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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  June 8, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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i'm don lemon live in washington. thank you for joining us. james comey bluntly saying under oath, the president lied. >> the administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the fbi, by saying that the organization was in disarray. that it was poorly led. that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies. plain and simple. i was honestly concerned about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it really important to document. >> the president's response? >> mr. president, any reaction to comey's testimony? do you think he told the truth? >> so the question, again, is a question that could decide america's future, who do you believe? let's get to cnn political analyst mark preston. everyone in the room is laughing at that comment. jason miller, chief political
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analyst gloria borger, and david axelrod, and editor at large chris saliza. good evening to all of you. where shall we begin? why don't we start with mr. preston. remarkable day in american history, don't you think? is this the worst day of this young presidency? >> we've used that terminology a lot. given so many things that have happened during this presidency. but i don't think it was the worst day of his presidency. i don't necessarily think it was a great day to have the former fbi director on national television across every network, laying out what he felt was intimidation by the president. i also don't think we can look at this through one prism. there are different ways you have to look at it. politically, legally, we just saw this past hour from gary tuchman's piece we were talking off camera, where his supporters still seem to be with him. so i just think it's very complicated. honestly, i've been saying this
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the last 24 hours, and will for the next receive or seven months, this is a very little piece of a very big jigsaw puzzle. >> i want to get to this quickly and talk about the attorney general, jeff sessions. because the senators learned something in the closed-door meeting. what did they possibly learn today? >> they've learned about another potential meeting between sessions and the russians. and we don't know anything more about that, other than what jim sciutto has reported. and i think this raises questions, because as senator bloomenthal said tonight, this could be perjury for sessions, if this indeed turns out to be the truth. i think what comey did today, he did it with sessions. he left his little bread crumbs everywhere, that you could -- that you could sort of pick up on. one of them was this question about sessions and how he didn't feel he could go to jeff sessions with his issues about the president, because he knew he was going to recuse himself
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for this, and other reasons. and then we discovered now what the other reason was. you know, it could be difficult for sessions. >> i say little land mines. everybody is saying there wasn't anything that was hugely explosive. but i think he did little things, like talking about this, talking about loretta lynch. also learning today, before we move on, that the president's son-in-law is going to meet with senate intelligence -- members of the senate intelligence committee as early as this month. >> right. he's going to be interviewed by the -- >> what about the speed of this investigation? >> this is congress' job. this is what they ought to be doing. the special council takes a long time. the special council is talking about prosecution. and that takes a long time. the congress needs to shed light. and that's their job. and they are making progress. and i think, without being too poly an-ish about it, what we saw in the senate was very impressive. yes, it was a partisan and yes, democrats, came at things differently from republicans, but they all asked good
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questions. you didn't hear the republicans attacking comey's veracity. you heard them asking questions about, well, if you thought this was so terrible, why didn't you say that to the president? or why didn't you take -- but i thought today, you saw the senate doing its job, and trying to get to the bottom of this story. >> i think today, though, was a political sort of rorschach test of where you are. if you're a democrat, you saw it one way, and republicans saw it another way. and if i don't let you get in, you're going to leap across. what did you want to say? >> a critical addition to what gloria was just talking about, additional reporting on the sessions story from the closed-door senate meeting, said that it was russian-to-russian intelligence, and kislyak was completely broken out of proportion. we have to be quick before we rush to judgment and say, now attorney general sessions did anything untoward, that this could have been completely cooked up.
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>> who didn't meet with kislyak? is there anyone in this room? >> it's been a very busy 2016. >> one of the most forgettable people, strangely. a lot of people have forgotten with him. >> meet with kislyak and don't tell. >> here's comey today, and then we'll discuss. >> the administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the fbi, by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. i was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it really important to document. that combination of things i never experienced before, but it led me to believe i've got to write it down, and write it down in a very detailed way. >> it was the lying, lying leaker, the battle of the words. >> what's funny is, it struck me
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that washington, obviously i realize this before, but that washington is not like the rest of the country in that -- >> what? >> yes. yeah. we've got the breaking news up there, yeah. good. whew! in this way, for jim comey, who is a -- who is part and parcel of a political world, i know he's not an elected official, but for him to say repeatedly, donald trump lied, the president is wrong, i wrote down our notes because i was worried the president would lie about it. okay. for the average person, oh, okay, he thought he would lie. but politicians and people in the political world do not say "lie" easily. i think some of it is a reflection that jim comey is, frankly, angry. i think what you heard is particularly as it related to trump running down his performance at the fbi, and that people were with him -- >> clearly insulting -- he took it personally. >> right.
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point two, look, he and trump are oil and water. they were never going -- i'm not sure it had to go the way it went, but i don't think they would have ever gotten along. so this is a reflection of this. >> it shouldn't matter. >> you're exactly right, it shouldn't matter. but i was surprised that he, particularly in the beginning, that was essentially his opening statement that we played, in the beginning of his testimony, he went there. >> as we say, he went in. >> he did not -- this was not a, like, he punched him. >> that was my question, though, are you surprised he went in? as i was sitting there watching it, i'm like, wow, he's going in here. >> look, i see this really differently. i spent a lot of time in trump territory, red counties, trying to understand the trump voters. what trump said he was going to do was to come to this town, and he was going to put this town on its knees. he was going to tell this town what it was going to do. he was going to drain the swamp. the big story here is that trump
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is completely lost control of this town, and the guy he thought he had swiped off the board is basically running d.c. basically comey is saying, comey don't play that. comey don't play that. i'm not even the fbi director. >> i think the average person at home probably doesn't understand how savvy what he did today was. because i think -- >> not just today, but leading up to today. >> leading up to today. and there's way more to come than what we saw. >> that's what i want to get to. listen, if you like donald trump, and you have very low standards, you're happy with that, right? it turns out there wasn't a huge bombshell. just turns out he's called a liar and maybe a criminal. if you like donald trump and you have low standards, it's a happy day for you. but this is one day. there are more days coming. when you have multiple investigations going on, it's not the one drop of water, it's the bathtub filling up that will
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drown you. >> i need to play this. this is comey talking about the meeting in the oval office where everyone else was asked to leave except for him, to talk about flynn. here it is. >> my impression was something big is about to happen, i need to remember every single word that is spoken, and again, i could be wrong, i'm 56 years old, i've been seeing a few things. my sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving which is why he was lingering. i don't know mr. kushner well, but i think he picked up on the same thing. so i knew something was about to happen that i needed to pay very close attention to. i took it as a direction. this is the president of the united states. with me alone saying, i hope this. i took it as, this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> so, two things here, david. he said he took hope as, you know, hey, this is a direction he wanted to let it go. and also, he indicated that sessions probably knew better than to leave him alone, and
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that's why he lingered. and he told him to leave eventually. what do you think? >> kushner did the same. look, i think it is extraordinarily unusual for an fbi director to meet alone with the president like that, for the president to kick everybody out of the room, including the attorney general for whom the fbi director works, should raise great suspicions. now, the president denied through his lawyer that he said let it go. that will be, i'm sure, thrashed out over time. >> can i ask you something? we all have bosses. if your boss brings you in and says, david, i hope you can do better on that, or change this. what does that mean? >> do better. >> well, i mean -- >> let me just say this. i work for the president of the united states for two years, okay? everybody's responsible to their
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boss. but the president of the united states -- >> in the oval office. >> -- it is a boss like nobody else's boss, in the oval office. when you're called in there, and when everybody's cleared out, and this comes after several meetings in which your status is discussed, and, you know, your continuation and so on, it is very hard to -- i understand why comey felt the way he felt. there's another point to be made, and it goes to van's point m . if you're for trump, you will find a reason to be for trump. if you're not for trump, you will be more re siptive to what comey had to say today. what is undeniable is how flabbergasting it is that no one intervened, that the attorney general left, the vice president leaves, the chief of staff sticks his head in and gets shooed away. in the white house in which i
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worked this scene would have been impossible. but the fact that the white house counsel was not sitting there in that meeting with the president is a reflection of a -- either a complete breakdown, or something worse. >> we've got more on the other side, everybody. stick around. when we come back, james comey reveals what the president whispered in his ear in the blue room. live from the uk, there are some stunning election results coming in. prime minister teresa may's political fortunes hanging by a thread. termites, feasting on homes 24/7.
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get more out of your water. get zerowater. extraordinary testimony today from fired fbi director james comey. flat-out calling president trump a liar. back now with my panel. we're going to start with jason. jason, i want to play thement's personal attorney, how he responded to it. here it is. >> mr. comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately. that is, that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into russian interference. the president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that mr. comey stop investigating anyone, including the president never suggested that mr. comey, quote, let flynn
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go, close quote. the president also never told mr. comey, quote, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty, close quote. he never said it in form, and he never said it in substance. >> so comey is accurate in saying confirming that the president was not under investigation, but he rejects what he said about the loyalty oath. so is he cherry-picking here? >> i think the biggest take away was the first part saying the president was not under investigation. let's just be completely honest here. when the president put out the statement that on three strat occasions director comey told him he was not under investigation, i had so many members of the media who would text or e-mail or phone call with little snickers, joking behind the scenes that there's absolutely no way this happened. when director comey came out and confirmed it, that was a big deal. not only for folks in the middle, but a big deal for the republican base.
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it was a big deal for republicans who hoped that the president was completely accurate. but then to hear that directly from director comey, that was spot-on. >> so why believe that and not believe the other thing then? >> okay, look -- >> here we go. >> but go into the whole thing -- i just can't imagine a -- i think it's way too fantastic, where the president would start asking questions like, will you be loyal to me. that does not sound like donald trump to me. >> you're saying the same thing that you said from the other side, i can't imagine a scenario where the fbi director would confirm to someone they weren't under investigation. you're saying the same thing. >> i'm saying this is someone who knows the president and how he talks and how he interacts with people. i can't imagine -- so, let's put aside my personal insight into the president. i think what was stunning today, absolutely stunning is the fact that director comey didn't go and take that supposed conversation about general flynn
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to attorney general sessions. that he did not go write another letter of resignation like he did in 2004. >> but didn't he say he couldn't trust -- >> but then he continued to have one-on-one phone calls. with regard to -- with the president. now, with regard to attorney general sessions, he had a conversation with him. but he didn't go and bring up with him the supposed allegations. >> but -- >> it's accurate. >> i understand what you're trying to do. but it isn't fair. if you are the head of the fbi and you're trying to figure out what's going on, it could be the case that the president of the united states or someone in his camp is colluding with the russians. that's got to be your main thing. you don't want to lose that trail. you don't want to throw anything off. you've now been put in an impossible situation by the president of the united states shooing everybody out of the room, and talking to you. we're all sitting back here saying, why didn't he do this, why didn't he do that?
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why was he in this situation in the first place? that is where we start and stop. he should never have been put that. and one other thing, why is -- sessions is a weirdo. >> man, come on. there's no need for name-calling. >> why would sessions sit there -- you can answer this question. you love him so much. why would sessions sit there, see his subordinate be left behind, walk out the room, and then here comes this guy and he never even asked, hey, man, what happened in there? >> answer this -- >> that is weird behavior. that is bizarre behavior for my subordinate. it's bizarre. >> the president and director was a one-on-one at the director's request. >> no, that -- >> january 6th. it was january 6th. even after that meeting they continued to have one-on-one phone calls.
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>> here's an fbi director, and you -- he tells his story in a very orderly way about how his concern grew, about his relationship with the president and what the president was saying to him. so by the time they have that valentine's day meeting, he says, i remember thinking this is a disturbing development, and he shared it with his team. this is what he did. he felt, okay, i can't share it with sessions for whatever reason. he went to the deputy attorney general who he, you know, didn't hear back from, right, or whatever that story was. and what he did was, what a lawyer would do, you go to your leadership team immediately and say, i've got a problem here, i've memorialized it. and he talked it out with them, what should we do. this is what he -- this is why he -- but he -- because they had an ongoing counterintelligence investigation, to van's point, that is very important.
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he said, i didn't want to infect -- it was his words, i didn't want to -- why should he resign? >> because he threatened to resign, or wrote the letter in 2004 when he had a legal disagreement with the whole ashcroft -- >> but you understand what -- >> listen, i don't subscribe to the weirdo theory, so let me just separate myself. >> that's inappropriate. >> you made that comment. but there are many explanations for why sessions would have gotten up and left the room. some of which would influence you not to go to him to discuss this. i do find it odd that he is -- you know, the fbi director actually works for the attorney general, and the attorney general doesn't ask the fbi director, say, what were you talking about in there? >> or with sessions. >> that doesn't necessarily reflect being weird. it could reflect -- >> but he goes to sessions, though, and says, remember,
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you've got to stop trump -- like i can't have these conversations with trump. i found that to be fascinating, too. because he doesn't say -- he kept talking to him on the phone. >> this is such a big deal, why didn't he insist other people were in on the phone call? >> but i think we have to look at this situation which is extremely complicated, and we're all in the weeds of it, because we understand it. it's very difficult for people who have jobs and have real lives to understand it. i can understand the frustration. >> no, no, but on a serious note. i heard this from several republicans today. it bears worth asking. not just because of this situation, but for every serious situation that the president is confronted. where was jeff sessions this whole time? no, no, where was reince priebus during this time? where was steve bannon during this time? where was don mcgann the lawyer
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for the white house at this time? when we heard from the house speaker today, listen, he's kind of learning it, right? he's just getting to understand how to work the government. >> the staff has got to be held accountable for making sure that donald trump -- >> remember who do you trust? i'm not defending james comey, but who do you trust in that situation where you have so many people that you're not sure what their role is or where they stand on these issues? >> i think every ordinary person in america can understand, i do think it's strange and odd and, yes, weird, many of us have been in situations wruf got your big boss and you've got your subordinate. you go into a situation, your big boss tells you to leave, and then starts talking to your subordinate. that is a very alarming, shocking moment for you, as a middle manager or anybody else. the normal thing to do is immediately, to ask your subordinate, what did the big boss say? what happened? sessions never does that.
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that is the trouble. >> the answer to your question is, that there's only one person here in this story who wrote down his contemporaneous notes, went to his colleagues, reported back to them on it. that doesn't necessarily -- he could have made the whole thing up. he could have made it up. i guess that's the argument you would make. >> save it until he leaked it -- >> no, you've got a whole bunch of witnesses who apparently will say, this is what he told us at the time. >> hold on. if you're going to make something up, why make up "i hope" instead of "the president directed me to" is what i don't understand. >> this is a guy who ran into the car, for heaven's sakes, after his first meeting at trump tower, and started typing. because he felt that these were things he needed to memorialize and share with his team. i think his overall goal here, if i had to guess, was he had an
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ongoing investigation, that he did not want to stop. he felt it was important. this is important work. this is important work, and it would have sort of stopped it dead in its tracks. as he said today, i wasn't captain courageous. looking back at it, should i have said to the president, maybe he said, i think it was dianne feinstein who said, you're big and strong, why didn't you say to the president, stop, you can't do that? he admitted to being sheepish. >> but you have interactions with your boss or co-worker, and it replays, why didn't i say this, i should write this down. but listen, we're talking about the truthfulness of both people in this situation. and they called each other a liar. the white house today pushing back on, you know, the president being a liar, being called a liar, saying that he can't be trusted. here it is. >> i can definitively say the
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president's not a liar. i think it's insulting that question would be asked. >> what do you think of that? >> okay. first of all, i know jason will agree to this, anytime you're in a situation, democrat or republican, in which you have to say the phrase, no, i don't think the president is a liar, tends not to be a good day. i don't think anyone thought today, i don't think donald trump circled his calendar and thought, today is going to be a great day for me politically speaking. there are days that any politician, they're not that great, you just have to get through them. the thing that bothers me a little bit about her response there, i would be offended that you would ask that. the former fbi director, on at least five occasions, by my count, it might have been more, but at least five occasions a few hours before she said that, had called donald trump a liar. it's not as though the media sort of said, you know, out of the blue, do you think donald trump's a liar? when you have someone -- whatever you think of james comey, this is someone who spent
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a lifetime -- this is someone who has a track record, who is a serious person. and who, by the way, don, i would like to mention this, was under oath. so there are real penalties -- >> you bring up a very good point. people realize that james comey is under oath, and the president is not. i'm not saying the president is lying. but jason, that is -- that tactic has been used by trump surrogates, even on me. why are you badgering me? why are you lying? it's, i'm not. but if you want to, you know, give someone the -- if you want to pretend that someone is doing that, it's easy to do it. >> if you're a trump -- >> why are you lying to me, jason? you see what i'm saying? >> i'm going to pretend you didn't even say that. but if that is the worst thing that happened today that the name liar is thrown out there, this is a pretty darn good day. >> he's actually right. it could have been a really, really -- >> well, as opposed to what,
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obstruction? >> director comey came out and said he did say -- >> absolutely. >> came out and said he did not try to impede the investigation into russia. he came out and made that clear. >> he also said he didn't ask much about it. >> even at the time when he left. there are things you can latch on to. >> he said he couldn't point to a single vote that was changed in this election by some supposed coordination between the campaign and a foreign entity. >> no one's ever said any votes were changed. and also, that's not the namp nature of the investigation from the fbi. that's not what they look at. >> he came out and said all those things today. we had some name calling today. going into the specific things, saying that the president, writing in this memo, that he might lie. or to go through and, look, the director might not have liked some of the descriptions that were given about how he did his job. but those are opinions. there's a difference between people having strong opinions
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and lying. so there's some name calling today. big deal. >> can you acknowledge that? it wasn't a good day, it was a bad day. it just could have been a really bad day. >> i think the dems overreached. i think there will be a big backlash. >> as crazy as this conversation is, i've got to move on. comey released knconversatis about tweets from the president. a stunning election night battle in the uk. we're going to bring them to you.
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we're back now with the breaking news on two huge stories. james comey's stunning senate testimony. and the battle in the uk for prime minister. frederick is live outside number 10 downing street with the very latest. hello, fred. first, there was a shot of the brexit result in the uk. and now another unexpected election result there tonight. what's going on, and will
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theresa may still be the prime minister is the question? >> reporter: well, that's a big question right now, dorn. i can tell you, it really is a nail-biter here in the united kingdom. there are some projections. they counted about half of the votes so far. theresa may might be able to hold on, but there are others who say she will lose her majority. that certainly is a big blow to theresa may. keep in mind, she called this election to begin with because she thought she was going to increase her majority, and there are already people who are calling on her to resign. so certainly it looks at this point as there is some political instant with one of america's closest allies here in europe. >> frederick, people here in the u.s. remember prime minister may cam to the united states, visited president trump, who is an extremely controversial figure in europe. recently, though, he attacked the mayor of london on twitter immediately after a terror attack. what does this mean for the president here? has he lost an ally? >> reporter: well, potentially.
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certainly if theresa may does lose this election and indeed jeremy corbyn wins this election, then certainly, president trump will have lost an ally here in europe. you're absolutely right, there was somewhat of a trump factor also in this election as well, especially with that twitter spat between the mayor of london and president trump shortly after the terror attacks took place. there are certainly a lot of people here in britain that didn't take that very well, criticism coming from president trump. they felt theresa may was quite weak, defending the mayor of london. jeremy corbyn was very strong in coming out against be president trump. very interesting to see, and certainly could shift the balance of power here as far as the u.s. is concerned as well. >> and twitter causing trouble for foreign leaders as well, frederick. >> reporter: >> fred, are you there? i think we lost fred. we'll get back to him. but again, going down to the
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wire. theresa may may not be able to hold on to her seat as prime minister. it's still not decided yet. but again, we'll bring that you to. breaking news right back here at home, james comey sending shock waves across capitol hill. telling a senate panel president trump lies. joining me now is congressman jim hims, a connecticut democrat a member of the house intelligence committee, and former congressman pete hock stra, a republican former chairman of the intelligence committee. good evening to both of you. thank you both for coming on. what's your reaction to the former fbi director's testimony today? >> well, a lot of these revelations, of course, it started yesterday with the release of his testimony, were pretty shocking. when you have a situation where jim comey is saying one thing and the president is saying, no, he's lying, you've got a really profound he said/she said. the conversation has shifted away from what happened with russia to, is he liable to being charged with obstruction of justice? that's a pretty bad place to be.
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>> based on what you heard, do you think it's obstruction of justice? >> it's too early to say. there's a lot of evidence pointing in that direction. as comey said today, that's something for robert mueller to do. we'll not hear a lot about robert mueller's investigation. the politics of this, though, don, set aside the investigation, the other piece of this, today a big win for the republicans is if you believe two things. number one, you celebrate the fact that the president is not under criminal investigation, which he said and apparently it was true. yea, the president is not under criminal investigation. the other thing is, the speaker of the house, paul ryan said today, he did that, because he doesn't know his way around. i can't remember the exact verbiage, but he doesn't know what he's doing. >> political neophyte or something like that. >> the point is, the political message for the republicans is that they're hoping we will buy that the president is not under criminal investigation, and he doesn't know what he's doing. that is a terrible place to be politically. >> congressman, what do you make of what they heard from jim comey today? >> i think they heard four things. they heard the former director
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really throw four groups of people under the bus. first, he threw loretta lynch and the obama administration under the bus and called into question the political motivations of the justice department during the obama administration. clearly, the name calling towards the president of the united states, he threw the president under the bus. he threw the media under the bus. i don't know whether he actually used the term fake news or not, but he really called into question and accused the media of a lot of sloppy journalism. and fourth, he threw james comey under the bus. this is a guy that was supposedly a strong individual. he was unable to stand up to loretta lynch. he didn't stand up to president trump. and then when the rubber hit the road here, at the end when he got fired, he said, i'm going to take my notes, i'm going to give them to my former law professor, and i'm going to have them turn over this material to "the new york times." this is stuff that he -- the
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senate intelligence committee is trying to figure out how to get their hands on. we now also established that james comey is a leaker in chief. the bottom line is, this is a loss for the american people. they're looking at the swamp and they're saying, let's see, we can't trust the justice department. we've got name calling going on. you know, the media's now called into question one more time. and we've got a former director of the fbi who is now also the leaker in chief. and the american people are saying, come on, let's move on and let's get some issues done and resolved. >> do you agree with that, congressman, he's saying dire things about the american institutions? to me, this seems like -- i said this earlier -- a political rorschach test depending where you saw politically. he saw things democrats didn't see, and democrats saw -- republicans saw things that you didn't see. is that your takeaway? >> i completely disagree with ex-congressman hockstra. what he's trying to do which is
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what a lot of republicans are doing today. everybody's guilty. the fact of the matter is not a single american today saw any name calling. yes, jim comey raised a profoundly disturbing question about loretta lynch, and why would should say, don't call an investigation, call it a matter. that is something that anybody, again, let's get out of the political baloney we're hearing and saying that is something that is very, very serious. he admitted, he said when you're standing with the president of the united states and he's threatened your job and told you what he wants to do, i don't know about pete, but that's a tough political moment. what you're hearing from mr. hockstra, of course, gosh, nothing matters, it's all terrible. no, we have a situation now -- >> it's not all terrible. >> -- clearly decided to ignore the rule of law, the independence of the fbi. he may very well -- i'm not prepared to say he did, but he very well may have obstructed justice. whatever you say about jim comey or media or loretta lynch, those facts are true and they're challenging. >> go ahead, congressman. >> no, i think that's not at all
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accurate. what this investigation was originally intended to do, and supposedly what they've been working on for 12 to 15 months, is determining exactly what the russians were doing to try to influence the u.s. elections. what the intelligence committees on both sides of the aisle -- or both sides of the hill, both in the senate and the house, their job and responsibility is to identify exactly what the russians did, whether they were successful or not, and then come up with a recommendation in terms of how do we deal with these kinds of threats for future elections in 2018, 2020. how do we change the rule of law to minimize these types of things? how do we strengthen our intelligence community to be able to identify these threats and how we stop them in the future? >> it's interesting that he says that, congressman, because james comey said the president never asked him about that, about how you fix a problem.
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especially when it comes to a foreign entity meddling in the election. >> well, that's a very interesting question. why would the president of the united states, when there are three investigations under way about russian meddling into the election, the very core of our democratic process, why would he not ask about that. mr. hofstra is exactly half right, yes. all three investigations are looking at certainly the congressional investigations are looking at russian meddling into our election. the part that he left out is that the fbi, the senate and the house, this is black and white on the scope of our investigations, are also looking into what james comey talked about in march, which is whether there were links between the trump campaign and that russian meddling. now, there is no answer to that question. but that is a very, very serious question, as serious as to the question of how and why the russians did that. so trying to say that this is not actually about the trump administration, is a partisan point that is not accurate to what is happening today. >> congressmen, thank you both. unfortunately that has to be the
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last word. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. coming up, when james comey -- was he within his rights to relies his own memos about the president. who's the new guy? they call him the whisperer. the whisperer? why do they call him the whisperer? he talks to planes. he talks to planes. watch this. hey watson, what's avionics telling you? maintenance records and performance data suggest replacing capacitor c4. not bad. what's with the coffee maker? sorry. we are not on speaking terms.
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james comey revealed today he asked a friend, a professor at columbia law school, to share the contents of his trump memo with a reporter. let's discuss this now with my
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legal experts. associate counsel to president clinton, and watergate special prosecutor, and leon jaworski, and john dean, former nixon white house counsel, and ambassador james woolsey, former director of the cia. >> always nice to be back together again. >> was comey within his rights, john dean, to share the contents of that memo with his friend? >> i think he was. we have no official secrets act in this country. he's a private citizen. it was a memo he made of a conversation that might have been considered a government document. might also been considered a diary document. so it's hard to tell. i don't think he broke any law. >> sadly on most counts, he said he did it. he said he did it in response to the president's tweet. here's the tweet on may 12th,
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james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. is leaking the memo the only way to get a special prosecutor? >> i think it was one of the techniques he thought he would have to use. he didn't have confidence at that point in the deputy attorney general who was then the person who seemed to have been responsible for providing the grounds for sacking him. although it turned out later that the president admitted that the cover story was false. i don't think comey saw he had any other root within the normal channels to get a special counsel appointed. >> adam, legal or illegal? >> legal. i think the big problem with -- the interesting thing about that is mark kasowitz in his statement afterward tried to suggest comey lied in the testimony. but it was kasowitz that got the time line wrong and comey got it right. >> let's listen to kasowitz and then we'll discuss. >> today, mr. comey admitted that he unilaterally and
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surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president. the leaks of this privileged information began no later than march 2017, when friends of mr. comey have stated that he disclosed to them the conversations he conversation d with them. during anywhere dinner and february 14, 2007 white house meeting. today mr. comey admitted that he leakeds to friends of his reported memos of those privileged communications. one of which he testified was classified. mr. comey also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of those memos to the press in
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order to, in mr. comey's words, quote, prompt the appointment of a special counsel. we will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all of the others that are being investigated. >> so jim, the question is should the leak be investigated. he actually got the timeline wrong detailing the trump-comey detail at trump's command for loyalty appeared on may 11, the day before the tweet but the first new york times story that cited the memo not just sources it appeared on march 16th so he got the timeline wrong. do you think that should be investigated? >> i agree with my three colleagues. i don't think this is a legal problem recommend for him but
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he's beginning to look like he works for the public bureau of information instead of the fbi. wrong initials. he turned loose the memo about hillary. he changed direction on that back several months ago. he was making public statements. he now wants to leak five documents. maybe one classified. i heard that perhaps that's not classified. was on be a classified computer. it's just kind of one thing after another in terms of informing the public. that's not normally what the bureau does or thinks it does and the reason it has such confidence for the people of the united states is that it doesn't seem to be on a pr twinge. it looks very much like comey is. >> phillip were those conversations privileged? >> no the president didn't assert any executive privilege
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having argued the nixon tape case i can say confidently the conversations comey and president had would not have been covered by zuexecutive privilege. >> do you agree with the assessment of james comey as public bureau of information. >> no i think you have a situation where he's just been fired ande accused of all sorts of misconduct or lack of effective leadership and he's exercising what i would consider to be a fairly responsible right of reply. he's entitled to defend himself in the court that the president chose to make this battle in, that's the court of public opinion. >> you said everything the president says is not privileged? >> no it's not unless it's classified or does fall in the area of executive privilege which is pretty narrow, it's
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deliberative decision making sometimes will apply but certainly not a blanket privilege to everything he says. >> i would just add that comey started this before this last round. he started with hillary going back and forth, public statements on her. so it's not the way the bureau ought to operate. maybe in some individual circumstances. he has to take a step. i'm not saying he did anything criminal. >> of course at the time he did this he had already been fired so he wasn't in the bureau any longer. that may or may not change your point but his view was this was the only mechanism that was available to him to make sure that what actually happened came out and was part of the official record. >> taking it back to his extraordinary opening statement from the fbi director saying the president defamed him. we haven't had a president do that before where it's
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criticized and belittled him especially to the russians. >> i want to talk about hope. this one specific exchange that deals with the fact the president said i hope you can legali let this go instead of ordering the investigation to comey to stand down watch this. >> he did not direct you to let it go? >> not in his words, no. >> he did not order you to let it go? >> again those words are not in order. >> no. do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice or for that matter any other criminal offense where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome? >> i don't know well enough to answer. >> so the new york times adam l retweeted an interesting point --
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it's up on the screen where someone was saying, i hope you don't tell anybody about the night because it was certainly would incriminate me. so what do you make of this? can it be based on hope? >> i would multiply that by about a hundred when you're in the oval office and the president says something. i can recall countless things where nixon said, he didn't kgie a direct order but rather indirectly told staff what to do and staff clicks the heels and gets it done. >> you put the fact what the president says he hopes subordinate does is more than an idle speculation but it's all irrelevant under the obstruction of justice statue which only punishes the attempt to influence or impede an investigation. and i think comey said he quite reasonably understood that what the president was trying to do
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was to influence or impede his investigation by urging him to let flynn go. >> in this one which was obstruction of justice says i hope and pray to god that you do not say anything about a weapon when you were in iowa because it will make it worse on me even if they promise not to prosecute you. >> that's exactly right, that's the attempt to influence or impede an investigation or witnesses testimony. >> this is like the godfather saying i made him an offer he couldn't refuse. it wasn't really an offer. it wasn't really i hope. prz it was a directive. >> that's why comey believes he was ordered to do it. >> exactly. >> thanks gentlemen. when we come back talking more about james comey's testimony today.
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then there are moments it becomes clear, ♪ together always was, and always will be, a better way. ♪
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this is cnn breaking news. james comey again and again accusing the president of lying. this is cnn tonight i'm don lemon in washington. the fired fbi director making those charges in his block busting testimony today.


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