tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 30, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
i'm a small business, but i have... big dreams... and big plans. so how do i make the efforts of 8 employees... feel like 50? how can i share new plans virtually? how can i download an e-file? virtual tours? zip-file? really big files? in seconds, not minutes... just like that. like everything... the answer is simple. i'll do what i've always done... dream more, dream faster, and above all... now, i'll dream gig. now more businesses, in more places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. good evening, in a moment, roseanne barr's ex-husband, tom arnold, joins me, speaking out for the first time about the
controversy swirquirrellin i squirrelling around his former wife . his office gives him enormous power to shape the national debate. today he did finally mention the firing of roseanne barr. if you thought he might use this moment to say something about racism or bigotry, he did not. he could have taken what was already a national conversation about race, social media, and who we are as americans, and any number of directions today. he instead kept it simple. he made it about himself and not for the first time, either. a day after abc canceled the revival of "roseanne" for bar barr''s racist tweet, comparing valerie jarrett to a ape, the president responded, "bob iger of abc called valerie jarrett to let her know abc does not tolerate comments like those made by roseanne barr. gee, he never called president donald j. trump to apologize for the horrible statements made and said about me on abc. maybe i just didn't get the call."
keeping them honest, nowhere did he condemn what roseanne barr said, he didn't call it what it is, racist. he said nothing about the bold step that abc took in killing one of its biggest hits. he didn't lament the pass of the show highlighting people who don't get represented very much on television. millions of americans, many of whom voted for mr. trump. you might say the president has more important things to focus on than the cancelation of a television show or racist comment of an actress. this is the same president who just a couple months ago in a speech practically made rosea e roseanne's show his own. >> look at roseanne yesterday. look at her ratings. look at her ratings. i got a call from mark burnett. he did "the apprentice." he's a great guy. he said, donald, i called just to say hello and tell you, did you see roseanne's ratings? i said, mark how big were they? they were unbelievable. over 18 million people.
and it was about us. >> it was about us he said. yet today it was not. today at the white house briefing, it was mainly about him. >> the president pointing to the hypocrisy in the media saying the most horrible things about this president and nobody addresses it. where was bob iger's apology to the white house staff for jamell hill calling the president and anyone associated with him a white supremacist? to christians around the world for joy behr calling christianity a mental illness? where was the apology for catka griffin going on a profane rant against the president on "the view" after a photo showed her holding president trump's decab tate e decapitated head? this is a double standard the president is speaking about. nobody is defending her comments. they're inappropriate. that's the point he was making. >> whatever you think of the point the president was making, whether you thought he was being treated unfairly, the president does. most presidents, every other president up to now would limit
their remarks to their audience, coast guard academy, for example. >> look at the way i've been treated lately. especially by the media. no politician in history, i say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. you can't let them get you down. you can't let the critics and the theysayers get in the way of your dreams. i guess that's why we won. >> ask not how the media treats you, ask how the media treats me. oh, and ask why i won. that was the coast guard academy commencement. here was the president tweeting in the wake of the hurricane we now have reason to believe killed hundreds if not thousands of americans. "nobody could have done what i've deone for puerto rico with so little appreciation. so much work and so little appreciation. even thousand, thousands of households in puerto rico lack
power. you take tributes where you can get them. for example, in front of a wall playing tribute to fallen intelligence officers of the cia. traditionally when dignitaries visit that spot, they say something like this. >> it is especially humbling for me to be with you all today. men and women of character who sacrificed greatly. and to stand in front of this hallowed wall, this memorial wall, where we remember 117 who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. >> that of course was vice president pence introducing the who president who did not mention the fallen except for saying, i'm quoting here, the wall behind me is very, very special. that was it. mostly he complained about the coverage of his inauguration the day before. >> first offer, i have a running war with the media. they're among the most dishonest human beings on earth. right?
and i was explaining about the numbers. we did a thing yesterday. the speech -- did everybody like the speech? i've been given -- but we had a massive field of people. you saw that. pack. i get up this morning, i turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. i say, wait a minute, i made a speech. i looked out. the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. they showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. and they said, donald trump did not draw well. >> those remarks and that's just a portion of them, surprised a lot of people. they also set a tone that president has stuck to. taking occasions that have traditionally been about others, their needs, their losses, even their sacrifices, and making them about himself. his own grievances or sometimes his own accomplishments. happy memorial day, he tweeted on monday. those who dieded for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. best economy in decades.
lowest unemployment numbers for blacks and hispanics ever and women in 18 years. rebuilding our military and so much more. nice. nice, indeed. more now on the president's reaction to the roseanne barr controversy from cnn's jim acosta at the white house. so, jim, the president's tweet, sarah sanders' comments today, it is all sort of out of the white house's playbook. >> it really is, anderson. this was hardly a teachable moment today unless this was teach the country how things should not happen at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. i mean, this was a day when the white house press secretary came into the room and instead of saying, well, the president's tweets speak for themselves, which she often does say, she decided to go ahead and jump on the trump please apologize train and insist that a lot of people owe the president an apology. and of course, i tried to ask as she left the room today, she wouldn't take a question from cnn, but i tried to ask as she left the room, where are the president's apologies for all the things he has said since the begin of his campaign?
remember, he launched his campaign by saying mexican immigrants coming into the u.s. are rapists and criminals and then throughout the course of the campaign, and the part of his presidency that we covered so far, he has time and again made outrageous, false, offensive comments about just about everybody under the sun. whether it's african-american athletes who were sons of bitches in his eyes because they protest before a football game or, you know, when he goes off on immigrants coming into the country and saying millions of people voted illegally for hillary clinton, this is part of a pattern where the president is nursing his grievances over here on a daily basis, feels everybody else owes him an apology, but he's not will to offer one, himself. >> yeah. it is interesting, though, the extent to which he sort of reached out and embraced roseanne previously about her ratings in that speech he made kind of making it, again, about himself in some way. >> reporter: that's right. and we saw this at the rally
last night in nashville, we see this on almost a daily basis. and anderson, you know, he seems to be caught in this extremely narcissistic moment in his presidency right now. prance it's because of the mueller investigation, which he again insists is part of some grand conspiracy. he was alleging just yesterday robert mueller is going to be meddling in the midterm elections. rudy giuliani tried to clean some of that up today and say, well, if the investigation is still happening by the fall, that's what meddling is in the eyes of this president. but by in large, anderson, we should never expect this president to jump out of this pattern. he is never going to apologize really for any of the things he said over here and the white house instead of, you know, simply coming out today and saying, listen, the president's tweets speak for themselves, you know, we'll refer you to the president for these comments, you know, they're essentially going out there and, you know, passing around a hat asking for
apologies. it's just not what you expect to see at a white house daily briefing and it's, again, one of the reasons why it just feels so darn surreal covering this white house on daily basis. it's alice in wonderland stuff. sometimes 1984 stuff, anderson, when you hear the white house asking for apologies when the president owes more than just about anybody in this country. >> jim acosta from the white house, thanks very much. two differing views. joining us, democratic strategist symone sanders who served as press secretary on the bernie sanders campaign and formform er trump campaign aide michael caputo. did not denounce roseanne's racism, went after them for apologizing to valerie jarrett and not to the president. does that make sense to you? >> anderson, no. absolutely, it doesn't make sense, but not much that this white house cut does make sense. what i will say is this. i find it very striking that the president chose to, in fact, speak out about roseanne, tweet about roseanne, not tweet about
the americans, the 4,600-plus americans whose lives were, in fact, lost due to hurricane maria in puerto rico so what i see here is that the president's clearly more concerned about himself than he is anything and anyone else. where this could have been a moment where the white house could have got really got a win on this, they botched it. all these unforced errors, we're now talking about the president's inability to make -- to have compassion and empathy and condemn something that is clearly wrong and also telling that sarah huckabee sanders today chose to elaborate and defend the president's comments when they have been very much so silent on so much more. >> michael, i know on twitter you offered -- went as far to offer roseanne a spot on a new streaming plat foform that you launched. "a", explain why you think it would be wise to be in business with her at this point and do you think the president missed an opportunity here? >> first of all, on the
president, i think the president was trying to put his two cents in about why a lot of supporters believe roseanne barr was not given the same treatment that people on the other side of the aisle have been -- like we went through them before with -- with miss sanders, but i don't think that he really is in a spot right now to talk about this. i got to believe that none of us like or appreciated what roseanne barr did. it's a horrible mistake and i think, you know, people view it as -- this whole thing about gorillas, it's a trope. it's been around for a long time. it's a racist trope. i've seen people taken down by this in the past. i've worked with executives in my communications consultant capacity especially actually with a local comedian and television personality. who did something here in buffalo very similar and three years later, his career has not
recovered. my question is, you know, if roseanne is sorry, and she's making -- sondunds like she is sorry, she's talk to, i believe, her staff, that she really let down, 100-plus people now out of a job, she makes amends for this with her community, with her family, with her friends, staff -- >> i got to jump in here. >> i think she needs to get back to work. >> you're saying she should be given another chance. should she? >> as long as she makes amends for this. >> roseanne hasn't tried to make amind amends. today she blamed her racism on the ambien, said the ambien made me do. and apologized yesterday, quote/unquote apology, said i'm sorry for my joke. furthermore, this is who roseanne actually is. this sunt the firwasn't the fir tweeted something that was racist. not the first time she had problematic remarks. abc noted themselves this was the third or fourth time, this was the straw that broke the camel's back for them, roseanne being offensive. look, there's freedom of speech
in this country but don't have freedom from consequences of your speech. what roseanne is being met with and many other people will be met with, actually, if they have public platforms and decide to speak and speak out in this manner, are, in fact, consequences. last thing i'll say about president trump putting in his two cents. the day president trump called roseanne after her show aired was also during the -- in the aftermath of stephon clark's shooting if you will. the white house said this is a local matter and couldn't comment on it. the president had time to comment on roseanne then and had time now. it demonstrates what the president thinks he's important and who he is talking to. he's the president of all people and damnit, i wish he'd start acting like it. >> we know roseanne and the president have been friends for a lot of years. that phone call came after her show started. came from a lot of history between the two of them. and my question, i guess, is when someone makes a mistake like this, i obviously, and i think everybody agrees what she
said was reprehensible, but, you know, i don't think this is what comes from roseanne's heart. i don't know her. the people i worked with in the past -- >> i'm sorry. >> do it you mind if i continue, symone? >> i'm sorry. >> michael, just -- >> i'm sorry. >> michael, i do want you to continue. but you know, the number -- >> at what point can i continue? >> the number of tweets she has sent about 9/11 conspiracy theories, she did make -- >> understood. somehow or bother abc. >> go ahead. >> if i can get through this before i'm interrupted again, this is not -- >> oh, all right. >> abc has not had a problem with this in the past. >> geez, can i continue with this? >> you're right, go ahead. >> abc has not had a problem with this in the past. i understand these kinds of comments set people off. i wonder, my friend who's the comedian and television personality here in buffalo, is three years long enough for him to be in siberia? at what point in time do you think roseanne barr can go back
to work? i don't think it's up to hollywood executives. i don't think it's up to you, symone. i think it's up to her fans. that's why we invite her to join the bond.pm platform because it cuts out the hollywood moguls who make these decisions. she needs to make this right. she made a big mistake, but it's not up to anyone but her fans as to how long she has to stay in siberia. >> symone, i mean, can she come back, should she be able to? >> look, i think any network that allows roseanne back onto the air is saying they are absolutely okay with le whom she has shown herself to be over a number of years. that's right. this wasn't just one tweet. this is who roseanne is. and the one part i agree with is abc knew about all this and let her have a show, anyway, because they thought the show would then temper her outbursts, if you will, on twitter. so, again, if a network wants to put roseanne back on their network, that will be on them. that will be on those
advertisers that decide to side with bigotry, islam-o-phobia, racism and sexism. i just want to defend why i laugh because i think it's laughable to assert that this isn't who roseanne is. this is who roseanne has always been. she's told us who she was. >> i didn't know you knew her so well. i didn't know that. >> i just want to know, roseanne -- >> i don't know her. i can't defend her or insult her. >> you have defended her. >> i tell you this -- >> go ahead, michael. >> oh, wait, are you now interrupting people? because you just said, oh, please don't interrupt me. you sounded so offended. >> i appreciate both your perspectives. okay. symone sanders, michael caputo, thanks very much. coming up, roseanne barr's ex-husband tom arnold joins us for his first tv interview. he has insight into her behavior. breaking news from "the new york times" about a memo andrew mccabe wrote about the firing of james comey and what the president said at the time.
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expert medicine works here. learn more at cancercenter.com appointments available now. in a flurry of tweets and retweets after her show was canceled, roseanne barr. more than 100 times offering excuses for her racist tweets, times saying sorry, others retweeting fans who portrayed her as a victim. all over the place. one post she posted and deleted was it was 2:00 in the morning and it was ambien tweeting. makers of amby yen posted this, "people of all races, religions, work at sanofi every day to improve lives of people around the world. all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any
sanofi medication." joining me, writer on the original "roseanne" and ex-husband, tom arnold. thanks for being with us, sorry under these circumstances. when you saw roseanne's tweets yesterday, what went through your mind, were you surprised? >> i was not surprised that what went down and the show was canceled. i had a feeling this was going to happen when i first heard it was coming back. that there was a reboot. and -- >> you thought this might happen. why? >> yeah. >> i just know -- i -- when i heard about her politics, i knew she was a -- when i read her social media in the very beginning and saw how she was so into the conspiracy stuff with donald trump and so how far gone she was and the pizzagate and the hillary's a pedophile, obama wasn't born here, she was, you know, a birther, and how crazy that was, i just knew that this would not end well. >> did -- so you were surprised -- were you surprised,
then, that abc those to bring it back? because obviously, they saw those tweets as well. >> right. i was surprised they didn't do anything about it. in fact, i tweeted a lot because, you know, i figured someone would take her phone away or monitor that because that's -- it's dangerous. you know, when you have that much money on a show, it's -- you know, we had the first amendment, also have the second amendment. you don't just give someone a handgun to walk around the stage there. hopefully you don't. you got to be careful. they risked a lot. i tweeted a lot to watch out because i can ski it coee it co. she has a lot -- by the way, this monkey thing is something she tweeted before about black people. why is it okay? it's a meme that she and thousands of her alt-right fans do. they love calling black people monkeys. it's not a one-time joke. >> she said something about susan rice a couple years ago. >> there's more. look on her tweet. they do it because we have a white trash racist president. that's a fact.
donald trump -- roseanne and i both known him 30 years. that's an absolute fact. instead of saying donald trump going, okay, everybody, hold on together, he says, oh, my kbogo what about me? that's insane. he's like, what about people making fun of me? how about stopping it? >> when you were married to roseanne, worked with her on the original "roseanne" show, did she display signs of racism, xenophobia, conspiracy beliefs? >> when i metrodan, i wo roseand at meat packing plant in iowa. a feminist. she was much more involved than i was. i was a meatpacker and bouncer and young comic. i learned so much from her about, you know, not just being liberal but about that kind of thinking. i grew up in southeast iowa so i'd never been around different kinds of people. >> kwhat do you think it is tha changed her? clearly what you're saying is the person you knew when you
first met her, when you were married, obviously, you know, she's talked about mental health issues before. >> mental -- >> but these conspiracy theories and obviously these racist statements. what do you think it is? >> you know, i have mental health issues, myself. roseanne obviously does. it's something that, you know, right before we got married, i went to rehab. you know, i'm an alcoholic and a drug recovery from both those. she was there for me. and then after we got married, you know, we dealt with her mental health issues as a family and she's done amazing with that. and, you know, it's something that she's dealt with. i can see that. i have to say this about the president we have and his gas lighting and lying. you can see him perpetuating mental health issues for the entire country. every day, he gets on temperature and lies. and he perpetuates fear. and anxiety. he never says things are great. he says, oh, my gosh, look how dangerous it is. and the inner city, black
people. i really genuinely believe he thinks black people are dangerous and mexicans are rapists. he believes that. perpetuating that fear to america. watch out, mueller's lying, he's after me. and so americans are sitting home like roseanne and her fans, oh my god, what is happening out there? and they get anxiety and anyone with mental health issues like roseanne is going to heighten things. and she's having mental health issues right now. i'm sure that's part of this. it doesn't make it okay. they had to cancel the show. >> you told the "hollywood reporter" today that roseanne, in your view, may have wanted the show to be canceled. >> 100%. >> why do you think that is? i mean, i think you were intimating in the interview t t that, you know, she does something, it's successful, and she's not happy with it or she feels she's being mistreated or something. is that -- why do you think she wanted it canceled? >> i feel from day one, you know, she didn't get created-by
credit on her own show. was not her fault. obviously she deserved it. from day one of the "roseanne" show, she felt, okay, i'm not getting there -- there's always been that. i feel like she probably -- you know, as i'm watching this happen, by the way, i keep -- she keeps sabotaging things. the parkland kids, she called one of them the nazi. they had to take it down. so she throws nazi around a lot. so i'm talking to my former stepkids who i love, and, you know, they're suffering through this. i look at it like as this is going on like, also, once you have stepkids, you always see them as kids. even though they're 40 and you know they're suffering. >> yeah. >> you see this thing happening publicly. i tell them, listen, i'd love it if she came out and said, okay, i'm sorry, i've gotten too into this thing, maybe i need to step back. maybe her fans would see this. i wonder would donald trump support her? one person that's all in on this conspiracy, hillary is a pedophile, obama is whatever, to
say, wait a minute, maybe that's not true. maybe everything trump says is not true. you know, the whole country -- anyway, as this weekend approaches, i can see it coming. i can see things going. i tweeted at wanda sykes, she's like, impeach trump. i said too bad you aren't on a tv show, she's the head writer of "roseanne." it's none of my business. i stuck it in there. roseanne put a picture of hillary clinton next to a donkey with buck teeth. i said to roseanne's daughter, your mom needs to apologize to hillary clinton. >> you were hoping that somebody in your life would basically kind of intervene, take -- get -- take her off twitter. >> they tried. >> i got to get a quick break in, tom, if you can stick around. i want to talk to you on the other side of this. we'll be right back.
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we're back now talking with tom arnold. roseanne barr's ex-husband. appreciate you sticking around. do you think roseanne has people in her orbit right now who can kind of intercede, who can maybe get her off twitter or help her out in terms of how she should move forward from this? >> i hope they're fired today. you know, i haven't been there in 24 years. you know, i -- today, obviously,
they -- no. obviously, but i sense that today after something like that that maybe people close ranks. you know, i know her son did as good a job as humanly possible of taking down stuff on twitter. trying to keep -- you know, kids are amazing kids. they do everything humanly possible. you know, they love their mom so much. and, you know, maybe this is for the best. the family to pull together now and just be a family. and so i, you know, there's nobody -- there's no, you know -- other people -- somebody could have done -- there's a million things. i was offering. i said, listen, i said tell your mom that donald trump doesn't care, he's on the phone. another guy, he's so important, he has another guy type it then she won't carry her own phone or have a fake phone. there's a way to do a phone that goes into another server. i had a whole bunch of ideas. >> let me ask you. one of our former guests was saying that, you know, he felt that president trump had been
friends with roseanne for, you know, decades and decades. i understand that you actually question whether president trump was really ever a fan of hers or just wanted to take credit for her ratings because i know you say that one time mr. trump criticized her directly to you after your divorce. >> well, we filmed an hbo special at his trump castle. i knew him better probably than roseanne. he used to come on my sports show. i went to the playboy mansion with donald trump. i wasn't the creepy guy that went to visit karen mcdougal. okay. once we were at -- i think it was elton john's -- for the oscars. >> right, the oscar party, we have a picture of him talking to you there. >> okay. okay. this happened. he's with melania, i'm with my wife at the time, shelby, who's a political consultant and he said to me, oh, my gosh, you
married up in the world. i'm like, okh -- he said roseane was disgusting. he said that to me out of the blue. you know what, no matter what kind of divorce you had, that's a weird thing to say. that's in the moment. i'm looking at him like, what? >> that's what's happening in the moment? >> that's what's happening in the moment. such a weird -- i remember thinking why offer that? just sort of dead eyed offered that thing, it was weird. it was a while after the divorce. just offer that matter of fact no reason. >> when you heard the president essentially embracing her for her ratings, saying he called her up in that speech, talking about, you know, how great her ratings were, that it was about -- that it was up us, or, you know, that was the term he used talking in front of this audience, do you think that was genuine? >> no. i think it's sad. it's like all the people that today i'm sure disappeared from
roseanne's life. there's all kinds of alt right, you know, the people who want to start a race war, civil war. they're all gone. all the people that were just worshipping her yesterday, they're gone, because she has no show today. there's that. h that that's sad. >> yeah. >> it's also sad she called black people monkeys. that hurts people's feelings. i'm tired of white people going -- it's okay -- you know, we didn't mean it. it's ridiculous in this country that we're always justifying and michael caputo, whatever, hey, that's a -- what do you call it, a trope? >> a known trope. >> that's ridiculous. shut up. it hurts people's feelings. what is wrong with us? >> it's certainly a racist comment and -- >> it is. >> -- not the first time she's said that. >> no. >> tom arnold. i appreciate talking to you. sorry it's under these circumstances. >> buddy. all right. >> thanks very much. we should say, obviously, tom's views are obviously his own. we appreciate him being with us. up next, breaking news. "the new york times" is reporting tonight that former
acting fbi director andrew mccabe wrote a confidential memo last spring which offered significant new details about the firing of his predecessor, james comey. details on that when we continue. ♪now i'm gonna tell my momma ♪that i'm a traveller ♪i'm gonna follow the sun♪ ♪now i'm gonna tell my momma transitions™ light under control™ visit your local visionworks to ask about transitions™ brand lenses
comey. joining us by phone is katie benner of "the new york times." can you explain the "times" story that's just broken? >> absolutely. the "times" broke a story showing andrew mccabe, former deputy director of the fbi, had conversations with rod rosenstein. the deputy attorney general. in which rosenstein said he'd spoken to the president about reasons to fire jim comey. and that the president had wanted rosenstein to write a letter that saying among the reasons why comey needed to be fired has something to do with russia. this worried the deputy director of the fbi who wrote a memo about this conversation afterward saying that he worried that there was something about russia and the firing of the fbi director jim comey that made him pause and, of course, now we know that the firing of jim comey is the center of the mueller investigation into russian interference in the election. >> and so rosenstein, according to the reporting, chose not to mention russia in the memo he
put out that he authored explaining the firing of comey. >> absolutely. so for whatever reason, this we don't know, rosenstein decided russia was not necessary to mention despite his conversations with the president. and said he stuck to the story that jim comey had acted inappropriately when he disclosed the investigation of hillary clinton. and her use of a private e-mail server and other things around the election. so the story that we know that rosenstein wrote was one thing, but we also note the president was urging him to write something else having to do with russia. >> now, i think in the article, i just got a quick read of it, there was at least one unnamed person who tried to, perhaps, explain that the president wasn't talking about, basically -- the mention about russia referred to the president wanting rosenstein to say in the memo that the president was not under investigation regarding russia, is that correct? >> yes, that's correct.
and as we know from jim comey's memos and book and gazillion speeches, it's clear that according to comey, the president was obsessed with this idea of somebody publicly saying that he was not a subject of anything, any investigation, related to russia. that wouldn't be a huge surprise here. what is interesting, though, is that rosenstein wrote this letter, he told congress in the aftermath of jim comey's firing last year that he had not written it for the express purpose of having jim comey fired, i believe he said it was not to be a pretext for a firing and yet he clearly knew that this is what trump wanted and that, you know, it would be hard to imagine that he could have these conversations and not know exactly what was the president was going to do with any letter he produced. >> according to the "times'" reporting, mueller is interested in this letter or mccabe already turned it over to the special counsel. is that correct? >> absolutely. according to reporting, mccabe has turned this over to the special counsel and raises the
question of whether or not rod rosenstein should be recused. he oversees the mueller investigation because he has to. because jeff sessions is recused because of his actions, you know, in the run-up to the election and the aftermath. so should rosenstein now be recused? is he really the right person to oversee an investigation into a man who he may have helped in the chaotic days after, you know, the election and just before jim comey was fired? k. >> and i think rosenstein had given an interview a while back which i think is quoted in the "times" piece this evening in which rosenstein essentially says he's in communication with muell mueller, if mueller ever tells him he's a, you know, a witness or believes mueller should step aside that he would. that rosenstein should step aside, rosenstein says he would. >> that's absolutely correct. and so far as we know, mueller hasn't done that. because we're going to take representati representative's word that he would recuse himself if necessary.
again, that doesn't take away the issue of optics. now keep in mind the andy mccabe, himself, was fired by the justice department and attorney jeff sessions because he -- there was also question of whether or not mccabe should have earlier recused himself around anything having to do with hillary clinton and then the inspector general of the justice department found he wasn't forth coming in interviews. this is almost a shakespearean level of drama and betrayal and intertwined fortunes that we're seeing play out here. >> yeah. certainly fascinating. the story breaking tonight. katie benner, thank you very much. joining us, cnn legal analyst kerry cordero. if the president asked rosenstein to mention russia in his memo about firing comey, we don't know about what way he was asked to mention russirussia, it problematic? >> it raises a big question. look, one of the big mysteries of the spring of the 2017 is why rod rosenstein wrote the memo that then was used to justify the firing of director comey. this adds a new dimension as to
whether or not the president actually informed him that the russia investigation was behind the president's thinking and so then it raises even more questions about why mr. rosenstein wrote that memo. but he has maintained in his public testimony that he wrote it based on his assessment of director comey's performance in the job. >> right. and then, of course, i mean, this didn't happen in a vacuum. you then have the president going, that interview with lester holt the following day talking about russia, then talking to russian officials who were in the oval office about the firing of comey as well. how much will the president's intention behind firing comey play into any possible or any consideration of an obstruction of justice case? >> his intent in firing comey is one of the critical pieces of an obstruction case. i think that the special counsel is looking at obstruction. they're looking at it from the perspective of a variety of things the president has done including intimidating witnesses, firing people, trying
to derail the investigation, but the firing of the fbi director, the chief investigator, is one of the main things. rod rosenstein's role in that was very curious at the time but i will say that since that time, he has done everything he possibly can, it appears, to try to protect the integrity of this investigation so he's the one who selected bob mueller as the special counsel. he has publicly taken on oversight of that investigation. he has provided the scope of the investigation. he's providing the resources. he's making sure the fbi is responsive in coordinating with it. so he has done everything in his power, i believe, since that particular incident which, again, is very curious, to protect the integrity of this investigation. and i think that he's a real link p linchpin for making sure the investigation continues to its full course. >> carrie cordero, appreciate it. coming up next, what the white house is saying now that a conservative republican congressman who's seen the classified information is debunking the president's leading conspiracy theory about a spy in his campaign.
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ithe race for governort. has turned into a scam. gavin newsom's trying to elect a republican who was endorsed by trump. and villaraigosa's being bankrolled by a handful of billionaires. it's everything that's wrong with politics. and none of it is helping struggling families. here's my pledge to you. i'll keep our budget balanced. invest in affordable housing. fight for universal healthcare. and stand up to donald trump. as governor, you can trust me to do what's right- because i always have. well, it's one thing when a member of the opposition party says the president is wrong or full of it or sometimes worse.
it's another thing when a member of his own party does. and yet another still when that person has access to much the same information, the same fact base that the president does. yesterday, and again today, that's exactly what happened. a republican, staunchly conservative republican, in fact, politely called out the president on what has become a steady refrain from the president and his supporters in congress and on the air, the refrain the president and others have been repeating over and over again is that president obama placed a spy inside the trump campaign. >> major developments again tonight on the deep state spying on the trump campaign. >> to spy on the trump campaign. >> spy on the trump campaign. >> i'm shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign. >> deep state spying, scheme. >> spy inside the trump campaign back to the fbi. >> fbi spies. or maybe two spies. >> it looks as if there could have been a second spy. >> these spy revelations. >> spies in this campaign. >> ran a spy ring. >> a spy to infiltrate his campaign. >> insert a spy.
>> a spy inside. >> the spying they did. >> to spy on the republican candidate for president. >> if there's a spy, they got nothing from it. >> people look at spygate. >> spygate. >> spygate. >> this whole spygate thing. >> and now the spygate, wow. >> spygate, if, in fact, this occurred, could be one of the biggest scandals in history. >> keeping 'em honest, though, saying the word "spy" or "spygate" doesn't make it so. and you'll note from the banner below me this is our third go at this. what this is really about is the confidential source, the fbi informant, as you know, the president, his attorney, and house republicans pushed for and got a pair of briefings on this source from the fbi and justice department. republican congressman trey gowdy sat in as well as devin nunes. last night, trey gowdy spoke out for the first time about what he learned during the briefing. he said, i'm even more convinced that the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got and it has nothing to do with donald trump. today on cbs this morning, he elaborated.
>> when the fbi comes into contact with information about what a foreign government may be doing in our election cycle, i think they have an obligation to run it out. what i have seen, i don't know what the fbi could have or should have done other than run out a lead that someone loosely connected with the campaign was making assertions about russia. i would think you would want the fbi to find out whether or not there was any validity to what those people were saying. >> in other words, the congressman or republican congressman, former federal prosecutor, he was saying this was the fbi doing its job. not the fbi doing a job on the trump campaign. >> i think the fbi, if they were at the table this morning, they would tell you, russia was the target, and russia's intentions towards our country were the target. the fact that two people who were loosely connected with the trump campaign may have been involved doesn't diminish the fact that russia was the target and not the campaign.
>> well, as for congressman nunes, who's been accused of carrying water for the white house before, he has said nothing about the briefing. silence. and we would love to talk to him. in fact, one of our producers spent the day trying just to locate him. she found no schedule of any public appearances on his website, no public events at all. she called, texted, e-mailed his press person, no reply. congress, of course, is not in session, so she tried his home office in california, staffers would not tell her his schedule. she even called the local paper. nobody knew anything about his schedule. the congressman, she said, had blacklisted them. our producer even called the chairman for the republican party who didn't know either where to find the congressman. devin nunes, it seems, has gone dark, so we can't get his reaction as to what his colleague, trey gowdy, as said. as for the white house, take a look. >> sarah, now that trey gowdy who has actually seen all the classified information on what the fbi was doing says that there is nothing to the allegations that they were spying on the trump campaign, and in fact, gowdy says that the fbi was doing exactly what they
should have been doing, given what trey gowdy has said, is the president prepared now to retract his allegation that the fbi was spying on his campaign? >> clearly, there's still cause for concern that needs to be looked at. let's not forget that the deputy director of the fbi was actually fired for misconduct. the president's concerned about the matter and we're going to continue to follow the issue. >> but gowdy was in the briefing. he knows what was done. and he is saying that these allegations are baseless. >> again -- >> that there was no spying tonight trump campaign. >> certainly, the president feels that there is cause for concern and it should be looked at. >> keeping 'em honest, this has been looked at by a member of the president's own party, who's seen the evidence. yet the white house keeps making claims without offering any evidence of its own. as we said a moment ago, this is our third time around. it's also hardly the first time that the president has floated a claim, offered little or no evidence, and see it sink. there was unfounded and unproven one about president obama wiretapping trump tower, then the devin nunes improper unmasking scandal, that turned out to be ginned up by the white house and devin nunes, there was
the allegation that he had taped conversations with james comey, and of course, the long-running claim that the steele dossier sparked the russia probe. saying in their final russia report that the fbi opened an enterprise counterintelligence investigation into the trump campaign after receiving information related to trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos. we're going to talk more about this in the next hour with former cia director, michael hayden. also coming up, more on the president's reaction to the tweet that got "roseanne" canceled. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase. proven to protect street skaters and freestylers. stops up to 97% uv. lasts through heat.
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