. you don't get a doover. if you want a doover -- >> but jason, it is true that the president came out and said, there was zero contact with any russians, it was after a report we did. then it's like a slow slip, drip, drip. >> one of those idiots was a former three star general. >> one was his son. >> that's why he got fired, because he lied. >> the rub of the new york times story tonight is, whatever you think of the collusion investigation, that there's a very viable obstruction of justice potential charge against the president and members of his senior team. as a result of what we've learned from the new york times story tonight, jeff sessions is caught up in that. he's at the very least a witness, based on the attempts to pressure him on recusing himself. he's potentially on the line himself over potential obstruction depending on what he may have due tiesed an aid to
do. his tenure is unsalvageable. i know democrats are a little b betwixed. democrats are sort of stuck in this position to defend jeff sessions to keep him in, in order to not to have mueller fired. >> we can't trust christopher wray, the head of the fbi, rosen stein to stand up -- >> what's important, if you go to the hill today, and you were talking to people, that's exactly where they're at. they're like, we don't wants sessions, but it's 6 of 1, half dozen of the other. what do we get if we push for him to come out. the problem with this administration, there's no viable path for sessions at this point. he may stay. >> let me jump in really quick. we keep talking about this notion of comey. i want to read from the new york
times what it said, and get your analysis. two days after mr. comey's is it, an aid to mr. sessions approached asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the fbi director. the attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media, about mr. comey. now, we knew that the white house instructed rosen stein and others to find cause to fire comey. but going to dig up dirt, an aide of the attorney general going to dig up dirt so there are negative news stories day in and day out. >> it's scary that we are discussing that in this day and age. when you look at it on the face of it, it speaks to the depths of depravity we're seeing from this white house. >> well, first of all, the doj says that didn't happen. >> have we seen anything like this? >> youen wot even -- >> this is only the third day of the year. >> what's interesting about this, this sounds a lot like what the white house is doing to james comey today.
>> yes. >> and has for several months. it sounds like a consistent strategy, they've been attacking his credibility since the moment they fired him as well. >> are you talking about the former director who leaked his confidential work product to the media, and is now working on the book deal and the media deal and everybody else. >> we're talking about james comey who served under republican and democratic administrations for years, and let's be frank, when he was leading the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails, the president praised him repeatedly. >> there's no reason to go dig for any dirt, which the doj has said didn't happen. all you have to do is go back and pull quotes from the clinton campaign, you spent all of last year bashing him. saying he was doing a terrible job. misdirecting the fbi. they tried to blame the entire election on the director's incompetence. >> let's not forget, the irony here, is that if he hadn't fired james comey, none of --
>> there wouldn't be counsel. and perhaps it wouldn't be where it is. >> also in the new york times story tonight, there's a report that reince priebus' notes are in the information. >> we have a break coming up now. the times revelation, that a white house lawyer deliberately misled the president about whether he had the authority to fire fbi director james comey. and later, new excerpts from the bombshell book raising questions about president trump's white house and his mental fitness. the egg? or the chicken? how would i know? but i do know that first, qualcomm connected the phone to the internet. and now, everyone is posting and scrolling and sharing everything. yessir. qualcomm invents, then the world innovates on top of their breakthroughs. invention comes first. and a whole lot of it starts at qualcomm.
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one of the most stunning allegations describes how a white house lawyer deliberately misled president trump about whether he had the authority to fire james comey. >> according to the times, tom dillon assigned a junior lawyer to research that very question, and the staffer determined that nothing was stopping president trump from removing comey. quoting the times here, mr. dillon who had earlier told mr. trump that he needed cause to fire mr. comey, never corrected the record, withholding the conclusions of his research. >> wow! all right, laura coats, first to you, how significant, extraordinary is this that a white house council lawyer would mislead the president. >> this president may not have any interest in constitutional
standards, and also, the way in which the branches of government are supposed to be separate. how are we supposed to run the executive branch of the government. you have the impression that the president has to be misled in order to guide the hand of a petulant child. it led to the hires of special council robert mueller who has remained the opaque thorn in the side of the trump administration ever since. and so it had grave consequences and probably a demonstrations that the attorneys were trying to exercise necessary foresight, and you had a client who's unwilling to listen. >> jason? >> i don't buy this story at all. i mean, first of all, anything illegal within the white house is going to -- you know what, i didn't interrupt you. let me go ahead and finish. >> go for it. >> anything legally -- thank you, the hillary clinton rallies all ended last november. anything legally in the white house, would have gone up
through don mcgahn. don mcgahn wouldn't have allowed something that was erroneous or false to be presented to president trump. i don't buy this story. i think when we have these unnamed off the record sources, who are offering things up like this, we have to take it with a boulder of salt here, and it's not -- it's not believable that some lawyer who again isn't the top dog in the white house is going to have that authority to give some misleading information to the president. >> let me ask you -- >> there's one more important point here, that's that look, since the president's detractors can't beat him on the policy issues, they're now moving to these efforts to try to mock him by throwing out these false claims and how do you try to -- you're basically punching at ghosts saying, this thing didn't happen. >> it's a brilliant strategy from the political left, from the president's political detractors. >> why is it political left? >> i want to take issue with one thing. you make a point.
i'm not sure this comports with a story, that this went through don mcgann. it looks like tom dhillon asked a lower level staffer to research this. the president did have the right to do it. that's one deal that's different there, but the other thing is, is it not conceivable here that his legal team was trying to protect him from doing something that they perceived would be damaging to him? >> the top people that the president has around him in the white house, are people that he trusts and respects, and they present him -- >> really, because he's gotten rid of a lot of them. >> come on. he was told -- >> are you going to let me finish -- >> we were told at the very beginning -- >> are you going to let me finish? >> no. >> then i'm just going to keep on talking. the president respects the people around him, he's the one that makes the decision. the whole thing that they have to hold things back, this is utterly ridiculous, and just --
it's not believable. >> brian -- >> it is believable. i've been in that pressroom and i've watched it. there are things that are not told to senior staff members, and i'm sorry, we were told from the very beginning, for example, he hires the best people. the very best people, now, he's canned a bunch of them, some of them have quit, a lot of them have fled. my question after they were indicted or pleaded out, were they the best people? i don't buy any of that. i look at whether or not that particular bit of new answer is factually accurate for trump supporters, is irrelevant to the fact that he fired comey. that he has a special prosecutor, it's almost like the saturday night massacre with nixon all over again. and you're looking at an expanding investigation. and they keep trying to tell us that the investigation is shrinking and going away. and i'm sorry, you flipped two people, you have someone working with you. it's not going away. >> i hear jason keep saying this, there's a tendency
whenever anyone criticizes the legal parameters, there's an idea that it's about partisanship and issues. it's worthwhile to criticize the president and his actions without having to think about partisan, the hillary rallies have no relevance here, what does have relevance, there was a plan set into motion by the president's own conduct. it's not about whether he had the prerogative to do so. it's whether it was legally prudent and would signal to the rest of the people in america, under the court of public opinion, that he had something to hide and had nefarious intent. >> doesn't this raise questions about the white house council office too? >> absolutely. this is not an outliar anecdote. the big story before this bombshell report came out tonight, was about this wolf book that casts a portrayal of the president that somebody -- none of his advisers or aids trust, and doesn't have the attention span to sit through briefings. everyone has privately called their president that they serve
a moron. the image that came out in that book is that his aids send him off to play golf as often as possible, when he has to be in the white house, they tuck him into bed at 6:30, and feed him a cheeseburger. >> some people in the book have denied the quotes. others have been proven. the dinner with roger ailes, three people have corroborated that, including someone who was on our air earlier today. >> detail for detail. >> and steve bannon has not backed away -- he's had multiple opportunities to do so, he was doing his radio program today and last night, i was listening to it. you say this is a partisan attack on the president, in effect, and now i know the relationship between bannon and trump is not particularly good right now, this is bannon who helped get him elected, right? who is giving this counter narrative, you look at the new york times story, you have reince priebus here, the form
former -- >> well, so on that, which of course neither one of us were around for any of these conversations, but didn't director comey tell president trump three times that he was not under investigation? >> were you there? >> do any of us know? >> i'm asking the question. >> comey has testified that he didn't do that. >> the caveat of that, is saying, what he said at any moment could change based on the evolution of the case, i suspect that right now, if bob mueller was put on the spot and asked that question, he couldn't provide the same reassurance. >> that's a problem of comey's own making, of course, he's lead the public into believing that the fbi is very used to presenting public testimony and public hearings and public press conferences on issues of active investigations or even the existence of them. he put himself in his own conundrum, by holding a press conference to alert the public
he was going to be transparent and forthright. on the other hand saying, i can't tell the president about an on going investigation. that's comey's own making. >> you know what, dealing with the fbi over many years, the fbi has always -- i'm -- i remember the standard rule of thumb was, neither confirm nor deny that there's an investigation, and thank you very much, and we'll take whatever you got and we'll see you. >> that rule went out with the james comey press conference last summer. >> that's true. >> the question of obstruction of justice is still very much alive. certainly in the special council investigation. do you not have to prove corrupt intentions? >> intent is everything. but obstruction -- i know it's a hot topic for people, it's very rarely the end game in a prosecution. obstruction would be like watching someone speed away from the scene of the crime, giving them a speeding ticket and
ignoring what they may be running from. it may be a standalone, but to suggest that the goal of the mueller investigation is simply to hand out a speeding ticket and ignore what you're fleeing from would be absurd. >> all right. we need to go to break. >> we thought the mueller investigation was supposed to be about russia. >> well, he was given -- >> well, that is -- >> held to prove that, now you're moving on to something else. >> the initial intent. >> we have to go, everyone hold on, so much to discuss. more excerpts coming up from the tell all book on the trump white house, including steve bannon agonizing over weather firing robert mueller would lead to president trump's impeachment. . i don't have my keys. (on intercom) all hands. we are looking for the captain's keys again. they are on a silver carabiner. oh, this is bad. as long as people misplace their keys, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you
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bannon's tone, if he fires mueller, it brings the impeachment quicker, why not, let's do it. what am i going to do? am i going to go in and save him? he's donald trump. >> how remarkable is this? >> this tweet from the president tonight responding to the book as well as a cease and desist lawyer. it's only going to send it further up the charts. i would be inclined to think some of this was exaggerated and embellished. the trump's team's main defenses, they have no idea how this guy got in here. it confirms the chaotic image of the book. nobody authorized this, and so
much of the composite you get from the president. the guy that is fundamentally unfit for the job he holds, is corroborated by other evidence. bob corker around the time he announces his decision to resign, said he had had private conversations with top white house officials where they likened their job to baby-sitting at a day care. this is not just coming from the sources in this book, it's not just coming from steve bannon. it's coming from other top advisers in the cabinet. and the fundamental question that needs to ask, how much longer are congressional republicans going to look the other way. >> donald trump responding to this book. i authorized zero access to the white house, actually turned him down many many times, for author of phony book, i never spoke to him for book full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. look at this guy's past and watch what happens to him. sloppy steve. >> i have to ask jason miller.
he authorized zero access. how did michael wolff get so much access to so many white house staffers? >> if you go back and look at the for the of the book, there's a big long explanation of how the author essentially attributed some of these quotes. they were direct, indirect. going way back in the time machine. >> how did he get in the white house? >> i'm curious. >> a lot of this goes right to, sounds like steve bannon. and that's obviously, i think part of the reason why the president is so rightfully upset right now. one person said, this sounds like a family feud, it wasn't. it was more like a public beheading, you're not going to see steve at the white house any further. >> steve bannon let him in, you
covered the white house for so many years, under president obama, if one of his deputies decided he wanted to let in an author, that wouldn't fly, right? >> actually turned him down many times, the president is so insulated from those decisions, those decisions are made -- you're going to go through a rang letter, lower press you're going to go through the chief of staff, a lot of people before you get to the president, unless, of course, you were one of those people who had his cell phone and could call him all the time. but the simple fact of the matter is, i'll say that he's -- he was right about that, bannon let him in, and -- >> no one really -- >> the thing -- it speaks -- >> bannon was there every day, letting him in. >> it speaks to the chaos and the dysfunction inside that white house. we can't get e-mails returned to us, we ask for things, we don't get answers, for example, i'll go to this point.
every quarter he has come out and said what he's going to do, donate his salary too. we've been asking, or i have, the last two -- what are you going to do with the salary. we'll get back to you. they don't get back to you. you ask to meet, never get back to you. that tweet speaks to the fact that he really doesn't know what's going on in that white house. and no one else does either. >> we're going do have to leave it in, thanks to all of you. we went through a lot tonight. next on our special report, more on the aftershocks of tonight's "new york times" report, evidence robert mueller is looking at as he decides whether are president trump obstructed justice. ac 'n cheese smothered in shredded mozzarella. sounds pretty good, huh? but it wasn't mega. so we took big, tender chunks of chicken. slathered them in spicy buffalo sauce. stacked them on top for a whopping 31 grams of protein and said...
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welcome back tonight, the new york times published a blockbuster story about president trump's efforts to keep control of the russia investigation. stunning new details that the paper says robert mueller has obtained. we're here now with our panel of experts. what are the implications of the president ordering the white house council to stop or attempt to stop attorney general jeff sessions from recusing himself when he had reasons to recuse himself. >> the thing is, everybody knew that sessions was going to face this issue. he was a prominent surrogate of the president or the candidate,
you know, at the time. he played a big role in the campaign. he was out there campaigning for him. so there was absolutely no doubt inside of the department that he was going to have to recuse himself. >> so it appears to be the president was the only one who was kind of left there, not knowing that. sessions certainly, i think got to that decision very quickly, so the idea that mcgahn didn't understand that and couldn't explain that to his client, the president is remarkable. >> i heard from a lawyer who said, they had explicit roles that the president would not correspond, communicate with the a.j. about any ongoing investigations. >> strict protocol of the communications between the white house and the justice department for good reason, because they're supposed to be independence. but with this reporting. put this in the context of the trump sessions relationship. >> as we know, nothing has infuriated the president more than this russia investigation, and what he believes is the attorney general not -- should
not have recused himself. he should have protected him from this russia investigation, and this report really shows that to be the case. what's also interesting is that increasingly, you're seeing some folks, his allies, on capitol hill agree with them, that he should not have recused himself, to conservatives today, jim jordan, mark meadows of the house, freedom caucus, both of them coming out and saying very clearly that sessions should not recuse himself, and sessions should resign. but also, an interesting twist is that democrats on the other hand are saying, he should not resign, if he were to resign, presumably trump could put a loyalist in as attorney general, someone who would be in charge of the russia investigation, and that could change things completely. >> i think we're at a point where democrats don't want sessions to resign. >> how things change. >> you hear a story and covered an administration or two. part of the argument, according to michael wolff's book said i want a robert f. kennedy to my
jfk, i want an eric holder to my obama. does that match up with the facts as we know them, those attorneys general work to defend their bosses in effect? >> well, robert kennedy was certainly his brothers protector. robert kennedy tried very hard to get his brother to stop fooling around with women that had shady pasts. but that's different from asking robert kennedy to obstruct justice on your behalf, or to engage in otherwise illegal activities. the real problem here, and that's what makes the new york times story so important, is that we are seeing not just -- we're seeing evidence or if this reporting is true, that the president is micro managing the -- a cover-up. that he is trying to deflect an investigation, initially to prevent one, and now to deflect this investigation. that's a real problem for him. this reporting if it proves
accurate, is very damaging. it also suggests by the way, for the first time that the mueller investigation is leaking, something that we haven't seen before. >> i wouldn't say that, we don't know for sure the mueller investigation is leaking. it could be people who have handed over investigation -- >> a lot of lawyers talking -- >> go ahead. >> it's important what he just talked about there, that, you know, one of the things that we hear from the president is that there's nothing here, right? there was no crime committed. you could still be guilty of a cover-up, you could still be guilty of a crime, even if you were covering up something that wasn't -- ended up not being a crime. is that is still a big problem for the president. >> look at bill clinton. look at previous investigations where it started with one thing. >> there is this argument, and you brought this up, he talked about it, where he claims that holder, you know, that eric holder protected obama. and robert kennedy and his brother. is that a fair comparison? >> i'm not sure, this is an investigation that's ongoing,
directly related to the president of the united states. his campaign. his closest associates. and look, in this report it shows that there was a white house lawyer who was very concerned about the president taking steps to fire james comey, if you were to fire james comey, this could lead to a new investigation. and that is problematic. i don't think you would see the same thing in the obama years. even -- you know, evan covered the justice department, i don't know if this is -- >> no, this is the no something you would normally see. the idea that there's nobody else in the white house who could talk to the president and sort of explain to him what a terrible idea this was going to be. i mean, the idea that he was spending time stewing about this investigation. and that nobody could sit him down and explain to him what the proper role of the attorney general is supposed to be, and what -- you know, what you can and cannot do. >> there's a lot of focus on the president. also, just the white house council office.
you have white house council going to tell the attorney general not to recuse himself on the order of the president. someone else in the white house council withholding information to the president. about whether he could fire comey, according to the report, he initially told the president that he couldn't just fire an fbi director without cause, did further research that showed, yes, you can fire the fbi one of the first things you learn is the lawyers for the agency you work for don't work for you. they boring for the agency. so it is highly unusual for the white house counsel to be giving personal legal advice in the way he was to the president. he should be defending the office of the presidency. the other issue that is really important is that there are times in our history when members of an administration have not told the truth to the president. it is not a good thing. it shouldn't be done often. it happened in the nixon administration a few times so this is not unusual.
it is just very sad. it is the sign of a lack of trust for the president. >> thank you very much. the preview of an upcoming cnn special. i have type 2 diabetes. i'm trying to manage my a1c, and then i learn type 2 diabetes puts me at greater risk for heart attack or stroke. can one medicine help treat both blood sugar and cardiovascular risk? i asked my doctor. he told me about non-insulin victoza®. victoza® is not only proven to lower a1c and blood sugar, but for people with type 2 diabetes treating their cardiovascular disease, victoza® is also approved to lower the risk of major cv events such as heart attack, stroke, or death. and while not for weight loss, victoza® may help you lose some weight. (announcer) victoza® is not for people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. do not take victoza® if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if you are allergic to victoza® or any of its ingredients.
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before we go, we want to give you a sneak peek of the special report of the trump/russia investigation. ten days before the inauguration of donald trump -- >> we are live in chicago. >> on the same night president obama own was giving his farewell address to the nation. >> we have breaking news in the nation's capital. i want to go straight to jake tapper. >> a team of reporters broke a stunning story. >> we have all been work this story. >> about america's new president. >> claims of russian efforts to compromise the president-elect donald trump. >> the president-elect and the outgoing president had both been briefed on the most sensational charges on the dossier. >> allegations that russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about mr. trump. >> the u.s. officials with
direct knowledge told cnn that trump had been warned. rush could have compromise on him. that is the information vladimir putin is believe to collect on powerful people. >> was that your concern? >> yes. >> former intelligence chief james clapper. >> gaining leverage. that's their objective. if they can compromise someone, they have a term for it. compromise. >> be sure to watch our special report. the trump-rush investigation. >> and the news continues next >> and the news continues next on cnn. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ everything you need to go. expedia
it even lets you take a time out. no! no! yes! yes, indeed. amazing speed, coverage and control. all with an xfi gateway. find your awesome, and change the way you wifi. good evening. more on the breaking news shortly. but first, cnn has the book that everyone in the white house interested in politics is either talking about, worrying about, laughing about or furious about. fire and fury, michael wolff's white house expose. late last night, the president's lawyers tried to block it and the publisher in defiance advanced the release date to tomorrow. i have a company now and i've been going through it. before today, just excerpts were available. as you know, steve bannon is already