tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 28, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
♪ fighting a shutdown battle by threatening a trade war. john berman here for anderson. that's one new threat president trump is making in his effort to win funding for his wall. and if it doesn't seem like a logical argument, this might not help. so the threat is to end our current trade agreement with mexico if democrats won't agree to pay for the walsh the one he once said mexico would pay for then later said it would pay for
only indirectly. the president also threatened to close the southern border completely and shut off aid to honduras, guatemala and el salvador. his statement on the board they are morning reads "we would be forced to close the southern border entirely if the democrats do not give us the money to finish the wall and also change the ridiculous immigration laws our country is sattaled with." he went on to conspiracy back to prenaf before so many of our jobs were sent foolishly to mexico. wherever you stand on the wall, whether you think house democrats are obstructionist or not, whatever your views on trade may be, this seems like an apple solution to an orange problem. the president for better or worse appears to be honing to influence democrats by at best threatening mexico and at worst, by holding a gun to the u.s. economy's head threatening to go back to before nafta yes, and before the trade agreement that replaced. the one that just a few weeks
ago he was so proud to have signed. >> the u.s. mca is the largest most significant modern and balanced trade agreement in history. all of our countries will benefit greatly. in short, this is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever. and this is an agreement that first and foremost benefits working people, something of great importance to all three of us here today. >> the president barely a month ago signing a trade deal replace the other drad deal he blew up, now he's threatening to blow up that deal and threatening more besides. does it make sense? that's one question. should it even be taken seriously as a policy matter? that's another. the white house did tell us fairly early on to consider presidential tweets official statements which means even when they're not fully cogent or cooked. so is that the case this timele? ill advised or not are these real threats or is this just a case of a guy home alone venting
to the walls? for more on all of this, let's go to any phillip at the white house. abby what, more do we know how the president spent his day dealing or i guess not dealing with the shutdown. >> reporter: till a few minutes ago, the president had been rarely seen but plenty heard on twitter sending all the tweets you just mentioned but staying pretty much out of sight here at the white house. press secretary sarah sanders said he came to the office today, he made some calls. it's not comreer to whom. then a few minutes ago, the president left the white house and went to the naval observatory, that's the vice president's residence where he's now having dinner with vice president mike pence, his acting chief of staff mick mulvaney and son gnaw jared kushner. that would be the trio most responsible for the president's side of negotiations in this government shutdown. we still don't know where things stand. it seems like they don't stand much of anyplace at all. there's been a lot of blaming
from the white house but not much in terms of specifics where the compromise is going to be. sarah sanders the president secretary was asked about how this would all end and she spent most of home run time blaming nancy pelosi. lis. >> and look, i think that's a question you'll have to ask nancy pelosi. right now what we've seen from her is she's unwilling to do anything until she gets her speakership. she's more willing to protecting that than she is to protect our boarders and protect american lives and we'll see that change over the next couple of days. >> and the key question remains, will president trump accept less than $5 billion for his wall. sarah sanders declined to answer that question and i think john, we're still left where we've been all week which is no answers on the specs and no end to the shut down. >> you said the president is dining with jared kushner among others at the naval observatory. kushner till today was down in florida vacationing at mar-a-lago where today we
learned the president will not go at least for now, he's staying in washington for new year's, correct? >> it seems jared kushner was summoned back to washington to perhaps deal with the shut down. he was down in florida with the rest of the trump family where they go nearly every year to celebrate new year's eve and president trump and the white house announced today pretty definitively he's not going to go before january 1st. that seems to signal the shut down going to last at least that long. the president is not going to go to this new year's eve party that he typically hosts at his resort where we know guests have paid $1,000 per head to party with president trump. he's not going to be there this year. he will be here. what happens after that is anyone's guess. it seems that the white house has been teeing up to nancy pelosi's speakership election which is likely to happen on january 3u8, and that may be the moment in which we have some progress on this front. until then, president trump will
be here. the rest of his family down in florida, melania went to go back down there yesterday and he's home alone again in the white house. >> although he has jared to talk to when he wants. abby, appreciate it. so with the president blaming the shutdown on what he calls ob obstructionist democrats we thought it might be useful to speak to a democrat, ruben guy yea go. thanks for being with us this evening. you said you're against any funding for the wall and urged fellow democrats not to negotiate. does that mean you would vote against anything $1 more than the $1.3 billion on the table already for border security? >> look, the party is not an obstructionist party to be clear. we are the party that passed through consensus both the house democrats and senate republicans a bill that got 100% of the vote in the senate, 90% of the vote in the house and the only obstruction you have is happening with this president another thing to note is we
actually gave this president close to $2 billion last year in terms of border pone for security and it he has not used 96% of it. so the idea we're going to throw more money at a campaign promise that he said mexico would pay for i think is just not a proper use of government funds. will we continue to negotiate? of course. we're here tore keep government open, but the biggest sticking point you have is a president that cares more about fox news pundits it say than a government needs. that's a government he's not leading. >> sarah sanders said the president is willing to negotiate. we're not sure what you that means. when nancy pelosi becomes speaker which we assume will ham january 3rd, are you suggesting there might be some room to bundle, at least a little off that $1.3 billion? >> look, we're here to talk. obviously, i can't speak for leader pelosi. i do know the fact that the democrats have always been the
adults in the room. unfortunately, president trump has been hard to negotiate with. if he had listened to us two years ago, he would have had $25 billion for a wall and we would have had it the dream act. instead he listened to the worst elements of his cabinet as well as some pundits that basically guide his decisions. >> i do want to ask you, his threat to close the southern border, to withdraw foreign aid to those central american countries, do you take that seriously when he writes stuff like that? >> no, and i think that's a bigger danger the fact that no one takes this president serious. he is the boy that cries wolf too much. but also, i think it's disturbing the president of the united states is holding the american economy hostage. look, there are problems with nafta. we will very to renegotiate a lot of aspects of it. if you do such abrupt actions such as closing down the border, you're going to affect a good one-third to one-fourth of the economy of this country for people that will do rely every day on paychecks.
if he wants to make america first and make america great, don't threaten the economy in the process of trying to fulfill it your campaign promise which you said again that mexico was going to pay for. >> now he says mexico will pay for it but indirectly. >> i want to ask you about a letter sent by two american committee chairs bob goodlatte. among other things they said, "there has been noneffort to discredit the work of the special counsel." no effort to the discredit the work of the special counsel. what do you make of that given that the republican president goes after the special counsel robert mueller in the investigation every week if not practically every day? >> well, it's not just the president. there have been plenty of republicans and republican leadership positions that have undermines the mueller investigation both by their public stamms as well as beak running some shoddy investigations. if you look at the house intelligence committee and their investigation, it was basically an effort to cover up whatever
this presidency did. they didn't call the proper witnesses. they didn't subpoena the proper documents. they didn't put people under oath. this whole thing by trey and bob outgoing members is beak for them to try to i would say recast their part in basically allowing this presidency and the republican administration led by paul ryan to undermine this investigation, the whole way. >> on their way out the door as part of this six-page letter one of their main points they think there should be an additional investigator brought in to investigate james comey's investigation of hillary clinton. what's your reaction? >> this is pure obsession by these republicans. hillary clinton is no longer presidential candidate. the president is donald trump. he has clearly done some levels of violation ha should be investigated. they need to get over it. hillary clinton is not your president, not the person that should it be investigated. the collusion, the crimes that have jurisdiction occurred under this administration. it's time to see what happened
instead of trying to dodge it and distract by throwing someone like hillary clinton out there. >> there's been no conclusion on collusion just yet but i appreciate your point. ruben gallego, have a very happy new year. >> thank you. joining us now, kirsten powerses, mike shields and "new york times" white house correspondent michael shear. he and kirsten republican cnn political analysts. mike is a cnn political commentator. kirsten, this is a question i asked congressman gallego. what do you make of the president's threats to close the southern border? are these things that he can do? are these threats that we should take seriously or is this just as we suggests at the top just venting at the wall? >> well, look, he's the president and when he says something, i think we should take it seriously. i think there has been plenty of things people shrugged off he
has put on twitter he ends up following through on. i think he is making some pretty dangerous threats in particular in terms of shutting down the border which would have the potential of throwing us into a recession. it would have a very serious impact on businesses and drive people out of business. these are very serious issues. we have a shut down in the middle of the holiday season. people aren't getting paychecks. these are real ramifications for his decision to go forward and insist on the democrats funding this wall, which let's remember, i bring this up every time i'm on, his campaign promise was not just to build a wall. it was that mexico was going to pay for it. so this temper tantrum he's showing is because he hasn't been able to get his campaign promise doesn't way he said he would. >> the $5 billion is al appropriation from the u.s. government, not from mexico to be clear what he is asking for right now. mike shields the number two house democrat steny hoyer who
will be the majority leader he today told cbs news the president's threats are just a trant tum and he needs to come to the fact the president is not a dictator. your reactions to that? >> the president is a negotiator. he's most comfortable when he's in negotiations. if you read the "art of the deal" you learn a lot about president trump. that's the sort of place he always wants to be. and shut downs are really messaging wars about a negotiation. you need to negotiate with congress. the government shuts down and and he then it's all about winning a public communications fight. and i used to work for newt gingrich in the '90s. the government shot down for a month that is congress passed a funding bill. the president didn't think it paid enough and he didn't sign it and the government shut down. we have the exact same thing happening. the president wants more funding. he's messaging. tomorrow he will say something else, threaten something else. it's part of the negotiation. >> only if penal take your
threat in nep way seriously. i bring up that because the nafta thing which is just apples and oranges completely bringing up nafta and trade with mexico and the idea of funding for the border wall, so when he says something like that, i don't see how it brings him any closer to making a deal and i also wonder if he may land nancy pelosi an early win once she takes over the speakership january 3rd. >> some people may not realize but the trump administration just sent $10 billion of aid down to central america and southern mexico. so when he's saying we may cut off the aid, i'm going to stop the aid i just promised, he's talking about shutting the border tomorrow, he's trying to win a public war. the end game for him is, he wants his base to understand that the democrats are -- he wanted to do this and the democrats wouldn't let him and it's their fault. >> michael, i want to ask you, where do you think nancy pelosi is on this today? do you think she has any inenttive to bundle before thursday when he she takes over and even after thursday right
when she takes over? >> not at all. certainly between now and january 3rd, there's no incentive for the democrats to pudge at all. there's no daylight between the democrats in the senate and the house regardless of the fact that the president and the white house want to make it seem that way. look, i think mike is right. at the end of the day, this is a public releases effort and both sides are trying to you know, spin the ultimate outcome of who gets blamed for it this. one of the things that's characterized this white house, mike talked about president trump as a negotiator. one of the problems that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have had with this president and this white house is not knowing who speaks for the white house and what the message is on the other side. so you have an example of that will this the last couple days where yesterday you had sarah sanders putting out a statement that was very tough and saying we're not going to budge on border security but the whole statement didn't even mention the wall. it literally never mentioned the wall one time.
you could imagine what you could read that as saying maybe there's some wiggle room there maybe the president is moving off the demand for the wall and then moments later he tweets multiple times about the wall. you don't know and nancy pelosi and the republicans in the congress don't know where the president is, where the white house is. that's making everything more difficult. >> we're going to take a quick break. we want to get an update from capitol hill. on that note michael just made about nancy pelosi where lawmakers stand tonight. later as part of a special report on the mueller investigation, a closer look at how some of the people closest to the president are now facing intense scrutiny over their roles in the presidential transition. -morning. -morning. -what do we got? -keep an eye on that branch. might get windy. have a good shift. fire pit. last use -- 0600. i'd stay close. morning. ♪ get ready to switch. protected by flo. should say, "protected by alan and jamie."
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trump's threat to shut down the entire southern u.s. border if he doesn't get funding for his wall in legislation to end the government shut down. the ball said one senate democrat is in his, meaning the president's court. this is a shut down remember, he once seemed eager for. >> i'll tell you what. >> we disagree. >> i am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck, because the people of this country don't want criminals and people that he have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. i will take the mantel. i will be the one to shut it down the last time you shut it down it didn't work. i'm going to shut it down for border security. >> so lately as you've seen, he's been trying to bestow the mantle on is the democrats. jeff flake was asked whether he thought the president was still in fact, responsible. >> anytime you stand and say i own the shut down, then you own it.
politics you know, shut down 101 tells you shift the blame if you can. and when the president immediately said i'll take the blame, then he's got it. so that's why the democrats have felt flow need to really come to the negotiating table. so i think that the president you know, he said he would own it and he does. >> senator flake also said he thinks the shut down could stretch into the middle of next month. more on the negotiations and politics everybody cnn's phil mattingly who was at the capitol for us. >> i'm also hesitant to ask because i can actually see and not for ot first time this week how empty it is where you are. what's the latest on any potential progress? >> reporter: not a lot going on up here. both sides remain entrenched in their positions. democrats have made clear threwal accept no more than $1.3 billion in border wall funding. the president made clear he wants money for the wall. there's nothing happening behind the scenes.
there have been no proposals traded over the last couple days, there have been very limited comrukss. a lot of staff known to be talented and people who stk often thread the needle out of these situations didn't come to work today because they recognized a, their bosses were out of town and b it's going to an take awhile to figure this out. at this point everybody is looking forward to the point where nancy pelosi becomes speaker of the house. that's where house democrats will move immediately to send bills to reopen the government to the senate. here's the catch. mitch mcconnell already burned once by the president when the senate passed a unanimous bill to reopen government made clear he's not going to move on anything till the president signs off on it. whatever she sends over just means the next step in a battle that col last weeks. >> i love going behind the scenes only to find out there's nothing happening. what are staffers pointing to as potential triggers that might break the stalemate.
>> this is an important point. often, to be frank in shut downs, it's pain their constituents feel. it's pain that organizations they care deeply about in their states or districts feel. those are the types of things bizarrely that haven't taken effect yet because of the holidays, because of the changing congress and current paycheck skld. on january 11th, that will be the first time the 800,000 federal work serious furloughed or working without pay will not receive their paychecks. that's real impact on real people. not just in washington, d.c. or northern virginia. it's around the country. there's one. another one to keep a close eye on, while the pentagon is funded, the coast guard is under the department of homeland security. that's 40,000 coast guard employees a branch of the military currently working without pay. that matters to lawmakers. you have issues like that throughout the course of the real live effects, real life impact of this, you could look earlier today, the office of personnel management putting out
form let ares to workers trying to negotiate down their rent and mortgage payments. this have a real live impact. will that change the primary dynamic where the president stands? that's an open question. those are the types of things that could contribute to something coming together. it's a matter of when and frankly how deep that pain is going to get. >> the 800,000 federal workers waiting, as well. phil mattingly, thank you very much. if anyone deserves a peaceful weekend, it's probably. >> thanks. back now with kirsten powers, mike shields and michael shear. michael, i want to start with you. you say this is a negotiation that the president is in the middle of now opinion in this negotiation, does he need to give the democrats something they want? and what would that be? >> well, first of all, i want to go back to the chuck schumer thing you showed on there. it's a really important point and jeff flake saying the president owns the shut down. going back to my example, i worked for gingrich in the '90s,
by all accounts newt lost the battle but he won the war. long-term president bill clinton was forced to sign a balanced budget. republicans won the messaging war with the people and he had to come to the table and eventually in his second term signed a balanced budget. what president trump is negotiating for is a long-term win. the government's eventually going to win and he's not going to get everything he wants but he's trying to show that democrats are not serious about border security. every day the two sides message on there, that gets further implanted in american's minds. we heard the tragic news tonight a california while patrolman was murdered by an illegal immigrant. those types of things will impact 2020. president trump is play the long game with this negotiation. i don't know how they can come to the table. the base of the democratic party won't let them do anything with president trump at this point. >> newt gingrich and bill clinton, bill clinton was re-elected in 1996 but many
people look down to the shut down that gave him a boost. kirsten, mike shields brought up by chuck schumer. i'm fascinated why the white house maybe chuck schumer is willing to deal but not nancy pelosi. she's the one holding things up. what do you think the white house gets out of that have an aggressive spin? >> well, it's not true first of all. but the reason they're doing that, and i don't want to call it spin. they're making up things lying. so i think that they're doing this because they are still holding on to this idea that by demonizing nancy pelosi this incredibly powerful woman in the democratic party and in the country, that that will somehow help them. i guess it makes their base happy but they did this during the last midterm election we just had and it didn't work out very well for them. this is something that's just an old trick they keep coming back to that they think they can try
and demonize her and make her the person who is the problem that's not willing to deal when that's just not what's happened. the democrats are completely united in opposition to the wall because it's a stupid idea and it's too expensive. it doesn't have much support. so i think yes, they're trying to spin but i just want to address this idea that the president is negotiating as we keep hear. negotiations involve a give and take and back and forth between people and typically involve giving up something. that's not what he's doing. he's flailing and throwing a temper tantrum and making outlandish threats. that's not negotiating. >> hang on. i want to let michael shear jump in here. michael, how long do you think this goes on at this point and give us the final word, is this just destined to be president trump's shut down given that he already took credit for it. >> look, i think it's clear it could go on for weeks.
there's no easy way that it ends. one possibility is that president trump could simple political declare that the wall is already being built and declare that he doesn't need the money in the first place and sort of move on. that would be a sort of declared victory and then you can get out of the situation. but look, i think that it's also possible that both sides continue to dig in. there's no obvious negotiation that's going on as kristen just said than we could be here in mid-january heading into february heading towards the state of the union speech with no resolution. >> from new year's to valentine's day. thanks so much. kirsten powers, mike shields is mike it will sheer. thousands of e-mails will trump's transition team dealing with russia face new heat from the mueller probe? a long time washington insider joins me next. up and down, never side to side, shaquem, you got it? come on stay focused. hard work baby, it gonna pay off.
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president trump's one-time point man on national security is now hoping to get permission to travel to rhode island. asking a judge for basic freedoms is part of michael flynn's new life as' ways sentencing in the russia probe after taking a plea deal. meanwhile, the president's son-in-law jared kushner is not charged with any crime so he was free to travel to mar-a-lago for christmas. but both men remain on robert mueller's radar. we will explore the controversy surd surrounding the white house include the presidential transition. >> reporter: robert mueller has his hands on tens of thousands of private e-mails between trump transition team members. part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the weeks following the election.
under particular scrutiny, a meeting during the transition on december 1st, 2016 puts trump's son-in-law jared kushner and general michael flynn, his soon to be national security adviser, together in a room at trump tower with a russian ambassador who has long been considered a spy. kushner asked then russian ambassador sergey kislyak about establishing secure lines of communication with moscow, what some have called a back channel. >> the record and documents i have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign. >> reporter: kushner told a congressional committee that he asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to general flynn. later in december, jared kushner and another questionable meeting. this time with russian banker sergei gore cough who also had ties to russian president
vladimir putin. what was discussed remains a mystery. but at the time, kushner was still ceo of kushner companies which was trying to attract financing for a building project in manhattan. still, the white house says there was no discussion at the meeting about kushner's company or sanctions. >> my dash board warning light was clearly on and i think that that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community. >> reporter: kushner said about the meeting there were no spec policies discussed. we had no discussion about the sanctions imposed by the beem administration. at no time was there any discussion about my companies, business transactions, real estate projects, loans, banking arrangements or any private business of any kind. around christmas in 2016, general flynn spoke again with ambassador kislyak by phone a call the white house did not acknowledge till a month later saying flynn was only offering his condolences after the
assassination of russia's ambassador to turkey. >> christmas day, general flynn reached out to the ambassador, sent him a text and it said i wish you and a merry christmas and happy new year. >> reporter: flynn was fired in early 2017 after misleading the vice president and others about the substance of phone calls had he had with the russian ambassador. turns out flynn discussed sanctions, a potential violation of federal law. flynn later wrote this letter of resignation explaining he had inadvertently briefed the vice president and others with incomplete information. perhaps robert mueller will find more answers in all those transition team e-mails now in his possession. randi kaye, cnn, new york. so if jared kushner considered it a very unique campaign, how unique was the transition team's behavior? i spoke earlier with anita mcbride, former chief of staff to then first lady laura bush. she also served under the last
three republican presidents. >> anita, you've served on three different presidential transition teams. what's the normal amount of contact between the transition and representatives from other countries? >> well, you know, typically the golden rule that applies during presidential transitions is that there's only one president at any given time. and particularly when it does come to relationships with foreign countries or foreign delegations. that there is you know, a procedure or a process, you know, that is followed. now, it's not difficult to imagine and to expect that a presidential candidate or people from their team would encounter a foreign ambassador to this country. they all come to the conventions, both conventions. so they will do hear from representatives of the campaigns and later from transitions. but it's in a very general
sense. and it's certainly not making decisions or any promises on any future policies. >> so the meetings that take place in a transition between representatives of foreign countries and people within that transition, they're supposed to be general, congratulations, hey, how you doing. not supposed to be making policy? >> correct. i mean, yes, that's absolutely true. and also, you know, it's well-known what the policy positions are of a candidate. and certainly foreign countries are following that very closely. the most important thing is they're eager to the an least establish a relationship. just even a meeting face-to-face, but really the context of the conversations are very general or should be. >> and any meetings that get beyond general would have to be run by the current or outgoing administration? >> absolutely. i mean, there is the rule of thumb honestly now and the gold standard for transitions now is the one of 2008 between george
w. bush and barack obama. that really set the standard for relationships, conversations between an outgoing administration and and i coming. there always were obviously presidential transition processes before that, john, but honestly, the first post nooirn transition in 2009 set a different standard on how the outgoing and incoming administrations have regular contact with each other. and work very closely with each other. so there is a seamless transition on day one. >> so we've heard there on many different subjects but people associated with donald trump many of them not professional politicians. they didn't have a lot of experience in government. is that enough of an excuse here? maybe ignorance? they didn't know better. >> well, listen, it may be an explanation, but i wouldn't say it's an excuse.
i think at the end of the day, what we're talking about is the -- our government and how our government operates and the very serious decisions that a president has to make at like 12:01 after they are you know, sworn in. it's serious business. and i understand there are new people in the process but they're of there also were people working on the trump transition who had been involved in other transitions. so i think that it's an explanation but not an excuse. >> anita mcbride, thanks so much. >> thank you, john. up next, what a naked selfie has to do with the mueller investigation, plus new insight on the special counsel from some folks who have known him for decades and a reminder this new year's day at 9:00 p.m., don't miss the incredible story of comedy great gilda rad. here's a preview. >> hi, i'm gilda radner and
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the news tonight that house republicans want further investigation of the early russia probe probably comes as no surprise to robert mueller and not that we would know because the special counsel's office doesn't say much and leaks even less. we only learn about his efforts in court filings. this one's a doozy from lawyers for a russian company and one item at the center of it is a selfie. a nude selfie. the company accused of taking part in efforts to disrupt the 2016 presidential election claims the risque photo was confiscated by the mueller team along with a lot of other data. it didn't reveal who was in the photo. this is the latest court drama for muler who first took control of the probe in may of 2017. one person was convicted at
trial, seven pleaded guilty and 36 people or entities have been charged and one man robert mueller is under the microscope himself. here's gloria borger. >> reporter: special counsel robert mueller is a mystery man. perhaps the most private public figure in washington. but as the leader of the russia investigation, he and his team have become a political pinata, after squeezing zinlts, jailtime and plea deals from formerly trump advisers including the president's ex-fixer now singing and facing prich and his ex-campaign chair now indicted and accused of lying. >> there should have never been any mueller investigation because there was never anything done wrong. there was no collusion. there never has been. >> reporter: it's been a frame job says one of his lawyers. >> they are a group of 13 highly partisan democrats that make up the mueller team excluding him are trying very, very hard to frame him. >> reporter: an angry president fired his attorney general and
hired someone more to his liking on the investigation. and now delights in calling mueller a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue. ♪ >> reporter: it's hard to remember that at the start. >> i think he's the right guy at the right time. >> reporter: mueller was a bipartisan favorite. >> he would have been on anybody's list of lets say the top five people in the country to have taken on this kind of a responsibility. >> the resume is long. at 74, he's been involved for decades in some of the justice department's most celebrated cases. mobster john gotti, andmanian dictator manuel noriega. >> wreck of pan am 103. >> reporter: and the bombing in lockerbie, scotland in 1988, a case that still remains personal. >> i'll never forget the visit i made to lockerbie where i saw the small wooden warehouse in which were stored the various
effects of your loved ones. a white sneaker, a syracuse sweatshirt. christmas presents and photographs. >> he's been effectively the same bob mueller in every place he has worked whether that was the u.s. attorneys office in san francisco in the 1970s, the george h.w. bush administration in the 1980s, whether that was the d.c. whom decide prosecutor's office in the 1990s or the fbi in the towels. he is hard driving. he's tenacious. he is incredibly thorough and has a very strong sense of right or wrong. >> a registered republican, but it's hard to tell. >> four and a half years of whatever, 2,000 meetings i didn't hear him say anything political. >> really? in washington? >> i know that sounds weird. he might have said that guy's a jerk. i didn't see it as a partisan issue. >> how would you describe his politics? >> not.
>> as in there are none? >> he'ses apolitical. he's nonpartisan. he is as i think has become quite clear a pretty law and order guy but he doesn't speak of things in political terms. >> lane, the president of the united states. >> which is partly why president bush picked him to run the fbi in 2001. >> the fbi must remain in independent of politics. and uncompromising in its mission. >> mueller arrived at the fbi just seven days before 9/11. he served most of his term under bush and when president obama asked him to stay for two more years, it required an act of congress. the senate approved 100-0. his m.o.? a by the books guy even after hours. >> people told me after their christmas party, quou, we're going to the director's house. at the end of the party that he would flick the lights. it's going 7:00 to 9:00.
at 9:03, it's on the invitation. that's kind of a signal. >> married for more than 50 years to a about family at work . a literally bond up and bond down boss. >> i remember telling the director, you wear a white button-down shirt. can you wear something tattered? i asked him finally years after he had been director, what was the deal with the white shirts when you were at the fbi? he said, i understood i was leading the fbi through a wrenching period of change. i wanted to wear the white shirt because i wanted the other fbi agents to be able to know that this was still the agency that they had signed up to join. >> his dress code as unforgiving as his work ethic. >> he was in the office between 6:00 and 6:30 every morning, and he would always plop his
briefcase opposite my desk, not sit down and kibbitz or shoot the breeze. immediately, what's happening, what's going on? >> there's not a lot of back and forth, very quickly you're going to go through the details of the case. >> would you assume he is managing the special counsel investigation the same way? >> heck yes. i wouldn't assume. it's not like a professional choice. that's his dna. what's going on today, what do you got, what do you got, what do you got? i don't want to hear a lot of noise. i want to hear the facts. let's talk about. what's your judgment? what do you think? okay. next, here's your decision, let's go. i never saw insecurity or nervousness ever. >> ever never? >> never. >> mueller grew up in the wealthy philadelphia suburbs and attended an elite boarding school. a classmate of john kerry. then to princeton. but the death of affidavit hackett in vietnam inspired mueller to join the marines. >> he was wounded in combat, shot through the leg, received a
bronze star with valor, purple heart, and was right back in the fight a couple weeks later. >> in some sense, you feel that you have been given a second lease on life, and you ought to make the most of it to contribute in some way. >> reporter: after graduating the university of virginia law school, he soon found his way to the department of justice and remained there for the most of the next four decades. >> my colleagues at the department of justice -- >> reporter: two short breaks to give private practice a try. >> bob mueller has been notoriously unhappy every time he has tried to be in private practice. he can't defend guilty people. he'll meet with a client, they'll explain his problem, and he'll say, sounds like you should go to jail then. >> reporter: he'll tell his client -- >> sounds like you're guilty. >> bob mueller cease the world in very black and white terms. >> robert mueller also has a history with james comey, both
are former fbi directors and both have connections to a confrontation in a washington hospital. the details and more insight on special counsel mueller in part two of gloria's report when "360" continues. if you have psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats moderate to severe plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla,75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines and if you're pregnant or planning to be. otezla. show more of you.
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more now with special counsel robert mueller. when the democrats take control of the house next week, they plan to pursue a bill to protect him from interference and are seeking lawyers for their own investigations in the trump administration. the president is no fan of robert mueller's, nor of james comey whom he fired. what you might not know is the history that robert mueller and comey share. with that and more, here's gloria borger. >> reporter: by 2004 mueller was running the fbi when his phone rang. it was james comey, then deputy attorney general. it was the first time mueller and comey would find themselves
in a very controversial legal drama. >> i was very upset. i was angry. >> reporter: comey was worried the bush administration was determined to keep a warrantless eavesdropping program that mueller, comey, and their boss, attorney general john ashcroft, thought was illegal. but ashcroft was in the hospital recovering from surgery. leaving comey in charge. >> i was concerned that given how ill i knew the attorney general was that there might be an effort to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that. called director mueller, it would have been a great help to me over that week and told him what was happening and he said i'll meet you at the hospital right now. >> reporter: they had to literally race administration officials to ashcroft's bedside. >> director mueller instructed the fbi agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances. >> reporter: in the end, ashcroft backed comey and mueller. >> he enlisted bob mueller
because he knew that bob mueller had this incredible nonpartisan reputation in washington. >> reporter: that was then. now trump compares mueller to joe mccarthy, and a trump ally warns there's trouble ahead. >> i think the report is going to be devastating to the president. >> reporter: after months of haggling, team trump has provided written answers to mueller's questions on collusion and is convinced trump's problems will be more political than legal. >> eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach. members of congress, democrat and republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. so our jury is the american people. >> reporter: now that jury awaits mueller, who is already letting his work speak for itself. as his office wrote to the court recently, senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards. >> bob mueller believes in american institutions.
so i think he wants to set the institutions up to make the best decisions that they can. >> a big night ahead, the '80s starts right now. it's a time of enormous turmoil. >> shut up in here. >> the '60s are over, dad. >> here's michael at the foul line. good! >> we intend to cover all the news all the time. we won't be signing off until the world ends. >> isn't that special? >> any tool for human expression will bring out both the best and worst in us. and television has been that. >> they don't pay me enough to deal with animals like this. >> people are no longer embarrassed to admit they watch television. >> we have seen the news, and it is us. ♪ ♪