tv Washington Today Reviews James Comey Testimony CSPAN June 8, 2017 7:01pm-8:03pm EDT
administration is concerned. are you aware of anything that would lead you to believe that information exists that could fo coerce members of the administration or blackmail the administration? >> that's not a question i ask answer, senator. >> the senator's time has expired. next on on core broadcast of c-span radio's washington today which focused entirely on former fbi director james twcomey's testimony beforeur the senate intelligence committee. this is an hour. >> 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 --he with the president-elect, soon to be president. the subject matter i was talkig about, matters that touch on the
fbi's core responsibility and relate to the president-elect personally and then the nature of the person. i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting. so i thought it important to document. >> for those interested in the story, today was must-see tv, james comey testifying, lasted 2:38, followed by a closed door meeting. weat welcome you to washington today for this thursday, june 8th. i'm steve scully. here are some of the headlines on the story from "the new york times," quote,e, comey tried to derail the inquiry and access white house accusing them of lies.inay "the washington post," comey saysre he shared notes in hopesa a special counsel. atm foxnews.com, the president' lawyer tries t to turn the tabl oner comey. this from thehill.com, comey
rips theed media for being dead wrong.st joining us, bob cusack, editor in chief of the hill newspaper and ethehill.com. let meob begin with your takeaw from>> today's hearing. > it was riveting. for the president, it wasn't a good day. it could have gone worse. there was no smoking gun we didn't r see on the opening remarks.er politically tough when the fired fbir director is saying that th president is a liar. however, there is not a smoking gun.il some people will say yes, some people will say no. the trump team obviously saying they are vindicated because comeyce did, once in opening statement and he said it again today that thehe president was t a target of the investigation.
i think the fact that he came out swinging against the president i i thought was the most -- it was very telling. he was very emotional, very upset that, as he said, he wasn't able to say good-bye on the proper terms because he was fired abruptly. he found out reportedly from cable news. heht thought it was a prank at first. the questions i thought were pretty good in that republicans didn'tes abandon the president. they asked questions. somee of them put comey a littl on the defensive like, if you thought this was inappropriate, why didn't you tell the president hthat? wend heard that from senator ruo and senator collins who both have criticized the president in the past. it's would be of those days to go down in the lore of capitol hill. right now i think gh the investigation willon go forward and democrats by and large will
not be calling forhi impeachmen until thisch is over. >> it was not a game-changer? >> i don't think it was a game-changer. i thinknk his remarks that were leased yesterdayay where the president saidis there was this cloud of administration, where comey was saying i took the president's words too say stop the flynn investigation. trump didn't use those words. heai said i hope it goes away, he's a good guy. comey responded, yeah, i believe he's a good guy. there were uncomfortable moments. i don't see a game-changer g legally. politically thisng does damage e president. there is r as he reportedly tol comey, there's this cloud of russia. it's not going away any time soon. >> yesterday james comey releasing seven pages. he didn't read his opening statement today. instead, he has this to say. >> thank you for inviting me to here today to testify. i n submitted my statement for e record.
i'm not going to repeat it this morning. i thought i would offer brief introductory remarks and i would welcome your questions.ldld when i was appointed fbi ho director in 2013, i understood that i served at the pleasure of the president. even though i was appointed to a ten-year term, which congress created in order to underscore e the importance of the fbi being outside of politics and independent, i understood that i could be fired by a president st for any reason or for no reason at all. and on may the 9st, when i learned that i had been fired, for that reason i immediately came home as a private citizen. but then the explanations, the p shifting explanations, confused me and increasingly concerned me. they confused me because the . president and i had had multiple conversations about my job, botn 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 repeatedly that he had talked to lots of people about me, including our currenta attorney general, and had s learned that i was doing a grea, job, and that i was extremely a well liked by the fbi workforce. so 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 l 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 ha year.d that didn't make sense to me for a whole bunch of reasons, including the time and all the t 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 g that the organization was in an disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. and i am so sorry that the fbi workforce had to hear them, and i'm so sorry that the american people were told them. i worked every day at the fbi to be help make that great organization better, and i say help, because i did nothing alone at the fbi.i. there are no indispensable people at the fbi. r the organization's great strength is that its values and abilities run deep and wide. the fbi will be fine without me. the fbi's mission will be relentlessly pursued by its people, and that mission is to e protect the american people and uphold the constitution of the united states. i will deeply miss being part of that mission, but this organization and its mission will go on long beyond me and
long beyond any particular up administration. sa i have a message before i close for my former colleagues of the- fbi but first i want the american people to know this truth.ut the fbi is honest. the fbi is strong. and the fbi is and always will be independent.ng and now to my former colleagues, if i may. i am so sorry that i didn't gets the chance to say good-bye to you properly.. it was the honor of my life to serve beside you, to be part of the fbi family, and i will miss it for the rest of my life. m thank you for standing watch. thank you for doing so much good for this country. do that good as long as ever you can.er and senators, i look forward to your questions. >> joemts, the now former fbi director, his openingng stateme.
bob cusack, we should point out he did that without notes and without a prepared text. > really showed his love for the fbi and his really disstain 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. that was very personal and is very personal to comey and -- remember, he was appointed by president obama for a ten-year term. itit ended very abruptly and it surprised him. he was i think not only number one he was hurt that he was fired because, as he said, there was nos indication he was not doing aic good job. he got the opposite feedback. number two, how it went down, how he was informed, that he didn't get a phone call and basically found out from television. >> we'll hear more from the hearing, and on our website you can check it out at c-span.org. your observations about the
comments from senator tom cotton, republican from arkansas and senator cornyn from texas as theyp tried to drill down on comey's relationship with the president. >> i think usually when you have hearings onhi health care or taxes, it can be very charged andlt partisan. you can real into how the questions were from c republica and democrats in that, yes, they all had their perspective and wanting to, for instance, press comey on a number of fronts regarding why hee did things th way he did thing, why he didn' go and a tell jeff sessions abo theseut encounters with the president, why he didn't go through more formal channels. h some have asked why he didn't tell congress why it happened. so i thought that -- it was interesting that by and large both the democratic and the republican side just wanted to get moreub answers of why you d this and why you didn't do thats
honestly, i think that was the achilles heel for comey in that he said he never told the shouldn'tdirectly you be talking about that and/or not telling other senior people including his boss, jeff sessions. now, the thing with sessions at that point had not recused himself from the russia investigation, andf that was another interesting thing that comey couldn't say in an open setting but inn the closed setting, he apparently did -- there's something he knows about that he can't say in open session regarding the investigation. we don't know what that is. >> the hearing began at 10:00 eastern, wrapped up around 12:40. there was then that closed-door session. mid afternoon, marc kasowitz who is president trump's personal attorney, had this to say at the national presss club. >> the president feels completelyly vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda with the
business of this country and with this public cloud removed. >> marc kasowitz, the president's personal attorney. here is more from the national press club. >> mr. comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers. today mr. comey admitted he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president. thee leaks of this privileged information began p no later th march 2017 when friends of mr. comey have stated that he disclosed to them the that he had with the president during their january 27th, 2017 dinner and february 14th, 2017 white house meeting.g. today mr. comey admitted he leaked to friends of his
purported memos of those privilegedf communications, one of which he testified was classified. mr. comey also testified that immediately after he was terminated, he a authorized his friends to leak the contents of those memos to the press in order deto, in mr. comey's word quote, prompt the appointment of a specialsp counsel, closed quo. although mr. comey testified that he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public recordea reveals that "the new york times" was quoting from those memos the day before the referenced tweet whichch belies mr. comey's excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appearsnd to be entirely retaliatory. >> marc kasowitz, the president's personal attorney at
the national press club at washington, d.c. bob cusack, what are you hearing? >> that's partt of the administration's strategyni is go after comey. i don't think it was ank big surprise that he, through an associate, was leaking the comet memos, also there was a story that came out that comey was disgusted at the white house and trump did a half embrace from him. you newy' reading those storiest hadng to come from comey. this is another washington person who leaks to the press who bemoans leaks. the flip side of that is this might have been retaliatory becausee comey is not a fan of the n,president. it's not classified information. i think that's the strategy. trump wanted comey to get out. this isme the crux of their discussion and it seems like trump got rid of comey. trump askedt comey to get out that trump was not a target of the n'investigation.
comey didn't want to do that for a variety of reasons.t now, it got out. but the administration is going after comey as being duplicitous, and i think you're going to continue to see that strategy. >> based on the introductory remarksro released yesterday an what we heard today, jim comey knows how this town works. >> absolutely. he orchestrated this quite well. it is unusual, steve, as you know for such testimony to come out a day in advance. so thisth became -- not only th, the media, nobody knew it was coming. so through an agreement that comeyt gave his testimony, wrot this seven-page very riveting account, that dominated the media cycle yesterday and he knew that today would be even bigger. to james comeys. knows how this town works and that, i think, has helped them through this continroversy with the trump whe
house. >> senator richard burr, republican of north carolina as he questions the fbi director on russia and the 2016 elections.d >> director, did the special counsels office review and/or edit your written testimony? >> no. >> do you have any doubt that russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections? >> none.th >> do you have any doubt that t the russian government was behind the intrusions in the d triple c systems and the subsequent leaks of that fo information? >> no, no doubt.ou >> do you have any doubt the russian government was behind nm the cyber intrusion in the state voter files? >> no. >> do you have any doubt that officials of the russian government were fully aware of e these activities? >> no doubt. >> are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered?
>> i'm confident. when i left as director i had seen no indication of that whatsoever. >> director comey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the fbi investigation into russian involvement in the 2016 u.s. elections? >> not to my understanding, no. >> did any individual working for this administration, including the justice department, ask you to stop the russian investigation?cl >> no. >> director, when the president requested that you, and i quote "let flynn go," general flynn ia 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 s
legal jeopardy, and in additione 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 that he had already been fired? >> general flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. there was an open fbi criminal investigation of his statementsf in connection with the russian contacts, and the contacts themselves, and so that was my assessment at the time.t' i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had i with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion i'm sure tho special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense.il >> just a portion of the opening round of questions from the committee chair,r, senator richd burr o of north carolina and th one and only witness today, former fbi director james comey. we're joined by bob cusack, the editor in chief of the hill
newspaper and thehill.com. how did the senators prepare their questions. >> they wouldn't talkem about i before. senator rischch who was on tv, was asked andyo he wouldn't say. i think they were allotted seven minutes. you've got to get right to the point. chairman,po senator burr, who h beenwo working with mark warnern aig very charged vittive hearin they've worked well y together. i think the senators who also go later in the hearing, they have to prepare t extra questions ju in case their question has already beenav asked. you saw these range of questions. i thoughtht what w burr was doi setting the record r straight, comey definitely thinks russia was involved16 in the 2016 election. the big question, was there collusion between russia and the trump campaign. that's what the special counsel will be looking into, and also getting on the record that there's no proof that russia
changed any votes in the 2016 election. but also -- other senators got at this, too. what did you interpret the president to beid meaning? did he actually say, if you don'tt -- if you don't stop thi investigation of thflynn, then m going to fire you. no, he wasn't that direct. it seemed to be where comey was suggesting he was doing withs a wink and a nod to stop this investigation of flynn and make itio go away because, as trump said, according to comey, there was this cloud that was impeding hiss agenda which certainly is t true. >> there's thehe issue of memos that james comey wrote after his meetings with the president. as he indicated yesterday, there had been nine either conversations or face-to-face meetings. here is the ranking democrat on the senate intelligence committee, markvi warner of virginia. >> i want to go through a number of the meetings you referenced in your testimony. let's start with the januaryrt
meeting in trump tower where you went up with y a series of officials to brief the president-elect on thehe luruss investigation. myori understanding is you remad afterwards to brief him on, quote, personally sensitive aspects of the information you relayed. you said after that briefing, you felt compelled to document that conversation, that you actuallyly started documenting as soon as you got into the car. now you've had extensive experience at the department of justice and at the fbi. you've worked under presidents of both parties.s. what was it about that meeting t that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? >> a combination of things. i think the circumstances, the subject matter, and the person i was interacting with. circumstances, first, i was alone with the president of thee united states, or the president-elect, soon to be president. the subject matter i was talkins
about, matters that touch on the fbi's core responsibility, and e that relate to the president, president-elect personally, and then the nature of the person.t- i was honestly concerned he e might lie about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it important to document.t. that combination of things i had never experienced before, but had led me to believe i got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way. >> i think that's a very important statement you just made. point, bob cusack, james comey accusing the president off lying. >> yes, without a doubt. that'sdo why he took those note and he said he had been many constantn contact through phone calls or personal meetings with trump -- i believe it was nine times, but with president obama only twice. he felt no need to write notes after that meeting. one of the big questions, too, that i think is going to dog this white house until they provide aus straightforward answer, thean president in a twt suggested there could be tapes ofof this conversation between
andd the now ousted fbi chief. they have not answered that question. the white house did not answer it s today. that's what schumer and the minority senator leader was talking about, are there tapes. >> you're listening to heard coast to coast on sirius xm. earlier this afternoon i checked in with kevin johnson, the justice departmentst reporter f "usa today." he was inside the room hart 216. >> obviously there was a lot of anticipation, to say the least, about director comey's appearance here ever since he agreed to testify more than a week ago, tension has been building and anticipation about what he would say.
a lot of that was defused a bit when he posted his written testimony yesterday which was explosive enough, but everybody still wanted w to hear from com himse himself. so that s pretty much described what the scene looked like there outside the hearing room.ro there were lines of people who hadd waited for hours for the hearing room doors to open. most of them were -- hope to be congressional stafferers and were congressional staffers, young staffers who filled the gallery. the pressll allotment was, as y could probably expect, much greater than you would see for a normal hearing. a lot of organizations from abroad, soo you were hearing a
mix off languages at the table. chinese, brazilian, spanish, german television, japanese. it was all over the map. the trtns interest was intense. i think comey delivered on a number of fronts during his testimony, slightly more than two hours. what was stunning i think most of all, 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 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 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 notot the case today. every s senator stayed in for t entire two hours and 38 minutes. >> correct. that was unusual in itself. as you say, you often see senators milling about, meeting in smaller groups. nonene of that happened. as you would also see it as some high profile hearings, you would
seero protesters in the gallery. there was noners which was kindn interesti interesting. and it was very, very quiet. there wasn't a lot of conversation even o 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 insie hart 216 where the hearing took place earlierer today. heer covers the story for "usa today," thank you for being f wh us. >> sure. thank you. >> more from the hearing. here t is senator susan collins republican of maine and another round of questions on the memos that jimim comey wrote followin his meetings with the president-elect and the president. meeti >> you mentioned that from youre 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 you have not done that with two previous presidents? >> as i said, a combination of > things. a gut feeling is an important overlay, but the circumstances,s that i was alone, the subject matter and the nature of the person i was interacting with so and my read of that person.ah yeah, and really just gut feel,o laying on top of all of that, that this is going to be important to protect this organization, that i make records of this. ec >> finally, did you show copies of your memos to anyone outside of the department of justice? >> yes. >> and to whom did you show nd copies? >> i asked -- the president tweeted on friday after i got fired that i better hope there't not tapes.ok 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 n'
conversation. there might a tape. my judgement was, i need to get that out into the public square. i asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons. i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special en counsel. i asked a close friend to do it. >> was that mr. wittes? >> no. >> who was it? >> a good friend who is a professor at colombia law school. >> a that exchange led to this round of questioning from roy blount. >> you said you gave that information to a a friend so th friend could get the information inrr the public media? >> correct. >> what kind of information did you give to the friend? >> the flynn conversation, that the president asked me to let the flynn -- the conversation in
the oval office. >> you didn't consider that to be a government document, you considered it somehow to be your own personal document you coul 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 apreside. as a private citizen, i felt free to share that. felt it very important to get it out. >> were all the memos you recorded on classified or other memos that might be yours as a private citizen? >> i'm sorry. i'm notti following the questio >> i think you said you used classified --ed >> not the classified documents. unclassified --me i don't have y of themas anymore. i gave them to the special counsel. my view was that the content of those -- memorialization of thoseza conversations was my recollection recorded. >> why didn't you give those to somebody yourselfat rather than give them through a third party.
>> the media was camping at the end of mypi driveway at that pot and i was going out of town with my wife to hide. iut worried it would be like feeding. seagulls at the beach f it was i that gave it to the media, so i asked my friend. >> it seems that what you do there is create a source close to the former fbi -- >>td senator blount, we learned how leaks happen in washington, d.c..c >> that'sah another example of comey knowing how washington works, that he went through an associate, a friend of his. there's speculation on who that is. regardless, this showed, and also i a thought that line of questioning was interesting that saying that's your private document, 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 would imagine thatw james comey has t leaked any document similar, of anyot conversations he had with the president or senior administration officials when he was with the fbi. he felt like, okay, as a private citizen, i can release this. >> while this investigation is happening, you also have the former fbi director robert mueller as special counsel beginning his own investigation. whyo do you think he agreed to let jim comey testify today, and where doe you think all of this is heading? >> mueller and comey know each other extremely well. they've worked fwith each other for decades. mueller received a lot of compliments including from comey at the hearing today. i certainly think mueller and comey talkedue extensively. comey, of course, agreed he didn't want to talk anything about the investigation. but i do think that we don't know this - for sure, but i wou imagine that robert mueller who respects comey, knows him very
well, probably didn't like how he was fired, how comey was fired and how it went down. 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 pro's pro, former fbi director. t everybody cheered that decision, maybe except the white house, of opinion c pointing him as speci counsel. this could take up to two years. some estimates, 18 months, 24 months. i think now0 it's a situation where lawmakers on both sides, most of them are going to say we need toee figure out what the investigation found and then we'llth decide what to do, if anything. >> washington today with bob cusack, the editor in chief of the hill newspaper. another exchange with senator mark warner, the ranking democrat. >> my understanding is that then, unlike your dealings with presidents ofer either parties
your past experience, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record. needed to l you create this written record of theseen memos because they migh need to be t relied on at some futurere date. >> sure. i did itt for nearly all of the. i knew there might come a day when i would need a record of what hadad happened, not just t defend myself, but defend the fbien and our integrity as an institution and the independence ofs our investigative function. that's what t made this so difficult, it was a a combinati of circumstances, subject matter and the m particular person. >> so in all your experience, this, was the only president yo felt like in every meeting you needed to document because at some point, using your words, he mightt put out a non-truthful representation of thatt meeting.
>> as i i said in my written testimony, as fbi director i interacted withy, president oba, and spoke only twice in three years and didn't document. when i was deputy attorney general i had one one-on-one meeting with president bush about ag difficult security matter. iio didn't document that either sent a quick e-mail to my staff to let them know there was something going on. i didn't feel with president bush the need to document it, again, because the combination of t factors wasn't present wit either president bush or president obama. >> i think that is very significant. ish think others will probably question tthat. theic chairman and i have requested those memos. it's our hope that the fbi will get this committee access to those memos so, again, we can readt that contemporaneous rendition so we've got your side of the story. >>e clearly the memos part of e
investigation. that's being led by bob warner, the chair ofor the committee. here is richard burr. >> is there any doubt in your mind that this committee can carry out the role of the russian involvement in the 2016 parallel with the special counsel that's been set up? >> noit uidoubt. iton can be done. it requires lotse of conversations. bob muellerpr is one of this l country's great pros, you'll be able to work it out with him. >> bobob cusack from the hill newspaper. >> there are multiple committees. there's got to be some communication with the intelligence committee on both the housese and senate side and the s judiciary committee on th senate side.he comey isut very confident, as h indicated, that he'll look under every rock and whatever he presents to congress and the nationco will be a sound, thoug
row a report/investigation. >> we've been getting a of calls on the feedback line. here are a few. >> caller: hi, my name is juliette, i'm a republican. my comment is from what comey said now i don't see anything connecting mr.ny trump, the president so any interruption of the election. so me, it's a witch hunt and its going to fall back on wherever, planning to bring himim down. we love him. we s support him. by the grace of god he will over come. >> hey, my name is allison wilkey, i'm a registered
democrat from charlottesville, virginia. i had a firstug today. i never thought 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. >> twofe different views there. you that everybody was watching watoday. >> it was a spectacle at 216 hart. the e trying to get in, media coverage, the cameras, the broadcast northwest works carrying the hearing. we had it on all the c-span platforms. >> you had peopleentl apparentl getting there at 4:00 in the morning. g our photographer was there at 6:30. we had a reporter in the room. it was mobbed. bars were open early. they were packed. this is something -- remember, all the networks covered this. this was on every channel. you really haven't seen that since -- as far as my memory, going back to oliver north's
testimony before congress.l this is a day few will forget. >> let me read what i "the washington post" is saying, the director essentially laid out an obstruction of justice case against president donald trump. earlier this afternoon we checked in with john malcolm, a constitutional expert athe the heritage foundation, worked in the justice department during the george w. bush administration. i posed that question to him. >> well, i think both sides got some points they can use to make their argument. if i were president, there were several things that former directoror comey said i would happy about. he reiterated on several occasions heol told the preside he was not theot subject of any investigation, although the president clearly leanedre on h to try to make that public and was very frustrated with the fact that comey wouldn't do it. he alsoth said that he thought e flynn investigation and the russian investigation touched other but were separate and
the president never asked him, but suggested he drop the russia investigation. he also communicated the dan coats, the director of national intelligence or mike rogers, director ofat the national security agency, no one contacted him and suggested he drop h either the flynn or russ investigation. he alsonn said that after the ol office meeting that took place on valentine's day that the presidentng didn't engage in an kind of other followup e or suggest again that the flynn investigation be dropped. in fact, during a telephone call on march 30th, the president said, look, i i want you to get out there, r i'm not under vagt but it would be a good thing for the fbibi to find out whether a of his, quote, satellite associates had done anything wrong. another thing the president i'm sure will make hey about is director domee me said he was very concerned about the conduco of the former attorney general loretta lynchge surrounding the investigation,
particularly troubled by the fact that she washe insisting h use the word matter, that this isrd a matter rather than investigation which mimicked language that w the clinton campaign waske using. that made him feel uncomfortable. in terms of bad points for the president, jimim comey clearly said hee didn't trust the president, for the first time in his career he wrote memos of his conversations with thers presidt after they occurred because he thought theca president might l about p them at some future tim thatut he took some steps to avd being in one-on-one situations with the president after the valentine's oval office meeting, that at that meeting he sensed jeff sessions and jared kushner were reluctant to leave him alone in the room. he said during that meeting in the oval office he did feel pressure f from the president t drop the investigation against michael flynn although he was not specifically told to drop thathe investigation. he clearly said he was fired
because of the russia investigation and this could conceivably change theg way the investigation was beinge conducted and he accused the president of defaming him by making statements about hits competency. >> didan jim comey lay out any obstructiond of justice case against thef president? >> t i think that would be a ve tough case to make. in order to fine somebody for obstruction of justice, you need to find theyt operated with corruptre intent, force or threats.he clearly no force here. thef worst thing is, if you looked at this in the light least favorable to the president is by demanding loyalty that there was an implied threat, that ifat he did not drop the investigation, that he might be fired.tr that's quite a stretch with a lot of inferences to be drawn, particularly because there wasl no followup to find out or ensure that theha vision had be
dropped. jim comey, who had threatened to resigngn when he thought presidt bush exceeded his constitutional authority clearly a did not believe at the time the president was committing a crime. he made it clearar he didn't resign or preparegn to resign. he didn't contact the attorney general ory the white house counsel's office. hehe didn't stand up and tell t president, this is an appropriate conversation and i'm leaving. he talked about why he didn't do those things and said maybe he should have done those things. my guess is if it was clear the president was committing a crime, heng would have done onef those things. >> john mall con from the heritage foundation in washington, d.c., formerly with the justice department during the george w. bush administration. thank you for being with us. >> good to be with you. >> bob t cusack, another attorn general, jeffns sessions came under fire by james comey. your take on that? >> it was interesting what comey said iney that he knew before
sessions was going to recuse himself from - the russia that in tion, he said his opening remarks that were released yesterday, he was aware of the situation. he knew a lot of the stuff had not become public and he knew sessions was probably going to recuse himself from the russia investigation which he did which reportedly has upset president trumpp immensely because that ld to rod rosenstein, the assistant attorney general, appoint bob mueller. sessions was not told directly by comey of this -- threes encounters with the president. however, comey did tell sessions that he was does not want to be leftm alone in the same room wih trump after that valentine's meeting at m the white house. >> heree. is that unfolded with oregon senator, ron wyden.
>> let me turn to the attorney general.ns in your statement, you said 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 interactions with the russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the fbi to make this decision? >> our judgment, as i recall, is that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons.el we also were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an open setting that would make his h h continued engagement in a ti russia-related investigation problematic. so we were convinced -- in fact, i think we'd already heard the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that het was not going to be in contact with russia-related matters much longer.oi that turned out to be the case. >> how would you characterize
attorney general sessions's 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 is a reasonable question.. if, as the president said, i wao fired because of the russia investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain? i don't know.alth so i don't have an answer for the question. >> your testimony was that the n >> the exchange with senator ron wyden and former fbi director james comey. there were a couple lighthearted moments and this is one regarding one ofla the meetings that took place between the phish director and the president. >> did you in any way initiate that dinner. >> no. he calledd me at my desk at lunchtimelu and asked me was i free for dinner that night, he calledim himself and said can y come overr for dinner tonight.
he said yes, sir. will 6:00 work? he said t i was going to en vie your whole family. i'll do that next time. he said is that a good time? i said whatever works for you. he said how about 6:30? . then i called my wife to break a her.withat to be take her a date that night. >> one of the great all-time excuses. >> in retrospect, iing love spending time with myfe wife. ihe wish i had been there that night. >> have you everr listened to the lbj tapes, can you imagine him calling up the fbi director and having dinner? >> comey has testified before congress many times. so he had these moments where e compared the media to seagulls, andmp he also said as far as whe he stands now that he's between opportunities. he got somest laughs and, of course, breaking the date with his wifee was another one.
i think that helped him -- remember, this is a public battle between comey and the president, andpr the question i you believe? >> another moment, and i believe according to twitter i one of t most tweeted moments of the two-hour and nearly 40 minute hearing that took place, the questions, by senator john mccain. here is a portion. >> in the case of hillary clinton, you y made the stateme that there wasn't sufficient evidenceen to bring a suit agait her although it had been very careless in their behavior, but you did reachch a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her. in the caseame time of mr. comey, you said that there was not enough information
to make a conclusion. tellll me the difference betwee your conclusion as far as former secretary clinton is concerned and mr. trump. the clinton investigation was a completed investigation that the fbi had been deeply involved in.ve >> that investigation was going on, this investigation is goingg on. you reached separate conclusions. >> that onene was done. >> that investigation of any involvement of secretary clinton or any of her associates is completed. >> d?d?yes, as of july 5th, the
completed itsts investigative work. that's what i wast' announcing, what we had done and what we had found. , 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 night game. yes, he's a big sports nfan. it was a bit rambling. comey on the clinton investigation, this was a closed investigation. this is s congoing. but i do think it was one of the things where mccain was, what you said,, that you could talk freely about what she did and didn't do,ld but you're not telling usid 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, w that's the question to phil rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post."
>> well, he watched part of the hearing this morning, and basically in his private dining room, near the oval office. there's a 60 inch tv screen there. he was there, with sort of a floating group of his legal advisers and political advisers in the white house, but 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 adviser, and then of course around noon, he got into the car and headed up to a hotel where he gave a speech at the faith and freedom coalition. so he was able to catch the beginning of the testimony but not thehe entire thing all the y through. >> therere had been some speculation that he wasro goingo live tweet during the hearing, that t did not take place. and the only public statement we've had isme then from his private attorney. >> that's right. this was a concerted strategy an the white house to let marc
kasowitz, thepr president's private attorney, really lead the defense here,e and to be th unified, singular voice. we saw sarah huckabee sanders, the deputy press secretary at the white house, speak in vague terms in an off-camera briefing today, but kasowitz was the one to strongly defend the president and t attack tomey. >> let me ask you about that, phil krucker, the attack from hs lawyer and going after director comey'ss confirmation that he ws the one that leaked the idea that he had memos. >> that's right. and we know from covering donald trump's presidency, you know, from the beginning, he's had it out for the so-called leakers. he's been very bothered that so many people within his government, and even within his white house have been speakinga so openly to reporters and in some cases, leaking classified information. and so there c was an attempt he
by hisio personal lawyer, marc kasowitz to lump comey up with the other leakers and basicall apply that label to the former fbi director. but there's one thing to keep in mind, what he's admitted to, quote/unquote leaking, is not exactly a leak. he shared information after he left the federal government. he was a private citizen when he shared that information. this was his personal memo that he wrote for himself. it's not a classified document that he was leaking from within the government. now it obviously had privileged information in the memo, because it wasit recounting the private conversation that he hadun with the president, but that is not the same thing ashe leaking a classified a document. >> andsi what about james comey statements about the leaks now be attributed to "the new york times" and other news organizations, and he said many of those stories are, in his words, dead wrong. >> well, he said they were -- someg. of them were dead wrong,
but he did not detail what that meant, and what's wrong about them. sometimes a narrative might seem wrong in so far as a certain piece of context ors additional fact is not known. that's different than a story beingg factually inaccurate whee facts that "new york times" or other outlet might be recording are wrong. so i'd be curious to hear more about what comey meant on that before casting judgment to the whole newsk media. >> and i say, it's impossible to predict what will happen, but what wes saw or didn't see from president trump gtoday, a new concerted effort to try to stay on message? >> ewyeah, it really was. and i think, you know, in the white house, they're stopping short of declaring mission accomplished, because it's only been a day. and we still have tonight to get through and tomorrow and the weekend and a so forth. you know, we'll see at some point, trump may want to speak
his mind about comey, but at least as of 4:22 p.m. this afternoon, he has not weighed in personally. >> phil rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post," thank you very much for us.g with >> thanks,s steve. >> we're rejoined live with bob cusack of "the hill" newspaper. this day was called historic, legacy-making. what's your take on all of this? the headline, comey delivers a dramatic rebuke of president trump.p. >> it definitely was. and we know a lot of why he was fired, or at least what went down before heke was fired. we had -- i mean, it was just b about a month agogo when he was leton go. and now we have some of the blanks that have been filled in, but of course the whole russia investigation, michael flynn, jeff sessions, who recused himself in that investigation, we don't d know. i think the key is, what does the white house do going forward? as you were talking to phil rucker, can the president stay message? can they talk about policy, like
speaker ryan a and mitch mcconnl want him to do. his legislative agenda is stalled. can they turn the page? that remains to be seen. >> here'sca part of what transpired after the testimony. >>oo we'll make a brief stateme. we're going to take no questions. today's hearing was an important part of the committee's investigation into russian involvement in i the 2016 election. it also enabled the american people to understand the massive amounts of stories that's been out there and to sort through those and to have an individual that can lay some factual context to it. this is nowhere near the end of our investigation. and i think it's safe to say today that next week, we hope to work with special counsel mueller, to work out clear path
ways for both investigations, his and ours, to continue. to work on deconfliction of witnesses and potential testimony. but we're more confident today that we can, through this process, work through a very bipartisan and thorough investigation. b that at the end ofs it, answer many of the questions that the american people might havend today. >> i want tost simply add, i wa very proud of how all the members conducted themselves today. i thought it was very important that the american people get a chance to hear jim comey's statements about what all has transpired. the one thing, even if we may have differenton views on where some of these questions may lead, the onef message that i hope all americans will take home is recognizing how significant the russian interference in ourr electoral process was, how it goes to the core of our democracy and we've
otta be prepared to make sure we'reio in a better defensive position in 2018 and 2019 and frankly, as earlias ney as next in my home state. >> again those statements on our website at c-span.org. final point for you, boby cusac. today was e also a social meeti in washington, d.c. >> dyes, the bars were open and we had reporters checking them out. i thought it was going to be kind of overstated, but no, the bars were. packed. initially, there were a lot of journalists that were there just covering themselves, basically at t 10:00 in the morning. but from what we reported is that it got to be standing room only and -- but the audience at these various bars around capitol hill and beyond, some of them not so close to capitol hill, they listened very closely to the testimony. the nationth was riveted by jam comey today.
>> bob cusack, editor in chief of "the hill" newspaper, thank you for being here. airing hearing is tonight and check it out at c-span.org. 30 years ago today, the nation was fixated on fawn hall testifying about shredding top secret documents or sneaking them out of the white house sometimes in her boots. fawnn hall was colonel oliver north's secretary in the nationals security agency when congress began investigating the iran contra affair. >> now, he also discussed with you in the car at the same time, after you were giving the documents to colonel north, he did discuss the shredding with you, didn'tol he, mr. green? >> yes. >> and he asked you what you were going to sayay if you were asked about them, is that correct? >>e yes.ou >> and you said, we always shred
documents? >> yes. >> which you knew, in essence, was not quite an accurate reflection, because you'd never really w wholesale shredded documents, taking whole files out and shredded them before, you'd just shredded things in the course of business. >>ne we had never shred to the volume we had that day, no. >> and mr. green indicated to you thated he would be pleased with that answer, am i correct? >> i believe he did. i believe he said, that's great or that's good. >> the iran contrainvestigati contra investigation, fawn hall, she now lives in california. and c-span takes a closer look at investigations from tea pot dome to white water, former house historian race mock is our historian this week. you can catch c-span's the side bar, it's also at c-span.org. a reminder, tune in tomorrow
morning's c-span's washington journal. here's a preview. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. and coming up this friday morning, we're getting your reaction to former fbi director james comey's testimony before the senate intelligence committee. join the conversation all morning with your phone calls, e-mails, facebook comments and tweets. be sure to watch live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. next a look at the economic impact of opioid addiction. then transportation secretary elaine chao at a senate hearing on the future of the faa and air traffic control. after that, senate minority leader chuck schumer on the global rise of anti-semitism. next a look at the opioid crisis and other forms of drug abuse and their effect on the ecom