tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN April 19, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
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and on the president's obsession with loyalty. we're going through memos page by page and we'll bring you all of it tonight. i want to bring in michael zeldin, who was robert mueller's special assistant at the justice department, and also renado marriotti and josh campbell, and cnn national security analyst juliette kayem. thank you for joining us this late in the evening. the memos are out. comey also documented his conversations with then white house chief of staff reince priebus, let me read what he said, some of it. we touched on a variety of subjects -- and this is redacted -- ended up in the report. i explained that the analysts from all three agencies agreed it was relevant and that portions of the material were corroborated by other intelligence. i explained that the primary source redacted much of it was
consistent with and krob aive of other intelligence. right after comey says he and reince priebus discussed the president's interest in the golden showers thing is comey saying the steele dossier was corroborated by other intelligence? is that what he's saying? >> that's it. from the beginning this wasn't only about the dossier. we now know the dossier did not trigger the fbi investigation. so the fact it was at one stage sort of supported by the hillary clinton campaign or democrats is irrelevant to the fbi. i think the most interesting thing of the reince priebus conversations or that memo in particular is clearly that priebus has been told by someone, one has to assume it was the white house counsel, what mike flynn could be compromised. sally yates had already told the white house of their concerns about mike flynn's vulnerabilities and this
conversation between priebus and comey comes later. so the concerns about flynn, who remember remains as the national security advisor for 20 or 30 days later, is well known to the chief of staff and maybe the president relatively early on in the administration and they did nothing about it. >> michael, a key figure in comey's memos is michael flynn. he writes, as i waited in the west wing lobby mike flynn stopped by and sat down. we chatted for about five minutes about the challenges of his new job, building a staff, how he maintained fitness. there was no mention by either of us of redacted, redacted, redacted. we don't know what the redacted is, but does mueller? >> yes, he does. comey's testimony, the
unredacted memoranda and all the supporting information that corroborates what comey has to say is locked and loaded in mueller's case. whether it amounts to anything remains to be seen. but comey has already delivered witness and his memoranda are with him. >> josh, were you with comey when he wrote some of these memos? >> i was. >> all right. >> tell us more. >> you have a follow-up question in there? >> yes. >> what else you got, don? >> actually, for me, it's interesting because you know, seeing some of this now come to light with the department of justice now handing this over to congress and congress releasing it, we're freer now in what we can discuss. i think what we see, and i've said this before, and i'll say it again at the outset, it's important to remember these memos don't prove anything. in fairness we have to point
that out. but they are contemporaneous observations to one of the key parties of the conversations. and at the end of the day the american people have to decide who they find more credible, jim comey or the president of the united states. it's not a question anyone is comfortable asking, but we have to ask it. this information has been passed on to robert mueller, a lot of people have criticized comey for going out with the book tour. i've heard the argument he may say something that's inconsistent with the past. i don't credit that, a, as michael said he's locked in with the memos. he's out there being on record. you have to remember he's a professional lawyer. he's walked around in his head with some of the most important secrets the united states government has. this isn't someone who slips up. these memos are going to be
important. it eel be interesting to see how they are going forward. >> he says flynn is a good guy, has been through a lot, he misled the vice president, he said i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go, he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go. i replied by saying, i agree he is a good guy, but said no more. this backs up what we've been hearing. >> absolutely. the most disturbing thing in those memos is when the president of the united states shoes everyone from the room, the only people that have any sense they should linger and there's something wrong or bizarre about the president trying to get everyone else out of the room except him and the fbi director are, to his credit, attorney general sessions and jared kushner of all people. but he gets them out of the room and his request to the fbi director is to let his friend go. to say his friend is a good guy,
you need to let him go. i'll tell you, that's not how the united states is supposed to work. that's not how law enforcement is supposed to work. i would say i would be very surprised if anyone at this point really doubts jim comey on this. you know, frankly, he's been consistent throughout. he's a law enforcement agent, he made contemporaneous notes. they're backed up by dana boente, who he told shortly thereafter. frankly, whether or not there's proof of corrupt intent, i've argued publically there is based on a number of other things, evidence that we have. . this is something that is very highly disturbing and all of us as americans should find it disturbing. it should not be a partisan issue. >> go ahead, josh. >> if you look at the administration when they come in, there's the honeymoon period
when they come in and get to know washington. the president says he hires the best people. but someone like jim comey who's known to keep notes in many important situations and bob mueller with the hospital situation, i can't imagine that someone would have mentioned to him, you need to be careful when you're talking to law enforcement, department of justice, these are agencies you need to keep at arm's length to begin with, you're not going to bring them in close to you. i can't imagine that someone wouldn't have pointed out these are people that keep contemporaneous notes. >> to josh's point, there's a line where comey is telling the president there's a problem when the white house and the department of justice are too close. >> i was just going to read that. but you jumped in. >> go right ahead. >> he's talking to him about really starts talking about ag holder and lynch. at about this point he asked me to compare holder and lynch. i said i thought ag holder was
smarter and more sophisticated than ag lynch who i added was a good person. he added ag holder and obama were quite close. i said they were, and it adds to a mistake in my view, presidents come to justice, they try to bring justice close which makes things worse because an independent doj and president are good for the country. >> this is the problems that the president created for himself and what additional problems he would create for himself were he to do something foolish like firing rod rosenstein or bob mueller. comey is telling the president there are clear guidelines which we should be communicating and you should stay away from the department of justice and the investigations but the president has not been able to do that and we're in this situation because
of that. >> i was going to read another quote, but juliette respond to that. >> that's right. there's a consistent theme throughout all the memos it's that president trump wants three things from comey, one is he wants loyalty from comey, two he wants comey to drop the case against flynn and three he wants the overall investigation to go away. that is -- that is known to anyone over the age of 12 that you don't do that with the fbi director. so the sort of newness argument, i've long gotten over. i think what's also telling is the absence of any conversation in all of these memos about the election in 2016 or the threat that russia was in 2016 and continues to be. comey mentions that, at no stage does the president ask the fbi director when alone with him, what is our greatest threat and how do we stop it? he's only concerned about loyalty and this side issue of,
you know, the russian prostitutes. >> this is what -- i mean what you said -- did you say eighth grade? high school. >> maybe. >> no, because that's what we learned -- as a kid, there are three branchs of government, judicial, legislative, and executive branch and they all work independently of each other. it's simple. you don't have to be president to know that. >> even in your own branch, juliette knows this from her days of reading some of the highest classified intelligence in the government. you look at the idea of reince priebus, i'm still not over this from the last hour wlk you have the white house chief of staff who was asking the fbi director whether one of his colleagues is the subject of a fisa warrant. again, let that sink in for a second. these are people who should know the process. reince priebus is no outcider. stunning. stick around. a lot more from comey's memos of
his conversations with president trump and what all of this will mean for the mueller investigation and beyond. we'll be right back. engineered to take the crown. presenting the all-new lexus ls 500 and ls 500h. experience amazing, at your lexus dealer. at&t gives you more for your thing. your getting the best but paying way less thing. now get 50% off a smartphone. more for your thing. that's our thing. visit att.com
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tonight and cnn has obtained a copy. my panel is back with me. i want to give this to renado. as i understand, this is reporting from "the washington post" tonight. in recent days a president has been venting and speculating to aids about his legal status and time line for the russia investigation to end according to associates briefed on discussions. trump complained to several last week about former fbi director james comey, former fbi director director andrew mccabe should be charged with crimes. white house officials said thursday that trump has not called justice department officials or taken any formal action the persistent grousing
has made people nervous. what are your thoughts on it? >> the rest of it should be disturbing to all of us. you have the president of the united states talking about charging and jailing some of the leaders of the fbi for example. he's talked publically about the leaders of the fbi and doj, people who he appointed by the way, at times people who he thinks should be thrown in prison. it's a dangerous thing. the only thing i can say to mitigate it is he told us this was coming. he talked about jailing hillary clinton in the election, during the election talked about prosecuting and jailing his political opponent. frankly, as i mentioned earlier, when he talked about jailing reporters, these are the tendencies of someone that are not consistent with democracy. it's not what our country is about. we don't throw law enforcement in jail when they're investigating you, we don't throw april opponents in jail.
it should be something disturbing to us. it seems like it's disturbing to his aides. that's the one upside of the report. it should be disturbing to people on both sides of the aisle. >> i wanted to say something because something came up earlier today in the interview with erin burnett. the lawyer who says that michael cohen may turn because he might make new friends in prison -- >> joe goldberg. >> yeah, joe goldberg with a wink and a nod. trump says the same with reporters, they'll make a new friend and everyone knows that means sexual assault in prison. as the woman on the prison, i need to say, the focus of sexual violence, prostitution, sex, sex, sex, is so shocking.
i needed to raise it. the point about the journalist, the side thing that trump says about making new friends, we know what that means. and trump's focus on these odd sexual things is part of the narrative of a machismo 1970s type of guy and animates the mafia tone that's going on in the white house. i'm going to stop them from doing this. you need to stop the investigation. >> josh, hold your thought. i need to ask michael, where's the floor? >> in terms of where mueller will take us? >> no. of decency. >> of decency. it's where people want it to be. they have to make a determination of how they want the narrative of our country to move forward. if they find this is acceptable, then that's where we'll be. if they find it objectionable they have opportunities to make changes in 2018 and 2020. but it's really up to people to
say, is this discourse, is this manner in which we are proceediprocee proceeding acceptable or not. it's not for you and i alone to say it, it's a basic democratic position. >> the majority of people didn't agree with it. >> we'll see what happens. >> go ahead, josh. >> i was going to point out, not only as an observation, not only is juliette the only woman on the panel in government she was the highest ranking person of everyone on the panel, that's awesome. i wanted to go back and talk about julgiuliani. i set aside rudy giuliani one and two. there's the 9/11 mayor who everyone needed and then there's
the giuliani two, he looks at this, obsessed with leaks, needs to prosecute people, calling comey a leaker, but during the election it was rudy giuliani who was celebrating he had the information to leak. it seems to me weird that's the person that's going to now represent you. >> we were talking about "the washington post" reporting that hillary clinton and others should be charged with crimes and misdeeds. judge andrew napoll tan know, urged jeff sessions to reopen the clinton investigation saying her guilt of espionage is overwhelming. do you think this is why trump is getting this idea to charge these people? >> i think it's sort of a self-perpetuating system. i follow a lot of people, fox news hosts and others on twitter
to keep track of what they're talking about. it's the feedback loop, trump talks about i want to charge the fbi and doj leaders and hillary clinton and others they're a den of thieves he calls them at one point, then the hosts pick it up and start talking about the same stuff. the case of hillary clinton, if you look back, i did at the time, i was in government at the time looked at the case law and the cases of when we prosecute people for mishandling classified information, it's when there's a deliberate transfer of classified information from one person to another, not when they're being careless. really this is just essentially saying she should be held to a different standard than anyone else because she's the political opponent of the president. >> she's the president of the united states -- sorry, that's on one channel. i forgot about that. everybody, thank you. when we come back, more details from james comey's memos about his conversations with
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tonight, new details tonight from james comey's memos documenting his conversations with president trump. i want to bring in caroline polici, a federal and white colar defense attorney, david rohdes, scott jennings and alice stewart. alice, get to new york. you're kind of here. >> you're buying, i'm flying. >> let's talk about the memos that -- that comey talks about a lot in his book. there's a lot of detail in these memos. let me get your take. scott, you first. what do you think? >> number one, these memos remind us that the flynn hire for national security advisor was stupid. i mean, this was unbelievable. number two, comey was -- >> no. keep that in mind. >> comey pretty consistent i think we heard most of this in
his public statements and testimony. number three, i thought it was interesting at the dinner comey told the dinner, i don't leak and then later testified that he did, in fact, leak. >> according to a law enforcement guy here he said that's technically not a legal. he said legally it's not a leak. >> we'll go with that for now. finally, the most eye popping passage, the president of the united states wants to throw reporters in jail, subject them to symptom kind of sexual abuse apparently, but then comey is laughing about it and wants to put a head on a pike. we knew how the president felt about reporters, i don't think we knew before comey did. >> is he laughing about it? >> he said, i laughed as i went to the door. i laughed. >> what do you think? >> from a legal perspective, i think it's more of a side show than anything else. i don't think this is going to add anything big to the mueller investigation. i know we're talking a lot about
mens rea and the state of mind that would be necessary to get to the level of obstruction of justice for robert mueller to charge that. i don't see it here. i think it corroborates the testimony you heard from james comey earlier and there's nothing more there. >> what about others who testified to robert mueller about their meeting when he said, i want everybody to get out of the office. if they -- you know, they -- their memos. >> i don't doubt the accuracy of the event. certainly i think it took place the way it was described by james comey then and the way it's described in the memo now. certainly, look, a clearing of the oval office on february 14th to have this closed door meeting for an oath of loyalty, it doesn't sound good but it isn't getting the threshold. >> there are other things beside this one memo. >> absolutely. you're building a case for obstruction of justice, i don't think this is the bombshell here. but there are other issues
beyond the memo. >> david? >> i'm struck by the details of how the oval office operates. it's sort of like a running fox news conversation, i'm sorry to say that in a negative way but the obsession with andrew mccabe, the jokes about reporters, you have pence asking comey do you have a fisa warrant on michael flynn, and the obsession of hillary clinton. whatever you think of james comey, he's the head of the fbi and explaining the legal principals that led him to make the decisions in the hillary clinton case. trump is asking over and over, did you see my tweet this morning? it's similar to his persona on tv. >> alice stewart is over our shoulder. what do you think? >> what i find interesting, don, a lot of these memos were written after the president was briefed on russian interference in our election, and a lot of
his follow-up questions weren't about what can we do to make sure russia doesn't interfere in our elections in the future. they were more about what can we do to lift the cloud on the dossier. which is the stories of him allegedly with russian hookers doing unmentionables in a hotel room. and also, he's also concerned about making sure that the public realizes he's not under investigation in this. and to scott's point, with regard to his concerns, grave concerns about leaks, which is a serious matter, but putting the onus on the journalists who are reporting information that they're given by those in the administration and even talking and mentioning they should be put in jail for this. i feel like, as josh had mentioned earlier, this isn't evidence of any guilt. these aren't facts. this is one person's recollection of conversations he
had with the president and in my view, the president's ultimate concern should have been about russian interference in our election and not about how things affect him personally. that is one of the big concerns that i have after reading these memos. >> i want to ask about a couple things. i told you the flynn to keep that in mind. they were talking and apparently he was going through a story about what happened at -- you know, who called first i think it was a lunch, he said hi didn't ask who i thought he would deal with -- no. he then went on to explain that he has serious reservations about michael flynn's judgment and illustrated with a story from that day which the president apparently discovered during his toast to theresa may, but it's redacted can i say who the "the washington post" is reporting. "the washington post" is reporting the redacted part is putin. he said theresa may that putin had called four days ago.
apparently as the president was toasting prime minister may he was explaining she had been the first to call him after his inauguration and flynn interrupted to say that putin had called first apparently. it was then the president learned of putin's call, he then confronted flynn about it. not clear whether that was a moment after the lunch. flynn said the return call was scheduled for saturday which prompted a heated reply from the president, six days was not an appropriate period of time to return a call from blank and blank and blank, and it goes on to talk about an argument that he's upset because he didn't know that vladimir putin called. is this something to be upset about? >> it's extraordinary. a, his interest in putin -- >> why am i reading this? why do i need to know this? go on. >> this is the oval office, the president of the united states, he's not being told which foreign leaders are calling and there's no alarm or suspicion or skepticism about putin. and separately you have the
separate thing that trump has denied he's spoken to putin. and there's a reference in the memos how putin bragged to him about the wonderful prostitutes in moscow. >> he said he called redacted and didn't get a phone call in six days he'd be upset. the president pointed his head at h -- fingers at his head and says he has judgment issues. >> he has judgment issues and is continuing to be a liability for the president. it was a bad hire. they could have picked anybody else, they picked flynn because he was a good campaign surrogate. but being a good campaign surrogate does not a good national security advisor make. >> who has the judgment issues? >> flynn has judgment issues. >> he hired him. >> i think the president learned a valuable lesson here, hire somebody qualified. he did, he got mcmaster and now
bolton. both are qualified. >> that reminds me of the commercial with the crash test dummies, you don't wear your seat belt and they go, who's the real dummy. >> how much did the president know about the functions of the jobs, what does the national security advisor do? what does this person do? that person do? if he knew more, maybe he would have made different choices. they made great choices lately, but that one not. >> does hannity come up in this? because guess what -- >> bill o'reilly does. >> don't give away my tease. bill o'reilly does. after the break if alice doesn't ruin it. we'll be right back. surpri-- hold up. hold up.
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>> president trump asked about a particular answer he gave to bill o'reilly about whether he respected vladimir putin. you think my answer was good, right? >> the answer was find except about the killers because we aren't the kind of killers that putin is. when i said this, the president paused noticeably. i don't know what to make of it, but he clearly noticed i had directly criticized him? what do you make of that? >> the president was making sure that steps were being made that we had a smooth relationship with russia and the fact he made a point to talk to the director of the fbi about a tv host should apologize to putin is noticeable. and trump seemed to be a little miffed that comey responded in a way that contradicted what the president wanted to hear and that was quite noticeable.
this was one of the things as he said throughout the memos that trump would jump around from one topic to another to another, and this is one that was thrown out there. trump said what was on his mind, what he wanted to say and they jumped to another topic. but clearly the president wasn't happy that comey criticized him with regard to his response on russia. >> so, anybody else want to respond to that? you're good. okay. caroline, here's another portion of the comey memo. he writes, the first time he asked so what do you want to do? explaining that lots of people wanted my job, about 20 people that he thought very highly of me and had heard great things that the people of the fbi really liked me but he would understand if i wanted to walk away given all i had been through. although he thought that would be bad for me personally because it would look like i had done something wrong. he, of course, can make a change at the fbi if he wants, but he wants to know what i think. there was no acknowledgement by
him or me that we had already talked about this twice. so what do you make of this? was he letting comey know he's dispensable? >> potentially. it goes to the piling on of president trump is the one in power, he can do what he wants when it comes to the entirety of the investigation. if you talk about an obstruction charge it goes to his frame of mind at the time of this dinner. whether or not he was trying to pile on the intimidation tactics to james comey. >> he talks about the inauguration and crowd size. the media, the extraordinary luxury of the white house. his many activities during the day and week, the viciousness of the campaign, which i interjected about adams and jefferson, he said he had been given a book about it, how he
had not mocked a handicapped reporter, did not assault the women he claimed he did, and many other things. how are americans going to read this? comey's story is believable or reinforce partisan believes. >> i think it will reinforce partisan believes. but there is this sense of a needy president. he was int comey was interviewed by my boss, and he said about trump he has an emptiness inside of him and a need for affirmation that i've never seen inside an adult. maybe that's unfair to the president, comey is being biassed but it's this constant need for affirmation that comey is talking about in this interview tonight and he put in the memos as well. >> i'll ask the same questions given what he said here. >> we've known the president
doesn't take criticism very well. during the campaign -- >> he wants to be liked. >> somebody levels an accusation at him and says you're guilty of this or you've done this, he never forgets it and always comes back to it. i'll be honest, some of the stuff comey is saying is a, hyper partisan, b piper personal and c, degrading his image. i think a lot of the things he's said is beneath him. he said some things on the book and this media tour that are going to reroad this above it all image. i think he's going to sell a lot of books but i'm not sure his image is going to come out as favorably as he thought when he started the tour. >> josh was on earlier saying who do you believe, the president or james comey. to your point he's getting criticized by both republicans
and democrats. but as far as credibility, the president has said a lot worse than james comey. >> sure. people are positioning it you can only believe trump or comey. coming into it people believed trump or comey. they're not in court against each other, not playing a pick up game of basketball. why is it trump or comey. they have a narrative of events, they're not in opposition to each other, except comey is making it this way throughout this media tour this week. >> he is being asked about it. these memos, that's why, scott. >> he's no longer the investigator or the antagonist in that job. he's the witness, which i think is what's unseemly about all of this. >> did they come back? maybe? we'll be right back. thank you, you don't.
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ratcheting up his war of words with california governor over his refusal to deploy the national guard to enforce immigration laws. what he called breeding in sanctuary cities. i want it talk about this with journalist. a former union vision anchor. so good to have you on. good to have you here in person. the president is starting to cut funding for california national guard troops complaining by tweet. about the hundreds of those troops doing nothing. the issue is california governor announced the troops will be deployed to fight gangs and smugglers. but said they wouldn't participate in immigration enforcement. how is the deploying of national guard somehow become a political fight? >> because trump is not getting what hepts the way he wants to get it. he racks up the rhetoric. he just adds more and more fuel to the fire. and i don't know if he can
really take away funds for the national guard. just like now we know he can't do that for sanctuary cities. i think that's what it is. california is a state where you can't do that. you can't send troops to the border to detain people who are coming into the country looking for a better life. coming in to ask for asylum. running away from poverty and violence. >> danger. >> when i said before introducing you. the word breeding. you winced. and because this comes a day after the president mentioned the phrase breeding in referral to illegal immigration. and taking a swipe at california governor jerry brown. his secretary took a hard pass when he was asked to clarify. >> what do you say to the people who look at the word breeding being used in immigration and. >> i just generally from where i stand we haven't reneed to
enforce the laws. no matter who is breaking them. that's what we're committed to doing. i can't speak to a reading of the tweet. >> what does the law have to do with it? it has nothing to do with it sfl is there any way to explain the tweet? someone last night said he thinks the president meant it's a breeding ground for crime and other things. >> there's always someone that has to interpret what the president is saying. he left it open for us to interpret. so when you talk about breeding you think of animals. is he saying that immigrants are animals? and have children and the children will become criminals too? it's really really insulting and that's the kipd of language he uses when he's not getting his way. and people are not doing what he says. in the way he wants things to happen. it is insulting and also insinuating and implying that
immigrants are criminals and immigrants are not criminals. even crossing the border is not a crime. it's a civil violation. you get that perception or if it's plain lies. that this country has a crime problem because of immigrants when study after study has shown that it's the contrary. it's more likely for u.s. citizens or legal immigrants to commit crimes than undocumented immigrants. it's less than 1% of those jailed for crimes are undocumented. >> the term breeding concept and chain migration. that doesn't resonate well. >> it doesn't. whenever i hear chain migration. it's just the reunification of family. i think i always think of me and my family. my father was undocumented. my father was not your what is undocumented? what is undocumented immigrant look like? >> this falls in line with what
he said before. watch this. >> you have people on the border and in one day they walk over and have a baby and now we're supposed to pay the baby? >> we will get rid of chain migration. and the visa lottery program. we have the lottery program we take in a lottery people from other countries. and some places we are bringing in some very bad people. we don't want this group of people anymore. under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. >> do you think he doesn't realize how it comes out? or doesn't care. >> he doesn't care. he says the things had feels he needs to say to get the support from his voters. as you can see it's insult after insult and lie after lie. what he is saying is not true. when he is talking about anchor babies i'm an anchor baby. we lived in we crossed the
border to be born in the u.s. she had a green card. there was a legal resident. my sisters were born here. it's an insult to say that. >> look what you have accomplished. >> right? my family and i have contributed quite a bit. unfortunately we continue talking about this. and it never stops. i hope one day we'll talk about something else. that's not insult to immigrants. >> it's such a pleasure to have you here. thank you. that's if for us tonight. i'll see you back here tomorrow. d your social security number on any one of thousands of risky sites, so you'll be in the know. ewww! being in the know is very good. don't shake! ahhh! sign up online for free. discover social security alerts. ♪ ♪ ♪ raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ♪ ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪
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goeng thanks for joining us. the president said he wants the mueller investigation to end. there's a smear campaign against mueller that reached pretty bizarre levels. we're keeping him honest. there's news about another man that thinks he can bring the investigation to a close. saying the probe needs a push. cnn chief analyst with the latest. is it cheer what his role will be? >> according to to our sources. he will be the guy who fwoez in there and says to mueller,