tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC March 20, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PDT
ruhle who will be joining us from washington because it is a huge day in thecapitol. in the hot seat, james comey finally testifying on the russian investigation. as one key congressman suggests, this about the campaign's ties to russia. >> there is circumstantial evidence. >> the president firing back this morning. was trump tower wiretapped? comey finally set to answer publicly as the white house refuses to back down from that claim. >> those that work and see the president every day believe him and trust him. >> neil gorsuch goes up against the senate. how hard will they fight him? >> use every tool we have. >> we begin with that packed schedule in congress starting just about an hour from now. fbi director, james comey and nsa director rogers go before the house intelligence
committee. the first of three focused on russia, trump, the election and allegations of wiretapping. then coming your way at 11:00 eastern, the senate judiciary committee kicks off a hearing for neil gorsuch. that is expected to last for the better part of the week. we have a great panel to break this down for you. first, let's bring in peter alexander from the white house. good morning to you, peter. huge day for the president. tell us about it. >> reporter: you are right. not just a huge day, but a day of reckoning as for the wiretapping claim. a consequential week, perhaps the most consequential for the trump presidency so far. rogers, the head of the nsa and james comey both testifying today. will there be rez laugs? comey certainly to be asked if he can, once and for all state that president trump has no
evidence that president obama ordered wiretapping of trump tower during the campaign. they are trying to frame the conversation over the course of the day. here is some of what he said on twitter. he said james clapper, the former director of national intelligence stated there is no evidence the president, referring to himself, colluded with russia. this is fake news, as he describes it, and everyone knows it. the democrats made up and pushed the story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. the real story that congress, the fbi and others should be looking into is the leaking of classified information. must find leaker now. what's notable is the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, the panel that we'll be hearing from, james comey, today, adam schiff came out with a sweet storm where he said, please stop, to the president. he said this investigation is necessary because the
intelligence community said russia will interfere again. he says while the wiretapping claim is fiction, the concerns about russia are fact. alex? >> peter, here is one thing i want to talk about. one of the biggest things that came out over the weekend saying the evidence of collusion between russia and the trump campaign officials, even though the republican chairman says no. let's take a listen to adam schiff right here. >> i would characterize it this way at the outset of the investigation. there is circumstantial evidence of collusion. >> up to speed about everything this morning? no evidence of collusion? >> tell me what is going on here? what is it? is it political interpretation going on? >> reporter: in terms of russian collusion, this is the start of the investigation. it's likely that comey, today, even though he may be in a position where he is expected to
and does refute the wiretapping claim, on the issue of russian collusion, collusion between trump associates and russian operatives in the course of the campaign, it's likely he reveals a lot less. this investigation is still under way right now. as adam schiff said, the concern is that russia could repeat, try to interfere in elections here in the u.s. and elsewhere in the world going forward. it's less likely he reveals all the cards as they are trying to ther iormation to this point. this broadly is the issue, the issue of russia's role of trying to meddle in the u.s. election. the wiretapping claim has ultimately become a claim and a side show and what everyone is paying much attention to. >> peter alexander at the white house. thank you for that. let's get to the other big story. judge neil gorsuch is going to go before the senate judiciary committee in less than two hours. this begins a three, perhaps
four day hearing for his nomination to the supreme court. chris jansing is live on capitol hill. good morning to you, chris. what is the tenor of things? do you think the democrats are going to go hard at gorsuch? >> reporter: i don't think there's any doubt object that. they haven't been coy. they are going to go after him with everything because it's been 401 days since the death of antonin scalia. they are angry about not getting a nomination. then there's the concern about what he stands for. already civil rights groups, lots of progressive groups have come out voicing their concerns. we have heard from chuck schumer, we have heard from dianne feinstein, the ranking member, the democrat on the judiciary committee calling him extremist. here is what richard blumenthal had to say a short time ago on
"morning joe." >> if he's out of the mainstream, i will not only vote against him, i will use every tool including filibuster. >> reporter: now, of course the filibuster only goes so far. republicans suggested mitch mcconnell is willing to go nuclear for it to go through. expect it to be a vocal fight over the next couple days. they are going to frame this, the democrats that this is a nominee that goes for corporations over every day americans, turning, essentially on its head what the president said he would do when he came into office. >>hris jansing, thank you for that report. let's bring in a professor of harvard law school. i want to get to james comey in a moment. your thoughts on the push for neil gorsuch. how contentious is this going to get? >> it's going to get contentious. the democrats have a right that the nominee made by president
obama to fill this vacancy was never given a hearing. this should have been a democratic nomination. that's going to be their point. they are going to ask gorsuch himself, what does he think, should there have been a hearing? was mayor garland qualified and how he would vote on the travel ban. he's not going to answer that we. gorsuch is not out of the mainstream. he's a typical, intelligent, well thought of conservative judge and he'll fill justice scalia's seat without a change in policy on the supreme court. the only issue is whether or not the democrats should reward the republicans for their preventing a hearing from going through and mayor garland from getting issues. >> let's get to what happened over the weekend. you had a meeting with the president. is he worried about what james comey might say or does he think that the director's testimony is going to help him?
>> i didn't have a meeting. i was having dinner with my wife and chris at mar-a-lago and the president walked over with his wife and they started talking and raising a lot of issues. i told him i didn't vote for him. he said, well, if i get you to vote for me next time, that would be an accomplishment. i said it's up hill but i have an open mind. it was a shmoozing session. i agreed, i think it is serious. he talked about the wiretapping and the travel ban. he talked about gorsuch, what i thought of him and whether i thought the nomination would be confirmed. i said i thought it would be, but contentious over the issue. we spoke. he came back after dinner and we shmoozed again. it was interesting to go to dinner, meet with the president, the vice president, the secretary of commerce and the first lady, an unexpected treat
for us. you know, i enjoyed the meeting. >> i have another question to ask you. the tenor of the conversation in regards to james comey. do you sense he's nervous? >> i don't think so. i think, he thinks, at bottom there may have been surveillance. the irony, isn't this an irony, we believe whatever the national security people tell us. they used to never believe that. the conservatives don't trust the national security people at all. it shows you how partisan things have gotten. >> yeah. >> you create the narrative based on what size you are on and switch sides. i don't think the president is nervous. >> i have to let you go, but do you believe the less comey says the more trouble president trump might be in? >> i don't think he's going to give us an answer that the investigation is done and there was no possibility of any surveillance by anybody.
he's not going to give us a definitive answer on whether or not there was collusion, alleged collusion between the russians and the trump campaign. i think we are going to be dissatisfied with comey's testimony. he's going to be very, very careful about what he says. >> good to see you. thank you so much for that. up next, as promised, we are going to stephanie ruhle in washington, d.c. the ranking member of the house intelligence committee says there was evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and russia. what is the evidence? a congressman will join stephanie, next. can i get some help. watch his head. ♪ i'm so happy. ♪ whatever they went through, they went througtogether. welcome guys. life well planned. see what a raymond james financial advisor can do for you.
welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. look where i am. live, overlooking the white house. we are less than one hour away from arguably the most consequential hearing of the trump administration, focusing on what else? russia and the election. the big headline might be whether or not fbi director, james comey provides a definitive answer on president trump's wiretapping allegations. i want to bring in a man who certainly doesn't agree with these allegations, california democratic congressman, eric sw swalwell. congressman, you said this morning, you want james comey to clear up the wiretapping allegations once and for all. how confident are you that is going to happen? >> good morning, stephanie. the president ruled smoke bombs
into this investigation to connect the dots and iran. he and the team's connections to russia. it's important we clear that up to proceed with the investigation. right now, the american people want to know, were they mere coincidences theies wit russia or a convergence with working with russia as they were running their interference campaign during the 2016 election. >> help us understand what you know, your colleague, adam schiff says there was collusion between the trump campaign and the white house as it relates to ties during the campaign, yet david nunez says there wasn't any. what evidence do you believe there were ties? >> unlike any campaign we have seen in history, donald trump and his team have extensive ties to russia. that, in and of itself, is not illegal. however, look at when were the
ties taking place. look at individuals like carter paige, the senior foreign policy adviser to donald trump. one month after it's revealed russia is attacking us with, with permission of the campaign, courter paige travels to moss cow. roger stone, another associate of the campaign, advising donald trump, he is intimating before the wikileaks report comes out. he was communicating with an online group releasing the hatched john podesta e-mail. you have individuals working with russia as the interference campaign is being run. >> all the things you are references are evidence or things we have heard in the past. do you believe adam schiff saying there was some level of evidence out there? there's something else we don't know? >> this is the first part of the investigation. as ranking member schiff says, there is a lot of circumstantial
evidence. as a former pr and mr. schiff was, too, you can prove a case on circumstantial evidence. however, we think there's a lot of evidence like the guilt with jeff sessions. twice he met with the russian ambassador. he lied about it under oath, which shows guilt. he's trying to cover up something he does not want us to know. there's a lot of evidence here. we want to learn more. what we are going to ask of the fbi director is pursue the leads, follow the evidence. if donald trump was not involved in the campaign, it would help this country for that to be cleared up. if there are connections that need to be further explored, we hope they continue to do that. >> in terms of further exploration, the republicans say the leakers, they need to be investigated. leaking is the clear point of illegality they say. in terms of leaking, the leaks led to mike flynn having to step down. wouldn't we look at those
leakers as whistleblowers are or republicans right, they need to be investigated? >> certainly in the intelligence community right now, they have felt demoralized because of the way the president talked about them. i don't think anyone wakes up and wants to violate the national security oath. we should have them pursue if anyone did. however, the way the president talked about his own national security team, saying they are playing politics, he's undermined the report that found russia was responsible, he accused the fbi of not being able to find leakers. this hurts the people charged with protecting us and what they have to do to keep us safe from terrorism or look at what other countries are doing to interfere with our elections. >> why do you believe president trump and the wiretapping claims are a smoke screen to divert our attention from russia? if anything, it's making us focus more on russia. if the president isn't telling the truth here, it hurts his credibility.
look at the gallup poll numbers. >> it with was a deceitful claim. he did it to take our eyes off the dots we are continuing to connect. he wanted to put it on president obama. it was shortsighted strategy. more and more evidence is coming forward about he and his team having personal and financial ties to russia. if we were in a court of law, juries are told every day, if a person in an investigation dlik rattly lies about a fact in an investigation, consider not believing anything that person says. i think the american people are starting to question the credibility of our president. that's unfortunate because we need our president to be credible. >> without a doubt. congressman, i know you have a busy day ahead. we are going to leave it there. thanks for sharing your thoughts this morning. >> thank you, stephanie. >> the hearing with james comey is set to start in over an hour and the senate hearing for neil gorsuch is happening this morning. we are going bring them to you
live. stay with us. it is a big day here in washington. we are a nation divided. that's what they tell us, right? this chasm between us. but what they don't tell you, what doesn't make the news, is this. we carry each other forward. no matter who we are. or what we believe. or where we come from. we've had the privilege to carry a century of humanity. lovers. fighters. leaders. but maybe what we carry isn't just people.
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washington and as we run through the list of mark murray of our political unit says we will know more about these four things by the end of the week. does fbi director comey repudiate the wiretapping charge. how far does he go on russia, does health care survive or die and the gorsuch nomination. casey hunt for this morning's purposes is outside the hearing room for us. casey? >> reporter: hi, brian. we are waiting for fbi director comey to come through one of these hallways and into the house office building for what is expected to be a very intense grilling from members of the house intelligence committee. this day has felt like it's been a long time coming. the fbi director has been back and forth to capitol hill. we have been chasing him through the hallways as he met behind closed doors with members of congress. the temperature has gone up every time he has done this. there's been a lot of anger at
how he handled the key questions around this. members of congress demanding two big questions we might see from comey. one we are more likely to get than the other. the first is the wiretapping issue. the president obviously tweeting president obama wiretapped trump tower. in the last week, you had republicans and democrats saying, look, there's no evidence of that. you can expect the fbi director to get asked about that today. members of congress are expecting he may offer some answer that will be illuminating. the other question, of course, this broader one about potential contacts or even collusion between trump associates and russians during the course of the election campaign. you had the ranking member here, adam schiff talking about this on "meet the press" over the weekend. he said there is circumstantial evidence of collusion. that is farther than anyone on this committee has gone in public so far. of course, republicans including the chairman devin nunez said
they have seen no evidence of any such collusion. now, the question, of course, how much does comey acknowledge on that topic? there is a question of whether or not he will say in public that an fbi investigation is ongoing. that is something that senator lindsey graham, for example, has been pressing him to tell his committee and say out loud. that's the most basic of questions on the list for this topic. you can expect him to be pressed on any evidence of collusion. i think most members here, certainly, i would be surprised if he's willing to answer the questions in public but you never know. brian? >> we'll go back to you when we stee fbi director. peter alexander at the white house. peter, americans, if they have been lulled into a sense of normalcy over the weekend, that was busted this morning when they woke up to a twitter storm in effect saying nothing to see here. >> reporter: i think you are right, brian. we heard from the president today, as basically, he tries to
prebutt the testimony. we'll hear from the fbi director, james comey, mike rogers head of the national security agency on this day. there are a lot of questions, the white house described to me, they think it is a quote, ridiculous narrative. they would prefer focus on the health care bill that could get the first vote this week in the house of representatives. there was a lot on this president's plate. drawing the white house energies and the focus in washington away from those things. the revised travel ban that's been blocked in hawaii and in maryland. that's one thing, alone, that was critical. the immigration issue is something the president staked a lot of hisampaign on. it's an issue he hasn't been able to move forward on. it sort of underlies the challenge for the white house that gets to the credibility, some described a crisis of credibility. in the past, the president made
explosive claims. as a tv star, the host of "the apprentice," as a candidate. what he learned is it's more challenging to say things and quickly erase them. take for example of what he said about 3 million illegal votes cast. at the time, it was a big deal, great focus on it, they said there would be an investigation. they have benefited by the fact it's almost disappeared. a task force is being formed to look into it. aides here don't want to be talking about it. the issue of the wiretapping claim and the claims against president obama for ordering the wiretapping or surveillance of trump tower. president trump saying a bad or sick guy has been harder to erase. that makes today, in many ways, a day of reckoning if james comey, unlikely he will be specific about ties between russian operatives and trump campaign associates. on this issue, as we have been told, he insists there is no
there there. we wait to see how far he is willing to go in terms of refuting the president's tweets. >> peter alexander on the white house lawn across town from the hearing. nicolle wallace is here with us in the studio, former white house communicator director of the white house. you are going to head us true north, to normalize our day and world. is this happened today because we have a president unable to say i was wrong about that? >> sort of. i mean, two thoughts about what we heard already. some of this comes down to -- i spent the morning talking to folks close to trump, inside and outside the white house. some comes down to the definition of collusion. one house republican on the intel committee says he's seen no evidence of technical collusion. another confident of trmp ss more could drop.
it's in line with how senator mccain talks about this connection. i think we are here and this day is an impossibility for the white house because of trump's own tweets. we are going to talk about this for his entire presidency. the white house, if you take away trump's twitter addiction, if you take away the fact that he accused his predecessor, who is extremely gracious to him of a crime, of wiretapping trump tower, today could be a decent day for the trump white house. they have gorsuch on capitol hill. they have this hearing where it's possible in a public setting. the fbi director says there's nothing i can talk about in terms of russia, trump campaign contacts. but, we have the sticky fact that donald trump accused president obama of wiretapping trump tower and we have the hard evidence we are expected to hear that there is absolutely no proof of that. a trump friend and ally in regular contact with this white
house says that this is a side circus act that has distracted from everything this president tried to do. he thinks there is a direct link between that tweet three weeks ago and the gallup approval number, which has him at 37%, i think the lowest at this point in presidential history. this is about another self-inflicted debach l. >> ari is here with us. your area is the law. could this dissolve everything? could it be a threat to this administration, the process that begins today? >> it is possible an fbi inquiry can dissolve anything and anyone because of the subpoena research functions of the bureau and the ability to hand anything over to the d.o.j. or in some cases, depending on the scenario, the public, which has rouhuge
ramifications. the answer is yes, b from what we have been tolds an early stage in anntelligence gathering process. i think the key question jim comey may answer or posed is there an inquiry? if so, what is the status of the inquiry. are you focused on federal crimes or focused on intelligence gathering, which means there may be important things that don't reflect wrongful conduct by anyone linked to donald trump. two ways to be involved, then they will be asked about the wiretapping. this is something, from what we can tell, the fbi appears to be ready to say something about, which makes it an interesting hearing from that perspective. we know that because the d.o.j. made a statement saying they have, quote, complied with congressional inquiries regarding wiretapping. if d.o.j., which oversees the fbi, if they can tell congress to some degree about that, we
would expect the fbi director under oath to say something about it. finally, not as great political interest the ongoing recusal questions and director comey will hear about those because some democrats have concerns about the inquiry after sessions announced recused with regard to campaign issues. >> nicole? >> you mentioned leaks. house republicans on this committee wish we were sitting here talking about all day today would be what they view as unprecedented leaks from the intel community about this administration. but, when you have a president tweeting about making things up about wiretaps, that's not going to be the story. having talked to republicans on this committee, that's where their focus is, on the leaks from bureau, from the intelligence community and they are desperate to bolster this white house.
it's the president that kee getting in their way. they wh we were going to sit here talking aut leaks. they wish we would draw conclusion that is give them a little bit of relief, i guess, from this glare of questioning about russia/trump contacts. i think the focus is on the outlandish claim of an obama wiretapping of trump tower. it's a constant exasperation of republicans outside the white house. >> we will show these all day. if we can show the tweet this is morning of donald j. trump before this gets under way to lay the informational predicate, it may be useful. again, conversationally, they can be summed up in a phrase, nothing to see here. we are working on getting those up on the screen. hearing room on the left. mr. comey at, i guess over 6'5", will be instantly visible when he comes in the room.
again, the viewers guide today will be the fbi director's not wanting to go into great detail. he may say that some things have to be answered in executive session. he may take a pass entirely. here you have it from the real donald trump, james clapper and others stated there is no evidence po dus colluded with russia. this is fake news and everyone knows it. the democrats made up and pushed the russian story. big advantage in the electoral college and lost. finally, the real story that congress, the fbi and all others should be looking into is the leaking of classified information. must find leaker now. casey hunt has a guest outside the hearing room. casey? >> reporter: hi, brian. we are here with congressman peter king who is a member of the house select committee on
intelligence. te us, what is your top question for director comey today? >> to me, what washe extent of russian interference in the election, was there collusion, whatsoever with anyone in the trump campaign and the russians. it's important, i'm talking about the classified information that will be leaked out. this is intrigue of political movement. very, very top secret information leaked out with what comey is doing, who did it and who is behind it. >> reporter: you want an answer to the collusion question. some republicans are insistence there is no evidence whatsoever they colluded? >> i have seen no evidence, either. i would like director comey to say yes or no, if he can at this stage. i believe there was none. if there is, i want to know about it. if there's not, end the discussion. it puts a cloud. there's no evidence of collusion. >> reporter: the ranking member on the committee, adam schiff said on "meet the press" over
the weekend, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion. are you familiar with what he's talking about and that could be the case based on what you have seen? >> there's always going to be circumstantial evidence. the fact is if it's being looked at or if it turns out to be nothing. if there's real evidence, if you can look into the circumstantial evidence and see real evidence, that's a different story. as far as i know, no evidence of collusion. >> do you think he's going to be willing to acknowledge an fbi investigation into the contacts or collusion when we see him start at this hearing? >> i have a great respect for director comey. i'm hoping he can say certain things. if he can't, that's his decision to make. >> reporter: has he been forthright with you all behind closed doors? >> i think he's been forthright telling us what he can. i'm not confirming whether or not there's an investigation. >> reporter: thank you for your time. i appreciate it. that's interesting.
based on what he said, republicans are pressing for answers about the collusion claim. he also seemed to acknowledge thathatevepiece of evidence that the ranking member was talking about on "meet the press" this weekend, adam schiff called it circumstantial evidence of collusion, different from contacts with russians. he seems to acknowledge he has seen whatever that piece of evidence may be and he's drawing different conclusions from it. brian? >> casey hunt from outside the hearing room, thank you. congressman peter king well known to television viewers. nicolle wallace, mr. comey is 6'8", father of five. when he walks in the room, we will be aware of it. >> won't miss it. >> let's continue the conversation before the interview about how the president started his day. >> well, he started the day like no normal president starts their day but the way he likes to start his day. you need to back up to the weekend.
you know, he was back at the florida white house, if you will. his friend, chris from news max, we saw on tv. that seems to be his go-to defender these days. he made the rounds on the sunday shows. what's so important. i feel like we have been talking about comey and covering comey. he is the most consequential fbi director in a generation. republicans feel like comey is there to stay. even if the white house is displeased today and you got a sense from the tweets, i don't know if they were expectation for comey, if he was speaking to the media or comey himself, this white house expects the headline today to be white house cleared of collusion charges with russia. that is not going to be the case. adam schiff, there's a great piece in the wall street journal, he's a measured voice. he's really the democrats best and most effective weapon, if you will, in terms of probing these questions about russian ties because he has stood
shoulder-to-shoulder with his republican counter part and his republican counter part has basically affirmed there's nothing there on the wiretap charge and kept these questions and the legitimacy of an investigation into the russian-trump team contacts alive. >> ari, again, this is all viewers leading up to what we expect to be a 10:00 a.m. start here in a couple of minutes. do we expect comey to say, perhaps that question is better answered in executive session? this is the intelligence committee, not known for public hearings. >> that's rilgt. director comey, jenrry, most cases, most of the time is circumspect and everyone remembers how detailed he was in the hillary clinton case. his defenders and i have spoken to many prosecutors who say it was a lose/lose no matter how you did it.
speaking to other folks, it may have been a lose/lose, but he added to the losing saying so much. here we are with a different inquiry that might affect different political actors and he's back in the same lose/lose scenario. i would expect h to provide some information about some of this. he always have the excuse about an open investigation doesn't allow him to say more. that does provide him, if you care about substance. we are sometimes living in a world where the facts get put to the side. if you care about the facts, as we do, it is potentially an open inquiry, which makes it different than the remarks about hillary clinton, which came about the end of what he called an investigation that didn't find the type of standards for federal crimes to proceed. that is a difference in terms of when he walks in here today. the other piece to this is whether donald trump and his administration can give this the breathing room at the risk of
making an obvious point, brian, there is nothing that stopped donald trump from live tweeting the hearings or live tweeting the television discussion thereof. i think for a young presidency on what is a consequential day given the fbi director and his supreme court nominee facing questions, it will be interesting to see how this unconventional president deals with his day. >> hallie jackson is across the street from the white house. how are things looking? >> reporter: talking about the tweets from president trump and i think there's one that is particularly indicative of the mind set of the administration and where the republicans are. the president said must find leaker now. this is a part of what you have been hearing from the white house and from the administration really since the story started to develop. the concern more broadly is on how this information is getting out. what they believe are illegal leaks.
you are hearing it reflected and the republicans on capitol hill who will be involved in the hearing. expect to see some of the questioning to focus on the leaks, to focus on the issue of the leaks, particularly from republicans who don't want to step afoul of the white house who want to walk the line between pressing director comey and not antagonizing president trump. >> hallie jackson, thanks. again, left hand side of the picture, we have this crush of people in the center of the room. you have the members of yet to come in. the witnesses have yet to come in. that has not stopped the media from forming a knot in the middle of the hearing room. nicolle wallace, if your white house -- communications director. >> someone asked me yesterday in d.c. about the job of white house communications director
and whether that's a powerful post in the administration. i said, what's so funny, if you are leader of the free world without a communications director, do you view communica director do you view that position as essential or nonessential? you view it as nonessential. so it's so funny how they communicate and to suggest we know something more than donald trump. the whole nature of the tweets have undermined him as president and i'm sure holly would pick this up, too, from work teg white house, he views it as exactly how he's got there. i talked to a white house official who say they're looking at the same things hallie's talked about. what's going to disappoint them is all of the attention and all of the white, hot glare is going to be on this russia question. we talked about it earlier, they would love for the press to move
into as passioned of an investigation where the leaks are coming from, they would love for the conversation to be how there weren't contacts between the campaign and any russian agents but he just can't get out of his way. and i spoke to friends of his who said that he is unwilling to listen to or hear this feedback that when he does something like accuse president obama of wiretapping, he simply can't get beyond it. >> do you buy into the story we saw peek out its head over the weekend that there is now a conflict for control and the narrative between new york and -- >> the bannonites. >> this is fascinating and in the context of today particularly interesting, i would guess the new yorkers, this is a coalition made up of his circle that he knew as a new york businessman, joined by some
of the -- the reporting went that those folks had made up a coalition that are pushing against the eideologues. if you're betting on the noshers, you would look for trump to stop tweeting out claims and get to the jobs. but that team you have to sort of accept doesn't win every round because the donald trump we see is the one who is on his device tweeting this morning. >> what do you make of the battle? any predictions as to what side comes out -- >> well, i'm a new yorker so i wouldn't bet against new york. and i think donald trump's instincts are more closely aligned with the new yorkers, but donald trump's sort of political journey is very much aligned with bannon's ideology. and from covering trump voters,
i think this is the most policy rub. i'm watching this health care fight unfold and i find it highly unlikely that at the end of the day donald trump is going to hurt the democrats, the two-time obama vote exthe bernie voters, who ended up voting for donald trump, who put him over the top in states like michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania. i have a hard time believing he's going to do the paul ryan, conservative policy things when he stares down the barrel of losing those democrats that put him over the top in the election. >> one point about the washington mindset is while we think it haves is a townful of common and petty politics and we imagine all the washington types getting ready to figure out who will benefit from this hearing, the truth is, i think nicole might agree, the career people in washington are also very risk
and conflict averse. that was certainly both parties and aides always had in common. how do i keep my boss out of a bad situation or out of drama, unless heading into a campaign it was necessary. donald trump is not been a politics at heart, he does not spend a lf time listening to people who make careers selling advice or tv ads or polling. one other thing to not forget about him that we are reminded and that his supporters like, although his supporters in the gallup approval rating are diminishing, he welcomes and thrives on conflict. >> i disagree. what he likes is winning a fight. even people around him view this fight over wiretapping is a giant loser. his voters like when he fights and win. they love he took on the republican establishment and reduced to dust the bush dynasty
and everybody else. the reason his numbers are plunging are because his own voters -- >> i think you're right but does he personally like the wiretapping fight because he keeps going back to it. >> a brief timetime-out. we have sex minutes until the top of the hour. viewers watching the hearing room, you'll see members of congress filtering in. as is the case when we offer live hearings, we'll come to know them. the people, if you watch wait too much tell virks heevisionte looking at you a congressman swalwell, they can reveal a lot about themselves. what a day but mostly for pete willianm
williams, who obviously we're starting the confirmation process of a no would-be supreme court nominee and we also have the fbi director on the hill. what to do? >> it's an embarrassment of riches, brian. in terms of how this hearing is going to unfold before the house intelligence committee, we know for certain that mike rodgers is going to give an opening statement. we've been told that. andhe last we've heard is that jim comey, the director of the fbi, would likely give an opening statement. we were told that was his plan as of last night. i think the question, the problem for them both is going to be a tnension between the members of the committee who will want to get as much out in the open as possible and the desire of the two witnesses to preserve classified information. what normally happens before these intelligence committees is if somebody asks a question that gets into a classified area, the witness will say "i'll answer that one in closed session."
that's not going to cut much mustard today because the committee leadership on both parties wants to get as much information out in public as possible. two problems for the fbi, one is the classification issue, and the second one is the fbi is in sort of a tough spot here because on the one hand, it's doing its own investigation. on the other hand, the committee wants to investigate but the other way it can get information is from the federal agencies that normally don't like to share informing from congress. that's the built-in institutional issues that will go on. on the other side, the beginning of the confirmation hearing for neil gorsuch, it's at least a three-day affair. on the first day for the most part the nominee just sits there and listens as everybody member of the judiciary committee makes an opening statement. toward the end of the day, neil gorsuch will introduce members of his family that are there, thank them for the honor and then get ready to come back on tuesday when he'll actually
answer questions. on wednesday, additional questions for him if it's not over and people who want to testify for and against the nomination. >> pete, we're looking at a shot of the fbi director, visible above all other staff and security, coming down the hallway. to everyone's shock and horror, we remind our viewers this will be partisan affair. and, pete, at the t of this committee it's interesting, there's two republicans, one republican, one democrat -- a chairman and a head of the minority. one republican, one democrat. very different members of congress from the same state. >> yes, but i think here united in the desire to have as much information out as possible about these two issues, the wiretapping question and then the general question of to what extent there was russian influence in the campaign, that's pretty well a settled
issue and secondly and more importantly, were any americans involved in that, were they in any way in cahoots with the russians to try to influence the campaign of donald trump's opponent? so initially what i was told was that while the fbi wanted to get as much information out as possible, that today may leave the committee someone unsatisfied that they can't answer every question, a, because they don't know and, b, because they don't want to say so publicly. i think that's where the push and tug will come today. >> what powers does the president have if they don't like the director of the fbi and how long a term do they serve? >> statutorily the fbi director serves tore ten years and the
prepare director was re-upped for a time. mumm muller was the first to serve for the statuary ten years. a president can get rid of an fbi director. it happened to the fbi director before bob muller. he was actually ushered out the door after there were allegations he was using federal fund to make some improvements at his house. i think it would be extraordinary for any nuchlt to move an fbi director for anything less than obvious misconduct on the job. >> to our viewers just joining you, top of the 10 a.m. hour, we've just seen fbi director comey come down the hallway. this is the time when we were supposed to be gavelled into order. as far as we can tell, not all the members are in the room as of yet. we saw a brief