tv Morning Joe MSNBC June 8, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT
k city conversation. >> that normal new york city conversation will take center stage today on capitol hill. today is the day that fired fbi director james comey testifies before the senate intelligence committee. it's turning into the equivalent of a world cup match. bars are set to open early in d.c. with one reportedly offering a free round of drinks every time trump tweets about comey during the hearing. yesterday we got an extremely rare look at comey's opening statement. if the whole hearing matches what's in that opening statement, we're in for an incredible political moment for sure. good morning everyone. >> dramatic writing. i'm not kidding. the first time, and we've seen a lot of this because we've been around the hill a lot, seen a lot of opening statements. it's the first line i've ever seen an opening line of a
witness's statement "it was a dark and stormy night," as i stood by the grandfather clock, i saw in front of me a swirl of emotions. >> kind of a serious time. >> comey cannot only write, but when you read that -- >> it's incredible. >> the opening argument to a jury, a prosecutor's opening argument where he spells out a story with a beginning, a middle, and the end, that was the last time i spoke with the president. >> we have co-founder of axios, jim vandehei with us and columnist from "the washington post" david ignatius and senior political analyst for nbc and msnbc news mark halperin and also with us, "new york times" reporter michael schmidt. >> it came out yesterday and we heard everybody go out there. willie, what i heard was -- i heard a lot of democrats saying this is obstruction of justice.
i heard a lot of republicans saying free at least, free at least, thank god almighty he's free at last. how about letting him actually testify. if you want to prove obstruction of justice, you don't need comey. you just get what he said to russians in the oval office. >> comey's attorney says -- the former director came out and said he did tell the president of the united states he was not under investigation. actually trump wanted to go out and say that publicly and comey wouldn't do that publicly in case he did come under investigation. >> comey is smart enough to know the fbi is digging in ways that could lead to a criminal investigation. >> there'so evidence here of collusion, no evidence of obstruction of justice right here. buts the telling that james comey after his first meeting
after the transition got into a car and immediate lly got on a lapt laptop. >> again, we have to let comey testify before we decide if this is obstruction of justice or abuse of power. >> you've stood in open court, represented clients before a judge and jury. >> they all went to a gas chamber. >> stop. >> and one was just for an easeme easement. >> to his point about the president's lawyer claiming vindication, i've never heard of a lawyer in a major case claiming vindication before -- it's usually at the end of a trial or the end of an investigation. this thing hasn't even started. >> everything we have seen, jim vandehei, since those statements came out are speculation, shear speculation, and it's a clown show because there's only one
person that matters, and that is bob mueller and he is working quietly away at his desk day and night. >> there was a paragraph in the testimony yesterday that will be act two of this play which is where the president himself talks about, i didn't do anything but maybe satellites of our organization did something. it's the satellites that are going to consume washington for the next months and pbably years. once you start pulling into those satellites, it could be flynn, manafort, kushner, sessions. that's where this gets real dangerous. >> mark halperin, that was a fascinating part. i thought there were two really fascinating takeaways, one where trump sounds like a corleone in "the godfather" saying i need your loyalty, i demand your loyalty. but the other was when trump said, hey, if somebody around me did something wrong, go ahead, throw them under the bus, send
them to jail, i don't care, basically is what he said. he wasn't trying to obstruct that investigation. he just wanted to make sure that nobody thought he was under investigation. >> think about trump's time on the national stage, joe, he's taken on jeff zucker, taken on jeb bush, john mccain, taken on the pope. he's taken on a lot of people. >> more important than that, he's taken on mika. >> no, i would say that was accurate. >> he's now up against a guy with a laptop and a reputation who is going to command center stage. there's things in the statement that are damning, some that are exculpatory. this is a mano-a-mano fight. this is a bit of a sideshow. trump is going up against somebody today unlike he's ever gone against. this guy doesn't seem afraid of trump. he doesn't seem intimidated. he seems ready to come up here to capitol hill and say what he's going to say.
>> by the way, i've got a reputation and a laptop as well. a little different. the two work differently. mika, what donald trump, his complete ignorance of how washington works, how the fbi works, what he doesn't understand is, when he has his people fund attacks on jim comey, when he has the rnc going out slashing and burning jim comey, attacking jim comey, mark is right. he doesn't understand the consequences. he doesn't understand, bob mueller is watching that, and it doesn't end well for him. all these attacks against comey today, if they happen, will be very bad for donald trump and his satellites, as he says, down the road. >> one thing we did see in the comey pre statements that we got, pre released.
we see ignorance in how washington works. we see a sliminess. >> that's what jay caruso says, trump comes off as the slimy real estate guy trying to sell you swamp land in florida. >> for sure. you know who is vindicated so far? michael schmidt. >> it's almost as if michael knew somebody close to the story. >> michael? >> the statement does provide some larger context about things that we didn't know. i didn't know how obsessed trump was with getting this statement out that he wasn't under investigation. that seems to be the real preoccupation that he had. he's still pushing comey up until the beginning of april to put this statement out. the interesting thing about that was that at that point, comey thought he taught trump the lanes of the road, thought he taught the white house that the they could and couldn't do. indeed comey had taught them
that, but not for the reasons comethought, but for the reasons that ty didn't like him and were going to get rid of him. it provided context and details we didn't have. >> it really did. david ignatius, as said yesterday, no vindication, but no smoking gun. no direct evidence of obstruction of justice. again, you could get sarah huckabee sanders saying we wanted to kill the investigation, trump fired him, so the investigation is killed. or what trump said to the russians in the oval office, i had a lot of pressure on me, this guy was a nut job, i fired him. in this case when you're talking to fbi directors and directors of national intelligence trying to kill an investigation, you would file that one more under abuse of power. >> well, that will be the debate. democrats are already arguing this is obstruction, this is interference with the process,
words for obstruction of justice endeavor to interfere or obstruct. they'll make the argument there's abundance of evidence to endeavoring to do just that, up to firing this guy, the series of people in the intelligence community being leaned on to restrain the investigation. that's going to be part of the debate. what i'm most interested today is how republicans will react, whether they feel the ground beginning to slip from under them. there's new poll numbers that suggest trump's hard base of support is beginning to erode. i'm interested in how trump will react. are we going to see a spasm of tweets today by this embattled president? what will that do to the mix if we're watching, in effect, two screens at once. i think we're are entering a new phase. the focus on the obstruction of justice is already hang with a
lot of democrats i've talked to. >> it may, but we have to wait until we see it. in his released opening testimony comey details five of nine one-on-one meetings and calls with president trump. let's focus on two meetings. january 27th, dinner. the president and i had dinner on friday, january 27th at 6:30 p.m. in the green room at the white house. he had called me at lunchtime that day and invited many e to dinner that night saying he was going to invite my whole family but decided to just have me this time with the whole family coming the next time. it was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although i assumed there would be others. by the way, whenever trump gets together with people, he usually has lots of people around. >> a lot of people around. it turned out to be just the two of us seated at a small oval table in the center of the green room. two navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve
food and drinks. the president began by asking me whether i wanted to stay on as fbi director which i found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations he hoped i would stay and i said i intended to. he said lots of people wanted my job and given the abuse i had taken in the previous year, he would understand if i wanted to walk away. my instincts told me that the one-on-one setting and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. that concerned me greatly given the fbi's traditionally independent status in the executive branch. >> let's stop right here. that is so clumsy. >> also not like trump to ever be alone with anybody. >> it's just a clumsy -- i'm sorry. it's just sort of a thuggish way to go about -- you invite somebody over that you've
already asked to stay on and then again, so ham-fisted to say, hey, do you want to stay in your job, when you already said -- hey, you really want that piece -- >> not surprising, though. >> i'm surprised by the one-on-one. >> you would think somebody around him would have the courage to say, you can't go one-on-one, and mr. president, don't try to intimidate him. go ahead. >> it goes on. i replied i loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as director. and then, because the setup made me uneasy, i said i was not reliable in the way politicians use that word but could alway count on me to tell him the truth. i added i was not on anybody's side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense. a stance i said was in his best interest as the president.
a few moments later the president said i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. i didn't move -- >> david ignatius -- we need to stop at that line. >> i almost can hear it. >> i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. it's one thing if you're saying that of someone is -- let's say, the department of education. you just don't say that to fbi directors. you don't say that to the preeminent law enforcement officer in the land, do you? >> you're certainly not supposed to. comey's description is dramatic. he said there, no facial movement or response. i think he has a problem he's going to be quizzed away that why at the end of the colloquy i promise you the truth. it's clear that trump thought he was hearing in that conversation
a profession of loyalty. as trump said in later context, i thought we had a deal. he came away from the meeting thinking that the words comey had chosen were ones of commitment, i'm on board, sir. that's going to be a problem. i think republicans will take this language and really drill in on it. maybe the right answer after staring him in the face was to say absolutely nothing more, not to come up with this honest loyalty construction that comey was saying i'm in the going to be loyal in the way you want. how did trump hear that. >> it's obviously inappropriate for the president of the united states to ask the top law enforcement officer his loyalty,is persona loyalty, but this is aonald trum a week in his presidency, just arriving to washington, and don't you think this, in part, shows this naivete that he thought he could come in again and run washington the way he ran his businesses, getting everyone's loyalty, having them pledge it to him and moving forward together.
that's how he ran business, not how you run the white house. >> as they say in television, that's exactly right, willie. no one who knows donald trump reads comey's account and says, hey, that doesn't sound like something the donald trump we know would do. and the problem is not that comey had so much credibility because in some quarters he doesn't have full credibility. it's that it rings true to people and lays down a set of facts that the white house isn't challenging. they're going after comey in different ways and saying, yeah, what matters today is teeing up the mueller investigation, the congressional investigation and the question is not will the president be impeached because of what comey said, or will he be destroyed because of comey. the question is where does this go in terms of drawing the president into questions about his conduct. he shouldn't have done -- if comey is describing it accurate, he shouldn't have done what he did. it's going to refashion the
relationship between the white house and the fbi in a way washington does not accept and most people say is not appropriate. >> we played a trip of governor christie mounting some sort of defense of the president yesterday afternoon with nicolle wallace, basically the defense being it wasn't new york street talk, what he's used to, that's why he used the language he used. >> i'm really surprised by his assessment given his experience with the law. >> he also said it's sheer ignorance, he doesn't know what he's doing. he said it more tactfully than that, but he said this guy doesn't know what he's doing. >> if you read comey's testimony a second time slowly, let it sink in, it's clear that donald j. trump doesn't understand the presidency, the congress, the government or the city where he's now living in, washington, d.c. >> pause for a second and step back. we're defining down even the
term naive. the president has gone through the transition, he's in office. during the campaign this was a topic about whether or not the clintons had been trying to interfere with the fbi. he commented on this. he thought about this. he understood -- he has to understand that there is an historic line between what you're supposed to do as president and with your fbi director. >> how many times he say that, she's under investigation by the fbi? they all were saying, if you're under investigation by the fbi, if you take the fifth, if you do this, if you do that, they just went through all this a year ago. >> they did. >> so this whole he's too stupid to help himself, i don't buy it. he knew exactly what he was doing. >> i think he's such a narcissist, it's possible he is mentally ill in a way and this is on the table, i said it months ago and eveone starting to say it like it's
new, he's not well. at the very least he's not well. and he's so narcissistic he does not believe the rules apply to him. that's where the ignorance label may apply. this is a man who says he can grab women anywhere because he's famous. i think there's an innuendo to perhaps the other sex, but everyone has their ideas about wooi he said what he said. the point is, he thinks he can say or do things different from the norm because he's famous, is a celebrity, has power. it's going to come down to something. we don't know if it's obstruction of justice. we don't know if it's abuse of power. we don't know if it's utter stupidity, but he may not be able to be in that office. nothing i have said is crazy.
i was watching the show while i was gone. nobody has said what i said. >> nobody has ever said what you just said. >> jim vandehei, let me try to remember what i was going to ask you. the bring up a great point. the point is, people professing ignorance for donald trump. i understand his allies want to say he's just stupid, he's just a dumb guy. >> no, he's narcissistic. >> that doesn't wash. as you said, first of all, he's been sued his entir life, he knows this process. secondly, he's had a lot of people that have been taken down by the fbi. he understands that process. but most importantly, he and general flynn were hazing hillary clinton for a year and a half about her fbi investigation. they're well aware of the consequences of this. >> i'll put mika's statement in sort of a different way. >> which part? >> republicans that are watching the show and want to say, just brush this away, this is
unprecedented behavior. >> it's not healthy. >> to have those conversations nine times. think about it. president obama was president for eight years, five of those comey was fbi directorment one time other than to say good-bye with his fbi director. to have nine of those and amid all of this to meet with the russians in the middle of all this, or the stuff that jared kushner is accused of, the meetings that were not reported. this is stuff that's very much worthy, whether republican or democrat, of further investigation. yes, today is not some tipping point but is part of what's going to be a month-long, probably years's long investigation. >> it didn't vindicate donald trump by any means. also, there wasn't a smoking gun there. but there is so much more around all of this. there's what he did with the director of national intelligence.
there's what he admitted to the russians in the oval office, what his spokesperson said about wanting to kill the investigation, and they think the firing of comey is going to kill the investigation. there's long list of things that donald trump still will have to answer for, and this administration will have to answer for. >> what got a little lost yesterday is that shortly before comey put out a statement, there was a report in "the washington post" about what happened with the director of national intelligence and the president in which the president -- it's the same anecdote that comey described but with different people. the president kicked people out of the office and then brought the director of national intelligence in to ask him to try and intervene and push back on comey. it's the same thing comey describes in his oval office meeting. there's a bunch of folks there, the president kicks him out and he has comey one-on-one and asks him to end the flynn investigation. now you start to look at a
pattern here. if you're someone like mueller, you say, well, if there's this with comey and this with the director of national intelligence, what other mings may be out there. what other interactions like this could have happened? it doesn't seem like the president was shy about doing this. who else knows about this kind of thing? >> speaking about not being shy, mika, we'll be back next segment. >> if it takes this pre testimony to see a pattern here, republicans, you've got really thick heads. you've got a really big problem with the pattern this president has put forward even before we got to these hearings. this is going to be on you if you walk the plank. up next, i'm going to go through the oval office meeting that comey describes in his opening testimony when the president tried to get him to let the flynn investigation go. also, this morning, senator chris coons, angus king and dick durbin -- >> by the way, for kids at home
we had requests for every republican on the intel committee, and we were told by many of them, they do not want to come on the show and defend donald trump before the hearing. so if you're wondering why we only have democrats and independents up there, it's because the republicans did not want to come out. susan collins will come on tomorrow, though. other republicans laying low. they don't want to defend this guy. we'll be right back. be the you who doesn't cover your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. be the you who shows up in that dress. who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis.
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find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. we're back. willie, we're going down the road, trying to keep it on the road. there's a guard rail here and a guard rail here. let's keept in the guard rails. >> i am keeping it in the guardrails. everything i said, you have thought and you know in your own
way. >> here is the thing. we keep it up here. >> don't. you're going to talk to me about a filter? think about that for a second. all i said is that at the very least you have a severe case, and i mean in a serious -- >> no, we're not talking about. >> of narcissim and probably a little identity issue. >> okay. here is comey on the cover of "usa today." >> at worst we have obstruction of justice and abuse of power which could be impeachable. pick your poison. >> february 14th there's an oval office meeting. >> here we go, on february 14th i went to the oval office -- >> this is comey talking, not mika. >> -- scheduled counterterrorism briefing with the president. he sat behind the desk, a group of six of us sat in a semicircle facing him, vice president, director of the cia, secretary
of homeland security, the attorney general and i were in the semicircle of chairs. i was directly facing the president, sitting between the deputy cia director and the director of the nctc. there were quite a few others sitting in the room behind us on couches and chairs. the president signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. i stayed in my chair. as the participants started to leave the oval office, the attorney general lingered by my chair. but the president thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me. the las person to leave was jared kushner who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. the president then excused him, saying he wanted to meet with me. when the door by the grandfather clock closed and we were alone, the president began by saying i want to talk about mike flin. flynn resigned the previous day.
thement said flynn hadn't done anything wrong by speaking with the russians but he had to let him go because he misled the vice president. he added he had other concerns about flynn which he did not then specify. the president then made a long series of comments about the problem of leaks of classified information, a concern i share and still share. after he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, reince priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and i could see a group of people waiting behind him. the president waved at him to close the door saying he was would be done shortly. the door closed. the president then returned to the topic of mike flynn and said he's a good guy and has been through a lot. he repeated that flynn hadn't done anything wrong on his calls with the russians but had misled the vice president. he then said, quote, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. i replied that he's a good guy.
in fact, i had a positive experience dealing with mike flynn when he was a colleague -- >> i've go to stop right here. >> i did not say i would let this go. >> david ignatius, most of us here have been inositions where we've known people, a secr i've never revealed, but i have been a member of congress before. we've all known judges, we've all known prosecutors. we've all had friends who have been under investigation, especially willie, but that goes back to a turkey connection. david ignatius, trying to put context on this, a day after he was fired, for donald trump to ask anybody to consider dropping an investigation against one of his associates, i could never imagine in a billion years having the audacity, the nerve,
the stupidity to say to a federal judge, listen, bob, i had to get rid of bob, i understand it's looking a little sketchy, but mr. district attorney or judge, would you consider -- he's a good guy, could you drop the case for me? i would never do that because i would know as a 31-year-old member of congress that i would be going towards the line of trying to get in the way of an investigati investigation. >> it's way over the line. >> if you put it in its proper context of how human beings interact, it actually becomes all the more damning because donald trump knew exactly what he was doing. >> it's way over the line of behavior that i think most people would contemplate. donald trump has lived in a rough and tough real estate world, and he was always seen as the person at the margins of that world.
a lot of people i've talked to say i never wanted to do business with donald trump, he did things i wasn't comfortable with. i don't think this is all that radical a break. it's really important to see this in context in the timeline. on the night of the dinner, the 27th of january, what's just happened? acting attorney general sally yates has just come to the white house and said mike flynn has a serious problem, you hav somebody who isubject to blackmail. what happens the next day? the president has this one-on-one dinner with his fbi director and tries to get an expression of loyalty. he decides finally he has no course but to fire flynn. what does he do the next day? he pulls aside his fbi director and says, can't you let this go? had he made some sort of commitment to flynn that nothing further would happen as part of the resignation package? we don't know. we do have evidence that there
were other conversations with other key people that were very similar. look at it in terms of the timeline and maybe it makes more sense. >> michael schmidt, a lot of the defenders of president trump yesterday read the next part of that statement from comey as a defense of the president where comey says, i did not see this as a request from the president to drop the broader investigation, just as a request to back off michael flynn. does that help the president in any way, the fact that comey came out and said, i did not see the president asking me to back off russia itself, just michael flynn? >> i'm not sure because the flynn investigation is directly related to russia. it's directly related to whether flynn was speaking with the russian ambassador, and then as comey actually disclosed yesterday, whether flynn lied in his fbi interview that happened at the white house just days earlier about the nature of those contacts. so indeed, that is not related to election meddling, not
related to the vote tallies or anything like that, but it's related to flynn's conduct in terms of the russians and how flynn was with the i. there's something the fbi does notlike, when you lie in one of these interviews. even if they don't charge you in that, they really turn everything over in your life and can make it really, really difficult. i can see where there's a distinction there, but it's all part of the same pot and will be the same stuff mueller looks at. >> also, mika, everybody is talking about that this supports trump or vindicates trump. it doesn't. as jay caruso points out, he got caught in two lies, denying the flynn accusation, which he did non-stop, and he denied the loyalty oath. >> he also claimed how the dinner came together, they have very different points of view as to how it came to be. >> i'm wondering if republicans are fine with him lying this
much. this is a pace that actually would exhaust bill clinton in the 1990s. are they going to -- >> it's a pace you can't keep up with. >> are they going to look at all the lies the guy has already put out there. bill clinton lied so much, it was hard to nail him down on it because he would lie three more times the next day. now republicans are defending donald trump for doing the same thing. they seize one thing and hope everyone else will ignore all the other lies that are out there. when we get back, i'll ask mark halperin how this can hurt donald trump. >> this includes never knows if the guy is goi to impulsively tweet right nowecau he doesn't like what he's hearing. how could you live like that as a republican. >> michael schmidt, thank you very much. quote, it's certainly true,
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welcome to "morning joe." let's go to mark halperin. what could be the political impact for donald trump out of all this? >> i don't think he's going to be impeached by a republican congress based on what comey said in his statement. i don't think he's instantly going to subpoenas. i think the question is does this fundamentally change his relationship with republicans on capitol hill? i don't think it will hurt his poll numbers, i don't think his base will be shaken. a lot of republicans are holding their breath. they're not devastated by what's in the hoping statement. a lot believe this represents a potential break, with the ability for the white house to function in the wake of what comey mied say in the q&a with come to a halt when they're trying to move legislation.
>> talking about context, everything we're saying here is premature. a statement has been given, but the question and answer session comes. don't know what that's going to bring . f as poll numbers go, this guy is hovering between 36 and 38%. it is hurting him. also, what, 56% of americans actually think that he's trying to impede the investigation russia's impact and any collusion between donald trump and russia. 61% he fired jim comey, not for the good of himself, but to protect himself. >> joining us now, democratic senator chris coons of delaware. thanks very much for being on the show this morning. what are you interested in hearing today and what struck you from the pre-released introductory testimony? >> mika, what struck me is that it is completely unacceptable
for the president to ask the faib director to be personally loyal to him and to ask the fbi director to drop it with regards to an ongoing investigation into his former national security adviser. president trump either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the longstanding importance of the independence of the fbi director. i think when fbi director jim comey gets his chance to testify today, it will reenforce to the american people that we have a significant problem with a president who is engaged in certainly unwise, certainly unethical conduct in the white house. >> senator coons, it's willie geist, good to see you this morning. the term obstruction of justice has been thrown around pretty loosely in regards to this investigation and donald trump's relationship with former director comey. durable based on what you read in director comey's statement yesterday and perhaps from what we'll see today in questioning that there's obstruction of justice? if so, how do you define that? what did he do to cross that line? >> willie, as an attorney, i'm
going to approach that question very carefully. i think that's the point of having an investigation led by bob mueller, a very seasoned, senior law enforcement official. as i said, i think the statements we'll hear today from former fbi director jim comey make it clear that the president crossed a line, the president engaged in unwise and unethical conduct. whether it meets the line of obstruction of justice is up for the prosecutor to make. this certainly suggests to all of us in the united states senate that we've got a president who is operating well outside the acceptable boundaries with regards to federal lament. i think that's frankly why you don't have republican senators on the show this morning defending president trump's actions. >> do you see anything illegal from what you read in the comey statement statement? >> it is right up against that line. there are key issues of intent and context. certainly if i were being asked to make a judgment on that, i think there's reason to.
>> this is mueller's decision. we can also wait to hear the testimony from comey itself. david ignatius is in washington senator. he h a question. david? >> senator, i want to ask you what effect you think this investigation and our intense focus on it is having on the image of the united states abroad and our ability to conduct foreign policy. >> david, that's a great question. i just returned from an asia-pacific regional security conference in singapore. i traveled with two senior republicans, john mccain, chairman of armed services and john barrasso. we went to singapore and met with seven different leaders in the region. they're gravely concerned to the
extent the united states is distracted. in a previous conference i went to a few months ago with senator mccain, i heard the same thing from our eastern european and nato allies, they're concerned this will distract us. i'm sad and angry. i'm sad i introduced a bipartisan bill about manufacturing yesterday and we're in the going to talk about that and i frankly probably won't move. i'm angry with this president that he's taken us so far off course from what was a well-established path of independence from the fbi and federal law enforcement. >> oh, boy. that is for sure. senator chris coons, thank you so much. still ahead, senators angus king and dick durbin join the conversation. >> an invitation, any republicans on the intel committees. >> call in even. >> want to call in, have had a change of heart, would love to hear from you. susan colli is actually going to be in tomorrow. we look forward to talking to her. if you want to talk today, we're here. we want to talk to you. we miss you.
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the trel rewards credit card from bank of america. i was thinking around 70. to and before that?re? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. hope you're fast. i am. get a portfolio that works for you now and as your needs change with investment management services. apparently, i kept her up all night. she said the future freaks her out. how come no one likes me, jim? intel does! just think of everything intel's doing right now with artificial intelligence. and pretty soon ai is going to help executives like her see trends to stay ahead of her competition. no more sleepless nights. - we're going to be friends! - i'm sorry about this. don't be embarrassed of me, jim. i'm getting excited about this! we know the future.
>> welcome back to "morning joe." >> joe, come on. >> amid all this news about jim comey and his testimony today, election day in the uk, the latest polling shows prime minister theresa may's conservative party with a slight edge. >> slight edge? this was supposed to be a massive land slide. >> joining us now from london, bill neely d in washington, washington anchor for bbc news katty kay. bill, what does it look like? how tight are the polls? what are they expecting here on election day? >> reporter: good morning. much, much tighter than certainly theresa may expected. three weeks ago, she had a big lead and she thought this was going to be the brexit election. two terror attacks later and
everything has been turned on its head. it's also the national security election. her record is the law and order minister under real scrutiny. her campaign has been inept. the first rule of leadership is that you should turn up, and she ducked the tv debates. jeremy corbyn, her opponent, a guy that didn't even want to be the leader of the labour party, the accidental leader, has run a decent and compassionate campaign. the polls much, much closer than anyone expected. it is thought that theresa may will win a majority. after brexit and in the era of trump, i wouldn't predict that for one moment. >> bill ne. ly for news london, getting us started on this. >> katty kay, things have certainly changed quickly. you can look at the terror attacks the past couple of weeks. even before that, a lot of concern about theresa may as a flip flopper. she flip flopped on brexit and
even more importantly i suspect sheerks flip flopped on health care for the elderly. even before manchester, even before london that had an impact on her campaign. >> yes. it's been a reaffirmation when voters and viewers want it something called authenticity. we don't quite know what that is in every single circumstance. what they saw in theresa may is someone who seemed to be inauthentic and she said she wasn't going to have a general election this early. that was a flip flop. then she wrote back on the dementia tax. and on brexit. she hasn't been a very enveloping campaigner. they said it sounds like platitudes. i don't know what you're saying. then comes along jeremy corbyn, had been not expected to do well. this is, again, about beating expectations, right? he talked like donald trump did, about the size of his rallies, connecting with his voters.
he has a young population of voters that seem to like him, echoes of bernie sanders there. there is this idea that jeremy corbyn says what he means. he has a little allotment garden somewhere and gardens that. he is a bit of a populist. you can see echoes of -- i know you like your potatoes and your vegetables. and so does jeremy corbyn. and the british voters seem to like that. >> in fact, they are all vegetables. >> that was good, mika. >> as thatcher would say. >> she's actually borrowing from margaret thatcher there. >> that was quick. >> and vegetables, they'll have steak, too. >> or chickens, mika, i suppose. that's possible, too, right? >> what's the very last poll? what are the latest polls suggesting here? >> they were a little bit bouncing around and do seem to put her with six, seven pnts ahead. they may be sleading. what will matter is how much of a majority she gets in terms of seats. she is hoping to expand on the
14-seat majority that her predecessor got. she's hoping for something. if she gets a 50, 60-seat majority, she will say it was a victory and it was worth calling this election. look at the seat numbers not the poll numbers. >> for everybody, mika, it may be six or seven points now. polling has been notoriously shaky in britain. >> yeah. >> not just with brexit. john major in the early 1990s, i believe it was, had a shocking victory when everybody expected him to be swept out. nobody saw the landslide. >> katty, stay with us if you can. much more ahead on the big story of the day, james comey's testimony before the senate committee. we go through the tick tok of how the former fbi director says
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people want. in his entire tenure, he had two conversations with barack obama when he was president of the united states. one was to simply say good-bye and in the time that president trump has taken office from the time he was the president-elect till the time jim comey was fired for not performing his job well, he had nine separate conversations with the president and multiple meetings. the difference is that this president is hands on. >> yes, he's hands on. welcome back to "morning joe." it's thursday, june 8th. >> yes, it is. >> washington post's david ignatius and bbc's katty kay are still with us. practically in the entire "new york times" newsroom, frank bruni, "new york times" columnist and pulitzer prize winning book, tom friedman, and "new york times" peter baker. thank you all for joining us. >> washington post representative, of course, david ignatius, ingut numbered 3-1. >> thank you, david, for staying on with us.
let's get right to the news here n a deal with james comey and the heads of the senate intel committee, the opening statement was released yesterday afternoon. in it, he details five of nine one-on-one meetings in calls with president trump. the first on january 6th before he was sworn n comey reveals that was the first of three times he told the president he was not personally under investigation. but he also details weeks of pressure from the president to be loyal and to end the probe of michael flynn. after their initial meeting, comey notes he felt compelled to document their conversation, pulling out a laptop on the ride away from trump tower. 20 days later, comey finds himself dining alone with the president in the green room of the white house. he writes, quote, the instincts told me the one-on-one setting and the pretense that this was my first discussion about my position meant that the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and
create some sort of patronage relationship. comey continued, a few moments later, the president said i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. >> let's stop. >> i didn't move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. we simply looked at each other in silence. >> so, tom friedman, i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. something that i can't believe anybody who is over 15 years old doesn't understand the implications of a president demanding that. >> in a one-on-one dinner. >> of the chief investigative body in america. >> joe, the lead-in from corey lewandowski saying just a hands-on president was truly hysterical. that's "saturday night live" material. he had his hands around his neck. thai that's why he was meeting him.
it was basically to get him to submit to his will to end this investigation into the whole russian probe. the problem is that unless there's a tape, it's going to be a he said, he said. >> frame of mind. >> and that's a game that really -- that the president, who we now know will say absolutely anything, will play to his advantage. >> agree with that. >> david ignatius, whatever james comey says will not be as damning to what the russian foreign minut foreign minister was told by the president. that and what sarah huckabee sanders said we wanted to end the investigation by firing comey. we knew that we would achieve that goal. that lks a lot of it down right there, regardlessf what comey says. >> there's ctainly a clear story line. trump leans on his fbi director
for loyalty, for assurance that this investigation will be contained. he doesn't get it. comey is fired. then the president seems to have bragged about the firing and have linked the firing, after an initial misleading account of why it happened, to getting rid of that russia thing. that's the story that's on the record. what's ahead is congress' decision of what to make of this. how to describe it. and also i think president trump's decision of how he conducts his presidency under what he keeps describing as a cloud, a witch hunt, a hoax, an unfair effort to target him. i had a very senior republican foreign policy official say to me yesterday, what happens if this goes on for four more years? and i think that's a fascinating question. we are almost obsessed with this scandal right now. and it's likely to only get more intense today as comey testifies
and trump probably tweets his views. but the story line is right there. what do people, republican members of congress make of it? >> senator mark warner's opening statement, we're getting a look at a reaction and rebuttal to jim comey's statement. he is honing in on this "i expect loyalty" statement. doesn't understand the powers that the fbi director is not there to serve him, to get his agenda through, to lift the cloud off his administration. he is a law enforcement officer whose powers are separate from those of the presidency. >> trump didn't really mean what we think he meant you'll hear from his supporters. he wasn't trying to skirt the law, just trying to move the presidency forward. what i find so amazing when you
read comey's testimony is we came to believe in the myth of donaldtrump's shrewdness during the campaign because he beat expectations. when you read all the steps in this, the president is not a shrewd man. he was setting himself up for this moment today with comey's testimony. you heard firing comey would end the investigation. it has done the exact opposite. i want to know where donald trump's shrewdness was in all of this. he seems to have set himself up for a pretty disastrous fall. >> let me read on, peter baker, then we'll go to you. comey continues to say it was february 14th when the president held james comey over after a meeting with other high-level intel and other law enforcement officials in the oval office. it was during that conversation that comey says the president told him, quote, this. now i'm reading from comey. i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. i replied only that he is a good guy. comey said that during the
course of the meeting, reince priebus leaned in the door by the grandfather clock. the president waved for him to close the door, saying they would be done shortly. >> obviously they were nervous. >> you have a big group of people -- i will be editorializing here, saying they're all suck-ups, around him, affirming him, listening to him, talking with him, making him feel comfortable. it's very, very hard to get alone because he doesn't like to be alone. that's my editorial. after this meeting, i'm reading -- >> observation. >> that comey confronted jeff sessions, fit reported yesterday by "the new york times." comey said he ilored t attorney general to prevent any further direct communications by
the president but sessions did not reply. >> tom friedman is right when he says that it's not typical for a president to meet one on one with fbi directors for a reason. and the reason is that you can have misunderstandings, at the very least, in terms of the appropriate boundaries of where, you know, the president is supposed to be talking about investigations with the chief investigator. what i'm struck by, among other things, in this account is how meticulous comey is in taking notes. he's not only providing a road map to the committees in terms of dates and times and his own interactions but is providing corroborating witnesses in the sense that he's saying this person was at a door, this person was lingering at the meeting before he went out. and the way he has released this opening statement, of course, speaks to his sort of washington savvy, right? you have a president who is a newcomer to washington, who clearly didn't understand what he was getting into, in terms of the world of trouble he was
buying, by firing jim comey. jim comey, on the other hand, has been here a long time, been in plenty of knife fights in washington politics and managed to dominate yesterday after what started off as a pretty good morning for president trump. he just announced a new fbi director. he just had the two intelligence chiefs, dan coates and me rogers push back a little bit saying they never felt pssured to do anything to interfere in the investigation and then comey, in effect, drops a hammer by releasing this opening statement which, again, takes over the narrative. so, you know, it's not a good day yesterday for the president. we'll have to see how today goes. >> katty kay, though, so many people trying to defend president trump got on the air basically saying he's ignorant. he's just a dumb guy when it comes to the ways of washington. this was a guy that was sued all the time. this is a guy who understood about fbi investigations, certainly by associates, people surrounding him and surrounding the industries he was in.
i is find it very, very hard to believe, very implausible that donald trump didn't understand the consequences of asking an fbi director to drop an active, possibly criminal investigation. >> yes. it's kind of a sign of how low the bar has fallen when we have to plead ignorance as the best possible scenario for the president. i agree with you, joe. this isn't ignorance. i look at the statement and the deliberation with which donald trump made sure he got alone with jim comey. both at the dinner, suggesting he might invite the family, but then not inviting the family. no one else was there at the dinner. on the 14th of february, getting rid of sessions and then jared kushner as well. this was a deliberate, concerted, knowing effort that the president made, to make sure he was alone with jim comey and could get across those two messages, one of loyty and thenleing the flynn investigation go. it doesn't seem like ignorance to me.
he knew whe was doing, he knew he needed to be alone with the fbi director to make those points. he didn't want other people around. he knew what he was doing. >> he certainly did. any adult would know, you just don't ask somebody to drop a criminal investigation. >> that's the key right there. any adult. >> any adult. tom friedman, 61% of americans, we showed this poll a minute ago. 61% of americans believe that donald trump fired comey simply to protect himself. only 27% said he did it for the good of the country. approval ratings in the mid to high 30s now, historically low for a president at this stage. question is, how long do the republicans stand by this guy, who is lying every day, who certainly is, if not obstructing justice, is certainly threatening this investigation, bragging to the russians that he killed the investigation. and what does it say about the republicans today if they just
meekly line up behind donald trump? >> joe, i just came from china and korea and got that question very often and tried to explain to people this is not your grandfather's gop. i believe our politics in america today much more parallels shitis and sunnis. you don't get rid of your tribal chief just because the other tribe doesn't like him. you only get rid of the chief if his behavior threatens the security and viability of the tre. theyav seemed to not have ncluded tho far, the republicans. the thinghat strikes me, though, is that their second and third order consequences to this. they've not filled out hundreds of senior level positions. who wants to take those positions now when you see the president stab in the back one of the people closest to him from the beginning of the campaign, jeff sessions? loyalty in this administration all flows up and none of it
flows down. that's going to be a warning, very cautionary note for anyone who wants to join this administration. secondly, the president having scrapped the paris climate deal, how many people want to go home and say to their kids, i decided to be assistant secretary of transportation and their kids say, dad, for this climate denier? and, believe me, that will play out in a lot of homes, in a lot of families. these guys may never fill half the senior jobs in this administration. >> we'll see how republicans conduct themselves inside that hearing room today. let's go there now to capitol hill. chief white house correspondent hallie jackson is inside the room. you're reporting this morning on how trump and his allies are planning to counter james comey's testimony today. what's the plan? >> this will be live by the rnc. as we talk about it, i want to give you a look. this is the room right here, the center of the political universe this morning. i'm going to step over some of these cameras that have been placed preset. this is where james comey will be speaking from.
when he does, he will be answering questions from senators lined up, including senator richard burr, senator marco rubio is one to watch as well. he was aggressive yesterday in questioning the top intel offici officials. this comey counterpunch will be led to the rnc. i was e-mailed talking points, their strategy as they lay it out, sending out to surrogates. during the hearing to be communicated and the social media campaign, which you would expect. here are the arguments you're going to hear the most, based on the reporting we have. number one, from the rnc chairwoman and others as well. what comey said in his opening statement, that document we all got yesterday, essentially validates, in their view, the president's publ public statements that the prident is n personay under inveigation. and that the president wanted an satellite associates investigated, esseially. there's this quote that he says, if you find out if they've done
anything wrong, that would be good, too. look for republican allies of the president's to point to that and say this shows that the president wanted to get to the bottom of this in the first place. there are contradictions between what james comey has said so far and what the president has said publicly, specifically about the flynn investigation and whether it should be let go. there's a lot of he said, he said. a lot of anticipation. the line was down the hallway before we walked in this morning. >> hallie jackson, cool look inside the hearing room today. thanks so much. >> a lot of people wondering, will donald trump be reacting in real time to this. he has time on his schedule this morning. he has an event around noontime into the afternoon. he has not tweeted in almost 24 hours since he was getting ready to go to cincinnati today. >> the lawyers must have his twitter account at an undisclosed location in west virginia. >> are you joking?
why do you say that? because if he had his phone, he would be tweeting. >> most lookly, yes. david ignatius, what is one question you would like james comey to answer today? >> i would like comey to answer why he didn't do more with the information that he was making such meticulous notes about. he keeps leaving these meetings, writing almost in the voice of a screenwriter. the grandfather clock stood next to thedoor, the small oval table. it's meticulous. but he doesn't talk to jeff sessions, his boss. he keeps the information away from him. he doesn't go to the oversight committees on the hill, so far as we know, and give them a detail. that's surfaced more recently. why was he waiting? was he trying to build a case, was he trying to make up his mind? did he think, in fact, trump had not done anything that he could describe as illegal to launch an
investigation? i think that's an important point. why did he wait? if it's as bad as he said it was at the time? >> peter baker, the rnc talking points that hallie talked about raises a question. if you take such meticulous notes in the case of donald trump, why didn't you take those similarly meticulous notes that you were so concerned about loretta lynch that you decided you had to move forward with your investigation of hillary clinton? >> i think that's right. i think david's question is exactly right. i think they'll try to undercut his testimony. not necessarily on the facts, but on the interpretation. why is it you didn't think this was serious enough to come forward and so you were personally fired? is that an effort by you to, you know, push back or retaliate for your own personal dismissal? that will be something you'll hear from today. another thing you'll hear from a lot of republican talking points
today is that in some ways he validates wh the president has said, that he is not under investigation. at least he wasn't under investigation when jim comey told him that on several occasions. the opening statement already confirms he did, in fact, tell him that. many of jim comey's associates doubted he could have said such a thing. i think you'll see attempts to reinterpret what was said in the best possible light more than you'll see attacks on the credibility of what he said. >> and the evidence that's come out since those assurances suggest that might be old information. tom friedman, bars are opening early. >> shots for every tweet. >> drunks all over washington. >> others have called this super bowl thursday in washington, d.c. >> sad. >> you will be our own john
madden for comey thursday. set the stage for us. what should we be looking for on this thursday, perhaps the most important since clarence thomas. >> i fear if there's no smoking g gu if this ends up with comey detailing these conversations, the republicans all day blitzing him, doing everything they can to smear his name and sully his record, that we'll wake up friday morning and we won't be that far away from where we are right now. the only thing that changes is if you can really produce a watergate-like obstruction of justice case and sitting here right now, i just don't see that happening absent a tape with the
president's own voice, ordering his intelligence subordinates to obstruct justice. >> i think there are two right now -- two approaches. you have the obstruction of justice case, which goes to state of mind. that's something, of course -- something that mueller will have to -- thomas friedman, thank you so much for being with us. peter baker, thank you. greatly appreciate it. frank, stay with us. just ahead, senator angus king joins us, hoping to get more answers from james comey today than he did yesterday from other top intel officials. >> why are you not answering these questions? is there an invocation by the president of the united states of an executive privilege? is there or not? >> not that i'm not aware of.
>> then why are you not answering our question? >> i feel is inappropriate. >> that is not relevant. is it an invocation of executive privilege. if there is, let us know about it. if there isn't, answer the questions. >> i stand by the comments i made and am not interested in repeating myself. i don't mean it in a contentious way. >> i do mean it in a contentious way. i don't understand why you're not answering our questions. hear the difference versus oral b. in a recently published clinical study, philips sonicare diamondclean outperforms oral-b 7000, removing up to 82% more plaque and improving gum health up to 70% more. its sonic technology cleaning deep between teeth. from the most recommended sonic toothbrush brand by dental professionals. switch to philips sonicare today. philips sonicare. save when you buy now. philips sonicare.
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make dinner-time device free. [ music stops ] [ music plays again ] a smarter way to wifi is awesome. introducing xfinity xfi. amazing speed, coverage and control. change the way you wifi. xfinity. the future of awesome. what's the basis for your refusal to answer these questions today? >> what a previously explained. i do not believe it is appropriate for me to -- >> what's the basis -- i'm not satisfied with i do not believe it is appropriate or i do not feel i should answer. i want to understand a legal basis. what is the legal basis for your refusal to testify to this committee? >> i'm not sure i have a legal basis, but i am more than
willing to sit before this committee a during its investigative procesin a closed session and answer your question. >> it just shows what kind of r orwellian existence we live in. it's detailed as to when you met, what you discussed, et cetera, et cetera. yet here in a public hearing before the american people we can't talk about what was described in detail in this morning's "washington post." >> just because it's published in "the washington post" doesn't mean it's now unclassified. >> well, do you want to tell us any more about the russian involvement in our election that we don't already know from reading "the washington post"? >> director of national intelligence, dan coats, being questioned by members of the
senate intelligence committee yesterday. both he and nsa director mike rogers refused to address specifics about their private conversations with president trump. joining us now, member of the senate intelligence committee, independent senator angus king of maine, who made a very good point. this is not about what you feel. this is about what we need to know. but it seems like they weren't biting. >> yeah. and, senator, i'm so glad you responded the way you did to talk of feelings. i almost jumped out of my chair. >> there are lots of things we don't feel are appropriate. >> right. and, again, they never gave you any legal authority f stonewalling senators, trying to get information out to the american public. >> no. it was really ridiculous. when my dad said why are you out so late i didn't say well i think it's inappropriate to answer that question. >> exactly. >> you answer the questions and
unless there is some legal basis and even if there was a shred of executive privilege, they waived it by characterizing, saying i wasn't directed to do the -- to k curtail the flynn investigation. that cries out, well, was it suggested? were you asked? they opened the door a crack then claimed well, we can't talk about it. it was very frustrating, as you can tell. >> was there any justification that held any water for them going there, again, before the united states senate and stonewalling? >> yeah. no, it was really disappointing. and it was clear that both admiral rogers and director coats had sort of -- i don't know whether they had talked together or consulted but they both essentially had the same answer and it just didn't fly. you know, my job -- i'm sitting there, representing the people of maine saying here are the questions we want answered. they could have easily said yes or no or given some description.
it wasn't classified. they didn't invoke executive privilege. beyond that, there's no excuse for not answering the question. >> no excuse. mike barchicle, dan coats was a respected united states senator. he would never put up with that sort of stonewalling. he knows about ert. >> no. and he was on that committee and admiral rogers is an upstanding guy. senator, had you or the committee been given a heads up by admiral rogers or dni director coats that they were going to take this position in terms of the line of questioning? >> no. my line of questioning was completely on the fly. i expected they would answer and we would be exploring what the conversations were, what the president's tone were and all those kinds of things. no, there was no warning they were going to take that position at the beginning of the hearing, in answer to the first couple of questions. that's where they were. and by the time it got to me, i was just -- i was sort of
incredulous. >> there was a moment, an interchange with admiral rogers and senator warner where they alluded to the fact that they had spoken prior to the hearing and admiral rogers had indicated to senator warner that he would only go so far in terms of his answers. but let me ask you this. do you have a schedule for getting them in a closed session and getting the answers to the questions that you posed? >> yes. i can't give you a specific date but i can tell you, director coats particularly said, okay, i'll talk about it in a closed session. frankly, i don't understand what the difference is. because, again, there's nothing classified about this. i went through the rules yesterday afternoon of what's classified. this doesn't meet any of those standards. so, i don't know why it has to be a closed session but he did, as you saw, represent fairly directly, i'll be more forthcoming in a closed session. so we're going to schedule that session as soon as possible. >> senator king, it's willie geist. good to see you this morning. >> yes, sir. >> we know what you didn't learn
based on the posture of the witnesses up there yesterday. what did you learn? what should the american people take away from that hearing that changed the way maybe you thought about this investigation? >> again, i think what we didn't learn is the real problem. there was some confirmation, inadvertently, i think, that there were conversat with the white house about the fly investigation or abo this whole overall situation with james comey. it's interesting when director coats said i wasn't directed to do something. there's an implication there that something happened with regard to that. maybe i'm reading too much into it. but -- and also by this elaborate, we won't answer, they were, in fact, implying there was something to discuss. if the answer was, no, there was no discussion, that would have been easy. no, no discussion. by all the dancing around, you
know, as the queen in hamlet said, me thinks she doth protest too much. >> just a bit. >> what do you conclude from all that dancing around and stonewalling? are the answers bits of damning information they don't want to share or do they somehow feel gagged by the administration? >> i think it's probably more of the former but, you know, there was a moment where i think it was mike rogers who mentioned that there had been some discussion with the white house before the testimony. so, i think it's impossible to tell how much of it was them just being in a very, vy uncomfortable position rather than the white house saying don't talk. that would bear some investigation in and of itself. i know these two fellows and feel they were in an uncomfortable position. as i said yesterday being uncomfortable is not a reason to
avoid answering a straightforward question. >> katty kay, jump in. >> senator, speaking of being uncomfortable, there's a couple of moments in comey's statement where he doesn't exactly agree with the president but under a sort of amount of pressure he goes along with him, another one is where he says flynn say good guy. another is where he says he can give the president honest loyalty. how much more do you want to hear from director comey and what he mean business that phrase "honest loyalty" and whether he was aware that might have been misconstrued by the president or interpreted differently by the president than how he meant it? >> i think a lot of the testimony from comey will go to not necessarily that state of mind but tone of voice, direct context, the flavor of that meeting. although his statement was very detail ed detailed. i think that's exactly the kind of question we'll be following up on today. it reads like a first few pages
of a novel. in a statement he said he has never done anything like that before. he essentially kept a diary of every conversation he had with the president because he felt so uncomfortable about the way all this played out. kicking everyone else out of the office, not letting the attorney general stay. we're going to meet alone. he goes to dinner, is invited to dinner alone. this is unusual, to say the least. >> all right. senator angus king, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. coming up, we'll check in with the house intel committee. committee member eric swalwell says it was inappropriate for the president to quote jam jamescomey for
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house select committee and ranking member of the sub committee on the cia, democratic congressman eric swalwell of california. thanks for being on the show. given what we read yesterday, what are you most interested in hearing today? >> i want to see some of this testimony in context, you know. missing from james comey's testimony yesterday was when sally yates told don mccann that michael flynn could potentially be compromised. that came just before james comey met with the president and the president asked james comey to make the michael flynn case go away. once the president starts asking director comey to have cases go away and make the russia clouds be lifted. what were the conversations that james comey were having with other members of the department of justice? what it looks like is that he
wasn't doing what the president wanted him to do and that was why he was fired. >> good segue to david ignatius, who has some questions for you. >> so much of this swirls around the firing of general flynn as national security adviser. your committee has subpoenaed general flynn and records of his company before inauguration. what are some of the questions that you would like to ask general flynn if he appears before your committee? >> sure. i would like to establish that general flynn had knowledge that russia today is, in fact, an arm of russia's intelligence service. also to acknowledge that general flynn was aware of how russia recruits individuals in the u.s. to be witting agents or unwitting agents on behalf of russia. also just to tighten up the timeline as to when general flynn was in contact with the russian ambassador during the campaign and then during the transition period. i think that would be very
important and illuminating. >> congressman it's willie geist. good to see you this morning. >> you, too, willie. >> you said after you read through comey's statement that the president's behavior and conduct with the former fbi director were, quote, inappropriate. i think most people would agree with you on that, even conservatives who defended donald trump. is there an underlying obstruction of justice, something bigger to be pursued here or was it just inappropriate behavior by the president? >> well, willie, i miss being in the courtroom and working as a prosecutor. i guess i'll leave that question to prosecutors. they'll have to probe to see if there is other corroborating evidence. i think hearing from admiral rogers and director coats would probably help to build that case and so far they don't seem to want to say anything publicly. from our perspective on the house intelligence committee, we want to tell the american people how we were so vulnerable to be hacked by the russians, whether any u.s. persons were involved and how we can make sure it doesn't happen again.
we certainly have a story to tell the american people and we want to understand, you know, why the president was obstructive, because he was trying to cover up behavior by people on his team. >> but as a former prosecutor, everything you've read, everything you've understood, everything you've heard on capitol hill and the statement you read yesterday, do you see a crime here or dyou just see inappropriate havi from the president? >> again, i'll leave that to prosecutors. willie, a single witness can prove any element of a crime. the director pointed out in his testimony that he felt that because he was the only witness, he couldn't go any further. actually, you only need one witness if a jury were to find them credible. also, there is probably other corroborating evidence to pursue and to develop and test in this case. and then, finally, a prosecutor would look at intent and certainly there are questions about the president on two occasions trying to meet privately with the fbi director
and asking people to leave the room. that shows strong intent. >> yeah. >> congressman, this is just another day in the life of the trump administration. there are multiple events, sometimes on one day as opposed to another, and there seems to be a level of exhaustion about the trump administration, both within the congress, within the media and certainly out in the country. so, my simple question to you is, do you think donald trump is fit to be president of the united states? >> no. and i think the cost of this chaos, the cost of his alleged ties to russia, the cost of his disrupting honest investigations has been -- it has paralyzed this town. we are not able to do the work on behalf of the american people to help put food on their table, a roof over their head and give opportunity to hair children. no, i do not think he is fit.
>> minity whip dick durbin. tomorrow morning we'll be live from capitol hill to break down today's big testimony. among our guests will be house minority leader nancy pelosi and members of the senate intelligence committee, joe manchin and susan collins. much more ahead this morning. we're back in a moment. you totanobody's hurt, new car. but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do?
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