Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  May 10, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PDT

6:00 am
legislation, sign it and put everybody's fears to rest that this can be done without influence or conte gone. >> thanks to all of you for watching our special coverage on this. we continue with cnn news room. >> thanks so much guys. a hugely consequential morning, so let's get right to it. >> this is cnn breaking news. all right. this morning we are through the looking glass. in fact, we shattered the glass or the president did. president trump fires the person in charge of investigating his own campaign and moments ago he started tweeting about it. james comey lost the confidence of almost every one in washington, republican and democrat alike, when things calmed down they will be thanking me, the president said. as of now, things are not so calm and folks are not so thankle. senate democrats have been told
6:01 am
by their leadership, calling for a special prosecutor and now some republicans are joining that call. >> it is an understatement to say that many are not buying the idea that the president fired the fbi director because he was unfair to hillary clinton and it happened, by the way, on the same day that cnn learned a grand jury has issued subpoenas in their russia investigation. all of this is happening as president trump will meet this morning with russia's foreign minister, certain guy lab rov who just met with secretary of state rex tillerson and also dismissed the question when he was asked what he thought of the firing of fbi director james quomy in a pretty stunning move. our correspondents are covering every move. let's begin at the white house with joe johns. >> good morning, poppy. among other things breaking this morning, we do have some new
6:02 am
reporting who tells us that according to a source, one of the people who recommended the firing of fbi director james comey was in fact roger stone, the political consultant, a flamboyant individual, certainly. known as a confidant of president trump, who by the way, his activities have been called into question in the midst of this russia investigation. so apparently roger stone one of the individuals who recommended the firing of james comey. we also have a reporting that the white house chief of staff, reince priebus, was one of the individuals who did not want this to happen. apparently recommended against it. now, among other things, you mentioned the lab rov appearance here at the white house. it is not clear at all that he's actually going to be seen on camera because as far as we know, the meeting between lab rov and president trump is going to be off camera. now, we continue to watch the
6:03 am
reactions and the attempts by the administration to justify the firing of james comey. here is an example. the president himself in his tweets this morning, the democrats have said some of the worst things about james comey, including the fact he should be fired but now they play so sad. koeny lost t when things calm down, they will be thanking me. and james comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job bringing back the spirit and prestige of the fbi. so when we do get to talk to the administration, whether it be in briefing, perhaps a press secretary or some of the president's communications people have been coming out on the camera since last night, one of the main things we want to ask about is an interesting sentence in the president's letter which was used to fire james comey and there is a sentence. while i greatly appreciate you
6:04 am
informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation, i nevertheless concur with the judgment that the department of justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau. that is a curious sentence, obviously. the president putting on paper knowing this would be read that he says james comey told him on separate occasions that he was not under investigation. back to you. >> joe johns at the white house for us. we are watching the white house. the president meets with sergei lab rov. joe brought up the roger stone report on cnn. i should tell you president trump obviously watching cnn and tweeted the roger stone report on cnn is false, fake news. had nothing to do with my decision. so he claims he was not told by roger stone. we did see a claim by carter page. obviously this move has a huge impact inside the fbi. what is the mood there today?
6:05 am
evan, you have some new information for us this morning. >> that's right. you know, the reaction inside the bureau is frankly mixed. there is a lot of agents inside. a lot of people in the upper ranks who are a little bit tired of all the drama that's been surrounding the fbi in the last couple of years, you know, with jim comey at the leadership. obviously there has been a lot of time light and controversy over the handling of the investigation with the hillary clinton private e-mail server and of course the trump/russia investigation, which is now ongoing. some people feel a little bit of relief that perhaps they will be able to get back to doing their work in secret, in the quiet without all this public attention. but there is a lot of shock as well. even those people that thought perhaps it was time for comey to go, there is a lot of shock simply because nobody expected it to happen this way, not in this very public fashion and frankly a very rude fashion for him to be on the road and learn about it from television reports. and, you know, there is a lot of people who love him and support
6:06 am
him because they think he has been good for the bureau, helping modernize what the fbi does. so a mixed reaction there at the fbi. >> and evan, what about the confidence that the american people have, that the people, all of those men and women that served in the fbi have. what can be done to minimize the damage here and to maximize the public confidence? >> right, exactly. that's a very, very important part of this. the problem for the fbi is that it's not just them doing their jobs. this investigation is going to continue, at least for as far as we could tell. but the appearance, the public appearance is very much a part of what the fbi does and people have to have confidence at what the fbi is doing is justice and finding the truth. that's very much at the top of the mieds of people there. they want somebody who is going to be a leader who has the credibility, right to restore that credibility to this
6:07 am
investigation and to what the fbi does. what they're expecting and what they hope is that the justice department will be able to find somebody with high profile, somebody willing to stand up to the president, who will be known to stand up to the president if it needs be, but also somebody who has the credibility within the justice circles, the fbi circles and legal circles and also politically. so i don't know where you are going to find that person right now in washington. right now people are certainly very concerned that what they have seen, what the president has done is undermining that credibility. >> thank you for the great reporting you and your team have done throughout on this. it is really important to note because this sort of got lost in the mix of it last night, but this firing came just hours after cnn was the first news outlet to report that federal prosecutors have handed out grand jury subpoenas to a number of people with business ties to former national security advisor, fired former national security advisor michael flynn. our cnn crime and justice
6:08 am
producer is part of the team that broke that story last night. is it significant especially given the timing? >> certainly is. we were just about to go on air yesterday about this, about the fact that a federal grand jury out of virginia had issued subpoenas for business records relating to michael flynn. and what they're looking at is the business dealings that mike flynn had certainly between the time he left the obama administration to now. there have been a lot of questions about his relationships with russia and part of that investigation and as part of the fbi's investigation into the meddling and perhaps was there collusion between the trump orbit and the russian -- anyone within the russian government to sort of help meddle in the election, this investigation is still ongoing and as part of that the fbi has been seeking business records and the u.s. attorney and the eastern district of virginia issued subpoenas for
6:09 am
these records to associates of mike flynn. >> all right. thanks. great reporting. thanks for being with us. discuss now with our panel. jeffrey, i think it's fair to say when this news came out yesterday, you were shocked and you expressed your shock i think openly and publically. there have been several hours, several explanations by the white house since then. they say this is the president's prerogati prerogative. they say it was to restore public confidence in the fbi. does that cut out for you? >> that's completely bogus as far as i'm concerned. we are a situation now where this fbi was investigating the president of the united states. i don't care how you work the semantics. this was -- an ongoing investigation is of donald trump's presidential campaign. donald trump now fired the man who was in charge of that
6:10 am
investigation. that is unprecedented in american history and it is an outrage. and the deeper you get into the weeds here, the more bizarre and appalling it is. just -- i mean, just for example, the president's letter where he says the director comey told him on three occasions she was he was not a subject of the investigation, if that's true, it is a completely inappropriate relationship between an fbi director and a president. and if it is not true, it is an egregious lie by the president of the united states. either way, it compounds the problems of this whole endeavor. >> whether the president asked comey this would be completely inappropriate. any wae we cut it, we may know tomorrow because comey is set to testify tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. he said he is not going to -- this is a hearing about cyber
6:11 am
security. he would be asked and he could answer that question. >> well, first of all, i don't know whether he's actually going to testify. my bet is he will not testify. he is now the former fbi director. i suspect he will find a way not to appear. i also think when he comes to answer questions, he may not answer that question directly about what actually went on in those conversations. but just the fact the president would say it in a letter indicates that he is operating by a set of rules that is different from the ethical rules that democratic presidents, republican presidents have operated in for decades. and we're just in a new and disturbing world. >> i want to bring in patty who helped run hillary clinton's presidential campaign in 2008 and rick, a senior cnn political commentator. you have heard from jeffrey due bin is saying right now. i know you disagree with it. but are you saying the way the white house handled this,
6:12 am
completely appropriate? no problems with it at all? >> well, look. i think james comey should have been fired on day one, so i have been waiting for the president to do the right thing, which is to remove someone who seems to care more about his own reputation than he does about doing the job of fbi director. this is -- this is a long time coming. you know, the fact that james comey is probably the most famous fbi director since j. edgar hoover is not a compliment in my mind. fbi directors, attorney generals, people in the justice department should not be on the front page of papers. these are people that we don't know that are doing their job, that don't seek the limelight, don't get involved in politics and james comey has been anything but that. so i am excited that donald trump finally got around to doing the right thing. how he did it, why he did it, i'm not really concerned about that. he should have done it a long time ago. >> you are not concerned about the timing? you are not concerned at all
6:13 am
about how or why hours -- senator, respectfully hours after cnn learned that the grand jury investigating some of these russian ties around michael flynn had sent out these subpoenas. >> i don't think that was a decision made at the spur of the moment based upon a news report. i think this is something that's been in the work for quite some time. i think the fact that rosenstein, you know, put this memo together, i think think were looking for someone to lay this out and give them, as you have seen, the rational to do it. i frankly would not have waited for that. i said when i was running dur the campaign, i would have fired him right away. this is a political animal in the fbi and we don't need political animals in the fbi. >> senator, the stated justification for firing jim comey is that he was too mean to hillary clinton. do you believe that? do you believe that's why he was fired? >> i believe he was fired
6:14 am
because he mishandled the office of the fbi, that he sought fame above doing his job. he injected himself repeatedly in the political process. he conducted investigations improperly. he provided information about who was being investigated, who wasn't being investigated. these are things that should not be done. >> he did all of that with great praise from donald trump during the campaign. donald trump thought that was great. he said it publically over and over again. how can he fire him now for the -- for doing what he approved of repeatedly during the campaign. >> a move that kellyanne conway called eed irrelevant, by the . does that make sense, senator? >> what you see with donald trump and you have seen this repeatedly is that candidate trump and the things he says is someone who was an outsider, not particularly schooled in the ways of washington and praising certain things that he did during the campaign. and now getting inside the oval
6:15 am
office, seeing how things actually operate, seeing what the roles of these people are i think you look at it differently and he has. >> he's been the president of the united states for 110 days right now. he's new to the job argument may be wearing off. let me ask you, tom. you served in the fbi. you were the assistant director of the fbi. put yourselves in the shoes now of the argumegents. how do things change for them? will they do things differently? >> no, john. i don't think they will. and i think the investigation will go on. the work of the rank and file and the current management of the fbi will continue unabated. i don't see that as the problem. i think one thing we're not talking about enough here is the role of the deputy attorney general rosenstein. now, he isn't somebody that just fell off the tour bus. he's been in the department of justice for decades and throughout last summer he's sitting as the united states attorney in maryland having been
6:16 am
appointed by president obama. so he would have had a pretty close view of what was going on when director comey held the july 5th press conference, when director comey went into great detail of the misdeeds of hillary clinton and then the recommendation that no charges be brought, his testimony and a number of hearings throughout the summer and early fall last year before the election. so i think that as the department of justice insider and career member, he would have had a pretty close vantage point at that time. then he comes in as deputy attorney general a couple of weeks ago. now he has a chance to look at all of the investigations of the fbi. he isn't there just to do the russian case. although he is because of attorney general sessions rec e recusing himself, but he's looking at all the work of the fbi and how it was done and what went on through especially the hillary clinton e-mail and foundation investigations and those were separate
6:17 am
investigations a year ago. so i think that he was in a position to very quickly -- and that may have been what he was tasked to do, is you know the insight of the department of justice. give us, being the white house, an assessment of director comey's effectiveness, his support within the fbi and the manner in which he is not only conducting these investigations but also giving public statements about the same investigations. >> okay. patty, i want to get you in here. i know one thing that is confusing to us is why it was the deputy attorney general rosenstein who had to write this letter the white house. if this has nothing to do with russia, why was it that sessions didn't write this letter with this recommendation months ago. but patty, the president says democrats have nothing to complain about here. you will thank him when this all blows over. that's generally what the president is saying in his tweets this morning. the campaign manager for hillary clinton tweeted it is time for
6:18 am
comey to remove himself from th this. his credibility is gone. is this a brilliant act of political jujitsu by the president? >> i don't think we can blur what happened yesterday through partisan politics, okay? the president of the united states fired the fbi director while that fbi director was leading an investigation against that president of the united states. that is wrong. that is an abuse of power. it is not about republicans versus dems. it is not about trump voters versus hillary voters. that is about our democracy and what happened yesterday is a threat to that democracy, a threat to our rule of law and a threat to the principals and ideals we hold dear in this country. the principal that no one person is above the law, including the president of the united states. so this isn't about partisan politics and i'm really
6:19 am
concerned that, you know, we're all going to our standard positions as partisans. that's not what this is about. >> all right. guys, we have to leave it there. thank you very much. a lot ahead for us this hour. the president calls him crying chuck. how about just angry? senate minority leader chuck schumer calling for all his follows to join him on the floor in the senate, calling to hear what majority mitch mcconnell has to say about comey's firing. >> in the middle of this historic day, what is the reaction from the russian foreign minister? he's making a joke about this. >> did the comey firing cast a shadow over your talks? >> you're kidding. you're kidding. the security just like the marines did. the process through usaa is so effortless,
6:20 am
that you feel like you're a part of the family. i love that i can pass the membership to my children. we're the williams family, and we're usaa members for life.
6:21 am
wiback like it could used to? neutrogena hydro boost water gel. with hyaluronic acid it plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin. hydro boost. from neutrogena are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool?
6:22 am
try zyrtec® it's starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®.
6:23 am
it's about moving forward, not back.t. it's looking up, not down. it's being in motion. in body, in spirit, in the now. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for when you need a little extra. boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink. be up for it
6:24 am
all right. news that the president fired fbi director james comey sent shack waves through congress and across the country. in just moments the senate will convene with a special message from chuck schumer. >> the minority leader wants all members of his party in their seats when the session opens as a show of force. joining us now ed marchky of massachusetts. what is the message? what are you trying to do this morn something. >> we are trying to make it very clear this country could be careening towards a constitutional crisis. the president of the united states yesterday just fired the investigator who was leading an investigation into the relationship between the trump campaign, the trump transition team and the russian government. we have to ensure that the american people understand that
6:25 am
the united states senate or at least the democrats in the united states senate are going to stand and demand that a special prosecutor be named in order to ensure that all of the facts are out on the table for the american people to see and understand as to what exactly was the reason that president trump fired james comey as he was conducting an investigation of donald trump himself. >> a constitutional crisis that is explosive language. what specifically are you pointing to, senator? >> well, we obviously have very serious allegations that the russians were attempting to influence our campaign, our most sacred event to elect a president in a free and fair election. and there are very strong allegations that the russians had relationships with people inside of the trump campaign.
6:26 am
in fact, subpoenas have now been issued in northern virginia with regard to general flynn and general flynn's associates. a grand jury has been impanelled up in new york. so we know that -- >> are you suggesting, senator, are you suggesting that the president is in violation of the constitution? you used the words constitutional crisis. i understand you think this causes problems. but you said constitutional crisis. is he in violation of the constitution? >> what i am saying is that the constitution of the united states provides for an election of a president that is not influenced by foreign countries and that there is an open investigation by james comey until yesterday with regard to whether or not the russians were influencing that election. the president is saying it, his team is saying that the reason james comey was fired was because of the unfair way that
6:27 am
james comey treated hillary clinton during 2016. that is just not credible. especially given the fact that we know that simultaneously there is an investigation of the russian influence on the trump campaign in 2016. >> reading this rosenstein letter from the deputy attorney general which i know you have read many times as we have as well, is there one thing in this letter that you disagree with that goes to the point of removal of the fbi director? he says it is because of the way largely that comey handled hillary clinton and the e-mail scandal. is there one thing you disagree with in rod rosenstein's letter? >> the one thing i would disagree with is there is an ongoing inspector general investigation of that very matter and that there should have been a completion of that
6:28 am
investigation before any final decision was made. rod rosenstein just started on this job. there is an open inspector general investigation. and even if that was the conclusion ultimately that was reached, it still does not answer the question of why donald trump would all of a sudden believe that hillary clinton being treated unfairly was a justification for firing of a man who was conducting another investigation with regard to russian influence of the trump campaign and administration itself. >> senator, you know, i know you want a special prosecutor. the question is how hard are you willing to push for it. the democrats and republicans should grind government to a halt until a special prosecutor is named. are you willing to grind the business in the senate to a halt unless you get a special prosecutor? >> well, my hope is that democrats and republicans will come together and that there
6:29 am
will be a yun verbal call for a special prosecutor. that everyone will put country ahead of party, that we will give the american people the assurance that there was an independent determination of what exactly happened in this relationship between the russian government and our presidential election of 2016. >> what does that mean, senator? do you believe the senate should do any business until it gets an independent prosecutor, special prosecutor? do you believe it is that serious? >> well, my goal is to obviously have an independent prosecutor. and i do believe that listening to several republican senators over the last day that there is a rising concern amongst many of the leading republican senators as well and that we could come together in order to call jointly for the establishment of a special prosecutor. i think that would serve our
6:30 am
country very well and it would be a good statement to the country that we are committed as a congress to getting the answers that the american people demand and deserve to have the answers to. >> thank you very much. let's get more from cnn washington correspondent who joins us from capitol hill. the senator there was just talking about some of his republican colleagues and we've just heard from a very prominent one. >> that's right. you heard the senator talk about their desire to have an independent prosecutor, but the fact they are in the minority makes it difficult for them to push for that, to try and obstruct the business of the senate without some help from republicans. and senator mccain telling manu on camera that he is in favor of an independent prosecutor. he thinks this is necessary. he's not alone. there have been a couple of republican senators and even
6:31 am
some in the house who have echoed those sentiments. but it really depends on which member of the senate you are talking to in terms of the direction they see this going forward. listen to what both house minority leader chuck schumer and what lindsey graham had to say about this issue this morning. >> were these investigations getting too close to home for the president? if the administration had those same questions, the events occurred months ago. and they should have fired comey on the day they came into office. >> i think director comey is a fine man, but democrats called for his removal about two or three, four weeks ago and now he's gone and we get a chance to pick a new director. hopefully we all could agree on somebody above reproach. >> i want to quickly read for you a jamt by richard burr. he's the chair of the senate intel committee. he said, quote, i am troubled by the timing and the reasoning of director comey's termination.
6:32 am
i have found director comey to be a public servant of the highest order and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by this committee. his dismissal is a loss for the bureau and a loss for the nation. when you have someone like richard burr, who is someone who has been relatively friendly to the trump administration, but worked very hard to have a bipartisan investigation into the role that russia played in the american election, it shows that republicans are very uncomfortable with this firing of james comey and that could give us some clue as to how this debate was going to move forward. >> ryan, standby for one second. we are looking at the floor of the senate right now. we do have some breaking news while this is going on. we understand that the current tone general and the deputy a.g. will interview potential interim fbi directors today. they will interview potential interim directors.
6:33 am
the candidate is not just limited to the fbi. but they will bring people in to get some ideas to fill the post at least temporarily. i'm not sure what that means because in the meantime measuring kmccabe will serve as fbi director. you know, ryan, we may have to interrupt you, but give us a sense of what the confirmation hearings will be like for the next fbi director when that happens. contentious to say the least? >> there is no doubt about that because to a certain extent, that's really the only ability that the democrats have to make their voices heard. they don't have enough votes to stop the confirmation. >> hang on one second. let's listen to mitch mcconnell. >> providing for congressional disapproval under chapter eight of united states code and so forth. >> i ask unanimous consent the democratic leader and i be allowed to give remarks at this time. >> without objection.
6:34 am
>> mr. president, today is my privilege to welcome a distinguished group of kentucky to our capital. because of the incredible work of the honor flight program, over 80 veterans from across my home state will travel to washington. here they will see the memorials built to honor their service. the blue grass chapter on our flight has brought hundreds of veterans, most of them kentucky to washington for this purpose. despite the significant logical and financial planning that goes into these trips, honor flight makes sure they can travel at no cost to themselves. the program organizes travel and food for these veterans, many of whom would never be able to visit our nation's capital or see the memorials at all without honor flight. the national monument built on the model pay tribute to those who sacrifice for the cause of
6:35 am
freedom. i would like to add my voice to those who welcome these veterans and thank them for their service to our country. i'm glad to see many of our democratic friends here with us today. yesterday, they sent me a letter indicating they want to participate as we work on legislation that can bring relief from obamacare. in that letter they acknowledged the need to improve and reform the health care system. after eight years of defending this failing law and its higher cost, reduced choices and dropped coverage, i'm glad to hear that senate democrats are finally willing to concede that the status quo is simply unsustainable. i appreciate their willingness to acknowledge that obamacare hasn't lived up to its promises. that's certaily a reality that senate republicans entirely agree with. it's why we're working to keep our commitment to the american people to move beyond the failures of obamacare. if our friends on the other side
6:36 am
of the aisle want to join us in replacing obamacare with common sense reforms, i welcome their input. it's disappointing it has taken our democrat colleagues this long to come around, but i look forward to hearing their ideas now and having a debate on the senate floor as we pursue smarter health care solutions. as we continue working to address this critical issue, it is important to remember why we need to act in the first place. across the country, more and more americans are feeling the pain of obamacare. listen to these recent headlines. thousands of obamacare customers left without options as insurers bolt. more insurers abandon obamacare. who might be next? obamacare choices could go from one to zero in some areas. obamacare is failing the american people and it keeps getting worse. families face skyrocketing
6:37 am
premiums and the risk of losing the doctors or plans they like. just this week we saw more troubling news out of maryland where one major insurer proposed a premium increase of more than 50% warning the obamacare market is in the early stages of a death spiral. we saw similar stories out of connecticut, too. there insurers requested double digit increases that could top out at 52% amid worries that the insurers may leave. these states aren't alone. i continue to hear from people from kentucky who are desperate for relief. take this woman who spurchased obamacare. only then did she find out how hard it would be for her to actually, actually get care. here's what she had to say. today i am making payments for a health care plan that does not cover my doctors, does not cover all my prescriptions. it is almost totally useless.
6:38 am
i'm the only person, but i'm sure i speak for many. i'm only one person, but i'm sure i speak for many people who are finding themselves in this difficult situation. obamacare is a failed law that continues to hurt americans every single day. it is taking a bigger bite out of their budgets. as too many have discovered, covering fewer services they actually need. we've all received letters from our constituents like the ones i just shared. these families are the ones shouldering the burdens of obamacare, counting on us to act and move passed the failures of obamacare. if we don't, this situation will only get worse. that's why we continue to engage in productive conversations with each member of our conference on the way forward to providing relief from obamacare. i look forward to continuing these talks and welcoming our democratic colleagues to the conversation, if they are ready to join us.
6:39 am
but it's certainly an important step for the entire democratic caucus to acknowledge that the status quo is failing the american people and that congress cannot sit by while americans suffer. the consequences of this failed law. now one final matter. what everyone thinks of the manner in which director james comey handled the investigation into secretary clinton's unauthorized use of a private server and her mishandling of classified information, it is clear what our democratic colleagues thought of it. both at that time and consistently thereafter. last year the current the democratic leader said it appeared to be an appalling act. one that goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government and the prior democratic leader when i asked if james comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, he replied of course, yes.
6:40 am
it's also clear that our democratic colleagues think of the man who evaluated mr. comey's professional conduct and concluded that the bureau needed a change in leadership. the democratic leader just a few weeks ago praised mr. rosenstein for his independence and said he had developed a reputation for integrity. so we have now, mr. president, our democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an fbi director who they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized. that removal being done by a man rod rosenstein who they repeatedly praised. when mr. rosenstein recommended mr. comey's removal for many of the various reasons that they consistently complained about.
6:41 am
two investigations are currently ongoing. the senate intelligence committee's review of russian active measures and intelligence activities and the fbi investigation disclosed by director comey. today we'll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the russians may have done, also to let this body and the national security community develop counter measures and war fighting doctrine to see that it doesn't occur again. partisan calls should not delay the considerable work of chairman burr and vice chairman warner. too much is at stake. deputy attorney general rosenstein was just confirmed on a bipartisan vote 94-6.
6:42 am
94-6. and that sort of fair consideration should continue when the senate receives an fbi director nominee. as i said yesterday, once the senate receives a nomination to fill this position, we'll look forward to a full, fair and calm confirmation process. this is a critical role that is particularly important as our country continues to face serious threats at home and abroad. >> mr. president, the democrat leader, yesterday, the president fired the director of the fbi, jim comey, who was leading an active investigation into the trump campaign's possible collusion with russia. the president provided no reasoning for the firing other than he had the recommendation of his attorney general, who has
6:43 am
already had to recuse himself from the russia investigation for being too close to the president and his deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. mr. president, there is little reason to think that mr. rosenstein less letter is the true reason that president trump fired director comey. why? because if the administration truly had objections to the way director comey handled the clinton investigation, they would have had them the minute the president got into office. but he didn't fire director comey then. the question is why did it happen last night? we know director comey was leading an investigation in whether the trump campaign colluded with the russians, a serious offense. were those investigations getting too close to home for the president? the dismissal of director comey
6:44 am
establishes a very troubling pattern. this administration has now removed several law enforcement officials in a position to conduct independent investigations of the president and his administration. from acting attorney general sally yates and now jim comey. what should happen now? what must happen now is that mr. rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor to oversee this investigation. deputy attorney general rosenstein sat in the judiciary committee and promised to appoint a special prosecutor at the appropriate time. he said, quote, "i'm willing to appoint a special counsel whenever i determine it is appropriate." so my colleague asked him, would you agree it is vital to the assurance of confidence in our democracy and law enforcement system that any investigation
6:45 am
into these matters be fair, free, thoroughly and politically independent? mr. rosenstein answered yes, i do. if there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor, it is right now. mr. rosenstein already expressed concern that director comey damaged the integrity of the fbi. the attorney general has already had to recuse himself from the investigation for being too close to the president. if mr. rosenstein is true to his word that he believes this investigation must be, quote, fair, free, thorough and politically independent, if he believes as i do that the american people must be able to have faith in the impartiality of this investigation, he must appoint a special prosecutor and get his investigation out of the hands of the fbi and far away
6:46 am
from the heavy hand of this administration. mr. rosenstein has the authority to appoint a special prosecutor right now. he needs no congressional authorization. this would simply be a step that he could take as outlined in the department of justice guidelines and in a law passed after water gate to get an independently minded prosecutor who would be insulated from various pressures. a special prosecutor is not subject today today supervision by the justice department. that means the special prosecutor would have much greater lat constitute in who he could subpoena, how to conduct an investigation. the special prosecutor can only be removed for good cause, such as misconduct, not to quash the investigation. third, there is built-in congressional oversight.
6:47 am
congress is notified whenever a special council is appointed, removed or finished with the investigation. the appointment of a special prosecutor would be a welcome step in the right direction, but it is not the only action that should be taken. there are a great many outstanding questions about the circumstances of director comey's dismissal, the status of the executive branch investigation into the trump campaign ties to russia and what the future holds for these investigations. so i will be requesting that the majority leader call a closed and, if necessary, classified session. all senators briefing. sorry. i will be requesting that the majority leader call a closed and if necessary classified all senators briefing with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general separately, at which they can be asked
6:48 am
questions. some of the questions: why was attorney general sessions, who had recused himself from the russia investigations, able to influence the firing of the man conducting the russia investigation? did deputy attorney general rosenstein act on his own or at the direction of his superiors or the white house? are reports that the president has been searching for a rational to fire the fbi director for weeks true? was director comey's investigation making significant progress in a direction that would cause political damage to the white house? why didn't the president wait for the inspector general's investigation into director comey's handling of the clinton e-mail investigation to conclude before making his decision to
6:49 am
fire him? was this really about something else? no doubt we'll have an opportunity to question mr. comey, now a private citizen, about what happened. but we need to hear from this administration about what happened and why and what is going to happen next. that is why, again, i am requesting that the majority leader call a closed and if necessary classified all sessions briefing with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general separately, at which they can be asked these questions. i hope the majority leader agrees with me, that we need to get to the bottom of this and get a handle on all the facts so that we can grapple with them. i remind him and my republican friends that nothing less is at stake than the american people's faith in our criminal justice
6:50 am
system and the integrity of the executive branch of our government. the question is on the motion to proceed. there you have it, the minority leader chuck schumer following the majority leader mitch mcconnell over the fbi director's firing. interestingly, schumer calling for an all-senators briefing with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general where they can ask a number of questions and he listed some of those key questions. >> is also interesting, the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell made clear he thinks any new investigation will only impede the work currently being done in congress. the message there, no special committee and no special prosecutor as far as i'm concerned. >> someone calling for a special committee is republican senator john mccain. let's go to our manu raju who caught up with him. he isn't satisfied with the rationale for the firing and he
6:51 am
doesn't seem to think that a special prosecutor is necessarily the answer. >> yeah, that's right. unlike mitch mcconnell, senator mccain is actually very concerned about this decision to fire james comey. he said he's disappointed in him. he says he does not believe there's been any sort of explanation that has given that justifies this firing. take a listen to what he said. >> sir, does it also worry you that this firing came right at the same time as the fbi was investigating the trump campaign connections to russia? >> i think they've been investigating the trump campaign's connections with russia for a long time. i just think that it, obviously, was not done in an efficient fashion, but when you fire probably, arguably, the most respected person in america, you better have a very good explanation, and so far i haven't seen that. >> you don't buy the clinton e-mail explanation that he mishandled the clinton e-mails and that's why he was fired? >> i don't believe that that is
6:52 am
sufficient rationale for removing the director of the fbi, and i regret that it's happened. we have a lot of issues and challenges and this just diverts a lot of that attention. >> now i did also push mccain on the idea of a special prosecutor and whether one is necessary at this point. he did not go that far saying instead that special committee, a congressional committee that can investigate, dive deeply into this issue of russia meddling is necessary right now. the question is whether other republican senators will join the call by john mccain and lindsay graham for that special committee that would need to overcome the opposition of the senate majority leader to do just that, but clearly, some concerns here about the reason behind the firing of james comey coming from a very prominent member of the senate and also we'll hear more of that later today from republican senators as they grapple with this news
6:53 am
and uncertain about why the white house took this action at this key moment of this russian investigation months after the james comey press conference from last year, guys. >> manu raju on the hill. thank you for that, for getting that sound and mccain bringing it to us. political analyst and from the daily beast, david drucker and from the washington examiner. one of the key questions this morning, there are many, is how far are republicans willing to go, right? you have mccain saying i'm not satisfied here. you have ben sasse concerned and ben flake. you have a number of them, right? but how far are they willing to go to actually do something about this, jackie, do you believe? >> it's hard to say, but it is notable. someone like richard burr who is a chairman of the intelligence committee. bob corker, for example, another republican who doesn't usually get ahead of his skis on this sort of thing. the fact that they're speaking
6:54 am
out and the fact that they felt their statements yesterday were so strong, these weren't just off-the-cuff comments and these weren't things they just sat down and wrote. that indicates that this is going to be over any time soon. how that manifests itself i think still is an open question. >> as of now, all it is is strongly written letters and harsh words and there are so many watergate comparisons and the key vote, was they put pressure on the nixon administration and the question is how much pressure are they willing to put on now. ron rosen stein, the deputy attorney general he was before the confirmation hearings and he was very specifically asked about what he might be willing to do in terms of a special prosecutor. listen to what rod rosenstein said back then. >> are you willing to appoint a special counsel to examine russian interference and other
6:55 am
criminal activity? >> i'm willing to appoint a special counsel, senator, whenever i determine it's appropriate based on the policies and procedures of the justice department. >> so they didn't shut the door, david drucker, and if there was ever a moment when he would be feeling pressure to do this that moment would be now. >> i wouldn't be surprised and i've talked to republicans on the hill who want a special prosecutor can look into what they believe are improper leaks of classified information, and i wouldn't be surprised if president trump theoretically would want a special prosecutor and hopes that it happens because he is so incensed about what he feels are leaks that came from obama administration holdovers. one of the things, though, i think that we should look for going forward is how much pressure senate republicans put on the administration to nominate a successor to james comey that is unimpeachable that is about as apolitical as you can get for something like this because they'll be on the hook for his confirmation and they'll
6:56 am
have to defend it in 2018 and that's why i think the people who are worried that the president is going to replace comey with some sort of a stooge that republicans in the senate will rubber-stamp. remember, it takes 51 votes to have a filibuster of nominees and i don't think mcconnell will allow his members to get in that kind of trouble and there are plenty of republicans that aren't critical of trump who are going to stick with them a lot longer whether it's one term or two and they plan to be in the senate for a lot longer than that. so i think the president will be under pressure to do a better job of explaining this so that he gets republican support and he's going to have to nominate somebody thought of similarly to how comey was thought of originally when he was first nominated to be the fbi director. >> regardless of who the president nominates, jackie, and as david importantly pointed out only needs 51 votes to get through. will that person have to recuse
6:57 am
themselves from the russian investigation because of the nature of the nomination being done by the president? i don't think so, but it all depends on who he decides to nominate at this point. i also think it's interesting that mitch mcconnell decided to take the white house line on this in terms of democrats who were criticizing comey, too, and oh, look now they're upset about this. >> the bottom line is what comey was apparently fired for is something that the president praised him for on the campaign trail. so it was -- given who mitch mcconnell is and how he operates i thought it was interesting that he took that tact. >> a key moment, the president has mitch mcconnell on his side on this and we haven't heard from paul ryan. that is what he needs today politically, at least. jackie kucinich and david drucker, a lot of breaking news, the senate majority leader essentially saying uh-uh, to investigate russia even after
6:58 am
the firing of james comey. much more coming up. piece of je. ...the engagement ring of her dreams you had designed just for her. in fact, with custom design services in every jared... ...anything you can imagine, our expert jewelers can create. something completely original, completely unique... ...completely her. custom design that's why he went to jared. so i use excedrin.ments from my life. it starts to relieve migraine pain in just 30 minutes. and it works on my symptoms, too. now moments lost to migraines are moments gained with excedrin. [heartbeat] hello, my name is watson. i am helping 8 million taxpayers get the largest refund they deserve. one million people can benefit from precision cancer care.
6:59 am
197 million passengers can fly with less turbulence. i am on my way to working with one billion people. i look forward to working with you. i am on my way to working with one bz2bg8z z10mze. y2bg8y y10my it's me? alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three.
7:00 am
[ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma very good sweety, how do you feel? good. yeah? you did a really good job, okay? [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson. [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, she pretty much lives in her favorite princess dress. but once a week i let her play sheriff so i can wash it. i use tide to get out those week old stains and downy to get it fresh and soft. you are free to go. tide and downy together. this i can do, easily. i try hard to get a great shape. benefiber® healthy shape is a clear, taste-free, 100% natural daily fiber... that's clinically proven to help me feel fuller longer. benefiber® healthy shape. this i can do! good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm pop


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on