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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  June 8, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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that the organization was in disarray. and that they lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. and i am so sorry that the fbi workforce had to hear them and i'm sorry that the american people were told them. i worked every day at the fbi to help make that great organization better. >> also revealed today, james comey said he intinentionally h a friend leak memos of his conversations with the president to the media hoping it would eventually spur the hiring of a special prosecutor in this russia investigation, which is precisely what's happened. he offered more details about the private interaction that he had with president trump, now fired nsa michael flynn and said that the president said, i hope you can let this go. >> i took his words as a
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direction. i took it as this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> you may have taken it as a direction but that's not what he said. >> correct. >> he said "i hope". >> those are his exact words. correct. >> you don't know anyone who has been charged for hoping something. >> i don't as i sit here. >> so that was just a piece of the hearing. we'll play you snippets throughout the course of the next hour. we also just heard from the special counsel of the president of the -- the outside special counsel marc kasowitz. he just spoke moments ago here in washington. >> contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today's hearing, mr. comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately. that is, that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into russian
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interference. the president -- mr. comey also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any russian interference. mr. comey's testimony also makes clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into an attempted russian interference in the 2016 election. >> all right. so i have some very smart lawyers on my panel who can get into privileged conversations, what that means. before we get to that, you know, let's just start anew. for people just tuning in, they've learned about this hearing and they are going through the headlines. >> not a very smart lawyer, just fyi. >> he's not a smart lawyer. we'll look to you on that. but on politics, you've got that, you've got that. so i read your piece right after we heard comey and the whole lie comment. >> yeah. >> out of the gate, feeling like he was defamed by the president,
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confused over why he was fired. >> yeah. look, they don't have that long a history together. jim comey and donald trump met on january 6th. now, it speaks to what jim comey thought of donald trump. he immediately gets in the car afterwards and begins rapping out notes of the meeting because, as he said today, he was concerned that donald trump might lie about the nature of their conversations i mean, that's pretty striking. we're talking about the sitting fbi director -- >> in the van on a classified laptop. >> right. this is not a guy -- jim comey has never been at this level before. he's advised george w. bush and met privately with barack obama. so his alarm went off, i think is telling. if you think jim comey is out to get donald trump, then you're going to dismiss that. but i do think that that is
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important. almost as soon as he met donald trump and took the measure of him -- >> his antenna went up. >> one other thing, nine conversations, three in person and six on the phone between donald trump and jim comey. almost all -- i believe all, initiated by donald trump. either inviting him to the white house or calling him on the phone. and in three-plus years as fbi director under barack obama, barack obama's last two years, two total conversations one on one, one of which was to say, your presidency is over. hope you have a happy trails. again, that's not a smoking gun. right? as the many smart lawyers will tell you, that's not -- legally that doesn't do much. politically speaking, if it is and this is what it has evolved into, a he said/he said, that seems to be to be telling in terms of the pattern of trump's interaction with comey and then comey's assessment of trump.
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>> it is a he said he said because the whole let flynn go and the other piece of the loyalty, he's saying no way did the president ever say that. your take away? >> you've identified the correct headlines here. it's never a good day for a white house when the spokesperson has to go out and say the president is not a liar. you're not having a good day. and matt schlapp said there's no way for today to be a good day. and it wasn't. you have the former fbi director calling the president and his administration liars and saying that he understood the president to be giving direction to stomp down on the flynn investigation. those two things are terrible headlines. that being said, chris was just talking about that at first meeting, jim comey was already suspecting that donald trump was a liar. well, you know what, 64% of the electorate last november said when they went to the polls that they didn't believe donald trump was honest and trustworthy.
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by the way, one in five who said that voted for donald trump. here's what i'm saying. i don't know that donald trump's political position got weaker. it's a terrible day for the trump white house but it could have been so much worse potentially had new information been introduced here. here, the country already kind of knows that donald trump's a liar. two-thirds of the country thought that on election day. and we've seen in recent days that a majority of the country believes that he interfered with the investigation. so this was a problem already for him on these two fronts. what i found intriguing today, in watching the republicans on the committee, they certainly didn't go with the rnc point, discrediting comey as someone who shouldn't be trusted or listened to. that was just absurd. that wasn't going to work. the guy is a total stand-up guy and knows how to do this and is a pro. so they propped him up, all the republicans were saying you're a
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great -- >> we respect you. >> totally respect you. but they did keep underlining almost to a person this notion of, you did tell the president that he wasn't under investigation. they were still on team trump in terms of that. and i did not sense or see -- others feel free to tell me if you saw something else, a republican really take a turn away from the white house. and when you talk about this being a political arena, the things that is going to change politically at some point is when republicans start abandoning the president -- >> including rubio and mccain, by the way, who are people who have been quite critical of donald trump. >> sure. >> i'm not totally sure i don't want to say that mccain was defending trump but rubio and roy blunt of missouri were two of the staunches offenders. >> you guys bring up a good
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point with regard to the conversation according to james comey, director comey, not according to the president who disputes this as to whether or not he said let flynn go. and the question then being would that constitute obstruction of justice. here's more from the hearing. >> general flynn, at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. there was an open fbi criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the russian contacts and the contacts themselves. and so that was my assessment at the time. i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning but that's a conclusion i'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense. >> director, is it possible that as part of this fbi investigation, the fbi could find evidence of criminality that is not tied to the 2016 elections, possible collusion or
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coordination with russians? >> sure. >> so there could be something that fits a criminal aspect of this that doesn't have anything to do with the 2016 election cycle? >> correct. in any complex investigation, when you start to turn over a rock, sometimes you find things that are unrelated to the primary investigation that are criminal in nature. >> okay. so evan perez, our justice correspondent, is breaking news right and left on this whole story. the question comes, for the special counsel for bob mueller, what, then, would constitute obstruction of justice? walk me through the steps that he will have to take to determine whether it is or not. >> well, i think what you heard from jim comey just now is exactly what we expect to be the next set of headlines, which is whether bob mueller, now that he has these memos from james comey after having the benefit of watching him testify today which we know over at the special counsel's office, just about half a mile away, they were
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watching today. whether or not he's going to now look at and investigate any effort to impede this investigation, whether he considers this enough probable cause to basically direct the fbi agents to start investigating the president and anybody else who might have tried to meddle and interfere with the investigation. that's where we're going to go next. we don't know -- >> really, let's just step back and -- this was initially in these conversations, according to the public statement from mr. comey, the president wanted to have the public assurance that this wasn't a personal investigation into him, which it never was. >> which is the irony. >> which is the irony of this whole thing today. >> marc kasowitz, according to jim acosta's reporting, was last night at the trump hotel celebrating, smoking cigars and sort of saying, yes, we won. the president is not under investigation. that may quickly change because of the facts that we're hearing. look, we're not saying here that there has been obstruction. i think there's still some steps
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here that we need to hear from the other people who did have interactions with the president, including the director of national intelligence, the head of the nsa who both had interactions which may be interpreted as trying to influence the investigation. all those things need to come to light. but i think what you heard from comey is that he certainly says, you know, i'm sure that the special counsel will work to figure out whether there was obstruction or something there. >> you, sir, know the special counsel very well, having worked with him. michael, just weigh in on obstruction of justice and especially given the fact that we've heard from the outside counsel from the president saying he never said that. >> well, that's interesting in and of itself. let's start with obstruction of justice. i think there is, on the basis of the testimony today in the question and answer period, enough information for mueller's office to initiate an inquiry as to whether or not the president in his communications with comey with respect to flynn endeavored to obstruct justice. >> initiated an inquiry? >> yes. started an investigation.
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>> yep. >> second, i think that when you put together the loyalty and communications about the cloud and the communications about the cloud and then the firing, that's another element that has to be looked at in the totality of the state of mind of the person who is endeavoring to obstruct justice. so from a legal standpoint today, it was not a great day for the president's legal team with respect to the flynn investigation. the other thing that's not also a good thing for the legal team, marc kasowitz's statement. mark is a very good lawyer. he was careful, i think, to say the president was not under investigation. well, the reality, of course, is, he is now. and unfortunatelily he is now because of his own ham-handedness. >> if he had not tweeted and shut up about it. >> it happened. >> and one last thing and -- i'm
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sorry. and the thing that's odd to me is that they have chosen to have a fight with jim comey, a reputational fight. who, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are you to believe? this witness who has spent his career in government who just testified under oath about all of these things. i think in a very heartfelt way versus the president. i just don't think that's a good place to be legally. >> rebecca, jump on that but also a piece of testimony today, we heard director comey saying with regard to this meeting over michael flynn and this whole "i hope -- i hope you let this go" versus "let this go". >> you saw republican senators trying to rehabilitate what comey had said by asking comey, well, he just said "i hope," so that's okay, isn't it? have you ever looked up a case where "i hope you drop the
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investigation" is sufficient to bring obstruction of justice charges. as a starting point, that is a bad day. it is a bad day when you've got republicans out there trying to carefully craft or pick apart the president's statement to try and save him from obstruction of justice charges but comey was clear. what comey said is, i felt it was a directive. i felt i was being told to drop the investigation against general flynn. i find that extremely disturbing. flynn was in legal jeopardy and i felt like i was being directed. he also said i felt like i was being essentially -- it felt like there was an effort to corrupt him and make him feel like he owed trump something. there was a patronage relationship. >> it was a hope about having this job, i really like you, the whisper across the blue room as though the president had done him this favor by keeping him in his job, therefore, what are you going to do for me? >> and that's a quote about the lady justice has a blindfold. she's not supposed to be peeping
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out looking if it's okay with her patron. james comey was being pressured, if not threatened, to drop an ongoing investigation. >> i am a lawyer although i try not to play one on television. let me agree with david in every way. it wasn't a good day for the white house but here's what they got out of it. they finally have a communications message going forward and it's to go after jim comey. jim comey, who i have the greatest amount of respect for, i think he's a patriotic american, he has cultivated this behavior and then, yeah, i took a memo and handed it off to my friend on my way out of town and he leaked it to "the new york times" with my knowledge. it says comey is a common politician. i don't think he is. but it's the move of a common
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politician in washington to take out his opponent by leaking a memo and -- >> how do you explain the leak? >>. >> that's a good point. >> i actually disagree with that. i have to say it's the move of someone who lacks confidence and leadership in the department of justice to act impartially. to act independently and to do their job. it says to me that he wasn't sure that the story was going to get out any other way and the only way to get to the bottom of what happened here was to get the truth out and what it meant. >> and though i do think we are all in this world and following every second of it. i think if you're following it in the broadest strokes, what do you see out of that? jim comey, d.c. insider, donald trump d.c. outsider.
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i don't think he's saved from political jeopardy either but that's the dynamic by which he won the election. that's not going to stop the special counsel. it's not a -- the message is to go after comey and the problem is it is muddled. they are saying believe comey here but not here. >> i want to come back to you, asha. the thing is, so much of this could be cleared up if there are tapes, an actual record -- lordy. >> more on the tapes. continuing live coverage from washington, d.c., on a very billing day. we'll be right back. lordy. i guess i was born with a crayon in my hand.
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i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took it because i was playing in my mind and remembered every word i was playing in my mind, what should my response be and that's why i carefully chose the word. lord dee, i hope there are tapes. the president surely knows whether he taped me and if he did, my feelings aren't hurt. replea release the tapes. >> lordy, i hope there are tapes. we're here in washington. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. it's this whole question, does the white house have tapes. and apparently when sarah huckabee sanders, a spokeswoman for the white house today said i don't know if we have tapes and joked apparently about looking under the sofa. it's not actually funny.
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david chalian, my question being, you have to know. you can't just say i don't know. reince priebus has to know, the president has to know. >> certainly the president has to know. i don't understand how there could be a taping system that he tweeted about if it existed that he would not know about. and so certainly let's start there. you recall that tweet that morning he put the word "tapes" in quotes which people on his team had pointed out. so it has been confounding ever since he tweeted that whether it was pure distraction or a made up thing or there are tapes. sarah huckabee sanders said no. >> we have some sound. li let's listen to her ourselves. >> can you say definitively whether there's a taping system that allows the president to record his conversations here at the white house? >> i have no idea. >> he said that -- you have no idea whether there's a taping system in the oval office. could you find out. people are wanting to know, as
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you can imagine. >> sure. i'll try to look under the couches. >> what? >> here's the thing. this is an answerable question. this is not like, what is the meaning of life. either it was taped, recordings exist or they don't. this is the strategy, i guess strategy, that the white house uses now, which is, you ask a question that has a clear answer, like does the president believe in global warming or not? because he's called it a hoax and said it was made up for the chinese before. can you ask him, sean? yeah. i will. have you asked him? no, i haven't had a chance to ask him. i'm not saying that the press secretary should have full-time access to answer press inquiries but these should have answers. when you float the idea that --
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>> there's a real consequence, though. >> absolutely. >> there's a real consequence to that tweet. because according to james comey's testimony today, he said he got up in the middle of the night thinking about what the president said and remembered that he had memorialized all of these conversations and thought, hell, if he's got tapes, i've got memos. >> which led to the special counsel, a direct line about that tape to bob mueller being appointed a special counsel. >> brooke, if there are tapes, there's a law called the presidential records act. those cover any kind of communications that would be recorded in the oval office. they cannot be destroyed and they would be legally required. >> that would be pulled into the bob mueller investigation. >> i totally agree. there will be an interrogatory going to the white house, does it exist or does it not. back to sarah huckabee sanders, i think you're seeing a press strategy here, which is, let's devalue the press briefings. we don't know the answers. we don't want to know for legal reasons as well and they are going to communicate through their own lawyers, they are starting to get their message
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together. it took bill clinton a long time in white water to come up with, it's just about sex. let's move on and ken starr is the devil and we're starting to see the beginning of a strategy. i'm not saying it's great. i didn't like clinton devaluing -- >> but that's what they did. >> and it's like the russians taking over the democratic process. not to worry. nothing to see here. >> they are going to get their sea legs out of this. it wasn't great that clinton lied either. and what the russians did is -- >> that was about sex and this is about -- >> that was about lying under oath. >> oh, lying. i'm not equating the two. i'm just saying that they have a political strategy now that came out of today which is the deep state actually exists. it's the president versus the permanent government. >> i'm a lawyer, too. that terrifies me. we're at war with our constitutional -- >> let's go to chris -- brian
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stelter, our senior media correspondent. you talk a lot about these briefings. we're talking about this leak, although there's been discussion about whether it could be constituted as whistleblower status. what do you think? >> i think it's a side show. it's a talking point for conservative media to say that the president had a good day and not a very bad day here. look, if you are -- if you are james comey and you feel there is a problem at the top of our government, what do you do? you tell a couple of your friends and try to get the word out however you can. whatever the president said to comey, it's not necessarily classified or privileged. not every conversation they had was a secret. but this white house seems to be trying to keep a lot of secrets. that was my takeaway all morning, brooke, was there are a lot of secrets in this white house. is he taping conversations? we can't tell you the answer.
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who's really the answer today? is it vladimir putin? you know, comey is telling the country to pay attention to this crisis, this attack by russia. he says it's going to happen again. and yet what do we hear a lot today? partisan squabbling. the left and right arguing about who is right and wrong here. russian propaganda outlets are loving this today, brooke. >> michael, what do you think about this? >> i think the russians have been having a field day all along because, look, trump may have been the favorite candidate of putin in the election for whatever reason, but russia is no friend of trump's now and russia is no friend of the united states. and so they want to show their public that, look, democracy is disorderly, it's terrible. look at all of these different people over here. because in his deck of the woods, it delegitimatizes what is a corrupt system in russia.
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i think they are benefiting from this. >> one side bar we haven't even gotten into, the side bar being the former a.g. loretta lynch and the damning testimony that mr. comey gave today regarding miss lynch and apparently when the hillary clinton e-mail investigation was swirling, whether he should call it just a matter instead of an investigation. we've got that for you coming up next. let's see, there are the wildcats 'til we die weekenders. the watch me let if fly. this i gotta try weekenders. then we've got the bendy... ... spendy weekenders. the tranquility awaits. hanging with our mates weekenders and the it's been quite a day... glad we got away weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are,
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with technology that can update itself. and advanced fiber network infrastructure. new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. we're back here live in washington. i'm brooke baldwin. continuing our coverage of the biggest hearing on capitol hill in a very long time. fired fbi director james comey talking candidly about his private conversations with president trump. but at some point this morning he dropped a bombshell involving the hillary clinton campaign and the obama administration. on the fbi's investigation into hillary clinton's e-mail server, he was asked if there was anything that led to his
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decision to publicly announce its closure last july. director comey said it was influenced by then attorney general loretta lynch's now infamous tarmac meeting with bill clinton and another conversation he had with the then a.g., which he says concerned him. >> it concerned me because we were at the point where we had refused to confirm the existence, as we typically do, of an investigation for months and it was getting to a place where that looked silly because the campaigns were talking about interacting with the fbi in the course of our work. the clinton campaign at the time was using all kind of euphamisms, security review, for what was going on. the attorney general and i were going to have to testify and talk publicly about it and i wanted to know was she going to authorize us to confirm that we had an investigation. she said yes, but don't call it that. call it a matter. i said, why would i do that? and she said, just call it a
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matter. and again, you look back in hindsight you think should i have resisted harder? this isn't had hill worth dying on. i said, okay, the press is going to completely ignore it and that's what happened. when i said that we are investigating a matter, they took it as the fbi has an investigation open. >> joining me is robby mook, former clinton campaign manager. i want to get your testimony on the big testimony today honing in on what director comey just said about what the attorney general was instructing him to do using the word matter over investigation and that was essentially the language that your campaign was using. do you think it was appropriate for loretta lynch to be asking director comey to essentially downplay the word and say "matter" instead of
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"investigation"? >> i don't obviously know what transpired between the two of them. we'll just have to take the director's commentary on that. and our campaign wasn't talking to anybody in the justice department. we were going off what was being said publicly. i would say overall in this entire matter, you know, it's important that we learn the facts about what happened in the past but it's also important that we fix what didn't work in the future. and i think, to get into this -- into that small anecdote that he told, i think we're losing the broader picture here, which is we had breakdowns across the spectrum. >> i don't want to lose the broader spectrum but if we do take, you know, the former fbi director at his word and this is what loretta lynch told him to do, can you just weigh in for me on what he said this morning? >> it's hard for me to do so because i don't know the facts of the matter. you know, what i -- >> if she did that, robby, if she did, would that be
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appropriate? >> i just don't know because i'm not an expert on the justice department. i don't know what its status was at that time. what i do know -- and again, i'm stepping back into the bigger picture because that's all i know and understand, as two investigations are going on, one into now president trump and his campaign with russia and another was clinton's e-mails. and the director made a choice to talk about just one of those matters and that was -- i would argue at this point it was misleading to the public and we saw "the new york times" put out a piece very close to election day saying based on their conversations with the fbi, there was very little evidence that there was any sort of relationship with russia and lo and behold after the election, nothing could be farther from the truth. so again to me what matters is what do we do going forward -- >> forgive me, robby, before i
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move forward, i'm not going to belabor this, but just so i'm clear, your campaign and doj never communicated over language to be used? >> not at all. not at all. i didn't know anybody in the justice department. and, again, i think this is a shiny object when the real question here is how should these matters be handled and why did the director talk about one investigation and remain completely silent on another? and i think this anecdote that he told me to ignore that fact. not to mention, there are issues about whether there was coordination with the russians by the trump campaign and whether there's been obstruction of justice by the trump administration as the fbi begins to investigate the matter. >> as that is something, it sounds like talking to our legal folks here, it sounds like now the inquiry into the investigation started the investigation into the potential obstruction of justice will
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begin. let me -- before i let you go, on the testimony overall today, listen, i've read a lot of what you've said on director comey. safe to say, you know, you're not a huge fan. i think in your discussions and what he's done border illegal. what did you make of what he discussed this morning? >> well, look, i'll start with something positive. i think he made a very important point, which is that the russian intervention in the election was unprecedented. this cannot be seen as a partisan issue. it's going to happen to the republicans at some point, too, and other countries are going to begin to play ball. we had a proof of concept by the rich sh russians. i thought that was really positive. you know, i was astounded, as i'm sure others were, that the president did seem to intervene to try to diminish or stop this investigation in some way.
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i think as your other guests were saying earlier, we're left with almost more questions than answers and i hope we get to the bottom of this and i hope that republicans on the hill realize this isn't going to get better by trying to make it go away. we just need to learn the truth and ask ourselves, how can the justice system, how can the media, social media, our political process collaborate to resist this kind of intervention from happening again and how can we get our democracy functioning better. being more partisan will only make for more coverups and secrets and more obstruction of justice. >> robby mook, thank you so much. former campaign manager for hillary clinton and from the clinton campaign to the trump campaign, jason miller's just been seated. you were listening to my conversation there. what did you think of the points that he was making? >> well, i think it's -- >> first on loretta lynch. >> i think that news is a
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bombshell today. the fact that this was just swept under the rug and we're just finding out about this now. but i think it goes to arlarger narrative that sometimes things are okay to be political and sometimes they have to be brought up exactly then. biggest thing that came up to me was the leaks. this leak issue is very detrimental and the fact that director comey before today viewed him as a true lawman. they didn't know how he would interpret things but you can see where there is very, very political thinking that went into this. specifically leaking a conversation that he had with the president to hopefully influence a special counsel, i mean, this is from the director of the fbi? this is remarkable. >> well, i would say that the president has been pretty good about talking about conversations he had with director comey. but if you're director comey and you've just been fired and you feel like you've been pushed into a corner and you have
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specifically written memos in a way that you know are not classified so they can be discussed whether that's in the public square or before a congressional committee, i don't know. donald trump can't have it both ways where he's frustrated by these leaks but at the same time he goes out and does the same thing. >> was it legal? let me -- just looking to you, michael zeldin, was it okay for comey as a private citizen to say to his pal over at columbia university, hey, here's this memo, here's what happened, get it out there? >> wrong and legal are different. >> let's stick with legal. legal. >> he's talking about what he said. this is not classified. there's no leak. it's not definitionally a leak. leak is something completely different. i understand there are politics around here and that's not my beat. legally speaking, this is not a leak. it's more comey as whistleblower
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than leaker if you want to give it a name. in the case of a grand jury, when you come out as a grand jury witness and they say, what did you say, what was the conversation? you're perfectly permitted to say what you said. she can't say what i said if i was a grand juror and that's a leak. in this case, it's not a leak if it's a conversation that he's permitted to have. the manner in which he did it, we can talk about whether that is desirable or not. >> just one question. kasowitz, the president's outside counsel, refer to these conversations as privileged. >> privileged conversations. >> privileged conversations. is that accurate? >> so in the definition of executive privilege, you see the court was addressing conversations that are related to policy by the inner circle of the president so they can make informed decisions with respect to that policy. this was not that type of
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conversation. this was a threat, an intimidation, an obstruction. you can label it however you want to label it. a chat or a request or a hope. but it is not -- >> could anyone off the street have obtained this memo? >> could anyone off the street have obtained this memo? is that not a leak, then? >> no, because it's your -- >> it's not an official document. look, he was the fbi director. he came back. he had a very weird conversation with the president that he felt he needed to be put down on the paper and these were his personal rec legsollections and weren't part of an investigation, which we know, and he's entitled to -- >> the fact that he did it on a classified laptop, that doesn't matter? >> the content of it was not classified. they are his own impressions of what took place and i think that
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had he put this down in a memoir after he was fired or had it in his personal diary, just because he's calling it a memo. >> why wouldn't he have e-mailed it out or posted it on facebook? why did he give it to -- >> he didn't have a good answer for that. >> the real focus of this is the completely unacceptable and inappropriate behavior of the president. we can spin this and call squirrel to put our attention somewhere else but let's not forget -- >> but if he found the behavior and the demands, i don't know if he had a great answer today, david, on alarm bells ringing. why not say something to someone? go to congress. did he have a solid answer today? >> well, this happens all the time. as a former intelligence officer, i used to brief the fbi director every day on the president's daily brief.
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i used to brief in the white house. there are awkward conversations and difficult conversations where the truth versus loyalty dilemma comes up. i'm giving the truth as i see it and the policy maker doesn't like the message i'm giving. in the comey case, it was about what he was saying about the investigation and his unwillingness to say, yes, sir, i'm personally loyal to you. what happens when you have that ethical dilemma? you resolve it one way or another. it's tough for us to put ourselves in those shoes and we should be slow to judge someone put in that position but i was put in that position many times. do i call it like i see it and if there's some pushback, do i then go to the press, do i then bring a memo for the record or push back against the policy maker in this case or in his case, the president of the united states and say, sir, what you're doing is inappropriate. the difference is, when i was briefing intelligence information, we were there to help the policy makers do their jobs. in his case, he was telling the president something that affected the investigation and what he said this morning was, i did not want to call foul, throw
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the red flag and say it will impact the investigation. >> the other thing is, the sally yates conversation is what he did here. he felt the justice department was compromised back in the clinton e-mail scandal. what did he do? he held a press conference, effectively to let that story be known. here when he felt that they were similarly compromised and not likely to investigate a matter which he felt was worthy of investigation, he went to the press. >> you mentioned the a.g. let's listen to what director comey said specifically about jeff sessions. >> in your statement, you said that you and the fbi leadership team decided not to discuss the president's actions with attorney general sessions. even though he had not recused himself. what was it about the attorney
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general's own interactions with the russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the fbi to make this decision? >> our judgment, as i recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. we also were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a russia-related investigation problematic and so we were -- we were convinced -- in fact, i think we had already heard that the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to be in contact with russia-related matters much longer. >> april ryan, it's the piece of that where he says i can't discuss in an open setting which my ears parked because i thought, okay, what else do we not know about the attorney general that he can't discuss unless it's a classified setting. >> well, it sounds like there's
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an investigation. something's going on. it sounds like he could not trust when he was talking there to give the information to those people at the time because all eyes are looking and there is something going on behind the scenes that we don't know. you have to remember also at that time, they had information prior to us finding out about jeff sessions recusing himself. jeff sessions is tainted. as the attorney general, he's tainted. so as an fbi director, you're like, where do i go, where do i go, you're in this quadmire. this experiment of donald j. trump as president, who how do i go up against the president. when you are standing in front of the president of the united states, and he said something to you, this is the guy of the
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office of the land. you are like -- i am not trying to trivilize it. the level that comey had to deal with this president and his boss, he was in a position that no one should be in. you cannot trust anyone. >> he's making the remarks o f the attorney general, there is something i cannot talk about open session. that's an i affirmatiaffirmative is something he cannot talk about. in this case, there is something there and we don't know what it is and we don't find what it is because it is a classified. >> we need to find out what it is. >> if i can say, it will be
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unsatisfied for those who don't like donald trump and those who adopt like donald trump. people will expect it now and today. we have the testimony and we get finale on this either donald trump is guilty or not or his associates are or not. the fact the matter is this is one little piece and a big jigsaw puzzle. what happens today is one more step and many step is occurring. the big winner today and it is worth repeating is vladimir putin. he's meddling in the elections. >> i think the democrats have over reached and they have motivated and fired up the republican base in a way to be supportive of the president. hey, we hope everything you said
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was spot on. the way the director today went through systemically and confirmed all the time he had told president trump he was not under investigation. this is where it is about what we are hearing on the session front. how do we know there is nothing to look into with the attorney general sessions. this is not a donald trump experience. he's the president of the country. >> let me correct myself, i hear united stand. >> america want something new. they did not want an established person. america went with something new,
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this is an experiment. >> i did not. i have the highest appointmeres the land. we have never had something like this before. we are trying to see if the democracy can withstand less than 140 days. we have someone who has never been in this process and now where are we? we got people like congresswoman she sheila jackson lee who convene of lawyers and scholars yesterday, trying to find out what's in their per view and what they can do. the house is looking at if there is an abuse of power. this brought out issues of possibility of abusive of power and possibility of obstruction of justice. they're talking possibilities of looking down the road of impeachment. forgive me, it is not a majority
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but this is an experiment right now with this historic president. >> let me pause everyone, thank you for that. quick break, we'll come back and talk about surprise at the againing of tagai beginning of the hearing. back in a moment. ! but the readiest gives a pep rally. i cleared my inbox! holiday inn express, be the readiest.
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holiday inn express, for something that finally relieves your pain, icyhot lidocaine. desensitizes aggravated nerves with the max strength lidocaine available. icyhot lidocaine. thank you all very much. thank you. >> we want the linger there the president got at the event at the white house moments ago. you can hear some of the
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questions shouted at him getting some reactions and him just saying thank you. no tweets today. on director comey of the final moment that i have with you, the big surprise today, we all sat here reading the seven page opening statements that was released, none of that was read out loud, instead, it was a brief opening from director comey including the "l" word being multiple times, lie. >> i thought it is important to document. the administration chose to defame me and more importantly the fbi by saying that the organization was in disarray and it was poorly led and the work force have lost confidence in our leaders. those were lies. >> the president was asked whether he urged you to shut down the investigation to
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michael flynn, the president responded, no, no, next question. >> is that an accurate statement? >> i don't believe it is. >> all right, "60 minute" remaining, to you. >> in using the word "lies." comey has three things in his pocket. number one, he was going to give his testimony under oath and nothing the president have said, today has been under oath. number 2, he htwo, he has memos. his third weapon is the essential counsel. we can debate all we want but it is mueller's time. when mueller starts this ball rolling. comey is going to be one fact witness in this thing and i see how investigations go. when those agents start closing
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in on staffers and everyone around, there is going to be more people talking and much more information that's going to come out, i would not draw big conclusions as though the entire trial is based on everyone is hearing. >> it is just the beginning. >> at the tip of the iceberg. >> thanks for being with me, "the leads" starts now. >> this is cnn's breaking news. welcome to t"lead," i am jake tapper. the former fbi director told the world today that the president of the united states cannot be trusted in his opinion. he cannot be trusted to tell the truth. he cannot be trusted to uphold the rule of law and he cannot be trusted to allow a doj investigation into the russian attack of the u.s. election last year.