tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 28, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
happening now, breaking news, losing hope. a bombshell exit from the white house. hope hicks is stepping down as one of the president's closest and longest serving advisers. is there any connection to her admission that she's told white lies on mr. trump's behalf? stunning shift. the president accuses a fellow republican of being afraid of the nra as he meets with lawmakers on gun violence and seems to side with democrats on some key issues. will he follow through or revert to the gop script? battle sessions. the attorney general of the united states refuses to stay silent as the president escalates his public smear of his own cabinet member. tonight, jeff sessions is defending his launch of an independent investigation that mr. trump calls disgraceful. and expanding russia probe. cnn has learned that the special counsel is looking into the president's business dealings in russia before the 2016 campaign. is he looking for links between the kremlin and mr. trump's decision to run?
we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking tonight, one of the president's most loyal allies that -- allies in the chaotic white house is calling it quits. hope hicks stepping down as communications director. this coming 24 hours after testifying before congress in the russia investigation. it caps a busy day that included a dramatic escalation in the president's feud with his attorney general jeff sessions. there's a lot of talk about -- about former -- there's a lot to talk about with former u.s. attorney preikh barara. congressman jerrold nadler joins us, as well. and our analysts, standing by,
as well. first to jim acosta. jim, first of all what deen about hope -- what do we know about hope hicks' reason for resigning? >> reporter: as you said, president trump has lost hope as in hope hicks, his communications director here at the white house and longtime trusted aide. she announced earlier today through the white house that she's stepping down over the next several weeks. the president put out a very glowing statement about his longtime and trusted aide here at white house. he said, "hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. she is as smart and thoughtful as they come. a truly great person. i will miss having her by my side. when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, i totally understood. i am sure we will work together in the future." i'm told by a white house official here that there is "nothing nefarious" about hicks leaving at this time. the official denied that this had anything to do with the rob porter scandal that broke over the last several weeks. and that it was not about her testimony up on capitol hill in front of the house intelligence committee behind closed doors
during which she told that panel that she had to from time to time tell little white lies on behalf of the president. wolf, they don't have a plan yet for naming her replacement over here at the white house as communications director. as you know, that is a very big job at any white house. and that her departure is expected over the next several weeks. no firm date for her finally did parture here. >> -- departure here. >> there were stunning statements from the president about guns and his own attorney general today. update us on that. >> reporter: that's right. we thought this would be the most remarkable thing to happen at the white house today. the president at one point telling a group of lawmakers in the white house here in front of the cameras, at least one of them, that they're afraid of the nra, but some of these lawmakers who were gathered here in the room with the president, they fired right back and told the president that unless he stands up to the nra, nothing will be done on the issue of gun control. >> we have to act -- >> reporter: this time president trump promised new gun-control measures are on the way. but first he professed his love
to the lawmakers from both parties gathered at the white house. >> i see some folks that don't say nice things about me. that's okay. if you turn that into this energy, i'll love you. i don't care. >> reporter: the president then vowed action is coming. first on the use of bump stocks. attachments that effectively turn semiautomatic rifles into machine guns. >> i'm going to write that out, and we'll have that done pretty quickly. >> reporter: mr. trump reaffirmed his interest in raising the age limit to 21 for purchasing some firearms after some waffling from the white house on the issue. >> i think it's something to think about. we just -- so i'll tell you what, i'm going to give it a lot of consideration. >> reporter: democratic senator dianne feinstein showed the president data that shows how the assault weapons ban passed in the '90s cut down on gun deaths. >> when it ended, you see it going up. >> reporter: also on the table was the influence of the national rifle association, the powerful gun lobby closely tied to the president. >> i'm the biggest fan of the
second amendment. many of you are. i'm a big fan of the nra. but i ad -- i had lunch with them, with wayne and chris and david on sunday and said it's time. we've got to stop this nonsense. it's time. >> the reason that nothing has gotten done here is because the gun lobby has had a veto power over any legislation that comes before congress. >> reporter: on the proposal to expand background checks sponsored by senators joe mnuchin and pat toomey, the president criticized the gop sponsor toomey as fearful of the nra. >> you're afraid of the nra, right? >> no -- >> reporter: the president made the stunning comment that people with mental health issues should have their firearms confiscated. >> a lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures -- i like taking the guns early. take the guns first, go through due process second. >> reporter: the president staged the gun discussion as the west wing is still trying to get a handle on why so many of its top aides lack top-secret
security clearances. president bush's son-in-law jared kushner recently -- trump's son-in-law jared kushner recently had his clearance downgraded from top secret to secret. others were bumped down, as well. >> this was not just extreme carelessness with classified material which is still totally disqualifying. this is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct. if elected, hillary clinton would become the first president of the united states who wouldn't be able to pass a background check. >> reporter: another headache for the president appears to be attorney general jeff sessions and his handling of alleged abuse in the russia investigation. the president tweeted, "why is a.g. jeff session asking the inspector general to investigate? will take forever. why not use justice department lawyers? disgraceful." sessions announced he's letting
the justice department department inspector look into it. >> we believe the department of justice must adhere to the high standards of the fisa court. yes, it will be investigated. i think that's the appropriate thing. the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he'll deal with. >> reporter: today sessions fired back at the president's tweet with a blunt statement. "as long as i am the attorney general, i will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor. and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and constitution." now the president is already getting blow back from conservatives for that meeting on gun control here at the white house. take a look at these headlines from breitbart. they pretty much sum it up, wolf, at this hour. this is stunning stuff. "trump the gun grabber. sees dems' wish lists, assault weapons, background checks," on the front page. he is being criticized by
breitbart for essentially telling steve scalise, house majority whip, that they will not be bringing up the concealed carry bill that he would like to see passed in congress and be made a part of a comprehensive gun-control bill. the president saying at one point that he supports scalise on that piece of legislation, but he doesn't want him to be a part of a big comprehensive bill. we should point out we've seen this movie before. it was a different subject, though, in early january. you'll recall on the issue of immigration, the president had a big meeting in white house. he brought all these lawmakers here from both sides. it sounded like they were going to reach some sort of compromise. of course, nothing came out of that meeting as a result of that. and ever since then, the president has blamed democrats for the failure to pass any kind of measure on that issue. wolf? >> jim acosta, thank you very much for that report. another white house official is heading for the exit as the russia investigation weighs in on many current and former allies of the president. let's go to our justice correspondent, jessica schneider, for us. hope hicks is resigning, but she
remains a key witness in the russia probe, right? >> reporter: she does, wolf. hope hicks was interviewed by the special counsel's team in mid-december, and it was just yesterday she spent nine hours behind closed doors in an interview with the house intelligence committee. what she said in the testimony raised eyebrows. a source tells us that hicks admitted to telling "white lies" for the president, but said those were minor and she never spread falsehoods about anything substantial including the russia investigation. when it does come to mueller's investigation, paul manafort was back in court today where a september 17th trial date has been set. former trump campaign chairman has pled not guilty to money laundering and false statements as part of a new indictment. this time without his co-defendant, rick gates, who pled guilty to two charges of false statements and conspiracy to assist manafort in criminal schemes and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel.
manafort also faces 18 additional charges of bank fraud and alleged tax crimes in federal court in virginia. the special counsel's team also appears to be following the money when it comes to the president. cnn has learned investigators have questioned witnesses about donald trump's business activities in russia prior to the 2016 campaign as he considered a presidential run. the president has repeatedly dismissed questions about any financial ties to russia. >> i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. and i have no loans with russia. >> reporter: prosecutors have asked wide-ranging questions about trump's financial ties to russia in interviews, according to sources, including why efforts to brand a trump tower in moscow fell through, and whether or not the russians may have any compromising information about the president. all of this indicates mueller may be reaching beyond the
campaign to explore how the russians may have sought to influence donald trump when he was discussing deals in moscow, and whether trumpne was contemplating a presidential run at the same time. the president has previously said any investigation into his family finances would cross a red line. >> mueller was looking at your finances, your family's finances unrelated to russia. is that a red line? >> that would be a breach of what -- >> i would say yeah. i would say yes. >> reporter: sources say mueller's team has asked about the financing behind the 2013 miss universe pageant in moscow where trump partnered with billionaire russian real estate developer aras agalarov and his son, emmett. sources tell cnn they don't know if the mueller team has evidence for wrongdoing but pointed out you ask everything, even if you don't think it's credible, the allegations are out there, and it was checking the box. new, we've learned the banking regulator in new york is digging into more financial details from jared kushner. the head of the financial
services department in new york has asked deutsche bank and two other small lenders about their financial relationship with kushner, his family members, and his family's real estate business, according to a source. this request follows an updated financial disclosure from jared kushner which revealed now debt and uncertainty over the future of his heavily indebted manhattan office tower, 666 5th avenue. of course, we previously reported that mueller's team had been asking questions about kushner's efforts to try to shore up financing for the building, and his discussions with foreign investors during the transition. wolf? >> yeah, supposedly about a $1 billion debt as far as that property, 666 5th avenue, is concerned. thank you very much. let's get more on all of this. congressman jerrold nadler is joining us, top democrat on the house judiciary committee. congressman, thank you very much for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> let me get reaction to the breaking news you heard from jessica. that your state, new york state's banking regulator is
investigating jared kushner's financial relationship with deutsche bank and two other smaller lenders. >> well, i'm glad they're investigating it. the whole question of trump and jared kushner and all their financial relationships with russia, deutsche bank, an agent of russia in many cases -- >> why do you say it's an agent of russia? >> because there have been a lot of deposits from russia in it, i gather from news. a lot of its capital came from russia -- >> just from news reports, or you -- >> no, no. i do not have other information. from news reports. >> that's a serious allegation that deutsche bank is an agent of russia. >> it's from news reports. >> okay. >> in any event, there are a lot of questions obviously -- i mean, we know that trump jr. said back in 2008, lots of money -- part of our money comes from russia. we know the russians tried to help the -- did help the trump campaign. whether he colluded is another question. there are relationships and
motives that have to be examined. >> do you believe the russia investigation played a significant role in the decision by hope hicks, the communications director at the white house, longtime aide to the president, to resign? >> i don't know. i have no facts to that. all i do know is that when the communications people for the president admits she lied to the american people, that's a terrible betrayal. and it's a terrible thing that the representative of the president lies to the american people. >> she says -- she was engaging in what she called just little white lies, nothing substantive. >> so she says, and maybe they weren't too substantive. but when you're the spokesman for the president, you should not be lying to the american people. >> let's get to another sensitive issue. you're on the judiciary committee which -- which looks at the justice department. the president tweeted this today about the attorney general of the united states -- "why is attorney general jeff sessions asking the inspector general to investigate potentially massive fisa abuse before an intelligence abuse? will take forever, has no
prosecutorial power. want? the i.g., inspector general, an obama guy? why not use justice department lawyers?" all caps, "disgraceful." what do you think his point was in this -- his goal was in this extraordinary tweet? >> his goal was to undermine sessions for some reason, and to take more attention away from the investigation. this whole question of the fisa warrant, first of all, it's based on lies, the nunez memo, lie was direct quotes from the documents in the democratic memo. they showed quite clearly that the court was told that some of the allegations came, the base came from politically motivated sources. they were told that. and any allegation to the contrary was not true. it also showed that the entire investigation was not even based on that. so the whole question of the fisa court and that particular warrant is a distraction, a
deliberate distraction from the mueller investigation which as far as we can tell, there have been no leaks, has been a substantive investigation. it's gained a number of guilty pleas, a number of indictments, and the president apparently believes that the walls are closing in on him and is trying anything to divert attention. >> is this public humiliation by the president of his attorney general, the attorney general of the united states, designed to get sessions to resign? >> it may very well be. if sessions were to resign -- remember, he's recused from the russia investigation. the president could appoint someone else who was not recused who might then be able to fire rosenstein or mueller and sabotage the investigation. and that clearly would be very much to the detriment. we must get to the bottom of the russian interference in our election. and we must get to the bottom of why the president refuses now to authorize our intelligence agencies to protect us against the russian interference in our
next election which admiral rogers, head of the nsa, said yesterday in i think it was the senate. that, to me, is one of the biggest questions now. the president is tasked, his oath of office is to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. and he seems to be refusing to do that because we know that the russians attacked our election. we know that they're going to do it again. and he is refusing to give the nsa and the other intelligence agencies the directive and the authority to properly protect us. >> yeah. admiral mike rogers did testify before the senate, the head of the national security agency. also the chief of the u.s. cyber command. he said he hasn't received any orders to do so. and as a result, he can't go ahead simply on his own. >> the question is why the president won't do anything to offend putin. and maybe it has something to do with financial entanglements in russia. that ought to be investigated. >> they're investigating, i suspect, as well. congressman nald nadler, thank you very much. ahead, more on hope hicks'
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puppies or kitties? sorry, cats. dry eyes or artificial tears? wait, that's a trick question. because they can both get in your way. that's why it is super-important to chat with your eye doctor if you're using artificial tears a lot and your eyes still feel dry. next question. guys, it's time for some eyelove! back with breaking news. one of the president's closest advisers, communications director hope hicks, is resigning from the trump white house. she's been a prominent figure in
the president's inner circle and in the russia investigation. we're joined by senior legal analyst preet bharara, former u.s. attorney in new york who was fired by president trump. how important is hope hicks to the special counsel's russia investigation? >> it's hard to know how important she is, but she could be extraordinarily significant. obviously when you're investigating someone or something or some institution, you want to talk to everybody who has had, you know, involvement in the group. and anyone who is a close confidante of the president, a close assistant to the president, is somebody who may have information other people might not have. in fact, you know, given the reports of how close hope hicks has been to this president, it's possible that she was the only witness privy to meetings and conversations between the president and other people, and she also might be the kind of person that the president would confide in. talking about what was in his state of mind, talking about why he did things like fire jim
comey, talking about why he had certain meetings, talking about why he was upset about the russia investigation. you know, there are so many things that hope hicks might have heard from the president that other people might not have. >> yesterday she admitted before the house intelligence committee behind closed doors of telling what she described as white lies for president trump, but not anything substantive. she reportedly said. what do you make of that? >> i think it's extraordinary for someone to admit that they told lies of any nature, white or otherwise. i think it's particularly extraordinary going into the 13th or 14th month of this administration where i think by any reasonable standard there has been lie after lie, misleading statement after misleading statement coming out from various people in the white house and certainly from the president himself that there is actually one person even though they're cabining it as a white lie or series of white lies. there's at least somebody in the white house who when questioned by investigators thought it
important to concede that lies were being told. and whether or not they're, in fact, minor white lies or something more significant and material is generally not something that's left up to the person. and my understanding from the reporting again -- i don't know how thorough and complete it is -- that she gave a couple of examples but didn't give other examples. and so, you know, sometimes you worry that somebody who you're speaking to is trying to get -- hedge and have it both ways and try to give the appearance of candor so that they're not caught in even more important material lies later. so if you had in your mind that you'd been telling things that were untrue, either to other people or to the public, you might want to give yourself cover by characterizing them as white lies. that remains to be seen. >> let me read to you that extraordinary tweet, the president slamming the attorney general of the united states. listen to this -- "why is attorney general jeff sessions asking the inspector general to investigate potentially massive fisa abuse? will take forever, has no
prosecutorial power, and already late with reports on comey, et cetera. isn't the i.g., ininspector general, an obama guy? why not use lawyers? disgraceful." what red flags does that statement, that tweet raise? >> that's an extraordinary tweet, as well. i think we'll say extraordinary a few times because it's been an extraordinary day. michael horowitz is, in fact, a justice department lawyer. the lawyers who work for him are, in fact, justice department lawyers. and you know, this is just another step in a series of steps the president has taken publicly to, a, discredit his attorney general who he picked and who he had work with -- work with him on his campaign. and also, to sort of try to direct who is involved in what investigations and what the results should be. he's a very result-oriented pers person. the interesting thing is, people should understand the department of justice itself is supposed to be an independent agency more so
than other agencies because the rule of law is important, and justice has to be blind. but within a fairly independent agency like the department of justice is another even more independent subdivision of it, the inspector general's office. and once again as we saw when jeff sessions decided to recuse himself, the professional way of handling a matter when you've had direct involvement in a campaign on the part of somebody, the correct way to handle some self-policing within the justice department is not to have other regular line attorneys looking at what other attorneys are doing. you have to go to some independent division within the department of justice department. the same with the police department that's have an internal affairs bureau and companies have internal watchdogs, as well. that's how it's done. you know, whether or not this should even be an i.g. investigation of "potentially massive fisa malfeasance" is a separate question altogether. i have not seen any evidence based on the competing memos that came out from both nunes
and adam schiff out of the intel committee in the house that there has been any malfeasance at all. it strikes me that it's the kind of thing that jeff sessions has said he would do to appease the president who keeps getting angry at jeff sessions not looking at the people who annoy donald trump. if you're going to do it -- i'm not sure that you should be doing it or need to be doing it -- if you need to do it, it should be done by the i.g.'s office. >> robert mueller is looking into president trump's finances in russia from before he announced his presidential run. explain why this falls within the scope of his russia investigation. >> well, here's the problem with answering questions about what kind of things bob mueller is looking at -- we don't know the whole, you know, the whole bucket of things that he's inquiring about. and it may be if this is true, i don't know if the report is true, that there's a course of conduct people have with companies or in other countries that both predates the campaign and continued into the campaign, and so if you're getting word
from various sources that there's some effort to look at things that happened before the campaign, it could be because there's a course of conduct that extends into the campaign. there's no way of knowing what the deal interest that. >> our reporting at cnn has been based on individuals who have answered questions from mueller and his team. they've asked several questions, lots of questions about trump's russia business dealings before he announced his campaign for president. that's why it's raising all sorts of questions, what he's looking at right now. but let me get into another sensitive issue with you. trial date is set now for the former trump campaign chairman paul manafort. do you believe this is really going to go to trial later this year? >> the case against paul manafort? as i've said multiple times, seems very strong. it's a straightforward case, a document-based case. you either had bank accounts in other countries and lied or didn't. you either had income and paid taxes or didn't. seems that's pretty straightforward and easy to
prove. on top of that as we learned last week, you know, gates, his co-defendant in the indictment, the original indictment, has decided to plead guilty and cooperate and you would expect him to testify at the trial. it's a very strong case. typically speaking in a very, very strong case, if there's a deal to be made to plead guilty, that's how the vast majority of criminal cases get decided. so far, paul manafort through his lawyer has said he's not intending to plead guilty. if he goes to trial, and i think there's a decent likelihood he will because he seems to be stubborn about wanting to go to trial, his constitutional right, and everyone has that right in this country because you're presumed independent until proven guilty, i think he's going to have a hard time of it at trial based on what we've seen in the indictment. >> before you go, i want you to listen to what the president said a little while ago speaking about the parkland, florida, gunman and the killing there. listen to this. >> take the firearms first and then go to court because that's another system. a lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to
go to court, to get the due process procedures, take the guns first, go through due process second. >> what do you make of that? >> the third time i'm going to say extraordinary. that's a very extraordinary statement. it's a little bill of a piece with lots of -- a little bit of a piece with lots of things this president says. he either doesn't know about, doesn't like, or can't abide process. he likes to see results. so whether you're talking about how to handle the nunez memo or how to handle the russia investigation or even whether you talk about how he's praised how other people in other countries like duterte in the philippines has engaged in extra judicial killings in connection with the war on drugs in that country, he likes to show that you're taking strong action. the problem is we do have a constitution, we have a process for doing things and investigating cases, and even doing something that some people on the other side of the gun debate might not necessarily disagree with. you have to follow due process. that's how the country works. that's what the constitution says. and the president should be advocating in favor of due
process, not against it. >> preet bharara, thanks as usual for joining us. >> thank you. ahead, what will it mean for the president as he loses one. his most loyal allies in the white house with the russia investigation intensifying by the day? we'll have more on the president's unscripted meeting with lawmakers on guns. was the live televised session an attempt to distract from his latest troubles? you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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breaking news tonight. the surprise resignation of one of the president's closest aides, the white house communications director hope hicks. let's bring in our analysts and experts. gloria, how significant is hope hicks' departure? >> well, i think she leaves a big hole in the white house. you know, had is somebody who's -- this is somebody who's been very close to the president and the president's family. don't forget she started out working for ivanka's company before she went to work for donald trump. i talked to a source today who's close to the president who said to me that hope hicks is the president's emotional support inside the white house. and i think that's -- i think that's true. i think he depends on her in a lot of ways. people say she knows how to kind of calm him down when he needs -- when he needs calming. people thought she was professional. and she was devoted to this president. and well liked inside the white house. i think it's going to be a great loss there. >> rebecca, she apparently
started thinking about resigning in the aftermath of the rob porter domestic abuse scandal. she's also been pretty much exposed in the russia investigation, as well. >> that's right. so an emotional toll in more than one way that's been taken on hope during her time in the white house. she spoke yesterday to the house intelligence committee. a source tells our brian stelzer that that was not a pleasant experience for hope. it was obviously a grueling nine-hour process for her. she's also spoken to the senate intelligence committee, she's spoken to robert mueller. she has been with the president since the beginning. that's why she is such an important person in these investigations. she's been in the room for key moments. of course she was in the room or on the plane, rather, when the team including her were drafting a statement explaining donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian attorney. that's obviously a focus now of mueller's. and so clearly some scrutiny on hope hicks. certainly there must be some relief that she doesn't have to deal with this on a daily basis.
the legal scrutiny will continue. >> we know if john kelly played a role in any of this leading up to her departure? >> we don't know about john kelly's role. he gave a glowing statement to the new york times praising her, praising her work. clearly there's tension now between john kelly and the trump family with jared kushner's security clearance issue. and hope hicks is part of the trump family. she's very much a loyal -- loyalist when it comes to the team. >> the special counsel, phil, as you know is looking into donald trump's business dealings with russia long before he announced he was running for president of the united states. what does that tell you? >> well, before i get too excited, let me give you a technical answer. why did don jr. pick up the phone? when you look at the meeting going back to last summer, you have questions about what was the pre-existing relationship with the russians? does somebody pick up the phone because there was a relationship, a business relationship -- >> you're talking about the trump tower meeting?
>> that is correct. a business relationship where somebody called somebody and said, you know, you got to take this call. let me be more blunt. when i got my first security clearance, age 24 -- i've heard people whine and moan about why clearance investigations go back before the trump campaign. three years, five years, ten years. they asked me about college. they asked me about high school. i have no sympathy for people who are saying why are they asking donald trump campaign members about what happened five or ten years ago. those of us who are everyday americans are asked did you smoke dope in high school, did you steal in college, when you get a security clearance, they're going to ask about what happened in your life and are you vulnerable because you did something wrong five or ten years ago. that's what all of us dealt with. that's what they're dealing with. >> and you got the security clearances. >> barely. >> at age 24. not going to ask you about the smoking dope and all that stuff. let's talk about the president's tweet today. very controversial tweet slamming his attorney general. i won't read the whole thing again. why is the attorney general just asking the inspector general to
investigate? he ends it by saying disgraceful, all in caps. this is extraordinary. it's not the first time. we took a look. he said awful things about jeff sessions going back a long time. idiot, beleaguered, very weak, very disappointed with him. he did a terrible thing. disgraceful. look at all those comments. and sessions is still there. he hasn't quit. >> sessions has taken a pounding from the president. this presents a narrow problem and a wider problem, wolf. the narrow problem is that the president continues to either not understand or not acknowledge that he understands that the role of the attorney general is not to be the president's personal attack dog. not to be his roy coen. there are reasons jeff sessions has been recused from the russia discussion. the wider problem for the president is he's sending a message to all his close advisers -- if you get crosswise with me, i'm going to be merciless, and it will never end. >> how much public humiliation
can the attorney general take? >> he's taken a lot. but he fought back today. >> yes. >> i would argue -- he put out a press release and basically said, sorry, the i.g.'s going to handle this. and by the way, the president may not know this, but the i.g., the inspector general, routinely refers cases for prosecution. that is his job to do that. so it is not disgraceful. it is actually procedure. and i think that sessions felt at long last that he had to defend the department. and he did. >> and there's one more piece. let me take you inside this game quickly. when i was at the bureau, if you had said there's an investigation -- >> the fbi -- >> the fibbi. an investigation conducted by the i.g. versus an investigation by the department of justice lawyers -- let me be careful about language -- we despise the i.g. the inspector general. >> right. >> they were a hammer. so the president doesn't understand if you want somebody to go after the fbi, get the i.g. to do it because they're going to bring a hammer down.
don't worry about the department of justice lawyers. >> by the way, this i.g. worked for democrats and republicans. and even trey gowdy, a republican, came out today and said "i respect horowitz, let him do his job." >> good point. everybody, stick around. there's more news we're following. president trump's rather surprising remarks on gun control. how republicans are now reacting to his stunning shift. (vo) make her day with just one touch. with fancy feast creamy delights, she can have just the right touch of real milk. easily digestible, it makes her favorite entrées even more delightful. fancy feast creamy delights. love is in the details.
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there's more breaking news tonight. president trump appearing to back some significant gun-control measures during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers over at the white house. the president voiced support for banning bump stocks and raising the minimum age for some firearm purchases to 21. at one point he told a republican senator, "you're afraid of the nra. "rebecca, he's getting some negative feedback. take a look at breitbart, the main page. "trump the gun grabber, ced cedes dems' wish list." tells the majority leader to take a hike after surviving assassination attempt, bashes nra. getting grief for taking the positions during the hour-plus meeting with bipartisan lawmakers. >> and it's hard to blame republicans and conservatives, wolf, for being a little shocked at what the president had to say
today. he ran as a second amendment conservative even though previously before his presidential campaign he wasn't that at all. he was actually pro for the gun restrictions before that. he ran as a second amendment conservative. the nra endorsed his campaign and has supported him as president. and they spent millions of dollars trying to get him elected. so it would have made sense for donald trump to listen to the nra, to listen to what republicans want on this issue. instead he flipped completely. now we've seen him do that before with immigration, with other issues, in meetings like this. but you could see the body language from republicans in that room. like john cornyn sitting to the president's right. his face just fell as the president was expressing his support for some of these measures. and dianne feinstein sitting to the president's left was absolutely giddy hearing him say this. >> it was so shocking when, you know, people were talking about background checks. and then the notion of concealed carry was raised because --
>> by steve scalise. >> by steve scalise. people have always thought, okay, you can do enhanced background checks if you give the republicans concealed carry on weapons, and the -- >> nationwide. >> nationwide. the president said, nah, that's got to be in a separate bill. we're not going to do that. it will slow it republicans in the room saying oh, my gosh, what's next. and what's next is assault weapons and diane feinstein's joy. of course, the issue here is the reality show on daca, and nothing has come of that. so today we have the reality show on gun control where the president kept pushing for comprehensive reform. we now all have to take all of this with a grain of salt. >> and also said go ahead, confiscate the guns and worry about due process later if
somebody is mentally ill. >> you have conservatives on one side pushing a solution. democrats want to solve it with let's make it harder for people to get guns in the first place t president is sitting in the middle. debate long before he was in office. and he thisz, oh, let's have a common sense solution. no, when a problem gets to the level of the president of the united states, sitting around a conference table with senators, it means it's something that can't be soclved with a quick equip off his had head. >> that's why he's saying don't worry about the native americra. we can work with them. >> obama had a false birth certificate. sorry, that's not control. i'm looking at chinese manipulation, we won't do anything about that and my favorite, dumping on the secretary of state for talking about conversations with the
noer north koreas, and the vice president goes and says i'm happy to talk to the north koreas. the point is he didn't do anything. breitbart says that. and i suppose he's not going to do anything. >> takes it seriously. >> what is so amazing is i think members of congress have finally found a way to flatter the president enough so he will listen to them. because everybody started their little piece by saying, you know, mr. president, i know you can exert the greatest leadership on this. and with your leadership, we can do x, y and z. and the president sat there and nodded and listened. and i think they all understand, after previous meetings this is the way to get it through. >> walking and telling these lawmakers, you know what, have you to combine this legislation, you can't just have separate pieces of legislation. he was going through the legislative process to the delight of the democrats there,
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florida high school shooting. cnn kayly is joining us from parkland. tell us more about that, kayly. >> reporter: wolf, we are just learning walmart deciding they won't be selling firearms or ammunition to anyone under 21. saying quote we have reviewed our policy on firearm sales. going forward, raising the age to 21 years of age. this more welcome news to the people of stoneman advocating, after this announcement by dick's sporting goods, that they too were going to raise the age limit to buy firearms in their store to 21. and stop selling assault style rifles like the one the killer used at had high school. they won't be selling high capacity magazines or any
axleryes. the ceo says he knows they will take criticism and hit to bottom line, but he says he and the leadership of his company they were moved by the efforts and passion they have seen from the survivors here in parkland, wolf. >> kayly, stoneman douglas high school opened exactly two weeks after the shooting. what was it like? >> reporter: it was an emotional roller coaster of a day, wolf, as described to me by students and teachers here. the school day began with a moment of silence, 17 seconds, one for each of the victims. students and teachers experienced this moment as they gathered with the class they were in when the gunman attacked. and this day, as the principal said, the focus was going to be on comfort, not curriculum, that's the case for many days moving forward. students weren't even allowed to bring backpacks onto campus. "a" one student told me he
realized today he had been so wrapped up in fighting for changes for gun laws over the past two weeks, today it was as if reality slapped him in the face when he saw an empty desk in one of the desks in the classroom next to him. >> that's it for me. erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront next breaking news, white house in turmoil. hope hicks the president's closest confidante, gone, abruptly resigning, just a day of an admitting she's told lies for the president. what's behind her sudden depart tour. >> plus more breaking news t after jared kushner loses top security clearance, trump sounding like a democrat on gun reform, calling outlaw makers for being afraid of the native american. is th nra. is this reality show or is this the real donald trump? let's