tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 12, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
news, getting hope. one of president trump's closest former aides and a long-time confidante hope hicks agrees to appear before the house judiciary committee. this as donald trump talks about his meeting behind closed doors. and they agreed to hold two trump members accountable. the chairman is demanding to know what the white house is hiding. >> blocking access. ahead of the contempt vote, president trump invokes executive privilege to keep subpoenaed information secret. tonight he's trying to distance himself from the controversy and dismiss it as ridiculous. and being transparent. president trump keeps insifgt his administration is wide open, but tonight he admits he didn't mean to be quite so revealing when he dangled his new agreement with mexico in a way he allowed the world to read it. we want to welcome in our viewers from the united states
and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. we're following multiple breaking stories including the first material witness from the mueller investigation to appear before the house judiciary committee. the panel's chairman announcing that the president's former communications director and confidante hope hicks will be interviewed one week from today. also they agreed to hold william barr and wilbur ross. and donald trump jr. says he's noted a all concerned about being accused of perjury after a second interview by the senate intelligence committee.
the president's son tells cnn there was nothing he needed to change in his prior meeting. our correspondents and analysts also are standing by first. let's go to our congressional correspondent sunlen serfaty. >> that's right. he's been by him, one of his closest aides as most recently a white communications director. in the last hour the house judiciary committee announcing she has agreed to sit down with the committee next wednesday. this testimony will be behind closed doors but the committee plans to release a transcript of her testimony. she'll, of course, be facing questions about her time on the trump campaign, her time in transition, and certainly her time in the white house.
that, of course, could be an open question. last week they directed hope hicks not to turn over documents that the committee wanted related to her time at the white house. it will be key and a huge question if the white house will seek executive privilege to prevent her from speaking about her time at the white house, but her time on the campaign will be fair game. >> the committee has agreed to hold two in contemp? that's right. they will hold the attorney jen ran and wilbur ross in contempt for refusing to comply with their subpoenas. this is all in relation to a it extend ship question related to a 2020 census. democrats threw a fit about this. they want to know more and how it was related to that. this comes hours after president trump asserted executive
privilege this morning to block them access to the documents that, of course, set off the democrats on the committee saying this is another example of blanket defiance. the justice department responding in the last few mimtds. they're calling this political games being played by the committee, wolf it. settings up a long court battle ahead. >> as you know, sunlen, dew point jr. spoke with cnn as he wrapped up a meeting with the intelligence committee earlier today. what did he say? >> that's right. they wanted him in front of their committee for what they relate as his diskrepp crepancd. this is over two key issues, the trump tower meeting in 2016 and a trump tower moscow project. now today sources close to donald trump jr. says he doesn't recall telling anyone other than
jared kushner and paul manafort about the trump tower meeting, that in defiance of what was told. he also said he was only peripherally aware, that also in defiance of what michael cohen told the special prosecutor robert muraler. leaving his testimony today don said he had nothing to state other than his testimony and he took a jab at michael cohen. >> in reality there was nothing else to change. if there needed to to be clarification over michael cohen who's serving time for lying to the investigative bodies, i'd be hab to do that. there's nothing to change. i'm glad it's finally over and we're able to put final clarity on that and the board understands that. >> a lot of back and forth, a
significant escalation from the house side to the senate side in this battle between the democrats and the trump administration. >> a lot going on indied. thank you. now president trump in evoking executive privilege and creating new conflicts. the president is using his executive power to block them from getting information. what's the latest on that front? >> before that vote happened the white house said it was going to be unnecessary and premature if they went forward with it. when the president was later asked about this specific issue, he did not show any signs of backing off, but overall what we're seeing is the white house escalate its fight with house democrats. >> it's ridiculous. >> reporter: tonight the president is amping up his showdown with congress, this time asserting executive privilege to keep sensitive documents away from house democrats. >> i think it's totally
ridiculous. >> trump standing by p asking a question, a move that has his administration in hot water and one that wilbur ross has gone all the way to the high court to defend. kr critics say it was done with politics in mind, leading the a change in federal resources and congressional representation. >> the president is asserting executive privilege over all of these documents. this begs the question, what is being hidden. >> reporter: congressman elijah cummins says it an effort. >> we must stand up against congress's authority. >> the stand-off coming during a
flyover at trump welcomed the polish president to the white house with a show of an f-35. >> it actually came close to a halt over the white house. >> when the president was asked to clarify a comment he made tuesday about using cia informants snow that's not what i meant. it's what i said. it's different than maybe your inteller taej. when the president delivered this membershssage to spy on thh korean dictator. he remained vague on that front but he'll confirm it down with putin later this month. he womann't sfat. >> it's probably easier if we have people in the room. >> the president sounded shocked that the reporters got a glimpse
of a letter he received. that was not anticipated. >> polling from his own campaign is flashing warning signs. >> we're winning in every single state that we poll. >> campaign officials say that's not true and a poll shows him lagging in states critical to a 2020 victory. >> they were fake polls released by somebody that's ridiculous. >> they did not deny them. >> we do very little polling because i em not a huge believer in pommer. polling. >> we looked it into. they declined to comment on the record. >> kaitlan collins at the white house. thank you.
joining us "the situation room," angus king. he serves on the senate intelligence and armed services division. thanks for coming in. >> yes, sir. >> i know there are some things you can't say, be but are you satisfied with the testimony in general? >> wolf, it's your job to ask that question and my job not to answer it. i was there today, but i'm not going to comment on what went on in the meeting. donald trump jr. decided to make those comments, but as a member of the committee, i'm not going to. >> are you restricted because it's classified information because eventually you're going to release the transcript, right? >> eventually. but our policy is if it's sense active, we retain that information till we get the clearance to release it. >> did you get information about
the donald trump tower meeting? >> you can keep asking but i'm not going to answer. i'd like to as you know. i just can't. >> i know there are restrictions and you're an honorable u.s. senator. some of your colleagues are answers. are you going to do more of this? are you going try to get more witnesses to come before the committee to elaborate on the mueller report? >> richard burr has handled this from the very beginning. he said at the very beginning he's going to follow it wherever it leads. that's what he's done. there's still loose ends. there's information we need to develop in order to filize our report. the important distinction between us and the muller repel report. he was looking for things beyond
a reasonable doubt. we were looking for facts and in particular making sure it doesn't happen again. the word "collusion" was thrown around. he didn't throw that around. whether there were contacts between the russians and the trump campaign is something we're still working on. it's the last phase of our record and i believe richard ben is going to be true to his word. >> i have great respect for richard burr. i don't know this, but i suspect he's been under some pressure along the way of this process. >> when you say that, elaborate on what you mean. pressure from the white house? >> i think generally the people that want this to be over with and weekend it up. richard burr has stood up to that and is acting honorably as he should. >> you believe he has explained
his role in the mueller report when he mentioned telling the white house about sensitive information that he as a so-called member of the gang has received. >> i talked about that. i think he was communicating to the white house, the witnesses they wanted to call and what our committee -- what witnesses we were after. incidentally he may have mentioned that information. i don't think it was a serious breach on his part, and i've seen no evidence of his cooperating or to accuse another word colluding with the white house on this investigation. >> the chairman of the house committee is threatened to s&p the fbi director to get specific answers on whether the counterintelligence investigation that's going on by the house intelligence committee into president trump is still active. do you know if it's still active in the senate intelligence committee? >> yes. it's still active. we're not finished. we've finished some portions.
the intervenes. what the obama administration did or didn't do. some of the sections are done, but we're still looking at the counterintelligence kwez. >> we have not had any lack of cooperation thus far from the fbi. they, in fact, have been very cooperative as have the other intelligence agencies. at the other end, let me talk about the insensitive tariffs. what's the latest reaction from the president that these could explode and could affect your home state of maine, so far? >> they already are. when you impose tariffs on somebody else, you have to expect they're going to retaliate. one of the first things they
retaliated against was lobsters. that was our largest export growth market. it went from over $100 million a year worth of lobsters. remember when he had the guys behind him in the cowboy hats and he talked about giving $16 billion to the farmers of the midwest, my reaction was what about lobsters. so far, the administration hasn't reached out and said, yeah, we want to help you. by the way, it's not just lob ters, but products all over america being subject to this. plus we're paying the tariffs. the idea that china is paying the tariffs just isn't true. this is a tax on the american consumers. the president may be right. he may win this gamble by this high-stakes shock and awe, but if he doesn't it's going to
significantly hit our economy and affect people. >> thank you. more ahead. what will house investigators learn from long-time trump confidante hope hicks? and the justice department is pushing back tonight after the house committee said they would hold the attorney general in contempt along with the house secretary. oh, sir. that was my grandma's. don't worry, ma'am. all of your stuff is in ok hands. just ok? they don't give two and a half stars to just anybody. here you go. what's this? it's your piano. hold this for a sec. we don't have a piano.
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more on the breaking news. the former white house communications director hope hicks now scheduled to testify behind closed doors before the commission next week. let's check in with our analysts and jeff zeleny. what are they hoping to get from hope hicks? >> the questions they want to ask her is during the time of the presidential campaign, hope hicks was one of the closest in hissener circle. during this time of the campaign as well as during her time in the white house, those are the scope of questions. of course, she sat a few feet outside the oval office. she was with the president for stretches of hours. this is part of the obstruction of justice inquiry, the first time someone in the president's inner circle has been questioned by the committee. the key point is she cannot
assert executive privilege during her time in the campaign. they want to focus on her time during the campaign behalf she joined the administration. >> they would try to expert executive privilege if she wanted to talk about her time in the white house. >> we've seen them off this really expansive definition. as jeff said executive prish ledge plainly doesn't apply. for example the time before donald trump was president. but there are still these open areas in we could see a white house that has really offered an extraordinarily brown privilege that fits officials who were not government officials at the time they were communications with the president. one of the questions is if hope hicks was in the room with a white house lawyer and wanted to keep in with this really, really broad sense is hicks going to
defer to that attorney or she going to agree with members of the majority of the committee saying, you know, we don't believe that's a valid assertion. so it might end up being they still have toly gate each if it's not a valid assertion. >> and a lawyer will be with her. at the same time the house oversight committee, david, has decided -- they voted to hold the attorney general and commerce secretary in contempt for failing to apply with the subpoena. how significant a step is this? >> i think it is significant. it doesn't change the entire political situation we're dealing with, but i think the democrats in the house fell they had no chose. if you have a situation where the cabinet level secretaries feel like they can wacve away subpoenas, that's how it unraveled. in this case as susan said, you don't have the executive saying this question or this topic is off limits because of executive privilege.
they're saying we'll just stone you, we don't want to talk to you. >> what do you have to say? >> elijah cummings, chairman of the house said it's an act of blanket defiance and it goes back to the overly broad application of the executive privilege which does not apply to any conversations involving the president and members of his administration. one of the reasons the consensus is because it has to do with the drawing of congressional maps. it has to do with the al indication of government resources and the u.s. constitution states it should cover everyone living in the country, the entire population. >> everybody stand by. there's a lot more we need to discuss. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. y to only 1. a new low! at visionworks, our sales are good on over 500 frames. why are you so weird? see great with 2 complete pairs for $59. really. visionworks. see the difference.
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emerged, you remember michael cohen's conversation. he was talking about the trump meeting to his father. he said he had not done that. it seems this is something senator burr wanted to essentially reconcile the differences. but the fact that he agreed to testify was the, we of an agreement between he and his lawyers. the president was furious, the fact that he came in and testified. it seems to have set him on the sidelines of this. we document know exact will i what he said. >> the suggest as jeff said was potentially investigating perjury on his part. >> right. so i think the question now is whether you think donald trump jr. or michael cohen particularly related to the question of what don junior knew about the status of the moscow negotiations or whether he informed him of russian officials. these are both officials who
have publicly lied about things. one thing that is significant is that the muller report has come out at this opponent. so donald trump has now seen after a thorough investigation mueller essentially said there's a little bit of evidence on both sides of this question about whether or not he told his father in advance. we basically couldn't resolve it. so whenever he is walking into that committee room, he's seen what has happened. i think it ends the discussion for now. he's standing by his testimony. then the question is any new information were to emerge, that it would be contradicted at this point. >> you know donald trump jr.'s lawyer said it's all over. they're done as far as they're concerned. but senator camela harris, a member of the senate intelligence committee, she emerged and said there's still a lot of unanswered questions. so where is this heading? >> i would imagine that senator hair sis is referring to what was the underlying judgment.
as you said, the reconciling of the testimony is mostly going to be on the sidelines because he knows what's in the muller report and what he said today. but there are questions the democrats have as we get into the investigation about the june 26th meeting with donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort. that the meeting took place is in dispute. the question is did the president know anything about this and why, i think, we're going to get to certainly if there's an impeachment inquiry at some point why this wasn't found to be either a criminal conspiracy or a campaign finance violation. >> sabrina, on top of all this, adam schiff is now threatening to s&p the fbi director christopher wray and discuss ongoing intelligence operations related to the ongoing russia probe. what are you hearing about that? >> they're examining the mueller
contacts between the trump campaign and moscow. adam schiff suggested that the gang of eight, the top leaders in congress as well as the committee chairman and rapging members in both chamberses, that they had not received an intelligence briefing from the bi with respect to the fbi since james comey was fired. they had been met with what he called a generic statement of process and they have unanswered questions that pertain to paul manafort and the sharing of the polling data with the trump campaign to negotiations around the potential trump tower in moscow, the june 2016 meeting, what led up to it, and schiff made it clear that the fbi has an obligation to brief certainly if not the gauge of eight, his committee, and he certainly made cheer that he's willing to compel them to do so if
necessary. >> because the full house voted yesterday to give them full authority to go ahead and go to court if necessary to get this inform snoogs this is going to both empower these committees and lead to lengthy court fights, right? so we've seen that the white house and associates essentially have a stone walling strategy. this means they're going to have to meet hard bawl with hard bawl and say we're going to take you to court, litigate this and get a court order. one thing to keep in mind is first of all not all arguments are the same. there are a lot of moving pieces. congress does have the stronger arguments overall, but courts really, really don't like to get involved here, they view this as a con flekt between the two other branches of government, so often they'll say this is a political area we're not going to intrude into. even though congress has the constitutional and statutory
argument they're taking a little bit of a risk because if what ultimately the supreme court is saying is essentially the white house wins by default. >> jeff, you've been back from iowa for a few days. you were covering all of the campaigns. how is all of this stuff playing outside of washington? >> voters are not following the back and forth and to and fro. they're not talking about it at the rallies or to their voters. it's clear the voters want to talk about sub stan active issues. yesterday they were going back and forth. some voters find it unseemly, but a lot of democrats like the fact that joe biden is going hard after president trump. i was struck by, again, average voters are not as interested in impeachment and think seem to be more on the side of nancy pelosi in terms of a slower approach.
even some progressives we talked to. >> you sense the same thing? >> yeah. i'm not on the trail like jeff but you have vice president biden running in the i'm the best to beat trump primary and therefore are going with more policy-specific approaches are running in the who's the best democrats and that, i think, is part of the difference. but also to your point, i think americans sort of sense that we're going to get to this, but in the meantime let's talk about what democrats are going to offer as a positive proposal for 2020. >> there's also a little bit of a strategic question of which trump scandals do they want to focus on? obviously there are still questions relating to the investigation. but as sabrina mentioned earlier, the controversy related to the census is a shocking political scandal. there's new evidence that
suggests that the doj and commerce secretary may have inserted a question into the census. we use it to decide in congress. they might have inserted a question to essentially counter latinos. >> we've got some breaking news and i want to alert our viewers there's an interview george stephanopoulos did. they released it. listen to this. >> if russia, china, someone else offers the information should they accept it or call the fbi? >> i think maybe you do both. i think you might want to listen. there's nothing wrong with listening. if somebody called from a country, norway, we have information on your opponent, oh, i think it'd want to hear it. >> you want that kind of intervenes in our elections? >> it's not interference.
if i thought something was wrong, i'd maybe take it to the fbi. but if somebody comes up with ample research, oh, let's call the fbi, the fbi doesn't have enough agents to take care of it. be you talk honestly the congressmen, they do it. that's the way it is. it's called oppo research. katelyn is at the white house. the president is not ruling out the possibility of accepting dirt if you will or opposition research frommed a ve ed med a adversaries. >> he said he doesn't think he's called the fbi in his life. when asked if he would take the information if offered it again not just by an opponent but any foreigners on a potential opponent, the president said there's a chance you can do both. of course, this is going to
raise all sorts of questions because that's what caused so much consternation over potential contacts between trump and campaign officials in the last four years, his entire time in the white house. there are some in the white house who would certainly say, yes, donald trump junior, powell manafort, and others shouldn't have taken that. he's saying if he had the chance to do it again, he doesn't think he'd call the fbi immediately. he won't say who but he believes they have acted in the same way. >> let's bring in evan. what's your reaction to what the president just said? >> it's a stunning statement for the president of the u statement -- united states wants to say by
offering opposition research to try to help one campaign to try to hurt another, to try to influence an election. again, adversary. the president says it's not a big deal. look. i think the president is in a place where he has -- because of the last couple of years and the way he has defended himself, he's sort of painted himself into a corner. he can't now admit that perhaps they should have done something differently. can't bring himself to admit that. that's why he's acting this way. you heard from his own fbi director chris wray who was asked about this a few weeks ago whether or not if a campaign was approached by an adversary with opposition research in the same manner as the trump campaign was, that, you know, he said he would hope that they would call the f bi. i think everybody in the space
and the intelligence agency would prefer a campaign would work. by the way, the mueller investigation, the report says that the trump campaign not ohm essentially encouraged this, but they were expecting this kind of help from the russian government. that's why we had this investigation and i think that's why there's still a lot of concern about what will happen in 2020. >> let me go back to katelyn at the white house. do you have another point you want to make? >> we're looking at this and thinking about the president's reaction. is this something you would do again as we saw in the last campaign? a lot of what this would likely have to do with is this is a president who doesn't like mistakes or missteps. even his campaign manager paul manafort. the president does not like to admit mistakes. he's saying instead of agrees with what the fbi director
christopher wray said, yes, they should have called the fbi, the president is standing by their actions. >> very interesting. you used to be an attorney at the national security agency. when you heard what the president just told george stephanopoulos, what did you think? >> i think he should have read the mueller report. he was quite clear that he actually believes that under the law, accepting opposition research from a foreign entity the way that occurred at the trump tower meeting was a violation of the campaign finance law. it did constitute a thing of value. they didn't believe they could improve the knowledge come poenl. you have to know it's a crime at the time in order to be guilty of a criminal violation. basically the trump campaign got the benefit of mueller being able to say, well, they conditional have known it was a crime at the tomb. moving forward, i don't know anybody who can make the claim
that everybody is not fully aware that accepting this kind of information isn't a criminal violation. this was also an open invitation for foreign countries to now interfere in the u.s. election. this is the moment when they say the lights are blinking red for the 2020 election. that is the president of the united states saying come on in. >> we spend a lot of time talking about the obstruction line over the mueller report, but this goes back to what the heart of the investigation was all about that a foreign adversary in the united states interfered in the 2016 election in what the special counsel said was sweeping and systematic fashion. we know that the mueller report was receptive to that help and under they would benefit electorally from a campaign led by moscow to help lift up trum
p and his campaign. he doesn't think there was anything wrong with the what the russians did in 2016 and this comes when his own intelligence chiefs are warning the russians are there to do it again and the trump administration has not -- >> just to be precise, jeff zeleny. let's say a country like norway called and said we have information on your poenl and he said, oh, i think i'd like to hear it. george stephanopoulos said what if russia or china had that information. >> i'm not sur pried the president said. he's been trying to normalize this from the very beginning calling it oppo research. it's not oppo research.
it's not a foreign government, so this is ignoring the first part, chapter 1, of the mueller report. but the fact of the matter said he did not have any regrets some of this is a president who's looking forward here. we'll have to see the rest of the interview. he said i would call the fbi. then he said, i would never call the fbi. so it's hard to imagine he would call the fbi. >> he said, i don't think in my whole life i've ever called the fbi in my life. oh, give me a break. life double work like that. that was in the interview. >> yeah. one, the norway important. very easy for the president to say, oh, if i get information from norway, it's a small pow e, not russia, our geopolitical
adversary. the second pands. that undercuts the f ha the republican fwaumt in this houp thing. for giving the steele dossier to the fbi. the president says, yeah, maybe i'd call the fbi. 245's what you're sumtz. it's not optional for them whether orr nom to report. i think it's important that we keep certain commitments before parties, free elections in which americans choose who is going to be the next president, their elected political leaders, and it's stunning each and every time we see the president of the united states does not share those common american values that are not about democrats and
not about republicans but about the kour vcore values this couns founded on. >> i want to go back to katelyn at the white house. >> he said flat out bluntly chris wray was wrong when he testified on capitol hill not that long ago. you'll remember senator lindsey graham asked wray if he thought he had information from a foreign government he ought to call the fbi. wray said, yes, i think that would be wise. he said, i'm kwoiting him now, the fbi director is wrong because frachlly it. . maybe today you'd see differently but you're seeing a stark break between the president and his fbi director.
chris wray said he wouldn't see it like that. the president said that remark was ridiculous. and now you sue the prip going after him again. >> let me play that little clip from the interview. this is the president on the fbi director. listen to this. >> this is somebody who said, we have information on your opponent. oh, let me call the fbi. give me a break. life doesn't work like that. >> the fbi director says that's what should happen. >> the f b bi director is wrong >> kaitlyn, there you have it, a blunt statement about the fbi directorer christopher wray rmgt that's someone was picked. of course, we've seen him have
those conversations. bill barr and the president seem to be in common step as to whether the trump campaign was spied on. they say they're not this corrupt institution or bias. it's bus of what happened during his campaign and now you're seeing a stark break between the pretty and wonder where it's going to go to the president responding he's wrong. of course, it does make you wonder how republican lawmakers like lindsey graham and how they're going to react to the president so publicly disagreeing with his own fbi director. >> he not only said he was wrong, you heard him say firmly, he's wrong. >> exactly, wolf. look. lindsey graham, senator gram, is among the people who was among the people who said that the
people who participated in that meeting, don junior, you know, jared kushner, paul manafort, that they should have called the fbi. so it's not just chris wray that's made this comment, but a lot of people who a security interests of this country at heart that believe what you should have done is picked up the phone and called the fbi. that did not happen. and so that's one of the things i think coming away from the mueller investigation, coming away from the report, look, what the president is saying -- his words matter, right? this is the president of the united states. how are the fbi counterintelligence agents right now working on trying to figure out what to do about the 2020 elections and how to protect this country in the 2020 elections -- how are the intelligence agencies that are, again, preparing to protect this country against foreign interference in the 2020 elections -- how are they
supposed to react when the president of the united states uses these words to say that this is actually okay, that we are totally okay to do this, allowing foreign adversaries to interfere in our elections and that it is okay? i think that's a really stark thing for the president to say. perhaps we are going to see more of this interview in which perhaps he clarifies some of this. i don't know. but certainly from the words we have heard from the abc interview broadcast, it does seem like the president is saying that this is all legal, this is all fine. and again the fact that the president is saying this is going to matter. >> and sabrina, what's very significant is this isn't simply a presidential candidate saying this. this is the sitting president of the united states who has been in office two and a half years. >> he has been in office for two and a half years and repeatedly fallen into this pattern where he is willing to contradict his own intelligence leaders, especially on the issue of russian interference. you now hear him saying the fbi
director is wrong to say you shouldn't call up the fbi, his bureau if you receive an offer for help from a foreign government. and since it's coming on the same day that donald trump junior returned to capitol hill to testify privately before the senate intelligence committee, it goes back to the question that he faced with respect to that infamous trump tower meeting in june of 2016, why didn't you pick up the phone and call the fbi? and throughout this entire ordeal, the white house chalked this up to simply incompetence or pleading ignorance. he didn't know any better thp this absolutely lays bare they knew better. they wanted to receive the help from the russian government. and the reason it's troubling is because it has serious implications for 2020 as the president mounts his own campaign for re-election. >> jeff zeleny the reaction is going to be intense. >> it is indeed. i was thinking back to something the president said earlier in the rose garden. a we should point out this is ongoing.
he is he is meeting with vladimir putin at the end of the month in the g20. >> the end of the missouriant. >> he also said this the mueller was dispointed and said no collusion. and in fact we actually rebuffed friends from russia. we actually pushed them back. rebuffed them. at this point et cetera saying that was not in the mueller report at all. but that the -- did the issue here the president is saying you know that he would -- he would accept information just two weeks before going for a meeting. this is a flashing vacancy sign if you will. we are open for business. the re-election committee he is having the first rally next week here. i think the forward looking aspect of this is something quite severe. imagine what the folks at the fbi are thinking right now as evan was saying trying to protect the sangtty of this election going forward. >> the president was asked today at the news conference whether he would go into the meeting with vladimir putin in in osaka japan with at the end of the month only with translators or
aides taking notes he didn't answer. >> he wants to keep options open. now we are post mueller report appear post attorney jern barr whitewash. he is saying these and gambling that there is not aen ton of consequences if i can go back to the comment. he didn't just say he wouldn't call the fisher. he put mustard on that. his base is saying that's not how it plays out in real life. but the reality on sabrina's point is he has been the sitting president two and a half years. maybe if you are a dodgy real estate developer you wouldn't call the fisher but the cht united states should. >> there is a question now he is president of the united states we saw what he did as a candidate, what he willing to do with the authorities of his office, the gray area of conducting foreign policy on behalf of the united states? we already sue rudy giuliani a few weeks ago with the bizarre outreach to ukraine attempting maybe to get that government to investigate the family members of his political opponents. itching this is a really
definitive moment for congress especially for congressional republican when is you have a president basically saying i dare you to tell me not to do this. you saw everything i did in the mueller report. it was laid bare and you didn't do anything to hold me accountable at least among congressional republicans. now i'm saying not only did you do not before i'm open to doing gwen. i do think this is a moment if we don't hear the congressional republicans saying hold on wait a minute that's the line, this is not okay, we're going to be in a really troubling situation zpl and the fact thats in coming ahead of the president's reported plans to meet with vladimir putin i think will prompt even more alarm. there have been occasions where the two leaders have sat down without the presence of any note takers without official record kept, without a translator on the part of the u.s. government. and in the many conversations that trump has had with vladimir putin it's been a inconsistent theme he has not pushed back on the issue of russian interference. and to susan's point there has been a bipartisan push in congress to try and invest in
election security and to tray and take more significant steps to deter interference from any foreign government frankly in our elections. and so far the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has been reluctant to embrace comments we'll see if there is any change. >> imagine the effect on the ongoing debate if there is an impeach. inquiry. this goes to the intent of the president and his mindset. i think this makes it harder forespeaker pelosi to keep thing at bay here. we have not heard reaction from the 2020 candidates. but look for that. because this shows what the president. >> i'm shurp the reaction will be intense. alertet alertette symes is joins you alertette are we getting reaction to the president president's statement in the interview. >> we haven't heard yet from the 2020 democratic candidates. but this is something that you have heard candidates talk about out on the campaign trail. joe biden has warned about foreign election entertains and how it's a threat not just to american democracy but also to
national security. he was in munich back in february as part of a panel, a existing on election integrity, urging candidates over in europe to ensure that foreign -- interests no foreign interference in their elections or potentially here in the u.s. but this is something that's going -- especially going to be discussed a lot on the campaign trail going forward after the president's comments today in that interview. >> i know you are working sources covering the biden campaign. ar let we will get back to you. jeff let me play the short clip against the president was as asked about the need to inform the fbi. and what he said specifically about the current fbi director christopher wray. let me play that little clip one more time. >> this is somebody that said we have information on your opponent. oh, let me calling the fbi. give me a break the life doesn't work that. >> the fisher says that's what should happen. >> the fbi director is wrong. >> it's not the first time the president publicly said one of
his top national security or law enforcement officials is wrong. the president said something similar about dan coates, the national of intelligence after the president's summit with putin in helsinki. >> he did. and i think the tone there of what the president was saying made clear how he thinks. ep fired the last fbi director he thought was wrong. the reaction from christopher wray is going to be fascinating if he says anything my guess is he will not. the president made clear that he is going to do whatever means is necessary to essentially win re-election. this is much more so than i'm thinking back to the summer of 2016 when when he said if russia can find the emails look for them. he is sitting in the oval office in the white house to make the point. and as susan was saying he was the entire apparatus of the u.s. government a a at his firp tips going forward in the election. >> you think this increases the drum beat for formal impeachment process.
>> i think it makes it more difficult for democrats to sort of slow walk in. this is going directly to the president's current thinking and frame of mind here. it's pretty shocking in that regard. >> what's the reaction in the intelligence community, the law enforcement community? >> i think it's stunning to hear things like that. certainly they are on high article. this is an open invitation, right? he is saying i'm president of the united states, i might be president of the united states for another four years. here a great way to curry favor with me. unlike the obama administration which said we are turning around and impose sanctions. attempting to deter this conduct, he is essentially saying this is an open invitation. one thing will be critical is whether or not democratic candidates are going to pledge they will not use this form of opposition research or contact with foreign officials moving forward. >> and david, the president was very blunt in saying christopher wray was wrong. >> he was blunt and this is someone he appointed at the justice department. the fbi director. but the justice department he works for, his administration and he says his own people are
wrong. >> it's a very, very significant development we are staying on top of this obviously much more on all the breaking developments to our viewers thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitz ner the situation room. erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront next breaking news a bombshell from president trump homes ago. saying he has no problem getting dirt on his 2020 opponent from foreign adversaries, including russia. plus a house committee holds two trump officials in contempt for failing to turn over documents the president doesn't want anyone to see what's in them and the president's north korea problem. his attempt to clean up astonishing comments raising more questions tonight. let's go outfront. and breaking news stunning words from the president tonight. trump saying moments ago that he would take dirt on his 2020 political opponent if russia, m