tv Today NBC June 8, 2017 9:43am-10:00am PDT
the reason he kept memos of the conversations he had with president trump was because he feared the president would lie about them. he said he thought the president had defined him, that the administration had defined director comey and he said that he felt that the president had, in fact, directed him to stop the flynn investigation but this is whether or not as well, when asked specifically "do you think the president was telling you to stop the russia investigation in general?" director james comey said no. >> he also demurred on the question of whether this might be obstruction of justice and said that should be up to the special counsel. he left it out there. he said he took the president at his word adds to why he was fired, referencing my conversation with the president from the 11th, the president said "i decided just to do it. i said to myself, i said, you know this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story, he ran with that, he says he now believes the russian thing was the reason the president fired him.
>> let's bring in chuck todd, moderator of "meet the press." >> remember what this hearing was about. we have to clear the brush, there's a lot of conflation here. this was about the motive behind the president's decision to fire comey. this is not about the russia investigation, this is not about whether or not the president's campaign team is guilty or innocent. none of that is and i think some people may have tuned in wondering if they were going to be getting that information. i think james comey painted a picture of a president committing bad behavior, unethical behavior, politically damaging to the institution but he did not paint an easy picture, probably, on the obstruction of justice charge which was clearly the republican effort on the committee which was to try to essentially protect the president from the worst aspects of what this could have been -- obstruction of justice or abuse of power. comey was very careful not to allege that. he walked up to the line. he is giving robert mueller the opportunity to see if that,
indeed, ends up being the case but he stopped short there so if you're a democrat looking for the smoking gun behind motive, you didn't get it. if you're a republican, you've got specific things you can defend the president on but atmospherically big picture this is a horrendous day for this presidency. >> and a lot of what he talked about was intuition. the bodily language. one thing that struck me is you recall the president said he better hope there are no tapes. that came up and james comey owe said "lordy, i hope there are tastes." essentially he's saying bring it on, oh, there are tapes of our conversations? now we have the president and comey saying if there are tapes let's air them out. it's interesting. it was never going to be comey's job to say i believe a crime has been committed, it's obstruction of justice. that was not his role today. his role was to describe the
conduct and he made clear he believes it's up to somebody else, the special counsel, bob mueller to the determine if the fact he is alleges amount to obstruction of justice. >> ultimately we'll see another hearing when this is done, this is a expect of it. mueller is going to present this evidence and it will be a fascinating question he'll be asked. if this was a private citizen could you bring a case of obstruction of justice? and how he answers that question, that will have a big influence on how congress reacts but ultimately this is is a critical question. >> it always is. people ask me what is the standard for impeachment. it's whatever congress wants it to be. period. >> you're the political guy, i'm the legal gal. the point is the yarmt says you cannot indict a sitting president so as long as that guidance stands, it isn't going to be a criminal matter the question is, of course, to the political branch, and what the congress decides to do. >> one thing that didn't happen
was a live tweet from the president himself. there was a lot of speculation, he had the morning free to watch this, he's at the faith and freedom forum where he has been speaking. he did not address this hearing specifically but there's what many might take as a veiled reference, we'll let you hear it. >> they will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice. but we will never back down from doing what is right because as the bible tells us -- [ applause ] -- we know that the truth will prevai prevail. >> again, that at the faith and freedom coalition forum right now. not a direct reference to what's happening but many may look at that indirectly. >> presumably talking about his political opponents. let's go to kristen welker, our white house correspondent who has been watching this along with everybody in the building. kristen, what can you tell us? >> reporter: savannah, i can
tell you republicans undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief that the president didn't tweet out this event. in fact, the reaction here counterprogramming, i was told by a white house official president trump started his day in the oval office with secretary of state rex tillerson, james mattis, h.r. mcmaster talking about north korea, other foreign policy matters. right now his deputy press secretary is holding a press briefing and she is the first reaction we are getting from this white house, the reaction, she's reiterating the president feels vindicated by the fact that comey said he wasn't under investigation and he is calling for leakers to be prosecuted. this is something we've heard from this in the the past. he is speaking at the faith and freedom caucus trying to create counterprogramming to the headlines we got from capitol hill. instead of the president tweeting, his son was, don, jr., who tweeted in one tweet "this is certainly not obstruction. the other reaction we'll get is
from marc kasowitz, the president's outside counsel who will hold a briefing. savannah. >> kristenker at the white house. >> and there is going to be a closed session, chuck, at 1:00. what are the things that we didn't here that may come out? >> well, look, it's some of the individual aspects of the flynn investigation. how connected is it. there were so many aspects to the flynn connection. is the fbi investigating the dossier or are they not? that was a question that was asked and he couldn't answer it for fear he was getting into classified -- >> one other point. he made an impassioned defense of the russia investigation itself saying this is important whether you're a republican or democrat. it's about being an american. >> we'll be back on with the response from marc kasowitz, the president's lawyer but for now that will do it for us after the public fbi hearing with james comey, president trump's lawyer to hold a news conference shortly. we'll carry that when it happens.
continuing coverage on msnbc and on nbcnews.com and i'll be back with a complete wrapup on "nbc ni for savannah guthrie, chuck todd and our entire team, i'm lester holt, nbc news washington. have a good day. -- >> danny glover. >> no. >> in the scene from "transform ear ear ers 3" my character is sipping a drink next to which co-star? >> shanna. >> okay. in my movie my character is --
>> kevin hart. >> this is the final question, guys. in the show "dr. ken" who co-star live in the boat of the driveway of his ex-wife's house? >> dave fole. >> good job! >> yay! so it looks like -- >> do we have prizes? >> well, it looks like team jenna is the winner! you get so many dvds! >> oh, my god! >> i'm going to give it -- >> look at that. >> jenna, we're friends and you are a sharer. i like people who share. i can't sign it. i won't look you directly in the eye, but jenna, you did amazing. i'm so proud of you. why am i patronizing you? >> i don't know but i love it. >> i love you guys. >> thank you, ken. >> thank you. >> excellent job co-hosting.
oh, so crazy. >> do you know how crazy you are? >> is your voice okay? >> no. >> from nashville? >> with the crowds. >> no, hanging out with blake shelton. >> i sang "boys round here." >> and you just seem to have a blast, right? >> we had the best time with ken. we had the best time with him. we love him. >> we have a big show. >> who is on it? >> everyone is watching. >> like a dog. >> we have a show to do. >> oh, yeah. >> well, apparently there are some kind of hearings. but for those of you watching, we'll be here. >> what hearing is that?
rate of about a tenth of an inch. total rainfall totals as we look at those showers coming in redwood city. moving toward oakland, we'll continue to see this the next couple hours. let's see how this affects the roadways with mike. >> carkari, here's the actual picture you're talking about. look at the map on the north side of the golden gate bridge where i just showed you the wet conditions. a truck at vista point trying to clear the right lanes. we'll say that is getting better with rain travel on the golden gate bridge. the meter lights should turn off soon, though, because traffic is very light. back to you. 9:57. happening now, busy breaking down the testimony provided this morning by former fbi director james comey. head to our home page to link to the major highlights and reaction. parents in fremont are concerned after a young boy