tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 26, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
ruhle." we have to go. it's time to say goodbye. thank you for watching "velshi & ruhle." >> now we're going to turn our show over to andrea mitchell for "andrea mitchell reports." this hour without enough votes, republican leaders are about to pull the plug on that last-ditch attempt to repeal obamacare as the president plays the blame game. >> we'll see what happens. we were very disappointed by a couple senators. republican senators, i must say. we were very disappointed that they would take the attitude that they did. we don't know why they did it. you can sort of figure that. but we'll see what happens. going into overtime. president trump calling for an nfl rule change to stop national anthem protests. and calling out the cowboys for their monday night kneel. and reply all. at least six top aides including
ivanka trump and jared kushner used private e-mail accounts despite trump's ramped-up rant for hillary clinton's private e-mails. >> now we have this story about kushner and apparently others in the white house, and i am waiting to see the outrage on the part of republican members of congress about this. and you will not see it. >> good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in new york. president trump and republican senators are watching the clock run out to repeal obamacare by a simple majority. rand paul, susan collins, john mccain leaving them in critical condition and the pressure is all back on senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to either take another toxic vote or pull the plug. >> at some point there will be a repeal and replace.
but we'll see whether or not that point is now or will it be shortly thereafter. but we are disappointed in certain so-called republicans. >> so-called republicans? joining me now, nbc's kristen welker at the white house, carol lee and "new york times" reporter. kristen, so much on the president's plate today, and he's got the health care debacle politically, at least, plus north korea, the nfl dispute, and how about puerto rico? where do we start with the president today, and he's got a foreign visitor, the prime minister of spain. >> where do we begin? that's why you see the honor guard behind me, andrea, as the prime minister of spain gets set to meet with the president. of course, he's focused on that, but to tick through the points you made about puerto rico. the president was criticized about not tweeting about puerto rico over the weekend and really turning his sights on the nfl players who were protesting.
so in response to that starting yesterday, the white house has been very clear. they're taking the hurricane aftermath very seriously in puerto rico. some of the president's top advisers, including tom bossert visited the region, and the president announcing that he will be going to puerto rico next tuesday and possibly, he says, the virgin islands as well. so there's that. on the domestic front, andrea, health care really taking up the focus here at the white house today. i just spoke to a senior official and said, are you ready to accept that the health care effort is dead? is this not an embarrassment for the administration? and they said, no, not yet, let's see what happens at this lunch. of course, vice president mike pence having his weekly lunch on capitol hill, trying to twist a few arms in the senate. that's going to be tough, because, of course, those who oppose this latest version of the effort to repeal and replace obamacare, you have rand paul on the one hand who wants to see a more robust effort to repeal
obamacare. on the other hand, you have people like susan collins who says this doesn't do enough to cover those with preexisting conditions. that is really taking up a locality of focus as they prepare to unveil their tax reform plan tomorrow. don't forget about that, andrea. a lot on the president's plate. we'll have a chance to ask him about that when he has a joint press conference with the prime minister of spain a little later, andrea. >> kristen, stand by there. carol and nick are here as well. i want to play a little of the president on the "rick and bubba show" in atlanta where there is the senate election today and that difficult situation where he is on the other side with bannon opposing the very controversial judge. let's talk about the way the president is blaming people for health care. he went after john mccain not
only with that six and a half minute facebook compilation yesterday, but this was the president yesterday. >> when it matters because you have a president who is actually going to sign it, they don't do it, and they pander and they grandstand. i mean, you look at mccain. what mccain has done is a tremendous slap in the face of the republican party. that's the only reason we don't have it is because of john mccain. >> blame ing it on john mccain. john mccain is in a life and death struggle right now. he's been very open about that. he's coming back from chemotherapy treatments to participate in senate debate. and to suggest he is not doing this out of principle is so extraordinary. >> it's amazing, because look, he is basically saying i'm principle. i'm for obamacare repeal, this process is terrible. we haven't had this national discussion. the bill is confusing.
this is not the way the senate should work. this is purely on principle by a guy who wants to see obamacare repealed, supposedly, so i think it's an unfair shot. >> carol, even martin short and others at the white house could not stand withering questioning from chuck todd on fox news sunday about the details because they kept saying, no, preexisting conditions are covered. and susan collins and others have been very clear. if you read the bill, one hearing barely because of the protests and other reasons, in fact the states have extraordinary leeway over who they would cover and what it would cost. >> jamming something in like this is never really successful, and we've seen this before, blaming senators for not supporting something in the way the president is doing. also, it's hard to see how that's going to get him what he wants. if you're john mccain, why would
you be intimidated into changing your view on this because the president is criticizing you? second, john mccain isn't the only senator who is holding this up. they don't have the votes, and it's not just because of john mccain, but the president has chosen to make him his target. >> which is, again, inexplicable. i want to play for all of you, kristen, take a look at this. this is ray moore who at last check was ahead in the polls for tonight's big senate vote. this was roy moore campaigning in alabama last night. watch closely. >> nearly three months of negative ads that we couldn't answer with money because we didn't have it. ads that were completely false. that i don't believe in the second amendment. i believe in the second amendment. >> i don't know if i've ever seen anything like that on the campaign trail before in a
senate race. >> a unique campaign tactic, that's for sure, andrea, underscores, i think, the fact that he feels the need to really reach out to the base, those who want to see someone who is going to strongly defend the rights of gun owners. but what has been so striking about this, not just that moment which you point out, andrea, but the fact you have seen this very stark divide between the president -- the vice president, of course, campaigning last night for luther strange, and steve bannon really stumping, pushing for roy moore. they said he is the outsider candidate. bannon was pushed on this last night saying, aren't you breaking with the president here? he said, no, we are doing what is ultimately best for donald trump to send roy moore, an outsider, to the senate. this really brings to light, andrea, the tension the president is under right now, between wanting to govern mitch
mcconnell to think luther strange is the one who actually will get something done. and then the president's base who say they want to continue to send outsiders to washington to shake things up. >> kristen, you have a very busy day. we'll come back to you after the prime minister arrives with a photo opportunity. turning now to the nfl and president trump's controversial remarks which have now ignited a wave of objections, including last night. jerry jones taking a knee in the field before the anthem. while it was being sung, both teams stood on the sidelines linking arms. this morning the president increasing pressure on the nfl. in a tweet, demanding now the league ban any protests during the anthem. joining me now is a former wide receiver who recently retired to focus on humanitarian and social justice issues. thank you for joining us today. i want to ask you about the
president's response to the game last night and then demanding that the nfl owners create a new rule, to demand any kind of protests, sirens or otherwise, during the anthem. >> again, i think we see a president who doesn't get it. number one, i think everybody in the nfl came together in a sign of solidarity to show that you can't take away guys' first amendment right. guys have a right to protest. even if you don't like what they're doing, guys have that right to protest, and i think the nfl came together to show that. >> do you think that this will continue now that this issue has become so pronounced, so high profile because of the president initially? how does anyone back down from these continuing, spiraling -- the demonstrations, the criticism and the back and forth? >> well, i think there is a distinction between the two.
i think what you saw on sunday is different than the protests that you've been seeing previously. i think the solidarity, the sign of solidarity shown on sunday was actually against what president trump was trying to accomplish. guys were trying to come together to defend the first amendment right. what guys have been protesting prior to is equality in america. and i don't think that's -- those two have been -- the distinction hasn't been made between the two. i think guys will continue to protest because the issues are not being heard. i think guys want to push to the forefront issues that they've been trying to bring attention to such as bail reform, privatized prisons, juvenile lifers, police accountability. those are the things guys were protesting prior to. i think sunday was just a show of solidarity that guys' first amendment rights can't be taken
away. >> it was extraordinary, indeed. the president retweeted something about pat tillman and seemed to take it out of context. marie tillman, who is the widow of pat tillman, who was killed in afghanistan we later learned from friendly fire so tragically. she tweeted pat's service along with that of every man and woman's service should never be politicized in a way that divides us. we are too great of a country for that. she seems to side with all of you, rejecting what has been widely criticized as divisive comments by the president. >> yeah. i think everybody is against the divisiveness that has come from the rhetoric that the president is spewing. i think people want to come together to make this country a better place. and i think the president is actually trying to use the
military to push his agenda. never once was the protest about military or a flag. i think it's just convenient for the president at this point in time, because he's the same guy that has made fun of and criticized those military members. but now, since it's a part of his agenda, he wants to act as though he's pro-military. >> i also want to ask you about one of the reasons you've been inspired to work with andrew cummings and others in social justice work. it starts with your cousin. tell us how your cousin was killed. i believe he was just waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road when he was shot and killed. >> yes, my kicousin was on his y home from playing in a band. he had a gig that night, and on his way home, he ended up breaking down on the side of the road. unfortunately, it cost him his life. for me that's one of the reasons
i stepped away from football was to dedicate my time and my efforts to making sure that equality, it's for all of us, and not just a selected few in america. >> thank you for what you're doing, anquan boldin. thank you for joining us today. we really appreciate it and for trying to bring some clarity to this debate. >> thank you, and thanks for having me. coming up, you've got mail. the "new york times" is reporting that at least six of president trump's former and current advisers, including family members, have used private e-mail accounts for government business. more on that next on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. and this wrestling ticket... which you still owe me for. seriously? $25? i didn't even want to go. ahhh, your diary. "mom says it's totally natural..." $25 is nothing. abracadabra, bro.
just now you can see as the spanish prime minister has just walked into the west wing for his meeting with the president and other advisers. there will be a photo opportunity, and if we get something out of that, we will bring it to you. but this is a meeting which will then result in around 1:45, we're told, a joint news conference. that, of course, will be live right here on msnbc. the "new york times" is reporting that at least six current and former white house advisers have occasionally used private e-mail accounts to discuss private matters. they have been instructed to use official e-mail for government
work and to forward any messages to personal accounts. a senior aide in the obama administration and political analyst rich stengel, secretary of state in john kerry's state department. ron klain, we all know about "lock her up" and the refrains that led to a lot of false charges by donald trump. how bad is it that donald trump and his family and aides have used private e-mail for their personal issues? >> it goes past hypocrisy and goes right to hutzpah. it's amazing after the president said "lock her up, lock her up." they not only used private
e-mails but jared kushner had a website is godaddy to talk about his business. there is nothing more arrogant on what they did after spending an entire campaign coming down on. >> sometimes they have private e-mail accounts and sometimes it's hard to separate if people you know in both world send you -- you've seen the explanations. but especially jared kushner with the implications in some reports that he was trying to send back channels to russia and others during the transition. how do they play that? >> it's hypocritical, as ron said. i don't know hypocrisy was a yiddish word.
it's very, very bad judgment and it's stupid, but it may not be illegal, as you say. if they were transferring classified information, that would be illegal. if he was cc-ing his government account, that also would not be illegal. the actual federal records act was amended in 2016 by president obama and congress to basically include electronic records. if you kept your electronic records, then you were not in violation of the act, only if you were trying to conceal them or destroy them is that a federal offense. >> but we should also point out to both of you who have been in government at very high levels that what is and what is not classified, what is classified can be in some instances that the secretary of state is about to have a meeting with so-and-so. once the meeting is held, it is no longer classified, but when it's in the planning stages, ron, it's classified. that was a lot of cases in the clinton e-mails, was about prospective scheduling. >> that's right, andrea. in fact, nothing hillary clinton
sent in the e-mail was classified at the time she sent it. sometimes a review changed things, and the same could be said about jared kushner's e-mails. i want to get past the legalities of it, just the outright brazenness of it. people send things to your private e-mail, whatever. what happened here was very different. after running a presidential campaign focused fundamentally on the concept that hillary clinton was unable to be president because of private e-mails. jared kushner then set up a private e-mail account for the purpose of sending e-mails. this brazen act is outrageous. it is probably not illegal, but it's hypocritical, it's offensive, and it's very discouraging to see.
>> the e-mails and all these other issues, the president has been tweeting about just about everything, until yesterday, but puerto rico. with american citizens suffering so grieveously. the president said he's going next weekend, and when there is no electricity and people are in such dire shape remember, that we haven't seen any statements of concern until a tweet yesterday is quite remarkable. >> even that tweet, andrea, was sort of reprehensible. he talked about deaths on wall street. these are 3.5 million u.s. citizens. the fact he's expressed very little sympathy for them and done very little is really
extraordinary. by president way, we should send the navy there and helping them, and i would say that's exactly right. >> ron, you have taken on on many emergency actions for the administrations. shouldn't there be an all-points effort now for puerto rico? there should have been for the last week. >> i don't really care if donald trump tweets, i don't care if he goes there and visits. what i care is about, if, dwindling food supplies, no electricity, early curfews, no work, no economic future. this is a humanitarian crisis of the first order. tweets is not going to solve the problem. he's not a real estate developer. he doesn't get to pick which zip codes he's going to help or some zip codes he's going to build.
they deserve the attention of their government and their president. >> to that point, indeed, thanks to you and thanks to rick steng. the island could be without power for months. now there are concerns that the aftermath of hurricane maria could prompt a major exodus as well. he was at the san juan airport where you can see people were lined up. i see water on the conveyor belt. >> earlier we were talking to san juan people desperately trying to get out. this is relief supplies. this is the automobile right
next toll the airport. this is dallas mavericks' team plane. they just landed. they're planning to drop off supplies. we're talking water bottles, food, generator items. hires the point guard of the dallas mavericks, puerto rican descent. how important is it for you to be here and be able to deliver supplies to your community? >> there is nothing in the world that will stop me from being here. this is my home. it's everything to me. puerto rico has given me everything, my life, my family. all my family and friends are down here, so for me to have the contacts for all my good friend in dallas, and we're trying to bring one if everything is claimed like that. i texted him and asked him if he
would help and he immediately said yes. it's really bad down here. >> reporter: you haven't had contact with all of your family, have you? >> yesterday i talked to my parents and they were able to meet me here and i was able to help them out. i'm telling everybody, it's the worst here ever in puerto rico. it will take months, maybe up to a year, to get back to normal. electricity will take six months. >> do you think that the response so far has been adequate. >> we could do more. -- the airport is getting open a little more, president board. we have to think about the milgd of the island and we have to think about the west side thechside. they really need it on the west
side. >> i know you have a busy day ahead of you, you've only been on the ground a couple hours. thank you so much. andrea, a lot of activity as relief supplies get to this island. i know lester holt was with the national guard yesterday as they were bringing in humanitarian aid as well. earlier today, we were seeing people throughout puerto rico coming to the airport, trying to get out on one of these additional flights. there are worries that this might be the sign of things to come, that tens of thousands of puerto ricans might end up leaving this island if there is not enough humanitarian aid. the government actually said as much. if the federal government does not step up and offer the aid necessary to help rebuild puerto rico that many people on this island might end up in the u.s., might go to places like florida and elsewhere in order to make a better life for themselves.
a very active situation right now. you see the national guard helping with this massive relief effort underway right here in puerto rico. the dallas mavericks bringing in a lot of water. generators are a huge concern here. there's no power on much of the island. >> and i just to want thank gabe. i think we just lost the transmission. you can imagine how difficult it is to be reporting from down there. that's extraordinary. just think about it, you all. gabe gutierrez reporting from the tarmac. that is an airplane from mark cuban, the dallas mavericks, because j.j. asked him and the supplies are rolling in and it took just one phone call for that plane to go. if the people in the sporting world and the others in this country who have those resources could be helping the national guard, just look at these live pictures and you can imagine what it means for the people of puerto rico. we'll have a lot more coming up. also, the snowball effect.
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up the rhetoric against north korea while his secretary of defense james mattis today toned it down in india saying president trump wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically. a speechwriter for president ronald reagan now an nbc and msnbc political contributor. we're about to see the president and the spanish prime minister very briefly. we'll go to that if we see it pop up. now we have this standoff between the u.s. and north korea. let's go to the president. >> we welcome the prime minister of spain. he is someone highly respected in this country. we have a very close relationship with spain, and mr. president, it's an honor to have you in the oval office. it's an honor to have you at the white house, and we're going to
be discussing trade and other things, and we look forward to doing it. and mr. president, thank you very much. >> the president welcoming the prime minister, also known as the president, of spain, and they will be having a joint news conference at about 1:45 which we'll be carrying live. back to you, peggy noonan. the president's big speech at the united nations had a lot of good notes about the importance of the united nations, of collective action. but at the same time it began this direction of calling him rocket man. by the end of the week, that devolved into the kind of taunts against the north korean leader that really could have exacerbated the problem. >> yes, i think that's fair. i think, you know, in rhetoric during international crises, candor is good. you have to be clear with the world about what you think and
where you stand and why. what you can accept and what you can't. as president trump was speaking before the u.n., and as he said to them, this, by the way, is your job, it was good that he told them where america is. the bad part, you know, this is something that i think about. as i look at korea, i think of the cuban missile crisis and i think of how john f. kennedy, then president, in his telexes and private communications with niki nikita kruschev of russia could be very blunt but didn't unnecessarily rattle cages when he wasn't sure what condition khrushchev was in. when this president gets overly dramatic in his approach and
phraseology, i'm not sure what it gets him. candor is good. overdramatic words in a dramatic time, that's not so good. >> in fact, in your analogy, when john f. kennedy received two letters that were contradictory from the soviets, one dialing it up and one looking for the diplomatic way out, he said, let's ignore the bad letter -- i'm paraphrasing, of course -- let's own this letter and take the diplomatic path and force them to. in this case the rocket man, we understand that several people in the administration did not want him to go that route, but then on friday night in alabama before a crowd, which always gets the president's juices going, it was little kim, little rocket manner, and that was after we had seen kim respond to the u.n. speech by going on camera. north korean leaders don't do that. this is personalizing the dispute and it's leaving neither
side with a face-saving way out, potentially. >> you don't really want to corner your enemy. you want to leave your enemy doubting his own decisions and impulses and thinking, maybe i got to ratchet it back. you don't want to corner him. one of our problems now, i think, one of president trump's problems, a daily challenge for him, is that he is living in the age of twitter. and he is using twitter. we used to have thoughtfulness, prepared documents, telexes, telegra telegrams, even letters. now you get the impression the president woke up and he was irritated by what he saw on tv this morning about kim, and so he sent off a tweet. that's not a good thing to do, in part because one of the threats now with the korea problem is the possibility every day of simple miscalculation. we've got young men and young women in bombers off the coast of korea. >> they're much closer than
they've ever been before. >> of course, and you've got north korea saying, we can shoot down any reconnaisance plane or bomber that we want to. this is a hot situation. ratchet it back, cool it, stop with the twitter. i've been saying this, and so many of us have for ten months, but it can't be said enough. stop doing that thing that you're doing. ratchet it back. focus. be calm. >> good advice, peggy noonan, who has written some of the best presidential speeches in history, thinking of the hawk and the challenger and everything else. and coming up, exploring the social network. the russians and how they used facebook to divide the campaign, among others.
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different ads and how they reach out to users and deliver a message about russian politics. >> yes, it's quite fascinating. >> let us know whether the kremlin recognized them or needed help. >> sure. they target ads to different types of people and that's why facebook has become this advertising juggernaut. you look at what the russians did, ask thnd they really had t nefarious understanding of the division around religion and race especially. let's talk about black lives matter. some of the people who read it would actually enjoy black lives matter, would join black lives
matter and get different groups involved in black lives matter. and then you have audiences on facebook who would fear black looif lives matter. so it's very sophisticated. you also saw ads about muslim women for hillary. some people on facebook would be terrified of that and it would stoke a vision. >> are you surprised about this american culture of visions by the russians? >> i'm not surprised but i want to learn more. you know, i would say generally speaking, the understanding of american politics in russia is pretty low right now, but there are pockets of expertise, including perhaps the people that were behind the buying of these ads. the intention here, i think, is very clear. the intention here is to sow division within american society, and that follows a general strategy that the kremlin has been following
vis-a-vis the united states for some time. it's consistent with other patterns but we would like to know more about who was behind it and what were they seeking to do? >> what about the response in silicon valley, elizabeth? facebook, months and months of denials, resisting pressure from congress. mark warner and others very concerned that zuckerberg, facebook and others were just not responsive enough quickly enough to what was very apparent during the election. >> yeah, it's been fascinating. it's been a huge wake-up call this year for facebook and for mark zuckerberg himself as our story yesterday pointed out. obama actually cornered zuckerberg after the election to talk about fake news on the platform. coming to the new year, they're trying to wrap their heads around this, too. it's almost like the year facebook became a bad guy. this was an attack vector they never anticipated. they have some of the smartest engineers in the world looking at things like cybersecurity every day, spam.
but this kind of propagandaless attack where the speech on facebook is okay, it's who was putting out the speech that wasn't legitimate. they couldn't figure that out at all, so they were putting their highest security teams on this to try to get to the bottom of it. the question is how fast and why didn't they move quickly enough and why didn't they ask the right questions that it's troubling. as of july, there was saying there was no evidence at all of russia's ads. two or three years later, they find many, many ads and even more. >> the administration is pushing back so much on the mueller investigation, but do you think mueller and congress will get to the bottom of this? >> well, they seem very interested, don't they? i think the fact that mr. mueller is so interested in facebook right now is probative. he thinks there is something here. i think we need to separate out intention and effect, right? we don't actually know the effect. it's a very hard social science
question, to isolate the causal impact of this russian independent intervention on facebook, right? but the intention, the strategy, seems clearer and clearer this is one instrument of attention and that demands a policy response. what are we going to do to protect our sovereignty during our elections? we haven't even begun that conversation. >> we'll have to leave it there. michael fall and elizabeth, thank you very much. danger zone. and i don't mean just right here in the studio. one week after the earthquake, disaster efforts are not for forthcoming. we'll be back in a minute. ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma
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life line screening. the power of prevention. call now to learn more. on capitol hill, controversial trump ally roger stone speaking about his testimony. >> -- about the content and source of the wikileaks disclosures regarding hillary clinton was false. and that my exchange with someone claiming to be gucifer 2.0 when viewed through the context, content and timing was benign and innocuous. i had an opportunity to correct a number of the things that members of the committee had said about me, which they seem to take in. and i think this was productive. i expressed my view that i'm
aware of no evidence whatsoever of collusion by the russian state or anyone in the trump campaign or anyone associated with donald trump. and i reiterated my view that in my opinion donald trump has the potential to be both a truly great and transformative president. i'd be happy to take your questions. yes, sir? [ inaudible question ] i believe his attorneys informed my attorneys of that. >> are you aware of any other type of potential legal action in that realm? >> i am not. >> have you been contacted in any way or assume that you might have -- >> i have not. i have never heard from mr. mueller's office, from the fbi. and i only had an initial contact with the senate intelligence committee asking us to preserve records.
>> just on the manafort -- did he express indication of when -- >> no, they didn't seem to know neither when nor what the charge may be. >> and just what happened in there? how much of the question focused on your discussions through an intermediary with mr. assange as well as this discussion on twitter with gucifer? >> a fair amount. a substantial amount. >> democrats were asking the questions, republicans? >> democrats. >> and did you have any other communication with gucifer beyond -- >> none whatsoever. i made that public yesterday. we released the entire exchange which takes place i believe between august 15th and september 9th. many weeks after the publication by wikileaks of the dnc material. meaning, collusion with guccifer
and the hacking and release of that material would be impossible unless i owned a time machine, which i do not. >> is it still your view that russians had nothing to do with the hacks of the dnc or mr. podesta? >> that is my belief. i subscribe to the view published in the nation magazine several weeks ago that the computer science seems to indicate an inside job. so i don't know whether the dnc was hacked. i don't know at all. i don't know that it was hacked by russians. and now on the basis of this report i tend to believe it was an inside job. meaning the data was downloaded to say a thumb drive and spirited out of the building. i would point out that craig murray, who is a british diplomat, has said, for the record, that he received information from the dnc on a thumb drive and passed it to wikileaks. >> do you and the president --
do you say to him about what you said here today? have you spoken at all to him about this testimony? >> i have not. i'm not even sure he was aware i was testifying today although he may have read it in today's "the washington post." [ inaudible question ] there's no current schedule to do so. i would certainly be willing to do so on a voluntary basis. i would require no immunity, i would welcome the opportunity. >>. [ inaudible question ] >> pardon me? >> when is the last time you spoke to the president? >> recently. i'm going to decline to characterize it. it was not about this investigation. >> were there any intense moments today or you walked away feeling tense or anything that made you feel uncomfortable? >> no. i wouldn't say so. there were certainly some partisan clashes and maybe some disagreements i would say some differences of opinion, but nothing that made me uncomfortable. >> can you go into detail about
what those clashes might be? >> i prefer not to. i don't think that members of the committee buy some of my claims, but they have no evidence to the contrary. >> did you hear -- shift directly to apologize to you? >> i did not because the length of my testimony which included that stuff went over. and i was only afforded five minutes. >> did any of -- [ inaudible ] >> yes. i'm not holding my breath. >> did you decline to stay with your intermediary -- >> yes, i did. >> did you decline to answer any other questions? >> no. that's the only question i declined to answer. >> does your opinion of the committee change at all? >> well, mr. castro seems like a very nice guy. but beyond that, my opinion has largely not changed. >> did you get any pushback from the committee when you declined to id your intermediary?
>> yes, they would like me to do so. i told them i would consider it. now, the reason i am not submitting that name is because the intermediary is a journalist. and our conversation was off the record. i'm an opinion journalist. he's a journalist. i'm not going to burn somebody who i spoke to off the record. if he releases me, if he allows me to release it, i would be happy to give it to the committee. i'm actually going to try to do that. >> you -- in your statements either before or afterwards you've asked for apologies, said the members of the committee have sort of smeared your character. by and large do you think this is a serious exercise? >> no, i think it's an entirely political exercise. look, they make the charges against you in a public forum for maximum coverage to benefit their u.s. senate campaign or their re-election. but then they only allow you to respond behind closed doors. and they won't even allow the
release of a transcript. it really puts you at an extraordinarily unfair advantage. in the case of michael caputo, he attended the session, answered all questions truthfully and then congresswoman smear -- i mean spear came back and maligned him. said he had purgererjuried hims. i don't think that's true -- yes, the day after mr. comey resigned -- or was fired, pardon me, was passed over for that job. that to me constitutes a conflict. >> have you made that recommendation directly to the president? >> i have not. but i have written it, i've said it on infowars.com. i've said it, written it in the daily caller, the president may be aware of my view. >> what was the disposition of the republicans of the committee? were they arguing on your behalf? >> no, i think they were trying to do their job and write a fair
report. there were some clashes between the republicans and the democrats about the appropriateness of some questions. but giant -- overall it was pretty collegial. >> which questions? >> mr. gowdy asked me directly if i had any knowledge of russian collusion, collusion with any member of the trump campaign, the trump family, trump associates, trump friends, trump supporters, and i said no. mr. schiff said, well, we could ask the same question of vladimir putin. and mr. gowdy took exception to that. >> in your opinion whatever this committee decides or whatever the report says is something that you could actually trust, do you feel as though you can trust their conclusions? >> i believe i was fairly treated, if that's your
question. i obviously reserve judgment until i see the final report. but the entire exchange was completely professional. everybody was courteous. i have no complaints about anyone's conduct. >> have you spoken to mr. manafort about the fbi raid on his house? >> yes. he believes as i do that it is outrageous. they not only took away twofolders of documents all of which they already had, but they photographed all of this custom italian suits in his closet. i cannot imagine for what reason. >> who has a better tailor, you or mr. manafort? >> english tailoring is always better than italian tailoring, at least for my body shape. >> do you know what manafort may be indicted for? >> i don't. and neither does he, based on my brief conversation with him. >> and you have said you believe he is not guilty of what he might be indicted for? why is that? >> well, because i think what's