tv New Day With Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota CNN April 16, 2018 2:00am-2:59am PDT
proportional and justified. >> we want to send a strong message they need to stop the chemical weapons program. this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota. >> welcome to "new day." here is our starting line. fired fbi director james comey speaking out in the no holds barred interview calling donald trump morally iunfit to be president. comey says the president may have obstructed justice by asking him to let go of the michael flynn investigation. he is vulnerable to blackmail by russia. comey talks about why he reop reopened the hillary clinton e-mail investigation days before the 2016 election. saying he was in a no-win situation. he stands by his decision. president trump launching a full-scale twitter attack against comey before the
interviinte interview aired and calling him sl slippery and calling him a slime ball. >> the president's focus is split between one prosecution and another he is hoping never starts. involving his long time lawyer michael cohen. cohen in court today for a hearing on the records seized by the fbi in the searches last week. stormy daniels' attorney says his client also plans to be in court. could the criminal investigation into cohen be a greater threat to the president than the mueller investigation? and president trump launched air strikes in syria with the uk and france and without congress debating. we hear french president macron claims he convinced donald trump to keep troops in syria. the white house is pushing back on that. what is the president's strategy? will congress wind up doing its
duty? let's begin with cnn's kaitlan collins live in washington. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, chris. if there is any chance the feud with the president and james comey did not end in all-out war, that chance evaporated during the searing interview that amounted to a public assault on the current sitting president from someone who served in the highest levels of government. something we have not seen before. this is a five-hour interview they condensed into one hour. i'm not sure we have seen anything like this before. >> i don't think he is medically unfit to be president. he is morally unfit. >> reporter: fired fbi director james comey unleashing a criticism of president trump's character. blasting him unfit for office and stain for those around him. >> who talks about and treats women like pieces of meat and who lies constantly about matters big and small, and
insists the american people believe it. that person is not fit to be president of the united states on moral grounds. >> reporter: in the first interview since the president fired him, comey reveals he thinks the president is vulnerable to russian blackmail. >> do you think the russians have something on donald trump? >> it strikes me as unlikely. i would say with high confidence with any other president i dealt with. i can't. >> reporter: comey reflecting on the february meeting when he says president trump asked him to drop the investigation into the former national security adviser michael flynn. >> why didn't you say i can't discuss this. you are doing something improper. >> maybe. why did he kick out the attorney general and vice president of the united states and leaders of the intelligence community? >> reporter: trump denies he made the request. comey believes it bears weight
in special counsel robert mueller's investigation. >> was president trump obstru obstructing justice? >> possibly. there is some evidence. >> what will it mean if president trump tries to fire robert mueller? >> it would, i hope, set off alarm bells, that this is his most serious attack on the rule of law. >> reporter: when asked if trump should be impeached? >> i hope not. i think impeaching and removing donald trump from office would let the american people off the hook. people need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote values. impeachment in a way would short circuit that. >> reporter: comey comparing the behavior of the president to a mob boss. saying he repeatedly demanded loyalty. >> he said i expect loyalty. i need loyalty. i just stared at him and this narrative with myself inside saying don't you move. don't you dare move. don't blink.
>> why not say no? >> i think because i was caught by surprise. >> reporter: trump denies he said that. comey says trump dominated the conversation talking about him self the whole time. -- himself the whole time. >> his crowd was bigger than barack obama's first inauguration. that is not true. that is not a view. that is a lie. >> are you listening. are you thinking that president trump's a liar? >> yes. >> reporter: comey recalling the handshake shortly after the inauguration. he says even his family knew how uncomfortable he was. >> i know that is my "oh, no" face. >> i don't want to say that on television. >> reporter: comey revealing how he felt when he discovered he had been fired. >> i thought it was crazy to fire me. i'm leading the investigation of russian influence and particularly whether anyone in the trump orbit coordinated and
conspired with the russians. >> reporter: comey reflecting on the controversial decision to inform congress he was reopening the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. >> what was it like to be james comey in the last ten days? >> i was sick to my stomach and feeling beaten down. i felt i was totally alone and everybody hated me. there wasn't a way out. >> reporter: the fired fbi director defending his handling of the clinton probe. >> if you knew that letter would have elected trump, you would have still sent it? >> i would. if i ever start considering the political fortunes affected by a decision, we're done. >> reporter: the white house knew the attacks were coming. they have been working for days to undermine the credibility along with the republican
national convention. this president has gone after james comey. he says when he gets hit, he hits back ten times harder. we are waiting to see if he says anything about the comments as he leaves the white house today. he is going to an event in south florida. he will spend the week at mar-a-lago as he awaits the japanese prime minister. >> thank you, kaitlan collins. let's bring in analyst john avlon and james gagliano. james, let's talk about your impressions. you think he did not do any favors? >> i don't think the interview moved the needle. people who think he is a peeiec of the apparatus still do. i have been fiercely critical of his feckless leadership. when i say that, i mean lacking the character to push back on
the president during the interactions. >> when he said i demand loyalty. you think james comey should have said something definitively? >> that segment is the one that made me could use his term mildly nauseated. the presideresident comes back says i can give you honest loyalty. he should have said if what i think you are asking me is what you are asking me, here is my resignati resignation. >> obviously, i have enormous respect for your service in the fbi, but i disagree. life is not a movie script. he admitted it. that is one of the examples we saw where he was self critical and open to the idea he had been wrong at critical moments. including that one. he said i can give you honesty. that is a step in the right direction. you are in an almost impossible situation. he realized something was wrong.
the overall impression last night was not a issue of the deep state. a law enforcement by who believes in honor and stability who is troubled by what he saw and came across as someone speaking from the heart with honesty. that is a clear contrast. >> john, i ran an fbi office in new york. if a new york governor or a mayor had ever said the same thing to me and i reacted the same way, i would have been censured or fired. to say what chris christie said, if he made that decision of stepping in front of the cameras july 5th, 2016, he would have been fired. >> you are talking about confirming the hillary clinton investigation? >> yes. i'm using it an example of if i had done what the fbi director did in a position of somebody with comparable level to me like may mayor. the mayor would have said to me and i would have gone on record and gone back to the bosses and i would have pushed back.
>> a, he did push back. there is a difference with the mayor and president of the united states. in a one-on-one meeting which is inappropriate. >> that's fair. >> you need to separate the decision to go in front of the cameras on the hillary memo and interactions with trump. they both anger people on both sides of the aisle. >> people who came to the interview last night for an understanding of what happened in a deeper understand. they will be frustrated. an ongoing investigation. comey has his hands tied. he could not give new information about what we know about the president or russia probe or anything. even the hillary clinton e-mail situation. it was an interview about why. you said he is a man who admitted he made mistakes. he doesn't think announcing that hillary clinton e-mail probe was a mistake. it was. it was something that this bureau has never done before. listen to the sound. >> wasn't the decision to reveal
influenced by your assumption that hillary clinton was going to win and your concern she wins and this comes out several weeks later and then that's taken by her opponents as a sign of illegitimate president? >> it must have been. i don't remember consciously thinking about that. it must have been. i was operating in a world where hillary clinton was going to beat trump. i'm sure it was a factor. i don't remember spelling it out. it had to have been. she will be elected president and if i hide this from the american people she'll be illegitimate the moment she's elected. >> that to me is not a man laboring under crushing certainty. he is reflective about the contours of his mind. what affected his thinking. not that he was 100% right or 100% wrong. >> was it his job? >> that's a different question, chris. >> it's the main question. >> we're picking up the
interview later on here and george is as smart a mind as i have ever seen in journalism before. he did brilliantly, i thought, in what they used. it wasn't his job. james can pick up on this. we had never seen -- the fbi investigates. they go to the doj and say it is your decision to prosecute. not my job. he took that job. maybe because -- >> he did not trust loretta lyh. maybe she gave him a nudge james, whatever it was, you never have seen a director? >> he should have punted the ball across the street to main justice and deputy attorney general who most people have great respect for in sally yates and say it is yours. this is back to the feckless leadership. look where loretta lynch said yesterday. she came out and said if james comey had issues with me calling something a matter as opposed to an investigation, he was in
meetings with me and could have done it. he had private conferences with me. he didn't do it. i don't think james comey is a bad man. i think he was the wrong man in the wrong position at the wrong time. >> what you are talking about is that he says loretta lynch pressured him to refer to the hillary clinton investigation aas a matter instead of investigation. that is what people thought was grossly partisan. why try to downplay it. she gave a great explanation. she said we never confirmed investigations. >> do we have sound or is it a statement? a statement. put it up. >> i have known james comey for 30 years. we spoke regularly of the issues of law enforcement. if he had any concerns, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me. >> that is not the part why they called it a matter instead of
investigati investigation. >> they didn't want to announce publicly an investigation into hillary clinton. >> we have to be careful to pay attention to the substance of what comey said last night and whether it seemed credible or not. there is a massive push back from the white house. you can have real issues and should about the decisions he made during the campaign. i think violating the proptocol had an impact on the election, but it was driven by ego. >> he did not break a law, john. that sis a department of justic policy. >> comey came across as honest and trying to come up with the best of the recollections and concerned of the institution of law enforcement. when he investigated the mob and compares the president to one he recognizes from mob boss investigations, that is a serious accusation. >> you are drawing an interesting and easy comparison
here. do we like the answers that comey was giving? are they satisfied when the audience watches it? how does he line up as a truth tell teller? >> my first job in the fbi was gambino crime squad. i spent three months in a safe house with sammy. i don't think donald trump -- i know sammy is not sammy. you can talk about the affect and how he treats the folks. that's a guy that came from the private sector which is adjusting to life. you can say take the training wheels off. you are president now. i thought that and some of the more salacious attacks on appearance and too long tie and hair and the size of the hands. i'm witnessing the shrinking of james comey. >> do you think comey is telling
the truth? >> you contrast it with a president with the most ardent supporters say moral turpitude. yes. >> we have more to talk about. james, john, thank you. >> we are drawing the truth comparisons because that is what the president of the united states has made this about. he has been tweeting a lot about the comey interview. what will we see today? this is just the beginning of a week long media blitz. will the president take on this fight or will he do what he is supposed to do? do his job and let others take up the comey fight. we discuss next. why is dark magic so spell-bindingly good? it's a bold blend of coffee with rich flavors of uganda, sumatra, colombia and other parts of south america. like these mountains, each amazing on their own. but together? magical.
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twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online. if he didn't know he was doing something improper, why did he kick out the attorney general and vice president of the united states and leaders of the intelligence community. why am i alone if he doesn't know the nature of the request? it's possible in the moment another person would have said,
you can't ask me that. that is a criminal investigation. >> was president trump obstructing justice? >> possibly. it certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. >> once again, you have never heard an fbi director talking about possible exposure to crimes and possible malfeasance the way comey does. the former fbi director laying out why he made the decisions that he made involving the e-mails with hillary clinton and russia probe. it is one what you just heard of several bombshells. that word possible will loom large all week long. let's bring back john avlon and james gagliano. did the president know he was doing this? that question applies to jim comey in writing this book. the ongoing investigation and beneficial time for selling
books. people were talking as it wasn't vetted. as he was a former employee, he had to submit it to the fbi and mueller for clearance. what is your take? >> i'm not casting any as percents from the fbi. the vetting process works this way. pre-publication review has to look at any book. at headquarters and anything with a field division in the country. they send that section out. they did this lightning quick. here is the thing. this is what troubles me about the disclosures in the book. the book is a disclosure. >> meaning? >> it means, james comey is still an employee of the fbi. an employee by department of justice standards is anyone who holds or has held a position of trust in the agency. secondly, of the 13 disclosures, some are classified information. duh! one disclosure is this, you may not speak about any materials
relevant to an ongoing or open case or investigation. tell me someone how this is not an ongoing investigation when he is talking about the nine interactions to the russia probe? >> why did they approve it? >> i have no idea. i'm questioning it. how could that not be relevant to an ongoing and open investigation? >> it was reviewed by the fbi. there are redactions, but minor. the book is out. let's not also forget this is something we have never seen before. a former fbi director who had a dramatic outcome on the election, but fired amid an ongoing investigation during the president's administration. this is historic on its face. it has public good. >> the acrimonious relationship is not historic. this happened in '90s. you are saying. >> that is minor league ball compared to now. the difficulty with bill
clinton. >> the heart of the matter is the trump campaign colluded with russia somehow. witnessi wittingly or unwittingly. tell me if this was a satisfying answer. listen. >> do you think the russians have something on donald trump? >> i think it is possible. i don't know. these are more words i never thought i would utter about a president of the united states. it's possible. >> that's stunning. you can't say for certain that the president of the united states is not compromised by the russians. >> it is stunning. i wish i wasn't saying it. it is the truth. >> that's a little different compromised than colluding. is he saying something there? >> the fact that a former fbi director who has spent a life in law enforcement saying it is possible that the president of the united states is compromised by a hostile foreign power to meddle in the election outcome is a big deal. there is nothing normal about
that. that open door is itself incredibly serious. >> that is a problem. in the law, the expression the open door. you walk there. he -- you walk through. what he has to respond to is how do you know? why do you think that? >> the day after he fires comey, the russians are in the oval office. >> james comey has a duty to tell people why he thinks that is possible and obstruction of justice is possible because it would be just as easy to say i saw no evidence of it. >> he is a private citizen now, john. he can throw suppositions out there. it is not a good look for a former fbi director who deals in evidence and facts. you say sure it is possible. people look at that and say former fbi director. a man of vast credibility and honor. they say it must have happened. that was wholly inappropriate. >> i think it was a question of individual judgment based on experience and of the facts.
as a former fbi director, there are things you can't and shouldn't say. you shouldn't have written the book. >> precisely. >> the president teed it up by firing him. the cascading effects of firing an fbi director in the middle of the investigation is what brought us to the moment. >> for sure. james comey answered it mil similarly when george stephanopoulos asked him about the aatio of prostitutes in a russian hotel room. again, it felt like does he have information? is he suggesting something? here it is. >> honestly i never thought these words would come out of my mouth. i don't know whether the current president of the united states was with prostitutes peeing on each other in moscow in 2013. it is possible. i don't know. >> this is a little different. the language is exact same. >> why didn't he just say i'm not going to answer that. >> the difference is between the two. i would like to hear more discussion on collusion.
it is not a legally operative term. jimmy knows this stuff. that is a point of satisfaction. i would like to see more than general probing. this is is why. he doesn't like donald trump. donald trump ruined his career. i have to believe in h his estimation from the way he writes about him in the book. when he says it is possible that this may have happened, i think that is a character judgment he is making about trump. this guy is the kind of guy who i believe is possible. >> i do, too. none of that is based on information. >> maybe. he didn't offer it. >> it was the most cringe worthy part of the interview. he would have worded it differently. maybe eastern european women of ill repute relieved themselves on the future president. you are in second grade. it is so tawdry and unseemly.
>> it is tawdry and unseemly. it is salacious distraction from what we are talking about. >> it is about what does he know? >> also, look, his demeanor, if you watched last night or setons -- see tons of clips. now that the situation like this, you want all of this to come out and all of the questions to come out. now he gets to go back to jim comey with what we are talking about here. there will be a lot to come in the second bite at the apple. his demeanor is flat, but he is a man with significant issues against the president of the united states. >> make sure you watch that. thursday at 4:00 p.m. with jake. the president's attorney michael cohen heading back to court today. there's a case against him or not. is it about being a threat to the president? is it really potentially worse than the implications of the mueller investigation? we'll discuss that next.
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gentlemen, i see two issues here. one is procedural. attorney/client privilege. it is basically dead because of these searches. many of the provocative questions of whether or not there is more exposure to the president in the cohen situation and the mueller situation. michael, let's start with the privilege. the privilege is dead because you did this search and now no one can talk to their lawyer anymore with any degree of confidence that it will be safe from my government eyes. fair point? >> no. that's not true at all actually. the manner in which the prosecutors proceeded in the case was to present evidence to a federal magistrate judge that there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the premisise to be searched. they will review it from the
attorney/client perspective. anything that implicates that privilege is reviewed separately by the court and determinations will be made as to whether it is protected or not protected. if it is not protected, it is given to the review team to go forward. if it is protected, it is sequestered and not used. privilege is alive and well and functions the way it should function. the bigger problem with cohen in the case is he is not practicing law. the privilege doesn't even apply. >> that is a distinction for the investigators. one of the end-runs here is the investigators have said in the push back through the attorneys is we're looking at information where cohen is not acting an an attorney, but as a business -- acting as an attorney, but as a businessman. let's stay with privilege. no, i don't want you looking at communications with my attorney to decide if it is privileged. once you see it, my privilege
has been corrupted. fair point? >> that is a fair point. i don't think anybody communicating with their attorney wants the government to look at it. that is obviously the case. that said, the level of proof that the government needed, they had to show good reason to believe that cohen was committing a crime and his office and evidence of a crime in his office. >> that is the exclusion of the privilege. if the documents they are looking for is evidence of past or continuing criminal activity, they can continue to look. fine. let's ask you something else. the mueller investigation is what everybody is concerned about. now i hear from a depth mind of your own, there is cohen here. alan dershowitz says there is more concern with cohen than mueller. how? >> what is going on with cohen is a concern. his business partner and
confidant and lawyer and in certain circumstances, michael cohen, is subject of criminal investigation. he is under investigation. you know, he was talking to donald trump and the search warrant sought and obtained records with he and donald trump. they were actually talking about the topics which were part of the investigation. president trump was talking to his lawyer and business partner about a subject which is a criminal investigation. >> he is not as removed as what is going with mueller. michael, do you agree? you have an offer to get rid of the situation, would you get rid of the cohen situation before the mueller situation? >> i don't have enough facts to answer that question, chris. the reality is trump is in communication with cohen. we don't know what the nature of the communications are and we don't know if the president has anything to worry about in respect of the communications.
we know cohen is under investigation according to the pleadings in what they call the months long investigation sounding in fraud and evidencing untruthfulness. this is a particularly specific investigation as to cohen. we just don't know and i don't want to go as far as he said that this puts the president in a world of hurt as well. assuming facts not yet in evidence. we will see. if i were to chew the two, i will get rid of the mueller one. >> thank you very much for making us a little smarter. alisyn. thank you. mission accomplished. what does that mean? that is the loaded phrase that president trump used to talk about air strikes in syria. we have a live report from syria and what is happening there next. it was my very first car accident.
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investigators in the international watch dog group on the ground in syria trying to confirm the apparent chemical attack near damascus. this comes as french president macron convinced the president trump to stay in syria. we have nick paton walsh with more in syria. nick. >> reporter: was it just chlorine or was it as u.s. officials suggesting according to the tensions we saw with sarin, a nerve agent. that sparked the last two actions from the international community. a lot of people are talking stock of the last four or five days means. if you are in damascus and
bashar al assad, are yyou are brushing the dust off your shoulders. if you are russia and tehran, you say did we needed last week of trouble here? russia and iran said they have been beating the rebels with conventional rebels. after using the gas, a demand to whether or not has a tough policy? the other key issue, too, is the u.s. has still successfully shown in the middle east it is the dominant military power. likes.s what it likes when it that is notomhing to celebrate because it shows when they want to act they c and russia did not step up to the plate to prevent them even if they could despite warnings. the broader question is will russia or iran choose another time to unexpectedly respond to the u.s. move. chris. >> thank you, nick. important to have you there to
understand the military strike and ongoing considerations and counter offensive. thank you for being there. you and the team please stay safe. after launching the air strikes, what is the actual strategy? the president says the mission was accomplished. what mission? what happens next? where is congress on this issue? our military expert s take up te angle of military strategy next. let's get started. show of hands. who wants customizable options chains? ones that make it fast and easy to analyze and take action? how about some of the lowest options fees? are you raising your hand? good then it's time for power e*trade the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. alright one quick game of rock, paper, scissors.
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and former state department admiral general. let me say the perfectly executed strike lasts nig night. thank you to france and united kingdom. mission accomplished. general hertling, what was accomplished? >> the mission is the military was assigned those three chemical facilities and headquarters as we talked about last week, alisyn, they were going after the specific targets. in this case, the options that were presented to the president, this was chosen. when he said mission accomplished, it was a good military approach. the end state was to destroy the targets to certainly effect the ability of assad to use chemical weapons and send a signal.
that was the mission in and of itself. we can debate what should be the strategy in syria. this was the approach the president took. >> admiral kirby, i'm curious about the words. why the president chose the words mission accomplished. those are such now loaded words in our history. they did become regrettable after president bush said them when it was clear the mission in iraq was not accomplished. what did you think when you read that? >> i heard the first reaction -- i had the first reaction that it is an unusual way to phrase it. i agree with general hertling, it was a calculated strike. then he tweeted again, alisyn, it is a great phrase and we need to use it often. he tried to clarify the bounds with which he used it. it is a loaded phrase. that is unfortunate because you
have the military to do that. accomplish the missions assigned and doing it effectively. in this case, they did. >> so, general hertling, did the military accomplish the mission of destroying the facilities of chemical weapons? >> they effectively struck the targets. they were given three facilities. we know there are several others that with the potential for production of chemical weapons. assad, the next day, after the strike, continued to use deploy ab able measures against his citizens without chemical weapons. from the standpoint of type of chemical weapons used, whether sarin gas or chlorine, the regime can certainly use more chlorine gas. that is readily available affec
ability to sarin and mustard agent? i believe so because of the specific storage. >> admiral kirby, what should the u.s. do now? >> i don't think from the military perspective you will see a change, alisyn. you saw secretary mattis say they defined the military issue. a counter isis fight. they are willing to take action with respect to the use of chemical weapons. beyond that, i don't see much appetite in the pentagon or the white house to change the military mission. what needs to happen next, alisyn, i think the country needs to have an honest debate of the degree to which a stable syria is in our national security interest. you could go down either way. you have half a million killed by their own government. you have millions flung into refugee status. i think we need to have that discussion. then from the answers from that
discussion, then have the meaningful policy making process. there is no coherent policy with respect to syria. there is no solution to the end of the civil war and stable syria. i think the administration has abdicated all leadership on the diplomatic front to russia, turkey and iran. we need to forge a peaceful strategy. >> admiral kirby. we are out of time. thank you for your perspective. it is helpful as we see the next chapter. thank you both. chris. >> ahead, we have more of the blockbuster interview with jim comey. the fired fbi director. he says president trump is quote morally unfit for office. why does he think that? and if that is true, why does he believe the president should not be impeached. next.
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there is certainly some kefdz of destruction of justice. >> he is a self-knitted leaker. >> it is devastating behavior for the president. >> let the american people off the hook. >> jim comey now complains that president trump is untethered from the truth. >> cohen is going to be in court today. >> i think it's a serious matter. there is no question. mr. cohen's name keeps coming up. >> she wants to in sure