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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  January 5, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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affairs, partners and with adversaries. and i think what comes out sometimes they think it's conflict but it's a normal pros is he having the president look at all sides saying i don't like that that's healthy. that's good. people should feel good about the way decisions are made because it's not one of giving in to what you think the president wants, helping him see the full array of all of the options and what the implications of those r then he decides, he's the commander in chief, he's the president, he decides, then we'll implement against his decisions. >> reflecting back, what have you learned about yourself pan what might you do differently next year? >> you never stop growing as an individual. so in terms of what i would do different, i'm going to build on my ability to communicate with the president better. my ability to communicate with others better. and as i said, itsds something i had to learn what is effective with this president.
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he is not a typical presidents of the past, i this i that's well recognized, that's also why the american people chose him. they were tired what was done in the past. they wanted something to change. so i've learned over the past year better how to deal with the president, to serve what i think he needs to know so he can make good decisions. and i've learned about the inner agency process which was new to me and that will get better all the time as well. but that is our role here at the state department. >> that's more of elise lavit interview with the secretary of state. coming up throughout the day, stay tuned for that in meantime moments ago president trump spoke with reporters on the south lawn of the white house. watch this. >> hey everybody, i'm going over with the senators, we are going to camp david. we have a lot of things to work on. a lot of things to accomplish. the stock market is up very, very big today. we have set new records. and i think they'll be continued to be set.
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the tax cuts are really kicking in far beyond what anyone thought. numerous companies have today come out and announced they'll make big payments to their employees, something that nobody really had in mind. so we are very honored by it. but the market is good. jobs reports were very good. and we think they'll get really good over the next couple of months. so again we are going to camp david with a lot of the great republican senators. and we are making america great again. thank you. thank you very much. >> you hear those reporters shouting questions as so much has happened in the last week, shall we say. but nothing from the president there. just a brief statement. the president there now on his way for the weekend to camp david. keep in mind, we are just five
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days into 2018. and the bombshells keep dropping on the trump administration. and the biggest one today does not even involve that just released tell-all book about the dysfunction within the trump white house. instead the focus turns back to russia. and robert mueller's investigation. a source close to attorney general jeff sessions says president trump tried to stop sessions from recusing himself from the russia investigation. a move first reported this morning by "the new york times" which says it happened back in march. and that mueller is aware of that. the source also says president trump ordered not by his personal attorney, but by official counsel, don mcgahn to direct sessions to remain in charge, sighting "the new york times" quoting, mr. mcgahn was unsuccessful and president erupted in anger saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. it goes on, mr. trump said he had expected his top law
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enforcement official to safe guard him the way he believed robert f kennedy as attorney general had done for his brother john f. kennedy and how eric h holder junior had for barack obama. mr. trump asked where is my roy moore? the president is referring to this personal lawyer also top aide through the 1950s aids against communism. cohn was known a tough courtroom battler. now, with me is julie. there is a lot in this "new york times" times piece. a sides from what we just reported, this attempt to stop sessions from recusing himself, you also learned that they were, sessions, via this congressional aide, trying get dirt on the then fbi director jim comey.
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tell me about that. >> reporter: right. well, this was in the days before comey was fired, but what's clear from this reporting is that the president definitely wanted comey gone. everyone around him or many people around him knew that. and they were trying to set about to sort of lay the ground work for that. one of the ways it appears that the attorney general jeff sessions sought to do that was to basically discredit him or see if there was any information out there that could discredit him to sort of provide justification for if they did fire him. what we also learned, what my colleague smiek smith learned another white house lawyer who worked with don mcgahn basically had told the president that he needed a reason, if he was going to fire the fbi director, but subsequently learned he did not. and instead of telling the president there out of concern he might do it. >> misled the president. >> well, he didn't correct the
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record. and he deliberately didn't because he was concerned about what the implications of that would be for the president, for the white house. and there was speculation at the time, internally, that that could lead to the appointment of a special counsel which of course we know that it did. >> right. so initially going back to the first piece of news about trying to stop sessions from recusing himself. what is bob mueller aware of? and is this part of his obstruction case? >> well, he's absolutely aware of it. and he is looking at it as part of the question, really, of whether he can build an obstruction case against the president. we don't have any indication that he's decided that there is one. but he certainly looking at this as a key piece of that puzzle. it is fairly remarkable, we have known before that president trump was very angry that jeff sessions recused himself. but it's quite another thing to have directed not his personal lawyer but the white house counsel, the top lawyer who represents the white house and the presidency, to then go and
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say to the attorney general you have to maintain control of this investigation in order to protect the president. >> if you haven't read it, it's in "the new york times" julie davis, thanks so much for joining me to walk through some of these bomb shells out of the paper today. we have two excellent voices both cnn contributors, i have ambassador eisen who is the ethics czar during the administration, which leads the watchdog group which has filed several lawsuits against the trump administration. welcome back. happy new year. john dean was with us as well, cooperated and guilty with charge to obstruct justice. so you are also the perfect person to talk to. gentlema gentlemen, great to have both of you on. let's start with trump pushing his lawyer to stop sessions from
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recusing himself. just flat out, is that obstruction? >> it is evidence of obstruction. thanks for having me back. and it's an honor to be on with my friend john dean. these cases are made usually not by anyone stroking gun but by putting together a mosaic. and what's so remarkable about this latest reporting is that the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. and this is truly startling, that the president apparently had his white house counsel, whose loyalty is supposed to be to the office of the presidency, not the man, had him try to force the attorney general to break the law. because there is a very clear regulation, the attorney general must recuse if he was part of the campaign, which he was here, it's not a close call.
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to try to force that, that shows the president was scared. and it adds to our knowledge of corrupt intent. and that's what you need to make an obstruction case. so, yes, i think the president is in much more peril today than we knew just 24 hours ago. >> john dean, same question, do you think this is obstruction? >> there are multiple obstruction statutes. i think the most dangerous one for the president is the 18 usc 1803 which is endeavor statute. in other words they don't have to actually obstruct merely to make an effort to. and there isn't as norm says, and i always enjoy being on with the ambassador as well, there is a pattern developing that shows that it was clearly an endeavor to obstruct justice. and this sort of fits in that pattern. whether mcgahn actually was a part of a conspiracy or this is it an isolated incident is not
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clear on the evidence we have right now. but there is clearly a pattern of endeavor that is evolving and becoming a parent for all of us. >> and then just staying with us john dean to hit on the ambassador's point about loyalty. i was watching your conversation last night with jeff tube inand i think it's important to reiterate, account president forbid his lawyer, don mcgahn testifying before congress about these conversations with trump. his loyalty as the ambassador just said, it doesn't lie with the president the man. it lies with the president the office, correct? >> his client is the office of the president, not the man who occupies it. and that's a post watergate clarification. nixon was very confused about that and wanted me to be his lawyer and not the offices, but that's post watergate clear now. and so mcgahn has a responsibility not to trump, but to the office that trump has
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been elected to. and that's a big difference. >> okay. let me move on to this, mr. ambassador, white house lawyer felt the need to mislead the president on the limits of his authority in order to keep him from firing comey. how unprecedented is that? >> well, of course, i had the privilege of working in the white house counsel's office for two years. and i can tell you there was never an occasion in those two years in which i or anybody else in that office misled the president. or if we were wrong about something, we didn't race over to the oval office in person or send a memo to say hey we made a mistake. i know of no instance where on such a consequential matter a president is left with a miss apprehension. and it raises issues of professional responsibility for
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the lawyer. but it speaks to the unfitness of this president. and of course this is the larger issue that's raised by the michael wolff book. that here's a man who is so unsuited to the job, so incapable, so lacking in the basic temperament and skills to do the work, that his own lawyers can't tell him the truth. how can the country function that way? so it's an extraordinary moment in the history of the white house counsel. i know of nothing like it. >> it's fascinating what's happening with these lawyers, and back to don mcgahn, john dean, the fact that sessions' aide reportedly going to this congressional aide to try to get dirt on comey, you know, days before the firing. how damming is that? >> well, i know of no precedent, certainly even back to the nixon
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years. because of course during nixon time, j edgar hoover was primarily the fbi director and he was the collector of files on members of congress, not the reverse where they would have anything on him. certainly anything he would talk about. so it is unprecedented. and it's quite surprising that they were trying to undercut, the attorney general was trying to undercut or learn or get information to undercut his fbi director who had a tenure post that he was only three years into. >> okay. staying with you, another excerpt from this wolff book, fire and fury, he quotes trump making comparisons between having fired comey hand as you were just talking before, watergate, comey was a rat, there were rats every where and he had to get rid of them. john dean, he repeated, do you
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know what john dean did to nixon? your reaction to just being mentioned in the book, apparently you are being on tv drove the president nuts. do you get the sense that the president understands the independent nature of the doj? >> well, one of the reasons i became a cnn contributor was i was hoping i could get through to him and he would understand the parallels between what he's doing and watergate. i don't think he gets it even at this date. as norm says, there are real competency questions here. he doesn't know history. he obviously knows selected figures from history. and i certainly know what i did to nixon. i told the truth about him. and that's not something that trump wants his aides talking about apparently. >> what did you think of the quote itself? the quote? >> i missed that, i'm sorry. >> what did you think of the quote itself, comey was a rat, and going onto john dean, john
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dean, do you know what john dean did to get rid of nixon? >> yeah, i thought it showed he had some glimmer of knowledge of waterga watergate. and that i thought also i was getting through and that he was undering what he was doing paralleled watergate in many many ways. and i don't think he should want to go there. but every signal he's shown is cover-up. t and that's been consistent from day one of his presidency. >> okay. john dean, thank you. ambassador eisen, thank you as well. and just a reminder to everyone watching here tonight, pamela brown is hosting a cnn special, it's called the trump russia investigation, that airs tonight here on cnn at 10:00 eastern. coming up next, the rush to publish as new tell-all hits story shelves, president trump is pushing back saying he never gave access or interview for the
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book. the author michael wolff now defending his work saying he recorded interviews. so we'll discuss that coming up next. also breaking news what cnn is learning about federal investigation related to the clinton foundation, that's the charity of bill and hillary clinton. you are watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident.
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we are back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. the explosive tell-all book president calls phoney and full of lies is on sale every where despite the president's efforts to stop it. the author was on an interview which included this stunning claim. >> one of the most disturbing observations you make in the book is that the president's close advisers, people around him, have noticed him repeating stories expression for expression you say within a short period of time. >> in a shortening period. so they all tracked this. it used to be, i know people would point out that in the beginning it was like every 25 or 30 minutes you would get the same three stories repeat he had. now it's the same three stories in every ten minutes.
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>> and what's the suggestion there? because that goes beyond saying, okay, the president is not intellectual. what are you arguing there? you say, for example, he was at mar-a-lago and didn't recognize life long friends. >> well, i'll quote steve bannon, he's lost it. >> with me now, abby phillip, our political analyst, and christen, washington examiner and strategist in polster. so ladies, happy friday to all of you. and abby, just straight to you, what are we to make of these claims about the president's fitness we'll call it that? >> reporter: well, brooke, it's not really clear. this has been something that's been talked about, particularly by democrats. we know about this briefing that a group of democrats and apparently one republican senator participated in by a
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yale psychologist who talked a little bit about the president's mental state. there has been some conversation about the changes in the way that he uses conversation. but it's hard to do this kind of thing or talk about this kind of thing as people like me, i'm not a psychologist, and so i don't have the expertise. >> i don't think any of us are. >> none of us are. and a lot of psychologists et li ethically refuse to do it here. but what you see michael wolff doing here is repeating conversation about people close to the president about the changes he is behaving. how they might explain what he does and what he says, the repetitions, that sort of thing. also seeing the white house really pushing back on it because they find it to be beyond the pale. it's not something that you typically hear about a sitting united states president. >> so some of this obviously the people who have known him for a long time, maybe these are the people sharing these anecdote ws michael wolff and down in
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mar-a-lago. but another thing some of these quotes are coming from trump aides, only known him the last couple of months or years. i'm jur st curious if that's fa to make comment on the president's competency. >> i'm going to echo what abby said about not being an expert in this realm. but i think when you are drawing -- people that are close to the president are going to draw inferences. michael wolff spoke to a bun are of people close to the president even because they work in close proximity to him. and what you are seeing is it a whole lot of people saying similar things, that they have drawn similar conclusions based on what they have observed. that is as far as it really goes. that's what's out there now. that's what wolff is also drawing his conclusions on the basis of. it's not a clinical diagnosis. it's not something we can go so far probably as to say even you have a lot of people drawing the same impression of what they've
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seen. but now it's out there. and so reenforces what has been a more simmering, more democratic focused discussion point, and pulls it out into the middle of things. and as we are talking about it right now. >> right. here's another clip from michael wolff this morning on the "today" show. >> one of the over arching themes is according to your reporting everyone around the president, senior advisers, family members, every single one of them questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a marker in there, in the sand there. 100% of the people around them. >> jared kushner, ivanka trump question his fitness for office? >> i want to be careful about who i spoke to, because the nature of this kind of book is you grant everyone a veil. but having said that, certainly jared and ivanka, in their
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current situation, which is in a deep legal quagmire are putting everything on the president, not us, it's him. >> and so then went on to say that the claims were consistent, like he is a child with a need for immediate gratification. that the president doesn't read. that he doesn't listen. and so part of the conversation, yes, is about just playing on the president's competency. but is part of the question does he even want to be president? is he interested in the job? >> well, this was a question that was raised even before the election. i think the thing more important to discuss, no whether he wants to be president but merits of the decisions he's making in the office. there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the information flow, the places that the president gets his information from. plenty to be concerned about about the nature of the things that he tweets. i think those are the sorts of things criticizing the decisions that he's making, actions he's
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taken on the merits, is much more fertile ground for opponents of the president to talk about than where i get more uncomfortable, which is as the other panelists have said, i'm not a psychiatrist, sort of the implication that there is something wrong with the president's health that's driving this. it does make me uncomfortable. i know next week i believe president trump is going to be going and getting a physical to have his health checked out. america will get an assessment presumably hopefully an honest assessment of the president's health. but that's the sort of thing i prefer to leave to the professionals. and instead if we think the president has tweeted something wrong or decision bad criticize those things when they happen. >> hand brooke can i offer a little explanation based on what i hear from people who know trump and work for him. is he they view his approach to information as part of a broader approach to decisions as being instinctual. he likes to, according to these people, cut through the kind of
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rote information and get to what he thinks is the heart of the issue. and so they view this as just trump being a different kind of decision make te decision maker and people in washington are used to briefing books. and the president wants his information differently. and they think they are okay with that. earlier this year i talked to a lot of former white house staffers who said every president is different about how they want information presented to them. and that's the job of the people around him is to give it to him in the way he'll internalize it as effectively as possible. >> sure. that's why you talked to trump supporters, these are people who voted for him for those reasons to be a tad different, to be drain the swamp, so to speak. and none of us are professionals, but we can all greel you need someone competent in that office as well. ladies, stick around. >> breaking news here what cnn is learning about a federal investigation related to the clinton foundation. the charity of bill and hillary
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clinton, were donations exchanged for political favors? more on that when we come back.
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we are back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. there is breaking news today involving the clintons. sources telling cnn that the feds are actively investigating the clinton foundation for corruption. that is the charity of bill and hillary clinton. probe is looking at whether the clintons took donations in exchange for political favors. in other words, pay to play. the clinton foundation calling the investigation politically motivated. so let's bring in our cnn justice reporter laura jarret part of the cnn team breaking all of this today. and with us cnn contributor and former nixon council john dean is back. first laura to you on the reporting. is there any indication of new evidence that prompted this investigation? what do you know? >> well, it's interesting, brooke, u.s. official tells me that the fbi and federal prosecutors down in little rock are digging into whether the foundation's donor's improperly were receiving some sort of policy favors or special access
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to clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations. but also examining whether tax laws were followed properly here. back in november of 2016, fbi agents in different field offices including in arkansas had opened preliminary inquiries whether in proprietorty but those fizzled before election day. so it's not precisely clear right now what if any evidence is this. but the clinton call thg a sham and politically motivated. in fact a representative for the clinton foundation said time after time the clinton foundation has been subjectsed to politically motivated allegations and time after time these allegations have been proven false. so we'll stay focused on what really matters. he goes on to say, the tricky part here, brooke is how does the justice department handle this, given that we have a
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president who continues to regularly demand investigations of his former political rival. and while this investigation is being run out of the local u.s. attorney's office, not here in washington, it puts doj in a very tenuous position. and when it's trying to stay out of the fray and a peer independent. >> so something the president had promised, you know, back in the campaign era, we'll come back to that thought in just a second. but john dean, here's what we are hearing, democrat senator ed markey calling the clinton probe a red herring to divert attention from the russian probe. calling the investigation into the clintons a come to jesus moment for the d 0, j. what do y doj. what do you think of this? >> it would be unprecedented by the department of justice which has a long tradition of trying to keep itself above politics. throughout all the presidencies i've watched and that's
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certainly been a long tradition. no question there has been a lot of pressure on this department of justice from this president, and from this white house, to do something political with the department of justice. if it started in little rock, as indicated, and is a natural flow from information agents have there, that would be explainable. it's not justifiable, if it comes from washington. >> would it just, quickly, be easily determinable if it was politically motivated? because we have known president trump wanted this for sometime and the ag has spoken out about it. >> if the fbi has been pressured into it, i don't think they'll be putting out press releases that they've been pressured into it. i think it will be hard to come by. >> i don't think so either. john dean, thank you. laura jarret, thank you. next new revelations from the tell-all book including steve bannon saying ivanka trump is terrified that robert mueller
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investigation has stretched into the families finances. mueller' stretched into the families finances. s investigation has stretched into the families finances. yies finances. 'ies finances. sies finances. es finances. s finances. finances.
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people heading out to buy this new book, fire and fury, couldn't wait to read some of
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these incredibly intimate details, trump tale all. and before we share passage frs t passages from the book, wolff quoting has been corroborated. quotes, and with his sources at times very vague. so bear that in mind as we bring certain passages that do not have direct quotations. as for this, steve bannon has not disputed any of this. my panel is back. let's start with the part about bannon saying ivanka trump was terrified about robert mueller probe. so this is what woll had written quoting. it reads, the kushner position was not helped by the fact that the president having glee fully telling multiple people that jared could solve the middle east problem because the kushner's knew all the crooks in
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israel. the kids, ivanka, panic, quote, ivanka trump is terrified, said a satisfied bannon. ivanka is terrified? >> yeah, well, the ivanka trump has the ear of her father, like few others do in trump's inner circle. and if she -- again, this is ban on's account to wolff, if it's correct, it indicates there is a split there. it indicates that the mueller probe is certainly shaken members of the trump family, people close to the president. and if that is the case that they are worried about the finances posing potential links, we know that many members of the trump team stayed involved in their business interests at the same time that the campaign was going on. we know there were these meetings that jared kushner had
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with russian bankers who were representatives of investment funds that are tied to the cr e kremlin. those are dots out there yet to be connected. but if the reporting that ivanka trump has actually been very, very worried about this is accurate, that is a sign of where they feel their vulnerabilities may be. >> yeah. here's another piece from the book. christen, i'm going to do this for you. this is talking about wolff is writing about the infamous trump tower meeting june of 2016 s writes the president insisted meeting in trump tower was purely about russian adoption policy. that's what was discussed, period, period, even though it was likely if not certain that the times had the incriminating email chain, in fact tas quite possible that jared and ivanka trump and lawyers new and had the email chain. the president said no one should let on to the problematic
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discussion about hillary clinton. so that speaks to also just what the president knew, right, then goes into that statement from air force one, was he intentionally not telling the truth. what do you think about that? >> well, this is the kind of thing that has tied a lot of folks up in knots who for the entirety of the trump presidency have viewed steve bannon as this sort of evil emperor behind the scenes. hose n he's now coming out and saying things that you would hear from democrats, about the potential or likely guilt within trump's orbit or family when it comes to things like did they break any laws with regard to engagement with russia. so it's been interesting over the last 48, 72 hours for me to watch folks kind of change their position on steve bannon now that he is someone who is coming out and making these claims about what the trump family did or didn't do with regards to russia. amongst, in circles that
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previously would have thought steve bannon to be no ally of theirs. >> even though let's keep in mind despite all of what's coming out in this book, the days are running together this week, but steve bannon saying on the radio trump is a great guy, which trump acknowledged. so there is that as well. there is another excerpt, this is on hope hicks, former trump assistant turned white house director, so this is the quote on hope. here you go. shortly after lewandowski with whom hicks had an off and on romantic relationship, was fired in june of 2016 for clashing with the trump family members. hicks sat in trump tower with trump and his sons worried about lewandowski treatment in the press and how she might help him. trump who seemed to treat hope looked up and said why, you've already done enough for him. you are the best piece of tail he'll ever have.
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sending hicks running from the room. i mean, abby, again, these are just, this is michael wolff's account best piece of tail coming from the president, you got to be kidding me? >> brooke, as you mention a lot of anecdotes in the book. they are there. and i reached out to hope hicks last night to ask for comment and got none in response to that. you know, we don't know. the people involved in that anecdote are hope hicks and the president of the united states. so one of those people would need to sort of relay the truthfulness of this story. >> corroborate. >> but that being said, i think the broader point is this book has a lot of potentially damaging stuff in it. and that is one of the reasons why you've seen just total full-court press coming from this white house to try to shut it down. >> yes.
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thank you all so much foregoing through all this book. again, they moved it up to being out today. and essentially michael wolff telling savannah guthrie this morning thanks for the press. coming up, when we have learned about the first five days of 2018 and what it can reveal for the next 360 days to follow. and from frozen eye guana falling from trees in florida, and flood waters in massachusetts, stranger things we are all seeing during this deep freeze up and down the east coast. back in a moment.
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last summer during the course of one month, the news cycle was so extraordinary so fast and furious that we compiled a scrolling list of events. well, this time we are doing a scroll for the events of the past week. the first of the new year, so with that, here we go. "the new york times" reports the president ordered his lawyer to stop jeff sessions from recusing himself. the paper also reports robert mueller is aware and on top of that a sessions aide approached a congressional staffer for negative information on comey just before his firing. a bombshell book releases painting a wild picture of chaos within the white house. the author of that book says that people all around trump think that he is unfit and acts like a child.
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we have also learned that a psychiatrist went to washington and briefed mostly democratic lawmakers on mental fitness of the president. in that book steve bannon once the president's chief strategist rips the president and family including calling the trump tower meeting treasonous and says mueller's probe is focused on money laundering. speaking of the firm behind the dossier, publicly warns congress, look into the president's past dealings, business dealings specifically with russia. the president responding to bannon releases this extraordinary statement blasting him saying that steve bannon has lost his mind. and he also pin s a new nickname sloppy steve. trying to squash the book and cease and desist to both bannon and the publisher. president tells kim jong-un that his nuclear button is bigger and more powerful.
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shortly after that in a rare move both north and south korea communicate. then the president takes credits for those talks. the president backs protesters in iran, tehran condemns him. then threatens to cut aid to the palestinians who respond by mocking art of the deal. the u.s. suspends aide to pakistan. the president calls on a hillary clinton aide to be jailed then calls his justice department a deep state. that same justice department is now actively investigating allegations of corruption related to the clinton foundation. the president takes credit for no one dying on commercial flights last year. the stock market continues soaring. the dow crossing 25,000 for the first time ever. sorry, thought i didn't have to do this. the president teases award show literally giving a time and date for what he calls the corrupt
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immediate yachlt the long es serving republican senator announces his retirement despite the president's wishes which clears the way for mitt romney senate run. the president delaware dissolving voter fraud. and moves to offshore drilling. he says dreamers and hispanics will soon fall in love with republicans. and sean spicer says he screwed up. one week, welcome to 2018. coming up next here on cnn, secretary of state rex tillerson speaking out to cnn in a special pan rare interview saying his political death has been greatly exaggerated. what he is revealing about his plans for the year ahead.
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so, they get their shows... let's go, girl! you're gonna love this bit! and you get yours. watch however you want. on your phone, tablet, or tv. for just forty bucks per line. with no extra charges. let's rock this joint! all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile. hollywood award season gets under way this weekend and political statements will take center state. seth meyers will hold the 75th golden globes and from washington to hollywood. a lot of celebrities wearing black in protest of glen der and racial equality. this suggested a tire from the
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times up initiative. it is aimed at combatting sexual harassment and assault. the show of solidarity for sexual misconduct victims follows a wave of scandals by some of hollywood's biggest stars, producers and executives. and we continue on. thanks for being with me on this friday afternoon. i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn. book sales of just released trump white house expose already booming. but the real fire and fury may come from the latest bombshell hitting the president, and it could play a key part in russia investigation. here's what we are learning today. a source close to attorney general jeff sessions says president trump tried to stop see sessions from recusing himself from the russia case. this is back in march.
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special counsel robert mueller knows all about it. the source says president trump ordered notes his personal attorney but the official white house house counsel don mcgahn to direct jeff sessions to remain in charge of the investigation. as far as we know don failed to stop the recusal infuriating the president. according to the times, quote, expected had imto safeguard him the way he believed robert kennedy had done for his brother. and eric holder for barack obama. mr. trump then asked where is my roy cohn? referring to this man during the 1950 also mccarthy crusade against communism. known has tough courtroom
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battler. let's start with jessica snyder. tell me more. >> reporter: right. as to that part, brooke, department of justice has denied jeff sessions rwas involved in getting damaged information on james comey. so if that is true this was just a possible rogue aide seeking that information. but the bigger story here is the fact that the white house counsel, don mcgahn tried to dissuade jeff sessionss from stopping away from the probe. tan that is drawing outrage. and of course adding another layer to this obstruction of justice probe by mueller's team. so the times reports it was actually the president who gave those firm orders to don mcgahn to stop the attorney general from recusing himself. and then reportedly, brooke, the president erupt