when senator biden became vice president, someone else came in. >> i think because of the dynamics in arizona right now, we're looking at the seat for the exiting senator jeff flake being one of the most competitive seats. sorry to cut you off there. thank you for joining "inside politics." you can check out the podcast as well. wolf blitzer starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 6:00 p.m. in london. 8: 8:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you very much for joining us. president trump defiance. rudy giuliani saying president trump may plead the fifth and not comply with any issue of the
investigation. gina haspel not only offering to withdraw her nomination, but coming up with a backup plan if gina haspel falters this week. the iran nuclear deal in the coming days. newly reported accusations that trump aides hired private israeli spies to look into obama officials in efforts to undermine the deal. all that coming up, but first, president trump came out swinging today against the russia investigation and the special counsel robert mueller. with the deadline this week to decide on the iran nuclear deal and the upcoming summit with north korea, the president instead seems focused right now on attacking investigators, tweeting this: the russia witch hunt is rapidly losing credibility. house intelligence committee found no collusion, coordination or anything else where russia. the 13 angry democrats in charge of the russia witch hunt are starting to find out that there
is a court system in place that actually protects people from injustice, and just wait till the courts get to see your unrevealed conflicts of interest, closed quote. our white house reporter jeremy diamond is joining us right now. jeremy, that's not all we heard from the president. what more are you hearing from over where you are as the president tweets his displeasure? >> reporter: well, we're hearing it all from the president this morning, wolf, with no public events on the docket today and a clear schedule this morning, the president taking to twitter to vent his frustrations as he does from time to time. a series of nine tweets this morning coming from the president sharing his state of mind on various matters. but one of the big focuses here was the special counsel's investigation which you referred to multiple times on twitter this morning as the russia witch hunt. the president sounding off on various topics with regard to this, saying he did not obstruct justice in any way, calling it fighting back which unclear if that's actually going to help his case.
the president also sounding off on what the potential implications could be of this investigation on republicans' chances to keep congress in the midterms. he tweeted this. is this phony witch hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the midterm elections which is what the democrats always intended? republicans better get tough and smart before it is too late. the president, interestingly enough, it's been the president and his legal deteam who have really been bringing this to the forefront in recent days, the president bringing that back to the headlines. wolf? >> nonstop tweeting from the president. once again on this stage, jeremy at the white house. jeremy diamond, thank you very much. no collusion. tha that's been his response at the request of robert mueller's
subpoena. donald trump says, okay, what else is there? how about obstruction for a made-up phony crime? there is no o, it's called fghting back. let's bring in former assistant kim whaley. she was associate during the white water investigation. what do you make of this? >> it's not authori comprehensive, it's not measured. the investigation headed by robert mueller needs to decide if this is necessary. the notion that this is made up and a witch hunt is not by what mueller has done so far, but the
facts we know influenced by the russia campaign. that stuff is not disputable at this point. >> rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor, says if mueller issues a subpoena forcing the president to testify, the president does not have to comply with that subpoena. listen to this. >> what happens if robert mueller subpoenas the president? will you comply? >> well, we don't have to. he's the president of the united states. we can assert the same privilege other presidents have. >> from a legal standpoint, is giuliani right? >> i think he's incorrect. we have historically a number of circumstances where presidents have complied with subpoenas. richard nixon tried to quash a subpoena, stop a subpoena for tapes, and a supreme court said, no, you can actually be required to respond to a subpoena. of course, we had clinton versus jones where mr. clinton didn't want to testify in a civil deposition, and the supreme court said, no, you have to do it. i just think mr. giuliani is wrong.
mr. trump seems to believe that he has the kind of power supreme to other branches, and that's a myth, and i think that's inaccurate, and it's something i hope we'll see play out in a fairway. >> giuliani was also asked whether to avoid testifying, the president might plead the fifth. listen to this. >> how could i ever be confident of that? when i'm facing a situation with the president and all the other lawyers are, and which every lawyer in america thinks he would be a fool to testify. i've got a client who wants to testify. he said it yesterday. jay and i said to ourselves, i hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that he's taking. >> just a reminder what the president has said in the past about anyone who pleads the fifth. listen to this. >> have you seen what's going on in front of congress? fifth amendment, fifth amendment, fifth amendment. horrib horrible. horrible. if you're innocent, why are you
taking the fifth amendment? when you have your staff taking the fifth amendment, taking the fifth so they're not prosecuted, i think it's disgraceful. >> so what are the legal implications of his taking the fifth, which every u.s. citizen, of course, has the right to do, given those comments he's made over the years? >> he's accurate to the extent of saying you can't fake it and take the fifth. if you take the fifth, you're actually claiming that you have information that if questioned, you would incriminate yourself. the way this would go, his lawyer would send mr. mueller a letter saying he officially plead the fifth. mueller would have a couple options. doj policy is typically to give that person a pass and say, we're not going to call them before the grand jury.
ultimately he could require searchom to appear before the court. mr. trump would have to make a determination as to whether, with respect to any particular questi subject, he should go that way. >> what do you think of his freewheeling status the past few days? he's a former mayor of new york and all of a sudden he's representing the president of the united states on some of the most sensitive legal issues and he's clearly going very freestyle. >> listen, i'm also a law professor. i don't think mr. giuliani is acting like most lawyers would act. he's not taking steps to be very conservative, limit his client's exposure. he's doing quite the opposite and creating a lot of drama and potential liability that's bad for trump, but he doesn't have any options. you're right, introducing
himself and the president wanting to testify under oath is a problem, is a witch hunt. i think we all have to uphold that. the president says rudy giuliani is still getting his facts straight, but rudy giuliani's comments are still raising a lot of questions and deep, deep concerns. for example, giuliani said stormy daniels may not have been the only woman paid off by the president's personal attorney. listen. >> you said he -- this was a regular arrangement he had with michael cohen. so did michael cohen make payments to other women for the president? >> i have no knowledge of that, but i would think if it was necessary, yes. he made payments for the president, or he conducted business with the president, which means he had legal fees,
moneys laid out and expenditures. which i have on my bills to my client. cnn's chief political analyzer gloria boriger is joining us no. what do you think of rudy giuliani? >> i think rudy giuliani is representing one person, and that's the president of the united states. he is in some more jeopardy, and as the president himself said, rudy has to get up to speed on the case. they need a messenger out there, and i think they're aware of that. they would nice to speak to and they have the president running
his own legal team and running his own pr team and so it's very difficult for everybody to get together and say, this is the case we ought to be makingment doing a cannonball with everything splat tering all over everything else. they need to ask, does the president's case entersect at all with the response. so there's a lot going on that is kind of just gearing up again, because don't forget, they've had this huge shift in representation. >> an important point indeed. let me quickly, gloria, shift gears and talk about the arizona senator john mccain. as all of us know, of course,
he's been battling very serious brain cancer. a source says senator mccain has asked former president george w. bush and barack obama to deliver eulogies at his funeral. we hope it's still way, way down the road. but a source also says president trump is not expected to be invited. what do you make of that? >> well, first of all, we know that donald trump is still casting aspersions on john mccain's vote on obamacare to this day and said he wasn't a war hero, and they disagree on foreign policy. they have not been friends so i think perhaps it shouldn't come as any surprise to us that when john mccain is talking about his funeral, he wants people there whom he cares about and who he thinks care about him. what's interesting about obama and about george w. bush is that he wasn't, you know,
particularly close with either one of them. he had a hard-fought presidential race against barack obama. but i think he's making a larger point here, which is that he wants bipartisanship, he wants the country to start working again, he wants two men who were civil in their politics to represent him and to speak about the kind of civility that he thinks is missing from american politics. so what better than to invite the man who vanquished you in the presidential race and to invite george w. bush with whom he disagreed on a lot of issues, including the torture issue, and i think that have both of them speak together to represent what he wants the country to start thinking about again, which is making government work. >> good point. very important points, indeed.
gloria, thank you very much. coming up, did president trump -- did his aides hire private israeli spies to dig up dirt on obama administration officials all in an effort to try to undermine it rthe iran nuclear deal? we have information. plus, preparing a backup plan. other options are already being floated for a nominee to lead the cia as gina haspel's nomination hangs in the balance. as the first lady begins to announce her first lady platform from the rose garden, she is enjoying some fresh poll numbers that show her favorability climbing well past her husband's. try head and shoulders two in one. i'm still giving it my best even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin,
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gina haspel. they are already planning a contingency plan if she does not make it through the senate. she was willing to give up her nomination but was talked out of it by the white house. president trump tweeted his support, quote, my highly respected nominee for cia director gina haspel has come under fire because she was too tough on terrorists. think of that. in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a bottom, who democrats want out because she is too tough on terror. win, gina. secretary of state during the bill clinton era. thank you for being here, william cohen. do you think she should back out? >> i think they should examine what role she actually played, did the attorney general give her legal permission as such,
and then do members of the intelligence committee say, even though you think you were following orders, legal orders, we still have a difference of opinion. senator john mccain, my friend who is now in some difficulty, said he's against torture. he knows what torture is and what it does and what it doesn't do, very fundamentally against it. and bringing up john mccain's name, i just want to say a couple words. john welcomed my wife januana t first time he saw her, saw that we were an interracial couple. he endorsed that and said he was going to throw his arms around us. i'll never forget that. secondly, he's a man who believes in peace through strength, not just in weapons, but in character and courage. i would say any individual deserving of the medal of freedom, it would be john mccain right now. unlikely this president would do that, but it would be an act of
great grace and generosity to riz recognize a man who went through five years of torture, who was able to overcome that, and then went to vietnam. he overlooked that and said it's more important we do this for our country. >> you remember as a candidate, senat donald trump said senator mccain was not a pow even though he spent five years in a military prison. and now he is in bad physical shape, as we all know. >> i thought it was very disappointing that the president wouldn't recognize his courage, his ability to fly military aircraft with weapons, and then to endure five years of torture. then to say i'm not coming out before my time, that's real
character, strength, duty. then to say he was not a hero because he was captured, that's disgra disgraceful. >> his father was a navy admiral in the u.s. navy, but he said, you know what, i'm here and i'm staying as long as my men are with me. >> his father was actually conducting the bombings on north vietnam. that was one of the reasons they were trying to get john to leave early, thinking he would get good graces of his father and stop the bombing. >> what did you think of the last couple days the president on two occasions, even at this late moment in john mccain's life, really going after him for that negative vote at 3:00 in the morning on obamacare? you saw what the president has been saying lately. >> i have, and it's discouraging. we're all anxious to have the president of the united states rise above pettiness and grievances and conduct himself as a leader of our country. in fact, when there is talk
about a nobel prize, i would like to have a nobel prize given for reuniting this country, of healing the divide that's taking place in this country that is in danger of tearing us apart. i would like to have the president take that measure to heal us and be a president for all the people, not just for hard-core republicans or be opposed to hard-core democrats. >> what do you think about what's going on now? there is almost certainly going to be a meeting between president trump and kim jong-un of north korea maybe at the end of may, early june. they're trying to figure out were to do it. it could be along the demilitarized zone. it looks like it's going to happen. you support that. >> i do. i do, but we should proceed with caution. one thing that really disturbed me over the last few days is to see a document or something leaked to the press that the president is asking the department of defense to give him options about how we could reduce our presence. >> in south korea. >> in south korea. that may come later, but to talk about that up front is really
undercutting a very major card that we have to play. this is what kim jong-un wants, and in fact he's publicly stated he's not asking for that. why would you send out a message to the d.o.d. saying, give me an option before i need it. the reduction of troops, it's very hard to put them back in once you reduce them or take them out. secondly, if you try to put them back in, that's a symbol that things are ratcheting up and it may be the prelude to an attack. that may come at the end. it may work to our advantage. but you also shouldn't look at this as a transaction. looking at it simply as north korea, south korea, u.s. what about japan? if the countries in the region start to feel like we're only interested in the u.s., japan may find that it's on its own. if it's on its own, it may be tempted to go the nuclear realm,
which president trump advised they should do when he was campaigning. >> they have 30,000 troops in south korea, and president trump made no secret he'd like to get them out of there, get them out of japan, get them out of germany, out of a lot of places. rudy giuliani the new presidential lawyer helping the president. he said the other day that the three americans being held prisoner in north korea would be released later that day. they still have not been released. this is a very, very sensitive issue. clearly the u.s. would like to see those americans released. i'm sure when mike pompeo, then cia director, now secretary of state, was in pyongyang and met with kim jong-un, he raised this issue. what do you think of the president's lawyer now all of a sudden talking about a really sensitive subject like this on the eve of these talks? >> well, i think he's acting more as an advocate and less as a lawyer. i used to practice law many, many years ago, so i can't give professional advice as such, but as a lawyer, you're trying to
protect the interests of the president and to minimize the extraneous assaults upon him in any fashion. and if you start to become an advocate, start making statements that are political in nature, then you're serving the political advocate and not as a lawyer. >> thanks for coming here. now accusations swirling around the white house right now. did trump aides hire private israeli spies to look at obama officials in an effort to undercut the iran nuclear deal? plus, on the eve of the west virginia republican primary, the president has come out swinging against the very controversial candidate who has been surging in recent days. we have new details. stay with us. e pretty much liver favorite princess dress. but once a week
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trump, by stepping into the spotlight in a little while later this afternoon to announce her formal platform of her rose garden ceremony. all of this happening as a new "washington post" report delves into their marriage and details how they're apparently living largely separate lives. and as cnn poll numbers show a significant boost for melania trump. 57% of the american people in the poll have a favorable opinion of the first lady, jumping ten points from the last poll in january. joining us to discuss, malnia henderson and kate bennett. these numbers are significant. give us some perspective. >> yeah, they are. typically first ladies are more popular than their husbands. you think about somebody like laura bush, her poll numbers were as high as 80% at times when her husband was in the
white house. the question always becomes, how can the first lady sort of transition that popularity to the popularity of her husband's party or her husband. so i imagine when folks see these numbers, a, i'm sure melania trump is happy, because it's clear that americans are starting to get to know herbert, and they're start to go like her more. but if you're a republican, you're thinking, what can we do about these numbers? can she be helpful on the fundraising circuit? can she be helpful on the stump? michelle obama, laura bush trying to help their husbands win reelection. they were very effective in that way. not as effective in the midterms, laura bush and michelle obama. but we'll see. what is melania trump willing to do? we see her stepping out, as you've written out, kate bennett, so we'll see what happens with her. >> in about an hour and a half from now in the rose garden, she'll be announcing her agenda, her platform. set the scene for us. >> in the past couple months she's talked about how she wants
to help children and children's well-being as a part of this. that's a very broad umbrella. i think we'll see her narrow that down to a specific focus to be likely more than one thing, probably two or three. i imagine it will include the opioid crisis, something she's focused on with families. she also focuses on kindness. and social media, the cyberbullying issue of which she's gotten some flak because obviously her husband is a prolific name-caller via twitter. this is something the first lady says she's going ahead with despite criticism for choosing this topic. we'll hear about that from her today. >> i assume, correct me if i'm wrong, that the president will be at the rose garden when she makes these important announcements? >> i can't reveal that, but i would assume, wolf, that he would be thereme. he wouldn't want to miss his wife's big moment. the rose garden, of course, is a historic location. it's her first time giving a
speech of the length we're going to see and on the west side of the white house. >> she's going to have a teleprompter, the whole nine yards? >> the whole nine yards. >> i want to play a clip of what she's saying, and get your reaction as well. she's putting out a very powerful message to american women. listen to this. >> in light of this last election, i'm concerned about us as women and how we think about ourselves and about each other and what's really going on. i mean, i think more about what is going on in our heads where we let that happen? you know? so i do wonder what are young girls dreaming about if we're still there? if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we're still -- if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each
other that we don't have for men, if we're still doing that today, if we're more comfortable with -- if we're not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to what? you know? >> she got a pretty significant reaction there. what do you think? >> i think michelle obama is a very effective public speaker. i think she really has a lot of traction talking about women's issues. i will say this about melania trump and the poll we had today, wolf. the higher numbers, the rise came from women and democrats. there was a jump in 14 points from women and 15 points from democrats. perhaps it's interesting to hear michelle obama raising the flag for women. this could be a sign for a bit of divide among trump fans. >> and her popularity going up. folks are spread as to maybe there is distance between her and the president?
>> this is a lady not involved with her husband. we've seen that with mostly nonverbal cues, but not a huge surprise they don't interact well. >> listen to a clip from the former first lady. listen to this. >> i wish that girls could fail as bad as men do and be okay. because let me tell you, watching men fail up, it is frustrating. >> very frustrating. >> it is frustrating to see a lot of men blow it and win. and we hold ourselves to these crazy, crazy standards. we hold each other to these standards. >> sounds like another, at least indirect, jab at the president. >> it wasn't even that indirect. remember, michelle obama from the campaign trail in 2016, she said in the wake of that "access
hollywood," she said shaken to the core and we know how she feels about what happened in the 2016 election. there she is really asking women to look at themselves and looking to see how women are viewing other women. we know, for instance, that white women very much supported donald trump. you didn't see that with other races of women. african-american women wholeheartedly supported hillary clinton. she really sparked something in women. should there be solidarity? we saw in that last election there wasn't a lot of solidarity, particularly along our racial lines. listen, she's probably glad she's finished working on her book. we'll see that book come out maybe in the fall, and you can see there she's very, very popular and passionate still. >> we'll see melania trump's event in the rose garden today as well. guys, thanks very much.
president trump blasting the former u.s. secretary of state john kerry for conducting, quote, potentially illegal shadow diplomacy on the iranian nuclear deal. you'll see how kerry is responding. and as congress stares down a deadline in the iran nuclear de deal, we'll have coverage of that. stay with us.
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he is under enormous pressure to remain in the deal, but mostly from the foreign allies, including french president macron, who has been openly lobbying for the president to stay in the pact. there are now new reports that aides to president trump hired an intelligence firm to dig up dirt on obama national security officials who helped create this iran nuclear deal back in 2015 in an elaborate attempt to discredit him. chief correspondent jim sciutto has been reporting on this. what do we know about this spy firm? >> i talked to one of the targets whofls was on the nsc the object observe administration. he and ben rhodes, who was the deputy national security adviser of the president, they became targets of what was something of an odd campaign. when i spoke to mr. call, he said he was not aware of this until he was contacted by
reporters of "the guardian" and "the new yorker." but then some thoughts began to occur to him of an odd outreach last year of call's wife. a group claims to be an investment firm in europe saying they're interested in the public school that his wife's child goes to, that their child goes to, and starts to offer the possibility of money, investments, et cetera. she doesn't quite know why they're reaping out to her. she tries to divert them to someone else. they keep coming back saying, no, it's you we want to meet with, et cetera. lets that go. what's interesting in retrospect, the name that is apparently a fake firm, rubien capital partners, is the same name of a firm used to reach out to rose mcgowen who was one of harvey weinstein's accusers, again, trying to make contact, not clear what they wanted to do with that contact. i should note that these obama
officials, colin call included, they have no direct knowledge that this is tied to trump aides or the trump campaign or the trump administration. but in retrospect, what they're finding is odd outreach at this time from this firm that bears the hallmarks of previous outreach by the same group. >> clearly there is a lot more reporting that needs to be done to come to the bottom line. the president, meanwhile, he's got to
make his decision by saturday, and he's now going after john kerry, the former secretary of state, who helped negotiate this iran nuclear deal in 2015. the president tweeted this. the united states does not need john kerry's possibly illegal shadow diplomacy on the very badly negotiated iran deal. he was the one that created this mess in the first place. i'm assuming he's referring to a meeting that kerry had with the former minister of iran. >> and also european officials and diplomats, because the europeans were partners in this deal. and the europeans, as you know, do not want to leave the deal. they've been advising the
president as well as president macron, the british as well, have been advising the president to stay in. let's find a way to tighten the noose on the restrictions on iran, but let's not leave this deal because it has benefits. and kerry has been meeting with those folks to see if there is something he can do. of course, president trump is taking that as an opportunity to take a shot at kerry, the obama administration. even some of trump allies comparing it to what the trump administration had been accused of during the transition. of course, michael flynn reaching out to the russians. only one president at a time saying in effect john kerry is doing the same thing they're accused of doing. >> violating the logan act. >> violating the logan act, which we've talked about a couple times. bigger picture here, there is other indications that the president is going to leave the iran agreement, and trump's,
whatever internal legal process he's doing, at the same time he's launching a pr campaign against the deal to potentially back up that decision. britney johnson wants them to continue the deal. >> he does. he's been making that case. he might still be meeting with mike pence, the vice president, as a last effort to do that. they're making the case as what it isn't and see if we can make this more than it is. >> and the spike that was apparently engaged. why were they going after these individuals looking for, quote, dirt? >> it's not clear but a pattern
of the trump administration with policy positions like this is whatever the internal decision-making process is. some of them, in moving away from positions the obama administration took, there is a public campaign. how they were planning on n establishing contact, it's just not clear. i will note this. at the same time this outreach was being done that said sebastian gorka, adviser to the president, he was making public comments about ben rhodes and colin call as well. so there's been a consistent public message from this administration about the iran deal but also about the people, including john kerry, involved in the deal. >> as i said, a lot more reporting needs to be done to get to the bottom of this. thanks very much for that, jim sciutto. remember alabama.
that's the message from president trump today as he urges voters in virginia to cover this republican candidate, don blankenship. oh, sorry i'm late, sir. when you said you were at the doctor, but your shirt says you were at a steakhouse... that's when you know it's half-washed. add downy odor protect with 24-hour odor protection. downy and it's done. i am totally blind. and non-24 can throw my days and nights out of sync, keeping me from the things i love to do. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424.
president trump is launching a last ditch effort to stop republican candidate don blankenship from winning tomorrow. the ex-con is running a trump style campaign and facing intense backlash after this recent ad. >> mitch mcconnell has created millions of jobs for china people. while doing so, mitch has gotten rich. in fact his china family has given him tens of millions.
ditch cocaine mitch. >> he is in striking distance of his two republican challengers. president trump tweeted a warning today, quote, to the great people of west virginia, we have together a really great chance to keep making a big difference. problem is don blanken shape currently running for the senate can't win the general election in your state. no way. remember alabama. blankenship firing right back, quote, tomorrow west virginia will send the swamp a message, no one and i mean no one will tell us how to vote. joining us now, mark preston. tell us about blankenship. >> a couple things. we know that he is a wealthy colbeal baron, but he is runnin for the senate republican nomination in west virginia. here's where things get very interesting. he was a very successful coalminer owner in west virginia, but he was convicted of willfully not following health and safety standards
around mines. 29 people died in an explosion at one of his mines in 2010. he actually served a year in prison. while he was in prison, he decided that he was going to run for the united states senate. so as we can see, he was there, he decided to run for senate, and then what is the connection right now with president trump and why is president trump weighing in? well, a couple things. one, they are very similar. in fact don blankenship says he is more trumpier than donald trump if you can imagine that. we know donald trump weighed in on the race today because he was asked to by republicans. jeff zeleny is telling us that he was asked to do that. because don blankenship has a lot in common with president trump. conspiracy theories, he goes out and spins tales, specifically we've seen about mitch mcconnell, he uses very harsh rhetoric. he is a very wealthy politician. >> and we'll see what happens tomorrow. remember the president said remember alabama referring to
what the republicans faced in alabama not too long ago in that senate race. mark, thank you very much. as president trump battles serious legal challenges and a deadline on the iran nuclear deal approaches, the white house is gearing up for a press briefing. you are looking at live pictures right now set to start any minute. stay with us. we'll have live coverage. they're all going in the same direction but in very different ways and pampers gives all of them our driest best fitting diaper. pampers cruisers with three-way fit. they adapt at the waist, legs and bottom with up to twelve hours of protection for all the freedom to move their way in pampers cruisers only pampers diapers are the number one choice of hospitals,
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