tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 7, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
good evening. we begin tonight with breaking news. new details in the abrupt departure of rob porter. you have probably never heard of him before today, but he was chief of staff john kelly's right-hand man. he quit today in a cloud of spousal abuse allegations, allegations he's denying. if the white house hoped this story would disappear quickly,
it has not. questions are being raised about who in the white house knew about the allegations, when did they know and whatdied they say to the public about them? also, there are questions about how porter got access to classified material, despite being denied a security clearance. we begin our coverage with jeff zeleny from the white house. john kelly and porter worked very closely together. what do we know about how much the chief of star actual lly kn? >> reporter: rob porter's job was to control what the president sees and what he doesn't see in the oval office. he was a way to instill john kelly's west wing discipline. we're told that john kelly knew about this for months. rob porter today said it was part of a coordinated smear campaign. he said that as the white house was trying to explain and contain the fallout. few people stood closer to president trump. from the white house colon nad to the oval office. even a hand shake with the chinese president. the white house scrambled today
to defend staff secretary rob police repo porter. as cnn learned some top officials knew about the abuse allegations for months. >> i can tell you that the president, chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance. >> reporter: porter was responsible for nearly every document that came into the president's hands. even some classified ones, despite not having a permanent security clearance. tonight, cnn has learned the fbi denied his security clearance last fall after reports of abuse were discovered during a background check. yet porter was still able to keep his post through a temporary waiver authorized by the white house. white house communications director hope hicks, one of the most influential advisers in the west wing, has been in a romantic relationship with porter, aides tell cnn. despite that, hicks was involved in crafting the initial denial to the abuse allegations. porter's first wife told cnn the
abuse started shortly after their wedding in 2003. she said she was choked, punched and emotionally abused. she showed us these pictures of her bruised eye from a 2005 trip to italy. in a statement of resignation today, porter said these outrageous allegations are simply false. he acknowledged the authenticity of the photos and said the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. but his second wife sought an emergency protective order against him a year after their 2009 marriage. she wrote this after he refused to leave their apartment. "he wanted to hug and make up, but was angry when i asked that he get his things and leave. i asked him several times to leave with his things. i took his clothes and put them in a suitcase on the front porch. when he returned a few minutes later, he punched in the glass on the door. i called the police, afraid he would break in. when he heard me on the phone with the police, he apologized and begged me not to involve them. when he heard me give my name and address to the 911
dispatcher, he drove off." the white house today side-stepped questions about his security clearance. >> as has always been the poll sill at the white house, we don't discuss security clearances one way or the other. >> and jeff in the fallout of these allegations, senator orrin hatch released statements, one that came through the white house. what happened there? >> reporter: he did. and rob porter worked as the chief of staff for senator hatch for a long time before he came here to the white house. and this was when it was clear the white house was trying to put a positive, if you will, spin on this. look at this first statement from orrin hatch, released by the white house, trying to defend rob porter. it says this. it's incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man. shame on think publication that would print this and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assis tins that would attempt to sully a man's good name. then, a statement from senator hatch's office himself did not include any of those famous attacks on the media so common here at the white house. this is what senator hatch actually said.
he said this. i do not know the details of rob's personal life. domestic violence in any form is abhorrent. anderson, what this points out here, that hope hicks, the communications director at the white house, who had a personal relationship with rob porter, was, we are told, in charge of crafting the response for this. so, she was collecting positive responses, if you will, to push back on that report last evening. well, the comment from senator hatch was, you know, was issued, but the hatch office tells us, they did not know the specifics of the allegations. and certainly did not see those photographs that were we leased earlier today. so, that underscores the white house trying to contain this, it turns out, anderson, they spent all day explaining it. the question now, rob porter is expected to stay on until his replacement can be found here, but it is unclear how long that will be. or how long he'll stay here in the west wing. >> and just to be clear, you said that general kelly knew about this, what, starting this fall?
>> reporter: right, that's what we're learning. that general kelly, the chief of staff, of course, knew about this early in the fall, perhaps october or november or so. because of that background check. he was alerted to the fact that the staff secretary, who, again, is a key position here in the west wing, did not have his permanent security clearance. so, that's why this was brought to his attention here. in fact, rob porter was -- he's been sort of rising in the ranks here, if you will. he's taken on a lot of other responsibilities, was talking about leaving the west wing at the end of last year, john kelly, we're told, urged him to stay on in this position. and it's one of the reasons that it looks like he tried hard to keep him, anderson. >> all right, jeff, thank you. the allegations against rob porter are disturbing, if true, albeit, not a surprise to the white house, at least to general kelly. at a time when there's a national conversation about harassment and abuse, it draws attention to other allegations that have been made against trump associates and the president himself. more on that from randi kaye.
>> reporter: in 2016, in jupiter, florida, following then-candidate donald trump's press conference, a bizarre altercation caught on tape. >> i can't believe he just did that. that was so hard. was that corey? >> reporter: that's michelle fields claiming trump's campaign manager at the time, corey lewandowski, had grabbed her tightly by the arm and yanked her down. lewandowski denied it ever happened, calling the reporter delusional on twitter. despite several angles of video shows the incident, then candidate trump also insisted the reporter fabricated the whole ordeal. >> everybody said nothing happened. perhaps she made the story up. i think that's what happened, okay? >> reporter: in the end, jupiter, florida, police charged lewandowski with simple battery, a misdemeanor, but those charges were later dropped. trump's pick for labor secretary withdrew his name in part after claims of spousal abuse came to
light. the fast food executive's ex-wife had aired the couple's dirty laundry on the oprah winfrey show while on disguise. >> once i made that break and once i made it public and remember my ex-wife was a public figure, everyone knew him and knew what he was doing and once i made that public,hevowed revenge. he said, i will see you in the gutter, this will never be over, you will pay for this. >> reporter: later, his wife sent a letter to the senators, calling her exhusband a kind man, saying he was not abusivab. he denied it all. the man trump chose to be his chief strategist, steve bannon, also once faced charges for misdemeanor domestic violence. a police report from january 1996 details an altercation between bannon and his then-spouse that left her with red marks on her left wrist and the right side of her neck. the report also said the woman complained of soreness to her neck. the responding police officer
described the woman's eyes as red and watery, saying she appeared to have been crying. a spokesperson for bannon told politico that bannon had a great relationship with both his ex-wife and their twin daughters. the case was later dismissed. and the president himself had also once faced accusations of domestic abuse. his first wife, ivana, alleged in a divorce deposition that donald trump had raped her back in 1989. the accusation was first revealed in a 1993 book about trump, written by a former newsweek reporter. just before publication, ivanka composed a statement for the book, saying, i felt violated, as the love and tenderness which he normally exhibited towards me was absent. i refer to this as a rape, but i do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense. after trump announced his run for the white house, ivana said, the story is totally without merit. donald and i are the best of friends.
donald trump has always denied the allegations. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> joining us for more is dana bash, kirsten powers and paul begala. dana, you have new reporting on the rob porter situation? >> gloria and i have been digging tonight on kind of what has really gone on there, and a couple of things we've learned in addition to what jeff reported at the top of the show, first, that the president himself, we are told by two sources, did not know about these allegations, about the fact that the fbi clearly found this information when they were doing the background check of rob porter. the president didn't know until the daily mail was presented to him. so, he didn't become aware until it was in the public sphere. and the other thing is, ivanka trump, we are told, was quite upset about it when she found out, particularly when she saw the photos that we all saw of
rob porter's ex-wife and the bruises. and it's interest, and it's a very complicated dynamic, not just for hope hicks, the communications director, who, as jeff was reporting, helped sort of lead the defense of rob porter, helped draft statements of support, but also people like ivanka trump and others, who in the white house have come to really know and rely on rob porter. but there's also kind of a se e sense, i'm told, of protectiveness of hope, despite the fact that she's -- again, it's very complicated, you know, concern because she's become almost a member of the trump family, that if this guy, if it is true, he did it to his two ex-wives and allegedly a girlfriend, as well, would hope be next? >> general kelly has called him a man of, quote, true integrity and honor, and there's a reporting from the white house that they've been scrambling to defend rob porter. >> that's exactly right.
and he's called him -- as you said, a man of true integrity. that was part of the statement that kelly drafted along with hope hicks and sarah sanders, the white house press secretary, josh raffell, who is a spokesperson for jared kushner and ivanka, and so, that is true. and it is certainly noteworthy, now that we're learning more information, about the fact that kelly, in the fall, was made aware of these allegations by his exwiveses, by the fbi. >> paul, as someone who has worked in the white house, does it surprise you that the president would not have been informed of it, if his chief of staff knew and this is a guy that's handing the president documents? >> the president should have learned about it when the chief of staff fired mr. porter. this is on general kelly. he knew about it, according to dana's reporting and he did nothing. he either didn't believe the charges, or he didn't care. either one, i think, is problematic, because they're certainly credible. the women have photographs,
multiple women, a restraining order. maybe he just didn't care, which is shocking, it's just outrageous. it's -- so, this -- i think this is where the story goes this terms of white house management. the staff secretary, just so people know, is one of the most sensitive jobs in the government. the staff secretary is the point of entree for all information to the president. he receives information from the justice department, the pentagon, the most sensitive material, and then circulates to make sure it gets feedback from each of these agencies. it's really critically that person be trustworthy. to think that person has been accused of domestic violence, that means he can't get a security clearance, you have to get him out of the building. >> why the fbi brought him to the attention. >> was it wise to have hope hicks involved in the statement? >> i can tell you, absolutely not. if that had been a circumstance where i was involved with someone on our staff who was in
trouble and was facing these types of accusations, i would certainly recuse myself from that process and let the chief of star or someone else or the deputy work that out. i just think that it's a huge conflict of interest and what she was doing involved in that, instead of -- there are plenty of other people in the white house press shop that could have handled this, instead of her. but this entire episode is really disturbing to me, because of the decision not to do anything about this when the fbi went to general kelly about this. as the chief of staff, that is dereliction of duty. his job is to protect the president, the presidency, to manage the staff, and to find out something like this during a security clearance review, i can tell you, my husband is a federal agent, a lot of people know that he's gone through the security reviews, they knock on, you know, your neighbor's door from third grade. these are very thorough reviews. so, the fact they let this go, it's -- it's concerning to me, to paul's point, they either
didn't care or they were just negligent. >> the idea that people in the white house knew and that the idea this ncinformation would n get out seems naive or just ignorant. >>arrogant. >> the bigger issue, this is what the me, too move it is about. a lot of people don't understand, women, when they come forward and tell these stories, are almost always telling the truth. there are a lot of people -- i think general kelly probably believed because he had a good relationship with this person, this was a person that he respected, that this is not the kind of person that beats women. >> right. >> and they don't understand that all kinds of people do that. and so, all kinds of men rape women, abuse women, and they afternoon se often seem like upstanding people, they might even be a good son or a good coworker, but they have this part of their life. and i think -- they still don't get it in this white house. >> i think back to remember
general kelly, at one point, when he was sort of trotted out to the white house podium, he, i think he was attacking a congresswoman for a statement she made and one of the things he said is, back in my day, women were respected and obviously, be interesting to know if at that point, he already knew about the allegations. >> well, that's a good point. that's a good question. i do think, kirsten, you're exactly right, that it's a cultural thing, but it's something else. it is that you have to remember what this white house is like and what it has been like. and john kelly found, he thought, in rob porter, somebody he could rely on, somebody who could do all the very, you know, important tasks of a staff secretary, which was his actual title, but also take on a really elevated role, which rob porter has done in the last couple of months. acting almost as a deputy chief of staff, representing kelly, when kelly isn't there. he did so in davos, in a really unusual high profile way for a staff secretary. that's something to really keep
in mind. and, talking to sources, and i know gloria has, as well, our understanding is that kelly kind of had his head in the sand on these allegations because he felt that porter was so valuable and the day-to-day operations of keeping the white house ship afloat. >> i want to thank everybody on this. coming up next, the dueling russia memos, a democratic member of the house intelligence committee joins to talk about that. and newly released text messages between the two fbi agents and the conspiracy the president and others seem to think they reveal. bull there's something you need to know about the bigger picture and the senator behind this all and his record when it comes to these alleged bombshells. keeping them honest, next. >> tech: at safelite autoglass
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can start in the colon constiand may be signs of an imbalance of good bacteria. only phillips' colon health has this unique combination of probiotics. it provides four-in-one symptom defense. it's your daily probiotic. bombshell or bunk? that's the question being asked about new fbi texts just released. the answer according to the latest reporting seems to be bunk.
the president tweeted, in all caps, new fbi texts were not bombshells. he was talking about texts released as part of an interim report from senator ron johnson, the senator who raised alarms about an alleged secret society within the fbi plotting against the fbi. according to johnson's new reporting page texted strzok on september 2nd of 2016 about preparing talking points for then fbi director james comey because, quote, potus, meaning president obama, wants to know everything we're doing. the senator's report alleged the text raises, quote, additional question about the time and extent about president obama's personal involvement in the clinton e-mail scandal. skew the conspiracy theories. keeping them honest, though, johnson's report omits context that not only could provide an alternative explanation, a source familiar with the context says it, in fact, does exactly that. three days after lisa page sent that text, president obama
confronted vladimir putin about his meddling in the election. that would be one explanation of why president obama was so interested in what the fbi was investigating. and that's what associates of strzok and page have told "the wall street journal," which puts senator johnson on familiar ground when he was sounding the alarm about that secret society. johnson said on fox news, what this is all about is further evidence of corruption. corruption at the highest levels of the fbi, the secret society, we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site. the frenzy lasted for a couple of days, turned out the full exchange had to do with a gag gift of putin-themed calendars that was basically a joke, the whole idea of an informant seemed to disappear from senator johnson's mouth. when that was disclosed, senator johns johnson's response was that it could be have been a joke. the senator's last claim was bunk and his latest one might be, as well. we asked senator johnson, of course, to come on the broadcast, we never heard back from his office.
we're happy to welcome congressman jim himes of connecticut. this is the second time senator johnson has made a claim alleging basically some conspiracy based on the texts, only for it to turn out to be either not true or not incontext. what's going on here? >> well, you know, it feels like just a week ago i was standing right here talking about how sad it was that a united states senator would trade his legacy and his dignity, his integrity, for this crazy idea of a secret society, which, of course, as you said, pretty rapidly debunked. now, of course, he has done it again. and, you know, it's worth stepping back here so that, you know, so that the american people understand what is happening in this building. there are a number of individuals who will sacrifice any desire to be loyal to the truth, concern about their own credibility, sadly chairman nunes and the memo and the white house experience and the unmasking scandal, these are all
faux scandals that are thrown out there to cause some americans to say, golly, i wonder whether the fbi is on the up and up, because at some point, bob mueller may come through with some conclusions. it's important to the president's supporters to have that uncertainty out there. >> there probably won't be a rush from republicans to come out and talk about this publicly. are you hearing anything from your republican colleagues privately? >> well, yeah, a great deal of concern. and it's not just private, anderson. as you know, subsequent to the release of the nunes memo, which, you know, the president characterized as vindicating him, a number of republicans, including trey gowdy, who is not thought of on my side of the aisle as one of the guys who reaches across the aisle, he of the benghazi investigation, he said this in no way vindicates the president or damages the mueller investigation in which he has 100% confidence. speaker ryan said that, four members of the intelligence committee, republicans, did that. so, a number of republicans, not enough, but a number of
republicans, are carefully questioning this daily effort to create a sense of whether, you know, i mean, ron johnson said it, corruption, all at the expense of the federal bureau of investigation and the fine people that work there. >> regarding the democratic memo, we're expecting the white house to authorize the release of it by friday, they also unless there's a grave threat to national security. now, we don't know what will be redacted. is anything less than a full release acceptable to you, or would you be okay with some redactions? >> well, to me, who probably has more information than most, no. i don't expect to see any redactions. devin nun necessary aes and the collaborated to actually confirm that an american citizen had been subject to a fisa washt and to talk about how that process works and, of course, to cast doubt on the integrity of that process. in my mind, without any evidence whatsoever. so, everything in the democratic memo makes reference to the exact same fisa warrant, so, i'm really worried that redactions,
you know, the horse is out of the barn with respect to classified information, so, any redactions, i fear, would be done because this memo is a pretty strong point by point refewation of the nunes memo. >> it's much longer, lm ten pages, i understand, and some republicans, one that's come on the show, others have also raised questions about whether the -- trey gowdy did, in, said that democrats were smart enough to put sensitive information that would have to be redacted, to allow democrats to claim things are being hidden from the american people. is there any truth to that theory, the idea that you're putting sources and methods in there, knowing they're going have to be redacted and then you can say, look, they're censoring this. >> of course not. again, everything in the democratic memo makes reference to the exact same fisa application that the republicans and the president decided to put out there and to describe. >> but it is much more detailed. >> it is, because we feel some allegiance to the truth, so,
unlike the nunes memo, we have 38 footnotes, so, when we make an allegation, can you look at the footnote and you can look up, in my cases, where the notion comes from. no, the idea that somehow the democratic memo is puts sources and methods at risk after what's happened, that would be simply a pretext to take things out that would, look, this memo is a refewation of the nunes memo. i will be astonished, it may happen, i'll be astonished if the trump administration does something that it's never done before, which is allows a fact pat thaern is not necessarily conducive to the president's interests out there. so, i do expect redactions, but i'm almost 100% certain they will be political in nature. >> the white house says they're following the same procedures with the democrats memo as they did with the republican memo. do you believe that's accurate? >> well, if that is accurate, remember, at the state of the union, the president leaned over to a republican and the republican said, release the memo, and the president, before the process was over, said 100%. so, when the president comes to my office and i ask him to release the memo, and he says
100%, i'll agree that the process is parallel. >> steve bannon was supposed to testify in front of your committee today. has another week to comply with a subpoena. corey lewandowski said he's not going to reappear without a subpoena. what are the next steps, and where is this resistance coming from? >> well, so, with bannon and lewandowski and some other individuals who worked or do work at the white house, we are involved in a very complicate and legalistic dispute with the white house. when i say we, it's not just the democrats. it's the republicans on the committee. about getting these people to come and testify, making room for legitimate executive privilege. and anderson, as you know, executive privilege means the president has an expectation that the advice that he or she gets from his advisers will not be made public. but the white house, in a number of instances, has claimed that executive privilege should extend into the transition, before the president was even the president and that it should extend to conversations that don't involve the president. this would be breaking new legal
ground and, you know, we are in an argument with the white house over the nature of executive privilege on that basis. >> congressman, thank you for your time. >> thank you, anderson. >> let's discuss this with carl bernstein, also ann milgram and the former chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers. chairman rogers, the republican, the argument being made by trey gowdy and other republicans that the democrats may have, you know, put sources and methods in this with the idea that they should be -- that they will be redacted and therefore they'll claim, they'll cry foul, does that ring true to you? >> well, you know -- whatever's in that memo, they're going to have to scrutinize. the fbi said they didn't want the first one. be interesting to see if the fbi says, i really don't want the second one, either, what the president would do. i will say, they're going to have to scrub it. there may be some things, as the congressman talked about, the fact pattern that should not be disclosed, at least in the way
they've done it. i don't know. i think that you're never going to get to the truth, as long as both sides are shooting from the hip, and that is battle of the thmemoranda like i've never see it. i don't think any of it is helpful. they are trying to conduct their political position through these classified memos and then release them -- no one's going to win in that, and i'll tell you what, people will go to their corners, in america, if it's the republican version is out, they'll say, i love it if you're a republican, democrats out, they'll say, i love that, because it's the democrat version. and what's going to be the victim here, i think, is the truth. >> carl, what do you make of senator johnson coming now forward with a story about these text messages? >> this is a continued effort by donald trump, his white house and his act lites in the congress of the united states to obscure a legitimate investigation into the conduct of the president of the united states, his family, his
businesses and his organization in the campaign and having to do with the most serious business imaginable, the undermining of our elections by the russians. that's what everybody's eyes should be on now, and all of this is distraction to keep your eyes, my eyes off of it, and to create the impression of a partisan, equal battle between two sides here, smear the fbi, the president of the united states, an authoritarian demagogue, smear the fbi, just as mccarthy smeared the department of the army or the voice of america or the state department. we are watching a side show here about a president invoking treason. that's where we are. >> it's so interesting, ann, that a lot of things that are happening these days, it seems like it's just about getting a news hit, or the first impression and it doesn't matter if it doesn't hold up to the light of truth after several
days, as long as a couple of days of stories have run that there's a secret society and then it's revealed, oh, it's actually a joke and the whole thing looks silly. >> the most amazing thing about senator johnson's report today, talking about this -- it was a premise that the text messages related to the hillary clinton, when that investigate was closed in july by then fbi director comey on september 2nd, when the tes mention tajs were issued, the investigation was not open. very simple factual timeline really does answer the question, i think, of, it would have been, and we don't know for certain, we do know that the president, president obama, saw putin three days later and that he said he did raise russian interference in the election at that time. so, it appears to be just on its face, when you pull the facts out, just an incredible story that us with put out. >> facts have had very little to do with the approach of the white house and those republicans in congress who continue to carry the water for the white house instead of being interested in a legitimate
investigation. >> chairman rogers, does the timeline of people just wanting to get an impact on whatever news channel they want it to have an impact on and even if it unravels over the course of several days, doesn't seem to matter? >> you know, as a very young fbi agent, i had a senior agent, used to tell me when we would get into investigations, he said, you know, context matters. i'm sorry, and my bad, mean the same thing, unless you're at a funeral. different context. that's where the drum should come in, right there. you're supposed to help me out on that. and so, context does matter. what worries me here is that we are so quick to run to the microphones, that you don't have time to absorb all the information of what you have. there are some 50,000 texts, it would be good to have someone go through all 50,000 before you drew a conclusion about what those texts meant. >> the panel is going to stick around. more on the ongoing partisan warfare on the release of the nunes memo and the rebuttal memo
that's still being vetted by the white house. more ahead. you both need to be watching that on the iphone with verizon. the best streaming network. how long have you been here? i've been here a couple days. (avo) get the best unlimited on the most awarded network. and now, when you buy iphone 8, you'll get one on us.
(crying, screaming) today is your day. crush it. angie's boom chicka pop whole grain popcorn. boom! back now with our panel. sarah sanders insisting the vetting process for the democratic memo will be fair and similar. >> we're still going through the process that we went through with the republican memo. we're going to continue to do that. and once that's completed, we'll have something further to add. as of this point, we don't.
>> as congressman himes pointed out, president trump said he fully intended to release the memo all along, 100%. >> don't worry. 100%. can you imagine that? >> according to reports, he hadn't read the memo at that point. is it fair for the white house to say it's going through the same process that the nunes memo went through? >> no. really, let them vet the thing, let the fbi, let the security agencies determine what can be released without revealing sources and me tholds of collecting information and then let the memo go. but it's all a side show. we are finding ourselves in this country now because of such conduct as we're seeing in that committee and by the white house, we're showing ourselves to be incapable of investigating the president of the united states and those around him to determine whether or not he and those people have engaged in a conspiracy or broken the law. and if we cannot have an
investigation in this country, such as we had in watergate, to determine that the president of the united states is or is not above the rule of law, we need to have the precedent and the continuation of the precedent that the president is not above the rule of law, and what we're seeing here is a desint grags of that precedent, by trying to smear these legitimate investigations and take us into these side shows. this is not about the fbi. this is about donald trump, his family, his organization, his business, and -- >> and the committee has threatened to hold steve bannon in contempt. what options do they have, if he is refusing to respond to a subpoena? >> so, the committee absolutely does have the option to hold bannon in contempt, but remember, it's a majority vote. right now, the breakdown, i think, is 13 republicans, nine democrats a majority of that would be 12 people. this is a question of, will the committee actually do that? if they were to vote that, it
would then go to the hull houfu would vote and then it would be referred to the u.s. attorney's office. but also, in the fact that they've given an additional week, it seems to me like they're trying to get bannon and his lawyer to walk in the door, to basically say, look. this is going to go, you know, i don't know whether they're willing to actually issue contempt, but i don't believe bannon has a legitimate privilege here, has invoked a legitimate privilege. >> seems like we've had a lot of people appear before commit deepdeep -- committees, invoking privilege, just saying, i just don't think i want to answer that, because this was a conversation, i just don't believe should have to answer that. was that, i mean, is that something that commonly happened when you were chairman of the committee? >> ah, no. and again, it's -- how you conduct yourself in the course of that investigation matters. and so, if the people that you're bringing in, they know
that their comments are going to be kept in a classified setting, on the record in a classified setting, i think you get much better cooperation. if you think about how they're doing this investigation, i don't know who would want to go in for any particular reason without some thought that it's going to end up on cnn or fox news or fill in the blank, within about 30 seconds. and i they is hindering their ability to do an oversight, a legitimate investigation inside. i will say that mike conaway, very calm, rational. he's doing it the right way. you don't see him on tv. he's trying to put together the elements of an investigation, and, of course, these folks are coming in and they're not necessarily going to be cooperative to that end. there are other tools, and i think, by the way, holder was held in contempt by the house. >> that's right. >> usually, both parties in the congress of the united states are very zealous of the per loggilog i per loggives of the congressional branch, to bring people before their committees. and when those people refuse and
make claims of executive privilege and other privileges, they have held traditionally those people in contempt. and with good reason. because they have the power to bring in witnesses and, again, when you go to the partisan ropes, this is what results. and that's where we are now. >> carl bernstein, ann milgram, mike rogers, thank you. the president said he would shut down the government if the budget deal is missing one key thing. now, there is a new budget deal, and it's missing one key thing. we're keeping them honest. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring.
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we just got a key late development in the sudden departure of rob porter, and the spousal abuse allegations against him. wait to go to jim acosta with the latest. what have you learned, jim? >> reporter: well, anderson, one of the outstanding questions we had today was why the white house would think it would be a good idea for the chief of staff, john kelly, and others here at the white house, to release statements praising rob porter in light of these allegations, these very serious allegations of abuse. and we got an answer. senior white house official just told me a few moments ago that those initial statements were drafted and written in response to that first daily mail story that detailed some of the allegations, but did not include that photograph of one of rob porter's ex-wives with a black eye. i'm told that when that story emerged, that included the
photograph with one of rob porter's ex-wives with a black eye, that that changed everything. but that simply the white house was not responding quickly enough to this fast-moving story, and obviously, the photograph did really change everything for this white house. now, you know, you can take a look at some of the statements that were put out earlier today. we can put up on-screen, one from john kelly and one from sarah sanders. here's john kelly. rob porter is a man of true integrity and honor and i can't say good enough things about him. i'm proud to serve alongside him. then, sarah sanders released a statement, the white house press secretary, talking about her year of working alongside rob porter, says, i've worked directly with rob porter nearly every day for the last year, and the person i know is someone, and the statement goes on to say, of the highest integrity and character. those of us who have the privilege of knowing him are better people because of it. so, anderson, the white house is
saying that while we put those statements together, in response to this first story, obviously, they thought they would weather the storm, but that everything changed once that photograph came out, that very disturbing photograph came out. of course, anderson, it goes without saying and people are going to be saying this, i'm sure they're saying this right now, you shouldn't need a photograph -- >> yeah. >> to know that domestic violence is a very serious issue, and that porter should not be working at the white house in the first place. >> there was an account, after the police were called, by one of the women, about the incident, you know, there was an order of protection, i believe, so, there was -- there was a history of this and documentation. it's not as if these, you know, came out of whole cloth. it is interesting they're saying it was only the photo that somehow changed the perception. >> and i think that might be because porter and perhaps some of his very loyal allies inside the white house were maybe circling the wagons around him, saying, listen, this is -- this
stuff isn't true, putting aside the fact that there was documented evidence and so on, but when the photograph came forward and then rob porter himself was saying in that statement, hey, i know that photograph, i took that photograph, it became very obvious to people here at the white house that he could no longer stay here, but it just goes to show you, they were not responding quickly enough or appropriately enough to the damaging and disturbing allegations and the story and it took a photograph to really move them in the direction that we saw things end up today. >> i'm not sure they're helping themselves by using that as their explanation. >> not sure, either. >> jim acosta, thank you very much. more news, the senate today reached a by spoipartisan budgel but nothing on immigration. this evening, the president tweeted out his a-okay. quote, the budget agreement today is so important for our great military, it ends the dangerous sequester and gives secretary mattis what he needs to keep america great. republicans and democrats must support our troops and support this bill.
keeping them honest, that's interesting, because just yesterday, the president said without a deal addressing his immigration agenda, he'd welcome a shutdown. >> i would shut it down over this issue. i can't speak for everybody at the table, but i would shut it down over this issue. if we don't straighten out our border, we don't have a country. without borders, we don't have a country. so, would i shut it down over this issue, yes. >> so, that was yesterday. and here's today. >> what he said yesterday no no longer on arive? he's going to support a two-year spending bill without funding for the wall? >> ah, look, as i said yesterday, the focus for us has always been to get a two--year-old budget deal. we've laid out the priorities we want to see in any immigration legislation and we expect to see that. we do want -- we made no secret, the president wants funding for the wall and border security and we expect to see that reflected in the budget. >> he said he wanted to shut the
government down if he didn't get. is that no longer the position? >> the position hasn't changed. and i addressed this yesterday. the president is making the point -- the only people that have shut the government down are the democrats. we haven't shut the government down. we've laid out exactly what we want to happen and we're working towards achieving those goals. >> he was the the point he's making when you put it in the context is that if we are going to have the fight it's a fight the democrats started last time and lost. we think we would win again. >> so that was today. if that answer seems like a word salad that leaves you confused and hungry. let me replay what the president himself said just 24 hours ago. >> without borders we don't have a country. would i shut it down over this issue? yes. >> sounds clear. the senate budget agreement also
adds greatly to the budget deficit. the first guarantees troubles with democrats. the second with republican hawks. how the deem came together and how it may move from here. where do things stand. >> we have the deal. $300 billion. florida, texas. puerto rico. taking that self-imposed crisis off the congress. we have the deadline as well. obviously midnight tomorrow night the goth shuts down. what we don't have yet. there are going to be republicans that vote against this. fiscal hawks who are said they are opposed to this. what means is speaker paul ryan will need democratic votes. that's a problem. the reason exactly what you laid out. daca. immigration. democrats recognize republicans want defense spending so much
the increase. it's a key piece of leverage for the minority in the house and senate. decoupling the items without a guarantee of a house debate on the immigration issue. that would be a problem. there are really questions on how democrats can be brought abrd. aids feel like they will be able to get there. enough republicans support this deal. they don't need an enormous amounts of trdemocrats. it's an open question. >> the house minority leader had a roerd record breaking speech. will it have any impact? >> it's an open question. it was an important moment for the leader who has km out against the bipartisan deal. her staffs integral to getting this done. in the room every step of the way. the leaders issue was daca. immigration. it was the fact that what the senate has what mitch mcconnell
opened to an open debate. everybody who has an amount can put it up. speak speaker paul ryan wants to deal with this. if it's something president trump supports. eight hours the longest continuous speech on the house floor. at least a century perhaps ever. reading letter from dreamers. reading bible verses. how huge an issue it is. the big question when aim talking to democratic aids is will that have the effect of getting the caucus to keep the votes from going over the 2016 threshold speerk paul ryan needs. that's an open question. i'm hearing they feel lick they will be in good shape towards the end. pelosi rallied the caucus today. and the outside advocates. what that means going forward,
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"usa today" is reporting that u.s. olympic figure skater adam rippon declined an invitation by vice president presence to meet with him during the winter olympics after criticizing the vice president on his stance for gays and lesbians, after reading remarks by rippon a couple weeks ago, the vice president through his aides wanted to set up a face to face meeting to talk about it. cnn's will ripley is in south korea for us tonight. what are you learning about this? >> reporter: we know that adam rippon gave that interview on january 17th with christine brennan from "usa today," who said he didn't feel -- rippon didn't feel that vice president pence should represent the united states delegation at the olympics given his track record of being unfriendly to the lgbt community. there was a statement up on a congressional website back in 2000 where some people perceived
to indicate his support of gay conversion therapy, and rippon, out as a figure skater, said he didn't want any part of it and said he had no interest in meeting with vice president pence at the olympics, which is customary for the u.s. athletes. >> what is the vice president's office now saying about all this? >> reporter: well, the vice president's office is disputing "usa today's" reporting that he was so disturbed by this article that he tried to set up a meeting with rippon, which rippon then denied. there's a tweet out from the v.p.'s communications director. it reads, the "usa today" report is false and should be corrected. the vice president's office did not reach out to set up a conversation with mr. rippon. as we've said before, the vice president is supporting all the u.s. athletes in the olympics and is hoping they all win medals. but, again, christine brennan, very well sourced, standing by her reporting, says there will not be a correction. >> it's not just the figure skater who has concerns about the vice president leading the delegation. i want to play something that gus kenworthy told ellen degeneres just the other day. >> myself and adam rippon are the two first openly gay males competing in the olympics and it's just incredible to see how
times have changed. but then to have someone leading the delegation that's like directly attacked the lgbt community and just a cabinet in general that just sort of stands against us and has tried to do things to set us back, it just seems like a bad fit. >> has gus or rippon said more about this? >> reporter: yes, gus kenworthy, the freestyle skier and adam rippon said they have no desire to meet with president trump at the white house after the olympics. if you think about it, this is really a sea change for olympic athletes who are out. you think about johnny weir who was criticized by judges for the way he dressed. you think about brian boitano. he didn't come out because he was afraid he would lose sponsorship deals. to have adam rippon and gus kenworthy, two openly gay olympic athletes who are taking a political stance like this, it's an extraordinary change for the olympics.