tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 31, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
she was sending out an sos like last year. >> thank you so much for joining us. you can watch outfront any time, any where. anderson cooper is next with "ac 360." >> we begin tonight keeping them honest. all having to do with the ongoing investigation into russia, campaign and possible obstruction of justice. one deals a blow to white house claims that peter strzok worked during the campaign against president trump. another alleges to fit a pattern. trying to obtain the loyalty of a justice department. we are talking about rod rosenstein. the president asked him quote are you on my team.
now remember this is after reportedly asking director andrew mccabe who he voted for. and of course after allegedly asking james comey for his loyalty. we want to begin keeping them honest with another story dealing with the russia investigation. the latest so-called nunes memo. the memo republicans of the committee reported to release. critical of the nunes memo. the fbi and director christopher wray publicly voicing concerns to releasing it. and it seems pretty clear the white house intends to get the memo out one way or the other. last night the president was caught on an open mike saying the chances it being released
were 100%. >> don't worry, 100%. >> 100%. that was last night. this four page memo alleges that the fbi abused surveillance act by using the so-called steel dossier as a basis for carter page. for days republicans have been saying that wray, was shown the memo and had no problems with it. here is what one republican congressman said on this broadcast two nights ago. >> the fbi director has seen our memo and only four pages so he could read it readily and come up with an opinion along with two top fisa counsel.
no issues factually or thematically raised. >> a lot of republicans on the hill said the same thing. here is what the bureau really things about the memo. quote, the fbi was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. as expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. the fbi says these concerns were expressed during our initial review. their words. all of those republican talking points about the director having no problem with it doesn't seem to be true or the fbi is lying. even before christopher wray was shown the memo, boyd also showed
concerns. the department of justice saying they would like to review and so would the fbi. this to say tweeting fisa warrants are thick documents 50, 60 documents. if the nunes document is four pages you can just bet its a carefully picked bowl of cherries. keep in mind ample reporting our own and elsewhere that a number of documents not just the steel dossier went into that application. saying repeatedly that the investigation, the fbi, the justice department are all somehow tainted and this dossier is a big part of it. and if those white house talking points sound what is in the memo, did the white house
consult with republicans on the hill. quigley said was any of this done after during conversation or consultation with anyone in the white house. nunes says as far as i know no. had any consultation, communication at all with the white house? chairman nunes did not answer that question, nor did sarah sanders when chris cuomo asked. >> not that i know of. >> i just don't know the answer. i don't know of anyone that he did and -- >> so he has worked with the white house before when it comes to intelligence and the russia investigation. >> look, we have certainly coordinated with members of congress as is appropriate as to specifics on this, i don't know
the answer. i am not aware of any conversations or coordination with congressman nunes. >> so she is not aware of any conversations or coordinations between the white house and the congressm congressman. on some of the most national security questions. chairman of the house intelligence committee collaborating with the white house to carry water for the president? it is not so hard to imagine. it actually happened and happened with devin nunes. >> what i have read, seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity perhaps legal but i don't know that it is right and i don't know if the american people would be comfortable with what i read.
>> that was lastl march. saying he just learned about the unproper unmasking. we and others learned what exactly happened. it was basically a crock. here is sean spicer being asked about it the next day. >> chairman nunes refused to rule out that he received the information he announced on surveillance. anyone in the trump administration give chairman nunes that information. >> i don't know why he would come to brief the president on something we gave him. i don't know if that makes sense. i did not sit in the briefing. i don't know why he would briefer the speaker and come down to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. it doesn't make a ton of sense. so i'm not aware of it.
but it doesn't really pass the smell test. >> not sure what his smell test was, but the stink was real. we learn that is exactly what happened. here is a headline. nunes admits meeting with source of trump surveillance documents on white house grounds. fast forward to this. later today his office today impugning career law enforcement professionals and the work they are doing. quote, having stonewall congress -- douj issue spurious objections to allowing the american people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies. two agencies headed by republicans. and the one thing they all have in common are all involved in investigating the president. we are going to have more on all of this including possible
redactions from jim acosta who joins us from the white house. do we know when the memo is going to be released. >> reporter: i talked to a source familiar with the process reviewing this memo at the white house. and the source is telling us this memo is likely to be released and likely to be released tomorrow. we should point out this source is telling us that redactions are likely to be made to the memo to respond to fbi concerns. it is not clear whether or not all of the redactions will meet the concerns. but it appears will be ma he de the memo. and it happeappears it will be released. this source has not received the final recommendations from the staff. he said a final decision has not been made as of right now in
terms of releasing the memo even though the president said it was a 100% deal. >> you tried to ask the president about the release of the memo how did that go? >> reporter: the white house really clamped down on responding at all and as a matter of fact they have not responded to the fbi statement tonight. we tried to ask the president about this earlier today and essentially they tried to shout us down. here is what happened. >> thank you all very much. appreciate it. >> mr. president, any response to the fbi saying in that statement that the nunes memo should not be released. any response to the fbi. >> all right. we are leaving. let's go. >> reporter: there you go. i think somebody there, one of the staffers tried to tug on my jacket there to get me out of the door. as you saw, the president did not want to comment and this puts him in a difficult spot. as you said, just a few moments ago, his hand picked choice to
lead the fbi recommending this memo not be released. it appears the white house is going to try to meet the fbi half day and recommend redactions. >> for days, republicans on the hill, paul ryan have been say, wray saw it and didn't raise any objections. clearly he has objections in this. we saw this in the letter and the department of justice days before. this would be a big mistake. >> that's right. not only raising objections that what was released to the public. when the fbi puts out a statement, this is a rare public statement saying mr. president, don't do this. you don't see this happen very often. that is why you are seeing what is a constitutional clash going on inside the administration or a clash between the white house and the national security community because there are people concerned inside the fbi
about sources and methods being revealed in all of this. not only is that statement something that has been put out by the fbi but the fbi director was here with rod rosenstein saying don't do this but the white house appears to be going with the political demands inside the base of their party saying they want this memo out. make no mistake, this is something that could haunt this white house in the months to come if it turns out somehow the release of this memo damages that russia investigation or if people inside the bureau feel like they can't do that job. thank you. >> joining us mike quigley who you saw squared off on monday. you said when you confronted chairman nunes his mannerisms led you to believe he was not
being candid. >> my first year of watching chairman nunes's helm, i also witnessed his unwillingness to sign subpoenas for key witnesses. his refusal to push us to make sure witnesses who refuse to answer questions do so. it is hard reading a transcript mannerisms that is why juries don't read transcripts. the american public would see a man who is somewhat ruffled and not wanting to answer the question. the total of circumstances led me to believe he wasn't being truthful and as i continue to question asking about staff, he began to refuse to answer that question at all. >> and of course, as we saw, sarah sanders don't answer to
chris cuomo, i don't know. if you believe that chairman nunes or his staff was in fact working with the white house, because his staffers were the ones that wrote that. >> we have to look at the total here. i press the chairman about having intelligence agencies brief congress on this or tell us their concerns and check these memos. he says i am not going to have them testify in front of us, we are investigating them. rogue unilateral stealth attempts to stymie this investigation and that is breaking all the rules and traditions and the customs. he is with a few staff i think acting as an agent of the white house and has for an entire
year. all i can do is sound the alarm and ask the right questions and make sure the american public knows what is going on. it is as important to conclude here, this is the president of the united states acting to defend himself legally and politically at the expense of our national security and complicit in that is the speaker of the house and chairman nunes. >> if, i mean, he says look, we are investigating, we have over sight of the fbi and investigating them, wouldn't they want christopher wray to come and answer questions in front of them? >> absolutely and want our memo released at the same time. but we are talking about that transcript and they voted against that on party lines. didn't want anybody to come here and brief the entire congress in executive session. didn't want anybody achance to have a long-term review of this and critic this.
not a chance for redactions. it is clear they wanted this out. they wants transparency on a one-sided basis and they did it with a flimsy memo. i was a little more harsh as a former professor. i described it as a book report by a junior in high school written at 1:00 at night with two red bulls under their belt and they haven't red the book. as far as i know only mr. gowdy has read the underlying materials. >> in mr. nunes's statement. have you seen any evidence to support that claim? you haven't seen the underlying evidence. nunes to your point and i talked to adam schiff about this, he has not seen the underlying evidence. >> here is what i can say. this investigation began
independently of the steel dossier. that's as important statement as i can make. if the minority memo is released and the public or at least congress is allowed to read that, it is a more scholarly memo with footnotes which point by point rebuts every aspect of the four page majority memo and i believe it will bolster the integrity of the entire investigation. it is a rush to action instead of a delivery attempt. we rush some material which is basically a lie and it is misleading and inappropriate and it hurts our national security. putting us all in
extraordinarily difficult position. destroying the trust that is keeping us safe. >> you are saying you can say with complete accuracy that the so-called steel dossier was not the basis for the fisa application? >> what i am saying is this investigation that began as a counterintelligence investigation began independently of the steel dossier. >> appreciate your time tonight. thank you very much. coming up next, what our intelligence and national security pros has to say what the white house is doing. later cnn exclusive reporting on the newly revealed encounter between trump and rod rosenstein. that and more when we continue. and i couldn't wait to get my pie chart. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american.
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president trump and christopher wray dominated. today it is all about the memo its pedigree. and last night he made it plain he wants the public to see it. that open mic. >> don't worry, 100%. can you imagine that? >> jim acosta said the white house might redact portions. chairman rogers i bring this up to you, we heard from paul ryan, all of whom kept saying christopher wray had a chance to see this. didn't raise objections. nobody raised objections or put a pen and started making changes to this. the implication was that the fbi, christopher wray had sign
off on this. and clearly that is not the case. >> well it is my understanding that when the fbi director said -- it was just himself, he has been fbi director a few months now and said i am going it go back and look at it. you need to give him the opportunity to run through that information with his folks. they omitted important facts to the case. and here is what drives me crazy about the whole thing. if there are allegations that the fbi perjured themselves both republicans and democrats should be upset about that. number two, clearly the way the republican majority here is trying to release this without all the facts is also a disservice. this is a classified committee designed to deal with very
sensitive intelligence classified information and you want a joint committee investigation into the problems of which they see duelling memos will do nothing but confuse the public and taint people's visions. >> as someone who used to head this committee, if they were investigating this and concerned about, this wouldn't bringing christopher wray or other officials in to pepper them with questions, wouldn't that be the next step? >> i am really going to get in trouble. i am told they all read the underlying intelligence information based on the memo including all of the information that was in the fisa. you can't make the conclusion that the information in that
memo accurately reflects the concern that you have. that is what the fbi is saying. listen, there may be truth in that. there may have been, which by the way, that was big news for me today. they didn't say they disagreed with the points in the memo, they said the facts you picked omitted, may have had an accurate picture. without understanding the whole picture you have no idea if that memo is accurate and now they are talking about redactions and other things. this is just really concerning to destroy the committee that is designed to be the secret place of which we oversee the intelligence community. including the fbi. the fbi is not immune to oversight. that is really important here. but the way they are going about this, and by the way, the notion that the democrat has a memo
that is pure. none of it is going. >> asha, if the fbi is concerned about in their words, their memo -- how would redactions fix that? >> it won't. so as the chairman said, you know, the affidavit lays out the whole picture. these are incredibly long. i have prepared fisa affidavits. and you have a number of facts to paint a picture that shows the judge that made your probable cause standard. a source tells you person x is doing this, but you have other things to present it together. and if you pull any one out they may not be enough on their own.
apart from this investigation, this particular case, if this is not a substantiated claim of abuse. if this is not in fact -- if the fbi followed procedures, this can have a really dramatic impact on the fbi's overall efforts. if people mistakenly have the impression that the fbi can't be trusted, you know the bread and butter of the fbi is to go out and talk to people. that people trust them to give them tips, information, and mostly to get sources. >> yeah. >> and if you are an fbi agent who has a source, you know, you want to be able to show that you can protect them and the fbi is now -- >> yeah. >> thank you. coming up, combining more breaking news. what president trump wanted from
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that in a december meeting in the white house, president trump asked his deputy attorney general over seeing the russia if he was on his side. pamela brown is in washington with the exclusive details. what exactly happened? >> reporter: deputy attorney general -- tell us that the president had other things on his mind. you may have recalled that testify just past that december. we are told that the president asked rosenstein, whether he was on my team, whether the two are on the same team. rosenstein is the person who
oversees the russia probe. this is only the latest episode that company many to light portraying a president who asks questions sometimes crosses a line. and this exchange could raise further questions about whether trump was seeking to interfere in the investigation. >> do you know any word on how rosenste rosenstein reacted to this? >> reporter: we were told that he was surprised by this. he didn't give any details in terms of where the russia investigation was headed as the president asked him and that he responded awkwardly we were told as the president's team request saying of course we are all on your team mr. president. the president did appoint rod rosenstein. he was asked about loyalty
pledges and here is what he said about that. >> is it ever appropriate for the president of the united states to demand the department of justice official or fbi director take a loyalty pledge? >> i don't have any opinion on that. no one has asked me to take a loyalty pledge other than oath of office. >> reporter: rosenstein did not believe that he was being asked to take loyalty pledge. and he told lawmakers in the same hearing, as long as you are following your oath of office, you can be faithful to your administration. the president was really focused on this testimony that was up coming. top of mind during that meeting. we are told that the president was asking republican congressman or suggesting them specific questions they should ask rosenstein in that hearing. >> thank you very much. joining me now is jeffrey
toobin, carrie cordero. >> a pattern of criminal behavior. obstruction of justice. what is he saying to rod rosenstein when he is discussing the investigation of himself? he is saying are you on my team. he is not about on your team about fighting isis or fighting the mafia. are you on my team in connection with the investigation of trump. that is evidence of obstruction of justice and one of many pieces that have come to light already. >> carrie would the team want to talk to rod rosenstein and rosenstein is overseeing the investigation, does that put him in a position? >> it does and legal scholars and academics and observers who are paying attention have been
wondering whether or not rod rosenstein is a witness. the other part of pamela's reporting that is so interesting is not only did he ask him if he was on the team but also asked him about the substance of the investigation. and that, you know, early in the president's administration, one could perhaps suggested that he didn't understand the relationship between the white house and the presidency and the department of justice. he didn't understand the norms that are supposed to be observed in terms of not pressuring department of justice officials. there is no way by december of 2017 that one could make that argument about the president. >> ken, how do you see this? when it comes to the president asking for loyalty, that certainly seems to be something of a recurring theme. is that a problem?
>> certainly when we look at the justice department as being different from all the other cabinets because of their independent law making -- law enforcement decision they have to make, then there are differences there. i would note for you all that this was not discussed by the mainstream media when there was no independence in the obama justice department. early in the report that you just cited was the under estimate of the report. i think donald trump does that all over the place. and you know, jeffrey thinks that this one is evidence of criminal activity. but look, he crosses lines all over the place. propriety, language, putting out on twitter things that used to be internal white house
discussions. so you know, how you digest all of this is a little bit different. and an example of that would be no one would believe that bill clinton never talked to his white house counsel about being rid of ken starr. but when donald trump does it, it is somehow, and we know about it, it is somehow shocking. you know, i just, the comparisons just don't hold up with a guy with this personality. eventually, he is going to be talking to mueller's team either in writing or in person, and i expect person. he is going to have the chance to answer all of these questions himself. he is going to have be the more laid back discipline president we saw last night. >> federal law does not have an exception for people with colorful personalities. this is criminal behavior if you are in fact obstructing justice.
the fact that donald trump is a wacky guy, does not excuse him from violating the law. >> it goes to intent. >> it is also the underlying crime. if you are obstructing justice, you are obstructing justice regardless what kind of personality you have. >> the president has had a pattern of pressuring department of justice and fbi officials in particular those who are involved in this russia influence investigation. and that is where communications and contacts between the white house, the president and the department of justice, it is more important in that circumstance that those protocols be followed. and the procedures for white house influence and communications on ongoing investigations between the white house and the department of justice have actually been relatively consistent in terms
of policy over the past several administrations of both parties. >> ken, would it be within the bounds of propriety for rosenstein and trump discussing anything involving the russia investigation? >> i think only at the highest level. time line, that sort of thing. but not at the level of detailed questioning. and i would agree with statement about just the first part of the statement being made about the fact that it is reasonable to expect certain lines of propriety to be maintained when dealing with the department of justice that don't exist with others. and that goes back to this president's willingness, frankly, to not abide by all of those old expectations. >> right. >> and it can have consequences here with the justice department that don't exist with any other department.
>> right. i appreciate it. thanks. with all the new developments in the russia investigation tonight including the storm of the nunes memo that has come out yet. we will get james clapper's take next. [ coughs and sneezes ] nothing relieves more symptoms than alka seltzer plus maximum strength liquid gels.
. there is breaking news on multiple fronts in the russia investigation. this is coming in the middle of the major drama accusing the fbi of surveillance. with all of this going on what a better time to speak with james clapper, former director of national intelligence. all saying releasing this memo is dangerous. do you agree with the assessment?
>> without having seen the memo but certainly inferentially yes. and i was struck by the fbi statement today which didn't say anything about sources and methods jeopardy. what it spoke to was errors of facts through omissions. so i am not terribly comforted by news that this memo will be published with redactions because i don't think that is reflective of correcting it for omissions of fact which i think was a concern of the minority, the democrats on the committee. >> which is essentially saying that it is cherry picking information. that if you have pages and pages and dozens of pages underlying intelligence information and you end up with a four page memo that it is possibly cherry picked. >> yes. and you know, i have seen this happen before in the congress particularly when you are into a partisan issue like this where
only one side is writing something and you know, staffers are smart and they can pick and choose what they want to make a case. and that, i think, is what probably prompted the statement by the fbi. >> a number of republicans up from the hill on the committee say of course the department of justice, of course the fbi wants this memo released if they did something improper. what i don't understand is if this is a real investigation of the fbi, and the department of justice wouldn't one of the first steps be to bring the fbi, big christopher wray or whatever fbi department official in front of the committee and grill them? >> yes, in a closed environment. and i have been on the receiving end of that when one or more members or committees thought the intelligence committee was up to no good and that would
traditionally be the way it was done or another way would be to refer their concern, in this case, the department of justice inspector general who is there as an independent voice. who has qualified competent and objective staff to look into this. obviously this has got all kinds of political overtones and where it seems to me chairman nunes is more concerned with trying to protect the president. >> how unusual the situation is it. we have seen nunes in a position that looks similar to this where he made the midnight run to the white house and it turns out they had gotten information from the white house itself. how unusual is it to have the fbi director christopher wray, and rod rosenstein personally --
deaf ears. >> i do remember very well since i went through it was when the senate intelligence committee which was actually democrats released its report publicly or version a summary version of the report on extraordinary extortion techniques. and we had a lot of back and forth discussion certainly in a closed environment and that is what i am used to and what i have seen which has been worked out between the legislative and the executive. but never something like this. >> the reporting that the president wanted to know whether or not rosenstein was on his team. what is your reaction to that? >> i thought immediately about a conversation i had with jim comey on the 27th of january
when i was at the fbi and he had gotten a call from president trump to have dinner with him. and i remember, and this is my characterization on how uneasy jim was with that because of the importance that he hoped to convey to the president and an independent fbi director. i thought madly of that where this apparently the team reference may have been more benign than a direct pledge of loyalty. and it falls binto what is a pattern. >> last year pomp peo met with a russian -- sanctions against russia. there is always danger in
conflating two events. when you see that, does any of that strike you as unusual. >> having all three of them at once is unusual. there has been long tradition of engagement, attempts to engage with russia intelligence officials. i certainly did that. and i think what is important is whatever it is director pompeo said, i hope he didn't give him a free pass and not acknowledge, hey, you know, we knew what you were doing interfering in our election. you know, let's get on with business. and as far as engaging with one of them who is under sanction, well, i think i would have a conversation with my general counsel about that. and again, i don't know what the specific modalities were that were adopted. so on the one hand, a good thing to try to have dialogue with
them, although none i engaged in were successful. always a one-way street. but i do hope that there was some mention made of those very same services by the way were the ones leading the interference. >> director clapper, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. the exclusive cnn reporting that shows an fbi under attack. details ahead. ♪ take off for mexico with expedia. ♪ one click gives you access to discounts on thousands of hotels, cars and things to do. like the royalton riviera cancun for 54% off.
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more breaking news. remember all the way back to last week where text messages between an fbi agent and an fbi lawyer were suppose to be part of a secret society that was designed to undermine the trump presidency. that turned out to be an inside joke. the fbi agent at the center of that particular storm was deeply involved in the fbi decision before the 2016 election that
was democrats believed seriously damaged hillary clinton. down is up. up is down. cnn's laura jarrett joins us with details. explain what we now know about the role this fbi agent played in the decision about clinton. >> well, anderson, we're getting a more detailed picture tonight about how peter strzok played a role in that crucial decision that essentially turned the clinton campaign upside down just days before the 2016 election. we've now obtained a string of e-mails that show strzok took the first crack at a draft of that now infamous letter that former fbi director james comey sent over to congress informing them the bureau was investigating newly discovered clinton e-mails on anthony weiner's laptop, just, again, days before the election. of course it makes strzok would be involved in all of this as the number two in counterintelligence. he was one of those leading the clinton investigation at the fbi. but it's also significant
politically because what this means is while the republicans on capitol hill have type cast strzok has having thumb on the scale for clinton given some of his private text messages trashing the president, he also didn't hold back when it came to taking action against clinton back in 2016. so there's a far more nuanced picture here, anderson. >> strzok did have some reservations about making a public announcement about all of this, correct? >> he did. a source familiar with strzok's thinking on all this tells me he was firmly of the view the fbi had to pursue whatever leads were on that laptop, and he was being aggressive about it. but he had real reservations at the same time about making such public announcements just days before the election. in fact, his text messages that were turned over to congress, you see him and this lawyer, lisa page, at the fbi grappling with the fallout. and in one, page said she's not so sure they should issue a public statement. strzok agrees. and it turns out that was sent on the very same day that comey sent his letter to congress closing out the clinton
investigation. >> this report from the justice department's inspector general, how much of that focuses on strzok? do we know? >> well, republicans have focused a lot over the past couple weeks on what strzok said in those text messages since he was briefly on mueller's team. but the inspector general's report is supposed to take a wide-ranging look at how the fbi handled the investigation writ large, from top to bottom, including whether attorney general loretta lynch's tarmac meeting with bill clinton was appropriate, whether it was appropriate for comey to make any number of the public statements he did about the investigation without following the typical protocols. so in other words this report is going to be explosive and a potential land mine for the justice department and fbi far beyond any text messages, anderson. >> laura jarrett, thanks very much. more news ahead. we'll be right back.
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for up to 12 hours with just one pill. aleve. all day strong. that's it for us. thanks for watching 360. i'll be back for another edition at 10:00 tonight. time to hand it over to chris cuomo for prime time. book ended by anderson. i love it. we have a facts first feast tonight. new information about what a controversial fbi agent did during the investigation. then also new information from sources that trump asked yet another top justice official for loyalty. are you on my team, he asks. wait until you hear who he asked and why. does this show why trump wants to release the much maligned nunes memo? what do you say? let's get after it. i'm chris cuomo. welcome to "prime time."