tv CNN Town Hall CNN April 25, 2018 6:15pm-7:00pm PDT
the world given that. and so they bring me all that a and help compartmentalize in a great way. and we work hard not to make dad the center of the family. dad has issues. okay we put those to the side and then we talk about what everybody else is doing. we laugh and cy. and it helps me refresh. but look, one of the reasons i'm worried about is i don't want my children to be james comey a daughter or son. i want them to be them. and my family helps me with that. by saying dad you're great move to the next thing. >> how have they dealt with the president of the united states saying you should be in jail? how has your family dealt with that. >> different levels of reaction. mine which is something that concerned me a great deal is a shrug. there he goes again. then i catch myself. because i hope you're not shrugging me that's numb to something not okay. that is not normal. and that republicans have if they close their eyes and imagine barack obama waking up
in the morning saying someone should be in jail they will understand that it's not normal. now, my family has different levels of reaction. >> but you say essentially the danger is becomes normalized. >> yes we become numb to it. that is not okay. s in the united states of the america. the president of the united states is saying -- forgot me, saying lots of private citizens shall be in jail, should be in jail. must be in jail. that is not okay. given our commitment to the rule of law. and again, i'm ashamed of republicans for this. that's why i urge then close your eyes and imagine the next president if a exact doing that. what are you going to say? you'll be sitting in fronted of anderson cooper saying it's outrageous akito america. why is it not today? it's bipartisan should be the outrage of that attack on our norms. so my reaction is a shrug to my family it's probably -- especially to my wife, it's more painful to see and to watch me in the middle of all this stuff.
but at the end of the day given that centering that my gang has had since the beginning, it's fine. >> you say the president's comments are an attack on america, yes. >> right. the reason i say that is america's core is really two things. truth and closely related the rule of law. >> i just want to point out how not only just how extraordinary it is to hear the man who was the fbi director saying that the current president's words are an attack on america. i mean that's not -- i don't think that's happened. >> i never -- you ask me three years ago ten years ago ever be coming out of my mouth? of course not. but it's happening. the president of the united states is attacking the justice department, attacking the fbi, the federal judiciary and pronouncing private citizens accused of no crime should be in jail. pause for a second and reflect on that. no matter the political orientation. that's not normal. that is an attack on our core
values. and if should stop. and everybody should call on it to stop. >> former director james comey. thank you very much. thank you very much i appreciate it thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> fresht it. thank you. . chris cuomo starts right now. [ applause ] all right. there you have it plaus for the former fbi director james comey. we saw him put to the test tonight more than we have seen to date. done by you, citizens in attendance at the cnn townhall. comey, forced to korch the most controversial calls he made and the criticisms that he has for the president. and on some of those he went further than he has so far. so we also have breaking news on
two important situations. the first is that the nominee to head the v.a. ronnie jackson is meeting right now with senior white house officials about what the next steps are, why are they having this meeting? there are new developments in his situations, allegation that is have come up we'll get into. there is a significant move in an important case involving the president's personal lawyer. stay for all of that. but first, let's get the white house response to all that james comey put on the president as a liar, a bad leader, as someone who is endangering the fundamental institutions of this country. with that response kelly anne conway joining us now. kelly anne thank you appreciate you doing it, as always. >> high, recover. >> let me play you a piece of sound that went to the charge against comey, the central one about his behavior, his decision to leak his notion of that word,
and his assessment of his move. here is the sound. >> i sent one memo unclassified then, still unclassified and it's recounted in my book to my friend dan richmond and asked him to get the substance but the memo itself out to the media subsequently i wrote about my interactions request president trump i was an original classification authority at the fbi i had the training and authority to make decision base what should be classified and what shouldn't. the bottom line is i see know credible claim by any serious person that that violated the law. >> you did leak memos. i mean is it okay for somebody at the fbi to leak something, an internal document even if not classified? isn't that leaking. >> well there is a whole lot wrong with your question. first of all i didn't leak memos. i asked a friend to communicate the substance of one. >> can i finish. >> sure. >> one unclassified momo to the media. i was a priet private sin not a fbi employee. >> but it was an internal
document a document written by a fbi director. if you tell somebody don't give them the document but tell them in what's in the document that's a leak. >> not to get tangled i think of leak as unauthorized disclosure of classified information. >> that's it. >> that's how i thought about it as fbi director. we investigated leaks unauthorized disclosure. >> his answer in summary, i ain't a leaker. i had the decision to say what was classified or not. i was a private citizen. and a leak is an unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. and this checked none of the becomes. satisfied? >> no. and you saw that he was squirming around answering the tough questions by your colleague anderson cooper. maybe i wasn't expected that. i believe comey expect add hero's woman between jake tapper and anderson cooper many tough questions came. here 6:45 problem with what he said about leaking. we already flow that he gave
memos to his friend daniel richmond where- more on him in a second -- with the intent that richmond would leak it to the media and hoping quote to trigger a special counsel. all that have happened christopher, everything he wantsed to happen happened, including the word leak. there is one thing that we didn't know until recently about daniel richmond. we know he is a columbia university professor. we know he is a quote friend of jim comeys. it's been revealed that something that jim comey never told anybody under oath up in congress. never bothered to tell the president, never bothered to write in the book never bothered to tell anybody until revealed this week that daniel richmond was a special government employee at the fbi thp this guy can come and go as he pleased at the fbi from the summer of 2015 until february of 2017. >> relevance. >> don't you think as a reporter, christopher -- relevant? it's a very germane fact. and this guy tonight talking about concealment. he was concealing an important
fact. he called him a friend and columbia professor as did everybody else in the media. you got to start identifying this guy to who he was. special government employee at the fbi. 35,000 or so people work at the fbi. jim comey decided his friend should be there and decided that friend who just happened to be there at the fbi during the clinton investigation after trump won during the trump transition and into the trump administration until february of 2017. >> how is this -- how does it change -- tell me why. >> he is plain body language. >> km on, chris. >> i'm not saying your wrong i'm asking to you explain it. >> excuse me. the only thing we ever heard about this guy previously is that he was his friend. >> right. >> he never said his friend and then a columbia professor. never bothered to tell us once that that man worked with the fbi for over a year and a half, including during the time when -- when hillary clinton was being investigated.
>> right why does that change it. >> and donald trump was not being investigated. >> come on. are you telling me that you run on thin allegations all day long, this may happen that may not have happen, inclusion, allegation and this isn't a material fact? it goes to his credibility and it goes to how much he conceals. also tonight. >> hold on hold on kellyanne, kellyanne i'm not saying you're wrong what you're saying about richmond. >> you can have richmond on the program tomorrow. >> i would love to i ask people to come on all the time whether or not they say yes is ditch. >> he said he gave it to his counsel to help in giving good division for his potential defense. i want to see why you think it matters whom he gave it to to disseminate to the media. why does it matter whether his wife or some lose affiliation with the fbi orr a realtime agent with the fbi? how does that change the nature of comey's decision with respect to the memos and whap its importance is in the overall
dialogue? >> well, in this case, we have only been told he was a friend and a columbia professor. it's relevant because the man was at the fbi when all of the investigations and other things were going on. it's relevant because you don't know what other access to information he had. so if this man is speaking to the press with a comey memo in his hand, then how do you know what else he knows or doesn't know doesn't you think that's a legislation mitt line of inquiry. >> no i'm not sure because first of all i don't know if it's true. i don't really know if it's true if he had an official capacity. >> that he work at the fbi. >> or had a role within the investigation. yoentsds that's not my reporting i have to check more into that. but even if it were all rue i'll i'm saying i'll give you the benefit of the doubt on all of it it's all true i don't understand how it makes a difference in terms what have decided to do. >> christopher, you don'think it's relevant to the viewing audience that the same person who took the m from jim comey also worked at the fbi
previously or during all that time? of course it is. and here what sells relevant. jim comey said tonight this impassioned patriotic. i want we all do. he didn't bother to vote. he thought hillary clinton who he wanted to win didn't need his vote. >> you know why fbi people don't vote it gives them the appearance of being impartial. that's not uncommon with people in law enforcement let alone the doj and fbi. >> that's not -- there's not true. that's not fair. >> it's a hundred% true. >> he has a right to vote. he has the right to vote. >> he absolutely has the viet and he has the right not to vote. >> what he doesn't have the right to do i would argue, is go tell the world that hillary clinton is not under investigation and never botherer to tell -- who wasn't the president she was just a candidate twice failed and not tell the world that president trump is not under investigation. why won he go and tell the country what he had told the
president at least three times privately that he is not under investigation? >> because that's not the protocol of the fiv they don't do that. >> oh, okay. so speaking of protocol of the fbi, you read rod rosenstein's memo from may 9th. he says that jim comey broke with protocol. >> now you're asking him to break with protocol again isn't that making it worse. >> let me ask you something as an american. >> i always answer an american by the way. >> the rest of the country -- but the rest of the country -- the rested of the country to know that the sitting president of the united states is not under investigatio why shouldn't we know that. >> because they doesn't do that np they're not supposed to do that. >> why shuntd the military and the brave men and women know that. >> i'll let you finish here is the answer to do it question you asked me one he has the right to vote and not to vote. it's absolutely true that many people working in law enforcement, the fbi, doj even
on the prosecution side don't vote because it motivates the sense of impartiality. it's a personal choice not a mandate hold on i'm not done. >> they don't write books the second after being fired. >> that's a fair criticism it's a fair criticism. >> they don't write books. >> it's a fair criticisms. >> especially when they're witnesses -- he is definitely a witness in the moourl. >> absolutely. >> investigation and he is certainly going to be a witness in the mccabe criminal his number two got criminal referrals last week. >> we don't know if they'll prosecute but he certainly could be. >> asking you a very simple question. i also would have asked jim comey a simple yes with whom do you side? do you believe the ig, the office 69 superior general or do you believe andrew mccabe. >> not his call. >> they are in conflict. oh come on it's not his call. he had an opinion on everything tonight. you're making him. >> that's not true. >> by allowing him to moralize. a body language expert, a marriage counselor. >> he is inhirntly relevant for reasons that you just mentioned
and others. >> he is relevant because donald trump fired him. a apart from him being fired tell me his distinctiveness as opposed to to anybody else. >> he is involved in investigating central allegations and concerns central to our democracy. i don't understand why you guys do this. him coming out jim comey and talking about the hillary clinton investigation was without question damaging to the election and the prokts for hillary clinton. he made a call. you can argue whether a good call or bad call. he thought it would have been catastrophic to the fbi to say nothing. so he said something. the fbi doesn't do that ordinarily. he broke with protocol. it created problems. he then broke with protocol a second time after saying to congress i'll come to you with any significant developments. he dnts know if he had a significant developments. he broke with protocol again. without question it negatively impactsed hillary clinton. so you guys say he did the wrong thing with clinton. >> don't do that don't say
without question. no, no don't say without question. >> without question. >> excuse me. >> it was damaging to hillary clinton and having that suggestion come out a send second time i'm not asking a question i'm telling you how it was. >> tour telling me houfl how you feel. you're telling me how you feel. >> that's undoubtedly how it was. >> that is neither apple orr banana that's your opinion and. >> everything you you said said is fruit sal pl you bring in a kumquat half the time. >> i represent the president. and let me tell. >> you i know you do and that's why i respect you beerg per filibustering is it is not making it better you spoke for a minute. >> hardly. >> you just spoke for a minute. >> hardly. >> hardly a filibuster. >> christopher license if you think he broke with protocol. >> kellyanne, i know he broke with protocol. >> why do you give him so much protocol. >> he is still relevant it's a critical basis of his analysis. >> shoem. >> what. >> show me the stayedwide police
where hillary clinton as wagons added 50%. excuse me she was already not at 50% in all the states. i was on your network every day saying that. >> there is zero chance. i doesn't care whether at 50 or not she wound up pinning the popular vote. it's irrelevant. >> she wasn't ahead ahead in national polls is irrelevant because the electoral college is how you get elected. you are saying unquestionably he hurt her. >> absolutely. >> i'm saying unquestionably why is he out the there except to insult the president of the united states with moom he had very little contact? how is that -- doesn't you think he damaged the reputation of the fbi because people at the fbi do. >> i think it matters. he made controversial decisions. that have arguably hurt the fbi and the reputation. >> that is all fair. >> should he have written a book this quickly. >> obviously subjective choice. obviously open to criticism. hold on you keep ducking this we. he broke with protocol.
>> ask a question. >> give me a chance thank you very much. he broke with protocol. okay. he made a decision to not break with protocol with response for the trump probe and he argues compellingly as to why they thought they shouldn't at that time. now you guys are saying hey he broke with protocol it was a mistake what he did and the democrats agreed. >> now how do you know he wasn't just being politickedle. >> but you should have done it more jim comey. you said you should have said he is not under investigation. you should have broken with protocol even more when it suits the purposes of the administration. you have to be consistent. breaking protocol is wrong or it isn't? >> christopher listen to me. he is the cht of the united states. >> yes. >> if he is not under investigation and he is being told that why is the fbi director telling the president, you're not under investigation. >> because he is being asked whether he is. >> and not telling the country. >> because it's not his job. >> why not tell the country. >> it's not his job. >> why not let the president do
his job under the cloud without -- >> we want him to shut up and do his job and if they have something to act on then they come out that's his job. >> he has written a book. christopher we in ten straight days of comey which i would respectfully say about 9 and a half too many. >> i get that. >> somebody you know is leaking has had a casual relationship with the truth at times. you know has been asking people to leak. has been -- wanted to trigger special counsel. was absolutely fine with everything donald trump as president it seems loved to be in oval. loved to have din we are him until he got fired. >> that's not -- there's not true by his own reckoning. let me ask you one other thing. dr. ron yes jackson is supposedly meeting with senior foeshlgs. he was going back to figure out the next steps. do you think ronnie jackson is going to hang in or are the new allegations about the perk set skrips and other behaviors is it
too much for the white house? does he have to step aside. >> ronnie jackson was nominated by the president who just yesterday said he understands if dr. jackson stays in and he supports him and he certainly understands if he withdraws the nomination. >> it's his call it's the president's call. >> because of the process. >> but it's the president's call. i knows what's out the there. is that sufficient for him to want somebody else in there? >> christopher, a couple of things. these are ails. in my view dr. jackson should have his say whether it's through a statement or through a press avail or through confirmation hearings where he is swearing under oath what's true and fallout. in whole matter of crucifying somebody publicly with allegations anonymous allegations is dangerous. we take every allegation seriously but we'd like the people to come forward or we would like dr. jackson to have his say. >> absolutely you have to have due process. >> and i would remind you and the viewers because the hour changes changed here i know it's
covered all day on cnn but this is somebody that has been through fbi investigations and other independent investigations. he has passed those. we know that president obama has written glowingly about dr. jackson, including saying promote this individual. he deserves it. and so that was a god idea for president trump as well. this is somebody who has been an arms length away from president obama and his family president trump and his family. >> understood. >> if people felt -- people should have come forward before don't you think? don't you want people to come forward before if the allegations. >> right but they come forward when they do. and people coming out at the last minute like this is not that huber unusual. i wanted to get you on the record. >> are you uncomfortable -- well pb what do you want me on the record saying. >> saying whether or not the white house still backs the nominee and it seems the answer is yes for now you do. >> so for today absolutely. sarah sanders said at a that frtd podium. i spoke with the president and
dr. jackson. they're probably speaking again tonight. but what the president said yesterday was very important. you should digest it all. i stand him him he wants to stay. i certainly understand if he looks up and said why do i need this? the processes are so brutal. >> it's the president's call. it's his choice whether he stays or goes. >> it's both of their calls. no, no, only both. >> only one president his call. >> excuse me. excuse me process. the nominee can also withdraw himself from consideration. >> of course he can. but you don't let ronnie jackson decide by himself that's the president's call. but i got to go. >> it's not just the allegations that are a consideration. >> go ahead finish your point, please. >> it's not just the allegations. hold on you have to take everything into account. the fact that he has been praised by president obama. >> i hear it all. >> it has to work for him there are two sides to every story. i think it's dangerous for senators to come on your show
not under oath and throw around terms can be candy man and the it's very dangerous. >> don't say not under oath because you it suggests you think tester is lying. they have 20 sources coming forward. >> i'm not saying that but i'm saying dr. john bruce should be able to respond to that. that's what confirmation hearings are for. >> i understand. kellyanne conway, appreciate you making the case to the people and coming in to with the white house take see you soon. >> thank you. >> let's get some reaction we got a great panel. cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. josh canalable here. simeon sanders. michael capito. a whole range of expertise. gloria on the ronnie jackson because we want to deal with it as breaking news, am i wrong it is the president's call whether or not the allegations merit have the nominee stand or fall. >> it's the president's call. and he clearly had a conversation with ronnie jokz and came out and said look i won't blame the guy if he decided to withdraw, which is a big hint if a president says
something like that. but if any of the allegations are true no matter how close the president is to ronnie jackson i believe they are close. i believe he likes him tremendously. it is the president's call. now, ronnie jackson request go in and say. >> too much for me i'm done. >> i'm going to leave and the president will say thank you very much. >> quickly, michael, let me hop to you on this with a perspective closer to the white house on it. the fbi, the office of government ethics, walter reed hospital doing reviews, wouldn't necessarily pick up the allegations. niece are a lot of deep political vetting questions that you ordinarily ask. how is it not true that the white house didn't do their job in making the phone calls on this guy when they should have? because they should have been getting a phone call from gloria who says hey, i hear he had problem was prescriptions can called in candyman, percocet. they should have known about it. they should have said i know what you're hearing. it's wrong. look at the reports.
they're not ready for these questions fair point. >> i think it's fair. but at the same time there was an investigation into allegations during the obama administration where he and woun of his colleagues was investigated or at least looked into. and it came out that he was less culpable than his colleague. and i think these kinds of things are difficult to track when it comes from unknown people who are. >> you but got to try. >> you do. that's what the. >> just box obama liked him he must be fine let's put him in charge of the second largest bureaucracy. >> the confirmation process goes forward and that's where you answer the questions. the second most important is that the veterans administration has been disarray for a long time. as a veteran i'm disturbed that it's continuing. i have friends of mine working for the veterans administration. they want to get towork. everybody wants to get to work. and if necked just get into confirmation process move forward and get it done americans veterans deserve it. >> simeon.
>> one point on this chris, one vet something extremely important. when i left the sanders campaign and worked for a convention, they vetted me. the convention team before i could go to work as a consultant. clearly i had been vetted on the sanders campaign but they vetted me again because that's the work you did before bringing someone on. this is just a part of the political process and the trump folks aren't doing. that secondly in terms of -- i find it interesting that a lot of allies at the white house are saying that the confirmation process has to go forward. that could be really damaging to the kwhous politically. i think these are unforced errors they don't need to invite. cut dr. jackson loose and go on with the day. i don't think folks are looking at the political calculations here. i think the white house doesn't like to lose. >> i think the president comes one a good idea. he thinks. because he wants people who are -- he comfortable with now in these cabinet jobs. you know he said i tried it once didn't like those other guys. now i'm getting the people i want. ronnie jackson is someone he
liked. clearly the process was shore circuited, really short circuited. and now they're suffering the result of it. so if jackson wants to go through it he'll have the confirmation process. but that could be really difficult. >> and i think when you vet the doctor in the white house it's different than a cabinet member. >> yes. >> and i think -- now we're looking at confirmation. and everybody who is a veteran everybody working in the veterans administration wants in taken care of. and it is urgent. >> right. and look he has some distinction on them there. veterans groups are doing polls. he is not doing that well. doesn't have the background. he had a lot against him to begin with before the personal allegations. topic switch. james comey. he was up against it coop it always on his game. anderson cooper. but the audience was on their game. these were tough questions. and there was a plumbing of his mind in this. i'm no leaker. why? because i decide what's confidential and what isn't. that's a a little bit of a hedge. true but a hedge.
i was a private citizen. irrelevant. because what you do is work product for the fbi as is the fbi's. and well, this was my decision it wasn't classified. i wanted it out the there. great. he also gave it to a third party. if it was so clean and so okay why didn't he leak it directly? and i'm using the word leak because josh that's what it is. i'm not as polite as anderson. it's a leak whether classified or not. authorized or not. illustrated a leak. why didn't he do it himself. >> it's a good question. let's say at the outset because i was a career fiv agent who served as a special assist. i want the audience to know that. this is the part of the ig investigation. they're determining whether or not he did falls within the scope of policy. i think it's interesting one thing he mentioned contrary to some of the news reports we have seen the ig is not looking into the mishandling of classified information which that was the juicy irresistible part that people like kellyanne conway couldn't resist. he is a leaker this is classified ands the president
also tweeting about this. as i've said this is part of that investigation to determine did he fall within the scope of process or did he violate that policy? i think we have to stop and wit for that process to play out. then we'll know what we're dealing with. >> we do know he is so mack develop yan and such a player inside washington when he heard donald trump tweet maybe there are tapes he thought oh oh, i have to make sure that there now is a special counsel if there were tapes. and he knew exactly how to do it. i mean this takes somebody with a lot of experience to know how to do it. and i think your point is really well taken. why not just call "the new york times" directly? because i think he wanted a certain amount of deny ability. >> too cute by half. >> too cute by half. >> he is also doing a i five. >> he is not doing me favors he cold fronting my family 125,000 in legal fees. no favors here.
88% of this boo book is good but the last two chapters are a shame, a pax on the entire fbi. but the idea that this guy can go out and leak documents, and do things to make sure a special counsel is put in place, that -- that ends up costing my family $125,000. i'm not fine with that. >> look if we remove ourselvesman frernl the information. >> it's hard for him because he is getting asked question about whether or not legitimate or not. >> i understand that but let's put ourselves in the shoes of the american trying to decide do we believe this person and not only do who dough believe more, the former director or the president let me finish. >> he stays mccabe is a liar. >> one thing you said is caused graetd damage to the entire fbi calling into question the reputation. you can disagree with the people. disagree with those at the top. but it's statements like that where you're broad brushing and going after the entire fbi that's at the central you know part of the issue that most of us have with this.
you can disagree with the decisions. i would argue those disagree with the character maybe want to take another look. but do not attack the men and women of the fbi. >> i'm not attacking. >> you just did. >> he is saying the reputation of the agency. >> you're absolutely wrng. >> i'm glad can you clarify. >> let me clarify this. the fbi agents i know are ashamed. the agents i know think he may get prosecuted. the fbi agents i know want this over with. the fifb agents i know think that the fact that he wrote a book so early and is out there pitchering it is absolutely shameful. that's what they tell me. >> for every act you know that says that i know people on the other side. >> that's part of a culture crisis they'll have to deal with. two final facts we have. one james comey created this situation by having the memos come out and precip tating this dialogue and writing the book. bad fact on him. for the president of the united states don't fire james comey you have no special counsel we're not in the situation. capito has more change in this
pocket to buy a skull ring. >> further don't change comey if you are at least use the talking points and don't talk to lester holt and be nbc. >> we have to wrap it up. josh, gloriy, simeon, michael thank you very much. good discussion. what else came up tonight? that was different? we got a lot of talk about hillary clinton in the decisions that were made. how is that going to be heard by the people who are around her? well how about the handsome manion your screen. hillary clinton campaign manager in 2016 robby book mook. what you heard there it was a bad decision to talk about this because this is not what we do at the fbi. but catastrophic for me to say nothing. do you accept that? >> i don't because we heard comey say himself that the reason he couldn't talk about donald trump is -- and the
reason he couldn't talk to the campaign associates he didn't know what he had. when he put out a letter about new emails that surfaced from hillary clinton's office, he didn't know what he had. he put those ---er put that letter out because he was concerned that people in the fbi might leak out that there was new evidence. that was the thing unspoken tonight. he felted like he had two bad options because people would leak. i was just reflecting when you guys were talking about did he leak, did -- you know was that right? was that wrong? i think there is a general issue at the fbi of information leaking out. in fact, the entire investigation into hillary clinton's emails, the only reason we knew about that was fbi leaks. >> one is a relative ace assessment. do we get leak froms fbi? yes. do we get them that compares with what happens on the political side? no. but it's a relatively
assessment. we have to draw a distinction. if you knew what you had, okay that wound up being an operating dynamic for him. if we knew what we had donald trump trump maybe i would have done more. but we didn't so i did nothing. he didn't apply that to the second disclosure about hillary clinton. because he did not know what he. in fact in testimony he didn't get the number of emails right. ironically that's what the trump folk call out on the lies. i lied about the e-mails. it was a lie hurting hillary clinton even more. he had to clear it up up. but he didn't reply that study to the second disclose about hillary clinton. but he did apply to making the second disclosure about donald trump. that must be unsatisfactoriry to you. >> you and i talked about this before. what happens is we learn from from what happened. i followed on the tour read parts of the book process pan. and i come back to the fact that he shouldn't have broken
protocol. i honestly doesn't understand the logic. i don't think he is answering directly. i'd be happier if he would come out and say you know i made the best decision i could at the time. you know we probably shouldn't do this sort of thing moving forward because it absolutely was an intervention in the election. and i don't want ito happen to anybody else moving forward. >> you know one of the reasons they have that rule, robby -- it's interesting -- obviously, you know how i was raised what my name is i respect public service. i respect people in it. but comey gave you guys on both sides to push him farther into compromise. once he said something about the clinton investigation, the clinton people were rebustly -- you know this better than i do -- pushing to get him so something else. get him to come out because now he opened the box. now we hear kellyanne conway saying it was wrong to break protocol. he should have stayed quiet. but he why? because politicians want to have
it both ways and play to advantage, and james comey gave them an opportunity to compromise in that way. >> this comes back and reinforces the point. i don't think he should be commenting on an investigation into the president -- what's that? >> that's usually the rule. >> well, exactly. and accounts why -- athat's why the swirl we're having about leaking reinforces why that's so damaging. comey is talking a lot about moral leadership and so on. i'm glad he's speaking what he believes is true. i just wish he would be more forthright but where he made mistakes and where we can improve moving forward. i honestly think he has to know deep down something didn't go right here. >> part of the confusion in this, so i got comey's book,
i've got hillary's book, and obviously i've got the twitter feed for donald trump which is like 15 books already. the confusing part is that comey wound up being to blame for the same things that those two are also, which is that he wound up putting himself first. hillary clinton, with how you guys handled the situation in the beginning, it was a mistake. we did a town hall, i had to chase her all over the stage to get her to talk about it, it made it worse. comey even said that what donald trump did could be obstruction of justice, he need wrote that way about obama because he never felt the need to. depending on what team you're on is what you'll smell the most. robby mook, i appreciate your perspective always. thank you. other breaking news to get to tonight. it's really significant. there is late reporting on the president's personal attorney.
he's pleaded the fifth amendment. he's asserted his constitutional right against self-incrimination. he doesn't want to therefore be involved in the stormy daniels case. pleading the fifth sounds bad, right? donald trump, our president, says it means people are guilty. but why he's doing it and what it could mean for that case and the overall investigation, i've got answers when we come back. what's going on here? um... i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said $30. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee...
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comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. breaking news tonight, michael cohen taking the fifth. the president's personal attorney who is under criminal investigation filed court papers today saying he will assert his fifth amendment rights in the stormy daniels case. as you know, cohen was involved in paying the pornstaroney, obviously that's what you would pay someone, to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounterwien kour encounter with the president. i asked kellyanne conway about this at the top of the program, but carrie cordero, there is a constitutional truth and a tactical truth here. what are they?
>> according to the fifth amendment, you can't be compelled to be a witness against yourself. so that is what michael cohen has asserted. the judge requested that he specifically make a statement if he was going to assert his fifth amendment right to not be a witness against himself. so now there is a delay and he will not have to be deposed or interviewed by ms. clifford's lawyer, because if he was interviewed, there is risk for him, might he say something that is different than documents or information that was obtained in the criminal search warrant that was issued by the southern district of new york, executed in new york, against his home, his office, his devices, documents. and so i think the risk for him was, would he potentially say something that would implicate himself in that criminal case. so it's a safe thing for him to do. >> first full disclosure, i asked kellyanne about ronny
jackson, i didn't talk to her about cohen, just to be complete. let's clarify what this means. he doesn't want to talk about stormy jackson, that means he knows he's guilty. that's not what it means. here it really is not what it means because it's a tactical choice. you have an open criminal investigation, you don't want to be involved with ongoing civil litigation. is it true pretty much everybody would have made this choice in similar circumstances if they had good counsel? >> it's certainly what his lawyer would advise him to do, he's following the advice of his lawyer. look, that was a big search warrant. he is obviously some significant federal investigation related to whatever were his business dealings and his declaration that he filed in the civil matter says that that search did include the information that the government agents got included information regarding the payment that was made to ms. clifford. so he knows for a fact that there is information the government has that's relevant to this payment that he made and he certainly doesn't want to get caught up, at least the voice of
his lawyers is that he doesn't want to get caught up in saying something inconsistent or exposing himself in information that then could be used against him in the criminal case. >> let me get one quick answer on this case, we'll check the box, it's tactical. in terms of the stormy daniels case, the idea that cohen is in trouble there, isn't there still a lot of wood to chop? cohen filed an anti-s.l.a.p., a strategic lawsuit, it's a california law, where cohen is saying, you're only suing me for defamation, to keep my quiet, cancel this. there is a lot of wood to chop there for stormy daniels, is there not? >> there's a lot of different actions that she and her lawyer are filing in that case. i haven't read every single pleading in their civil case. but clearly there's a lot of different things they're alleging. the question over the payment as
it relates to the president is, was michael cohen authorized to make that payment on his behalf. so certainly he's going to want to set this civil case aside while his criminal investigative issues work their way through that process. >> long way to go, but this is an interesting development. great to get your take, carrie cordero. it's now time to hand it over to don lemon, the man for cnn tonight. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thanks for joining us. we're following multiple big stories. james comey fired off this in cnn's town hall tonight in response to a question on how the trump administration views the fbi. >> they view the institutions of justice with contempt, as just another piece on the board. when that piece is doing something that the leadership doesn't like, it should be knocked over and d