tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 5, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
you can follow me on facebook and twitter. tweet the show. our coverage of all this breaking news continues with wolf blitzer. he is in "the situation room." thanks so much for watching. happening now, breaking news. anonymous it. in a stunning new op-ed in "new york times," an unnamed top trump administration official excoriates the president and trying to protect the country from the commander in chief. invoking the 25th amendment. the same unnamed official goes on to say there was discussion early on within the trump team of starting the process to actually remove president trump from office but fear of a constitutional crisis prevented any action. white house witch hunt. president trump orders a hunt to find out which aides talked to journalist bob woodward for his
new book about the president which mr. trump is dismissing as fiction. pardoning himself. supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh faces questions about the president's legal problems and the mueller investigation but he won't say if mr. trump has the ability to pardon himself. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following multiple breaking stories this hour, including a truly extraordinary attack on president trump by one of his own senior administration officials. that person writing anonymously in a "the new york times" op-ed says the president is acting in a manner detrimental to the country and many administration officials are working from within to, quote, frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. and that seems to corroborate
the explosive reporting of the president in the new book by journalist woodward. cnn learned the president telling aides to find who talked to woodward. covering the breaking news with correspondents, specialists and analysts and let's go to senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. this is truly a remarkable inside attack on the president. >> reporter: wolf, no question. we have not seen anything like this so far from this administration. it is, indeed, a sign of a war within this administration. perhaps within the walls of the west wing here. now, this op-ed in "the new york times" written anonymously is coming out at the same time that this explosive bob woodward book is coming out and frustrating the president deeply. we have not gotten a reaction from the president yet about the op-ed and he is aware of it. we are told and he surely will be reading it. take a look at some of the claims that this senior administration official writing
in "the new york times" anonymously is saying tonight. they say this. many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and worst inclinations. i would know. i'm one of them. this person goes on to say this. but we believe our first duties to this country. and that the president continues to act in a manner detrimental to the health of our republic. that is why many trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting mr. trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office. this official goes on to say this. given the instability many witnessed there were early whispers in the cabinet of the 25th amendment for removing the president. but no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis so we'll do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until one way or another it is over. and, wolf, a part of this essay.
it goes on and on. simply making the point that there are people inside the government, inside this administration, perhaps across washington, trying to stop the president and protect the country from the president. wolf, we know the president was already outraged by that book. this certainly adds more salt to those wounds. >> yeah. certainly underscores this fear that there are numerous officials within his own administration who consider the commander in chief the president of the united states a threat to the united states. and all this comes, jeff, as you know as the white house is scrambling to push back on the new book from bob woodward that hits on very similar themes. >> reporter: certainly does. i was told earlier today by two top officials inside this government that the president is trying to find out who did talk to bob woodward and who did not talk to bob woodward launching a witch hunt of his own, if you will, inside the west wing and
beyond getting a sense of reading the book who may have spoken with him, who was left out and the president also is keenly focusing on the denials. particularly from his white house chief of staff john kelly and defense secretary james mattis. he said he was heartened by their denials. the president went after bob woodward earlier today in the oval office like this. >> the book is a work of fiction. it's a -- really if you look at it, it was put out to interfere in my opinion at this time with the kavanaugh hearings which i don't think it's done because so many people have come out against it, so many people written about it said i never said that. >> reporter: so the president saying fiction again and again. at least a half dozen or more times there, wolf. but the reality here, this is a work of nonfiction. bob woodward, of course, highly credible, written books like this that are critical of many administrations but this is a different level and certainly
amplified by the op-ed in "the new york times" making many of the same things and the president said just a short time ago in the roosevelt room meeting with republican leader it is defense secretary's job is safe, heartened to see his denial of the suggestion that he has the sort of grasp of a fifth or sixth grader on policy matters matters and will stay on. the witch hunt is on and also i assume for the person who wrote this "the new york times" op-ed. >> yeah. looking for that person specifically but a whole bunch of others, as well. jeff zeleny, thank you very much. i want more on the breaking news right now. white house correspondent kaitlan collins working her sources for us. what are you hearing? >> reporter: people are stunned by the op-ed. when the white house woke up this morning, they were knee deep in a crisis trying to manage the fallout of the book and the claims made in that and then this in the laps this
afternoon and they don't know what to react. they said it's a bombshell. i don't know if i text more people in the white house asking them who they think wrote it in "the new york times" or if more people in the white house are texting me asking me who i thought wrote this op-ed in "the new york times." wolf, the reaction here is really something. aides are scrambling to figure out who went and wrote an op-ed of this nature. so far, there's been no official response to the white house and a few reporters sitting outside sarah sanders' office behind this door including myself and she said that the white house had no reaction yet and let us know when they did. but it wasn't even clear if they had a chance to read the op-ed because one reporter printed out the op-ed and handed it to some of the officials standing upstairs. now, the president has an event with sheriffs in here in the east room at the white house. he showed up 30 minutes late to that meeting. it's unclear if that's to read the op-ed or if the white house is trying to form a response to
this, wolf. clearly, certainly going to be another problem for them to deal with when they already had all of the other issues and the woodward book on the plate. >> truly extraordinary that "the new york times" decided to publish an op-ed by an anonymous person. they say they know who the individual is and can speak of the credentials and agreed to publish this article without any name attached. it sounds like in that anonymous op-ed there are other officials, if you -- who feel the same way. staying put where they are because they feel they can protect the country from the president. >> reporter: that's right. that seems to be a key point of this. not just one stand alone person who doesn't agree with president trump, doesn't like president trump and is pinning this op-ed saying why they're staying on in the administration and hold him clearly in such low regard. this person writes at length there are other people agreeing with him in this administration. one of the quotes this person says from the white house to
executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials privately admit the daily disbelief that the commander in chief's comments and actions. most are working to insulate the operations from the whims and say that is meetings with president trump veer off topic and off the rails and that president trump engages in repetitive rants and impulsiveness results in after-baked and ill informed and reckless decisions to be walked back. wolf, that is something stunning for a white house official though anonymous to us and readers of "the new york times" and known to the editors here allowing this person to publish this op-ed and say things they're working for and stunning to the people inside this white house, people who may say this to reporters on background or off the record at times but this person publishing this and making the feelings known and talking about a witch hunt that president trump is on to find who it was that spoke about that
book, once he reads this op-ed he will be on a witch hunt to find out who it is in the administration that feels this way about him. >> i'm sure if he hasn't yet will order a complete search to find this individual. and deal with it. i'm sure that's going to happen. kaitlan, stand by. i know you're working your sources. we'll get back to you. with the panel that's here, jamie, you were the first after "the washington post" to report on the details of this book. you have actually read the book and stand by for a moment because
the president is speaking on this issue in the east room. >> he's part of the resistance within the trump administration. this is what we have to deal with. and, you know, the dishonest media, you people deal with it as well as i do. it is a disgrace. i'll say this. nobody has done what this administration has done in terms of getting thinged passed and through. an article was just printed,
just came out, a few minutes ago, trump write it is record for budget gridlock wins. scores big win. so, for 20 years it's a 20-year record. they call it the fouled up budget gridlock. and scores big win. here's it. this just came out. so in 20 years it hasn't been like it is now. we broke, debroke it. that's just really positive stuff and then in addition to that, point after point after point if you look almost 4 million jobs created since the election. of which -- [ applause ] more americans now employed than ever recorded in our history. so we have more people working today than at any point ever in
our history. we have created 400,000 manufacturing jobs. manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest pace in more than 30 years. economic growth last quarter was 4.2% and as you people know it was headed down. big. and it was a low number. very low number. would have been in my opinion would have been less than zero. it was heading to negative numbers. new employment claims recently hit a -- think of that. the unemployment picture in the country is the best it's been in 49 years. african-american unemployment lowest in the history of our country. asian american unemployment lowest in the history of our country. hispanic american unemployment lowest in the history of our country. i mean, i'm just looking at these. just point after point. under my administration, veterans unemployment reached its lowest in many, many
the -- let's see. almost 3.9 million americans have been lifted off food stamps. just since my election. then you go into all of the benefit that
is we got from the tax cuts. all of you people benefited tremendously from the tax cut. [ applause ] go into regulation. you go into right to try. right to try is where you have the right if a person's terminally ill, you have a right to go and try and see whether or not a drug that's not approved yet can be used and utilized. they didn't allow that. point after point getting rid of the individual mandate. the most unpopular thing there is in obamacare. coming up with new health care plans. we've never had a period, even if you look at the olympics, got the olympics. the world cup. just got -- you just saw them. they were in my office. got the world cup and started the wall. nobody has ever done in less
than a two-year period what we have done. so when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons, now, and "the new york times" is failing. if i weren't here, i believe "the new york times" probably wouldn't even exist. and some day -- [ applause ] some day when i'm not
president and hopefully in about six and a half years from now -- "the new york times" and cnn and all of these phony media outlets will be out of business, folks. they'll be out of business because there will be nothing to write and nothing of interest. nobody's done what this administration has done. and i agree. it's different from an agenda which is much different than ours and it's certainly not your agenda. that i can tell you. >> thank you. >> it is about open borders. it is about letting people flee
into our country. it's about a disaster and crime for our country. so, they don't like donald trump and i don't like them because they're very dishonest people. remember this also about "the new york times." when i won they were forced to apologize to their subscribers. they wrote a letter of apology. it was the first time anybody's ever done it because they covered the election incorrectly. so if the failing "the new york times" has an anonymous editorial -- can you believe it? anonymous. meaning gutless. gutless editorial. we are doing a great job. the poll numbers are through the roof. our poll numbers are great. guess what. nobody's going to come close to beating me in 2020 because of what we have done. we have done more than anybody ever thought possible. it's not even two years. thank you very much. appreciate it. [ applause ]
[ cheering ] >> all right. the president had a meeting with sheriffs from around the country in the east room of the white house and then of course he was
reacting to the extraordinary op-ed in "the new york times." blasting him and an op-ed entitled, quote, i am part of the resistance inside the trump administration. an anonymous person wrote this article, the president really, really exploding in anger as a result of this article. i quickly want to go to kaitlan collin at the white house. we got reaction from the president himself to this extraordinary article. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. we had not heard from administration officials but the president himself as we were talking about the president 30 minutes late to this event leading to some speculation he had had time to read this op-ed. why he was so late to that event with those sheriffs but you saw the president walk in there and
he had a piece of paper in his hand that he pulled out and he went over after this announcement denouncing "the new york times" for publishing this op-ed which is written by an anonymous top official in the trump administration, anonymous to you and i, wolf. not the "the new york times" editors saying they know who it is, the identity of the person writing the op-ed and the president touched a nerve with. this calling it gutless. going after "the new york times" for publishing something with an anonymous source and then listing off in a bizarre sense the list of accomplishments so far in the time he's been in office and then going on to say that he's going to win re-election in 2020. to the laughter of some of the people in the room. but, wolf, what this was was a raw sense of emotion from this president when's clearly irritated that someone who he said was gutless and someone with the guts to go and write the op-ed working in the
administration to thwart what they say are the president's worst inclinations. clearly something that frustrated the president, a president who often rails against people who tell outlets information and don't use their name even though that's something that the president did before he came to the white house. but he was, you know, a rant is essentially probably the best way to put it there, wolf. in front of the room, the sheriffs, a presidential event going off an hour and a half after the "the new york times" published the op-ed and saying to ignore this and that there is someone he says a member of the resistance in his administration working against him that wrote this op-ed, wolf. >> he was certainly ranting. he was clearly angry at this 800 or 900 word article in "the new york times" and more angry than the bob woodward 400-page book that has not officially been released yet. supposed to be released next tuesday and whole chunks we know
about. >> reporter: right, wolf. >> stand by for a moment. jamie, you have read the book. the president was ranting. sort of underscored and he was saying all sorts of wild things, several of those things clearly not true. but in the op-ed, senior official writes this. i'll read it once again about off the rails. meetings with him according to this official veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in repetitive rants. and is impulsiveness results in half baked ill informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back. it sounds like what he was doing right there. >> and it also sounds like what i've been reading in bob woodward's book. for the last couple of days. in fact, some of words sound like the way woodward quotes chief of staff john kelly. off the rails. other ones talking about rants and impulsiveness. one difference. this is anonymous.
when bob woodward's book comes out, the names are there of the people who are saying it. but i think that what we just saw was an extraordinary sense of the president trying to take control of the moment, a rebuttal and going after what is an extraordinary even though it's anonymous, an extraordinary piece in "the new york times" that really backs up bob woodward's book. >> he's somebody who probably rightly so believes that he is his best spokesperson. and you can just see a scenario where as kaitlan was saying he was a little bit late reading this and saying i'm doing this myself. find me an article with all of our accomplishments. went out there and just ticked them. word salad of the things for everybody to know that he claims that the administration has done. obviously, mostly on the economic side. because he is so clearly enraged
understandably about the fact that somebody wrote this and more importantly the content of it. and the other thing is i have been as kaitlan has and i have been texting back and forth with current and former trump officials, if you read deep into it, the focus is on conservative principles and on things like, you know, free minds, free markets, free people. those are things that the president ran on but isn't actually -- it isn't -- doesn't through his veins like a true conservative and deep in it talks about the lessons of john mccain and also a lot about russia and national security which leads me and others, i'm talking to, to believe it's probably somebody focused on national security in some realm in the administration because this seems to be the focus here and does seem to be more of a traditional, forgive me, establishment republican who joined the administration. >> yeah. and one line he says over here, in public and in private
president trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators such as president vladimir putin of russia, north korea's leader kim jong-un and little appreciation for the ties for ally, like-minded nations. >> and the other thing that strikes me is it says that this person is part of the resistance. but also, is trying to reach out to the american people to say, if you're worried, there are adults in the room. that's exactly the word. americans should know there are adults in the room and fully recognize who's happening, trying to do what's right even when donald trump won't. extraordinary. >> also what's in the op-ed in "new york times," mark preston, these officials inside the trump administration actually considered going to the 25th amendment to the constitution to find a way to get rid of this commander in chief through the constitutional process. i'll read to you from the article. given the instability many
witnessed there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th amendment to start a complex process of removing the president. no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis so we'll do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until one way or another it's over. >> i'm not surprised to hear that. actually. i'm not surprised to hear it probably happened a time ago and seen people now have left the administration. i mean, look at secretary tillerson is no longer around. when i read this and saw account "the times" granted immunity, it's the mark feldt of the trump era? it seemed very similar to the idea of what he did, deep throat, during the nixon era. maybe because the woodward book came out and seemed to have that
type of connection. everything donald trump says seems to be contradictory. the failing news media will go out of business when he leaves office. that assumes that we are doing so well because he's in office which means people want to watch us on television or they want to read the failing "the new york times." it makes absolutely no sense. >> he said if he's impeached that the stock market will crumble and all of us will be poor if he were -- that's what he said the other day. phil mudd, he said this is not the work -- the writer of "the new york times" piece, this isn't the work of the deep state. it's the work of the steady state. >> be careful here. that is 2 x 4 to the head. let me tell you why the game is changing. the book and the editorial today. the deep state, this's people like meserving in government. i was there for reagan, bush, clinton, bush and obama. the new guys that's presidential appointees come in with an agenda and they look at bureaucrats and say it's us
versus them. get the bureaucrats to do what we want them to do. understand when's happened in the past 48 hours and when's happened previously with comments like and we underplayed it. the vmi speech by secretary of state tillerson. he was presence but said this president has a problem. my point is now insiders, that is presidential apopointees saying we're part of the system, as well. i have never seen anything like this, ever. >> let's get joey jackson in on this. >> wolf, the united states of america is an example to the world. right? we lead by example. we set example and we're looked at as an institution and a democracy upon which everyone else should follow. think about how sad of a day it is when you have the leader of that country, that does not have the trust and respect of the people around them who are of a similar party. now, forgetting about policy
differences. this goes beyond that. this goes to the core of a fitness to serve in office. who you are. what you think. how you think. your level of just intelligence. your ability to grasp. and when you have people who don't -- are not confident about you and who you are, what does that say about us and what does it say about our standing in the world? if you look at the essence of what is talked about here, they're talking about how the country is succeeding not because of donald trump but in spite of donald trump. now, that in and of itself actually makes me feel like there are adults in the room and there are people who know that the reality is that the country comes first and they're going to say and they're going to do something about it to make us stand tall. again, look at what it says about mccain and his ability to unify and the example to be set. but when i look at this and then look at trump, he pulls out a paper from the pocket, not knowing, i don't know what source it's from, but isn't it
interesting that press is the enemy of the people. can't trust anything anyone says or writes unless it supports you, talks about your agenda and how wonderful of a job you're doing. it's an outrageous time, a critical time and i think of the midterm elections will say a lot in terms of his leadership and the issue of 2020. well, i guess we have to wait and see to see who beats donald trump. this is incredible times to be living through. >> the writer of the article said the president's style adversarial, petty, ineffective and adds this. the root of the problem is the president's amortality. >> this is devastating. from top to bottom. i think one question whoever the american is i think we have been told it's a man, not a woman, but put the name aside.
for "the new york times" to grant an anonymous op-ed means that this is someone that they take very seriously. this is someone who is a very senior person for them to do it. the other point to make, to go back to mark's point about as it says whisperings about the 25th amendment, i remember at the beginning of the administration i was in the room with two senior republican officials who were looking it up, who were talking about it. what would it take to go there? and then that notion faded away. now you're seeing mention of it in black and white. i feel as if we are at a tipping point. i know we have said many times is this it? with donald trump. but there is a cumulative build-up of a case here that feels different now. >> we just got a statement, by the way, dana, i'll read part of
it. from the press secretary regarding the article in "the new york times." it sends with this. the individual has chosen to deceive rather than support the duly elected president of the united states. he's not putting country first but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the american people. this coward should do the right thing and resign. >> well, listen. i mean, how would you expect a white house to react? especially a press secretary who is probably has her hair on fire from the wrath of the president. again, understandably so. i agree that this could be a tipping point but the question is, that we have all been asking, to what end? >> right. >> could it be if there is a change in power in the house in november that democrats who don't even want to say the "i" word start to look at it? maybe. but everything in here talks
about a lot of different aspects of the president's personality and his leadership style but it -- there's a big -- a long road between that and articles of impeachment. >> right. >> a long road. >> you know, a couple of things. i think that we talk about this idea of a tipping point and look. i have been at the ledge many times. okay? i have fallen off the ledge many times. let's acknowledge that. but i do think looking back at the totality of what's happened and look at the history of events, then you realize that the tipping point is not something that happens immediately. it's something that's a slow roll that eventually gets faster and faster and faster and joey probably understands this better than anybody. he's in the courtroom when things like this happen. this is what scares me in addition to that. i say this with all sincerity. it scares me now that the president is outraged by the woodward go woodward book and going into a
greater bunker mentality than in the past and now the op-ed and looking around saying, who can i trust? and for somebody that we think has boutds of paranoia at times a and bouts of anger and not able to keep it in check is scary. >> bob woodward writes in the book and describes that his aides think the president is lonely. they think he's paranoid. there is a quote where he says i think people are out to get me. i think in that case talking about robert mueller. that he is watching six to eight hours of television. when you have this and you have the op-ed and next tuesday you're going do see names attached and great detail in the woodward book i think it's going to add to the -- >> can i add one other thing to just -- sort of atmospheric observation that people who i talk to in and around trump world who are hopelessly optimistic no matter what
happens, no matter how many cliffs they come to the edge of feeling and sounding beaten down today. there's just a different vibe. even coming through the phone and text of these people that don't normally get beaten down. it is different. >> a one-two punch. the book yesterday and then all of a sudden this op-ed today. phil, let me read another line from this op-ed. it may be cold comfort in the chaotic era but americans should know that there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening. and we are trying to do what's right even when donald trump won't. the result is a two-track presidency. >> i mean, let me restrain myself. adults in the room? can you tell me where the speaker of the house is and the lead senator on the republican side? >> exactly. >> we have charlottesville. we have north korea. where we go from rocket man to by best friend for a man that starves his own people. vladimir putin my best friend that murdered civilians not in russia but the united kingdom
and about ready to participate in murder in the final fight in syria. and now we have to say somebody writes an op-ed and we say it's maybe the tipping point and paul ryan says, i'll do this in private? what do you need? what do you need? another charlottesville? i like the white supremacists. they're the same as the black a activists. i don't know what paterul ryan needs. it's too late now. >> joey? >> such a critical point. you have seen someone in the administration rearing the head. we don't know who they are but where is the elected leadership? we have, you know, look. why we always talk about the midterm elections and wait until what happens in 2018. what about people who are in power now? who are fearful to say anything. notwithstanding whatever the president does, whatever the president says. it's just complete silence and it just is the silence is
deafening. when is someone in congress going to write an editorial where they attach their name to it to say enough is enough? if there's a tipping point, we're at it. what are you going to do here and now? >> wolf, another point. in washington, nothing stays a secret. eventually i think we are going to know who wrote this. and that is going to have another impact within the administration. >> it's interesting you say. i got a text from somebody again in and around trump world who suspects that it is somebody who wants to eventually be known. >> right. >> and be known as a hero. >> a hero to the -- >> come out on the right side. >> traditional resistance movement. >> what they proceed the right side of history. >> exactly. >> took a long time to find out what deep throat was. >> i'm sorry to bring that up. >> maybe this time it won't be that long. you wanted to add a point?
>> i wanted to say to phil's point and outrage and i appreciate, i just want to say in talking to republican elected officials, who behind the scenes don't say what phil would like them to say, when you ask them, why aren't you going public, they say, we can't get past him. he will kill us. we will get primaried. we understand what the problems are. but we have to live to fight another day and what one said to me was, when we can figure out how to bring him down we're going to do that. it may not sound very courageous but they do have a point that if they're not in the game they can't do anything at all. >> yeah. >> elected every six years. i mean -- what kind of an excuse is that? >> impeachment starts in the house as you well know, joey. every two years. the guys are up in a couple of months. >> you know, and we're talking here about what's going on,
joey, inside the trump administration. the congress is a different body, obviously. democrats are outraged. republicans are holding back. but there's another strong line in this op-ed. i'll get phil to weigh in on this one. there is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. >> i think and dana hit something that might not be visible outside washington, d.c. there is a direct linkage of the woodward book and this editorial today. i think you are seeing people typically saying i'm part of the reagan revolution or trump revolution saying i know where the tides are going and i know what history's going to judge and anonymous or named in the book that came out, coming out next week, i want the record to show i was part of the resistance. i think you are starting to see people on the inside, not bureaucrats but appointees to get the name on the record and where the book and editorial are
links. >> so you are certain of this article because of the excerpts of the woodward book of yesterday? >> yes. i don't have any evidence it but you saw the book come out. those people are named in the book. they're all named in the book. you saw people from the administration who are still in the administration. and want to stay in the administration. chief of staff kelly. defense secretary mattis. the two lawyers, rudy giuliani and john dowd. they issued denials. in some cases not very strong denials. but the other people who are named in the book have not spoken out yet. and it's just too much of a coincidence that this comes out now and there are so many words in it that mirror what people say in bob woodward's book. >> there's another line that jumped out at me. dana, the erratic behavior of the president would be more
concerning if it weren't for unsung heroes in and around the white house. some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media but in private they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained in the west wing, though they are clearly not always successful. >> right. trying to give a window into what's really going on along the lines that the adult in the room. i want to go back to something phil said which is important because phil said he's a proud member of the deep state. some meaning which obviously is pejorative and in reality it means people who are career government officials, very important, very important job in this country. this person says very clearly that he or she, i guess he, is an appointee which means they were chosen by the president and his top aides to work in the administration. is a republican. comes in for the administration. and that's a difference.
not somebody who has toiled away in various administrations. but is highly political. and that's another reason why this is so significant. >> clearly not a career official. a career bureaucrat. this is someone correctly who's named to come in at a very high level according to "the new york times" and serve the president of the united states and clearly outraged by what he says. everybody, stand by. there's much more we're getting in on the breaking news. how big is the resistance on the trump team? just revealed by the senior administration official and more on the aides that cooperated with bob woodward's new book.
following multiple breaking stories right now. and just moments ago at the white house, the president denounced as gutless an anonymous op-ed by a senior official of his administration. the official wrote the president acts in a manner that's detrimental to the health of our republic. let's bring back the experts and discuss on this extraordinary development. mark preston, in her statement, sarah sanders, press secretary, calls this this person who wrote this article gutless. and says we are disappointed but not surprised the paper chose to publish this selfish op-ed. >> let's add a word, disloyal. she never said fake. right? she said that the person basically was disloyal to president trump. i think that is telling. i think it's very important. i think it would be interesting to see her standing at the podium and being asked directly is anything correct in that?
is anything correct, you know, in the woodward book or just go piece by piece because if she denies it and there are tapes, right, of the interviews then we know that she was not being truthful. >> what's the president demand? loyalty. >> absolutely. >> he hates leaks. he hates betrayal. he wants loyalty. to one other point in this, wolf. this line where in the op-ed there's a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. this is a theme in bob woodward's book he reports. these national security advisers, these generals, according to woodward, they are staying for one reason and that is they are the thin blue line. the title of bob woodward's book is "fear." they fear if they're not there, if they leave, if they get fired, there's no one standing
between donald trump and endangering national security. >> can we put a reality check in here that one of the reasons why donald trump did what he did is because he rightly so thinks that he is his own best spokesman but as you said it was his rebuttal and there still is that 30 and change percent of people who believe, who will choose to believe what he says about "new york times," about the fact that this is not true, this is not real. and the idea that he wanted to get out there to kind of bring all of those very, very loyal supporters in to the fold immediately and catch them is really telling. is very, very telling. it is his anger. it is his rage. but also strategic. >> i also think he wanted to be on tv. >> yes. that's what i mean. >> saying his piece. >> this line that the president had, sarah sanders had, going
after the news media in the statement, this is just another example of the liberal media's concerted effort to discredit the president and the president in his remarks we heard him go after the news media. that resonates with his base. >> absolutely does. and i just want to add on to what dana said. there's incredible amount of anger right now in this country. we understand that. there is an incredible amount of anger and of that 30% plus change of folks that say he's lying. i don't care. he's shaking up washington. they're putting the boot on somebody's neck and eventually what will happen is that person will get back up again and the person who's putting the boot on the neck is the one on the ground. that's how politics work in this country and i don't -- what i'm fearful for is that we're going to be in this constant going back and forth of the political parties not only paralyzing this
nation but really destroying one another. >> phil, you served as a senior official in both the cia and the fbi. if you were still there, senior official, a career official, a professional, serving in the cia or the fbi right now, what do you do? >> you know, the point about thin blue line is critical. if you look at the players around the president, he has some impressive people. these are people whether you like them or not with experience. i have a wager they're sitting there and junior people saying the same thing, a couple things. one, boy, i would like to -- jeff sessions can't say i love this job. i would like to leave but i have a higher responsibility to the office of the president if not the president himself. i'll say something that sounds odd to people in this country. i spent my career traveling around the world to democracies and emerging democracies. people in this country are too confident of democratic values of a country around 250 years f.
the president wants to say the press is the enemy of the people and typically a check on government, people say in a democratic society i can't trust the press. if you're in government you're sitting there saying democracy is fragile. we have to protect it. we have to challenge the president. >> that's a good point, joey. there's concern every time the president speaks about the press and points to the reporters in the room, points to the cameras in the room and mentions the fact that he believes they're the enemy of the people. there's a whole group of folks out there who believe him. >> her's the point, wolf. it is one thing to question the press. wung thi one thing to question anybody and question information. inquire. we should be skeptical. it is quite another to demonize, demonize, right? that's what you see out of this white house. there's a gross distinction between the two. we have debates every day, full of dplemocracy, we have discour, an exchange of ideas, we agree
to disagree. but when you demonize, call them the enemy of the people, talk about we have to change the libel laws in this country and they're just absurd and how we have to be able to sue them at every turn and slander and everything else, that's where it becomes problematic. but having said that, look, there are a group of people, right, to dana's point, whether it's 35% or some other percentage, and i don't even though that they care what he says, but are just going to be with him no matter what. and what you saw, with him coming out and performing, rattling off a list of what he perceives to be things that are good about the country and everybody else is wrong, he is playing to that base of people who are going to be in his corner. and as long as he does that and holds the congress, he can do whatever he wants and can say whatever he wants. >> and he says his poll numbers are off the charts. i don't know what polls he's looking at rite now, but his poll numbers are clearly not off the charts. this article follows the bob woodward clbook. and i want to play a clip, the
president reacting to the bob woodward which is clearly a bombshell. listen to this. >> the book means nothing. it's a work of fiction. already general mattis has come out very, very strongly. and i think you know general mattis, he does what he wants to do. he's a very independent guy. he was insulted by the remarks that were attributed to him. he came out with a very strong statement. general john kelly, the same exact thing. he was insulted by what they said. he's right here. he's insulted by -- he couldn't believe what they said and he put o out a very, very strong statement. and many others, other statements are coming out. the book is a work of fiction. if you look back at woodward's past, he had the same problem with other problems. he likes to get publicity, sell some books. >> that's pretty much in contrast to what he, himself, told woodward a few weeks ago, when he called woodward, and was complaining, how come you didn't interview me, i didn't know you were doing the book, i wish i would have known, i would have done an interview. bob woodward recorded the conversation, it was a phone conversation, and he told the president he was recording the
conversation. listen to what the president said then about bob woodward. >> it's really too bad, because nobody told me about it and i would have loved to have spoken to you. you know, i'm very open to you. i think, you've always been fair. but we'll see what happens. >> "you've always been fair," he says. >> right, i thought you were going to -- there's that plus his own tweet, that's why i said, there's a tweet for everything, back in 2013, praising bob woodward and criticizing president obama -- >> here it is, right there. "only the obama white house can get away with attacking bob woodward." that's when bob woodward wrote a book about the obama white house and obama administration officials were kplcomplaining at the book. i remember bob woodward came on our show and he said he was getting a lot of threats and angry phone calls from obama administration officials because of that book. and at the time, the president -- now the president, then donald trump, a businessman, says only the obama white house can get away with attacking bob woodward. >> and they weren't happy about
any of the books about that administration, nor the one beforehand. but we were talking about this earlier today, particularly with some former members of the obama administration, that some of the biggest bombshells in there were differences over whether to invade syria. i mean, real policy issues. this is a completely different ball game. a totally different ball game. and i should say that president obama did actually sit down with bob woodward for those books. >> you know, honestly, to president trump's defense, bob woodward really does have a sketchy background. like, he doesn't have had a great career. he hasn't taken down a president of the united states and saved democracy as a young man. i mean, it's ridiculous. it's absolutely ridiculous that we're even allowing the president of the united states -- i don't care if it's jesus christ -- to be able to go out and just blatantly lie and for people to say, well, it's the president of the united states. you know, he has his opinion. that's not an opinion! an opinion is not a lie.
a lie is a lie. >> as mark pointed out, bob woodward has won two pulitzer prizes. he has extraordinary credibility. but just to go back, i think it's important to say, how did he write this book? the sources and methods. he interviewed dozens of inner circle administration officials, firsthand sources in the room. and almost all of them agreed to be recorded. he has hundreds of hours of tape recorded interviews. he did agree to do it on deep background, which means he can use whatever they say, but he won't identify them publicly. but there are names throughout the book. so it's very easy for people to deny, now, oh, i didn't say "idiot," although that was the chief of staff, he didn't say, i didn't say unhinged or erratic.
>> many years ago, i was writing some articles for "the washington post" and i can personally testify that he was on this committee vetting my articles, reviewing my articles, editing my articles with other senior editors at "the washington post." he was really, really tough. but in the end, he made the article a whole lot better. >> wolf, the truth hurts. i'll state the obvious. >> yeah. everybody, stand by. there's more breaking news we're following. a senior administration official unleashes a remarkable anonymous attack on president trump portraying him as unfit for office and a potential danger to the country. i don't keep track of regrets. and i don't add up the years. but what i do count on is boost®. delicious boost® high protein nuritional drink now has 33% more protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals
boost® high protein. when we switched our auto and home insurance. with liberty, we could afford a real babysitter instead of your brother. hey! oh, that's my robe. is it? when you switch to liberty mutual, you could save $782 on auto and home insurance. and still get great coverage for you and your family. call for a free quote today. you could save $782. liberty mutual insurance. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
happening now. breaking news. anonymously critical. in a stunning "new york times" opinion piece, an unnamed senior administration official admits to being part of the internal resistance to the president, describing him as amoral, impulsive, petty, and ineffective. mr. trump is firing back tonight. unprecedented op-ed. why is someone inside the trump administration coming forward now to declare that the president must be stopped? and why did "the new york times" agree to publish the article anonymously? the explosive book by bob woodward may have helped pave the way. fact versus fiction. tonight, the president speaking out about the woodward book, dismissing it as fictio