tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 20, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
chris cuomo is off tonight. topping this hour of "360," the president says he's okay with robert mueller's report becoming public. then he trashes the investigation that ironically spotlights his own responsibility for his existence. he spoke on his way to ohio where he, again, went after the memory of john mccain. here he is talking about attorney general and deputy attorney general who he, himself, appointed. >> again, i say a deputy because of the fact that the attorney general didn't have the courage to do it himself, a deputy that's appointed appoints another man to write a report. i just won an election with 63 million votes or so.
63 million. i had 206-223 in the electoral college. 306-223. and i'm saying to myself, wait a minute, i just won one of the greatest elections of all-time in the history of this country, and even you all admit that, and now i have somebody writing a report that never got a vote? it's called the mueller report. so, explain that because my voters don't get it. and i don't get it. >> "keeping them honest," the president's victory, indeed, was a remarkable upset. yes, the president is right no one voted for the attorney general or deputy attorney general or robert mueller. the president glossed over an important fact, the president appointed the deputy attorney general who in turn appointed robert mueller. nose are the facts. i spoke about it earlier tonight with joaquin castro. who sits on the house
intelligence committee. i thought i learned every possible line of attack from the president. the argument that mueller is somehow illegitimate because he's never gotten any votes certainly seems to be a new one. >> yeah, that was a very strange thing for the president to say. there are different parts of the government and not everybody's elected, but they still have important responsibilities. that includes in this case a prosecutor, the special counsel. and his role is to determine, investigate and determine whether somebody committed a crime. and if so, to prosecute that person. so it has nothing to do with politics or standing for election or getting a vote. that's his role in the government. >> i wonder how likely do you think it is that president will actually support releasing the mueller findings once he knows what's in them? again, we have no idea whether they'll be good for the president or bad for the president, but, i mean, he'd also said in the past, you know, he'd be happy to sit down with mueller for an interview, which obviously never ended up happening. >> yeah. i suspect that the president and
his team will read through the report, make a determination about whether they think it's favorable to them or not, and based on that, decide whether it's going to be made public. you see the tact that they're taking in terms of their relationship with congress right now and not responding to subpoenas, not turning over documents that have been requested, and it's a calculation for them. i think they're going to fight every step of the way. if the president thinks that releasing that report to the public will be damaging. and also, anderson, it should be noted that most of all, the mueller report is owed, of course, to congress, but it's a report that's owed to the american people because it's the american people who suffered through having a foreign nation interfere in their elections in 2016. so this should absolutely be a public report. >> it's owed, you say, but, i mean, in terms of the mandate, the mandate isn't for robert mueller to decide, really, how the report is released. >> that's true, and we're counting on a government that should realize that it should be
transparent and accountable. so far this administration on many occasions has failed that test, but i hope that they will release that report. >> do you expect them to -- to cite executive privilege, to try to at least -- if the report is released, to at least remove some aspects of it? or hide some aspects of it? >> yeah. i certainly don't put it past this administration to try to do that, try to redact certain things or, perhaps, take out certain things. >> i mean, it's their right to do that. >> yeah. i mean, that would be within their purview, but remember, if they take out something that's significant or substantial, i mean, they're really doing an injustice to the american people to try to cover up something significant and meaningful that's in that report. >> next week, your committee's holding a public hearing with felix sater, think it's on wednesday. the point person for the trump tower moscow project.
he at one point had an office on the same floor as donald trump in trump tower. i'm wondering how important you think he is, what questions you want to -- at least what kind of areas you want to discuss with him. >> he was one of donald trump's, perhaps his main point person in russia, with russian oligarchs and part of the business with russia, so we want to get at what kind of business dealings the president had with russia or russian oligarchs that were close to vladimir putin and want to ask him exactly what he knows about all that. >> i'm sure you're well aware, lastly, your colleague, devin nunes, suing twitter, allegedly, he says he is, and several of its users accusing them of negligence and defamation. do you think he appreciates the irony in that given his deep and ardent support for the most powerful twitter attacker in the world? >> yeah. i think all of us, you know, get riled by twitter comments every once in a while, but i thought that that was a kind of a strange thing for devin nunes to do. >> yeah.
we'll see how far it goes. congressman castro, appreciate it. thank you. let's dig deeper now with former clinton white house general counsel nelson cunningham, also garrett graff who's written extensively about robert mueller and cnn legal analyst laura coates. laura, the president saying today the report should be made public or he's fine with it. very well tomorrow, or the next day, could decide i don't really want that or, i mean, he said he would testify in front of mueller. obviously, that didn't happen. >> yeah, you have this kind of schizophrenic approach to this report. it's all been a part of this preemptive strike by the president of the united states to try to undermine its credibility, to try to gain a foothold in the court of public opinion because the hope is whatever the report says, and presumably for him, it's going to be negative, that's what he believes, he wants to be able to say, the fbi can't be trusted, peter strzok and lisa page, the idea that everyone's been against him, it's a great conspiracy, it's somebody who's being a sore loser in the democratic party. he's trying to have this entire thing launched.
the issue, however, if we are believe he'd like it to come out, he undermines a little bit of the credibility of his own legal arguments later on to say there's no basis to have everything come out, if there's a privileged attached to it. so he almost cuts off his own nose to spite his face to show, yeah, bring it on, let me have it. he may not actually want that fight. >> garrett, you say you believe mueller may do one more round of indictments and do his speaking in those filings. if so, do you think mueller is close to finishing? >> absolutely. i think all signs are pointing this to be being more a matter of days or weeks than months at this point, and it seems, for all of the reasons you just went through with congressman castro, that mueller is not going to let his entire two-year investigation hinge on what bill barr decides to release when under what executive privilege, et cetera, et cetera. bob mueller, from day one in
this case, has done his speaking through those indictments, through those court filings, through those guilty pleas, through those sentencing documents. >> he's added more details than necessary. >> absolutely. i think we have every reason to believe he's going to do that with one final round of indictments that ties up some of these loose threads and fills in some of the bread crumbs that he's left us along the way. >> nelson, you recently wrote that we may be focusing on the wrong report, there could be a second counterintelligence report filed. can you explain that? >> that's right. it's a piece i did in the "daily beast" last week. in addition to working in the clinton white house, i was also for six years a federal prosecutor in new york. in fact, rudy giuliani hired me and i know from that time the fbi is divided into two parts. half is the law enforcement side that we see very visibly. the other half of the fbi is the counterintelligence division, which is designed to protect american citizens, the american government, from foreign intelligence operations.
when jim comey first revealed the scope of his investigation in march of 2017, he said, as part of our counterintelligence mission, we have begun an investigation into the president and his team. as we other counterintelligence reports, we will also look for evidence of crimes. so from the very first, this investigation was a counterintelligence report. not a criminal -- intelligence investigation, not a criminal one. why does that make a difference? because as garrett said, the way that a prosecutor lays out his case is through indictments, cases, guilty pleas. none of those things were designed to clearly tell a comprehensive story. a counterintelligence investigation, on the other hand, which is designed to find out who was trying to spy on us, how and why, is precisely designed to produce a report, and beyond that, there is a statute. we've all gone over the special counsel regulations.
you've covered them tonight. that limit what bill barr can do. >> right. >> a counterintelligence report by statute goes from the fbi to the director of national intelligence and must be shared with the intelligence committees. >> interesting. >> if it's too sensitive, then it goes to the gang of eight which are the four heads of the intelligence committees and the four heads of the two chambers. >> yeah. >> they cannot block it. >> laura, when it comes to the white house, i mean, they -- the reporting was that they wanted to look at this before it goes anywhere, and possibly look at it for executive privilege. obviously, any classified information they have concerns about. do they have -- they have the right to do that, don't they? >> they do. you want the president to have executive privilege. >> there's a reason the president needs executive -- >> there's a great reason for it, the same reason you want attorney/client privilege or perhaps spousal privilege. the reason it's different is two things. number one, he actually had to be part of the executive at the
time the conversations happened to exert executive privilege. >> it would only be anything while he was in the white house, not the transition, not the campaign. >> the transition is a little tricky. it hasn't been well established to figure out there's some reason to have it attached. things that happened as a candidate, somebody vying to be a member executive would not count. the other aspect of this, of course, is that the communications he had to have had to be with people under the nature of the executive. it can't just be because he's the president, everything is covered under the privilege. we saw this, of course, in the trump tower meeting, donald trump junior. he was trying to go into cya mode, perhaps, for his son. that may be part of a inquiry of a court who says the balancing test is the come telling candor we need for a president against the public's right to know. when the nixon case came up, of course, it's what a criminal court wanted to look at for privilege. they said in a criminal context the president can't willy-nilly assert the privilege and hope to avoid having justice. this is congress asking for it, though.
it's not really a settled principle of law at this point, but ultimately if the privilege is the fulcrum, it has to deal with the executive branch, itself, with people he would enjoy the privilege with. that might not be the case for most of the conversations. >> garrett, if there is no, you know, collusion, conspiracy, that mueller -- it that happened or mueller was able to get evidence of, the president regardless of who else may be in the report, the president can very rightly say, look, i was right all along, there's no collusion, and see if his strategy of undercutting mueller and kind of sowing the seeds of that actually worked to make people ignore the rest of the stuff. >> yeah, and that's where i think it's really important to talk about what mueller has already found because we have sort of treated, you know, all of these stunning revelations out of mueller so far as if they don't count. and, you know, you heard the
president bragging about his electoral victory today. well, what we now know that bob mueller has uncovered is that there were two separate criminal conspiracies that aided donald trump in his 2016 election. one run by the russian government, and one directed by individual number 1, the candidate donald trump, himself. and that bob mueller has brought both of those to light. he has separately, from both of those cases, shown that this was the most criminal presidential campaign in american history. where you've had the campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman both convicted of working as an unregistered foreign agent of the ukrainian government in the midst of a $65 million money laundering scheme. the national security adviser was working for the government of turkey in the midst of his own lobbying scheme. and the president's chief fixer and lawyer was engaged in his own tax bank and taxi medallion fraud.
i mean, this was a stunning amount of criminality surrounding effectively everyone at a senior level in the trump campaign in 2016. >> nelson, i mean, the house judiciary chairman adam schiff recently said the counterintelligence investigation looks into whether the president or anyone around him may be compromised by a foreign power. maybe more important than the criminal investigation, as you were talking about. but any counterintelligence investigation, it may go to, you know, the gang of eight or the intelligence committee members, but that would be classified, wouldn't it? i mean, it wouldn't be something that the public would see. >> it -- it could be classified. there is often a nonclassified summary which is produced which can be shared more broadly with members of congress. i think what a counterintelligence report can do is lay out without worrying about elements of a crime or without worrying about statute of limitations and the like.
it can lay out the story. it's designed to lay out the story. what did the foreign power do? how did it do it? what were its means and methods? then what u.s. assets did they compromise or did they cooperate with in carrying out their intelligence mission? the whole purpose of it is to tell the story and why is it shared with congress? precisely so that congress can consider what action to take. i'm confident that the intelligence committee would find a way to begin to share the findings in an appropriate fashion with their counterparts on the judiciary committee and that's when both committees can really dig into what happened during the -- >> right. >> -- campaign and the transition. one more thing to note. obstruction of justice, obstructing an investigation, could, in fact, be part of the counterintelligence effort. why are you trying to -- why are
you trying to investigate, block the foreign powers, the investigation? because you want to protect the foreign powers. >> is interesting. nelson cunningham, thank you. garrett graff as well, laura coates, appreciate it. up next, what this -- what this -- was this it? has the bottom reached with the president now seeking credit for the funeral of statesman and former p.o.w. john mccain? why does the president keep going after the late senator? will more members of his party speak out against it? ♪ plants capture co2. what if other kinds of plants captured it too? if these industrial plants had technology that captured carbon like trees we could help lower emissions. carbon capture is important technology - and experts agree. that's why we're working on ways to improve it. so plants... can be a little more... like plants. ♪ georgand a busy day ahead. george has entresto, a heart failure pill that helped keep people alive
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even before president trump's latest attack on the late senator john mccain, he was already under fire for his prior attacks on the man. >> it's deplorable what he said. i will continue to speak out because there's one thing that we've got to do. you may not like immigration, may not like this, may not like that, may be a republican, may be a democrat, we're all americans. there aren't republican and democratic casualties on battlefield. there are american casualties. we should never reduce what they give to this country. political fodder. >> that's georgia republican senator johnny isakson before the president spoke out this afternoon at a defense plant in ohio. president's remarks were unprompted. no reporter asked him a question. it just came from deep within
his own mind and it broke new ground. >> i endorsed him at his request and i gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president, i had to approve. i don't care about this. i didn't get thank youed. that's okay. we sent him on the way, but i wasn't a fan of john mccain. so now what we could say is now we're all set. i don't think i have to answer that question, but the press keeps, what do you think of mccain, what do you think -- not my kind of guy, but some people like him and think that's great. >> no one thanked him for giving john mccain the kind of funeral that john mccain wanted. "keeping them honest," the president neglects to mention at the time he had to be pressured into flying the white house flags at half-staff even though the rest of washington did because that's what you do for a hero. that gratitude pr for you in the president's mind. joining us now, former nebraska
democratic senator bob kerrey, a senate colleague of john mccain and he, like senator mccain, served incredibly honorably in vietnam. senator kerrey, thanks for being with us. >> you're welcome. >> when you hear president talking about, not that he cares about being thanked but he wasn't thanked for the funeral of john mccain. >> he said he's not his kind of guy. his kind of guy is the guy that showed up and said, i don't want to go to vietnam, like he did. he said, i wasn't eligible to go to vietnam because i had bone spurs. you don't grow out of bone spurs. i call on the president, get your feet x-rayed. let's see those x-rays. i want to see. while john mccain was flying combat operations in vietnam, you were, i think, falsifying that you had bone spurs in order not to go to vietnam. now, i know lots of people who avoided the draft, but this isn't what he's saying. he said i physically couldn't go. mr. president, get your feet x-rayed and let's see those bone spurs. i don't think he has them. >> if he had them then, he would have them now. >> he would have them now.
it's -- it's -- everything he's saying is bad enough, but when he says he's not my kind of guy because he went to vietnam, because he was flying combat missions and got shot down, was held as a prisoner. that's not your kind of guy? who is your kind of guy? your friends who falsified their records so they didn't have to go? i think that's the answer. i mean, i think he sees all of us who went to vietnam as fools. we were the suckers. we were the stupid ones. we were the ones that didn't have the resources to be able to get out of the draft. he had the resources and he got out of it. so show us your bone spurs. let's see those x-rays. because i think the x-rays will show that he doesn't have bone spurs and then he'd have to say, okay, i didn't want to go to vietnam. i got out of the war. while john mccain was flying combat missions, i made every single effort i could to avoid the draft. >> he -- the president has now been to vietnam twice, obviously not well after the war, as president, he's never visited
the hanoi hilton. it's not hard to visit the hanoi hilton. if you you to hanoi, it's one of the places you go. i always thought it was very telling he chose not to actually go there, because he would have to confront the fact that john mccain went through something horrific that he cannot even imagine. >> look, i wish he hadn't gotten out of the trans-pacific partnership. i think his trip to vietnam was enormously important, it signaled to the vietnamese that we're with you. tpz it was important that he went there. i think it signaled as well that we're on your side. i don't criticize him for what he did trying to go to hanoi trying to negotiate something with kim jong-un. what i want to say, when he says mccain is not his kind of guy, i think he's saying he's a fool to have gone to vietnam. he's a sucker. i'm not a sucker, he says. i didn't have to go. i got out of it. only the suckers went.
and i don't feel like i was a sucker to have signed up and gone to vietnam. >> you know, often the strongest people, you know, the president likes to -- went to great schools, that he's incredibly smart, and he certainly portrays himself as this tough guy. he went to -- he was sent, i guess, for reasons that i think he was sort of had some issues and was sent to this military school, a high school, where they marched around and dressed up as soldiers. he then obviously, as you say, didn't go to vietnam. i always find that the people who are actually the toughest people, who've actually risked their lives, sacrificed limbs, done incredible things, they're not the ones saying how tough they are. it's -- >> well, i think it's -- >> like you -- >> i just say it again, i mean, your kind of guy avoided the draft, and mccain was a sucker. he said, my heroes are guys who don't get shot down. really? i'd like to put you up in one of those planes and see how well you do. you avoided going up in the planes. you didn't want to go up in the
planes, didn't want to go down in the delta. you didn't want to go to vietnam. you did everything possible because you have the money. i have friends who avoid it. i have friends who went to canada. i understand why people in 1968 didn't want to go, but please don't tell me that you had bone spurs. if you had bone spurs, you still have them. let's see the x-rays. >> did -- does it surprise you at all that more republicans have not, i mean, spoken out? johnny isakson was very strong. >> it's hard. look, i mean, democrats had the same problem with clinton. avoided the draft. it's not easy to criticize somebody in your own party. i'm sympathetic. especially now because it's almost become a cult. >> right. >> so, no, i'm very sympathetic why they behave in the way they're doing. so i think what johnny isakson said was enormously important and very brave, and i'd like to see more of them do it, but -- >> you understand. >> i completely understand. it takes somebody like me who went to vietnam to say to the
president, let's see those x-rays. your kind of guy is the guy who didn't go to vietnam. you look at john mccain, you look at bob kerrey, you say, you suckers went, and i didn't. >> senator kerrey, appreciate talking to you, thank you. >> you're welcome. the president had been quite muted for a while on one of his living critics, but no longer. kellyanne conway's husband is a new target and that feud is getting worse. it's just bizarre. we'll be right back. ♪ turn up your swagger game with one a day gummies. one serving... ...once a day... ...with nutrients that support 6 vital functions... ...and one healthy you. that's the power of one a day.
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>> kellyanne conway actually took the president's side today in an interview. she defended him for fighting back against her husband. i want to analyze it with "rolling stone" senior writer alex morris, yahoo! news chief investigative correspondent michael isikoff. michael, you've known george conway for quite a while. does it surprise you at all this has intensified to this level? "a," that he's doing -- that -- i mean, why is george conway doing this against the guy who his wife works for and does it make sense to you that the president is responding? >> well, look, i have known george conway for many, many years, and, i mean, he's a guy of strong principle, strong conservative principles. you know, i got to know him during the bill clinton days when he played a rather key role in the events that led to bill clinton's impeachment. he drafted the briefs for the paula jones lawyers to the supreme court. he felt very strongly about that, and, you know, the core
principles were rule of law, no man, no president, is above the law, and, you know, those same principles, i think, have animated what he's been saying about donald trump. >> yeah. i mean, look, i understand the principles side of it, i just think -- i mean, there is a personal side to it that's, frankly, just hard for me to understand some -- anyway. alex, i want to show you something that george conway tweeted yesterday. he retweeted a story that you you for "rolling stone." "this was the article that first got me to really understand you @realdonaldtrump. once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you and why you're unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold." i guess some would argue, aren't all politicians or people in public life at some level narcissists? >> yeah, i think that to run for president, there has to be some level of that. donald trump is certainly not the first narcissistic president we've ever had, but it's a matter of degree.
>> there's a difference between being narcissistic and then actually having a disorder. >> right. there's a difference between the personality trait and an actual disorder, and so i think what a lot of mental health professionals are coming out and saying is this has crossed the line. this is a problem. this person has lost their ability to have reality testing because they do have this disorder, because their need to feed their own ego allows them to disregard truth and to disassociate from truth. >> i think this is something you wrote about for "rolling stone," some people hearing that, there was a thing called the goldwater rule which i want to ask you about, explain to people. some people hearing that will say, look, psychologists who haven't actually interviewed somebody shouldn't be, you know, passing judgment on that they have narcissistic personality disorder. >> right. the goldwater rule was instituted for -- during a presidential election, right? >> that was because people were -- psychologists, what,
were coming out and analyzing goldwater? >> yeah. i mean, over 2,000 psychiatrists came out in "fact" magazine and they analyzed goldwater. they said he had all kinds of issues based on supposed potty training problems. you know, cold war paranoia, and he ended up suing "fact" magazine and he won. and the american psychiatric association was so embarrassed by this that they instituted the goldwater rule which says that you shouldn't diagnose someone unless they're under your care, unless you met with them specifically. >> right. >> so i think that really did keep a lot of mental health professionals quiet for a while. this professional obligation. then about a year or two ago, there started to be this tipping point where people said, well, wait a second, as mental health professionals, we also have a duty to warn. so which duty out -- you know, which duty wins out? and, you know, over 70,000
signed a petition that donald trump is mentally ill and unfit for the presidency. so, obviously, there's a lot of people coming out and saying, never mind the goldwater rule, i have this other duty and i'm going to stand by it. >> george conway is certainly listening to it. michael, you interviewed conway for your podcast. in an interview, he said, "if i have a nickel for everybody watching who disagrees with their spouse on something that happens in this town, i wouldn't be on this podcast." it is one thing to disagree with your spouse and have strong principles. it's quite another to side with the president against your spouse, especially publicly, and from kellyanne's side, and it's also another thing to attack repeatedly the president which may hurt your wife's career, frankly. >> right. and, you know, he also said in that interview, i asked him how is this going down with kellyanne, and he said, not well, she doesn't like it, but i
don't like the administration she works for, so we're even. and i guess that's, you know, that's the way he views it. >> it's -- yeah. i just find the whole thing bizarre. michael isikoff, thanks so much. alex morris as well. thank you so much. still ahead, breaking news. the criminal investigation into the certification and marketing of boeing 737. there's new reporting on that tonight. asis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur.
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we're about 20 minutes away from the cnn presidential town hall with 2020 democratic candidate john hickenlooper, former governor of colorado. dana bash is moderating tonight's event. she joins us live from the cnn senter in atlanta. there are obviously a lot of democratic candidates. we've been seeing a lot of them at town halls. where does governor hickenlooper fit into this race? >> reporter: well, anderson, first, you can see we're already here. we have a packed house ready for tonight. to answer your question, he fits in a really interesting place because he's one of two governors who are running in the democratic field. and he was kind of an accidental politician, accidental businessman, to be sure, because he was a geologist.
he got laid off, anderson, and he used his severance to start beer companies and that's how sort of he got started and then he was mayor of denver and then, of course, he was a two-term governor of colorado until he was term limited out. so he has a really different perspective than a lot of the members of congress who are running. lots of house members, mostly senators. different world view. >> and our poll, though, was released yesterday about the 2020 candidates. what kind of support does he have at this point according to that? >> not much. he doesn't have very big name i.d. >> which at this stage -- >> he's in good company, exactly, he's in good company with not having a lot. that's part of the reason why cnn is doing these town halls to introduce these people to the country, to the world, and more importantly, to democratic voters who are going to vote in primaries and vote in caucuses. and so he is not alone. there are a lot of candidates and a lot of them have yet to
really have a get-to-know you session, whether it's on national/international tv, or, you know, knocking on doors. we'll see what happens after it because things have changed since in and after several of these town halls that we've had. >> if i remember correctly, weren't governor hickenlooper and governor kasich talking about running together at one point? >> you know, they were talking a little bit about it. i think a lot of people talking about it for them. >> okay. >> they did a lot of -- they're friends. they did a lot of joint interviews. they are like-minded in a lot of ways. just in -- not necessarily ideologically, but just in terms of wanting to get things done across the aisle. so they were governors together. they served at the same time and they became friendly in doing those. lot of people were talking about it. he's running in the democratic primary, so doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon. >> all right. i'll be watching 15 minutes from now. >> thanks, anderson. >> i'll see you if a few minutes. up next, breaking news on boeing's 737 max 8 jetliners.
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breaking news on boeing 737 max 8 jetliners tonight. the justice department has issued multiple subpoenas as part of a criminal investigation into boeing's faa certification process of the planes. now, that's according to sources briefed on the matter. our shimon prokupecz joins us from washington. so just, if you can, explain what, exactly, fbi agents are looking for, if we know. >> right. so because this is a grand jury now investigating this, they've been issued subpoenas. fbi agents have been given subpoenas. they've gone out and served these subpoenas and really right now, it's a document-gathering process. the fbi is assisting in that. they've asked for information regarding training manual for this plane, safety manuals. they also want to know about the marketing that went into the plane. certainly, they're looking at the certification process, and that is the big thing here. how did boeing going about certifying this plane? and certainly, were there any issues?
you know, were there issues with how the training manuals were put together? were there issues with people who working at boeing, did anyone complain about any of the safety issues with this plane? and that is sort of some of the information and the gathering that is going on right now by the fbi and the department of justice. >> and in terms of manpower, what kind of resources and support can the fbi lend here? >> so certainly there's forensic experts who could look through documents or financial experts who could look through some of the money that went into constructing this, to building this out. the training. that is going to a big part of this investigation. and there are fbi agents that are experts in all of this and can review these documents, but for the fbi right now, their whole point is to try and help the department of justice just gather all this information so that the prosecutors and really the agents and the experts in all this could start going through it and trying to see really if there was anything wrong here. >> and lastly, there is also a department of defense office of inspector general investigation involving the acting defense secretary patrick shanahan of
boeing. >> yeah, this is an ethics investigation. so shanahan was a longtime employee of boeing. some 30 years. he was an executive there. and they have received complaints, the inspector general, that he's been favoring boeing for products. he's been disparaging competitors. so, complaints have been filed. the inspector general says they're reviewing those complaints because they want to make sure that shanahan is not doing anything unethical and following procedures in place to protect from this stuff happening. certainly, there are conflicts because he was an executive at boeing. and they want to make sure he's not favoring boeing over other products that the pentagon was looking to purchase. >> a lot to cover. more on this breaking news when we come back. we'll talk to ethics lawyer, richard painter. subscribe to movies.
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we have more on our breaking news right now. cnn's barbara starr is reporting the defense department's inspector general has begun an ethics investigation into whether patrick shanahan violated procedures while promoting boeing products while serving in his current role. now, shanahan is a former boeing executive who worked for the company for more than 30 years before joining government. a spokesman says shanahan says his boss welcomes the review. joining me now is richard painter, who is the ethics lawyer for former president george bush. i should point out he's also an executive with the watchdog group called crew, citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington, which filed a complaint with the inspector general against shanahan. so, richard, can you just explain what exactly you believe that the acting defense secretary shanahan did here when it comes to his former employer? >> well, we're going to have to find out what he did. but he clearly should not be
shilling for boeing products or saying bad things about the competitors of boeing at the defense department. i'm shocked that a boeing executive -- a former boeing executive is put in charge of the defense department to begin with. he clearly has a bias, and apparently according to these complaints, numerous complaints, he is actually acting through with that bias, and he may very well influence defense spending in a budget that is well over a trillion dollars. so this is waste, fraud, and abuse being investigated by the inspector general, and that's what inspectors general do. but in the defense department, with such an enormous budget, we are talking about potential waste, fraud, abuse of enormous scale due to this conflicts of interest. i'm here in puerto rico where we have close to a million people who may very well lose a lot of their food stamp benefits
because the disaster relief is running out. we need a defense budget in this country, but it should not be run by boeing executives, former boeing executives sitting on top of the defense department, shilling for their own company and trashing on the competitors. it's flat-out wrong. >> that's one of the things, of course, it's the definition -- again, if true, it is the definition of the swamp, kind of a revolving door from you're in a business, and then you go to somewhere in government that relates to that business, and then you leave and alternately go back to the business and are rewarded for what you did when you were in government. if it's true -- and i say it's a big if -- i mean it is another example of a cabinet secretary, in this case acting secretary, potentially being accused of using influence either to pad their own pockets or do favors for cronies. >> well, it certainly is. i have to say, though, i don't think a former boeing executive, someone who has worked at boeing for 30 years, should be put in
charge of the defense department at all. if he is, he shouldn't be opening his mouth about boeing or any competitor of boeing. there's just way too much money at stake. once again, over a trillion dollar. >> do you have confidence in the inspector general's office and the department of defense? >> i do. inspectors general offices are usually very well run and independent. now, this administration has done everything it can to interfere with independent investigations, from threatening to fire bob mueller to other interference. so i'm sure there will be plenty of efforts to interfere. but at this point i would trust the inspector general to do the inspector general's job, which is to hunt down waste, fraud, and abuse. and i can't think a part of this government that is more important to do that than the department of defense. >> i assume you see this as sort of, again, if true, part of a larger pattern with this administration. >> well, absolutely.
a lot of presidents would not have put a former boeing executive in charge of the defense department. that's just too tempting. boeing does enormous amounts of business with the defense department. and if those planes don't work or there's some other problem or there's overcharging, it's going to cost taxpayers not billions, but tens of billions, potentially hundreds of billions of dollars. this is a situation that never should have happened to begin with. and the idea that he is not following his ethics agreement, if that is true, he needs to be fired, and we need to find out why this happened. >> how long an investigation do you expect, i mean, in a matter like this? >> well, i would hope they could chase this down quite quickly. if he was running around trashing the competitors of boeing or shilling for boeing products at the defense department and people heard that, they report it to the inspector general, and he may deny that. >> right.
>> but that's an investigation that can continue for a week or two. but we deserve answers. the american people deserve answers. we pay for this defense department. >> yeah. richard painter, i appreciate it as always. the news continues. let's go to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts now. dana, thank you very much. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. you just heard from colorado governor john hickenlooper in cnn's town hall. still there in the room. the democratic presidential candidate answering questions from the audience for about an hour. questions about the rise of white nationalism, the toll of young black men killed by police, health care, legalizing marijuana, climate change and a whole lot more. so how did he do in terms of making his case with you, with the american voters? i want to bring in now cnn senior political analyst mr. mark preston who was at the town hall in atlanta. mark, thank you very much.