tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN May 10, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
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in what some are calling a presidential power grab. the white house firing the man leading the investigation of the white house. president trump asserting his executive authority in a rare move firing james comey citing his treatment of hillary clinton as the major reason why, someone this president said should be in jail. a move this morning that some are describing as political jujitsu, forcing a man they wanted ousted. >> a lot of people not buying that he fired james comey because he was unfair to hillary clinton. all of this happened on the same day that cnn learned a grand jury issued subpoenas in the russia investigation. meanwhile, a lot happening -- a lot of news happening right now. attorney general jeff sessions is interviewing candidates to serve as interim fbi director and in the senate just moments ago, mitch mcconnell and senate majority leader and chuck schumer, the minority leader with very different views of
this historic moment. >> our democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an fbi director whom they themselves repeated lead and sharply criticized that removal being done by a man ron rosenstein who they repeated lead praiseded. >> there is little reason to think that mr. rosenstein's letter is the true reason that president trump fired director comey. what must happen now is that mr. rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor to oversee this investigation. >> and the key moment just moments ago from senator mitch mcconnell, he made clear he would not support the special counselor or any special committee. we have correspondent covering every angle of this story. i want to begin with phil mattingly on capitol hill where there was a very important moment, mitch mcconnell very much with the president this morning, phil.
>> you can't overstate how important that leadership is. senate leadership and house leadership will determine whether or not there are changes towards the policy here, whether or not congress will actually work towards a special prosecutor or an independent panel and so long as senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and his number two, senator john corn cornyn, i spoke to him earlier. the interesting element here is that's as republican members of their conference seem to be starting to break with them or at least start to raise concerns. i just spoke a couple of minutes ago with democratic senator brown. take a listen to what he had to say about some of those republicans. >> like my colleagues in both parties i think there should be a special prosecutor. the president of the united states firing the person who is leading the investigation and his ties with russia is very troubling, and i hear from -- i've talked to half a dozen republican colleagues today and three or four democratic colleagues and there's pretty much consensus that what the president did was wrong and
there's consensus that we need to do something bold and can't trust him to put in a new fbi director when the first name you hear is rudy giuliani. it makes you question the seriousness of all of this. >> guys, the big question is those republican senators who have made it clear to sherrod brown. those who said they were troubled about what occurred whether it was john mccain, ben sasse and jeff flake, all republicans whether or not they can form some tiepd ype of mome toward moving in a different direction, it was made crystal clear, despite what democrats are calling for and what they're feeling, mitch mcconnell is not moving forward. i'll note another thing, senate democrats were all on the floor this morning for those opening remarks and a statement trying to apply some public pressure to senator mitch mcconnell and they'll be meeting in a half hour behind closed doors and just their caucus to talk about the steps forward. senator chuck schumer is requesting a closed-door
briefing and separate briefings from the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. we'll see if mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader will allow that. >> they don't seem to be budging in other players. phil mattingly, thank you so much. >> i want to check in with joe johns. a moment of staggering importance, incredibly pretelephopr pretentious and what does he do? he tweets. >> that's right. with all of the swirl regarding the russia investigation and the firing just yesterday of james comey the russian foreign minister, sergey lavrov expected here at the white house in just a little while to meet with the president, will the president address the firing of james comey at that time? not likely, at least not to the media. so far cameras are not allowed inside. as you said, the president defending himself, and defending his decision on twitter today. i'll read some of those tweets for you. the democrats have said some of the worst things about james
comey including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play sad. comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in washington, republican and democrat alike. when things calmed down, the president says, they will be thanking me. james comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the fbi. the president's communications people have been out, too, both last night and today and they've been very careful to try to cite some other issues rather than the president's russia investigation as the reason for the comey firing. back to you. >> all right. joe johns at the white house. thanks very, very much. >> the president as you heard joe say says this will bring back the prestige and spirit of the fbi. what's the mood there? today let's bring in someone that knows, evan perez, you've been working your sources and you also have new information. what are you learning? >> poppy, one of the things that
unifies people at the fbi right now is simply shock. even people who weren't thrilled with the tenure of james comey, who thought he was attracting too much negative attention to the bureau. these people want to do their work quietly, in secret and not gather all of this public attention that the fbi has certainly been getting in the past year with the hillary clinton investigation and now with this trump-russia investigation. even people in that -- in that group were not pleased with the way how this went down. look, there are also a lot of people there who were big fans of jim comey because they believe that he's been helpful in bringing resources and helping to transform the agency and the bureau into more of an intelligence agency and bringing more resource into the national security sphere. so there's a mix of reactions this morning inside the fbi as to how to go forward here because this is certainly not the way you fire an fbi director and normally a well-functioning
white house will bring in the fbi director and they tell him you've lost the confidence of the president and give him a chance to fall on the sword and resign. that's not how this happened. he was across the country in los angeles addressing field agents there in los angeles when the news broke on their phones and on television not the way you usually handle the fires of a fbi director, john and poppy. >> help us understand what's going on right now. we understand that jeff sessions and rosenstein are interviewing candidates to be interim fbi director? what's going on there? >> ood ad to the puzzlement. this is not normal. what you do when you have something like this and they've certainly been working on this for a couple of weeks. you have a list of names and you've talked to people about the possible vacancy of the fbi and you get the ball rolling on trying to find someone that you believe will have the credibility, somebody with prominence and with a name big enough that people will credibly say, can stand up to a president
if he's doing an investigation that's sensitive. that's a tall order to meet here, and it doesn't appear that they were ready here. we hear that they might release a list of names for an interim and that's not normal. the reason why you're hearing that, john and poppy is because you're already hearing grumbling from republicans on the hill that they don't trust andrew mccabe who is now the acting fbi director because of concerns that he should be recused from the investigation into the trump and russia dealings. >> evan, thank you for the reporting. before we move on, just take a look at new images, i believe we just got in, sergey lavrov, there you have him coming out of his motorcade to the white house. this was a pre-scheduled meeting with the secretary of state rex tillerson and we have learned that president trump will indeed meet with lavrov, of course, a meeting that was planned well before the firing of comey and lavrov, i should note brushed
off reporters' questions this morning when they said what firing? what firing? >> making jokes and want insignificant, i think. >> the firings come just hours after cnn learned the federal grand jury issued subpoenas to a number of people with business ties to michael flynn. shimon peres on the story that broke this story. >> that's right, john, word came that the fbi director had been fired so it took us a couple of hours before we put more reporting out there and what we learn side that federal prosecutors have issued a grand jury subpoenas to associates of michael flinl requesting the business records and these are the records from michael flynn,
and the interest here is russia and also turkey and the fbi working with the u.s. attorney in the eastern district of virginia in the last few weeks sent out these subpoenas looking for the business dealings, the records and what money was paid for some of his business dealings and so now they're going to pore through those records and try to get a better idea of what michael flynn's involvement was with other country, john. >> shimon, thank you so much for the reporting. again, a very important development that sort of got lost in the mix last night and a big breaking story, as well. the reaction to the fbi director's firing has been swift. democrats are already comparing it to the nixon-era watergate. congressman mike quigley says this is straight out of the nixon playbook. patrick leahy calling it nothing less than nixonian. joining us now is former assistant special watergate prosecutor and former assistant u.s. attorney. former ambassador norm eisen and also cnn contributor and laura
coates. let me begin with you given your history with watergate and all things nixonian. look at "the new york times" then, and look at the front page of "the new york times" today. is this nixonian as many democrat dechls are saying? >> look, it's clearly nixonian to the extent that what the president is doing is firing the person who is in charge of an investigation into him. there's no question that the parallel is there. there are some important differences, though. the good news is that the fbi is an ongoing institution. the people who are there doing this investigation are going to continue the investigation no matter what happens to james comey. he's not a critical part of this investigation whereas with the watergate prosecution force there was just a small group of us that were the prosecutors. when archie cox was fired we thought the office itself might be disbanded. there is no question the fbi is not going to be disbanded.
it's going to continue and the investigation will continue. in fact, i think there will abe lot of pressure to make that investigation go forward and do it in a thorough and professional way. secondly, james comey is no archibald cox. james comey, what he did, he should have been fired last july for basically usurping his power within the department of justice and making the statements he made with regard to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. thirdly, i think this whole matter of watergate, people have to understand it wasn't just the break-in to the democratic headquarters. it was a whole series of illegal acts. i mean, no question about it, the matter under investigation here is extremely serious. the idea that a political campaign of somebody running for president is conspireing with a foreign government to undermine his opponent is extremely serious and unprecedenteded.
>> it doesn't get much more important to that. >> norm eisen, ambassador, we have a good point here which doesn't have to be mutually exclusive that james comey acted inappropriately during the campaign and that his firing yesterday is extremely suspect. your take on it? >> well, whatever you may think of the campaign conduct and there is a debate to be had about the rules and there is some proper criticism. the timing of the firing and the frankly, blatant, open pretextual nature that was because of comey's conduct during the campaign that trump and sessions had previously embraced, that's a lie. it's the latest in the trump big lie strategy and the fact that there is a falsehood together with the timing just as these rumors and i was hearing them all day yesterday before cnn broke the story of the grand
jury subpoenas, that suggests that something is afoot here, and i think the focus on flynn is very important because the subpoenas suggest and we've been talking about this for a while, a tightening noose around flynn and the danger is to trump that flynn will, as typically happens in these investigations, flynn will flip. he's going to trade for immunity, whatever he has to say. his lawyer says he has a story to tell. that represents a danger to trump, there's been recent allegations and more allegations about trump's possible financial ties with the journalists saying this weekend that eric trump told him they had $100 million in russian financing and there's a lot of other evidence that trump may have had financial connections with russia that explains the motive for his bizarre embrace of an attack on our democracy. >> ambassador, just to note, we don't have that evidence, but i
know the reporting you're pointing to. i just want to qualify that. laura, rod rosenstein, the deputy a.g. said in his testimony in his confirmation hearing to patrick leahy, yeah, sure, i am open to appointing a special prosecutor when i think it's appropriate based on the policies and procedures of the justice department. if this is not that time, when is that time? >> remember, he's been in his position for a little more than two weeks at this point and you have to wonder whether or not his decision was in the file for his department or based on something else and it may not be right to make that call, but i will say this. it's important not to conflate two separate motives and it is suspect to say the least, but the motivation of the president is a trance parents fig leaf.
the motivation for rosenstein may be based on a more recent testimony. we've all been focusing on what happened last july when comey gave a press conference that clearly overstepped his bounds as an fbi investigator when he tried to become a prosecutor that day and had the audacity to tell loretta lynch i'm not even going to tell you what my press conference is going to be about, but last week in his testimony there was a renewed opportunity for james comey to explain a greater contextual basis for actually doing just that. instead of being contrite about an obvious misstep that we unilaterally believe was insubordinate and believed that he was justified that he alone had the weight of the credibility of the behemoth fbi and justice department. rosenstein will say look, i have a person here who when the
credibility of the fbi is slightly questioned will, in fact, do this again. do i want this person to be my lead invest gart on an issue atsz sensitive as the russia investigation? the two motives are very sparnt. i don't think that reezenstein, a man who has served as special prosecutor and other facets said trump, i want to give you a reason to fire. he wanted the pretextual reason to fire, but it was very separate. >> we will find out more and more information coming out. the time line there is unclear because it could be that the white house was looking for reasons to get rid of james comey before he testified again last week. >> he asked for this letter from rosen stein or why it came. >> it was dated yesterday. >> thank you, guys. >> ambassador norm eisen and nick akreman, thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. in the middle of all of this,
the russian foreign minister just arrived at the white house for a very important meeting with president trump. will the president comment on the firing? the russian foreign minister did. he decided to make a joke about the whole thing. >> did the comey firing cast a shadow on your talks? >> the firing? you are kidding? you are kidding. why weigh yourself down? try aveeno® sheer hydration. its active naturals® oat formula... ...goes on feather light.
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president trump says that he had to fire james comey in order to restore public trust and confidence in the fbi. joining us now alberto gonzalez former attorney general under george w. bush and former white house counsel, as well. thank you so much for being with us, general. look, i know who you have said that the timing and the way this was handled could have been much better. what do you mean? >> well, obviously we're in the middle of an investigation and so in removing the person heading up the agency investigating possible ties and possible wrongdoing by individuals in the white house that raises serious questions. i also, you know, as an attorney general, someone who worked with jim comey, the way that he found out about the removal was very
disappointing and i don't think it was very respectful and the white house should have handled that much better and much more professionally, quite frankly. >> what do you make of the president stating in the short letter to comey firing him, by the way, i appreciate that you told me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation, but you're fired. if they had those conversations, wouldn't that be totally out of bounds whether the president asked him if he's under investigation or whether the fbi director told him that if it even happened? >> you can't control what the president may ask, but he shouldn't be asking those kinds of questions and the director should not answer those kinds of questions. if, in fact -- stand by, general. just one second. sorry to interrupt. let's jump to dianne feinstein speaking at the hearing. >> television news coverage that broke while speaking to fbi
agents in los angeles. he wasn't told directly and reportedly believed at first that it was a prank. apparently the president's letter hadn't yet been delivered to fbi headquarters before the news had become public. several news outlets also began reporting that the administration had been considering firing comey for some time and charged with building a case against director comey for at least a week. specifically, "the new york times" reported -- excuse me, that attorney general sessions had been charged with the responsibility of coming up with reasons to fire director comey. this morning politico was reporting that, quote, trump had grown angry with the russia investigation, particularly comey admitting in front of the senate that the fbi was investigating his campaign, and
that the fbi director wouldn't support his claims that president barack obama had tapped his phones in trump tower, end quote. as i reflect on the decision to dismiss director comey, i become incredulous thinking about the ongoing fbi investigation into russia's interference with our presidential election and possible connections to associates of the trump campaign and administration. one thing, mr. chairman, that sticks in my mind is the classified briefing that you and i had from director comey on march 15th. at this briefing director comey outlined the counterintelligence and criminal investigation the fbi is conducting involving russia's covert action to influence the presidential
election. i can't go into the specifics, but you and i know that it was rather comprehensive for this kind of briefing. the fbi director was precise, and he presented us with substantial information. it was clear the fbi was taking its job seriously and that a substantial investigation was under way. in addition, just last week on may 3rd, director comey came before the judiciary committee and promised to update the committee and provide briefings on the russia investigation in a classified setting as necessary. then last night cnn reported that federal prosecutors have begun taking additional steps in the russia investigation in the past few weeks including issuing grand jury subpoenas to associates of michael flynn
seeking business records as part of the russia investigation. in fact, reporters learned that prosecutors were issuing subpoenas as part of the investigation into russian interference in the election just hours before director comey was fired. at a minimum, the decision to fire comey raises questions about the appropriateness and timing of firing the person in charge of an investigation that could -- i won't say would, but could implicate the administration. to have this happen and happen now is beyond surprising. i believe it's important to have deputy attorney general rosenstein and deputy director mccabe come before the judiciary committee and brief members on the reasons and the timing of the firing as well as what steps
are being taken to ensure this action will have no impact on the work of the fbi on the ongoing investigation. i also plan to work with senator blumenthal on legislation to ensure that a truly independent prosecutor can be appointed. however, while we work on that legislation, i want to renew my call to have a special prosecutor appointed to oversee the russia investigation. i have said on some occasions now that we're in unusual times, and i recognize today's hearing is meant to be on the nominees who are before us for three important positions at justice, but given the events of the last 24 hours, i believe members should have the opportunity to speak out about these events, so, mr. chairman, i hope you allow other members to say a few
words as they -- if they would like, but i want you to know i very much appreciate this courtesy. thank you. >> you bet. senator cruz? >> there you have it. senator dianne feinstein, the democrat and ranking democrat on the senate judiciary committee making some important points there. one saying that she is calling for a special prosecutor which wield expect. another thing that she did is she said she's working with her fellow democrats in the senate that would bring back the special counsel law, something that lapsed in 1999 that was used namely under the clinton administration for one, to point ken starr. >> and iran-contra. we have alberto gonzalez with us right now. look, you were answering the question about the contact that president trump the president claims to have had with james comey where james comey allegedly told him three times there's no investigation into him, the impropriety on that, and also whether or not you
think a special prosecutor would make things better at this point. >> first of all, including in that letter seemed totally inappropriate, quite frankly. if there was that communication it would have been inappropriate for james comey to have offered that information and that would be a sufficient basis to remove him as fbi director, but it also would be inappropriately, quite frankly, for the president to be asking and he should know better than to ask about an ongoing investigation. what i worry about is the whole issue of this investigation and the swirl around the fbi director and his public comments and testimony and now his removal has created this cloud that i do worry about whether or not new fbi director can restore the integrity and confidence of the american people into the investigation by the fbi. i think that we can certainly
get there, but i worry about the public perception and it may be that we need an independent commission or special counsel, someone that is removed from this and restores the credibility of the work of the department of justice as a general matter. >> look, it's a very important point, general, and it's one that senator john mccain just made this morning for man yu ra, he's calling for a special counsel, or as john was pointing out earlier, we could have a 9/11 commission style counsel where you have lawmakers and then you have independent voices, as well, part of it. >> i work directly with the 9/11 commission. i spend hours upon hours dealing with the 9/11 commission and they were extremely thorough and extremely professional, and i think at the end we were generally pleased with the outcome and i think the congress
was with commission and a lot of that will depend upon the members of the commission and the cooperation of the administration and i think that's an example of something that might be appropriate in this particular case. >> interesting. >> alberto gonzalez open to the idea as some kind of independent counsel or commissioner to look into this. thank you very much for being with us. >> appreciate it. >> the russian foreign minister inside the white house right now meeting with the president of the united states. this was his arrival just a few moments ago, and all of this is happening in the aftermath, sort of the shock, the collective shock of the firing of fbi chief james comey. stay with us. you don't let anything keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals.
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president trump is meeting with the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov, this is happening right now. this is his highest-level meeting with an official since the inauguration. this comes after the president fired james comb whoa has been heading up an investigation into russia's meddling in the u.s. election. the foreign minister met with secretary of state rex tillerson earlier this morning and they were there discussing ukraine and syria among other things. >> and you'll have to listen to this moment when the press asked lavrov his response to james comey being fired overnight. here it is. >>. >> did the comey firing cast a shadow over your talks? >> was he fired? >> yes. >> you're kidding. you're kidding. >> there you have the russian foreign minister making a joke of it, we are joined by kimberly
dozier and senior national security correspondent and steve hall is also with us, retired chief of russia operations and a cnn national security analyst. david, what's your response today as the president gets to meet with lavrov and the russians make a joke over comey's firing? >> they're laughing and this is about the rule of law. >> literally. >> yes. i don't want to overstate it. lavrov laughs and this is the view of russia on the investigation. for trump, this is a terrible image and who was staffing him when he makes this announcement last night and the very next day he's meeting with the russian more infinster? >> what about that, kimberly dozier, on the other hand, if sergey lavrov is in town he has to meet with rex tillerson and
there was this outrage when he was in moscow and should the president be meeting with lavrov albeit under this awful timing? >> he's here and there are things to be discussed like this plan that the russians have agreed with turkey and iran for de-escalation zones which would stop some of the fighting and violence in syria, so it is an opportunity to discuss that face to face, but let's be honest, until these investigations are over, every single interaction between this administration and russia is going to be problematic. timing from yesterday to today? yeah, awkward and i don't see how you get around that. >> so steve hall, overnight you wrote, interesting that potus first goes after cia. now fbi. is nsa next? intel trifecta? what do you mean? >> it just struck me when i tweeted that last night that, you know, this is an interesting pattern that appears to be
developing with this administration, and it seems to me to be when you get bad news, whether it's from cia or whether it's from the fbi in terms of the ongoing counterintelligence investigation, that perhaps you take measures to against those organizations to change things. you can have a discussion here in the united states as to whether or not director comey's removal will impact that counterintelligence investigation which is being led by the fbi, but i can tell you there's no doubt in the kremlin and no doubt on vladimir putin's mind that this is a good thing and it's a good day for him because this, in his view, that slows down comey's firing slows down this investigation and that's a good thing. >> maybe the answer to the question of why is this man laughing about sergey lavrov. >> to you, you were deeply sourced in the congressional intelligence community here. what were the relative roles of the fbi investigation versus the congressional investigation? >> i want to get to the impact of this move.
>> the fbi investigation is by far the strongest of the investigation and i just looked at the agents and i looked at the numbers. the senate investigation is the stronger one and there are only nine staffers working on the investigation and that includes 46 staffers and there were 88 staffers to the investigation of the wmd intelligence and the invasion of iraq. iran-contra and watergate, 133. nine staffers. they're making very little progress and they've issued no subpoenas and democrats have wanted to subpoena trump's tax returns to see if there are business ties to russia and the republicans have blocked that. the investigations, i'm sorry to be blunt, are sort of a joke. that's why this is so serious. >> and that's why it's so important and one of the many reason yes it continues on the fbi side. do you think that whoever the president nominates to be the next fbi director is going to get him through, most likely.
he only needs 51 votes to do that. do they need to recuse themselves, though, from this russia investigation because it includes a president and they're being appointed by the president? >> well, the thing that i'm hearing about people taking the job is how can you take the job unless you're going to seriously pursue this investigation rather than recusing themselves in order to restore faith in the fbi you need to someone take the post who will follow it through and also think back to -- i'm thinking about russia's reaction watching all of this, if the original meddling wases to throw the election in disarray, look what they've continued to do with that campaign last fall last year. this is turning different sides of the government against each other and making many americans question is the president firing someone because he has something to hide? >> guys, thank you very much. we have to leave it there.
kimberly dozier, steve hall. >> still to come for us, president trump tweeting the people will be, quote, thanking him for firing james comey. well, what does hillary clinton's former campaign manager have to say about that? just a month or so ago.be fired- he's next. with type 2 diabetes a lower a1c is a lot about choices. but it can be hard sometimes, 'cause different sides of you struggle with which ones to make. well, what if you kept making good ones? then? you could love your numbers. discover once-daily invokana®, a pill used along with diet and exercise to significantly lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. it's proven to lower a1c better than januvia®. invokana® works around the clock by sending some sugar out of your body through the process of urination. it's not for lowering systolic blood pressure or weight loss, but it may help with both.
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no comment from hillary clinton this morning about the firing of fbi director james comey, but she did have some choice words about him last week. >> i was on the way to winning until a combination of jim comey's letter on october 28th and russian wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for
me, but got scared off. >> joining us now is robby mook, hillary clinton's former campaign manager. it is nice to have you here. you have been busy following this, tweeting a lot about it, but i'm really interested in your first sort of gutteral reaction last night when you looked up and saw the news or you saw the tweet or saw this headline? >> you mentioned tweeting. my first tweet on this was that i did not think this voted well for the russian investigation. that was my immediate concern and particularly the fact that this firing happened literally on -- at the same time that we were learning that subpoenas were being handed down with regard to the russia investigation, and over time that concern has grown into a deep fear that the fundamental tenets of our democracy are breaking down here. the president is not allowed to be above the law. this is the third person who is
investigating him or his associates who has been fired. you had a new york prosecutor, you had someone in the justice department and now the director of the fbi himself, and what's scary to me is that the president is trying to convince everyone that he was doing this on hillary clinton's behalf which is just laughable, and to me if congress doesn't act immediately the russians will not just have undermined our electoral process, the media, they'll be undermining our justice system as well and we've just got to draw a line. >> so robby, you know there were plenty of democrats last year during the election who were extremely critical of james comey and there were those who calleded for his removal, harry reid among others over the way he handled your former boss hillary clinton. you went further, you in march called him to step down because of the russia investigation. you tweeted it's time for comb toe remove himself from this, too, his credibility is gone.
two minutes ago you wanted him out not just for the e-mail thing, but for russia. why the change now? >> just to be clear i wasn't calling for him to step down from his job, and i was calling for him to recuse himself from this matter. it wasn't safe in the hans of congress. >> it was in the hands of james comey. was it safe in the hands of james comey, the russia investigation on march 2nd? >> the investigation that the fbi has been conducting and i don't know what the status was today. as your guest has said has been the most muscular and the most inquisitive and it's been happening so far, but i, frankly, think this has to be removed completely out of the fbi and anywhere near the trump administration and it needs to go to an independent prosecutor, and if the congress allows the trump administration and the president to just steam roll them on this and fire the man who is investigating his associates, i don't know what congress is there for. there's supposed to be an
independent arm of government and they need to step up immediately. >> robby, if you felt like the man leading the fbi and leading this most muscular investigation into russia could not do his job and arguably one of the most important investigations ongoing at the fbi right now, then why are you up in arms over him being fired? i mean, that was want your statement during the campaign. that was your statement in march. >> what's scary about this whole process is president trump keeps whittling down our standards. i was concerned about the way director comey handled the e-mail investigation. i was concerned that he wasn't doing enough on russia, yet that was the best investigation we had going. they start subpoenaing associates of donald trump and of general flynn who had to be fired over his connections to russia, and like that, donald trump fires him. we know that the new york prosecutor was investigating mr. trump's relations with the russians. he all of a sudden gets fired
out of nowhere. what matters here is the behavior by the president and that he thinks he is above the law, and if you start inquiring into his business you will be fired. that's really scary and it's exactly what the russians want. >> we don't know exactly what he was looking into when he was attorney. we do know that he wases on and then he let him go, but i just want to tell you right now we're looking at mike pence, the vice president up on capitol hill presumably to meet about healthcare and i imagine he'll get an earful on the fbi, as well. robby, we do appreciate your time. we have a lot more going on. the president firing fbi director james comey and the fallout and you're looking at it on capitol hill right now. we'll be right back. best-selling brand? ecome ameris you make it detect what they don't. stop, stop, stop! sorry. you make it sense what's coming. watch, watch, watch! mom. relax! i'm relaxed.
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looking at live pictures from capitol hill right now. somewhere you can see his white hair, is the vice president of the united states mike pence. he was on the hill to possibly cast some tiebreaking votes and environmental bills that were up there. we do not know if he will speak about the dismissal of the fbi
director. as we wait to see if he does, let's go to ryan nobles who is on the hill. you just spoke to senator marco rubio about this when he was asked very quickly last night after the news he said, i don't have enough to really comment. what is he saying now? >> john and poppy, we're really trying to get a litmus test here from senate republicans because they'll be the ones who make the important decision as the fbi director moves forward and perhaps the opening to a special prosecutor when it comes to the russia situation. so we did catch up with senator rubio very briefly and asked him about both topics and this is what he had to say. >> do you think to the point now where we should have an independent prosecutor in the russia investigation? >> yeah. i think we should wait for the senate report to come out and then based on that we can make that determination. >> would you be open to it if it got to that point? >> of course, but we're not at that point, and so i think we should wait for all of the facts to come out via the intelligence committee report and then at
that time that determination can be made. >> were you concerned at all with the timing of the president's decision on comey? >> i was certainly surprised by it. i personally didn't feel like director comey's performance rose to the level of dismissal, but that's the president's decision to make. i don't want anticipate it would impede any of the work of the fbi. >> two important points of what senator rubio had to say. first, he said he would be open to a special prosecutor, but he first wants the work of intel committee of which he is a member to finish and once the work is done he would be open to a special prosecutor, and he didn't see anything in his mind that merited james comey losing his job. it's important to see how these republican senators are reacting to this news of james comey's firing because they'll play a key role in this situation moving forward. john and poppy? >> and the most important republican senator, the majority leader does not support any kind
of special prosecutor to look into this and marco rubio not exactly rushing into it either and a very significant development. >> a lot going on. you are looking at live pictures and mike pence up there for a different reason to cast tiebreaking votes, but will he take to the microphone? we will see as our coverage continues right now with brianna keilar. hi there, i'm brianna keilar in for kate bolduan. we do welcome viewers from the united states and around the world. you are looking at the vice president on capitol hill. he is there to cast two tie-breaking votes. however, we are going to see if we can get a question into him. our reporter is not too far away from him and we'll see if he says anything about the president's firing of fbi director james comey, so we're keeping an eye on that right now. as far as bombshells go in this young trump administration, james comey's dismissal