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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  May 10, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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>> new experience for david, you're going to do over time us online, or to and click the overtime tab, or go to facebook live, we will see you tomorrow at noon eastern, "happening now" now. >> jon: fox news alert on a political firestorm, the white house strongly defending the firing of fbi director james comey saying that it was done to restore confidence in the burea bureau. not to torpedo the investigation into the trump campaign. welcome to the second hour of "happening now," we may get some answers, i am jon scott. >> jenna: hi, everybody, i'm jenna lee, it is the hour with the white house press briefing, and we will bring that to you shortly. meanwhile, democrats are not buying any of it, sing it reeks of a cover-up and they call for a special prosecutor to look into ties between russia and the trump campaign. some republicans agreeing with that. here's a look in the white house where they are about to hold what is sure to be a eventful
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briefing, the first since the announcement yesterday. meanwhile, the shakeup is catapulting russia back into the headlines on the very same day that the president hosted the kremlin's top diplomat at the white house, here's what the president said earlier. >> reporter: why did you fire director comey? >> he was not doing a very good job, very simply. >> reporter: did it affect your meeting with the russians today? >> not at all. >> jenna: catherine herridge's life outside fbi headquarters in washington, we bring you there next, where are we at this moment and what happens next? >> thank you and good afternoon, the development in the last couple hours has been the vice president on capitol hill about a few blocks from where i am where he seemed to distance white house from the decision saying it was based on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who is a career prosecutor and
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it was not related to the russia probe. >> now we look forward to finding that individual who will be able to lead that agency and all the outstanding men and women of the fbi back to a place where we move past the difficult politics of the last year that have swirled around director comey's leadership. >> also this morning, the senior democrat on the senate judiciary committee, this is the committee that has direct oversight for the justice department and fbi, dianne feinstein says that she called that deputy attorney general and acting fbi director indra mccabe to the hill immediately to brief them on exactly what went down. she called that timing beyond curious and pointed to these recent subpoenas in the russia investigation and she also pointed to a highly classified briefing in march with that fbi director comey where she said he committed to keep them updated on their progress.
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>> it was rather comprehensive but for kind of briefing. the fbi director was precise, and he presented us with substantial information. it was clear the fbi was taking its job seriously and fed a substantial investigation was underway. >> also within the last hour, justice department officials are saying that a "new york times" report that director comey had asked for resources and money from rod rosenstein and that may have been one of the reasons that he put the kibosh on the director, they say it is simply not accurate. >> jenna: thank you. in the meantime, big question about the new leadership that could be to come in the fbi. we are hearing there are already some obstacles coming up. what are they? >> look, this thing is moving extremely quickly. late last night, the number two of the fbi became the acting director of the bureau. this is andrew mccabe, he
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brings a lot of baggage, critics say come into this position, in large part because his wife, dr. joe mccabe received $700,000 from democrats including longtime clinton ally in 2015 for a state senate race. this morning, the senior republican on the senate judiciary committee said simply that he was too politically damaged for the job. >> if you're telling me that mccabe is taking over, is that true? has that been said? okay, well he has political problems because of the help of his wife and i do not think this is a person that should be taking over. >> we also have some guidance from the justice department on what exactly to expect with the fbi leadership and the timing. they have emphasized to us that mccabe is really in this position as a placeholder, kind of keeping the seat warm for the time being until the deputy attorney general and the attorney general decide on an
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interim director for the fbi, and that could happen as early as today or tomorrow. that would be a decision taken by those two individuals at the senior leaders of the justice department. now at the same time, they have to search ultimately for the replacement for the fbi director. that is something that would be appointed by president trump and then would need senate confirmation. there is an additional wrinkle here. if it turns out that the individual appointed as interim director for the fbi ends up being the president's choice to lead the bureau, they would then step aside and another interim director would be appointed, so we have a lot of changing of seats here at the bureau, and it is hard to argue against the idea that this will be disruptive to the russia case and other ongoing investigations. >> jenna: in the meantime, we take it step-by-step and continued to follow things as they come, thank you. >> director comey had lost the confidence of the rank and file
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within the fbi. he certainly, i think, lost the confidence from members of both sides, republicans and democrats in the house and senate. frankly, most importantly, he lost the confidence of the american people. >> jon: we should be hearing from her again in the next 25 minutes or so, deputy white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders, defending the president's decision to fire the director of the fbi. for more on this, let's bring in john bussey,'s associate editor of "the wall street journal" ." i'm guessing you were as surprised as anyone by that news late yesterday. >> i think most people were. the president has a very large clinical agenda to get through congress, tax reform, health care reform. this does, just as you said at the top of the program, it creates a political firestorm. it catapults russia even higher in the headlines. it was always very high, the question of what is there collusion between the trump campaign in russia during the campaign for united states. now it is back in the headlines
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because the president has the public wondering why fire the head of the fbi he was in charge of the investigation. >> jon: the president even referenced that in the firing letter, i greatly appreciate your informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation. >> it is very interesting that cnn is reporting that subpoenas have been issued by a grand jury in this case, we are also reporting, not just "the new york times," that the fbi did ask for additional money, regardless of what the white house has said. >> jon: they want more resources to handle the russia investigation. >> that means is it -- it is expanding and getting into greater depth, and in the firing later, you mentioned that the president is claiming that the fbi has essentially exonerated him. and this is a white house that is not always on speaking terms with the truth, so the public is kind of wondering what actually is going on here? you wonder also whether politically it would be advantageous for the white house
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to say, we are going to find the fbi to the max on this. we will endorse the deepest investigation into this because we are confident there are no ties. let's be done with this after a proper investigation has taken place as opposed to firing the head of the fbi. >> jon: let me play devil's advocate for a minute and say the fbi is full of career investigators, people who know how to do their jobs and get the job done. firing one guy is not necessarily going to put the brakes on any russia investigation. >> that is true in a compelling position, that is a compelling position, the fbi will go ahead with its investigation, so will the senate intelligence committee and perhaps now there is even more talk of a special prosecutor being appointed. there might be a third avenue in which this is determined, whether there was collusion. the president, we have a story on the website right now, the president was irritated with
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comey, he was too much in the spotlight, was not exonerating the president about his claim that obama had tapped his phone lines and trump tower. there was irritation. it might have just been that simple. it might have been a kind of surface in rotation with the fbi, and not something deeper and darker in more concerning. we just don't know at this stage. >> jon: if you are going to fire the head of the fbi, why invite the russian foreign minister to the oval office, which apparently was just disclosed? i'm not sure when the invitation went out, but the disclosure that was going out happened last night. >> so was that intentional? was an oversight and a goof in the timing was just wrong? i would have to assume it was the latter. why make it intentional? which goes to show also that there was a kind of helter-skelter element to this firing. it was not apparently planned out. there was this unfortunate scheduling issue the next day,
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but there was not an immediate presence of the white house available to the media to explain what was going on. there is a bit of impulsiveness to this white house. >> jon: then they compounded by letting the russian foreign ministry release photographs of the president shaking hands with the russian foreign minister, but they don't have any american media doing that same thing. >> awkward, awkward in the least. i think again this gets to the point that the public is going to be demanding a finality of this. an investigation that is compelling and honest and bipartisan. >> jon: they are the two photographs i was referencing which came out again from the russian foreign ministry and not from any american press team. john bussey from "the wall street journal," we will let you get back to work, there's plenty of it today. >> there is indeed. >> jenna: in the meantime, more reaction coming in from congress, senate minority leader chuck schumer calling once again for a special prosecutor to oversee the russian investigation while majority leader mitch mcconnell says that would do more harm than
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good. mike emanuel is live on capitol hill with the very latest. >> good afternoon, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is ripping democrats for questioning the judgment of the deputy attorney general who has just confirmed to his post several weeks ago, 94-6, and it was that deputy attorney general who called for an leadership change at the fbi. >> but we have now, mr. president, our democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an fbi director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized, that removal being done by a man, rod rosenstein whom they repeatedly and effusively praised. >> it is worth noting that some republicans have questioned the explanation and the timing for comey's removal as fbi director. that includes the chairman of the powerful senate intelligence committee. >> the timing and the reasons for this decision made little sense to me.
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i don't think i've heard anything since last night that would clarify that in any way. >> some of them have said democrats are hypocritical after they lost confidence in kobe late last year during the content email program and are now expressing outrage about his firing, we asked democrat chris murphy of connecticut about that. >> that is not why jim comey was fired today. he was not fired because of how he handled the clinton email scandal. he was likely fired because he was getting closer to the truth about the connection between the trump campaign and russia. >> expect more calls from democrats for a special prosecutor to look into the russian matter. chairman versus that is not necessary, noting the senate intelligence committee investigation is bipartisan. >> jenna: thank you. >> jon: so we are waiting for the white house daily press briefing to begin. quite a day in washington, d.c., as reaction continues to pour into the firing ffe i director
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james comey. that briefing set to begin at the autumn of the hour, 70 minutes from now, you do not want to miss it today. also, the firing of an fbi director has only happened once before in the bureau's history. so which fbi director suffered the same fate and why? wheat will be live with that.
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meta appetite control... it's your glass of willpower that helps keep cravings... ...far, far away. feel less hungry with the natural fiber in clinically... ...proven meta appetite control. from metamucil. >> jenna: fox news fox news overcome let's go live to the white house as we await the daily briefing where the firing of fbi director james comey is certainly on everyone's mind and a whole host of other questions as well so we will be talking about that but the firing is historical as well because it only happened once in our history before this. our chief national correspondent ed henry is live in washington with the details. >> good to see you, it's not unprecedented but extremely rare because fbi directors have a 10-year term in office to try to insulate them from politics, did
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not work this time for the only other time it happened was 24 years ago, then-president boca did fired his fbi director william sessions, no relation to the current attorney general jeff sessions. there was a report then put together by the clinton justice department laying out ethical missteps by william sessions such as billing the government for a security fence around his home that did not actually provide security, just as the trump justice department released a report by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein laying out james comey's missteps in hilarie clinton email pro. democrats asserting today that report was a pretext by president trump to fire the fbi director and let the white house is actually worried about this russia probe, a charge that newt gingrich says is nonsense. >> you have a brand-new deputy attorney general. he is a 30-year career professional in the justice department. he was picked by president obama to be the u.s. attorney for maryland. the u.s. senate two weeks ago approved him by 94-6. this is the person who wrote the
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letter that set the timing. if you are donald j trump and sitting there as president, looking at a letter from this person who is totally nonpartisan, you could argue was acceptable to barack obama. this guy writes you and says, you're never going to rebuild the fbi as long as comey is there. given that trump is an entrepreneur, he understands the term, you are fired, what is he supposed to do? >> interesting that president clinton also said in 1993 that he fired his fbi director at the suggestion, yes, of his justice department and mr. clinton added it was time to bring a difficult chapter in the fbi's history to a close. i guess the more things change, the more they remain the same. >> jenna: interesting context, thank you very much. >> jon: now this fox news alert, protesters are already lined up outside the white house this afternoon. this planned event calling for an organized and impartial investigation into russia's election tampering. it comes on the heels of
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president trump's a bombshell decision to fire fbi director james comey. that, of course, is sparking your concerns about the future of the russia investigation. we will continue to keep an eye on it. we are also live at the white house with a daily briefing is set to start any minute now. we could learn more about the president's decision to fire james comey and that search for his successor. after vice president pence came to capitol hill this morning and strongly defended the president's decision. >> i am grateful for the action the president has taken, and i am confident as we go forward that the president will choose an individual who will be able to restore the confidence of our nation and our leading law enforcement agency.
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>> jenna: fox news alert, we are awaiting the white house daily briefing to begin and president trump's firing of the fbi director will be front and center during that. along with any political ramifications to that move including what it means to the fbi investigation of potential ties between the trump campaign and russia. democrats renewing calls for a special prosecutor while some republican lawmakers are defending the president's decision. >> james comey was a good man who made a bad mistake in the way he handled the clinton email scenario, and depending on who you were talking to one day, our democratic friends thought he was a night writing on a white horse, the next day, they thought he was the devil incarnate. >> the timing, of course, is right on the heels of the announcement there was going to be a grand jury to ask questions about the investigation into russia. to me, the timing of that probably was not the best, a little odd in my view in terms of when the white house did it. but i think if you look at what
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has been said over the course of the past several months, there is plenty of support, bipartisan support for what the president did. >> if i had a hearing about why he should be fired, comey, the first witness i would call would be sheer mercy can tell me why he thought he would be fired, should be fired. there are 20 democrats at different times that called for mr. comey to step down as fbi director. this is what gives hypocrisy a bad name. >> jenna: let's bring in our panel, democratic strategist don calloway and rasmussen report political analyst amy holmes, great to have you. there's a lot to get through, things changed due to my changing moment by moment, we will do the best we can. let me ask a subquestion, the american people, are we better off because of the decision to fire james comey? >> i think we are if we can turn the page and have a fresh start and how these investigations move forward without all of this vitriol and partisanship. i can tell you that at rasmussen reports, we've done pulling on
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the question of the russian investigation for example, and we have seen that even the american public of unlikely voters are very divided when it comes to partisan view of how this is moving forward. 52% of the likely voters actually want to see the clintons also investigated for their connections to russia. so if we can move forward in a bipartisan or nonpartisan way, i think that is good for the country. as i was watching a lot of the discussion and debate and partisanship over the president's decision to fire mr. comey, it occurred to me that i think it is problematic when the fbi director is too big to fall, and let's face it, president obama could not fire him because he was in a of us getting hillary clinton peered had she become president and fired him, that would have run into the same bus criticism, mr. trump being president come he's getting criticized, to me, there's a problem with an fbi director has as much problem as dashed as much power as he has. >> jenna: a really interesting
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point, and i haven't heard it today, what do you think about the american people being better off with this decision? >> we are probably better off because of this decision but to be clear, everything about this decision from the move to do it to the way it was managed, the timing of it is objectively bad, i totally agree with amy on the way to move forward here is to find a bipartisan way to do so, but we have to be very, very intentional with our words and what we are calling for. i really think it is inappropriate for anyone to be calling for a special prosecutor which we continue to hear appeared we should be calling for a special independent investigative commission, it we need congress to pass the bill authorizing that commission, but a prosecutor comes when someone has been charged with a crime. that has not happened at this point, so legally and procedurally, we need a bipartisan commission to help us move past this firing into look forward into the russian investigation to see and help get the whole situation straight. >> jenna: that is an interesting point as well, let me ask a bit further about this. to date as of right now, we don't have any facts or evidence
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to suggest that there is anything but smoke around this investigation between russia and our election in the trump campaign, we just do not have the facts. that is what the hopkins are pointing to, there were some facts to support this, then we should move forward with an independent committee or special prosecutor but we don't have those facts, what do you say to that? >> we saw on monday with director clapper who said that he does not have any evidence right now, but he did not say that there was no evidence. he did say there was no evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and russia, but we do know that there were russian hacks, that is objective truth, 22 different intelligence agencies have told us that there was absolute hacking and interference with the election. i think that assigning that merits a deeper dive and investigative process into, but you're absolutely right that we don't have the evidence of the trump campaign colluding with that hacking, but that is not to say it is not there just yet. >> jenna: the question then becomes how long do we have to wait until we can say definitively, there is no there
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there? that is why we are in this, this waiting. that is actually maddening. that brings up the question, okay, his point is very interesting, special committee, we need someone independent because we are having a question of who we can actually trust, the president, the fbi, doj, but then to your point earlier, you wonder if the special committee somehow becomes more powerful than anybody else, the other branch of government, and the people we actually elected to help us to shepherd through these tough times. >> what don is saying is that commission would be made up of elected officials on capitol hill, and remember we had the 9/11 commission that investigated the government actions up until 9/11 again gave recommendations of what needed to be changed, improved and how we went after national security and protecting ourselves from terrorists. i was working for bill fritz then, senate majority leader and speechwriter, and every member that commission report very wel. so i really would appreciate what don is saying about how we can move forward with the confidence of the american peopn
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the final product of all of this. and there are two separate issues. there is, did russia hacked the dnc? feed that information to make leaks then try to influence the election? we have been told -- we have not seen the evidence of that, but we have been told on a bipartisan basis that yes indeed, that did happen. when i look at this, with what happened the last 24 hours, the only winner in all of this so far are the russians, and i am sure they are sitting back and twirling their mustaches and clapping their hands at what chaos they have created in the american political system. i think we all want the chaos to be over. we want answers, it we want to move forward. >> into amy's point, it is not just their interference in the american election. i've spoken with numbers of the senate intelligence committee, and they have interfered throughout the middle eastern states as well. >> we just saw it in france. >> right, so this is a serious
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new form of cyber terrorism that we as americans who leave the road on the international stage need to step in and do some serious investigating and potentially take some action. >> jenna: we will see, and again the timeline is so important. here we are in may, are we going to talk about this in november and december, the same story? it's been some of the same questions we've been asking since january or december of last year, so where do we move along. amy, i'm sure all of our viewers with mustaches are not taking offense at the good and powerful imagery. >> isn't there an effort to raise money for cancer with men like mustache november? movember? >> jenna: a positive shadow, i appreciate that. fair and balanced, great conversation, really thoughtful, look forward to have you back on. quick programming note, on "special report," bret baier will talk about the comay firing with paul ryan, you do not want to miss that tonight. >> jon: do i have to grow my mustache? >> jenna: i would love to see
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that, by the way. >> jon: could happen. we are awaiting the white house daily press briefing after a dramatic date in washington, d.c. we expect even more fireworks in that briefing room. plus, i meeting today with the secretary of state and president trump, we are at live at the state department with more on those meetings and what they mean. in the wake of the fbi director's dismissal. earn interest, david. you know i work at ally. i was being romantic. you know what i find romantic? a robust annual percentage yield that's what i find romantic. this is literally throwing your money away. i think it's over there. that way? yeah, a little further up. what year was that quarter? what year is that one? '98 that's the one. you got it! nothing stops us from doing right by our customers. ally. do it right. let's get out of that water.
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>> jon: the white house daily briefing was scheduled to have started already. it should start any minute now. we will take you there at live when it does. the hot topic, of course, the firing of fbi director james comey. vice chairman of the senate intelligence committees mark warner said he has invited comey to testify this coming tuesday. let's go live to chief white house white house correspondent john roberts. >> these things start 15 minutes late than they are right on time. there is something that happens at this white house, you don't really know the timing of it, is it rich with irony or actually the president poking a finger and his opponents eyes, but democrats have accused him of trying to scuttle the russian investigation by firing comey, so what does he do? meets in the white house with sergey lavrov and sergey kislyak he was the russian ambassador to the united states at the center of the whole michael flynn controversy. he is accused by democrats of being makes a direct nixonian, so what does he do? meets with richard nixon's secretary of state henry kissinger. irony or a finger in the eye? we don't know but at the oval office meeting, the white house gave the press pull his reasoning for firing james
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comey, listen here. >> he wasn't doing a good job, very simply. he was not doing a good job. >> but on capitol hill, democrats insisting this could not be about comey doing a bad job even though a lot of them are calling for his had last year. after he announced the results of the clinton investigation then reopened it again toward the end of october on capitol hill, the vice president mike pence said this is not about russia at all. here's what the vice president told us. >> there is no evidence of collusion between our campaign and anti-russian officials. that is not -- let me be clear with you. that was not what this is about. >> but the president taking a flame there were two democratic senators like charles schumer, richard blumenthal of connecticut for criticizing him over the firing, pointing out: "cryin' chuck schumer stated recently, "i do not have confidence in him -- james comey -- any longer."
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then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp" this on blumenthal, a three-part tweet: "watching senator richard blumenthal speak of comey is a joke. "richie" devised one of the greatest military frauds in u.s. history. for years, as a pol in connecticut, blumenthal would talk of his great bravery and conquests in vietnam -- except he was never there. when caught, he cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness... and now he is judge and jury. he should be the one who is investigated for his acts." clearly, the president has been frustrated with the fact that this russia story continues to make headlines on an almost daily basis. and his determination letter he sent to james comey, the president pointed out three times that comey had told him he was not being investigated. white house senior aides say it is time to get past all of this, listen here. >> we have heard that time and time again. we heard it in the testimony earlier this week. we've heard it for the last 11 months. there is no there there. it is time to move on. >> but if the president was trying to get past the russia investigation and story by
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firing james comey, it has had exactly the opposite effect. democrats now calling for a special prosecutor, though senator lindsey graham said this morning is as a counterintelligence investigation going on at the fbi, not a criminal investigation so the likelihood of appointing a special prosecutor is very small. >> jon: the senate intelligence committee hearing is coming up on tuesday. we actually have learned that senator mark warner says comey asked him to appear before that committee. comey is saying, i want to testify. >> we are going to hear from the acting fbi director andrew mccabe tomorrow and a congressional hearing, but to hear from james comey himself if he does go up there on capitol hill and appear before the intelligence committee on tuesday, that would be something to see. >> jon: it will as we await the white house briefing. john roberts, we will let you get to your seat, thank you very much. >> jenna: unshackled from your
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current employer? it could be very interesting to get a different testimony than before if it does take place. we are just hearing this now for the first time so we are working to confirm it further in five more details. one of the things, of course, the big news item of the day, you have all of this drama playing out over the firing of james comey and then you have president trump in the russian foreign minister sitting down at the oval office this morning less than 24 hours after the firing actually took place, and of course it was the fbi director who was investigating whether the trump campaign and any associates with the campaign were connected to russian meddling in the presidential election. rich edson has more from the state department for us now. >> good afternoon. the russian foreign minister sir jayla robbie getting his day here at the state department meeting with second of state rex tillerson the movie onto the white house where he met with president trout, the imagee have only come from the russian government and russian outlets for u.s. white house pool was not allowed in the spirit of this come easy president trump meeting with the russian foreign
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minister, also meeting with the russian ambassador sergey kislyak, if you remember, it was his meetings and conversations with michael flynn who was fired at nsa director, this began the promise do not controversy with. once lavrov met with president trump, he went to the russian embassy up here in washington, d.c., held a press conference and was asked repeatedly about the firing of james comey especially given that comey's fbi was invested getting russian interference into the u.s. election. to that, it's been 18 respondent mockingly "i never thought i would have to answer such questions in the united states given your highly developed democratic systems" then he said he did not even discuss such absurd issues at the white house with the president. >> there is no need for him to tell us anything or to give us assurance behind closed doors. there is not a single fact, no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding russia's
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intervention, and that is it. >> lavrov also went on to say he and representatives of the united states discussed this idea of safe zones or de-escalation zones in syria, a way to start stopping or halting or slowing things in that country, this would be set up by the russian government, the u.s. has responded to say there are a lot of details outstanding on how exact they they would be administered so a real open question as to how, if, or when the u.s. government would get involved. lavrov also added that it is obvious the relationship between the united states and russia, they have not solved all the problems, but they are continuing this dialogue, continuing to try to improve and settle outstanding issues. he also said the obama administration section 8 of russia's and keep you mike again russian diplomats out at the end of the obama administration of t they said was the interference of the u.s. election amounted tu want to talk about nixonian phrases coming back into the lexicon. as for why the foreign minister met with president trump today,
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this is a reciprocation of what the russian government allowed last month when secretary tillerson was in moscow, he met with russian president vladimir putin coming up with the secretary of state and the foreign minister of russia lavrov are heading to alaska for the arctic council, but they are traveling separately. back to you. >> jenna: thank you. >> jon: we are still waiting for the white house daily briefing to begin, the first since the president's firing of the fbi director sent shock waves through washington. you don't let anything
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>> jenna: fox news earlier, state department now offering a $10 million reward for information on a leader of the syrian branch of al qaeda. it is the first time the state department's reward for justice program has targeted this specific group. our national security correspondent jennifer griffin is live at the pentagon with more about what this reward is all about and why it is being offered now. >> what is being notable is that
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is the first on the state apartment has placed a bounty on the head of anyone from al qaeda affiliate in syria. the rewards for justice program is offering come as you mention, a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of mohammed al-jawlani, leader of the front terrorist group, al-jawlani was named a designated global terrorist in may 2013, blocking his property and americans from dealing with him which in effect forced a travel ban arms embargo sanctioning him and those dealing with him, but this is the first reward offered for an al qaeda leader in syria. more information about al-jawlani is located at the website. >> jenna: interesting, let's talk a little bit, that is a big news story, russia continues to be a big part of the headline today, defense secretary james mattis had a message for russia
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today. tell us about that. >> washington is focused on the comey firing, defense secretary jim mattis stood along russia's border today, delivering a message of support to the anxious baltic states who are worried about increasing russian aggression appeared for the first time, the u.s. plans to deploy a long-range patriot missile battery capable of shooting down planes or ballistic missiles in lithuania which shares a border with russia. this is coming while russia is capable of deploying nuclear capable missiles to a small wedge between poland and lithuania. all eyes are on an upcoming russian military exercise in september that takes place every four years and will involve an estimated 100,000 troops in tiny kaliningrad. >> we will use whatever means necessary, in the reason you see
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this now is the lack of respect for international law by some nations, and so long as nations show respect, we would not have to deploy that. >> he said he is not worried about the upcoming russian military exercise, but just in case, the u.s. will assume control of policing nato's airspace during moscow's exercise and will in well-positioned warships warships in the baltic. >> jenna: thank you very much for that appeared sorry about the audio issues, we appreciate it. we are working with some breaking news. i want to clarify what we are actually talking about. listening to jennifer griffin, there has been some confusion about what's been going on on capitol hill about whether or not james comey asked to text do not testify in front of the senate intelligence committee or has been invited. what we are clarifying now as he has been invited to testify by both the top democrat and republican on the committee, that it's really big news because, of course that is directly breaking with what the white house stance is on james comey which is that he is fired, he is no longer a voice they
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want to have involved in any parts of this investigation. so an interesting move by the top senators that have been very critical of president trump and relief for news that is not even 24 hours old yet. >> jon: our understanding is andrew mccabe, the acting fbi director will testify in front of the senate intelligence committee instead of james comey. now to the white house briefing room and sarah huckabee sanders standing in today for john spicer. sean spicer. >> so i have heard. good afternoon, everybody. as most of you i think no, sean spicer is on reserve duty for the rest of the week so i will be briefing you today and in the following days. i've got a few announcements here at the top before i take your questions. i have an update on the tunnel collapsed at the hanford nuclear waste site in washington state. the incident is moving the emergency phase to where the recovery phase after extensive testing, we remain confident at this point that there has been no indication of worker exposure
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or an airborne radiological release. personnel began taking steps to stabilize and fill the hole over the partially collapsed tunnel last night, and we expect those efforts to be competed today. the site remains closed to nonessential personnel, dedicated experts on the ground are looking closely at what next steps should be taken with respect to mitigating future tunnel breaches. in washington, d.c., today, as was mentioned yesterday, the president is focused on preparations for his upcoming foreign trip. he met this money with the russian foreign minister following on the visit of secretary of state tillerson to moscow last month. a readout of that meeting went out about an hour ago, and i would refer you to that for further questions on the meeting. outside of d.c., as part of the administration's ongoing effort to address the opioid crisis in america, secretary price continues his listening tour, learning from those on the front lines of battling the epidemic. today, he will meet with officials in maine and
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new hampshire to discuss how the administration can best support the local initiatives to combat this tragedy. second ryan zinke is in utah today visiting national monument sides and meeting with local officials to comply with the president's executive order that ordered a review of national monument designation. the secretary also took another step to advance the president's america first offshore energy strategy by reversing an obama administration action to halt scientific research in the outer continental shelf. secretary betsy divorce is in daytona beach, florida, to deliver the commencement address at the within cookman university, a great example of the top-notch education hbcu far less have provided and continue to provide for their students ie secretary is honored to be there today. there is also another nugget of big news, as you guys may have been paying attention in regard to the termination of the former fbi director comey. the president over the last
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several months last confidence and director comey, the doj lost confidence in director comey, and bipartisan members of congress made it clear that they had lost confidence in director comey. most are portly, the rank and file of the fbi had lost confidence in their director. accordingly, the president accepted the recommendation of his deputy attorney general to remove james comey from his position appeared before the news broke, the president spoke to several members of congress to inform them of his decision. those members are senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, speaker of the house paul ryan, senate daily by senator chuck grassley, senate minority leader chuck schumer, senator feinstein, senator lind, house majority leader kevin mccarthy, house minority leader nancy pelosi, income rissman bob goodlatte. later in the evening, he also spoke to bob corker, chairman of the senate committee on foreign
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relations. in addition to all of the big news happening at the white house today, it is also my daughter scarlett's fifth birthday. since i am here and you guys are not, i get to wish scarlett a happy birthday again with that, i think her first birthday wish would probably be that you guys are incredibly nice and now i will take your questions. >> reporter: i have a couple broader questions. number one, yes or no, did the president direct rod rosenstein to write this memo on james comey? >> no, the president again like i said, he lost confidence in director comey and frankly, he had been considering letting director comey go since the day he was elected. but he did have a conversation with the deputy attorney general on monday where they had come to him to express their concerns. the president asked they put those concerns in recommendation in writing which is the letter you guys have received. >> reporter: 's of the
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white house assertion is that rod rosenstein decided on his own after being confirmed to review comey's performance? >> absolutely and i think most of america had decided on their own that director comey was not the person that should be leading the fbi as evidenced by the numerous comments that we have seen from democrat members in the house and senate, republican members, members of the fbi and people across the board. >> reporter: senator dianne feinstein said she would told something different directly from the president, and that he's was going to ask, is she lying? >> he was asked to put the recommendation in writing but they came to him on his on. again, the president had lost confidence and comey from the day he was elected. he was not sure he should be fired. >> reporter: may 3rd, he cannot to say he had full confidence in the of the eye director, why did he say that? >> again, he questioned director comey's reasons for needing to stay at the fbi.
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he had countless conversations with members within the fbi. i think one of the big catalysts we saw was last week on wednesday, director comey made a pretty startling revelation that he had essentially taken a stick of dynamite and thrown it into the department of justice by going around the chain of command when he decided to take steps without talking to the attorney general or the deputy attorney general when holding a press conference and telling them he would not let them know what he was going to say. that assembly not allowed. somebody like the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who everybody across the board has unequivocally said, this guy is a man of upstanding character and essentially the gold standard at the department of justice, when you take an action like that, when you go around the chain of command and the department of justice, then you have to make steps and take action to make a recommendation to the president, and that is
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what he did. >> reporter: doesn't have to do with going into russia, how do you -- >> we will come back to that i am sure. >> reporter: until you step to the podium now, you said that they president lost confidence in him in the last weeks and months, we thought this was all rod rosenstein's doing. when was it that the president lost confidence in james comey? what was the tipping point? >> i think it has been an erosion of confidence. i think director comey has shown over the last several months and frankly the last year a lot of missteps and mistakes and certainly i think that as you have seen from many of the comments from democrat members including senator schumer, they did not think he should be there. they thought he should be gone. frankly, i think it is startling that democrats are not celebrating this since they have been calling for adverse along. >> reporter: i have another
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one. >> i think there is a two question limit around here. >> reporter: follow up on that. you said he made a lot of missteps and mistakes. back at the end of october, this president was applauding the fbi director when he reopened the investigation into hillary clinton's emails, so he seemed quite happy with him at that point. what changed? >> i think the president's position. one, he was a candidate for president, not the president. those are two very different things. once you take over leading the department of justice, it is very difficult than being a candidate in a campaign, as you guys all know. there's a very clear distinction between those two things. i think also, having a letter like the one that he received and having that conversation that outlined the basic just atrocities in circumventing the chain of command in the department of justice. any person of legal mind and authority knows what a big deal
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that is, particularly in the department of justice, particularly for someone like the deputy attorney general who has been part of the justice department for 30 years and is such a respected person, when he saw that, he had to speak up on that action. i think that was the final catalyst. >> reporter: quick question on the meetings this morning. the president is accused by democrats of trying to circumvent the russian investigation by firing comey. he meets with the russian foreign minister and the russian investor to the united states. he's accused of being nixonian, he reads with richard nixon's secretary of state, is this timing ironic or just putting a finger and critics eyes? >> these are meetings that happen on the books for a while, they did not just happen this morning. there is not a strategy to go after the democrats on this. i think frankly, the saddest thing is that the democrats are trying to politicize and take away from something the president should be doing.
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he should be meeting with the foreign minister, should be meeting with people like kissinger, and for them to try to attack him for doing his job, maybe they should spend more time doing their job that we would not have all the problems that we do. >> reporter: isn't it true that the president had already decided to fire james comey, and he asked the justice department to put together the rationale for that firing? >> no. >> reporter: why did he make the decision? >> he made the decision for the final decision to move forward with it was yesterday, but i know he's been cut to planning it for a while. >> reporter: how do you ask me what dianne feinstein says that the president told her that he was concerned with the fbi and asked the justice department? >> i cannot speak for senator feinstein, but i did speak directly to the president. directly from him, i heard that he again had been pretty much since the day he took office.
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there was no request by him to have a review at the department of justice. >> was the reason for the firing what was written by the deputy attorney general? is that why he did it? >> i think that was the final piece that moved the president to make that quick and decisive action yesterday. >> what did he mean in the letter that he wrote informing comey that he was being fired? he said on three separate occasions comey had told him that i am not under investigation. what were those three occasions that fbi director told the president that he wasn't under investigation? >> i'm not going to get into the specifics of their conversations but i can tell you director comey relaid that information to the president. jeff >> following up on that, did the president ask director comey whether he was under investigation when they had these meetings? >> again, i'm not going into the specifics of their conversation. >> he obviously made a decision to stick that in the letter to make that public.


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