tv Washington Today Reviews James Comey Testimony CSPAN June 8, 2017 4:59pm-6:00pm EDT
directed him to do anything illegal, immoral, unethical, or inappropriate, close quote, and never, never, quote, pressured him to do so, closed quote. director coats said the same thing. the president likewise never pressured mr. comey. the president also never told mr. comey quote i immediate loyalty, i expect loyalty, close quote. he never set it in form and he never said it in substance. >> just some of the statement by president trump's personal attorney from earlier today after the testimony from former fbi director james comey. more now on today's hearing with a live simulcast of c-span radio's "washington today" here on c-span3.
>> we're getting your reaction to former fbi director james comey's testimony before the senate intelligence committee. send your e-mails, tweets. good sure and watch live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. >> i think the circumstances, the subject matter, and the person i was interacting with, circumstances, first i was alone with the president of the united states, with the president-elect, soon to be president. the sublgt matter i was talking about, matters that touch on the koerp's responsibility that relate to the president personally and then the person. there was a concern that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so i thought it was really important to document. >> it was must-see tv. the former fbi director, james
comey during today's senate intelligence hearing which lasted two hours and 38 minutes, followed by a closed door classified briefing that ran just over an hour. we welcome you to "washington today" i'm steve squuly. thanks for being with us. here's the new york times quote trump tried to derail the inquiry and access the white house accusing them of lies. the washington post comey says he shared notes in hopes of a special counsel and at fox news.com, the trump team shoots back as the president's lawyer tries to turn the tables on comey. there's this from the hill newspaper and the hill.com. comey rimgs the media for being dead wrong on the russia stories. we'll be beginning with that. bob cusak is yoing us for this hour. let me begin with your overall observations, your take-away from today's hearing. le. >> steve, i think it was riveting.
there's no doubt that james comey was update that he was fooirld. for the president, its wasn't a good day. it could have gone worse, though. there was no, quote unquote, smoking gun that we didn't see in the opening remarks release yesterday. particularplally, very tough when the fired fbi director is saying that the president is a liar. however, there was not that smoking gun that is a slam-dunk for obstruction of justice. some people will say yes. some people will say no. the trump team obviously is saying they are vindicated because they -- that comey did once again -- said it in the opening statement and he said it today, that the president was not a target of the investigation. so i think the fact that he came out swinging against the president, i thought was the most -- it was very telling. he was very emotional. he was very upset that as he said, he wasn't able to say goodbye on the proper terms because he was fired abruptly. he found out reportedly from
cable news. he thought it was a prank at first. that the questions, i thought, for the president were pretty good in that republicans didn't abandon the president. they asked questions and some of them put comey a little bit on the defensive like, well, if you thought this was inappropriate, why didn't you tell the president that. we've heard that from senator rubio and senator collins who both have criticized the president in the past, so -- but it's one of those days that i think will go loun in the lore of capitol hill, but i think right now that the investigation will go forward and democrats by and large with so few exceptions will not be calling for immaechment until this investigation is over. >> so it was not a game changer? >> i don't think it was a game changer. i do think that his remarks that were released yesterday where the president said there's this cloud over the administration and certainly comey was saying, i took the president's words to say stop the flynn investigation.
trump did not actually use those words. he said i hope it goes away. he's a good guy. comey responded, yeah i believe he's a good guy. there were some uncomfortable moments. i don't see a game changer legally. politically, the president is on the defensive. there is, as he reportedly told comey, there's this cloud of russia and it's not going away anytime soon. >> yesterday jim comey releasing seven pages, his opening statement. he did not read the opening statement today but instead he had this to say. >> ranking member warner, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to testify today. i've submitted my statement for the record and i'm not going to repeat it here this morning. i thought i would just offer some very brief introductory remarks and then i would welcome your questions. when i was appointed fbi director in 2013, i understood that i served at the pleasure of the president. even though i was appointed to a 10-year term which congress
created in order to underscore the importance of the fbi being outside of politics and independent, i understood that i could be fired by a president for any reason or for no reason at all, and on may the tth, when i learned that i had been fired, for that reason i immediately came home as a private citizen, but then the explanations, the shifting explanations with confused me and increasingly concerned me. they confused me because the president that i had had multiple conversations with about my job both before and after he took office and he had repeatedly told me i was doing a great job and he hoped i would stay. and i had repeatedly assured him that i did intend to stay and serve out the remaining six years of my term. he told me p repeatedly that he'd talked to lots of people about me, including our current attorney general and had learned that i was doing a great job and that i was extremely well liked by the fbi work force.
so t it confused me when i saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the russia investigation and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the russia investigation. i was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly, that i was fired because of the decisions i had made during the election year. that didn't make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time and all the water that had gone under the bridge since those hard decisions that had to be made. that didn't make any sense to me. and although the law required no reason at all to fire an fbi director, the administration then chose to defame me and more importantly, the fbi. by saying that the organization was in disarray. that it was poorly led. that the work force had lost confidence in its leader.
those were lies, plain and simple. and i am so sorry that the fbi work force had to hear them and i'm so sorry that the american people were told them. i worked every day at the fbi to help make that great organization better. and i say "help," because i did nothing alone at the fbi. there are no indispensable people at the fbi. the organization's great strength is that its values and blilgts run deep and wide. the fbi will be fine without me. its mission will be pursued by its people and that's to up hold the constitution of the ugsz. i will deeply miss being part of that mission but it will go on long yonds me and any particular administration. i have a message before i close for the -- my former colleagues of the fbi but first i want the american people to know this truth: the fbi is honest, the
fbi is strong, and the fbi is and always will be independent. and now to my former colleagues, if i may. i am so sorry that i didn't get the chance to say goodbye to you properly. it was the honor of my life to serve beside you, to be parts of the fbi family, and i will miss it for the rest of my h life. thank you for standing watch. thank you for doing so much good for this country. do that good as long as ever you can. and senators, i look forward to your questions. >> james comey, the joy former fbi director, his opening statement and bob cusak we should point out that he did that without notes and without a prepared text. >> yeah. really showed his love for the fbi and his really disdain of this administration of how they went after both him saying he had been defamed as well as the agency and saying that they were lies that the fbi was in
disarray. so that was very personal and is very personal to comey and saying that he -- remember, he was appointed by president obama for a ten-year term. it ended very abruptly and it surprised him and he was, i think, not only -- number one, he was hurt by that he was fired because, as he said, there was no indication he was not doing a good job. hef got the opposite feed bark. number two, how it went down. how he was informed that he didn't get a phone call. he found out basically from television. >> we're going to hear more from the laerg -- it's on the website, by the way. you can check i can identity at c-span.org. but tom cotton and senator john cornyn tried to drill down into comey's relationship with the president. >> yeah. i think that usually when you have hearings on health care and
taxes it can be charged partisan. you read from republicans and democrats that yes they all had their perspective and wanting to for instance press comey on a number of fronts regarding why he didn't -- why he did things the way he did them. why he didn't go and tell jeff sessions about these encounters with the president, why he didn't go through more formal challenges. some have asked why he didn't tell congress what happened. so i thought that it was interesting that the -- by and large both the democratic and the republican side just wanted to get more anxiouses of why you did this and why you didn't do that and honestly i think that was the achilles heel for comey in that he said he never told the president directly you shouldn't be talking about that. and or not telling other people including his boss jeff
sessions. the thing at that point jeff sessions had not recused himself. in a closed setting he appare apparently did that there's -- there's something going on with sessions that he knows about that he can't say in only sessions regarding the investigation. we don't know what that is. >> the hearing began at 10:00 eastern time and wrapped up at about 12: 40. there was that closed door session that you indicated and mid afternoon marc, trump's personal attorney had this to say. >> the president feels completely vinld indicated and is free to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country and with this public cloud removed. >> mark cauc kasowitz. >> mr. comey has now admitted that he.
mr. comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president. the leaks of this privileged information began no later than march 2017 when friends of mr. comey have stated that he disclosed to them the conversations that he had with the president during their january 27th, 2017 dinner and february 14th, 2017 white house meeting. today, mr. comey admitted that he leaked to friends of his purported memos of those privileged communications, one of which he testified was classifi classified. mr. comb also testified that immediately after he was terminated he thofrd his friends
to leak the contents of those memos to the press in order to, in mr. comey's words, quote, prompt the appointment of a special counsel, close quote. although mr. comey testified that he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the new york times was quoting from those memos the day before the referenced tweet, which is belies mr. comey's excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to be entirely retaliatory. >> marc kasowitz who is the president's personal attorney. bob cusak, what are you hearing? >> well, that's part of the administration's strategy is to go after comey. certainly, yol think it was a big surprise that he through an associate was leaking the comey memos, also there was a story that came out that comey was disgusted when he was at the
white house and 2ru6r7 kind of did a half embrace of him. you knew reading those stories that it had to come from comey, so -- but i think they're going at -- this is another washington person who leaks to the press, who bemoans leaks, which he has. tlt flip side of that, of course, is that this might have been retaliatory because comey is now -- is not a fan of the president. but it wasn't classified information, but i think that's a strategy. listen, trump wanted comey to get out. this is the crux of their discussion. it seems like why trump got rid of comey. trump asked comey to get out, that trump was not part of the investigation, was not a target of the investigation. comey didn't want to do that for a variety of reasons. well, now it got out. but the administration is going after comey as being do you police tus and i think you're going to continue to see that strategy. >> based on the introductory remarks that were released yesterday and what we heard
today, jim comey knows how this town works. >> absolutely. he orchestrated this quite well. it is unusual, as you know, steve, for such testimony to come out a day in advance, so this became not only that, the media, nobody knew it was coming. and so through an agreement that comey gave his testimony, wrote this seven-page very riveting account that dominated the news cycle yesterday and we knew that today would be even bigger, and it was. so james comey knows how this town works and that, i any, has helped him through this controversy with the trump white house. >> we begin with senator richard burr questioning the former fbi director on russia and the 2016 elections. >> director, did the special counsel's office review and or edit your written testimony?
>> no. >> do you have any doubt that russia attempted to interfere in the effect elections? >> none. >> do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the intrusionings and the dccc systems and the gent leaks of that information. >> no, no doubt. >> do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the cyber introducing in the state voter files? >> no. >> do you have any doubt that officials of the russian government were fully aware of these activities? >> no doubt. >> are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered? >> i'm confident. by you the time -- when i left as director i had seen no indication of that whatsoever. >> drosh comey, did the president tnt ask you to stop the fbi investigation into russian involvement in the 2016 u.s. elections?
i don't not to my knack, no. >> did any individual working for this administration, including the justice doesn't, ask you to stop the russian investigation. >> no. >> director, when the president requested that you -- and i quote -- let flynn go, general flynn had an unreported contact with the russians. which is an offense. and if press accounts are right, there might have been discrepancies between facts and his fbi testimony. in your estimation was general flynn at that time in serious legal jeopardy and in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for mike flynn to save face, given he'd already been fired? >> general flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy.
there was an open fbi criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the russianing contacts, and the contacts themselves so that was my assessment at the time. i don't think it's for me to say that the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion i'm sure this special counsel will work towards to find out ra the intention was there and was that an offense. >> senator richard burr republican of north carolina and the one and only witness today, the former fbi director james comey. we're joined here in our studio with b bob cusak, editor and chief of the hill.com. how did the others prepare their questions today? >> they wouldn't talk about it before. at least senator rich, a member of the panel was on tv. they said what are you going to ask him and he wouldn't say. you only have a certain amount
of time. i think they were allowed seven minutes. >> so you have to get right to the point. senator burr, working with mark warner on a charged investigation/hearing. they've worked well together. so they have to -- i think the senators who also go later in the hearing, they have to prepare extra questions just in case their questions have already been asked. you saw this range of questions. i thought what burr was doing was setting the record straight that comey definitely thinks that russia was involved in the 2016 election. the big question, of course, was there collusion between trumpld and the -- and getting on the trord that there's no proof that russia changed any votes in the 2016 election. also, what did you intercept the president to be meaning? did he actually say, if you don't get -- if you don't stop this investigation of flynn i'm going to fire you?
no, he wasn't that direct. it seemed to be where comey was suggesting he was doing a with a wink and a nod to stop this investigation of flynn and make it go away becauses trump said, according to comey, there was this cloud that was impeding his agenda, which certainly is true. >> then there's the issue of the memos that jim comey would. as he indicated yesterday -- here's mark warner of virginia. >> i want to go through a number offing the meetings that you referenced in your tchl. let's start with the january 6 meeting in trump tower where you went up with a series of officials to brief the president elect on the russian investigation. my understanding is you remained afterwards to brief him on again quote some personally sensitive skpaekts of the information you rolaid. now you said after that briefing
you felt compelled to document that conversation, that you actually started documenting it as soon as as you got into the car. you've had extensive experience at the departments of justice and at the fbi. you've worked on the presidents of both parties. what was its about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? >> a combination of things. i think the circumstances, the person i was interacting with. sfirgs, i was alone with the president of the united states, the president-elect, soon to be president. the subject matter, i was talking about matters that touch on the fbi's correspondent and that relate to the president-elect personally and then the nature of the person. i was honest rhode island concerned that he might ht lie about the nature of our meeting and inthought it important to document. that combination of things i'd
never experienced before but it led me to believe i got to write it down and up got to write it down in a very detailed way. >> i think that's at very important statement you just made. >> another point in which james comey accusing the president of lying. >> without a doubt. that's why he took those notes and he said he had been in constant contact through phone calls or neegts with trump. i believe it was nine times with president, only twice. he felt no need to write notes after that meeting. one of the big questions that i think is going to dog this white house until they provide a straightforward answer. the president in a tweet suggested there could be tapes of this conversation between he and the now-ousted fbi chief and they have not answered that question. the white house did not answer it today. that's what senator schumer, the minority leader in the senate was talking about, wrsh the tapes? are there tapes? they're going to be asked that
question every day until they answer it. >> you're listening to "washington today" on c-span radio heard coast to coast on sirius xm. earlier this afternoon i checked in request kevin johnson, the justice department reporter for usa today. he was inside the room, hart 216 ychlt. >> obviously there was a lot of anticipation, to say the least, about director comey's appearance here and for -- well, ever since he agreed to testify more than a week ago, tension had been building and anticipation about what he would say. a lot of that was diffused a bit when he posted his written testimony yesterday, which was explosive enough, but everybody still wanted to hear from comey
himself, and so that pretty much described what the scene looked like there outside the hearing room. there were lines of people who had waited for hours for the hearing room doors to open. most of them were thought to be congressional staffers and were congressional staffers, young staffers who filled the gallery. the press allotment was, as you could probably expect, much greater than you would see for a normal hearing. a lot of organizations from abroad, so you were hearing a mix of languages at the table. chinese, brazilian, spanish, german television, japanese, so it was all over the map. the interest was intense.
and i think comey delivered on a number of fronts. he said in his testimony slightly more than two hours. what was stunning, i think, most of all, was a theme that ran through it was the fact that he just believed he couldn't trust the president and to hear it come out of his mouth had obviously much more impact than to see it just on paper. he once indicated that he thought the -- that -- he explained his reasoning for memorializing his meetings with the president in memos, because he thought he would, in his words, lie, which again that's surprising to hear from a former fbi director talking about the president of the united states.
so that's how the -- that the morning unfolded immediately and then he went on to address a number of other topics. >> of course, veterans of c-span's coverage of hearings, those viewers who watch our programming know it's typical for senators to come in and out. that was not the case today. every senator stayed in for the entire two hours and 38 minutes. >> correct. and that was unusual in itself but as you say, you b often see senators even milling about, meeting in smaller groups. none of that happened. as also see at some high profile hearings, you would see protesters in the gallery. there was none, which was kind of interesting. and it was very, very quiet. there wasn't a lot of conversation, even among reporters at the table.
everybody was pretty much fixated on what the director was saying and how he was responding. >> kevin johnson who was inside hart 216 where the hearing took place earlier today. he covers the story for usa today. thank you for being with us. >> sure. thank you. and more from the hearing. here is senator susan collins, republican of maine and another round of questions on the memos that jim comey wrote following his meetings with the president-elect and the president. >> you mentioned that from your very first meeting with the president, you decided to write a memo memorializing the conversation. what was it about that very first meeting that made you write a memo when will you had not done that with two previous presidents? >> as i said, a combination of things, a gut feeling is an important overlay and the circumstances that i was alone,
the subject matter, and the nature of the person that i was interacting with and my read of that person and -- yeah, and really just a gultd feel laying on top of all of that that this -- it's going to be important to protected this organization that i make records of this. >> and finally, did you show copies of your memos to anyone outside of the department of justice? >> yes. job and to whom did you show copies? >> i asked -- president tweeted on friday after i got fired that i better hope there's not tapes. i woke up in the middle of the night on monday night, because it didn't dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation. there might be a tape and my judgment was i needed to get that out into the public square. so i asked the friend of mine to share the con tebts of the memo with the reporter. didn't do it myself for a variety of reasonings, but i
thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel and i asked a friends to do it. >> was that mr. wittes? >> no, uh-uh, no. >> who was that? >> a good friend of mine who's a professor in law school. >> and then round of questioning from senator roy blunt. >> you said you gave information to a friend after you were dismissed, so that friend could get the information into the public meade ya? >> correct. >> what kind of information was that? what kind of information did you give to that friend? >> that the -- the flynn conversation, that the president had asked me to let the flynn -- i'm forgetting my exact own words -- but the conversation in the oval office. >> so you didn't consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document? you considered somehow to be your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to? >> correct. >> through a friend?
>> i understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president as a private citizen i frelt free to share that. i felt it very important to get it out. >> were all of your memos that you recorded on classified or other documents memos that might be yours as a private citizen. >> i'm sorry. i'm not following the question. >> i thought you said youized classified -- >> not the classified documents. unclassified -- i don't have any of them anymore. i gave them to the special counsel. but my understanding was the memization of those conversations was my recollection recorded. >> so why didn't you give those to somebody yourself rather than give them through a third party? >> because i was worried the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point and i was actually going out of town with my wife to hide. i felt like it was feeding sea gulls at the beach. >> what you do is create a source close to the former
director of the fbi as oh poised to just taking responsibility yourself. >> senator blountd with the former fbi director. so we learned how leaks happen in washington, d.c. >> yeah. and that's another example of comey knowing how washington works. that he went through an associate, was pressed on who that was, a friend of his and there's been speculation on b social media who that is, but regardless, this showed -- and i thought the line of questioning was interesting, blount was saying so that's your private document? that's not a government document, even though it's a recollection of his conversation with the president when he was fbi director. i would imagine -- i don't know this for sure -- but i imagine that james comey has not leaked any similar documents of any conversation hi had with the president or any senior officials when he was with the fbi. but he felt like ok as a private
citizen, i can release this. >> at the same time you have director robert mueller as specialty counsel dwing his own investigation. why do you think he agreed to let jim comey testify today and where do you think ail of this is heading? >> well, mueller and comey know each other extremely well. they've worked for each other for decades. plus, and mueller received lost of comments including from comey at the hearing today. so i think that mueller and comey talked extensively. comey agreed he didn't want to talk about anything about the investigation. but i do think that will -- we don't know this for sure but i would imagine that robert mueller who respects comey, knows him very well, probably didn't like how he was fired and how comey was fired and also how it went down. so where it goes from here, who knows? i don't think you're going to see a lot of leaks from robert mueller. he's a pros pro.
everybody cheered that decision maybe except in the whoulgs of apointing him as special counsel this could take up to two years, some estimates 18 months, 20 months. i think now it's a situation where law enforcements on both sides, most of them are going to say we need to figure out what the investigation found and then we'll zeed what to do, if anything. >> another exchange on the memos with the ranking democrat senator mark warn er. >> my understanding is that unlike your dealings request presidents, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record. did you feel that you needed to create this written record of these memos because they might need to be relied on at some future date? >> sure.
i yeahed records after conversations and i think i did it after each of our nine conversations. if i didn't, i did it for nearly all of them, especially the ones that were substantive. i knew there might come a day when i would need a record of what was not just to defend myself but to defend the fbi and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our function. that's what made it so difficult. it was a combination of circumstances, subject matter and the particular person. >> so in all your experience, this was the only president that you felt like in every meeting you needed to document because at some point, using your words, he might put out a nontruthful representation of that meeting? >> now -- >> now -- >> that's right, senator. as i said in my written testimony, as fbi director i interacted with president obama, only spoke twice in three years and didn't document it. when i was deputy attorney general i had one one-on-one
meeting with president bush about a national security matter. i didn't document that conversation either. sent a quick e-mail to my staff to let them know that something was going on but i didn't feel a need to document it. it wasn't present with either president bush or president obama. >> i think that's significant. i think others will question that. we've requested those notes and it is our hope that the fbi will get this kmooet access to those memos so that we can read that contemporaneous rendition so we have your side of the story. >> clearly, the memos, parts of the investigation, that's being led by robert mueller, the exchange with senator mark warner. here's the chair of the committee, senator richard burr of north carolina. >> is there any doubt in your mind that this committee can carry out its oversight role in the 2016 russian involvement in the elections in parallel with
the now special counsel that's been sets up? >> no, no doubt. it can be done. it requires lots of conversations but bob mueller is one of this country's great, great pros, and p and i'm sure y'all will work it out to run it in parallel. >> your thoughts? >> there are multiple investigations going on, multiple committees. they're getting a lot of fres, robert mueller, there's got to be some communication with the intelligence committee the house and the senate side and the judiciary committee on the the senate side, but comey is very confident, as he indicated, that he'll look under rock. and whatever he presents to congress and the nation will be a sound, thorough report/investigation. >> we have been getting a lot of calls on the c-span radio listen irfeedback line. here are just a few. >> caller: hi, my name is juliette. i'm a republican and my message is for what the attorney general
did, mr. comey upset now? i don't see anything connecting mr. trump, the president, to any interruption of the election. to me, it's a witch hunt and is going to fall back on whoever, planning to bring him down. we love him. we support him. we gonna stand by him and by the word of god he'll overcome. >> my name allison will i can. i'm a registered r registered democrat from charlottesville, virginia. i had a first today. i just wanted to say that i never thought that i would leave my horses and the barn, which is my favorite thing in the world to do, to go and watch c-span in the middle of the day. god bless comey.
>> two different views there. but it shows you that everybody was watching today. >> it was a spektd cam at 216 hart. >> yeah. >> the media coverage, the cameras, the broadcast networks carrying the hearing. we had it on all the c-span plormts. >> you had people apparently getting there at 4:00 in the morning. our photographer was getting there at 6:: 30. we had a reporter in the room. it was mobbed. bars were open early. they were packed. this is something as dramatic -- remember, all the networks covered this. this was on every channel. really haven't seen that since -- as far as nigh memory and going back to oliver north's testimony before congress. this is a day that few will forget. >> recent to you what the washington post is reporting that the former fbi director essentially laid out an obstruction of justice case against p president donald trump. earlier this afternoon we checked in with john malcolm, a constitution expert at the
heritage foundation. worked in the justice department during did george w. bush administration. i posed that question to him. >> well, i think both sides got some points that they can use to make their argument. so if i were the president, there were several things that director comey or 230r78er director comey said i would be happy about. he reiterated that on several occasions he had told the president that he was not the subject of any discretion, although the president clearly leaned on him to try to make that public and was very frustrated with the fact that comey wouldn't do it. he also said that he thought that the flynn investigation and the russian investigation touched each other but were separate and that the president never asked him or suggested that he drop the russian investigation. he also reiterated that nobody in the intelligence community, dan coats, the national -- director of national intelligence or mike rogers, director of the national security agency, nobody ever
contacted him and zusuggested tt he drop either the flynn or the russian investigation. he also said that after the oval office meeting that took place on veterans day, the president didn't engage in any kind of follow-up or ask that the investigation be dropped and in fact during a if only call, the president said i really want you to get out there that i'm not under investigation but that it would be a good thing for the fbi to find out whether any of his quoted satellite associates had done anything wrong. another thing the president will make hay about i'm sure is director comey said he was very concerned about the conduct of the former attorney general loretta lynch, was particularly troubled by the fact that she was insisting that he use the word "matter with" that this is a matter rather than an investigation, which mimicked language that the trump campaign was using. in terms of the president, bad points for the. . jim comey said he didn't trust
the president. that for the first time in his career that he wrote memos of his conversations with the president after they occurred because he thought the president might lie about them at some future time, that he took some steps to avoid being in one-on-one situations with the president after the valentines oval office meeting, that at that meeting he sensed that jeff sessions and jared kushner were reluctant to leave him alone with the president. he said that during that meeting in the oval office he felt pressure from the president to drop the investigation against michael flynn, although he was not explicitly told to drop that investigation. he clearly said that he believed he was fired because of the russian investigation and that this could conceivably change the way the investigation was being conducted and of course he accused the president of ge famg him by making statements about his competency after he fired that comey class fight as lies, pure and simple. >> you're a veteran of the
justice department. did jim comey lay out any obstruction of justice case against the president? >> i think it would be a very tough case to make. in order to find somebody for obstruction of justice you need to find that they acted with corrupt intent, force or threats. clearly there was no force here. the worst thing, if you looks at this in the light least favorable to the president is that by demanding loyalty that there was some kind of implied threat that if he did not drop the investigation that he might be fired. that's quite a stretch with a lot of inferences to be drawn, particularly because there was no follow-up to find out or ensure that the investigation had been dropped. jim comey who had threatened to resign when he thought that president bush exceeded his constitutional authority clearly did not believe at the time that the president was committing a crime. h he made clear that he didn't resigned or prepare to resigned. he didn't contact the attorney
general or the white house counsel's office. he didn't stand up and tell the president, mr. president, this is an inappropriate conversation, i'm leaving. he talked a little about why he didn't do some of those things. my guess is it's clear in his own mind if the president was committing a crime right in front of him he would have done one of those things. >> thank you for being with us, john malcolm. >> good to be with you. job bob, another attorney general, the n current one, jeff sessions came under fire by james comey. your take on that? >> it was interesting what comey said in that he knew that before sessions was going to recuse himself from the russian investigation -- he said this in his opening remarks released yesterday -- that he was aware of the situation and he knew a lot of stuff that had not become public and he now that sessions was probably going to recuse himself from the russian
investigation, which he did, which reportedly has upset president trump immensely because that led to rod rosenstein the assistant attorney general appointing bob mueller. so sessions was not told directly by comey of this -- these encounters with the president. however, comey did tell sessions that he does not want to be left alone in the same room with trump after they had that valentines meeting at the white house. >> here is how that unfolded with oregon senator rog widen. >> let me turn to the attorney general. in your statement you saided that you and the fbi leadership team decided not to discuss the president's actions with attorney general sessions. even though he had not recused himself. what was it about the attorney general's own interaction wgs the russians or his behavior
with regard to the investigation that would have led the sbiesh leadership of the fbi to make this decision? >> our judgment, as i recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. we also were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued enkbamt in a russian-related investigation problematic, and so we were convinced -- in fact i think we'd already heard that the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to being in contact with refresh-related matters much longer, arched that turned out to be the case. >> how would you character rise attorney general sessions' adherence to his recusal, in particular with regard to his involvement in your firing which the president has acknowledged was because of the russian investigation? >> that's a question i can't
answer. i think it's a reasonable question. if as the president said, i was fired because of the russia investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain? i don't know. so i don't have an answer for the question. >> the exchange with senator ron wyden and former fbi director james comey. there were a couple of light hearted moments. this is one of them with senator angus king of maine on one of those meetings that took place between fbi director and the president early in the president's tenure. >> did you initiate that dinner? >> no. he called me at my desks at lunchtime and asked me was i free for dinner that night. called himself and said can you come over for dinner tonight and i said yes, sir. he said would 6:00 work? he said i was going to invite your whole family but we'll do that next time. he said is that a good time? i said whatever works for you, sir. he said 6:30. i had to call my wife and break
a date with her. i was supposed to take her out to dinner that night. >> that's one of the all-time good skuszs. >> i love spending time with my wife. i wish i'd been there that night. >> bob, have you ever listen to the l.b.j. tape and imagine him calling up the fbi and inviting him for dinner? >> with p comey has testified before congress many times so he has these moments when he compared the media to sea gulls. he said as far as where is he stands he's between opportunities. he got some laughs and breaking the date with his wife was another one. i think that helped him, because remember, this is a public battle between comey and the president and the question is who do you believe? >> another moment and i believe according to twitter one of most tweeted moments of the two hour and nearly 40 minute hearing that took population, the
questions by senator john mccain. here's a portion. >> in the case of hillary clinton, you made the statement that there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her, although it had been very carolinas in their behavior, but you did reach a conclusion in that kwags that it was not necessary to further pursue her. yet statement in the case of mr. comey, you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion. tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as forrer secretary clinton is concerned and mr. trump. >> the clinton investigation was
a completed investigation that the fbi had been deeply involved in, so i had an opportunity to understand all the facts and apply those facts against the law as i understood them. this investigation was under way, still going when i was fired, so it's nowhere near in the same place, at least it wasn't when i was -- >> but it's still ongoing. yool correct. so far as i know. it was when i left. >> that investigation was going on, this investigation is going on. you reached separate conclusions. >> no. that one was done. >> that -- >> the investigation of any involvement of secretary clinton or any of her associates is completed? >> yes, as of july 5th, the fbi completed its investigative work and that's what i was announcing, what we had done and what we had found. >> another one of those moments. we share that with you because the senator dlen issued a statement earlier this afternoon. i get the sense from twit ter that my line of questioning
today went over peeples heads. maybe going forward i should not stay up late and watch the diamondbacks games. >> he was a bit rambling. senator rubio also said he wasn't clear about the line of questioning. comey on the hillary clinton investigation, that was a closed investigation. this is bjorn goi this is ongoing. what you said that you could talk freely about what she did and didn't do but you're not telling us whether it's obstruction of justice but it wasn't understood and a lot of people had fun with it on twitter. >> reaction from the white house. >> well, steve, he watched part of the hearing this morning and basically from highs private dining room right near the oval office there's a 60-inch tv screen there. he was there with sort of a
floating group of his legal and political advisors in the white house. he did not stay watching the entire hearing. he also attended a foreign policy meeting with secretaries mattis and tillerson and h.r. mcmaster, the national security advisor. then around noon he got into the car and headed up to a hotel where he gave a speech at the faith and freedom coalition. he was able to catch the beginning of the testimony but not the entire things all the way through. >> there had been some speculation that he was going to live tweet during the hearing. that did not take place. the only public statement we've had has been from his private attorney. >> that's right. this was a concerted strategy at the white house to let marc kasowitz, the president's private attorney really lead the defense here and to be the unified kind of singular voice. we sue sarah huckabee sanders, the press secretary at the white house speak in sort of vague
terms in an off-camera briefing stowed but kasowitz was the one to most strongly defend the president and also to attack comey, try to exploit problems that comey had. >> let me ask you about that, phil rucker. the attack from his lawyer. also going after director comey's firmation that from the beginning, he has had it out for the so-called leakers. bothered that so many people within his government and in his white house have been speaking to openly to reporters and in some cases leaking classified information so there was an attempt by his personal lawyer mark kasowitz, to lump comey up with the other leakers and apply that label. there is one thing to keep in mind that he admitted to
quote-unquote leaking, it is not exactly a leak. he was a private citizen when he shared that information. this was a personal memo that he wrote himself. it obviously had privileged information in a memo, it was recounting a private conversation he had with the president but that is not the same thing as leaking a classified document. >> and what about james comey's statement about the leaks now being attributed to "the new york times" and other news organizations that many of those stories in his words are dead wrong. >> he said some of them were dead wrong but did not detail what that meant and did not detail what is wrong about them and sometimes a narrative might be wrong insofar as a certain people of context or addition fact that is not known. that is different.
where facts that "the new york times" might be reporting might be wrong. so you know, i would be curious to hear a little bit more of what comey meant by that before casting judgment on the whole to the work of the news media. >> and i preface this by saying it is impossible to predict what might happen, but a new concerted effort to stay on message? >> yeah. it was and in the white house they are stopping short of declaring mission accomplish. it has only been a day and we have tonight to get through it and tomorrow and the weekend. and at some point trump might want to speak his mind about comey. >> phil rucker, thanks for being with us. >> thanks, steve. >> so rejoined live with bob
cusack, what is your take on this. the headline at the hill.com is comey reveals a dramatic rebuke. >> we know what went down before he was fired. when it was just about a month ago when he was let go and now, we have some of the blanks that have been filled in but of course the russian investigation, michael flynn, jeff sessions, we don't know. the key is what does the white house do going forward. can as you were talking to phil rucker, can the president stay on message? can they talk about policy. like speaker ryan and majority leader mitch mcconnell want him to do. can they turn the page? it remains to be seen. >> senator burr and senator warner spoke to reporters on capitol hill.
here is part of what they had to say. >> good afternoon, we are going to make a brief statement and take no questions. today's hearing was an important part of our investigation and the russian involvement in the 2016 elections. it also enabled the american people to understand the massive amounts of stories that has been out there and to sort through those and to have an individual that can lay some factual context to it. this is no where near the end of our investigation and i think it is safe to say today that next week, we hope to work with special counsel mueller to work out clear pathways for both investigations his and ours to continue. to work on dekon applicati-- we
confident today that through this process work as a bipartisan and thorough investigation. >> i want to add, i was very proud of how all of the members c conducted themselves today. important that the american people get a chance to hear jim comey's statement about what all has transpired. the one thing even if we may have different views on where some of these questions may lead, the one message i hope ale americans will take home is recognizing how significant the russian interference was. and we have got to be prepared to make sure that we are in a better defensive position in 2018, and 2019. and in my home state as early as next week where we have a primary. >> the co-chairs of the senate intelligence committee and again
the hearing. and their statements on our website, check it out online. final point, today was also a social event in washington, d.c. >> yes, the bars were open early and we had a couple of reporters who were checking them out and i thought it was going to be overstated. but no, the bars were packed. initially a lot of journalists there covering themselves basically at 10:00 in the morning. and it got to be standing room only. and the audience at these various bars in capitol hill, they listened closely to the testimony. the nation was riveted. >> thanks for being with us. a reminder the full hearing is airing prime time tonight and check it out at c-span.org. 30 years ago the nation was
fixated on another hearing. sneaking documents out of the white house sometimes in her boots. she was of course kernel oliver north's secretary. from june 8, 1987, with questions by senator david boren. >> he discussed with you in the car at the same time after you were giving the documents to him to colonel north, he discussed the shredding with you didn't he? >> yes. and he asked you what you were going to say if you were asked about them, is that correct? >> yes. and you said we always shred documents. >> yes. >> which you knew was not quite an accurate estimate. you just shredded things in the normal