tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC June 13, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
>> do you know if the president records conversations in the oval office or anywhere in the white house? >> i do not. >> let me ask you this, if in fact any president was to record conversations in their official duties in the white house or the like would there be an obligation to preserve those records? >> i don't know senator rubio, probably so. >> the attorney general doesn't know. the attorney general apparently slept through watergate. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, a defiant jeff sessions denies clueding with russia while democrats accuse him of impeding the investigation. plus, can the attorney general claim privilege on conversations with donald trump? if the president hasn't an voekted it? a former watergate prosecutor is with us to take that on. and remember this rose garden victory lap over health care a few weeks back, that bill
donald trump once called really incredible he is now calling mean. and the boat goes on as "the 11th hour" begins. -- beat goes on as "the 11th hour" begins. good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. day 145 of the trump administration. it was all eyes on the attorney general today. his testimony today in front of his former senate colleagues was at times heated and combative. at times tedious and deeply unsatisfying. jeff sessions vehemently denied that he clued with russia and with voices raised at one point he and oregon democrat ron wyden sparred over something that james comey had just said about sessions while under oath himself last week. >> the suggestion that i participated in any collusion that i was aware of any collusion with the russian government to hurt this country, which i have served with honor
for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process is an apauling and detestable lie. >> i recuse myself from any investigation into the campaign for president. but i did not recuse myself from defending my honor against secure lous and false allegations. >> general sessions, respectfully, you are not answering the question. >> what is the question? >> the question is, mr. comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic, and he couldn't talk about them. what are they? >> that -- why don you tell me? there are none, senator widen. there are nonele i can tell you that for absolute certainty. >> we can -- >> you tell -- this is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and i don't appreciate it. people are suggesting sort of
innuendo that i have been not honest about matters and i've tried to be honest. >> there were also many questions sessions refused to answer, not claiming executive privilege exactly. that's up to the president. but instead d.o.j. policy, a policy he never quite explained to the satisfaction of several of the senators. >> it is a long standing policy. the department of justice. not to comment on conversations that the attorney general has had with the president of the united states. >> just so i'm understanding does that mean -- are you claiming executive privilege here today, sir? >> i am not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power. i am not stonewalling. i am following the historic policies of the department of justice. >> you took an oath. you raised your right hand here today, and you said that you would solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
and now you are not answering questions. you are impeding this investigation. >> the attorney general was also pressed on whether trump is recording white house conversations. he said he didn't know. and there was a rather stunning back and forth over how much sessions even knows about russia's interference in our 2016 election. even more stunning when you remember before joining the trump administration sessions was a member of the senate armed services committee. >> do you believe the russians interfered with the 2016 elections? >> it appears so. the intelligence community seems to be united in that. but i have to tell you senator king, i know nothing about what i've read in the paper. >> you never asked for a briefing or attended a briefing or read the intelligence reports? >> you might have been very critical of me if i as an active part of the campaign was seeking intelligence rhetting to something that might be relevant to the campaign. auto i'm not sure that would
have been -- >> i'm not talking about the campaign. i'm talking about what the russians did. you received no briefing on the russian active measures in connection with the 2016 election? >> no, i don't believe i ever did. >> when we say today's testimony was at times unsatisfying, here's what we mean. there were a lot of questions he could not answer or chose not to answer. >> i did not have any private meetings. nor do i recall any conversations with any russian first at the mayflower hotel. i did not have any -- i do not have any recollection, i do not remember that. i do not remember that. if i remembered it or it actually occurred, which i don't remember that it did. i don't know about these reports. i don't recall it. it's conceivable that that occurred, i just don't remember it. i still do to the recall it. not to my recollection. i don't have any wreck. i don't know. i don't know. well, i'd have to rack my brain but i don't recall it. i don't think i had any direction involvement.
so i don't recall that. i cannot say with certainty i did not. have no recollection of a discussion. i don't recall any such meeting. i don't recall any such conversation. i don't recall it. i have racked my brain and i do not believe so. i don't recall any. i don't recall it. i don't recall. i don't recall. i don't recall. i don't -- not recall. i don't know. i'm not sure. >> okay. >> i don't recall. i don't know. i don't recall it. i don't recall that. >> and are you aware of -- >> at this moment, i don't believe so. i don't recall whether that was discussed or not. i don't recall that being discussed. i just don't have a real recall of the meeting. i don't recall. >> let's bring in tonight's starting panel, robert costa, national political reporter for the "washington post," moderator of washington week on pbs. julia aftery, staff writer for the atlantic.
her piece today, why did jeff sessions really meet with sergei kislyak. and jeremy bash former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon, also former chief counsel to the house intelligence committee. welcome to you all. resident costa, it was understood by people who watch this white house there were two audiences for that today, number one the millions of people watching at home. even include in that members of the senate questioning the attorney general in front of the committee. number two, and perhaps the most important audience an audience of one, the president of the united states. how are they saying he did? >> based on my reporting, brian, the president remains frustrated at the so-called cloud which he refers to behind the scenes remains that these russians questions are not going away. and attorney general sessions' testimony has in no way stopped the investigations toer the mounting political problems facing had and the republican
party but they don't have a strategy yet how the deal with it. there is talk how to deal with the special counsel bob mueller. really they don't know what exactly to do to make it all go away. >> areamy, a two part question for. part one, did you see a headline emerge to you from today? >> part one, brian, i would say that the whole invocation of executive privilege or executive privilege light because he really wasn't invoking the privilege was very confusing. it was sort of a weapon of mass confusion that was detonated in hearing room. i don't think even the justice department understood itself what it was arguing today. it was saying if the president chooses to invoke this we won't answer the questions. and i think the senator is left with many more questions they still have yet to ask. >> that brings me to part two. if people were left wanting by sessions invoguing this rule of his choosing and not answering
certain questions particularly per tin ta inning to discussions with the president, does that look bad for sessions if he is called before bob mueller. >> it does. fundamentally what's at stake here, the attorney general said the president wanted my views on whether to fire comey and the president said he wanted my views. then when he was asked what did the president say about the russia investigation? what d he say about the rationale for firing comey the attorney general refused to answer. that goes to the heart of the question of whether the president may have obstructed justice here. he do think it is an issue that bob mutualer and the special counsel's office will be very interested in. >> julia, your article came out at 5:00 a.m. here is in what you wrote. it can be hard to get a stlat aeb out of attorney general jeff sessions. answer the question for you that your headline poses. why did he meet with the russian ambassador? >> i don't recall. i'm kidding. i'm so glad you stopped that
audio. it was really intense. so the reason -- this hearing was interesting for a number of reasons. you will notice sessions has pivoted once again in terms of his explanation for what happened between him and sergei kislyak. first he said didn't happen. then he said okay yes it happened but it happened as part of my senate duties. and i thought i was answering a question about my campaign duties and i wasn't meeting him as part of my campaign duties, i was meeting him because i was a senator on the senate armed services committee. today he has completely walked away from that and focused on a very narrow denial where he said i don't recall meeting him. i did not meet him in the mayflower. so leaving all of that aside. but that original logic that he presented in march when he was forced to recuse himself from the russia investigation is shoddy at best because if you look at actually sessions's
spoegswoman turned over whole list, a schedule arc log of ambassadors who came and went from sessions's senate office who by the way yes he was on the senate armed services committee but if you talk to other senate republican staffers including those immersed in foreign policy and national security for years they say are you kidding me? this guy was never interested. he was never in on this stuff. he could maybe be dragged onto a bill to cosponsor it but he never really cared much so this idea that it's part his regular duties, meeting with ambassador. but the interesting thing is he has named in march of 2016 as the chairman of the trump campaign's national advisory committee. in april of 2016 he has his first meeting with an ambassador. he has no meetings, zero meetings in 2016 before he is named the chairman of the
national security council of the trump campaign. and he continues meeting with these people at a very fast clip until the election. and a few days after the election he has his last meeting and never meets with any ambassadors again. the ambassadors know this. some of the diplomatic staff said we were absolutely going to him because of his position on the campaign. we had no idea as to their foreign policy positions vis-a-vis our home countries. we had no idea he was a senator. we het him we. >> governor kasich didn't go to the gop convention this year in ohio. what were russians doing hanging out at the gop convention in ohio? >> it's a regular occurrence for ambassadors to attend political
conventions. i saw many of them in cleveland and in philadelphia. they are trying to establish relationships with the incoming administration. the question for the trump administration is not whether it's appropriate to meet with foreign officials. of course foreign officials meet with campaign leaders on both sides of the aisle. it's about the nature of these relationships, the regularity of these meetings and conversations, and what the broader picture reveals about what russia or the trump campaign was perhaps trying to get out of this dynamic. >> robert, let me play -- >> i think -- >> hold on one second. let me play an he can change featuring the independent senator from maine who caucuses with the democrats, angus kipg, a very accomplished lawyer, and his questioning with sessions today. >> any of your discussions with the president about the firing of james comey did the question of the russian investigation ever coming up? >> i cannot answer that because
it was a communication by the president, or if any such occurred it would be a communication that he has not waived. >> robert, that was that again that kind of frustrating lack of an answer that our friend jeremy telts us may not hold up. it may not be a good enough answer if this goes before mueller. >> that's exactly right. the attorney general will need to answer a lot more about the nature of his relationship the ambassador kislyak. brian, i was at the mayflower hotel during that foreign policy speech. i saw then senator sessions. and i saw i believe as i recall the ambassador and many other officials and russian related figures and other foreign policy figures at the mayflower hotel to see president trump speak. but what was said, what was the nature of those conversations, that's what we hoped to hear today and we did not here enough. >> julia, i interrupted. go ahead. >> that's right. i think this is the problem with this administration, there might
actually be no there there. they might have had the same conversations that they had with the latvian ambassador or the french ambassador. but the fact that the impulse is immediately to lie and object few skate and not recall in this way that i have to say, it like blurs the line between executive privilege and attorney/client privilege. he was in some ways today posing as the president's personal lawyer to come extent. but this let's kick the can down the road, it's very russian, kick up smoke, deny it, point in other directs and then we'll deal with it once people catch up to the can that we've kicked down the road. so, you know, maybe mueller can be the grand jury that trumps this, pardon the pun. maybe the press digs up other thing that sessions refused to deal and we'll dean with it then. but the first impulse is to circle wagon, not admit anything, and just hope it goes away. >> and jeremy bash, this becomes
the predicate for all the other investigations that are watching and listening. >> that's right. and you have of course the house intelligence committee investigation as well. one of the big headlines brian i thought that came out of today was that attorney general sessions said hey if i had known the russians were interfering with the elections i would have headed for the exits. on october 7th the department of homeland security and the director of national intelligence put out a public statement saying it was the russian government that was behind the russian hacks. it's not credit that the attorney general never heard about this. he heard about this well in advance of election day. >> he said maybe, he said maybe at first maybe he would walk away and when he was pressed by a different senator he said yeah sure absolutely i'd walk away. but his first response was not sure that i would. >> let's tack our first break. as we go to break, a brief change of subject to let everyone know of a breaking news story we are following. dawn is breaking in west london
where we have been watching this tragedy. a 27 story residential high-rise building fully involved in fire for several hours now. moments ago this is what it looked like when fully involved. just about every window showing fire coming from it. we don't know yet -- we do know the fire brigades responded to calls of people trapped inside. we don't know anything about god forbid a death toll from this. and obviously, questions will arise about sprinklers and fire suppression in this building. again, 27 stories, west london, all residential. a massive tragedy underway as dawn is now breaking in hon done. we'll go to a break, we'll come back and continue our political discussion right after this. think again. this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state.
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i think he raised more questions than he settled. when you compare his testimony to director comey, director comey was forthright, even on occasion when some people thought it might have hurt him. but he told the whole truth and nothing but. >> welcome back to "the 11th hour." that was of course the top democrat in the senate, chuck schumer of new york talking to rachel maddow earlier tonight. he wasn't finished commenting on just what he saw from jeff sessions today. >> jeff sessions seemed to be avoiding almost every question. few exceptions. when the president, when the people around him like jeff say why do people suspect us?
well, if you had done nothing wrong the obvious conclusion is you would be happy to talk about thing. it seems the only time that they don't want to discuss their discussion -- their conversations with president trump is when it's about russia. and that has no factual basis, no legal basis. and sessions is in dereliction of his duty. >> let's bring in robert, julia and jeremy. jeremy, you are the lawyer here. a very basic question. can you say, i can't recall, that many times and get away with it? >> you can -- you will have a hard time if you are talking to the fbi and you keep invoking faulty memory if they think you do have a good memory, particularly if there are other documents which show that at the time you were involved in discussions. that's why i think investigators such as mueller and congressional documents are going to have to look at documents and e-mails and calendars to try to compare this testimony with the documentary
evidence. the other big piece of evidence i focused on today was this question of whether the president cleared the room on february 14th before he told jim comey i want you to drop the investigation into michael flynn. and the attorney general basically confirmed that account. he said, yes, i was the last person to leave the room. he didn't exactly cop to having those feelings of concern that comey described to him but it was almost implied in his body lapping and the way he refused to answer that question. >> comey's dramatic writing style made ate different read from sessions' testimony. robert, did any big republicans come out and say this was a bell weather day, we clearly have the momentum, nothing the see here? >> that's the word coming out of the white house. they priestly don't strike that same tone. they know the attorney general faced questions about his involvement in russia due to his
meetings with ambassador kislyak. and they know comey's issues are not mended. all the issues brought up last week by former director comey still linger. >> julia, 30 second left before we have to go to yet another break. mr. cohn, mr. trump's new york based attorney has been called before the house intelligence committee. the date, september 5. how republicans in control of that committee agreed to that date -- remind us how he figures into the russia investigation? >> i think that's not an accident that it's so far away. i mean september 5th is essentially eight years from now. that is probably -- i don't know if the country will still be here at the rate we're going. michael kohn is an interesting figure. he has ties to russia and the
former soviet union and various shall we say shady business people there. that was before he came on board the trump organization and started working for trump. in the intelligence dossier that was compiled lie christopher steele the former british spy and that was the annex to part of the -- to the briefing that the president -- president trump and outgoing president obama and various congressional leaders got, michael kohn is alleged to have met in prague with the russians to kinds of trade information or maybe receive instructions. depend, this is unverified. we don't know if it actually happened. a lot of journalists have been on this case and haven't been able the turn up anything. but he seems to have a lot of ties to russia and the former soviet union, to some pretty salacious people going back decades. and he might have a lot to say. but it seems like he would have
even better reason to invoke executive or attorney/client privilege than attorney general jeff sessions. >> great thanks to our lead-off panel top. coming up, a former watergate prosecutor, former counsel to the director of national intelligence weigh in on all of it. we're back right after this. >> most of the questions that have been presented to you were predictab predictable. my question ises is do you then review with the lawyers of your department if you as the top lawyer are unaware what the law is regarding what you can share with us and what you cannot share with us? ♪ dynamic performance, so you can own the road. track-tuned handling, so you can conquer corners. aggressive-styling, so you can break away from everyone else.
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has the president invoked executive privilege in the caves your testimony here today? >> he has not. >> then what is the basis of your refusal to answer these questions? >> senator cain, the president has a constitutional. >> i understand that, but the president hasn't asserted it. you said you don't have the power to assert the executive privilege. what is the legal bases of protecting they conversations. >> i am protecting the right of the president, i will exert it if he chooses. >> that's the best answer we got. if the president didn't invoke executive privilege then why
won't sessions talk about their conversations. and what was this rule was he was citing today. joining us now to talk about the law in all of this, jill wine banks one of the special prosecutors during the watergate scandal. former general counsel to the united states army. and carry cordero, a former counsel at the office of the director of national intel jepsz. carry, after your time at d.o.j., who is this rule he's citing. >> attorney general sessions was referring to executive privilege, which is a privilege that the president can assert regarding communications with his senior advisors. so it is a long standing privilege that exists. it's legitimate. and difficult administrations across political parties always have instances where they assert this privilege, particularly when congress is asking for information. >> but the president didn't assert that. and what is -- what is sessions
citing instead? >> that's right. so in this particular case, and this pertains to in particular conversations -- a conversation that sessions apparently had with the president about the firing of the fbi director. so it really is a very important specific question. the attorney general was a little bit unclear. on one hand he said that he was not able to assert the privilege. he said that the president had not actually asserted the privilege. and so then he seemed to be referring to other department of justice privileges which sometimes can include the attorney sln client privilege. but that usually is with respect to when the justice department is giving legal advice to the president. so he didn't assert the executive privilege. he didn't exactly say that he was asserting the legal attorney/client privilege. and so he left himself open to whether or not he actually
effectively asserted a privilege or whether he was waiting perhaps for the president to release him from being able to describe the contents of their conversation. >> and jill wine banks, over to you. do you concur with jeremy bash that none of this will fly if the attorney general gets called before mueller because the conditions will be different and he won't be able to rest his case and say sorry that's a privileged conversation with the president? >> absolutely i agree, there is no way he could get away with that. if this was actually asserted as executive privilege, it would go to court. if it went to court, i cannot imagine a court finding it is a valid use of executive privilege. carry is right, it is a valid privilege. it is one that protects in president in getting advice from his top aides. it allows him to get political and policy guidance.
it does not allow him ton ganl the any conduct that is criminal. that's what the watergate case stood for, that you cannot have that kind of conversation and exert skugt executive privilege. that won't fly. >> woe remember the description by the former fbi director of the scene in the oval office, with -- almost written with the eye of a journalist. that came up today in questioning between jeff sessions and senator rubio. let's hear some of that. we'll react to that on other side. >> we were there. i was standing there. and without revealing any conversation that took place, what i do recall is that i did depart. i believe everyone else did depart. and director comey was sitting in front of the president's desk and they were talking. that's what i do remember. i believe it was the next day that he said something, expressed concern about being left alone with the president. but that in itself is not problematic. >> would it be fair to say that
you felt like perhaps you needed to stay because it involved the fbi director? >> i don't know how i would characterize that senator rubio. i left. i didn't seem to me to be a major problem. i knew that director comey, long time experienced in the department of justice could handle himself well. >> carey cordero, is this a difference in diligence, in note taking, in remembering, in being in the moment? >> this was an interesting he can change. because in part of his testimony attorney general sessions sort of was putting it on director comey that he should have known how to respond to the president. but there really -- it's hard to imagine a scenario where the attorney general didn't stay in that room. in other words, since the fbi director does officially report to the attorney general, what could it have been that the president needed to speak to the fbi director outside of the
earshot of the attorney general? in other words, why would the attorney general leave? why wouldn't he stay? the only matter substantively that he was not permitted to be in on are those matters that relate in some way to the russia investigation. >> jill, this is a bit of a bank shot, but did you -- as you watched this -- see an attempt by sessions to set up a potential executive privilege argument by the president? >> it certainly sounded like he was sounding the alarms and saying mr. president if you are listening this is the time to exert executive privilege. i'll not exactly sure that was what was going on. responding to your last question, where are the staff willing to talk truth to power. where are the people willing to stand up and say mr. president this is wrong, you can have this conversation? none of them did that. much like watergate today we heard aed lo of i don't recall,
i don't remember. that's not how people talk unless they are trained to say that. that was part of the cover up in watergate where witnesses were told you can always say i don't recall even when you do. that's perjury to say i don't recall if you actually do. >> two terrific lawyers we are thrilled to have you both on the broadcast. we will call you back again i'm sure. jill wine banks, carey cordero thank you for joining us tonight. another break for us. coming up, a few weeks ago president trump called the house republican health care bill terrific. today he has changed his opinion. that's next when we continue.
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burning, as you can see. and many of the interior floors as morning breaks in london. it has to be considered a possibility of a building collapse. very little of it is left untouched by this fire. london fire brigades have been getting water on it. they got as far inside as they could with self contained breathing apparatus, but it is too early to know about dead or injured from this blaze. but obviously, an ongoing tragedy in west london as dawn breaks on wednesday there. back to our broadcast, back to our discussion, and back to politics, at the same time attorney general sessions testified before congress about russia, president trump was on his way to wisconsin to talk about job training and apprentice programs and the "associated press" broke a story that trump told senators the house health care bill was mean. that would be -- that, rather,
would be the health care bill that he called great in the rose garden of the white house as he and house republicans had that victory lap celebrating its passage last month. joining our conversation, two reporters covering washington, ashley parker, who reporter for the "washington post," and jeremy peters, political reporter for the "new york times." foregive me, some problems on our end. ashley, let's go to the potential firing of mueller. this has been our ongoing headline for what, 24 hours now. spokeswoman tonight said the president has no intention of firing the special counsel. how long is an answer like that valid for with an unpredictable president like this? >> i think -- you know, ever since president trump's friend chris rudy first floated that idea publicly and sort of set off a bombshell, you know, in washington at this point is getting use today's bombshells, that has been a question the
president has been getting. he personally hasn't weighed in. i think at least until he personally weighs in and we hear it from his mouth that will continue to be a question especially because sarah huckabee sanders' response was he has no intention of doing it, but he certainly has the right to do. that's sort of a no but not definitive. >> jeremy, your colleague tweeted tonight about this health care bill, this is why moderate republicans don't want to go to the well. they don't want to walk the plank for this president. he once again has taken a one-time victory, gotten 234 the car, put it in reverse, driven over it and left it as road kill. >> that's a very vivid and accurate description, brian. certainly. part of the problem with trump has always been his inconsistency. every time congressional republicans go out on a limb and defend him they end up having to eat their words. so you can see the attack ads
writing themselves in the next cycle. zematis are going to be running commercials saying each donald trump says the republicans' health care plan is mean. and this is part of the reason why i think that you are not going to see anything of substance get done on health care. it's so difficult because on the one and hand you alienate moderates if you stick with this, quote, unquote, mean bill. if you soften it, try to appeal to moderates and each some democrats as republicans would like to you are going alienate the conservatives. it's very hard in the senate especially the see how you get to 50 votes. >> ashley, we would love to be talking about apprentice prals, about tax reform, about infrastructure. and yet we are not because nothing has formed. nothing is on its way to both houses of congress. we have talked to republicans who have said to the white house, give us a good day. put two straight good days
together. and that's been the problem. >> that certainly has been the problem. the white house is eager to do this, too. they just sort of seem to keep on stepping on their own messaging. as you mentioned last week was infrastructure week. but i think it was better known by everyone across the nation as comey week. you know, this week is work force development week. and again, all eyes were focused on senator sessions' testimony -- or attorney general sessions. the thing that also feeds us are not only these events that are out of his control but something that is within nis control, which is basically his twitter account. every time he sends out a tweet as we saw today every single senator and house member and republican is forced to answer for it. it overshadows their messages and distracts from what they want to do and should be able the do with the republican president republican house and
republican senator. >> jeremy your newspaper reports tonight, we will quote, for mr. president trump the line between whim and will is always thin. it is often erased in moments of anger when simmering grievance boils over into rash action exemplifies by the firing of mr. comey after a weekend of brooding at his resort in westminster new jersey. his wife and son having newly moved into the residence of the white house and back into his life, do you believe that will have a moderating factor on this? >> i don't think so. i think that melania -- our reporting shows that melania was one of many voices acting on him advising not to act on this impulse to fire mr. mueller.
it was nothing that trump was ever going to do. it was a thought bubble that went off above his head and he entertained it. i think that you never know what he's going to do. if watching him over the course of the last two years, and the last 150 days of his presidency have taught us anything it's that he is utterly completely unpredictle. i spoke with a very senior white house aide this afternoon and put the question to him can you promise that trump is never going the fire robert mueller? this aide said i can't promise anything. i think that really gives you a window into the mind-set of the people around trump right now. they just don't what he's going to do at any given moment. >> ashley some of the reporting tonight was that there was actual west wing staff pushback against the boss saying this would be a bad idea. and one of those who did that vocally so was said to be reince priebus. last we read about him, lo 24
hours he was give until july 4th to clone up his act. have you seen any discernible change in the west wing, in its function, speaking to our last exchange? >> not necessarily. i mean the thing to understand about this white house is that there is a myth that there is no one who will say no to the president. there are actually people who will say no to the president. there are certainly some who won't. among those people who will say no or will tell him this isn't a good idea or this isn't the best thing to do, the problem is not that they are not in there trying their best. the president obama is that the president simply is not listening. in some cases often seems to have the reaction of you said i can't do that? why don't you watch me do exactly that. there are instances where reince sort of is doing his job trying to get the trains the run on time but he is doing it with a very difficult master. >> we lucky and fortunate to be able to talk to the very best in their profession as we did again tonight. ashley parker, "washington
post," jeremy peters, "new york times," we really appreciate you joining us. late on a tuesday night. and coming up after another break, the former u.s. ambassador to russia on how the attorney general has never been briefed on the russian election hacking that went on in our country. when "the 11th hour" continues. it's like nothing you've seen. the power of nexium 24hr protection from frequent heartburn. all day, and all night. now packed into a pill so small, we call it mini.
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do you believe the russians interfered with the 2016 elections? >> it appears so. the intelligence community seems to be united in that. i have to tell you, senator, i know nothing of what i read in the paper. >> attorney general jeff sessions, the nation's top law enforcement official telling congress he knows no more than the general public about russia's meddling in the election. bloomberg reported today russia's hacking was far wider than previously known.
details of the wave of attacks in the summer and fall of 2016 were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the u.s. investigation into the matter. in all, the russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states. with us tonight to talk about this, former u.s. ambassador to russia during the obama administration mike mcfall and ring stingal is with us in new york. former managing editor of "time" magazine. we have learned from mr. comey that the president never peppered him with questions on the status of the russian investigation and learned today the top law enforcement officer in the country has never been briefed on it. what are we left to think? >> it is kind of stunning. the first part of your question is not exactly the harvard business school study of how to manage a subordinant. and then the fact that he didn't
know anything about the russian hacking, the fact that he never asked for a briefing is really surprising. his reaction is a little bit like shock to discover there is gambling in casablanca. he knew what was going on. >> talk about what a normalizing effect all of this has been about russia. when the president of the united states labels some of the reporting on this fake news, when it has been out there and picked up and knocked down day after day, i always ask you where is the urgency? where is the outrage? >> well, i'm glad at least you're talking about it because this bloomberg story was extraordinary. it had new details that we didn't know before. 39 states. that's a big chunk of the united states of america. that they probed and didn't interfere is the good news but
that they had the capability to do it. former senior white house officials talked about the effort in this article. i talked to former colleagues of mine about it in detail. they took big efforts to try to prevent it and called the russians to say knock it off and yet we have done nothing, absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening in the future. >> when you start talking about 39 states, at least attempts for encourageance. this is where you start talking about the possibility of an reaction that wasn't on the up and up. >> this was an attack on our sovereignty. we will look back and think why did we not respond. this is something that is extraordinary. here is my theory of the case, though. 200 years ago thomas pain said the right to vote is the right that supports and protects all of our other rights. you know who understands that?
vladimir putin. he wanted to undermine our confidence in our democracy. he never expected the result. that extraordinary story shows him meddling in 39 different states to make us think that it was somehow not kosher. remember, there was one candidate talking about a rigged election. vladimir putin was trying to support that candidate to be able to say the election was rigged and then there was a different outcome. >> watch and listen to this exchange. joe mansion, democrat west virginia questioning jeff sessions about who was involved. >> are there any other meetings between russian government officials and other trump campaign associates not previously disclosed? sgla i don't recall any. >> did any meet with russian officials at any point? paul manafort?
steve bannen? >> i have no information. >> mike flynn? >> i don't recall. >> it went on all the way to carter page and there have been press reports about him. the answer there basically was nothing to see here. question to you is what are the russians making of this? >> well, a bunch of different things. number one, i think they are surprised by the level of detail and information that we are now uncovering about what they did. that's a good thing. number two, you know, i think they wonder where this will lead in terms of the things that they sought to accomplish with president trump. i think they are frustrated. i think they thought by now we are in june that we would be talking about lifting sanctions, we would be talking about a
summit in moscow where they would toast each other and talk about the cooperation that they are going to do in places like syria or elsewhere. none of that is happening. ironically the plan that they ran in 2016 has not given them the results they hope to achieve. exactly the opposite. >> in our 30 remaining seconds you did this for the home team meaning you tried to get the u.s. message out using inexpensive methods if you could. have you ever seen a return on investment this robust? >> for putin i don't think he has seen that. what is so surprising about the bloomberg story is they say this is a predicate for what they can do in '18 and 2020. they are just beginning to see how things work and we are protected by how uncentralized our election system is. >> i want to thank you both. discussion goes on. we will have you both back. thank you to ambassador mike
mcfall. the last thing before we go tonight, new job approval numbers put the president's disapproval at 60%. his approval rating at just 36%. that is an all-time high of americans who disapprove of the job mr. trump is doing. it is a number not unheard of. president nixon got there. 1,736 days into his presidency. bush 41 sooner towards the end of his first and only term. bush 43 took the longest of the last 11 presidents to get there at 1,758 days. president trump gets to the milestone at a mere 144 days in office. and of the previous 11 presidents, eight never had a disapproval rating as high as 60%, not ike, not jfk, lbj, ford, reagan, clinton nor barack
obama. on that note that is our broadcast for this busy evening. thank you for being here with us. good night for all of us from new york. happy to have you here this fine tuesday night. chuck schumer is going to be joining us this hour. he's the -- arguably the top democrat in washington. the top democrat in the u.s. senate. he's going to be here with us live tonight to give us basically the democrats' response to this blockbuster pounding the table testimony today that we got under oath from attorney general jeff sessions. that's ahead. chuck schumer is going to be here live for the interview tonight. we've got a big show tonight. when ronald reagan won the presidency in 1980, his campaign manager for that presidential campaign was a man named bill casey. william casey. and after they w t