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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  February 13, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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"cnn tonight" starts right now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemmon. it will cover-up is unraveling and the white house is still unable or unwilling to tell the truth about rob porter. a man who despite the lack of full security clearance, may have had access to this nation's top secrets. a man who despite accusations that he had abused both of his ex-wives was not only still working in the white house, he was up for a promotion. a promotion, that's right. think about that for a minute. the white house knew about incredibly serious accusations about rob porter, accusations that he had assaulted both of his ex-wives. they knew that as a result, he wasn't getting approved for his permanent security clearance. and not only did they look for ways to keep porter, they were seriously discussing giving him a promotion. right up until the moment the scandal blew up and he resigned. why is that? well, because john kelly liked the job he was doing, despite being aware that porter's
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ex-wives could have damaging information on him. a white house official telling "cnn tonight," the chief of staff was reluctant to dig into what white house counsel don mcgahn knew about porter. so this white house is doing what it always does. it's stonewalling, changing their story, flat-out lying. even though fbi director christopher wray blew all of that right out of the water today by simply stating the facts. >> the fbi submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in march. and then a completed background investigation in late july that soon thereafter we received requests for follow up inquiry. and we did the follow up and provided that information in november. and then we administratively closed the file in january. and then earlier this month, we
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received some additional information and we passed that on, as well. >> so in the face of those facts, that the fbi repeatedly briefed the white house on its investigation beginning months earlier than the white house admitted, sarah sanders changed her story today, claiming that even though the fbi's investigation was, in fact, complete, the white house personnel security office hasn't made a final recommendation. but when it came to answering questions about what john kelly knew and when he knew it, even she seemed to be running out of road, resorting four times to some version of "i can only give you the best information i have." >> is the white house still maintaining that john kelly really had no idea about these allegations of domestic abuse until this story broke? >> i can only give you the best information that i have, and that's my understanding. we're simply stating that we're giving you the best information that we're going to have. obviously, the press team is not going to be as read-in, maybe, as some other elements at a given moment on a variety of
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topics. but we relay the best and most accurate information that we have. and we get those from those individuals. >> you talked multiple times about wanting to get us the best information that you have. this scandal has been going on for a week now and we still don't have answers to the basic questions of sort of who knew what when. >> i've done the best i can to walk you through that process, as has raj. we've done that pretty extensively and i would refer you back to all of the statements we've given on that. >> i'm going to ask you whether you've spoken specifically to general john kelly and the white house counsel to ask them these questions. because you've said i'm not aware or i'm not sure. >> i have and this is the information given to me by those individuals. >> i shouldn't have to tell you that this is not normal. at least, it wasn't normal prior to this administration. this is not politics as usual. this is a white house consumed with spin, with deflection, and with outright lies. at a time when the risk of global war is the highest it's been since the cold war, did you know that? the highest it's been since the
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cold war. at a time when russia is gleefully doubling down on its election meddling and targeting the midterms. and the president of the united states, well, sources telling cnn he is still not convinced russia meddled. and has, quote, not specifically directed the intelligence community to fight back against a credible threat to our democracy. so you have to ask yourself, why? what does he have to fear? let's discuss now with cnn national security analyst, james clapper, former director of national intelligence. director, thank you so much for joining us. i want to start with the cover-up in the white house. the fbi chief contradicting the white house timeline today. we're going to talk nitty-gritty. but first, who's responsible for this? >> for what, don? the -- well, obviously, the white house -- >> the changing message and the screwup and -- >> the white house is responsible for it. and good on director wray for setting the record straight, as to what the fbi did.
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and so, you know, it's really disturbing to me, once again, to see this performance. it would have been so much better if they had just fessed up and said, you know, we didn't handle this very well. we critiqued ourselves, here's what happened, and here's what we're going to do to ecorrecorr ourselves. but they just compound the errors here by changing their stories and not being forthright about this. and mistakes are going to happen, because even the white house, prior to administrations, you know, it's composed of people. people make mistakes. and i don't know why the reluctance to acknowledge that. >> yeah. should john kelly go, director? >> well, that's a tough call. i -- you know, i know john kelly, not well. i knew him when he was on active duty and he was a great marine, served as a military assistant to leon panetta when he was
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secretary of defense and his last assignment active duty was the southern commander, southern area commander. to me, somewhat reminiscent of mike flynn, to be honest. he just seems to have changed since he's fallen into the orb of the president. and it's -- i -- it's kind of sad, for me. >> you mentioned the fbi director wray and his testimony today. does the white house think the fbi is going to take the fall here? that they'll just stand by the white house lies and misleads? >> well, you know win certainly hope not. i tell you, i don't know chris wray. i watched his confirmation hearing. i was very impressed with him. and i think that he is living up to what he said in his confirmation hearing about telling it straight. in fact, i was pretty proud of that entire panel today that appeared before the senate intelligence committee.
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because they all tell truth the power, even if the power doesn't listen to the truth. and he did that, director dan coats, my successor did that. i was very proud of him for some of the things that he said. and that takes courage, believe me, when you're there in front of the tv lights and you're kind of pushing back against your boss. but he did that. >> yeah. listen, when you -- i want to ask you this. when you hear that 30 or 40 people in the white house still don't have permanent security clearances, including jared kushner, over a year into this presidency, at what point does this become unacceptable? >> well, i might, don, just take a moment to explain some terms that have been kind of thrown around a lot today in the media. and there are two very important but separate processes, distinct processes. one is a background investigation. i think we know what that is. and secondly, it's a second process called adjudication. and that's where someone in
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authority actually makes a determination based on the inputs provided by the investigatory body, in this case, the fbi, about that person's suitability, trustworthiness to have access to classified information. what an interim clearance conventionally means is that someone has been given a lower level clearance. typically, a secret clearance, which is much less demanding, and much less -- and the background investigation for which is much less rigorous than it is for a top-secret clearance. and what that means is that person is segregated into a secret work area and only has access to secret material. apparently, in the white house, interim clearance means, i'm just going to allow you to have access to very sensitive information. and you know, the white house, obviously, is where all the very high classified material comes together. and the fact that 30 or 40
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people on the white house staff, which is a relatively small population, are working there on an interim clearance basis, you know, you would think that maybe they would find somebody that could get cleared. by the way, there is a law that stipulates what the timelines are. the terrorism prevention act, which president bush signed into law in december of 2004, title iii lays out what the guidelines are for how long these processes are supposed to take. adjudication, the standard for the 90% of fastest processed people for clearances is supposed to take more than 20 days. seven months? you've got to be kidding. >> yeah. the timeline is that there's a partial report submitted to the white house. this was march of 2017. then july of 2017, the final report submitted to the white house. more information submitted to the white house based on requests. that was in november. but we don't know between that time, when they sent the information, if they needed more information, we don't know, exactly that date.
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and then january 2018, the fbi closed the file on background, on the background investigation. i want to talk more about this congressional testimony of the intel chiefs today, director, which you mentioned. they say russia is already interfering in the 2018 mudd term elections. listen to this. >> has the president directed you and your agency to take specific actions to confront and blunt russian influence activities that are ongoing? >> we're taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt russian efforts -- >> directed by the president? >> not as specifically directed by the president. >> this is a stunning admission, though maybe not a surprise when the president calls the whole russia investigation a witch hunt. are we more vulnerable if the president isn't leading the charge against russia interference? >> absolutely. and i thought dni coates made that point. that we don't have anybody really in charge of preparing for the next election. and as we said, we -- you know,
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the formers from the prior administration, that the russians are going to continue to do what they did in 2016, because it was so successful for them. why wouldn't they? and this is their way of undermining us. and to me, it is appalling that there isn't a concerted campaign to thwart their further interference. and they're going to do that, just as sure as we're sitting here. >> director, thank you so much. always appreciate your time. >> thanks, don. when we come back, breaking news. why president trump's personal lawyer says he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to the porn star who once claimed she had an affair with trump.
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we have some breaking news to tell you about. president trump's longtime personal lawyer michael cohen says he paid porn star stormy daniels $130,000 off his own pocket. cohen says he was never reimbursed and the trump campaign was not involved. stormy daniels once claimed that she had an affair with trump. joining me us no mark preston, michael bernarnder, a white hou reporter for the "wall street journal." okay, guys, thank you for joining us. just getting this new information. cnn has now gotten the
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information in and a statement from michael cohen. so, mark, the stormy daniels story, now back in the news because of this. why does michael cohen say that he paid this money, just out of the goodness of his own heart? >> no. in fact, we don't even know why he decided. he would not answer questions to "the new york times", to maggie haberman, who we heard last hour here on cnn who broke the story. we don't know why he made the payment. he described this as a personal transaction. we also don't know why he decided to make the payment and we don't know if he has made similar payments in the past to other folks, presumably on behalf of donald trump. so there is an incredible amount of questions that still need to be answered by this, but we should note that michael cohen was compelled to answer this because a complaint was filed with the federal election commission by an outside group, because they were claiming that, in fact, what michael cohen was
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doing was -- he was exceeding the campaign contribution limits to a candidate by making the payment to stormy daniels. >> okay. so the statement says -- and it has stephanie clifford, who is stormy daniels, who is the porn star, by the way. and porn star makes it so sound glamorous. she is a woman who has sex on camera for money, basically is what it is. in late january of 2018, i received a copy of a complaint filed by the federal election committee about common cause. it goes on about what the complaint alleges, that it violates campaign finance -- and then he says, i am mr. trump's longtime special counsel. i have proudly served in the role for more than a decade and a private transaction in 2016, i used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to miss stephanie clifford. neither the trump organization nor the trump campaign was a party to the transaction with miss clifford. and neither reimbursed me for the payment either directly or
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indirectly. the payment to miss clifford was lawful and not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone. i the not plan to provide any further comment on the fec matter or regarding miss clifford. so, there you go. what do you think of that, michael? there's a lot of questions to be answered here. >> yeah, i don't think this is going to be the last we hear about this issue. and like mark was mentioning, i think why we're hearing about this is exactly the fact that he -- that this has become a legal issue for him. my colleagues at "the wall street journal" broke this story a couple of months ago. it's hard to keep track of all of these controversies and time. >> you were just reading my mind. i was like, so much for infrastructure week. but go on. >> it is infrastructure week, again. but, you know, michael cohn didn't participate, he wouldn't comment or answer these
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questions for us. it's only now that he sees some legal issues to do so. and i think that there will be more to this story before it's over. >> why now, though? why would michael come out? he dnt really have to say anything. did they -- because they gave it to "the new york times," was somebody hot on his tail? was he afraid it was going to come out in testimony? >> he had to give it to the federal election committee. his lawyer had to respond on his behalf to the complaint filed by common clause. so that statement eventually was going to get out. so i'm sure he was thinking, i'll do it on my own terms as opposed to somebody else's point. but to michael's point, let's take a step back. michael was absolutely correct. there are so many things that have happened just in one day that it's so easy to forget. but right now, you have a sitting president who has multiple investigations looking into whether or not his presidential campaign colluded with russia and we believe they're also looking into perhaps, was there obstruction
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of justice. that's number one. now you have a porn star, as you noted, sounds so glamorous and it's not, who received $130,000 from the lawyer of donald trump, who just decided to do it out of the goodness of his heart. and to add to that, you have a white house right now that is embroiled in unbelievable amount of controversy around defending somebody who's been alleged of domestic abuse. any other president, don, would not be able to survive one of those attacks. and for donald trump, he seemed to just move on. >> el witwell, michael, you tal about the stories coming left and right. here's of story that we have. it's related to what mark just said about the conversation over possible kelly successor heating up in washington. this is according to our dana bash, gloria borger, jamie gangel, jim acosta, and ijeremy diamond. there's been no decision by president trump to replace john kelly, but multiple sources say
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conversations over who could secede him have heated up. cnn reported that the president has been calling his associates in recent days and discussing the possibilities. no decision has been made. the scrutiny increased after today's testimony by fbi director christopher wray. >> go, michael. >> yeah, i think that's exactly right. and it's not just recent days, it's recent weeks. >> the big caveat here is that president trump talks to sort of anyone and everyone about the minutia of the white house and ask for feedback in how people are doing and the decisions he's made. and i should point out that sarah sanders, the white house press secretary, was asked about john kelly's status today at the white house briefing late in the day, after that testimony you mentioned. and she said the president has full confidence in john kelly. and that may be true, but i can tell you that if john kelly has the confidence of the top of the white house, he certainly lost the white house underneath him.
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what he came in and really restricted access to the oval office. and rightly or wrongly, that has chafed at a lot of people underneath him, who haven't been able to get in front of the president quite as often. those chaotic -- you remember those first few months as very chaotic. i think for a lot of people in the white house, it was also very exciting. and no longer were they able to get in and have their input and see their influence, have their influence on the president and people have kind of been waiting for their moment to go after john kelly and this is it. and, you know, they -- and they are asking and pushing very relevant questions about how the white house handled some really serious allegations about a key member of the inner circle of the oval office. i mentioned that kelly has tightened access to the oval office. the one person that has kind of risen in john kelly's world was
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rob porter, who has been protected for the better part of a year under this white house. >> okay, mark, let's talk about this. because sources say that kfrlgss center on chief economic adviser, gary cohn, house majority leader, kevin mccarthy, and budget director, mick mulvaney. >> so, do i have to throw a dart and figure out which one it is? if i'm kevin mccarthy, i'm keeping my job in the house of representatives. there's a good chance in paul ryan leaves, i'm going to secede him in the house and i'll be the captain of my own ship at that point if i'm kevin mccarthy. but i think we'll see a focus in on gary cohn, someone who donald trump has known for many years. somebody who might scare some real hard-core conservatives, because they feel as if gary cohn is more centrist, if i can say. but let's also keep an eye on mick mulvaney, as well, for some reason, if they decide to move out gary cohn is not the pick.
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and if you noticed, he's been one of his more effective spokespersons who go out there to defend the president in his policies. >> i have something that i want to say here. i'm actually texting with michael cohen now. i want to ask you this while i get this together. michael, i want you to talk to me about this off the record west wing meeting. you were there after the "daily mail" published a picture of rob porter's ex-wife. rob porter took questions to, what, deny the allegations? >> i don't want to interrupt your texting with michael cohen, but i'm not going to talk about the content of an off the record meeting. you know, i will say that this is a common occurrence at the who is and at capitol hill. you know, government officials want to have off-the-record
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comments in order top flauns or shape a story without their comments becoming a story. reporters usually want to hear more information than less information. what's interesting about this meeting is that it was really at the nexus of where the white house's story began to turn. it was on -- as of -- it was, what, wednesday morning, as of wednesday morning, the white house was defending the rob porter and not pushing back on our reporting that kelly was trying to save porter's job. by that night, kelly had issued a second statement, saying that he was shocked by these new allegations and in the days since then, the white house has really struggled to say what changed during that time. initially, they were saying that kelly and other senior staff at the white house weren't aware of the depth of these allegations and that they hadn't received a final report from the fbi.
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we heard from chris wray today, under oath, in front of a senate intelligence committee saying that wasn't true, those weren't his words. but he laid out the timeline saying that a background check was completed in july and a final report was given to the white house last month. and that is just really a rock the white house and it was a really devastating takedown of their timeline. and they've really struggled to come back from that and put together or put forward a timeline of what happened, who knew what, and when. >> i should say, i was texting about michael cohen, but this is what i'm hearing. just because something isn't true doesn't mean it can't cause you harm or damage. i will always protect mr. president. and that is what a source is telling michael cohen is saying right now. we'll discuss that in the next block. thank you, gentlemen. we'll wrb. -- be right back
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the white house insisting that president trump's support -- supports victims of domestic violence, even though he has not publicly expressed sympathy for the ex-wives of former top aide, rob porter.
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they allege porter abused them. the scandal and how the white house has mishandled it with conflicting explanations has some staffers facing some awkward changes. take a look at this exchange today. it was between my colleague, jeff zeleny, and press secretary, sarah sanders. >> in an op-ed this morning in "the washington post," the first wife of rob porter said specifically of you, i expected a woman to do better. based on what you know, do you believe you were personally misled and do you have any regret for how you have explained this to the american people? >> look, as i said, we do the very best job we can, every single day. i would never presume to understand anything going on with that individual, nor would i think that she could presume what's going on with me or the way that i'm responding. look, we've condemned domestic violence in every way possible. >> so i want to bring in now, cnn's senior political commentator, jennifer granholm,
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a democrat who is a former governor of michigan. and political commentator alice stewart, a republican strategist. good to have you both on. good evening to you. alice, that was a pointed exchange between jeff, but -- with jeff there. but a lot of women are wondering the same thing on something as visceral as domestic abuse. why isn't the press secretary taking a more forceful stand against violence against women? >> because she is the voice of the president. and that is his sentiment. and generally for most part-time around the world, what's in your heart comes out of your mouth. and the fact that the president can't say these words that he condemns domestic violence is quite troubling. but it's part of a pattern that he does when we're talking about domestic violence or sexual harassment, what he always does, is if it's someone that he associates with or someone that he likes and supports, he will downgrade the aellegations. he will support the man and
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denigrate the women. that's just his policy, that's his nature. and that's the way it is in this case. and it really -- in my mind, it is a irrelevant whether the person at the podium is a male or a female. it's unfortunate that they can't come out unequivocally come out and say that domestic violence won't be tolerated in our society and this administration will do everything that we can to support these women and put an end to the scourge of sour society. >> and governor, tomorrow, another thing on their plate will be stormy daniels. they'll have to discuss that and defend that. >> how many more of these examples do we have to have, right? and just to alice's point, i agree with almost everything you said, alice, expect this. when there is a woman standing at the podium, it doesn't matter whether the person at the podium has a uterus or not, but however, when you do have one, it's particularly pernicious.
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because what you are doing is giving him cover, essentially. it's when kellyanne conway was on jake tapper this weekend and didn't answer the question and pithed to job creation or when sarah tells five different stories. when i had a press secretary when i was governor, her credibility was on the line. and if there was something she didn't know and it was potentially embarrassing or she needed to find out the facts, she was darned well going to track down those facts, because she is the one standing up in front of the press. i cannot believe that sarah huckabee sanders has let a whole week go and truly doesn't know or hasn't insisted on getting their act together. and that she's weaving all of this stuff, it's just particularly painful to see as a woman. >> and alice, where has ivanka been in all of this, alice? she was an outspoken critic of roy moore and reported that she was upset last week when she saw
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the picture of colbie holderness. why do you think we haven't heard more from her? sh she is an adviser. today she tweeted about infrastructure. >> i don't know. that's troubling to me. it didn't take her anytime, thankfully, when the roy moore situation came about for her to tweet that there's a special place in hell for those who prey on children and sexually harass children. and i was expecting a similar tweet here. there's a special place in hell for people who beat their wives. and that's the reality. and the silence throughout the administration is deafening. i do commend kellyanne conway. over the weekend, she did, after she gave the party line, she did, herself, personally say that she believes these women and she hopes that those who are suffering silently do take this taunt opportunity to come forward and speak and empower them. but to the governor's point, i think it's critical from a communications standpoint, anytime i would have a press secretary or if i was speaking
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for a governor there or whoever i was working for, there are a few things you keep in mind when you're going to brief the media. you talk to them before. you know the questions, you know the answers, and you tell no lies. and that's something that is critical anytime you're relating to the press. and that's, unfortunately, what i we're still talking about this story over a week later, because they cannot seem to get to the truth and keep the stories straight. >> governor, i'll give you the last word. but i have short time here. go ahead. >> just quickly, this is why only 29% of women now support donald trump, an historic low. and it's why, honestly, the 36th seat flipped from red to blue today. this was the one in florida. another woman wins. these women across the country are feeling like they are not being heard, but they're finally feeling like, wow, this is our moment to take our nation back. and bravo for them. >> thank you, alice. thank you, governor, appreciate it. when we come back, the fub
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director says again today he has grave concerns about the nunes memo, yet the president released it, so why doesn't president trump want you to see the democratic response? i'm going to ask a republican member of the house intelligence committee, next. it's absolute confidence in 30,000 precision parts. or it isn't. it's inspected by mercedes-benz factory-trained technicians. or it isn't. it's backed by an unlimited mileage warranty, or it isn't. for those who never settle, it's either mercedes-benz certified pre-owned, or it isn't. the mercedes-benz certified pre-owned sales event. now through february 28th. only at your authorized mercedes-benz dealer.
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democrats on the house intelligence committee standing firm tonight, saying they will not make revisions to their document, which rebuts the gop memo claiming the fbi reviews its surveillance authority. president trump holding up the release of the memo. i want to talk about this now with chris stewart, a utah republican who is a member of the intel committee. congressman, thank you so much for joining me. >> it's good to be with you. thank you. >> first, i want your reaction to the white house, the way they handled the rob porter allegations. what most people are calling a mess. why can't the wous get the message straight on this, do you think? >> to be honest with you, i haven't followed it very much today. i haven't been able to hear the news. this is a sad story. these young women, these battered wives that represent, frankly, millions of battered wives and young people around the world, it's just unacceptable. and i just don't know anyone who
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doesn't feel that way. >> today the fbi director, christopher wray, repeated that he had grave concerns about the nunes memo, calling it incomplete and standing by the fbi assessment that it is inaccurate. despite that, the president had no problem releasing it. now the president is insisting that the democratic memo would pose a threat to sources and methods. will this memo, you think, see the light of day? >> well, i hope so. and i've got to tell you, this isn't comparing apples and oranges. this is comparing apples and dinosaurs. there's an enormous difference between the republican memo, which we wrote very, very carefully with the intention that it would be released. and with that as our intention, we didn't include anything that we felt were classified. we ended up changing two words at the request of the fbi. when i started to read the democratic memo, it was obvious in the first two paragraphs, this can't be released. you read a little bit further, that can't be released. you look at the footnotes, i think they've asked for revisions of 47 things in that memo. and that wasn't the white house,
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by the way, that was the fbi and the department of justice that -- >> you mean in the democratic memo? >> yeah. >> but they asked for the entire republican memo not to be released, either. >> i'm sorry? >> they asked for the nunes memo not to be released in its entirety either. >> you read that memo. how in the world could someone justify saying don't release that memo? it clearly doesn't include anything justified. that was important information for the american people to know. i hope and i would vote to release the democratic memo. but you can't include things that they know are classified. and i'm afraid that what they did was they wrote a memo that they knew was classified, that they knew couldn't be released. and then they'll blame the white house and say, well, we're not able to tell our side of the story. for heaven's sakes, make the redactions to the department of justice and the fbi have asked for and release the memo, so the american people can decide. i want these two memos to be compared side by side and, again, for the american people to see that.
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>> but how can it be compared side by side when one is redacted and one isn't? look, i can't pass judgment on the democratic memo, no one can, because they haven't read it. but what i'm saying is the fbi, the department of justice said, you're talking about the 40-some redactions in the democratic memo. they said the entire memo, the entire thing should be redacted or not released. >> yeah. >> isn't that hypocritical? >> no, how can anyone say, yeah, that shouldn't have been released. >> a lot of people read it and say it shouldn't have been released. >> tell me why. tell me something that the american people -- >> they touched on it today and they said that they gave thousands and thousands -- there was lots of information. thousands of pages of information, which was reduced down to three pablgs. and you heard what they said. you cannot reduce into three pages thousands of pages of investigation -- >> oh, of course you can.
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>> and they said the entire thing was inaccurate. >> well, i'm telling you it's not inaccurate. i'm telling you that you can take thousands of pages and reduce it down to the essence. that's exactly what they did. i would challenge anyone, tell me anything in the republican memo that is not true. >> if the president doesn't release it, will you vote to override it? >> i can't. i can't vote for that. >> why can't you? >> because it contains 47 elements of highly classified information. >> i understand what you're saying, but congressman, your entire memo says the justice department says that it gave away sources and methods. you're not applying the same standards to other people as you apply to yourself. >> of course we're applying the same standard. we're saying, don't release anything classified. look, you've surely read the memo. >> i have read the memo and i have concerns about it, because -- listen -- but i also have not read the underlying documents as well. and i'm smart enough to understand that there's probably
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something in the underlying documents that may negate some of this. but not all people know that. they take that document, that three-page document as gospel and it's not. and you know that. and you're being disingenuous if you believe the american people know that. >> you can call me a lot of things. i challenge you, you've read the memo, tell me something in that memo that you think is classified. >> listen, i'm not an official. i'm going by what the -- >> you don't have to be an official? >> yes, i do. i'm telling you what the department of justice and the fbi says. and they are smarter than me when it comes to these matters. they know more than i do when it comes to those matters. they know about sources and methods more than i do and more than you do, frankly, as a congressman. so i would take their word for it that -- >> no, no, no, no. >> let me tell something. that you're possibly releasing sources and methods and putting people's lives in jeopardy and american security at jeopardy. >> don, listen, you're wrong on two things. number one is this.
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this is very, very important. the fbi doesn't have authority over congress. as a member of the intel committee, i have access to far more classified information than anyone in the fbi does. we look at much more broad things. there are things the fbi does not have access to that i do. the second thing -- >> but you're not investigating -- >> the second thing -- >> that doesn't matter. if you're saying that i have to defer to them, i'm telling you you're just wrong on that. the second thing is this. i don't want the american people to be so cowed that they say, well, if the fbi says it, i can't do it. >> congressman, thank you for your time. i appreciate it. >> all right. thank you. >> when we come back, a democratic member of the house intelligence committee responds to congressman stewart. representative denny heck joins me next. my day starts well before
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top democrat on the house intelligence committee insisting democrats won't make revisions to the document which rebuts the gop memo claiming the fbi abused surveillance authority. we just heard from congressman chris stewart now i want to bring in denny heck, a democrat from washington also on the intelligence committee. thank you for joining us. you just heard your republican colleague giving reasons why your memo should not be released.
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and theirs had every right to be released. how do you respond to that. >> well, don, let's reconstruct the chronology. democrats uniformly opposed release of the nunes memo because we thought it was gravely misleading. a point of view shared with the department of justice who warned that to release it would be reckless and that it it contained serious mistakes and grave omissions. we were against that. once it was determined it was released we asked it to be subjected to department of justice review. that was declined. once that was defeated by the republicans we said we have to tell the whole story. they have to have the benefit of hearing all the facts. we produced a memo. and we offered it at that point. which they supported. and at the time that we did that we said we wouldn't release it because we really actually believe in national security considerations until the department of justice had had a chance to review it. the president chose to reject it in total and sent it back to the committee.
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frankly, don, if you looked up on an online dictionary the word hypocrisy you'd see a video replace of this incident. they're holding the exactic memo to a complete double standard. >> does your memo contain sources and methods. >> as does theirs which was denied in the previous segment was it not? it will surprise you to hear this let's remember christopher steele is a source mentioned in the memo. that was never confirmed before to my recollection. and the fisa application is a method. so sources and methods were revealed in the nunes memo. but more important than that and i think what really gets to the heart of what was of concern to the fbi is once these things become complicatele footballs how compromising it is for any future effort, any relationship they have with a source or protecting a matter going forward. this is a matter of national security concern. >> your colleague adam schiff says he won't redact anything.
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do you think the memo will see the light of day. >> nothing would surprise me anymore. i mean, don, it's interesting to note that today is the one year aefrs anniversary of the resignation of michael flip. the next day president trump then called in fbi director james comey and asked him to stand down on any investigation of michael flynn. from the very get go the white house has used every tool available to them, resorted to every means possible to slow down and get in the way of our effort to get at the truth. >> was your memo released just so that you can say that -- that their memo was wrong? or was it released just so you could say the white house was doing this on purpose, asking to you redact information? >> we're trying to get at the truth behind the collusion coordination and possible conspiracy between the trump campaign and russian interference. that's our objective.
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the purpose of our memo was to correct the misleading nature of the nunes memo. >> well that's not what they're saying. they're saying that you did it on purposes with sources and methods so that at the end of the day the white house refused to release your memo to make the white house and republicans look bad. >> it gives me no joy to say in but i frankly have completely lost faith in the republican majority to get at the truth behind process this. i've been at this 3 months now our side will continue to work in every which way we can to get at the truth because, let's remember what's at stake here. russia interfered in the 2016 election. and they've interfered in elections of western democracies before or since on a scale unseen before that year. as when we owe we sit and speak ner interfering in the mexican national election this year. we have had three intelligence community officials from the trump administration acknowledge that the russians are beginning to interfere in the midterm
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elections coming up later this year. in from the same administration who two weeks ago yesterday, i believe, refused to actually implement the sanctions that passed congress by a vote as i recall aggregated 517-5. if we want russia to stand done and stop interfering in our democratic process, then we have to deter them. we have to hold them accountable. we have to make them pay a price. and the way to do that is to implement the sanctions which congress duly adopted >> why are you going there. >> on sanctions. >> yes. >> because they're staying at it. they are coming at us again. you know. >> i'm talking about in relation to this memo. because we are talking about the memo and the releasing of the memo. and you're bringing up the sanctions for what reasons? is that -- >> because they have demonstrated no interest what so far in deterring russia.
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and they haven't from the get go. >> do you think it's just in misleading american people. i want to ask you if the democratic memo is sent back to the white house with redactions and the president refuses to release it, do you have any recourse? do democrats have any recourse. >> the law provides that the congress can override it. of course i'd have no oh faith they'd be willing to do that at that point. but what that constitutes is what i have been concerned about. . i think i said on your program not long ago we are inchesing toward constitutional crisis. there is a great irony when you stop and think about it. i feel like we are working to get at the truth of this because we don't want russia to interfere in our elections anymore. we don't want them to interfere in our elections err expectative of which candidate or political party they will be favoring. we are working outer heart out to protect my political party and their political party. because russia could turn on a dime and favor us in some future election if they deem it's in
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their self-interest. >> congressman heck thank you so much. i appreciate your time. >> you're welcome. >> when we come back, a new excuse every day from the white house about how they handled the allegations against rob porter. it seems every excuse contradicts the last. what happened to hiring only the best people? lton? there's a vacation at the end of every week. whatever type of weekender you are, don't let another weekend pass you by. get the lowest price when you book at hilton.com than♪ you. imagine if the things you bought every day... earned you miles to get to the places you really want to go. with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag.
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