tv Americas News HQ FOX News March 20, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
the narrative that gets played over and over again with respect to what the investigation might mean in terms of collusion, every person republican and democrat that has been briefed on it has come to the same conclusion that there is no collusion and that is over. while we can talk about an investigation, big picture, holistically, the idea that so many people are trying to jump to a conclusion seems very, very misguided. >> do you expect that summit next month, that has to be taking place in early april? >> i'll try to have more of a readout afterwards. i know they're going to talk extensively about japan, south korea and beijing. i'm gonna let secretary of state brief the president before i get ahead of deciding what was
discussed in beijing. >> you said in the case of the president's tweets that this on going investigation, more things will come out when they've made that. the collusion charges. all the people in the investigation there. why in one case is that sufficient to say there is no collusion now, versus the others need more information coming out? >> because, again, i think there's a difference. i'm not ruling anything out. i'm merely explaining that every person, republican, democrat, obama, the obama administration across the broad section. in terms of what? on the investigation itself, we know from the people who have been briefed on the other piece of it, we know it's an on going thing. even according to the department of justice in terms of the information that's been provided and chairman nunes, that they are still at the beginning of this process.
that is a very different thing than a group of people saying there's an on going investigation and from what we've been briefed, there is no evidence to suggest collusion. >> on a slightly different topic, in his first eight weeks in office, president trump has made at least ten trips to the golf course. he regularly used to criticize president obama for spending time on the course. how is his golf game any different? >> i think two things. one, you saw tpheupl utilize this as an opportunity with the prime minister abe to help foster deeper relationships with southeast asia and asia, rather, and have a growing relationship that's gonna help u.s. interests. how you use the game of golf is something he's talked about. secondly, we went to, down to, he had a minicabinet meeting the other day two weekends ago down at his club in virginia. i remember so many people jumping to the con clueing that he was going down playing golf. just because you go somewhere
doesn't necessarily mean you play. he's conducted meetings there. he's had phone calls. so just because he heads there doesn't mean that's what's happening. >> i know he did meet with prime minister abe on the course. but we're not getting a lot of details on other high level meetings that are taking place. if he is having these meetings why aren't the president and his aides being more forth coming? >> same reason he can have lunch or dinner with somebody. the president is entitled to a pit of privacy at some point which is what we agreed to. we bring the press to be there. but the president also is entitled to a bit of privacy as well. >> the president believe the fbi will do a fair job of investigating these sort of links to russia during the election? and i have one more for you. >> i think there's a variety of institutions looking at it. both the house and senate intelligence committee, the fbi. but, yeah. i think that when you get to the bottom of it, we'll have a much better picture of what's
happening. it will continue to vindicate him. >> on a follow-up, the question tweeted about a possible dnc connection to russia during the election. is he under the impression that the clinton campaign had inappropriate contact with russia during the election? >> that's an interesting aspect of all of this that's not being covered. from everything that has been publicly available, on several occasions the dnc was asked by the fbi to allow their servers to be looked at despite all of the claims of their concerns about leaking. yet the question still doesn't come out, why wouldn't the dnc, on multiple occasions, rebuff the fbi? why were they not wanting -- if they were so concerned about hacks and leaking, why did the dnc not ask the fbi to come look? not only did they not ask them, they rebuffed them on multiple occasions. why? what are they hiding? what were they concerned about? i think this is a serious
question. they're very clear about the concerns that they have, as well as all of the leadership from the democratic party, and yet when it came to hacks and leaks out of the dnc, and they're quick to jump to the conclusion about who did it, and yet they wouldn't allow the fbi to investigate it. there's a whole second set of concerns here in terms of what was hillary clinton's role? you look at the obama administration and the clinton, the clintons' involvement with russia, in terms of donations that the clintons received from russian entities. the idea they sold off tremendous amount of uranium to the russian government. and yet where was the concern for that? what are we doing to look into that? it was the obama administration in 2009 that talked about a reset with russia and a desire to reset relationships. it was hillary clinton who signed off on the deal that gave a russian company one-fifth of the u.s. uranium supply. where is the questioning about that? what did they get?
there was discussion the other day about a russian official noting that both campaigns they talked to. where is the concern about their efforts on the hillary clinton thing? the democrats and the democratic party and a lot of those individuals are quick to point fingers, and yet when it comes to discussing their own collusion and questions involving their involvement with the russian officials or buyoffs with the russians, there's no discussion there. so you've got to wonder on both sides, where's the parity when it comes to these kind of investigations? margret? >> sean, the fbi director saying nothing, yet the president tweets about wire tapping. former head of the dni, house intelligence committee. a series of officials. so when does this end for the president? >> it's not a question of a date. it's a question of where we get answers. you ask the question how does an american citizen who should be protected by law from having their identities unmasked.
how does that happen? like this. the fbi and all the relevant intelligence agency have access to this. they can figure out who it was. all right? hold on. in other words -- >> wiretapping the president. >> i understand that. what i'm getting at is there's a lot of information that we have come to learn about what happened in terms of surveillance throughout the 2016 election and the transition. and when you look at somebody like michael flynn and you realize that while they might have been looking at somebody else at that time, how does somebody's name that's protected by law from being disclosed yet put out in the public? why was it put out in the public? because the people in the intelligence community would have had access to that information. they could have found out who it was. but yet you've got to question why was a name that should have been protected by law from being put out into the public domain put out there? what was the motive behind that? what else do we need to know? who was behind that kind of unmasking? >> are you saying the president has evidence that --
>> no, no. i am saying that there is a lot more questions that need to get asked about the investment. what was done? why were they be under surveillance. why are certain people being quote unmasked and having their identity known? there's a lot more questions than answers. >> what does the president trust to provide those answers? >> and we've talked about this ad nauseum. today is the first of several hearings. there's a ways to go. i get that you want to know the end of the book right now, but we're on the first chapter of this process. >> he does trust them? >> of course. we put out a statement saying we asked them to look into it. i don't think it should come to any surprise that that's where we have noted multiple times that that's where president believed the appropriate place
for all of the documents to go through. steve? >> president said he had a lot of meetings over the weekend on north korea. who are those meetings with? what was his reaction to north korea's test of this new rocket? >> i think we continue to be concerned with north korea's activity. that's why not only have we continued to have conversations with officials in japan and south korea, but continued to urge china to step in and to play a larger role in deterring both the ballistic and other missile threats that north korea plays. i will try to have a further readout on some of those conversations. but i think there's a growing concern about north korea. i think that is part of what secretary tillerson is going to be discussing with him during their meeting. >> the promise from china to weigh more on north korea? >> i think he sent a very clear signal that our policy of strategic patience is over. the president and secretary of
state have an expectation that china employ multiple points of pressure on north korea. we know that we don't agree 100% of the time with china, but as the state department noted yesterday, both agreed that there are opportunities for greater cooperation between china and the united states and acknowledged that there are and will be in the future differences between the two countries. but i think that secretary tillerson's trip continued to -- or helped send us down that path. i think the follow on meetings that the leaders intend to have will be helpful in that vain. >> given the talk last week about the budget, priority for the american tax dollars and need to cut programs, or make cuts to programs like mealswhee. is the president going to continue curbing some of his trips to mar-lago which estimates could cost $3 million per trip. is he planning to cut those back
given his feelings about the priority for the american tax dollar? >> i think that is a vast reach to suggest -- the president -- presidents always travel. i think the president, wherever he goes, he carries the apparatus of the white house with us. that is just something that happens. the president will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation's problems. again, 'cause i know you took a little bit of a shot there. even "the washington post" which is no friend to conservatives, even they sided with us that these false sort of narratives on meals on wheels. it's not a federal program. 3% of their total budget comes from a block grant that's passed through there. it's a state run program. they had apparently a phenomenal week. i guess that's a cute program to point at, but it is false and misleading to try to make that narrative stick. >> i know to your point that all presidents travel. no president has traveled so
often and so early to their own private residence. >> president bush went to crawford. >> not as often. >> i get it. but at the same time, the president is very clear that he works seven days a week. this is where he goes to see his family. he brings people down there. there is part of being president. john? >> thank you, sean. turning back to the meet with chancellor merkel on friday, did the president and the chancellor discuss the economic crisis at all? given the appointments of two officials to the treasury department who have been critical of the international monetary fund, does the administration see new or different role for the imf in resolving the economic crisis. >> let me refer you to the treasury department and imf. the readout that we provided on the chancellor's visit, excuse me, speaks for itself. they spoke at length as far as what they discussed and what
they meant. so i'm not going to step on that. >> thank you. are you aware of any officials that are under investigation by the fbi? >> no. >> okay. and you mentioned the hangers on in the campaign earlier and carter pace. but there was also a question about roger stone. was he also in that category? is he someone that the president is still in frequent contact with? he's often called an informal adviser to the president and confident of him. >> mr. stone is somebody the president's known for a long time. he worked briefly on the campaign, i think, until about august of 2015. from recollection. but they have talked from time to time but i don't think any time recently. but they had a long relationship going back years where they provide counsel. played a role early on in his campaign, but ended that role in august of 2015. i don't know at all when the last time they even spoke was. >> sean --
>> sandra: very spirited white house briefing under way as two key hearings continue to fold. hello, everyone. white house press secretary sean spicer taking questions about fbi director james comey's testimony earlier the house intelligence committee about the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. plus, we are awaiting judge neil gorsuch opening statement and his confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee. we've got you covered. i'm joined for the whole hour by fox news politics editor chris star as well as shannon bream covering gorsuch hearing. we begin with katherine herridge who is tracking the comey hearing. the white house is saying that nothing has changed, but yet there were a couple things that worked in their favor and one thing that felt like it really did change. what do you think? >> i think one of the main developments today here on the hill, dana, is that for the first time the fbi director has publicly confirmed that there is
an on going investigation into the contact between trump campaign associates and the russian government or intelligence officials. he said there's an on going counter intelligence case. there has been contact. koupber intelligence cases are among the highly sensitive and classified, and to that extent they even have their own coding in the case files, called the 200 series. and the fbi director said he made this announcement with the okay of the justice department. >> i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi, as part of our counter intelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts.
>> we saw consistently throughout the opening statements from the democrats on the house intelligence committee is the feeling that, where there's smoke, there is fire. and what they did at length, as the ranking member adam schiff, was draw these connections between some of the trump's campaign team and also russian officials. so for example, roger stone, a one-time campaign adviser. paul manafort, a former campaign manager. then carter paige, a business man. and schiff's position was that it's more than just connecting the dots. >> but it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not co-incidental, not disconnected and not unrelated. >> one of the things i know will not be lost on you, dana, is that with this new information we have today, what it means is when we look back on that 2016 election, we had this extraordinary situation where we
had the democratic nominee, hillary clinton, under fbi investigation, and we know based on director comey's testimony today that their investigation into possible collusion between trump campaign associates and russia also began in the summer of that same year. dana? >> dana: so a lot of the republicans focus today and the white house is focusing on who leaked this, in particular, about a former national security director, michael flynn. what are we learning about the leak, from your point of view? >> welsh that was the other main elment or dynamic in the hearing today was the leaking of highly classified information, in this case michael flynn's name because his conversations were picked up in what's called incidental collection. that's when the u.s. government is quite legitimately doing surveillance on the foreign target, in this case the russian ambassador. and in the process, they scoop up the communications of americans which typically are minimized so that you cannot identify who the american is. but in the case of michael
flynn, he was identified or unmasked, and as we learned from the nsa director today, this is a super small pool of people who can unmask an individual at the nsa. it's only 20 people. and then beyond that, it's less than a dozen people who would have to have current senior -- pardon me. former administration officials who are very senior in the obama white house. >> with former white house adviser ben rhodes have access to an unmasked u.s. citizen's name? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> would former attorney general loretta lynch have access to an unmasked u.s. citizen's name? >> in general, yes, as would any attorney general. >> that would include sally yates? >> same answer. >> republicans were laying out in the hearing who they think are the likely individuals who had access to this information about flynn and broke the law, leaking it to reporters "new
york times" as well as "the washington post." i have to say in the context of this hearing, which is now well past its fourth hour, the testimony of the fbi director undercutting president trump's tweets about wiretapping. also confirmation of a counter intelligence investigation. i can't emphasize enough how unusual it is for this to happen. really seems to be the dominant headline, as opposed to the leaking of what was highly classified information in the flynn case. >> dana: all right. thank you very much. for more on all of this let's bring in juan williams and chris starwald fox news politics editor. editor of the halftime report which i'm sure is under way and will be released at any moment. let me start with you, chris. when sean spicer came out, the first thing he did was to try to -- he gave us the president's schedule which is a nice way of easing us into a briefing like this. but then he was very clear saying nothing has changed.
that there's no evidence of the collusion. then he also said that we're still waiting on more of an investigation into the wire tapping even though the fbi director said there's no evidence of that. >> well, so it's a double -- it's a double edged sword for the white house. on the one hand, it's a good misdirection play. democrats spents an inordinate amount of time chasing the story that has been broadly debunked. there's no one, not even the president's allies on the hill that would say president obama ordered surveillance, eves dropping on then republican nominee trump. so there's no there there, as it would seem. but at the same time, they wasted all this time doing it. democrats are focused on it. they're kind of spinning their wheels on it. so that helps trump, to a degree. but the painful part, and you point to it, the painful part is that you keep bringing it up. you keep having to go back to this thing.
at the base of it all, at the core of it, is that there's something wrong there. there's something wrong at the core. to that end it causes some question. >> dana: thought they would say, i'm so glad president obama was not wiretapping the trump tower. that's great news, and let's move on. i wanted to ask you something katherine pointed out. we have a situation here where the fbi director spoke to the american public and revealed as it was going on, the investigation into hillary clinton's e mails. yet now we find out this investigation was actually under way as well. what say you? >> well, so i think there are a lot of democrats who are going to be pretty upset. because the knowledge of this has been out, but here comes the confirmation today that when, ten days before the election, the fbi director comey came back and said we are reopening the investigation into hillary clinton. at the same time, he could have
said, we are also investigating donald trump and him for relationships with russia. that would have been a bombshell ten days before the election. instead the bombshell was isolated on hillary clinton and her trustworthiness and questions that i think had tremendous impact when you go back and look at the phone numbers of the last ten days. tremendous effect on people who had questions or were undecided at that point. >> dana: so perhaps -- and i don't know. maybe we'll find this out more from the fbi director as these things unfold. i guess it is possible that the investigation into clinton's e-mails was so far along that he felt like he needed to say something, and this one had just started. is that possible, chris? >> well, look. we are now just getting to a point where you would expect. let's say it was six months ago or five and a half months ago that the inquest into points of contact between the trump campaign and the kremlin was getting under way. hillary clinton's investigation had been going on for ions.
it had been under way for more than six months. and comey, whether he was right or wrong so to do, he felt obliged to say, okay, we've reached a point where i have to call the play. i have to say something. the major criticism of comey and the thing that has hung with him so long is then he vacillated. then he came back and said, actually, wait, there is something. said, wait, no, never mind. it was that flip floppery at the very end that caused him to cause democrats to be cross with him. >> the problem though, chris, was the idea that he was putting his finger on the scale. he was favoring one candidate. he was under pressure from republicans on the hill, people like trey gowdy, to really, why did you shut down the clinton investigation since you were so critical of her when you held a press conference announcing that there was going to be no prosecution? and i think that fire then may have led him to come back and
say, oh well, yeah, i promised you. he promised us that if i have any reason to reopen this, i will announce it publicly. but he didn't do that with the trump case, even from the start. >> dana: can i ask chris one last question before we'll get breaking news on the supreme court nomination? and that is that, when it comes to this question of unwittingly helping the russians, okay. that was brought up today, that perhaps you might be helping the russians and not even realize it. that means you were unwittingly doing it. but i thought it was surprising that sean spicer talked about some former hangers on such as carter page or even paul manafort. but he happened to be the chairman of the campaign at the time. even in november was helping in trump tower with cabinet picks. i mean, is this a way to start distance themselves from people they think were involved in this investigation, but doesn't have anything to do with people who are currently in the white house?
>> shimmy down the branch right close to the trunk of the tree and start sawing that limb off. i never knew that guy, he just hung around. welsh he was your campaign chairman. i didn't like him. >> dana: i never liked him. look how bad he was. >> exactly. you can see the process beginning where there's a desire to insulate the president and the administration from these people who will be described in increasingly distance and remote terms. these guys will be third cousins by the time they get to the end. >> i think the key point is why didn't they just say thank goodness we weren't being wiretapped by the president? >> dana: glad we can move on from that. apparently we're not gonna do that. there's a fox news alert on today's other major hearing on capitol hill. as we await supreme court nominee judge neil gorsuch opening statement before the senate judiciary committee on the first day of his confirmation hearing. shannon bream is live on capitol hill. shannon, you've covered the
supreme court for so long for fox and so well. i wonder what it's like for you when you cover the first day of a supreme court hearing. do you just love it? >> i do. feels like the night before christmas. you get all excited. you have your special jammis. you know it will be a big day. it is exciting to watch the process. i have seen this many times here at fox. they are all very different. lot of the same senators stick around the senate judiciary committee is one of those places where once you get there, you want to stay. the tone is a little bit different today than with the last justices. because this time republicans are in charge and they have a nominee from a republican president. it is a packed room today. it looks like we are one step closer to filling that seat href open by the untimely death of justice scalia just 13 months ago. judge gorsuch -- i was about to say justice. we're not quite there yet. but judge gorsuch very relaxed today. he was joking with the swarms of photographers that just engulfed him as he went to the table
where he would sit and start listening and eventually taking questions. he introduced his family. he's not yet been formally sworn in. for several of the democrats, that means using this time to revisit their objections that president obama's nominee judge garland never got to this point. >> unfortunately, due to unprecedented treatment, judge garland was denied a hearing and his vacancy has been in place for well over a year. i just want to say i am deeply disappointed that it's under these circumstances that we begin our hearings. >> he's been sitting and listening for hours. pretty stoic, whether he's being praised or there's criticism. he's quite a note taker. he'll respond at some point, dana. >> dana: i thought he had a pretty good poker face today. what can we expect in the next few days? are the democrats trying to signal how they might try to end this? i think he's gonna get
confirmed. the only question will be then, how do the democrats end this for themselves? >> yeah. that's true. because it can go a couple of different ways. mitch mcconnell has said he's gonna get confirmed. that could mean a number of things. the next step though, of course, will be judge gorsuch being sworn in and giving his own statement. it will be the first time everybody gets to hear from him today. tomorrow each senator will have a chance to ask their questions. he's been for weeks meeting with them one on one. met with 72 different senators on capitol hill. he's also been doing these practice rounds, we call them murder boards where they just put him in a room, they lob all the questions at him so he will be prepared for what's coming. do you know what? he is very aware of this. in 2005 he wrote a piece, before he was ever a judge, for national review online and talked about how tough these confirmation hearings have become, calling them political war fare. he said lot of times it is nothing more than ideological
litmustest, vicious special group attacks. some of that is already coming his way. the white house team has been prepping him, said he's pretty unflappable. they say he is ready for whatever comes once those questions start tomorrow morning 9:30. >> dana: thank you, shannon. for more on this, let's bring in chief counsel and policy director of the judicial crisis network. she's been attending today's hearings. she knows the supreme court like the back of her hand. i know you were there this morning. i wanted to ask you something. senator feinstein, when she first started off, talked about how the democrats need to figure out if judge gorsuch is a moderate conservative and that that is sort of the test for the democrats in order to be supportive. but i wonder, does it matter who they would put forward? i don't think they will accept anyone with that term. moderate conservative, how are they defining that on the left these days? >> unfortunately they define moderate or main stream as someone with a d behind their name. we're kind of getting a look at
what we will see in the questions. you have democratic senators cherry picking gorsuch's own record. saying you ruled against someone who was sympathetic, you must hate all employees, all women, etc. also talking about him wanting to give some extraordinary proof that he is independent of the president. judges are permitted to ethically on this issue. they can't guarantee how they are going to rule in future cases. historically, they haven't been asked to account for their president's political statement, whether it's obama calling out the court at the state of the union or president clinton's various scandals, when asked about those things. we're getting a taste of what this warfare, as shannon said, is gonna look like. >> dana: i know you support neil gorsuch an his confirmation. are you worried that there's anything that could trip him up leading into the next few days? >> you know, i don't think so. i think he is so well prepared
at this point. honestly, in all of these things, even though he can't go forward on how he will rule in certain cases, he has such a good record on all of these issues. he has a uniquely strong record of judicial independence, of being very critical of the executive branch, making sure they stay in constitutional boundaries and not just letting them run havoc, which many judges do. they defer to whatever the executive wants them to do. he has a great record of putting his legal views before his political views. so he's not ruling on cases because he likes the political outcome. those are some of the things that the republican senators focused on in their things. i just think we're gonna see lear today with his interviews, coming from both republican and democratic senators from his state, as well as president obama's former attorney general. in the middle of a lawsuit against the trump administration. these are people supporting him. so i think we will see why there is that broad bipartisan support and it's going to be hard for democrats to lay the groundwork for the gridlock that many of those on the left are
encouraging. >> dana: last question on process. do you think the democrats want to get to a point where the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, pulls the trigger and goes for just a 60 vote threshold or do they want to try to avoid that so they can try to pressure republicans and president trump if there is a second opening on the court? >> it's really hard to say at this point. you've got democratic senators who are talking out of both sides of their mouth. one day they will say, they should have an up or down vote. then they say they should have a 60 threshold vote. i don't think we'll know that until he gets on the floor. leader mcconnell has been very clear that he will be confirmed. so the republicans are not going to bow to this promise of gridlock. i hope the democrats don't decide to do that as well. >> dana: thank you very much. we hope to see you again. as we await neil gorsuch opening statement, the ginsberg rule means he will have to answer questions about how he might rule in future cases. that's a precedent that goes
back to justice ruth bader ginsberg's confirmation hearing. mike emanuel joins me live from outside the gorsuch hearing room on capitol hill. mike, any references so far to that ginsberg rule? >> dana, as a matter of fact, yes. texas senator john cordin said it would be wrong to have judge gorsuch weigh in on potential cases and potentially prejudge those cases. he made reference to justice ginsberg by name. >> we're not here to ask you, even though some might, how you will vote in specific cases. ruth bader ginsberg said a judge can offer no forecast, no hints, for that would not only show disregard for the specifics of a particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process. >> senator cornin said, he does expect some of his colleagues to try to ask questions to draw judge gorsuch out.
dana? >> dana: what are democrats saying about that? what's the issue they want to get him on? >> it's interesting 'cause as you mentioned, senator diane feinstein made reference to finding out whether or not judge gorsuch is a main stream conservative or not. she made the case that the responsibility of hearings like this is to figure out how he stands. the supreme court has final ruling on so many issues affecting millions of americans every day. and feinstein spoke about the duty of these senators. >> dana: all right. mike emanuel, thank you very much. we're gonna keep an eye on this hearing. this is really president trump's big moment and being overshadowed a bit by the house intel committee. let's bring back in juan williams and chris starwald. this is a big thing, juan. this is going to be -- okay, this is a moment the trump administration and the white house makes a full pivot and
says, we have gorsuch on monday and the house voting on obamacare repeal an replacement on thursday. let's focus on this rather than the u.s. intel committee because that is overshadowing things. are democrats going to be able to stomach a neil gorsuch? everyone thinks he's gonna get confirmed, but will they be able to get to that 60 vote threshold? >> i don't think it will come to the matter of an filibuster. but there are people who are threatening, even at this point, to enforce the filibuster because the democratic base is still enraged at what happened to merit garland. we're experiencing it for those who heard any of the opening statements from the democrats, the democrats not willing to just say, forget about what happened in the past, we're moving on. this is a train that's left the station. to the contrary. they're saying, hey, we're not going to get run over even though they acknowledge. i think this is a critical point that judge gorsuch is imminently
qualified. he is someone who is very comfortable. everyone, including by the way, merritt garland thinks that neil gorsuch is qualified to be a supreme court justice. that's a critical issue. but the larger political playground here, dana, is that people, especially on the left, antagonistic towards trump, are, by connection therefore, feeling that, do you know what? we want to have our say about neil gorsuch. so even if he is on his way to confirmation, they want to make sure that they leave their mark. that there's no democratic base that says, you guys, you democrats in the senate, you are such wimps. you just let yourself get run over. >> dana: chris, what about the politics of it from the left? in some ways the left has to figure out, how do we want to lose? okay? quickly or do we want to drag it out. >> well, i think juan is quite right, that a lot of this is rookie theater, designed to placate democratic base. right? so you got to make noise.
you got to be upset. look very concerned so that in the end, when gorsuch becomes the next justice of the supreme court, which he is quite likely to be so that you can say, we fought the good fight. they have a tactical question they have to make for themselves which is, if they decide to filibuster gorsuch. if they decide to set that 60 vote threshold, in that case they are going to lose that filibuster on the supreme court nominee. there is no doubt in my mind that if they go there, that mitch mcconnell will take the nuclear option and set the threshold at 51. that means when the next justice comes down the pike, they won even have to try as hard as they did with gorsuch to get somebody that's broadly acceptable. >> dana: from the right, that the republican party is largely behind donald trump. big number. huge approval. democrats, no, not so much. but setting that aside, if you
are a voter who cared about the supreme court and you see neil gorsuch is going to get confirmed, i think that reinforces support for donald trump while they try to get some other policy things through, like obamacare, etc. if this is the thing they really cared about, do you think republicans will stick with donald trump and try to push through the rest of the agenda? >> i think arguably this is the reason. you look at the response from republicans to the gorsuch nomination. it's been acclimation. people are thrilled, including many of the never trumpers who said what we really care about is that conservative majority on the court. now, i don't want to say that too loudly because people say, this shouldn't be a political issue. we can't ask neil gorsuch about political issues, political views or, as we heard earlier, his position, how he will vote on future cases. but we have a very political supreme court. let's not play fools here.
so what you have is a situation where people are saying, yeah, the republicans love neil gorsuch, they love his ruling, but guess what? sometimes the very same cases that lead to his success with conservatives are the reason that we will continue to say, you know, let's not friend like he's just any other guy. he's really a replacement for justice scalia. this is the fifth vote on so many critical issues, beginning with abortion rights, but extending to gay rights and civil rights cases. >> dana: you stick around. we are awaiting an opening statement by supreme court nominee judge neil gorsuch at his senate confirmation hearing. we will bring it to you live as soon as it begins. plus the fbi director, james comey, discussing an investigation into the leak of classified intelligence to the media. >> leaks of classified information are serious, serious federal crimes for a reason. they should be investigated and, where possible, prosecuted in a
>> dana: among three senators introducing neil gorsuch on capitol hill. he is from colorado. an exchange between republicans on the house committee and james comey as committee members tried to expose suspects in the leaks of classified intelligence. peter ducey is live with more on this. trey gowdy is one that was pressing comey on it. peter, who does he think the suspects could be? >> he thinks it could be any one of a handful of former officials who did not want trump to become the president, but who until very recently, had access to the most sensitive intelligence that the united states gathers. so the fbi director james comey confirmed to congressman gowdy that the following people could have ordered flynn's name to be
disclosed. susan wright, james clapper who used to be the director of national intelligence, john brennan used to run the cia and loretta lynch who used to be the attorney general. very interesting. congressman gowdy also asked about whether or not the one time deputy security adviser ben rhodes would have had access to an intel report. comey said he didn't know. dana? >> dana: peter, i have a question about that. also, how does the nsa decide if someone's name should be masked or unmasked? it is actually naming some people who worked for the obama administration. is that way up close to the line of accusing them in a public way, that they would now have to be in a position to defend themselves if they maybe did nothing wrong? >> so unmasking an masking is interesting. a u.s. citizen's name is always masked in the very beginning by the nsa. there are only 20 officials there including the nsa director who can decide to unmask a name.
the way it works, if the nsa accidentally hears the name or voice of an american while spying on a foreign national, they retkabgt the name and replace it with u.s. citizen number one or u.s. citizen number two. but if somebody sees that report and wants to know who u.s. citizen number one is, then the nsa makes a decision like this. >> criteria need to know on the person requesting us and the execution of official duties and the second part was, is the identification necessary to truly understand the con tech of the intelligence value that the report is designed to generate. those are the two criteria we use. >> there's a lot of chatter here on the hill as well at that hearing about whether or not section 702, that is the foreign intelligence surveillance act section 702 was violated or abused while flynn's name was being made public? and that means that section 702 could go away when it's up for renewal.
the reason that is important is if section 702 goes away, then it will change the way the nsa is able to listen to bad guys overseas. thanks. >> dana: i imagine president trump will not want that to happen since he is commander in chief. thank you, peter. thanks for joining me. joining me now is matthew miller. former spokesman for attorney general eric holder and a partner at vianovo. i forget the justice department when i first joined the administration in 2001 right after 9/11. the thing i learned was 101 ways to say no comment. today you have the fbi director who is up there having to answer a lot of questions. he did answer a few. i'm sure that you have a particular viewpoint that i'm anxious to hear. just focused on the republicans on the leaks sort of undercuts the whole point of james comey actually revealing something that usually you would say no comment about. >> yeah. i think that was their goal, to try to under cut it, try to step on the very big piece of news that he made. i mean, all the focus on the
leaks to me felt like being in the middle of watergate focusing on whether deep throat ought to be prosecuted rather than whether the president committed a crime. this is big news director comey made. by his own admission he said at the start of the hearing, we usually don't comment investigations. as you know, as i know. and in a lot of ways to not comment on the details of the investigation. but he did decide, with approval from his supervisor at doj, that they would come forward and confirm this because of the extraordinary circumstances. and actually i think the president himself probably had something to do with this investigation being confirmed. the president charges about wiretapping i think put the justice department in a really uncomfortable position. it put comey in an uncomfortable position. he had to prove they didn't break the law. >> dana: the point of -- you bring up a good point about the fbi director asking his superior at the department of justice,
the attorney general, for the go ahead to do what he was going to do today. does that give you some reassurance though that the institution as we know it, as independent, is working? >> yeah, somewhat. although what worries me, i think there's no question about jim comey's integrity and independence. i don't think he would take orders from anyone that told him either to shut down an investigation or start an investigate eight for political reasons. i still have concerns when the new deputy attorney general is confirmed, rob rosenstein up for confirm eight now. it's very difficult to oversee an investigation into people close to the president when you're in that job because you're at the white house, meeting with the president in the situation room, meeting with people in the white house, the president's closest advisers. it's very tough to oversee that type of investigation and at the same time, be a close adviser to the president. i think that's why director comey, back when he was deputy attorney general and faced a similar situation appointed pat fitzgerald as an independent
counsel. i think that would be the smarter course of action here for the new deputy attorney general. >> dana: my last question is what did you make of congressman trey gowdy who was asking the fbi director basically naming a few names that could have possibly had the ability to unmask. what did you make of that? i thought it was a little bit close to the line. >> it was very close to the line. look, the honest truth is, we have no idea who leaked the michael flynn call. and you know from working in the government, oftentimes the people you think might be the leakers, turns out to be someone completely different. look, it could have been someone close to trump that found out this who had an ax to grind with mike flynn and did to it settle a score and weaken arrival. we just don't know who did it. i think it was clear trey gowdy was just trying to divert attention. >> dana: the press secretary rule on leaks is, usually the first person to complain about the leak is all the leaker. >> that's exactly right. >> dana: matthew, thank you very much for joining us. neil gorsuch set to speak at any moment on capitol hill.
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>> dana: supreme court nominee neil gorsuch set to give his opening staple at his confirmation hearing any moment now. a prominent lawmaker introducing the judge. the white house weighing in on what's been a very important day on capitol hill. sean spicer wrapping up his press briefing. john roberts is live with the latest. what are you hearing from the administration about the on going intelligence hearing? >> one thing we are not hearing is any sort of corroboration from the white house here of what director comey said earlier today, and that was that there was no information to back up what the president tweeted out a couple of weeks ago, that he was being wiretapped by president obama. the white house modified that to say there was some kind of surveillance. but the white house saying, hey,
we're just at the beginning of this process, nobody has told me there wassen any wiretapping. let's see where all of this goes. they are pretty definitively saying how many times do you have to be told by people in the intelligence community or the committees for that matter that there was no evidence of collusion between officials from the trump campaign and the russians before you finally say there's no there there? listen to what spicer said a short time ago. >> when he talks about the unusually high amount of leaks that are coming out of this and classified information, that in itself should be a question why is so much information being leaked out now? what are the motives behind it? who is doing it? and is it threatening our national security, which i do believe the answer is yes. >> reporter: well, that was not the important we were expecting to hear from spicer. that was about him trying to change the subject. 'cause that's what the white house is trying to do here, dana. as you know, if you got news you don't like, you try to change the subject. what they're saying is, they're focusing on the part where james comey and admiral rogers were
talking about the leaks of classified information, saying this is damaging to national security. the other thing that the white house is focusing on is the unmasking of lieutenant general flynn in his conversations with the russian ambassador. he was caught up in incidental surveillance. there are protections for americans caught up in that, that their identities should never become public, yet somebody dished that. spicer also saying on the potus twitter, not the donald trump, that well maybe it was perhaps the obama administration who was told about this and then somebody in the administration leaked this out. there have been a lot of questions about what part former obama administration officials including ben rhodes might have played in all of this. nothing official coming from the fbi director or the nsa director, but certainly lot of insinuations being made. >> dana: i remember back in the day when i was at the podium. on a tough day, i'd look around
the room for somebody to ask me about the international monetary fund. >> reporter: exactly. you look for the foiler out there in the crowd. that's what they're doing with this information. >> dana: for more on this let's bring back in juan williams and chris starwald. chris, i thought of a saying for you. i feel like the reporters in washington are like a raccoon in a room full of disco balls. they don't know where to look. what is a headline that you lead with tomorrow if you're the editor of the paper? >> i think the headline is you should leave the hillbilly to me. no. in this case, here's a headline for you. both major party nominees in 2016 were under criminal investigation prior to the election. so congratulations, america. you did it. look, that's stark. the reality here that is inescapable is that sometime in the next six weeks or five weeks, we're probably gonna get to a point where the fbi comes back with a bill of health on donald trump and his associates
and their point of con tack with russia. between now and then, it will all be noise, narrative shaping. that's the question that's hanging now after what we heard from the fbi director today. >> dana: juan, what do you think the democrats do? do they continue to press on this or do they turn their attention to the big fight that they want to have on policy when it comes to the american health care act that paul ryan is going to try to pass. presidential health, donald trump will go to the hill tomorrow morning and put his shoulder behind getting these republicans to vote for it on thursday. >> i think democrats stick with the argument about the claim that he made in a wiretap that has now been proven so far to be unfounded and really a slur against president obama. >> dana: juan, we're going to neil gorsuch. >> senator feinstein, members of the committee. i am honored and i am humbled to be here. since coming to washington, i have met with over 70 senators.
you've offered me a warm welcome. and wise advice. thank you. i also want to thank the president and the vice president. they and their teams have been so gracious to me. and i thank them for this honor. i want to thank senators bennett and gardner, general cotshell for their kind introductions, reminding us that long before we're democrats or republicans, we're americans. sitting here, i'm acutely aware of my own imperfections. i pledge to each of you and to the american people that i, if i am confirmed i will do all my powers commit to be a faithful servant to the constitution of laws of this great nation. mr. chairman, i could not even attempt to do this without louise, my wife of more than 20 years.
sacrifices she has made and her open giving heart lead me at all. i love you so much. we started off in a place different than this one. tiny apartment, little to show for it. when louise's mother first came to visit, she was concerned about the conditions, understand ably. as i headed out the door to work, i'll never forget her whispering to her daughter in a voice that intended to be just loud me for me to hear. are you sure he's really a lawyer? [laughter] to my teenage daughters watching out west, bathing chickens for the county fair, devices ways to keep our determined pet goat out of the garden, building a semi
functional plywood hover craft for the science fair. driving through eight hours with debaters in the back through a snowstorm, these are any favorite memories. i love you girls impossibly. to my extended family here, across colorado, when we gather, it's dozens of us. we hold different political and religious views but we're united in love. to my parents and grandparents. they're no longer with us, but there's no question on whose shoulders i stand. my mom was one of the first women graduated at the university of colorado law school. as the first female assistant district attorney in