tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 10, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
narcissism. >> internet pranksters keep changing the president's signature. when it comes to certain presidents and authors, the writing's not just on the wall, it takes up the whole wall and it can take big hands to sign a big signature. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> and thank you all for joining us. "ac 360" starts now. good evening. john berman here in for anderson. a late day surge of developments. cnn has confirmed that a new cabinet secretary has threatened to quit after being berated by the president. we have a brand-new cnn poll out about the mueller investigation. a huge spike in the number of republicans who say the president should not testify, but we begin in low places. a comment from a white house official about senator john mccain that is at a minimum insensitive, quite possibly flat-out odious. president trump himself has a long checkered history when it
comes to the arizona republican who survived five years as a prisoner of war. the president once questioned whether he was a war hero saying, quote, i like people who weren't captured. as we all know, tonight the senator is at home in arizona battling brain cancer. let's get the very latest from the white house. cnn's jeff zeleny. jeff, walk us through what happened here. >> reporter: well, john, it is clear that, you know, the president sets the tone at the top at this white house here. one of his lower level staffers, her name is kelly sad her. she was on a phone call with republican spokespeople on capitol hill earlier today. they were talking about something senator mccain had just done. he sent out a statement earlier this week opposing the nomination of the cia director, gina haspel. he does not believe someone who has that history in the program of waterboarding and other torture should lead the cia. the white house was in defense mode there. in a conference call with republican press secretaries and others, this staffer said he's
dying anyway. of course a comment like that quickly spread across washington, given the respect that senator mccain has. so then it essentially blew up from there. the white house apologized and said we respect his service, but, john, just a few moments ago we heard from cindy mccain, senator mccain's wife, of course, who sent out this message on twitter. let's take a look. she's addressing it directly at the white house staffer there. she said, may i remind you, my husband has a family, seven children and five grandchildren. simple words there. sparse words. but a tough message, indeed. talking to a few friends and allies of senator mccain this evening, john, they remind me that he's still creating waves and still working hard, even though he's out in arizona because he announced his opposition to gina haspel that created a whole stir here. in a town of disgusting
comments, this rates pretty high up there. >> you said the white house responded. was that an
apology? >> reporter: john, i wouldn't say it was an apology. we respect senator mccain's service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time. they did not walk it back or say, you know, she was misquoted. they said she was not intending to be malicious. talking about someone's brain cancer this respect sounds fairly malicious to me, john. >> that's not an apology. that statement was definitely not an apology. had not known the comment was made to republican press secretaries, which does explain how it got out so quickly. jeff zeleny, thanks for being with us. appreciate it. amazingly enough, that insult from the white house staffer was not the only attack on the arizona senator today. during an appearance on fox business news, a former fox news military analyst -- to be cia director because torture worked on him. listen to this.
>> the fact is, john mccain, it worked on john. that's why they call him song bird john. >> charming. joining me now with the details of this remark, cnn's brian stelter. brian, who is this guy who made that statement? >> mcthenny was once the number three commander of the air force. he served several tours of duty in vietnam. he's known as a fox news paid military analyst. on the payroll until last year. today he was on the air just as a guest. he raised doubts on barack obama's birthplace. actually just like trump did. he endorsed trump in 2016. if you remember that event where trump came on stage and renounced birtherism and said he knew obama was american. he was there. maybe they both had a change of heart. birtherism is not the only conspiracy theory he has promoted. this conspiracy theory about mccain. that's all it is. a baseless lie first brought up in 2008 during the presidential campaign. back then, politifact called it a pants on fire lie, saying
there is no evidence at all to support the claim that mccain helped the enemy in vietnam. on the contrary, as most of us know, he's an american hero. >> i encourage people to check out politifact and note that john mccain never gave anything of value to the north vietnamese. has fox commented about this? >> sort of. anchor charles pane said he didn't hear the comment this morning because a producer was talking in his ear. whether you believe that or not, here is the rest of what payne said. >> i, in fact, have very high respect for senator mccain's service and sacrifice to this nation. those reprehensible comments do not represent how i feel or how this network feels about senator mccain. >> saying the network does not support the comments. mccain's friends, i think we should be honest about this, they are measuring their time left with their friend in days or weeks, not months or years. hopefully they're all wrong and mccain will be with us years from now. he has a balk coming out later
this month, an hbo documentary. he views these final messages to the public. i have some advice, he should set his dvr, watch the hbo documentary. a lot to learn about john mccain. >> i will note, that was an apology from the fox business anchor and he did note the network didn't stand behind the comments either. as we have noted, insults from president trump lobbed at senator mccain not new. to refresh your memory, this is a brief look back. >> he's not a war hero. >> he's a war hero. >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured, okay? i hate to tell you. >> except for one senator who came into a room at 3:00 in the morning and went like that, we would have had health care, too. we would have had health care, too. >> we got a bad vote the evening that we were going to terminate obamacare. we got a bad vote. you know about that, right? that was not a nice thing. >> we actually had it beaten
except for one vote. you remember that beautiful night. it was -- it was defeated, but one vote changed. >> joining me now to discuss, paul begala and jim schultz. paul, politics is politics, but it doesn't matter, he's dying anyway. when john mccain, as everyone knows, is in arizona right now at home battling brain cancer. where is the line between, you know, politics and human decency? >> well, there is no decency in a comment like that, obviously. it's one thing to argue over whether gina haspel should run the cia. recently people can differ. reasonable people, good people don't say things like that. why did this aide say it? she's just a dust speck in the american body of public, right? as zeleny points out, because the president sets the tone. once norms are shattered, it's very difficult to put them back together. i worked for a president who gave the medal of freedom to his component on the campaign of
1996, bob dole. why? because bob dole deserved it. they didn't agree about politics, but deal was an american hero. we need to find a way to get back to it, but this president makes it very, very difficult. can i note quickly what exactly senator mccain endured? she was shot down over north vietnam. both his legs and his right arm -- his right leg and both his arms were broken in the crash. >> still can't lift his arm completely over his head. >> he still can't comb his hair. when he landed, he was stabbed, he was beaten. later his captors found out his father was the commander of the pacific fleet. so they said, you're free to go. he could leave at any time he wanted. but he wouldn't do it because the code of honor of p.o.w.s is first in, first out. so he was tortured to resisting. more than most. so what he endured for our country, he endured unspeakable torture and he is an american hero. i don't agree with hi politics. that's not the point.
to say something like that about a president who has given this much for his country is beepgt content. >> should not have been saying this, correct? >> absolutely not. john mccain is a war hero. he is -- the sacrifice that he made and those like him have made give us the freedoms that we enjoy. and we have to respect that. and beyond that, there is a certain decency associated with someone that's dying of cancer that may be dying of cancer, to their family, to their friends and the loved ones. you just have to be sensitive. sently an insensitive inappropriate comment that she is probably going to regret and i would hope she does regret. that being said, you know, think it's okay to criticize senator mccain for his views on health care. it's okay to criticize senator mccain for his views on gina haspel's candidacy to the cia. we can disagree on that. that's okay. that's what politics is all about. it's okay to play hard ball politics with that. it's just not okay to be insensitive and to make it
personal. >> can't the white house say i'm sorry? why hasn't the white house come out and said i'm sorry? >> well, the white house said that the family is in their prayers. i disagree with the fact that this is something that rolls downhill from the president himself. this was someone that made an off the cuff comment in a meeting. this is not something that she was harkening back to 2015 and saying, okay, it's okay to say these kinds of things. >> i don't think president trump has ever apologized for those initial statements. >> no, he didn't. and, again, when -- in the political realm to get into that personal issue for someone who has -- who has, you know, suffered for our country, it's inappropriate. there is no question about that. i agree with paul in that. but i also think it's incredibly insensitive to say the president doesn't respect military service. he surrounds himself with military people in his staff and respects their opinions. >> he does not respect senator mccain's sacrifice. he lied to the country and said he wasn't a war hero. by the way, you know, corporal bone spur there in the white house, mr. trump, took steps to
avoid service. john mccain took steps to serve. this is, i just disagree, this is emblematic of your times, this is emblematic of the era of trump. the challenge is not to sinks to his level. i really admire the mccain family, for example, conducting tells with such grace. >> new bit of reporting in -- a source close to the situation says kelly sadler called meghan mccann to apologize for the crass remark. it's unclear what meghan mccain's response was, but we're told that sadler apologized to her. that's a start, jim. sadler apologizing to the family is a step. the next step would be apologizing in public. the next step, the white house saying that the comment was inappropriate and apologizing. i still don't get why they can't say this was a completely inappropriate comment, we're sorry. she's paid by the taxpayers. >> as she should apologize to
the family. it was an insensitive comment for somebody dying of cancer and somebody who served our country well. somebody, you know, if he does, in fact, die of cancer will be sorely missed by many. there is no question she should apologize. the white house, i'm sure, will be critical of her remarks. >> well, no, they can't apologize because mr. trump won't apologize. that's the problem. if you fire this woman, which any decent white house would. if she publicly apologizes, which she must, cut puts the presidents in the horn of a dilemma because donald trump doesn't apologize for these lies and personal insults. he never apologized to ted cruz for somehow implying his father was connected to the kennedy assassination. he, in fact, was asked once -- he was asked, do you go to god with your since and ask for forgiveness? he said, well, i don't -- i don't live a life that requires that. he could not name a single time even in the quiet of his own soul he felt like he did something wrong. that's the kind of man we have as our president. >> just very quickly, jim, you really don't think that the president has changed the level
of discourse. whether or not it's successful is a different story. has he changed the level of discourse? >> there has been vitreal in politics. the right goes for the right, the left goes for the left. all kinds of vitreal back and forth. i don't put that solely on the president. that was going on long before president trump came on to the scene. we were heading in that direction. >> do you think she should be fired? >> do i believe she should be fired? i believe she should be reprimanded for her insensitive comments someone else can determine what that reprimand can be. if you're the chief of staff, you have to make that determination. >> would you go on twitter, jim, and say this woman never should have been fired? >> no, of course not. that's a personnel decision that someone needs to make. >> the chief of staff has never apologized for lying about a congresswoman who he said completely false things about. he never apologized. this is the era of trump. his people never apologize because the president doesn't. >> let's not act like the democrats have the high road in all of this either.
>> human beings do. decent human beings do. these people are beneath that. >> there is a political discourse in this country on both sides of the aisle where the vitreal is just over the top. it's not just donald trump. >> that's a false equivalency, jim. that's not right. >> you sit here today and say that all the democrats are -- none of them conduct themselves in any inappropriate fashion as it comes to -- >> i did not say that. i said this president -- he is beneath any standards of our lifetime. you can never imagine ronald reagan saying this, you could never imagine barack obama or bill clinton or george bush. we have never seen a president so loathsome in conducting himself in the public discourse. now his staff is following suit. >> jim, would you see ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, george w. bush, bill clinton, barack obama make the comment that president trump made about john mccain as a p.o.w.? >> i can't speak for what they'd say in private. certainly no one's made that comment -- >> that was public.
that was public. >> about john mccain publicly, you know, history is history. we know what that is. we know what they've said publicly. to determine what they may say or what they may think, you know, i'm not going -- >> talking about public comments, not the private comments in this case. jim, i appreciate you being here. paul, i appreciate you being here as well. senator lindsey graham, a close friend of john mccain told dana bash of the white house aide's comment. ms. sadler, may i remind you john mccain has a lot of friends in the united states senate on both sides of the aisle. no one is laughing in the senate. coming up, vice president mike pence says it's time to wrap up the mueller investigation. not only not up to him or the president. there are continued -- homeland security secretary kirstjen nielson has reportedly drafted a resignation letter but not submitted it after the president blew up at her at a cabinet meeting. detail from "the new york times" ahead. s from "the new york times" ahead. feel the clarity of non-drowsy
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fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. tonight, we're keeping them honest with the vice president of the united states much like a bartender at closing time saying, okay, folks, it's time to wrap it up here. only this is direct at the special counsel appointed to investigation russian interference in the united states presidential election. instead of a bar at 2:00 in the morning, the setting was a united states military base where he and the president were welcoming back americans who were freed by north korea. >> it's been about a year since this investigation began. our administration has provided over 1 million documents. we fully cooperated in it. and in the interest of the country, i think it's time to wrap it up, and i would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion. >> so, keeping them honest, the vice president was right about at least one thing, it has, indeed, been about a year since
the russia investigation began. a week from today, in fact, will be exactly one year since robert mueller was appointed special counsel. one year. the vice president seems to suggest that's a big deal, that 12 months has some magical vegtory properties. that after one year it all turns into a pumpkin or something. the thing is, it hasn't in the past. the benghazi investigation, for instance, took 2 1/2 years, whitewater, eight years and two months until a final report was released. now we all know where this pressure, or as pence put it, respectful encouragement to wrap this thing up is coming from. there is a chorus from republican lawmakers, led, of course, by one voice. at this point if anyone is unclear about how the president feels about the investigation, this one's for you. >> it's a total witch hunt. i've been saying it for a long time. i have this witch hunt. >> it's a witch hunt. that's all it is. >> they have phony witch hunts. >> the witch hunt continues. the entire thing has been a
witch hunt. >> this is a pure and simple witch hunt. >> so the president is operating under principle if you repeat something enough times there are people who will believe it based solely on that repetition. guess what? it's working. according to brand-new cnn polling, at least among one segment of the population, it is working. more on that ahead. the president and his supporters can say as much as they want that this should end, that there is no there there, but never forget the fundamental truth about jedi mind tricks, these are the zroids you're looking for. when it comes to the russia investigation, there has already been a significant amount of there there. in just under a year, the mueller investigation has yielded 75 criminal charges, 22 defendants, five guilty pleas. we don't know where or when it will end, but just two days ago we learned that the mueller team questioned a russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments that his company's u.s. affiliates made to president trump's personal
attorney michael cohen after the election. a russian oligarch close to vladimir putin and also went to the trump inauguration. this is an investigation about russian interference in an american election. there are real questions about our democracy as stake. as a wise man once said, no one is above the law. that wise man, michael richard pence. after james comey announced he was re-opening an investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. >> what the decision this week showed is even 11 days before an election, no one is above the law. >> again, we don't know what ultimately will come of any of this, but maybe the investigation should wrap up when it's finished, not when the president or the vice president decides it's closing time. so that company we mentioned that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to michael cohen after the election, it's called columbus nova. it is linked to a russian oligarch, viktor vekselberg who went to the trump inauguration. tonight were learning even more about that company. a strange turn of events involving the purchase of alt-right domain names. our senior investigative
correspondent drew griffin joins me now. drew, we know this company paid michael cohen $500,000. we know they have deep connections to the russian oligarch viktor vekselberg. shortly after hillary clinton gave a speech criticizing the alt-right, somebody at this firm, columbus nova, started registering alt-right websites? >> yes, john. yes, it is strange. here is that speech. >> this is not conservatism as we have not it. this is not republicanism as we have known it. these are racist ideas, race-baiting ideas, anti-member, anti-immigrant, anti-women, all key tenants making up the emerging racist ideology known as the alt-right. >> okay, john, within two days after hillary clinton said that word, alt-right, if that speech, a person named frederick introter registered hoichb
demain names containing alt-right or a variation. he is the brother of the company's ceo and the registrations were being made using a columbus nova business account. he's also the cousin of that russian oligarch. >> drew, any idea why he wanted these demain names or how they were used? >> we got a statement from him tonight. he's saying he purchased these demain names for years with his own money and he would then try to sell them for profit. on these specific domain names involving the alt-right, the statement says this, he regrets doing this and that, i subsequently thought better of the idea of selling domain names, which obviously now have connotations that are inconsistent with my moral beliefs. goes on to say, so instead of selling them, i left them dormant to let them expire. in retrospect, it was a dumb idea. i never told my brother or anyone else at columbus nova that i had done this. his brother, again, is the ceo,
also a cousin with that russian oligarch. the domain names, john, never used to build any websites and anyway, in fact, have now expired. >> all right. drew griffin, thanks very much. one of the many questions looming over the mueller investigation is whether the president will agree to an interview and whether he has to -- whether he will comply with any possible subpoena. what is a president to do in that situation? depends who you ask. whether it's rudy giuliani or rudy giuliani. here he is last weekend. >> 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. >> so that was rudy giuliani now. how about rudy giuliani then? this is the summer of 1998, same rudy giuliani, different president. bill clinton was in of the at the time. charlie rose was still on the air. >> if the president is asked to testify, subpoenaed to testify
before a grand jury and says, no, not going to do it -- >> he's got to do it. you don't have a choice. >> you don't have got to do it. you don't have a choice. oh, how times have changed. joining me now, cnn political analyst and "new york times" white house correspondent maggie haberman and cnn chief political correspondent dana bash. dana, you spoke to rudy giuliani today. i understand just again very recently. give us an update on your conversations with him. >> where do we start, john? first of all, let's maybe start with the news that he broke up with and from his law firm that maggie and here colleagues at "the new york times" broke today. subsequent to that report, cnn and i believe "the times" as well got a statement from that law firm suggesting that when giuliani went on fox last week and talked about the fact that law firms all the time, he seemed to say law firms all the
time make -- lawyers all the time make payments for their clients without telling their clients. a spokeswoman for the firm today put out a statement basically saying, no, no, we don't do that. i just spoke with giuliani, who was quite upset, as you can imagine, about the notion of them dissing giuliani so publicly. he argued that, well, what he was talking about at fox, john, follow this, wasn't necessarily making a payment as a lawyer on behalf of a client without telling them. he said he would never do that and has never done that. he was talking about signing a nda, a nondisclosure agreement. that's what he said. more importantly, he's in a public spat with the law firm he was officially with until this week. he told me that the law firm has a lot of good people and a lot of people who hate my client, meaning the president of the united states, and i don't particularly appreciate this. this is a fleeting story, but it also sort of feeds into the
larger issue of giuliani being the story and being very much a principal in an area where he is the lawyer to the principal, the president. >> i think this is the cleanup of the cleanup of the cleanup. i sort of lost count here. i don't think it's at all true what the mayor is now saying, that he wasn't talking about payments being made by a law firm. we'll go and, and check that transcript, but it was pretty crystal clear. maggie, you've covered mayor giuliani for a long, long time. >> forever, yes. drag that out. >> this is not exactly surgical legal precision i feel like we're seeing here. >> look, so i had a similar conversation with him to the oe dana had. one of the things he said to me in the conversation, he was very upset about what his former law firm had said. he also told me he was talking about the nda. i, too, would have to go back and look at the transcript, but there is a realm where not knowing what was said there that
is what he could be talking about. he has not been, you know, precise in a lot of these television hits what was interesting he said to me that he laid low, which we'd known, but i hadn't heard him say it on the record. he had laid low for the last 18 months or so, basically at the request of his law firm. they were unhappy with the surrogate work he did for president trump toward the end of 2016 during the campaign. they did not want him out there. it was upsetting some of their lawyers. i think it was not just that the lawyers aren't fans of the president, although i think that's part it. clients were getting upset. he told me he had two offers to host radio shows he turned down. he said he was happy to be back on television, quote, unquote, frankly, i'd missed it. so i think he's having for. for all of the reports about how the president's angry and the president's this, you have to remember, this is a president who is not so keen on telling people to their face when he's upset. so i think you are seeing a lot of, you know, the president
conveying his dismay at certain issues by proxy of staff. i think that the president's staff is very frustrated by giuliani, but that's a different issue. >> they are. john, can i just add to what maggie was saying? i'm sure you've heard the same thing. that is that president trump right now is distracted with things that he considers pretty big accomplishments. >> yes. >> or wins on the board. >> yep. >> what happened with north korea and the amazing, amazing story of these three americans coming home and being released today. of course, an upcoming summit which they've now announced the time and the date. iran, which he thinks is a, you know, a campaign promise kept that his base is very happy about. so on and so forth. so because of that, the things that would normally really send him up a tree and say, you know what, rudy giuliani is out of here, like he did with scaramucci or other people who had been loyal to him, he is not doing right now. >> right. >> so that is sort of part of the -- what's going on here.
the other thing, as maggie said, rudy giuliani was unfaltering in his loyalty to donald trump throughout the entire campaign, including and especially during the "access hollywood" situation. >> so, maggie, just in terms of robert mueller. we heard vice president mike pence say a year is almost up and a year is the magical time where this all turns into a pumpkin and ends right now. is there any indication that robert mueller feels the same way? >> no. >> is the president's legal team getting any sense that mueller feels that way. >> they have no idea where this is going and/or where this is going to end. the basic estimation is that the mueller probe will have to be on hold at some point over the summer so that there can be no sense of interfering with politics as we head into the midterms. the probe that they remain the most concerned about, again, is the southern district of new york probe into michael cohen, the president's former lawyer or current lawyer, depending on what the president wants to say at any given moment. in terms of mueller, i know you
played audio or video of the mayor -- former mayor talking about an interview for the president with mueller's team. i still think that that's pretty unlikely. i understand that one of the appeals of having giuliani for trump is -- was ostensibly about, you know, testing whether this could be wrapped up quickly. in reality, my understanding is that president trump both wanted a big name because he's very frustrated by the narrative that he can't hire a lawyer, which has been true, but he wanted somebody who people knew, and giuliani is doing a pr campaign that the president, while he might not like all of it, there are aspects of it he does like. >> laying the political groundwork, perhaps not to testify or what happens after he doesn't testify, which may be the most important thing they're doing. >> correct. to put stuff out about michael cohen's probe as well. >> maggie haberman, dana bash, great to have you with us. a blow up in the cabinet meeting. the president berating his homeland security secretary over -- "the new york times" says that keir ten nielson nearly quit over this.
we're going to speak to "the times" reporter who broke this story next. with new creations like savory crab-topped shrimp, and parmesan truffle shrimp scampi you better hurry in before shrimp trios is gone. and parmesan truffle shrimp scampi let someone else do the heavy lifting. tripadvisor compares prices from over 200 booking sites to find the right hotel for you at the lowest price. so you barely have to lift a finger. or a wing. tripadvisor. with tcalled audible.le app you can listen to the stories you love while doing the things you love, outside. binge better. audible.
the homeland security secretary nearly quit after being berated by president trump in front of the entire cabinet yesterday. this is according to reporting in "the new york times" that says that kirstjen nielson has drafted a resignation letter but not submitted it. joining me now is the reporter from "the new york times" who reported this story. why did nielson decide not to submit this resignation letter? >> well, we're not sure exactly why she didn't submit it in the end. what we know is that it was quite a meeting. this was a regular cabinet meeting. we had a little glimpse at the top of the meeting yesterday, as
we normally do. reporters are let in. the president kind of gave a little bit of a hint about what was to come when he sort of described his frustration with the fact that immigration laws hadn't been toughened enough. then the reporters were let out of the room and the cameras were led away. we're told that at that meeting, which was to talk about immigration, to talk about what the country's doing to close the borders down, that the president just erupted, expressed his frustration about the fact that the laws were not working, that the border was too porous, and that much of his anger and frustration was directed at kirstjen nielson, the secretary of homeland security, the agency he thinks is most responsible and is most lacking in terms of trying to shut the border down and that it grew so heated and so intense that by the end of the meeting she was incredibly frustrated. she felt like it had all been directed at her and ultimately told associates and friends that she had considered -- was on the verge of resigning and had, in
fact, drafted a resignation letter. when i talked to people today, it appeared that maybe things had calmed down and that she had reconsidered and the folks over at the department of homeland security say she's on the job and intends to stay there, at least for now. >> so nielson is a protege of the chief of staff general john kelly. the president, we've been told, has never really been a giant fan of hers. any sense why nthat is exactly? >> well, there are a couple of reasons. i think -- the president has always been suspicious of people who he views not as sufficiently kind of loyal to his cause, that includes obviously obama staffers who had been in the previous administration, but it also includes people who were loyal to former president george w. bush. he views the kind of bush universe as people who really weren't part of the trump phenomenon. kirstjen nielson served for many years in the bush administration, first in the department of homeland security
and in other roles, so i think there was that piece of it that he wasn't entirely sure about her. frankly, when she came over, remember, john kelly was homeland security secretary first and then came over to be chief of staff. he brought her with him. to the white house. she served in the white house for a few months. she didn't make herself any friends there. she was seen as the enforcer, the person who limited access to president trump. remember all of the staff that used to go in and out of the oval office, sort of whenever they wanted. she casualty kind of kelly's enforcer and that rankled him as well. >> is this the first time that the president has had a clash like this with nielson? >> no, i think part of what happened here was that this was the culmination of a lot of weeks of building frustration. the president, we're told, several weeks ago had been in series of meetings, both telephone conference calls as well as in-person meetings that included secretary nielson, you know, essentially going through
the same issue, expressing his frustration that the laws aren't tough enough, the immigration laws, and he, you know, expressed that to her before. this was just a more intense version of it and in front of the entire cabinet. >> all right. she's still on the job. michael shear, thanks so much. still to come, new polling on how president trump and special counsel robert mueller are handling the russia investigation. we're going to break it down with feedback from republicans, independents and democrats. ♪ ♪ ♪ raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ♪ ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ ♪ ♪
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more breaking news. new cnn polling just released on the mueller investigation. a majority of americans has a negative view of how president trump is now handling it, with just 31% approving of his actions, 55% disapproving. meanwhile, overall mueller is fairing better in the court of public opinion. 44% approve of the way he's handling the investigation, 38% disapprove, 18 multiple sclerosis are unsure. look how the numbers shift when you break it down by party affiliation. republicans give mueller just a 17% approval rating. that's down 12 points since march. among independents and democrats, there hasn't been much of a shift. as for whether president trump should testify under oath if asked by mueller, that stands at 39% for republicans, down double digits since march. again, little change from independents and democrats. only 28% of republicans say mueller should subpoena
president trump if he won't speak with investigators. that rises to 63% for independents and climbs to 92% among democrats. joining me now to talk about the numbers and the timing of all of this. former republican senator, cnn's senior political commentator rick santorum and cnn chief legal analyst and former prosecutor jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, i want to start with what the vice president of the united states said today, it's time to wrap it up. 12 months in next week to the mueller investigation, time to wrap it all up. is there a clock ticking on all this? >> well, i don't -- you know, i don't think what mike pence said, there was anything wrong with it, to be honest. i think he was expressing a feel this should be wrapped up. compared to the things donald trump says every day about the mueller investigation, this was such a mild thing. you know, he expressed the desire to have it wrapped up. i think that's a reasonable desire. i think it's sort of fine what he said. >> senator santorum, your former colleague lindsey graham had this to say about it today.
>> that's not vice president pence's decision to make. i'm sure mr. mueller will wrap it up when it gets time to wrap it up. the only thing i can say is i haven't seen any evidence of collusion. mr. mueller has a good reputation. we'll see what his report says and where he goes, but in the system you can't have the people being investigated tell you to wrap it up. >> you know, senator santorum, what happened to justice taking its course? you know, i don't remember the calls from republicans during the whitewater investigation to wrap it up after one year. >> well, no, there wasn't, but let's just be honest, the intensity of the coverage of this investigation is unmatched. i mean, i was in the congress during whitewater. >> i was in journalism during whitewater and monica lewinsky. we did an awful lot. chartered a jet back from cuba because of that. >> there was a lot of controversial, but it came in
fits and starts. whitewater was a long investigation and, yeah, there were periods where there was lot of discussion. then you went months and never heard anything. there have been other long investigations by special counsels. it's one of the reasons i don't like special counsels and don't think we should have them. >> anymore. you didn't then. >> well, no, i've been against special counsel for a long, long time. >> since impeachment, since ken starr, since president clinton was impeached? >> i think we should trust the justice department to do its job and we shouldn't bring people who are, frankly, untethered to accountability to do this, whose job it is to indict somebody. when you put somebody in this position, i don't think their job is to get the truth, i think their job is to get some, you know, scalps. i think that's just the wrong approach. having said that, you know, this is only a year investigation. i understand it's not that long. but if you consider the amount of attention and the impact that this investigation and the reporting on it has had, it's
far outweighed its longevity. >> i thought you take toobin comment, you know, what the vice president said was okay and run with it. toobin threw you a bone there and you left it sitting. >> you know, i generally agree with what he -- that the vice president has a right to say what he wants to say. >> right. >> but i just think it feels a lot longer than a year. it feels like ten years for the people. >> that's because we're all getting older. jeff, the other interesting thing of this is the poll numbers, which i really do think are fascinating. >> totally. >> the headline is, it's working. what the president is doing to an extent politically speaking is working. the republican support for the mueller investigation has plummeted. >> right. >> you know, the president has political cover among republicans if he decides not to testify. >> this is donald trump's political party. i mean, donald trump runs the republican party and republicans agree with most of what he says. the fact that he has been calling this a witch hunt over and over again has started to
affect the poll numbers in a very -- in a very direct way. and, you know, i don't think it's going to effect robert mueller -- affect rm reince priebus, what sir sent he is in the polls. i think it is indicative of the political environment, this deeply tribal moment we're in. democrats believe an entirely different set of facts than republicans believe. that's what's reflected in the polls. >> senator, smart politics? >> i think it's less donald trump calling it a witch hunt than it is all the other information that's come out. the alternative facts, if you want to say, not on the russia investigation with respect to trump, but with respect to hillary clinton and the democratic party. i think that's where republicans are parting company with the mueller investigation. that if, in fact, you know, we're going to look into this, why don't you look into the entire matter that most people find to move more legal problems than what donald trump did. >> this is so true. i mean, if you go to the parallel universe that is fox
news, hillary clinton's investigated every night on fox news. you know, they are still crazed to see her locked up, and that, i think, is reflected in both this polling and the general political environment in the republican party. >> sure. >> not withstanding the fact, as i believe rick knows, hillary clinton actually lost the presidential election and is a private citizen in chappaqua. >> senator santorum definitely knows. thanks so much for being with us. turns out michael cohen got a whole lot more money from at&t. we'll have that. a republican source saying cohen was peddling influence and selling his access to the president, seems a lot like what a lobbyist would do. in a moment, i'm going to speak to the one time king of lobbyists who served time for his illegal actions. we'll get his take on all this in just a moment. whoooo.
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everyday when we go to work we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community. once i moved here i didn't want to live anywhere else. i love that people in this community are willing to come together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california. more breaking news tonight. more information about the deal between president trump's personal attorney michael cohen and at&t. at&t hired cohen specifically to inform them about the merger with at&t. cohen reportedly had a sales pitch. he courted companies bay saying, i don't know who has been representing you, you should fire them all.
i'm the guy you should hire. i'm closest to the president, i'm his personal lawyer. as you know, selling personal power is an old profession. abramoff served years in presidenten. paying for access in washington is not new. michael cohen, as the president's personal attorney, not registered as a lobbyist, is that how it's supposed to work? >> is that out of bounds? >> there are a couple things going on here. the question is, did michael cohen lobby anybody. did he get paid to be an adviser. the problem is, we have these categories. the fact that washington is able to get away with this. creating a classification of people who can be lobbyists and
not register. that seems to be where he's falling. >> to be a lobbyist, it would have meant he would have gone to the government and pressed for something for novartis, for at&t, and we don't know whether he did that. that would be being a lobbyist, however, just being an adviser, as a sitting attorney, as a personal attorney for the president, is that okay? >> well, you know, in terms of whether or not it's leg or not. i don't know what his ethical requirements are, vis-a-vis the bar. and things like that. did he break the law? >> the question is, is this right? is this something that america likes, no, it is not. america does not like to see the lobbyists get special access, that may be what he was offering for sale to these clients. >> one of the firms that michael cohen worked with was squire
patton boggs. he had office space in new york there. the firm did not have a key to the office. the office was always locked. he used his own computer server. is there any reason you could think of why that would be necessary? >> i don't know whether or not that actual was actually a patton square boggs office or if it was that they made a deal with him as a consultant to be able to be affiliated with that firm. a lot of lobbying firms in washington. -- a lot of them will bring on people like michael cohen if they have specific access and specific knowledge to work a specific project. whether that was an actual square patton boggs office, it would be surprising if it were. and if it were, they didn't have access to it, would be shocking. >> you know every side of this business inside and out. the good and the bad, frankly. so based on what you know, and you've been looking into it as
much as we have the last 24 hours, based on what you see, does it smell right? >> no. well, again, i don't think it doesn't seem that he's broken laws here, he may have broken laws if he did lobby. but certainly in terms of what seems right to america and right to the public in general, i don't think people like to see this, which is somebody on the inside cashing in for their inside knowledge. the other thing that people have to look at is, how did all this stuff get out. it's a separate question. i know not our topic, one that is troubling people in town more than this one. >> the bank records of michael cohen, how did they get out. very quickly, this american company with ties to this russian oligarch through this russian company. is that the type of company that would normally do business, trying to get access through someone like michael coen? >> almost every company in america that has anything to do with federal law needs to get
access to the federal government. there's so much that goes on in washington, that affects them. so it 1 not unusual for any kind of company that has any interface with the federal government to at least be seeking advice what to do, they're very bottom line, their very existence could be dried by actions in washington, d.c.. >> possible or plausible that president trump did not know that michael cohen was pitching himself in this way. >> i think it's probable. i don't think -- from what i've heard from people around him, president trump does not approve of people going out and pitching themselves like this. i would imagine michael cohen probably kept this from president trump. because he probably would have been at the receiving end of a tonguelashing had he told him. >> the insensitive comment about john mccain who is at home battling brain cancer. the aide said, he's dying anyway.
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