tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow CNN June 15, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
against perceived political enemies and the fbi and far beyond declaring himself, quote, totally exonerated in the russia probe, distancing himself from his own long time lawyer, and from his former campaign chairman when he was running for president, not to mention so many other headlines on north korea saying he's solved that problem. let's get to abby phillip at the white house. good morning. get me begin, this was an extraordinary series of events that took place, the president walking out, pretty unannounced, the white house lawn to give that interview and gaggling with reporters for nearly 40 minutes. >> reporter: it would have been unannounced if he hadn't announced it on twitter. by the time he showed up on the lawn, there was a group of maybe 20 or 30 reporters out here, and he took questions, first from fox news, then from a gaggle of reporters, for a total of an hour on a number of topics, everything from scott pruitt, north korea, vladimir putin, paul manafort, former campaign
chairman, his former personal lawyer, michael cohen, the president seemed frankly upbeat about a lot of these topics and one of the bigger topics of conversation this morning was that inspector general report that he declared was good for him. he used it to attack james comey, the former fbi director who he fired last year, he used it to attack hillary clinton, fbi agent peter struck and lisa page whose text messages were part of the report and the president said the report's findings exonerated him. listen to what he had to say. >> i think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, totally exonerated me. there was no collusion. there was no obstruction. and if you read the report, you'll see that. >> reporter: now, the report doesn't actually say that. it doesn't deal with the issue of the president and his guilt or innocence whatsoever, but it
just goes to show, this is how the president wants to talk about this issue. he is using the report to undermine the fbi and the senior leadership, the people who created the special counsel now looking into the russia investigation. and when i asked him about the report's findings of james comey's acts when it came to the hillary clinton investigation were inappropriate, at the press conference, i asked him if he thought comey was being unfair to clinton. he said no such thing. he was right to fire comey and what comey did was exonerate hillary during the election when he never should have exonerated her. the president reading into this report, exactly what he wants to see, but it is not exactly clear that that lines up with what the report actually says, poppy. >> with the facts of the independent report, abby phillip, thank you. president trump calls the inspector general's report a horror show, his words. he says the report blew it in one part by concluding there was a lack of political bias in the
clinton probe. with us from washington, to go through the facts of the report, someone who certainly read all -- what, 568 pages, laura jarrett? >> quite lengthy. >> fact check the president for us on this one, that it totally exonerates him. >> so, poppy, he appears to want to have it both ways. on the one hand, he says the inspector general totally blew it. on the other hand, he says that it totally exonerates him. the report is obviously far more complicated than that. it is extensive. it is the product of over 17 months of investigation, over 1.2 million documents were reviewed, over 100 witnesses, but here's how he described it just a short time ago on the white house lawn, poppy. >> the headline now from the wall street journal, doj, clinton report blasts comey and agents but finds no bias in conclusion. >> the end result was wrong. there was total bias. when you look at peter strzok and what he said about me, look at comey, i guess, you know, it
is interesting, pretty good report, and then i say that the ig blew it at the very end with that statement because when you read the report, almost like comey, he goes point after point about how guilty hillary is, and then he said, but we're not going to do anything about it. the report, the ig report was a horror show. i thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous. >> there is no question that the report is devastating in many ways for comey's legacy. it goes on and on at length about how comey's actions were extraordinary, how he was insubordinate in many ways, usurping the attorney general loretta lynch's authority, breaking protocol in announcing that clinton was cleared. but on the peter strzok issue in particular, the president is attached to this because of those damming text messages, which were just recently found and revealed in the report where he says he wanted to make sure that the president didn't win. but peter strzok, his response to that is that if that was true, he would not have kept
secret the fact that the president's allies and russia were being investigated, poppy. >> laura jarrett, thank you very much. the former chairman of the trump presidential campaign paul manafort back in court in washington over allegations from bob mueller, special counselor's team, he tried to tamper with not one but two witnesses in this probe. shimon prokupecz has the latest on that. this comes on the heels of the president saying this is someone who had nothing to do with our campaign, even though he ran it. >> reporter: yeah, quite clearly the president had a lot to say about the various people associated with him that are now under investigation. today is a big day, really, for paul manafort. the new charges coming, the allegations he tried to intimidate witnesses, but the bigger issue for paul manafort is the special counsel is going to ask the judge to revoke his bail to put him back in jail as he awaits trial. obviously a significant change in paul manafort's life and the idea that he could be back in jail now for several months.
it was interesting to hear the president again this morning trying to distance himself from paul manafort, saying that he quite frankly -- that is something that special counsel has gone back 12 years to look at. this is important to keep in mind this is not anything the president's lawyers wanted him doing this morning, talking about any parts of this investigation. let's take a listen to what president said this morning about paul manafort. >> i feel badly about a lot. i think a lot of it is unfair. i look at somewhere they go back 12 years, but manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. i haven't spoken to michael in a long time. >> is he still your lawyer? >> he's not my lawyer. >> the other thing here, clearly, michael cohen, the president's personal lawyer, that is on his mind. as reports indicate he's changing his legal team. and what does that mean in the end? certainly the president said this morning that he had nothing to fear, that if michael cohen was to cooperate. obviously no indication that cohen is planning to cooperate.
but certainly you can see all these things are still on the president's mind. >> shimon, they are indeed. thank you for the reporting. let us know when you get some updates. paul manafort due in court this morning on the witness tampering charges. let's discuss all of this with asha rangappa, josh campbell, david chalian is back, josh dawsey of the washington post and cnn contributor is here, cnn legal analyst jennifer rogers is here. a lot to go through. david, let me begin with you and your top line from all we heard from the president this morning. >> it is an odd thing, poppy. when i was -- before he started talking this morning, i thought, wow, if i was working in this white house, i would feel like today is a day where maybe we turn the corner a bit. they were clearly getting good reviews and poll numbers out of the north korea meeting and clearly the president had something to seize on to in the ig report with the peter strzok texts to make points that he thinks that the mueller
investigation should be wrapped up. whether or not that is what the ig report was saying, another matter. but something politically that he was going to seize on to. then he just started talking endlessly about every topic and that good news moment for him, i think, perhaps made that -- especially on the issue of immigration, that he is not going to sign this moderate compromise bill being hammered out in the house, that was an enormous thing to hear from the president today and really complicates republicans' legislative strategy. you can see that from north korea to the ig report to feeling exonerated to talking about the economy being better than it has ever been before and he thinks he's delivered peace on earth already with the north korean deal, that this is a president who is feeling pretty good about where he is at the moment. >> can i ask you, at the end of this 45 minutes worth of interviews, the president said when it is my fault i'll tell you. after blaming democrats for his own administration's policy that
separates children from their parents undocumented at the border, after blaming president obama for the annexation of crimea, not vladimir putin, after saying the pro blem is solved with north korea, what does this do to his party? how are republican members of congress, whom we tried to book on the show today over and over again, how are they going to respond to questions on all of this stuff? what does it do to the party? >> they saw what happened to mark sanford on tuesday night in his primary. this is not a republican party on capitol hill that is going to take issue with that. on that specific point, that you with saying, about he was saying this is not my fault, if it is, i'll take the blame, no, he won't. why do i know that to be true? he told us, just a few days ago, he said, well, i'll probably find an excuse, i won't actually admit fault if there is fault to be had. so he and his own words is already told us that he is not going to take responsibility or
blame for anything that he doesn't think is going in the right direction. >> josh dawsey, listening to the president this morning, what was your biggest takeaway? >> couple of things, he's emboldened. the president leaving the residence, strolling down the north lawn and doing a fox hit from pebble beach, that's what reporters call the area out there, pretty unusual. it is clear he's the communications director. there were a number of striking comments about he's commented he wanted the people to stand up and rise, like they do for kim jong-un. him saying he can't -- >> let's listen to that, josh. that was an important moment, i think. let's listen to the exchange. >> are we close to seeing mr. kim here at the white house? >> could happen. i mean -- >> talked about that yesterday? >> yeah, i think it is something that could happen. hey, he's the head of a country, i mean, he's the strong head. don't let anyone think anything different. he speaks and his people sit up at attention. i want my people to do the same.
>> he speaks and his people sit up at attention. i want my people to do the same. he did go on to say, look, i was being sarcastic. i think really notable, right? >> the president expressed admiration. the reason they sit up at attention is they don't have any choice. it is a dictatorship. they can't defect. he's repeatedly praised him master negotiator. he goes to the g-7 and it is a reordering of the alliance. the president is willing in whatever negotiating situation he's in to treat someone and in the case of striking a deal, to flatter them, to cajole them, there is a sense of traditional allies and adversaries, we're seeing rhetoric.
>> jennifer rogers, to you, our legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, to the president's assertion that the ig blew it on one of its main findings in the report, but also at the same time that the ig report on the hillary clinton e-mail probe, quote, total thtally exonerates based in any shred of fact, this wasn't a report on the mueller russia probe. >> it doesn't exonerate him in there. he wants to have it both ways. it doesn't exonerate him on russia. doesn't show bias on the part of the fbi and the clinton e-mail probe. i think they wanted to get out of this, something to hold on to say they were on clinton's side, not on my side. they didn't get that. it doesn't do what they had wanted. >> what is the biggest takeaway from the ig report overall? >> well, just exactly that. that while jim comey had violated protocols, which we already knew, of course, there is no bias there.
the investigations were not impacted. so everyone is just going to accept that, i think. and let it lie from here. >> asha rangappa, to you as a former -- formerly working with the department, the president said to me, he said about the fbi, beginning of the fox interview, that he would have the best polling, i think we have it, the best polling possible, listen to this. >> i would bet if you took a poll in the fbi i would win that poll by more than anybody has ever won a poll. >> you were a former fbi special agent. we heard what the president said, degrading our intelligence community. what do you make of his assertion this morning? >> it is very contradictory to other assertions he's made that the fbi is a vast liberal cabal out to get him in favor of hillary clinton. the fbi hues conservative. maybe there are people that
support him. i don't know. i think josh would agree with me that people really don't bring their politics into the office. and i would just say that to the point where he feels that there is so much bias in the fbi, again is contradictory to that comment, i think it just justifies the existence of the mueller special counsel probe. this is a probe that is now insulated, it has different agents, different prosecutors from anyone who worked in any previous case, and i think actually is making the case for having the special counsel conduct the russia investigation. >> josh campbell, as a law enforcement analyst, former fbi supervisory special agent, one thing the president really ignored in his response to this report is that the ig horowitz found no evidence in his words, quote, to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific
investigatory decisions. the text messages are inappropriate, period, right? to be talking about we will, you know, we will make sure the president isn't, i think we can pull it up, we will stop it is what one fbi special agent texted to another. but it is a really important distinction, isn't it, that the ig found after 17 months that those personal feelings did into the impact the professional investigation. >> it is. it is very important. that's the top line takeaway here, that after 18 months of essentially a campaign to, you know, try to spin this narrative that the fbi was corrupt and out to get the president and his allies, the inspector general found something different, that, you know, they weren't part of some political cabal and with respect to the hillary clinton investigation, there wasn't political bias. that was the big takeaway. that's one aspect of this impromptu press conference we just saw. sometimes our job is to report the news, sometimes it is to fact check those in power.
we have to do both. and it is important and people ask, i know the president was very dismiss of a cnn reporter then, but it is our job to point out when things are wrong and fact check our leaders. if we go line by line, he mentioned that the inspector general showed no evidence of collusion, which is blatantly, patently false. this inspector general report had nothing to do with collusion. i'm not saying the president is guilty, i'm saying this has nothing to do with that. you look at what he said about paul manafort, nothing to do with the campaign, he was a campaign manager. he talks about bursting in the office of the lawyer, the fbi agents did that with legal process. one thing important to me, one thing, as a former fbi agent, he talks about mike flynn, some people say he lied to the fbi, some say he didn't lie. one person who did say he lied to the fbi was michael flynn. and he -- >> pled guilty to it. >> a litany of untruths and we have to point them out when they happen. >> i'm glad you're here to do that. thank you very much. josh campbell -- did i miss someone? >> the president himself said
that michael flynn had to go because he lied. so that seemed a little odd today as well. >> david chalian, good point, thank you. thank you, all, jennifer rogers, josh dawsey, david chalian, asha rangappa, thank you. the president's whirlwind press conference, what he said about kim jong-un, having good chemistry with the north korean dictator and pointing the finger at democrats for his own administration's policy on immigration. we'll get into all of it. stay with us. her salon was booked for weeks, until her laptop crashed this morning. having it problems? ask a business advisor how to get on demand tech support for as little as $15 a month. this week get boise case paper for only $29.99 at office depot office max.
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in the same breath you're defending kim jong-un's human rights record. how can you do that? >> because i don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. i don't want to see -- because i don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. i want to have a good relationship with north korea, i did a great job this week. >> joining me from the pentagon, barbara starr, pentagon correspondent, barbara, the president also said, quote, i have solved that problem. about north korea. and the nuclear threat. is that the sentiment of those around him and those at the pentagon. >> reporter: i think people who are watching this very closely think it is a good thing to have a more peaceful relationship, a calmer relationship with north korea. but is the problem solved? certainly not. that doesn't really solve anything. it is barely the beginning by any technical or military measure.
you don't know whether kim jong-un is going to declare all his facilities, all his weapons, where does he have secret sites that the u.s. may not know anything about? it will be a multiyear process to get into those sites, to learn where everything is, to get that complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. so, look, this is barely the beginning. no one is saying that the agreement was necessarily a bad idea. but it is barely the beginning of what needs to take place. a couple of other things the president said that i think are very striking to military people, he talked about how he hated ever since he came into office the war games. that is not a u.s. military term, for the u.s. military, this is training and readiness exercises. this is the training that keeps u.s. troops ready to operate in battle, why you would hate the prospect of that seems a little peculiar. you would want your troops to be
trained and ready. does it save money? they have to train. that money is going to get spent. finally, he talked about how parents of -- again, how parents of korean war veterans are begging him to bring home remains. we will see if additional remains are returned by the north koreans in the coming days, but certainly no parents of korean war veterans are speaking to the president, the war ended, you know, 65 years ago or so, 1953. the parents of korean war veterans would have passed away many years ago. poppy? >> it is an important point, barbara starr in all of that at the pentagon, thank you very much. just moments ago, china announced how it will retaliate against new u.s. tariffs on $50 billion worth of chinese goods. what does it actually mean for you and your pocketbook? that's next.
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silicon valley and china and others steal those secrets and we're going to protect those secrets. those are crown jewels for the country. >> christine romans is with me now. so, your takeaway? >> the president really trying to explain this is about protecting jobs of the future, the technology sector, you heard him there. on the trade agenda, he said the u.s. isn't the one who started a trade war. >> the trade war was started many years ago by them, and the united states lost. >> you're saying we're on the losing end of it. >> there is no trade war. they have taken so much. so last year $375 billion in trade deficit, with china. with had over $800 billion over a period of years, each year close to $800 billion in losses on trade. not going to happen anymore. >> he's talking about just goods, when you look at goods and services. that's still $335 billion trade deficit with china, a number the president hates. so the china tariffs are back on. the president says the trade
with china is unfair, not sustainable, he's targeting technology that china vowed to dominate. xi jinping's made in china 2025 initiative, a 25% tariff on 1100 different product categories where the u.s. calls industrially significant technologies like aerospace equipment, tech, manufacturing, medical supplies. u.s. companies will pay the tariff, poppy, to the u.s. government when they import the goods and the companies can either absorb the higher price, the cost, or pass it along to consumers. the tariff tiff has been on and off and on again. the white house first unveiled this list in march. multiple rounds of trade talks with china, tariff cease-fire, remember the cease-fire that was called in may. then the recent summit with north korea, that was seen as a big win for china, but then today, $50 billion in tariffs anyway. the chinese vow retaliation. the white house vows more tariffs if china targets farmers or hurts american companies in china.
you heard the president, he said this is punishment for china stealing trade secrets, for forced technology transfers from american companies, cybertheft, and it fulfills trump's pledge to cut that trade deficit or at least try to. the white house has been saying for several weeks now that they think the u.s. economy is so strong that it can absorb the trade agenda here, no question. they say they have to. it is america first. >> maybe not, because the president's former chief economic adviser gary cohn said it does the exact opposite. christine romans, thank you. we have a lot of breaking news ahead. stay with us. we'll be right back. how can we say when you book direct at choicehotels.com
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also with us renaud o mariati. >> we learned that michael cohen, trump's personal attorney, indicated to friends and family he's willing to cooperate with the federal investigation. part of the reason for that is that he's become angry as he's told his friends about the way that president trump and his new attorney rudy giuliani have treated him and that anger and that treatment has made him feel isolated and more open and willing to cooperate as part of this investigation. >> we learned earlier this week that michael cohen was seeking new representation, new legal counsel, indicating his strategy may be changing and that ties in here as well. >> right. cohen is looking for new lawyers and specifically we're told he's looking for lawyers that have once worked with the u.s. attorney's office in manhattan, that's the office that is investigating him, that's not that uncommon. you want someone who knows how that office works, how the judges work. so he's seeking out that specialty. and that knowledge where they might have relationships with prosecutors working on this
case. >> explain why cohen cooperating could be a liability for the president. >> well, cohen has been trump's fixer, right? he's worked for trump for ten years at the trump organization. he is his personal attorney, and he facilitated that $130,000 payment to stormy daniels, which we know that investigators are looking at. that's one thing they looked for when the fbi raided cohen's home. >> and whether or not that was hush money. >> right. whether the money was paid to stop stormy daniels from coming forward with an alleged affair she had with trump, a decade earlier, the white house denied the affair ever took place. >> a month before the election, that's the issue, not illegal to pay someone that money, if you're using it as hush money with political intent, you got a problem there. >> a month before the election and trump then reimbursed him, was that a campaign donation. >> thank you. stay with us. renato, to you, what is your read on this? >> well, one thing i find unusual is why cohen is talking to people about this, obviously he's used to being part of the
trump team, he feels isolated right now. he's concerned that he's going to be vulnerable, left out to dry. isn't going to get a pardon. what i wonder is whether or not he's putting out this news in order to communicate to the trump camp. he may be using all of us here to try to send a signal to them that he wants to -- he needs assurance from them that he's going to get a pardon or taken care of or else he's going to do this. >> he did not get that -- sorry to interrupt, he didn't get that this morning. let's take a moment to listen to what the president said this morning. he was asked by the gaggle of reporters, one question asked was about michael cohen. here is the exchange with the president on that. >> i haven't spoken to michael in a long time. >> he is still your lawyer? >> he's not my lawyer. >> dismissive, right? >> exactly right. i think he said at one point during the interview he liked -- past tense -- he liked michael
cohen. not that he currently had any feelings towards him, trying to distance himself. he had a prior interview on fox and friends where he -- the president said, you know, cohen had his own business dealings, very much trying distance himself from cohen. michael cohen is a man who defined himself in many ways by his relationship with donald trump. had that in his signature on his e-mails, he was the personal lawyer to the president. so i think he feels isolated and, you know, usually you want to cooperate, you don't put the news out, you don't spread that news to all of your associates, family and friends to leak, what i wonder is whether or not he is trying to get -- trying to play both sides here, trying to get a pardon or something from the president. >> kara, after the fbi raid of cohen's apartment, which was in all ways legal, the president indicates otherwise, they appointed a special masters and legal entity body to look
through all of the documents seized and to determine which if any of the documents were protected by attorney/client privilege, some of them a small number have been. how does that all play in here in terms of what michael cohen could actually say to investigators and are there things he could not say because they would be protected by that privilege? >> well, right, so if the only privilege holder, the president, can wave attorney/client privilege, but if he was engaging in some sort of crime, then that would nullify that agreement. >> that's an important point, that attorney/client privilege only hole holds unless it is indicative of a crime. >> that document review, the deadline for that to finish is today. and so then we'll see if cohen finds new legal advisers where that development goes, but the government will start to get the fruits of the raid as they have been, has been rolling into them and that will continue as this plays out. >> the breaking news, michael cohen, the president's personal
fixer as he's declared himself before, former personal lawyer, indicating sources tell our kara scannell he's frustrated by the president, doesn't feel backed up by the president, and he's willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate that pressure on himself that he's facing. major development, kara, thank you for the reporting. renato, appreciate the analysis as well. president trump says that he hates, said this morning, he hates seeing these children separated from their parents at the border. but he's pointing his finger at democrats blaming them for an action by his own administration that has led to this. we'll have more on that ahead. her salon was booked for weeks, until her laptop crashed this morning. having it problems? ask a business advisor how to get on demand tech support for as little as $15 a month. this week get boise case paper for only $29.99 at office depot office max.
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this morning, the president weighed in on the immigration debate. he said he hates seeing children taken away from their parents at the border. then he pointed his finger at democrats, blaming them for his own administration's zero tolerance policy on this. let's listen to the president. >> i hate it. i hate to see separation of parents and children. the democrats can come to us as they actually are, in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security. >> meanwhile, house republicans are moving forward with what they see as a compromise on immigration. it would include part of it that would keep the families together. importantly the president said this morning he's not signing that. that matters a lot. democrat ted lou from california is with me now. thank you for being here. i appreciate it. >> thank you, poppy. >> there is a lot to get to. i want your reaction to the
president this morning blaming you and fellow democrats for undocumented children being separated from their parents at the border. what say you? >> today is friday. that means donald trump is lying again and he told a pretty big whopper. there is no law requiring the separation of children from parents. and how do we know this is a new change? because attorney general jeff sessions made a big deal of announcing this new trump policy earlier this year. trump can stop this today by reversing that policy. >> let me play you something else we heard from the president, congressman, this morning, on north korea and specifically human rights. here is the exchange with the reporter. >> so passionately about the circumstances that led to otto warmbier's death. in the same breath, you're defending now kim jong-un's human rights record. how can you do that? >> you know why? because i don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. >> by the way, you just -- >> because i don't want to see a
nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. i want to have a good relationship with north korea. i did a great job this week. >> he also said i have solved that problem, congressman, regarding the north korea nuclear threat. do you believe the president, do you agree with him when he says these two things are mutually exclusive, he can't address the human rights concerns fully with kim jong-un and reach a nuclear agreement? >> there is no reason you couldn't talk about both issues. north korea has won of the worst human rights records on the planet. the leader has killed people, poisoned them. if you do something wrong, they take three generations of your family and put them into forced labor camps. something that could be talked about in terms of the summit, keep in mind that right now north korea has not gotten rid of a single nuke and any of its missiles and chemical weapons. we don't know if this is success or failure. it is going to take a while before we know.
>> i want to get your take on some of the key findings of this ig report, mr. horowitz's report about how the doj and fbi handled the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. one of the things that it found is this newly revealed text message between two fbi agents, peter strzok and lisa page, that were working on the e-mail probe and then subsequently for a time on the mueller russia probe. lisa page texts, trump's never going to become president, right? right? peter strzok writes back, no, no he won't. we will stop it. the president responding to that, congressman, this morning, saying, quote, it doesn't get any lower than that. do you agree with the president on that front, that text messages between fbi agents working on both of those probes are wholly inappropriate? >> i agree that the fbi agents should not have been using their official cell phones express their personal opinions. but the key finding of the ig investigation as stated by christopher wray yesterday is that none of the personal biases of any of these people affected
the investigation in any way. and that was a major conclusion of the ig record. >> however, as you know, there is also this conclusion, from the ig report, page nine. we did not have confidence that struck's decision to prioritize the russia investigation over following up on the midyear investigation, the clinton related investigative lead, discovered on the weiner laptop, was free from bias. he's saying they cannot definitively conclude that the decisions made in which investigation to prioritize in the days before the election was completely free from bias. concerning to you? >> it is somewhat concerning, but what actually happened is that james comey disclosed the hillary clinton investigation to the american public which hurt her campaign, the fbi investigation was not disclosed until after the election and, again, with the ig report showed is that the fbi's actions in
fact hurt secretary clinton and by not disclosing the investigation it helped donald trump win the election. >> you concede you are concerned by the fact that the ig could not completely rule out whether it was free from political bias, the decision to move forward on one probe at potentially the expense of another, correct? >> that's correct. that's why special counsel robert mueller removed that fbi agent as soon as he learned of this information. >> that fbi agent is still working at the fbi in a different capacity. let me get your take on the findings of this report on ex-fbi director james comey, finding it was extraordinary and insubordinate for comey to handle the clinton e-mail investigation, news conference, et cetera, not telling loretta lynch the announcement he was going to make, they find it extraordinarily insubordinate for comey to do so. the president says, look, this ig report is evidence, he
believes, he was completely right in firing james comey. we also know he told npc nbc net was because of this russia thing, the russia probe. do you think the president did a great service to the american people by firing james comey as he asserted this morning? >> the issue when it comes to obstruction of justice is intent. and if the president fired james comey because he deviated from policy and hurt secretary clinton, that would be fine. but as you stated, that's not what the president said. he went on national tv and said he fired james comey because of the russia investigation. that is textbook obstruction of justice. >> thank you very much, the mueller probe continues. looking at potential obstruction. we'll see what happens. congressman ted lieu, appreciate your time this morning. joining me here is tara setmire and joe trippi.
can i get your read to the conservative on what we heard the president say this morning in that wide ranging fox interview and the wide ranging gaggle with the press, pointing the finger at anyone but himself and saying when it is my fault, i'll let you know. what is the strategy here? >> well, the strategy is to continue to gas light the american people and to continue to feed this propaganda nonsense about president trump being the victim on every crime to his base. i'm a conservative that has not supported donald trump because of exactly what we saw today. he has a problem telling the truth. he has a problem telling things accurately. he has a problem also with seemingly -- the seeming affinity for authoritarianism which would scare anyone which considers himself a constitutional republican or a supporter of what americanism is, what freedom and the oval office that the president takes.
there are so many things that the president does on a regular basis that overshadow some of the good things he's done. there has been some. but overall, the way in which he approaches the presidency is -- it is problematic on a number of levels. this morning that was an example. he completely misrepresented what the ig's report said where there are troubling aspects of things that the fbi did in comey, yes. did it have anything to do with the mueller investigation? not at all. but yet the president came out there and said it exonerated him. it did no such thing. that was a complete lie. that -- what he said about north korea, that, you know, north korea, we don't have to worry about it anymore, he's concerned about north korea, nuking us, that's why he was -- he was -- he praised north korea and kim as being a strong leader and not addressing the human rights issues, downplaying them. those things are just not true. that's not what happened in this north korea agreement. but yet the president continues
to do this because his people on the right -- >> let me get joe in here -- >> -- they accommodate him. >> we have seen strong polling for the president in his own party. his polling has gone up a few points overall. and his polling is strong on north korea right now. in his own party, at the 500 day mark, he held 87% approval. is this a president emboldened? >> he may be emboldened in his base and certainly supports him. that is in the end all these things he said that are not true, his base will believe what he says, and that's why he goes out and does these things. the fact is on the border with families being separated, he could change that policy with the stroke of a pen. or by picking up the phone and telling jeff sessions to change it. it is just not true that this is
democrats' fault. we can go through the what was just said, but that wasn't true, but the fact is his supporters, his base believe that that's the problem, that's why you don't hear more republicans speaking out against any of this. because what we have seen in recent elections, mark sanford, losing his seat, in the primary, just for speaking out against the president, you know. that is why you're not seeing any republicans, not enough republicans step forward. >> that's a shame. there should be. republicans are supposed to be the firewall here. >> as you know, tara, heading into the midterms, every member of congress is facing pressure from the voters on immigration, right? and finding a solution and what are you going to do about daca and the dreamers. it was largely overshadowed with the other things he said, but significant that the president made clear that he wasn't going to sign and approve this relative compromise bill that
republicans are set to vote on in congress. >> the president doesn't -- i believe strongly the president doesn't want a solution. this is lip service. >> why? >> if he has a solution, he doesn't have the boogie man of immigration anymore to use to rile people up. immigration, the fears of immigration, the anger over that, that's what fueled his presidential run. so if that problem is solved, then what? so i think he's playing games here. it is unfortunate because there are a lot of lives that are being affected by this negatively, both for the illegal immigrants that come here and what is happening and also what happened here along the border and in the united states. so that's why you see congressional republicans finally trying to get something done, because their constituents want something done and i don't think the president is a good partner in this. >> we have 30 seconds left on this. the president pointed his finger this morning at democrats, the democrats to blame for frankly his own administration's policy, which is resulting in this separation of children from parents at the border. is it politically -- is it going to work for him among voters,
though? >> no. it is not going to work and the reason it is not going to work is because the majority of american people are -- do not want to see families broken up like this, and that's pushing republicans in the corner where they're actually going to do something about it. >> republicans control everything. >> we're out of time, tara, joe, nice to have you both. thanks for being here. thank you, all, for joining us for all of the breaking news this morning. i'm poppy harlow in new york. have a great weekend. my colleague kate bolduan picks it up right now. hello, i'm kate bolduan. it was like a friday morning trump tweet storm, minus the twitter today. president trump holding somewhat of an impromptu press conference in front of the white house about, well, everything. from the justice department, inspector general report, a horror show in his words, to the controversy over children and parents being separated at the border, the democrats' fault in his words, to north korea's nukes, problem