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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  April 12, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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cnn, he'll be interviewed on "the lead with jake tapper," next thursday, april 19th, a week from today. that's it for me. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, breaking news. comey unleashed. new excerpts from the fired fbi director slamming the president's character, accusing trump of being fixated with disproving specific lewd details in the russia dossier. more breaking news, a cnn exclusive, inside a white house plan to discredit rod rosenstein. a former trump tower doorman reportedly paid for his silence is now speaking out about rumors of trump and an illegitimate child. was the doorman another example of team trump paying hush money? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront," breaking news news,
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untethered to truth. a skating depiction of president trump from the former fbi director james comey. excerpts from his new book just being released. in the book comey ripping into the president, writing that he is "untethered to truth." calling the way he leads "ego driven and about personal loyalty." according to the "washington post," comey details his interactions with president trump, writing that trump pressured him about the investigation into russian election interference. he also writes about his surprising firing. of course comey was fired in may of last year by the president, who actually sent his personal bodyguard to do it. here's what trump said at the time. >> he's a showboat. he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil. you know that. i was going to fire comey. my decision. it was not -- >> you had medication the decisi -- made the decision before they came in the room? >> i was going to fire comey.
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>> "the washington post" writes comey writes the president was fixated on the russia dossier and salacious details in it, a report the president has railed against. >> i think it's very sad what they've done with this fake dossier. it was made up. that dossier, which is totally fake and made up, it's like a novel. but that dossier is a disgrace and it should not have been allowed to be used. >> according to comey, the president wanted him to prove one of the infamous allegations specifically in the dossier, the golden showers issue, that's how he referred to it, the president did, according to comey, as made up. according to comey, trump brought that incident up about prostitutes in a moscow hotel room four times, asking comey to prove it false, in part for melania's sake. comey also writes that then homeland security secretary john kelly, now trump's chief of staff, offered to quit out of a sense of disgust as to how comey was fired, saying he called
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trump at the time "dishonorable." it was comey's firing for bob mueller to be appointed special counsel overseeing the investigation. a whole lot more details and quotes come out from this book. we're learning the white house and rnc have a plan to fight back. they have a website up, "lying comey." spelled the trump way, without a "g." a far cry from the days of the 2016 campaign when trump and pence, do you remember how much they loved comey? because he reopened hillary e-mail investigation lest you forgot. >> it took guts for director comey to make the move that he made. good job by the fbi. i have respect that the fbi has given it a second chance. there's little doubt that fbi director comey and the great special agents of the fbi will be able to collect more than
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enough evidence to garner indictments against hillary clinton. >> now he's lying comey. jeff zeleny is live at the white house. obviously as this is all coming out and all of the details about what the president said, according to jim comey and his obsession with the women issues and the moscow prostitutes, what are you hearing about trump's response right now? >> erin, there is a bit of a pins and needles sense here at the white house. i can tell you one is white house staffers and other allies of the president are largely seeing this book as everyone else is, through news media reports. it's not actually coming out until next week. some five days from now. i am told by a couple of white house officials they have not seen it. the question is, when the president is going to respond? not a matter of if, likely when. could it be this evening? white house officials say they don't expect that. but of course that is entirely up to him. the question here is the republican national committee is essentially taking over the
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battle plan for this. their main plan is to discredit, try at least to discredit james comey are pointing out it was democrats who had many questions about him. using words from democrats through digital advertising, trying to undermine the former fbi director. they're going to release, i'm told, a book, a cover later this evening, sort of playing off a higher loyalty, which is the name of the memoir, saying a higher loyalty to me, myself, and i. the reality is there's nothing they can do to respond to the substance of this matter because james comey was a party to these conversations, and the president was a party to these conversations. no one else was. for all the spin, for all the things they're trying to do, the reality is what does the president do, and what does his response actually influence or impact the mueller investigation? we don't know the answer to that. but i can tell you when these started coming out about an hour, hour and a half ago, people are wondering, gosh,
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what's the man upstairs in the residence of the white house, what's he going to say about it? erin, we don't know the answer to that. >> not yet. of course we will. thank you very much, jeff zeleny. let's go through what we know is in this book. there are detailed quotes and i want to share them with all of you. a friend of donald trump for over 15 years joins me, former assistant secretary for the department of homeland security is with us, politics editor for "the new york times" patrick healey, and josh campbell, law enforcement analyst and former fbi supervisory special agent who served as special assistant to james comey. patrick, let me start with you. i would say no question the president is reading these excerpts, whether "the washington post" article or the lower thirds on our screens or going to see all these full screens that are about to come up on television. he's reading it. >> right. >> so far he has been silent. >> right. >> nothing upsets him more than disloyalty. and he made clear, james comey made clear in the book in several points, that donald
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trump as a candidate, and then when he was coming into office, was basically looking for loyalty for all the people around him, then basically asked james comey, are you willing to be a made man? as comey put it in the book. are you willing to kiss the ring, as comey puts it in the book, basically pledge loyalty to me? i remember covering donald trump throughout the campaign. personal loyalty from people like from michael cohen, corey lewandowski, paul manafort, incredibly important to him. now you're seeing these excerpts coming out. president trump's silence. it's not going to be for long. he really has been loaded for bear to months now. going after james comey. as jeff pointed out he was the other party to these conversations. and i'm pretty certain he's going to have 180-degree difference on it. >> of course comey took extensive notes, trump said he had tapes, now he said there are no tapes. let me read the part where trump is compared to a mob boss by comey. according to the "washington post" comey says it brought back
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"flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the mob. the silent circle of aseptember, the boss in complete control, the loyalty oaths, the us against us world view, the lie about all things large and small, a code of service that put the obligation above morality and above the truth." it's a pretty damning compare so that. >> i think comey has done more damage to the fbi, not i think since hoover. seriously. because we've had hillary clinton and democrats, republicans, and trump all going after comey for i think very valid reasons. here's a guy who injected himself into a political campaign. here's a guy who leaked information to try to set up a special prosecutor -- >> they loved him when it was helping them. >> both sides. i think a lot of damaging things to the fbi as an institution has happened under comey. he has proven with this book what he's saying and writing. a lot of these personal conversations between the president and he, which is uncorroborated.
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it's now he said, he said. so i think comey has done more to damage the fbi, who now unfortunately is becoming a political -- >> what about how much donald trump loved comey in the last days the election? >> forget that for a second -- >> you can't forget that. he likes him he likes him, when he doesn't, he doesn't. how can you say that the other sfwha. >> he's trashing the intelligence services repeatedly but comey held up -- >> i think what's happening, the fbi, and unfortunately agents aren't the issue, it was comey, and we see now an investigation which has gone all over, raiding, there's three things which should be sack row saimgtd. husband/wife, priest/confessor, attorney/client. >> the person committing crimes with their attorney, i can think of exceptions to all of those rules unfortunately, which is possibly on the table. josh, comey says to the point that rob's taking issue with, "the forest fire that is the trump presidency, what is happening now is not normal, it is not fake news, it is not okay. forest fires are very
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significant." josh, you know him. does he think that there is concern, that he is going too far, that he is injecting too much, his subjective view? >> i think he is. if you look at -- i wouldn't say two things, first of all. i know jim comey well, i served for him, career agent to served as his assistant. there's two things we have to distinguish between. the first is the -- the first of the decisions he made throughout the election period up until the election of donald trump, that's one set. the second thing we have to focus on is the character assassination that people who disagree with him are attempting to do. you can disagree with the decisions he made, that's fine. you don't have to believe what he says. you can listen to, read what he says, make up your own mind. but this character assassination is so stunning. i listen to rob, this linguistic leap in logic that we hear, hypocrisy goes around. one day people like him when their ox is not being gored by what the fbi is doing, the next
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day they hate him, he's a devil incarnate. if you saw that hypocrisy, i was in the fbi throughout this period, a major head spin because you saw all this going round and round. i think what we're seeing is finally jim comey able to tell his side of the story. he is someone, he's been ridiculed as sanctimonious, which i think a lot of people in washington say, this is someone who is tethered to the truth and ethics are he's not one of us, so we'll go after him. it's anathema to hear someone that is so tethered to the truth take issue when he's called a liar. where other people, they call liar, it rolls off their back. i think this is his time to tell his story. >> juliette, so as he goes in one thing he talks about, and there's a lot in here. is trump's obsession with the russia dossier, he says trump raised the issue of moscow prostitutes urinating in front of him at least four times. it remains awkward to discuss but the president apparently referred to this as the golden shower issue and brought it up at least four times. comey, "he strongly denied the
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allegations asking rhetorically i assume whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes, i'm a germophobe, there's no way i'd let people pee on each other around me, no way." goes on "the president-elect argued it couldn't be true." "i decided not to tell him the activity did not require an overnight stay or even being in proximity to the participants, in fact although i didn't know for sure i imagine the presidential suite was large enough for a germophobe to be at a safe distance from the activity." that appears to be tongue in cheek. what do you make of that? not just trump's obsession according to comey with this, but the way comey handles it? >> i think this piece of the conversations between trump and comey is fascinating because two reasons. one is what is trump not denying? the dossier is a document that most of it is about collusion and relationships between the
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trump campaign and trump affiliates with the russians. that's about 98% of the dossier. the last 2% is this stuff. the stuff that we focus on. so it's interesting that trump doesn't seem to deny that or even be concerned that there's allegations about that. and then the second thing is whether it's hard to talk about or whatever, but these tapes and what happened in the hotel room are somewhat irrelevant. the only thing that's relevant is whether the president is compromised. and that is the question -- >> in terms of blackmail. >> nobody seems to answer. exactly, whatever happened in that room, honestly, who cares, right? and who wants to know. seriously, the questions that the dossier asks are, is the president of the united states compromised? and the question that mueller is asking is, not only is he come mized, has the president obstructed justice to protect his family and himself? and it seems to me there's nothing we've seen so far out of comey's book that actually undermines that theory, that the
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president's compromised and that he obstructed justice. >> rob, what do you make of his obsession with this? >> with russia? >> the prostitutes in a moscow hotel room and women in general. comey refers to his knowledge of -- seemed to know every single detail of every allegation against him by every woman. >> i honestly have no idea. i think now we're talking about a doorman who heard one day about an extra marital affair and a child. i mean, this is front page now because it's fun to talk about, but there's serious issues here. the point i was trying to make about comey is, the fbi has, in many ways, the public has lost a lot of -- credibility has been lost. >> why is that? because of a certain person talking about the fbi? >> comey injecting himself into the race. a lot of this started from hillary clinton. she blames the fbi, and specifically comey, for losing the election. >> yes. >> so you have a situation now where it's red hot right now. why would comey drop all this stuff right now? especially if he cared so much
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about his agency -- >> because he's the victim of character assassination. when is a good time? when someone is saying you're a liar, questioning everything that you've time, when as good time? think about this, think about this, rob. how many people in the united states of america, 300-plus million, have had an opinion formed about them without being able to tell their side of the story? we hear from the president all the time. we hear from other elected leaders all the time. jim comey has been working on putting together a thoughtful piece to tell his story. now is his time to do that. now people, today the republican national committee, the quote-unquote party of law enforcement, launching an all-out aggressive campaign on jim comey to further this character assassination. you tell me, when is a good time to tell your story? >> let's not make him to be st. james here. >> i don't think i said that. >> answer my question -- >> when as good time -- >> i don't think it's about st. james, it's about here was james comey, fbi director, who had contemporaneous notes and diaries about direct conversations with the president of the united states --
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>> is it true? >> he's turned them over to robert mueller. i don't know why someone lies in a diary about this. ultimately mueller will go to secondary sources and ask about whether comey describes him in these meetings, we know he did to andrew mccabe and other -- we'll see what comes up. it seems as if, at least right now, comey's doing what is a washington tradition. he's putting together his book, he's putting out his side of the story. president trump has been attacking him for months and will probably keep continuing. i'm surprised the rnc is willing to be sort of like -- i don't know what the word is -- >> "lying comey"? >> somebody's got to fight back. this is going to be one-sided. >> can i ask something? >> go ahead, juliette. >> i want to say something about patrick, it's important for people to remember the fbi director thought he was going to be around for eight or nine more years. the fact that -- so this idea that he kept notes because he
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knew he was going to get fired and try to undermine trump is ridiculous. he actually believed, and i believe this because everyone knew that he was -- he was just keeping a written record of what was happening as fbi director. so those weren't created to undermine trump. he thought he was going to be fbi director until you and all of us were long gone. >> can i say something, erin, along with what juliette's saying, we are in a post-truth world right now. if you look at the things that we've heard people essentially lie about, let's go back to the trump tower meeting. i was there with the staff whenever that meeting took place with the intelligence leaders and the president-elect. we weren't allowed in the meeting but the principals met. then after the meeting, if you recall from the reporting, the intelligence officials left, and comey did a one-on-one meeting with the president-elect in order to present him with information. the reason that decision was made, it wasn't so he'd hold something over trump's head, it was because the information being reported was so private i when didn't want to embarrass
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the president-elect by sitting there in an audience full of people to go through these salacious details. if you'll recall, they couldn't even tell the truth about being briefed on the dossier. i think it was reince priebus that said, i waet was there, i wasn't briefed. not mentioning there was a second meeting. the things they don't say is important. the last thing too, today was reported in "the daily beast" when comey was fired, the day he was fired in los angeles, i was there with him that he talked to john kelly. the reporting said that even john kelly said, i'm so sick of this, i'm going to resign about. comey told him, no, we need good people like you there. today in the reporting the white house said that never happened. i was there, i heard the conversation. i was briefed on it afterwards in full. they can't even tell the truth about the little smallest things. if you're jim comey, of course you're going to keep notes. >> one quick question, patrick. jim comey says in the book, he said he didn't want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner, referring to kelly and his offer to quit because of comey being fired. what does that mean for kelly
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now when the president reads this? he says he doesn't believe anything comey says but he's going to believe this? >> sure. these words do stick with president trump. there's been reporting about when rex tillerson suppose lid called him a moron. that really stuck with him. so the degree to which -- look, honor is important to president trump. he considers himself an honorable man. he sees everyone around him lying about him. and it's deeply frustrating him. dishonorable coming from john kelly, chief of staff, that's a very tough word. i'm sure it's going to be something that's said. >> thank you all very much. you're going to hear more of the story directly from jim comey. he will ob cnn talking with jake one week from today on "the lead" at 4:00 eastern. next, a strour doorman speaking out amid reports he was paid to keep quiet about his claim that trump party an illegitimate child. the payoff behind that next. targeting rod rosenstein. the white house has a plan for trump allies to undermine the man who's overseeing bob mueller the russia investigation.
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breaking news. reports of a new payoff to protect president trump. according to "the new yorker," a former trump doorman was paid $30,000 by the publisher of "the national enquirer" for his story about trump fathering a child with an employee at trump tower in the late 1980s. the doorman, dino seduden, said "i can confirm while working at trump tower i was instructed not to criticize president trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with president trump which produced a child." his story, of course, has not been proven. and it never ran. and according to "the new yorker," it was david becker, the publisher of "the national enquirer" and long-time friend and trump ally who killed the story. the report also claims the president's personal attorney, michael cohen, was also in close contact with executives at the publisher during this time. brin, the trump organization and ami are firmly pushing back on
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this report but you're talking to former workers at ami who have a different story? >> basically former workers are saying, this happened that hush money was paid, and the story was killed. that's according to "the new yorker." radar online, a tabloid also owned by ami, published a story outlining the deal, which included a memo, an e-mail, and a report of a lie detector test which they say the doorman took after he made hi claims. the tabloid says he passed that test. ami, which owns "the national enquirer," says the story was buried because it wasn't true. as you've pointed out, remember, the head of ami is david pecker, well-known friend of trump's. the publisher said, ami categorically denies that donald trump or michael cohen had anything to do with its decision not to pursue a story about a love child, that it determined was not credible. it's important no note as you did as well, cnn or any other media outlet at this point has
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not proved the doorman's claims. but it speaks to a pattern here. this is a concept of catching and killing stories to help trump during the presidential campaign. we're league it now, we heard it with stormy daniels, and we heard it with former playboy centerfold karen mcdougal. she says she was paid about her story about an affair with trump that was never published. the white house hasn't commented about the doorman but the trump organization had something to say, basically calling the former doorman a liar, saying this, "a simple internet search shows that mr. sedidin is alleged to have a long history of peddling false and malicious stories for his own benefit." >> brin, thank you very much. so as pointed out, the pattern, we now know of three payments made to prevent unflattering stories about the president from going public. one to stormy daniels, one to the former playmate karen mcdougal, now a trump doorman. the last two both reportedly made by "the national enquirer"
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publisher ami, the company whose boss is a trend and protector of trump's. tom foreman is "outfront." >> reporter: obama wiretapped trump! hillary corrupt! racist criminal! in hour lurid attacks "the national enquirer" hits hard, fast. when it comes to donald trump the gloves come off and the kid gloves go on. trump cashes russia's white house spy! trump must build the wall! trump takes charge! why such a difference? the man in charge of that tabloid, david pecker, is a friend of donald trump, and trump is a man of pecker's slash and burn tactic forth taking down politicians and celebrities alike. >> i've always said why didn't "the national enquirer" get the pulitzer prize for edwards and o.j. simpson and all these things? >> reporter: the mutually beneficial relationship between the two new yorkers started in the 1990s over their shared interest in the power and value of headlines.
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ever since, they've grown closer and more protective of each other's empires. >> it was mostly a one-way protection. it was a kind of hero worship on the part of pecker. he really looked up to donald trump. still does. and he put his very important magazines to work for donald trump's interests. >> reporter: for example, when "the national enquirer" printed a ridiculously false claim about the kennedy assassination and the father of ted cruz, trump's rival for the republican nomination, the billionaire jumped on board. >> on the cover are "the national enquirer," a picture of him and crazy lee harvey oswald having reakfast. >> reporter: in the general election, pecker's paper raged at hillary clinton attacking her health, her credibility, while giving trump the tabloid's first and only political endorsement. and most importantly -- >> i know it's wrong, i'm really sorry for that, i know it's the
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wrong thing to do -- >> reporter: several people have now said pecker's company bought the right to stories potentially damaging to trump just to keep them out of the public eye, a practice called "catch and kill." and at one point msnbc hosts claimed the white house threatened to launch a hit piece on them in "the enquirer." >> they said, if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story. >> reporter: pecker's company, american media, incorporated, denies wrongdoing, dismissing accusations as laughable. the political implications are spurring serious questions about this relationship between the politician and the publisher. >> all right, tom, thank you very much. "outfront" now, american media ink, which opens "the national enquirer." you were not there when the doorman incident story happened.
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but first donald trump and david pecker what do you know about their relationship? >> they were long-time friends. they were happening in new york city in the '90s when magazines ruled the city. a logical person for donald trump to become friends with and they hit it off well and that relationship has continued. >> now we see that. now the question about the doorman. so does paying a doorman $30,000 for the rights to a story about donald trump fathering an illegitimate child, which is the story the doorman was telling, doing that with the purpose of paying the guy $30,000 to essentially kill the story and not run it, does that sound like something david pecker would do as part of this relationship or protecting of trump? >> the "the enquirer" has been known to pay sources and they've admitted that and been proud of it. the fact that they paid -- once again, i know nothing about this story. but from standard operating procedure perspective, paying the doorman as a source is not unusual. now everybody who is a source in
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an ami publication is vetted twice internally before they go ahead with the story. you'd have to imagine if they paid the guy $30,000 or whatever money was paid to anybody bringing the story to them, there must be some validity, once they pass through that process. >> "the new yorker" quotes a source saying "the national enquirer" who worked there, "we didn't pay thousands for nonstories let alone ten of thousands." this was $30,000, would they have paid that for a story they really did think was completely untrue? >> you can only draw conclusions by what happened and didn't happen. >> right, you're saying they would go through a process and they would use that to make a decision, it's worth buying or not worth buying it? >> sure, yeah. >> they would have had to have thought there was validity to it? >> at that point, sure. >> i appreciate your time. form formerly of communications for american media. is the point man for the russia investigation on ice? new details of a white house effort to undermine the credibility of rod rosenstein and new information about the
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fbi's interest in the president's personal lawyer, michael cohen. now we're learning it goes beyond just making secret payments to women. this car is literally my baby.
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colleague sara murray that the plan is for allies of president trump to cast rosenstein as someone who is simply too conflicted to continue to oversee the mueller investigation. all of this coming about, of course, in the wake of the raid on the president's personal attorney, michael cohen, that has angered the president as well as those around him. and we're already seeing some of trump's allies on the airwaves calling on the president to fire rod rosenstein. now the white house preparing these talking points. what they want the allies to highlight is rod rosenstein's role in the firing of james comey. of course as you'll recall, he was the one that prepared that memo that was used as justification to fire comey. so they want to say they want to make the point that he is a material witness, and therefore should not be overseeing the probe. they also want allies to cast the two as friends. the two as in rosenstein and comey. which makes you have to question how that could be if rosenstein was the one to write that memo
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justifying comey's firing. but that is what they want allies to do. all of this happening as the president weighs firing him and rosenstein himself was here at the white house today, meeting face-to-face with the president. now an official says it was preplanned, it was just official business that was discussed. but you have to wonder if other things were brought up, considering all that has been going on this week. >> pamela, thank you very much. with pamela's reporting, you say, gosh, exactly as she did, if they want conflict of interest based on the memo he wrote that supported their point of view, it's a hard argument to make. but they are trying. and "outfront" now, row naught toe mariotti, former prosecutor, bob mueller's special assistant at department of justice. what do you make of these attacks on rosenstein, this now-coordinated effort to put out the message he's conflicted, he's got to go? >> i don't think it's a valid conflict. the argument goes first, he's the day-to-day supervisor of mueller and he can't be a
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supervisor and a witness. but of course the regulations specifically say, he is not the day-to-day supervisor of mueller, nobody in the justice department is the day-to-day supervisor of mueller, he's more of a consultant to mueller when mueller needs to consult. second, olc, the office of legal counsel in the justice department, has a policy which says, you cannot indict a sitting president. so there is no trial here that could take place while president trump is president. second -- third, rather, i guess -- most people say that you cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for firing somebody he has a constitutional right to fire, that is, comey. so if there's no indictment, he can't be charged with obstruction for firing somebody, has a constitutional right to fire in what case is rosenstein a potential witness? there is no case there. because the only case that there would be would be an impeachment hearing, nothing to do with mueller. so i think it's made up.
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they're trying to interfere with the investigation by finding a reason to get rid of rosenstein, to capitate it, and that's not good. >> no, it's not. this is what they're doing, they're doing it to where they think the audience is going to be friendly to the argument. here are the president's allies on fox news. >> it is also very clear that rod rosenstein is so incompetent, compromised, and conflicted, that he can no longer serve as the deputy attorney general. >> rod rosenstein has not done his job, he has not supervised mueller. this whole thing is an absurdity. >> incompetent, compromised, conflicted, absurd. but look, here's the thing. for the first time we have a poll today, a majority of republican voters, 54%, now believe mueller is not conducting a pair investigation. that is up 10 percentage points over the past six months according to quinnipiac. pretty stunning. that would seem like the president's attacks on mueller on rosenstein, are working.
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>> they certainly appear to be. and it's amazing. newt gingrich is criticizing bob mueller saying he's not doing a good job supervising rosenstein, how does he know? unless he's violating the law and learning secret grand jury information. he has no idea what rod rosenstein and bob mueller are doing. i don't think anyone watching believes, anyone following this, really believes that donald trump is so deeply concerned about conflicts of interest that he's considering doing something about rosenstein, because he has such a high version of ethics. the reality is he was angry at attorney general sessions for recusing himself, which he was bound to do ethically, when he had an actual conflict. so look, there is something to the fact that rosenstein would be a witness as to the firing of comey, certainly he was involved in that. of course at the request of the president. but that's not what's really going on here.
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this is a very -- as you point out, an effective way to try to undermine an ongoing investigation. >> right. thank you both very much. if that really was an issue, he could have gotten rid of rosenstein ten months ago. but now only wants to do it now. breaking news on the fbi raid of the president's personal lawyer. "the washington post" reporting at this moment, just breaking, that trump allies are worried the feds may have taped recordings between michael woe are cohen, president's lawyer, and trump associates. mike pompeo on the hot seat. how his transformation to the state department could be in jeopardy tonight. ♪ this is what getting your car serviced at lincoln looks like. complementary pickup and delivery servicing
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is part of a bigger picture. that bigger picture is statewide mutual aid. california years ago realized the need to work together. teamwork is important to protect the community, but we have to do it the right way. we have a working knowledge and we can reduce the impacts of a small disaster, but we need the help of experts. pg&e is an integral part of our emergency response team.
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they are the industry expert with utilities. whether it is a gas leak or a wire down, just having someone there that deals with this every day is pretty comforting. we each bring something to the table that is unique and that is a specialty. with all of us working together we can keep all these emergencies small. and the fact that we can bring it together and effectively work together is pretty special. they bring their knowledge, their tools and equipment and the proficiency to get the job done. and the whole time i have been in the fire service, pg&e's been there, too. whatever we need whenever we need it. i do count on pg&e to keep our firefighters safe. that's why we ask for their help. breaking news. new details of the raid on president trump's long-time attorney michael cohen. "the washington post" with this report tonight. that michael cohen taped
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conversations with associates. and now some of those people are worried that those recordings are in the hands of federal investigators, that this could have been seized during the raid on monday. "outfront," tom hamburger, reporter with "the washington post," this is pretty incredible. taco win, who's worked with trump for a dozen years. and now you're learning may have taped conversations? >> michael cohen was a very loyal guy, is and was a very loyal guy, loyal to donald trump. and donald trump used to indicate and did, in fact, publicly recently, that he would sometimes tape conversations. we don't know that he actually did. but he would talk about it and use it as a sort of tactic of leverage. as leverage. and michael cohen, from those that we talked to, suggested -- suggests that he did much the same thing. and in some cases actually did record conversations and at least in a couple of instances replayed them for a small audience. >> you have a story in here
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where during the presidential race, cohen we know technically wasn't involved, although of course he was advocating for trump regularly, had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid because he did tape conversations and he played a conversation back at one point to somebody. so do you have any knowledge, tom, as to who might have been taped and what sorts of things might be on these recordings? >> you know, first of all, i want to make clear, we know only that michael cohen was widely known to have taped, and there is one person who was familiar with him who told us he stored them in digital fashion on his computers. the fbi in this raid early this week seized michael cohen's computers. so if there were recordings on there, these digital recordings would be available to investigators after going through a couple of legal hoops that are necessarily before prosecutors can get their hands on these tapes. it was very disconcerting to several people we talked to in trump world because they'd heard the rumors, promoted sometimes by michael cohen himself that he
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occasionally recorded calls or recorded visits with people in his office. >> all right, tom, thank you very much. tom hamburger with his breaking news. harry sandic joins us, assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. if there are tapes of anybody talking to michael cohen, how big is this? >> it's fantastic evidence for prosecutors. there's no form of evidence that prosecutors like more than audiotapes. you can play them to a jury, they're easy to understand, they're not dependant on a cooperating witness, do you believe this person? everyone can hear the tapes and can make up their own mind. >> and of course, in the state of new york, only one person who's on the conversation has to know or agree to it being taped, in this case, michael cohen, so it's perfectly legal. the question would be why was he taping things and could there be things incriminating to himself or to the president? >> there are lots of reasons why somebody might tape
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conversations, but none of them are really necessarily very good. it sounds as if he might have taped conversations with business partners. people who he was doing business with. in order to try to record the conversations and use them as leverage in some fashion. it's possible that he recorded the conversations in order to then play them back for other people so that he could explain the context of some conversations that he's had. and unless he's talking to his own clients, which a lawyer really should not be recording -- >> i.e., donald trump, in this case. >> that's right. if he's not recording -- if he's not recording his clients, these tapes have nothing to do with attorney-client privilege, they should be readily admissible because they're with people who he doesn't represent. >> again, we don't know who was exactly recorded or for what reason. if there were recordings, maybe some of them are him trying to maybe be able to play back to his boss, to donald trump, look at how tough i was with this person, look what i did, look how i handled it. that opens a door, if that is what some of these may be.
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>> it absolutely opens a door. and we know from some of michael cohen's written communications that he has a tendency sometimes to write colorfully when dealing with certain journalists or people he's that he was engaged in stagecraft so he could play it back to a client, maybe the president, and say look what i've done to these people, and now those tapes could be used as evidence against him or others in a criminal case. thank you very much, harry. as you say, you know, a huge development as you say. fantastic for prosecutors. >> very good. thank you. next, trump's national security team meeting tonight about syria. are the missile strikes about to happen?
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tonight president trump's pick for secretary of state mike pompeo in jeopardy, senators grilling pompeo, who had a nonsensical answer when asked about a march 27 meeting between himself, the president and the director of national intelligence dan coats. the head like in "the washington post" read -- top officials to do trump associates, trump asked him if he could intervene on fbi/russia probe.
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so pompeo was asked about it today. here's the exchange. >> what did president trump say to you and director coats in that meeting? >> senator, i'm not going to talk about the conversations the president and i had. i think it's -- in this setting appropriate for a president to have a talk with senior leadership. i'll do that throughout, but i will tell you the article's suggestion that he asked me to do anything improper is false. >> did he ask you to do anything as it relates to that investigation? >> senator, i don't recall. i don't recall what he asked me that day precisely, but i have to tell you, i'm with the president an awful lot. he's never asked me to do anything that i considered remotely improper. >> so pompeo says he doesn't remember what happened in the meeting, but he does remember, because it wasn't improper. senator jeff merkley from oregon, who sits on the committee who held today's
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meeting, so you were there, senator. there were a lot of questions in the hearing about pompeo's relationship with trump, whether it was too close, whether he was willing to do the president's bidding when it cub to russia. what did you make of it? >> well, certainly i understand that he didn't want to disclose a personal conversation, probably there was no expectation that he would disclose it, but what really the hearing came down to was whether mike pompeo, teaming up with john bolton, is a war cabinet that is going to not exercise appropriate restraint and diplomacy in international affairs. so, obviously we have a big question tonight on syria, but i want to ask you about a couple other things that came up here. when mike pompeo, who of course is cia director currently. he was asked whether he sways spoken to bob mueller, and he said yesterday, he had been interviewed and answered mueller's questions. he didn't reveal what they
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discussed. were you surprised he had been interviewed. >> i was surprised he had been bur viewed, but i know those interviews are wide sweeping. it wasn't a shocking surprise, but the you heard him -- if you played a tape of all the times he said "i don't remember," "i can't share that with you" i don't want to talk about it, it comprised a good share of the hearing. >> so you were disappointed? >> i was really concerned about this question of how he viewed the ability of the president to take us into war won the constraints imposed by the constitution. the constitution says that that power rests with congress. it says that only way he can act without congress is if there's an emergency in which the ups or our forces or assets are attacked. he said explicitly today that he felt the president can act even beyond that power. in any case, that's extremely scary. >> that was scary to you.
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what about what's hatching in syria. the national security meeting wrapped up. the president said yesterday get ready, russia the missiles every coming. today he said maybe soon, maybe not at all. are strikes imminent. do you think he has the authority to call for them? >> i think strikes are probably imminent. many of us have asked mike pompeo about a serious strategy, what are the basic principles. the fact is we are in complete chaos. a couple weeks ago the president said we have troops in syria, but i want to pull them out. now he's talking about announcing to russia in advance, i'm going to strike syria. today it made clearer by mike pompeo he doesn't think there's any constraint on the degree that the president can act without permission of congress, but there's no coherent plan on how you get to the point of trying to restore civil governance in that nation.
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>> does pompeo have the votes in your committee right now? we know rand paul is a no, others have issues with him. will pompeo move ahead? >> it's still? question whether he can get the votes. >> that's pretty significant. >> yes. >> i don't know if you've seen, senator, the reports about the book, jim comey 'book. do you have any reaction to what he is saying the president said, referring to him as wanting a mob boss-like loyalty, asking jim comey about the lurid allegations about prostitutes in moscow up to four times. >> yes, i think it certainly reinforces the story we've been hearing time and time again. when he was talking about -- when comey was talking about the trump in the context of being like a mob boss, he said it comes down to this issue of loyalty, and that that's how he conducts himself. we saw the cabinet meeting where
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he went around to each cabinet member and each one had to genuflect to a president, which is a sorry sight to see in a democracy. thank you, senator. "a.c. 360" starts right now. good evening. where to begin. the president says a decision on is coming in his words fairly soon. appeared he said it could be very big about the raids on michael cohen. new reporting that the president's allies are worried the feds may have seized tape recordings made by mr. cohen, and although trump hush payment, this time to a former doorman who told a story about an affair that, and allegations that he fathered a child with a housekeeper. and white house preparations to undermine rod rosenstein, and the republican party