Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 8, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> those were lies, plain and simple. >> woodruff: ...james comey speaks publicly for the first time since being fired as f.b.i. director, telling the senate intelligence committee president trump could not be trusted. >> i've seen the tweet about tapes. lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> woodruff: we break down the biggest moments from the hearing and what they mean for president trump and the russia investigation moving forward. plus, the united kingdom votes in a critical election: at stake is the approach to leading britain into a new era marked by brexit and terror threats. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
6:01 pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs
6:02 pm
station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: from james comey today, a raft of revelations. with the nation watching, the fired f.b.i. director told the senate intelligence committee that he took notes to guard against president trump lying about their discussions, and leaked his memos after he was fired. he assured the president several times that he was not under investigation. he concluded mr. trump wanted to end the f.b.i. probe of former national security adviser michael flynn, and his russian contacts. comey says he began writing it all down, after an initial meeting last january.
6:03 pm
>> you've had extensive experience at the department of justice and at the f.b.i. you've worked under presidents of both parties. what was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record? >> a combination of things, i think-- the circumstances, the subject matter and the person i was interacting with. circumstances first: i was alone with the president of the united states-- or the president-elect, soon to be president. the subject matter: i was talking about matters that touch on the f.b.i.'s core responsibility and that relate to the president-- president- elect personally. and then the nature of the person: i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so i thought it really important to document. that combination of things, i'd never experienced before, but it led me to believe i've got to write it down, and i've got to write it down in a very detailed way. >> woodruff: the two men also met on valentine's day, when,
6:04 pm
comey says, the president asked him about the michael flynn investigation. he says the intent was clear. >> there's 28 words there that are in quotes, and it says, quote, "i hope" -- this is the president speaking -- "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go." now those are his exact words, is that correct? >> correct. >> and you wrote them here, and you put them in quotes? >> correct. >> thank you for that. he did not direct you to let it go. >> not in his words, no. >> he did not order you to let it go. >> again, those words are not an order. and the reason i keep saying his words is i took it as a direction. >> right. >> i mean, this is the president of the united states, with me alone, saying, "i hope" this. i took it as, this is what he wants me to do. >> now i-- i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> you-- you may have taken it as a direction, but that's not what he said. >> correct. i-- that's why... >> he said-- he said, "i hope."
6:05 pm
>> woodruff: comey's accounts of these meetings first came out last month, after president trump dismissed him as f.b.i. director. today, he confirmed: the leak came from him. >> did you show copies of your memos to anyone outside of the department of justice? >> yes. >> and to whom did you show copies? >> i asked-- the president tweeted on friday after i got fired that i better hope there's not tapes. i woke up in the middle of the night on monday night because it didn't dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation. there might be a tape. and my judgement was that i needed to get that out into the public square. and so i asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo to a reporter. i didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons but i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. >> woodruff: let's dig in to
6:06 pm
main headlines out of the hearing now with our own lisa desjardins, who was in the room. our john yang at the white house. and matt appuzzo, who's reporting on all this for the "new york times." john yang, i'm going to come to you first. the president's personal attorney was out today with the president's response. tell us about that and about what the white house is saying. >> that's right, judy. of course, we didn't hear from the president himself or from any white house official. they've delegated that task of responding to all these inquiries to the president's personal attorney, mark cass wits. he flatly denied the president asked comey for his loyalty or the drop the flynn investigation. and then he said something i'm told we're going to be hearing a lot more of the in the coming days from supporters of the president, he used comey's admission that he got his version of events into the press, he used that to try to undermine comey, to try to portray comey as part of what mr. trump supporters see as a
6:07 pm
conspiracy among washington, entrenched washington insiders, what they call the deep state, a conspiracy to try to get mr. trump out of the white house. >> >> contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today's hearing, mr. comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told president trump privately that is that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into russian interference. it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. mr. comey has now admitted that
6:08 pm
he is one of these leakers. >> woodruff: so, john, you're saying that the president's attorney is suggesting that this is part of a much larger effort? >> this is something the president's supporters have been talking about, and inside the white house people like steve bannon have been talking about entrenched washington bureaucrats, what they call the deep state, is trying to get the president out with these leaks, not only on this case, but on other things involving intelligence throughout the government. as a matter of fact, just this afternoon another fund-raising appeal went out to the president's supporters from his campaign asking for money using not specific thome testimony, but using this idea of the deep state trying to get the president out as part of their fund-raising appeal. >> woodruff: we know there were ads being run by some of the president's supporters in advance of this hearing critical of director comey.
6:09 pm
lisa desjardins at the capital, let me turn to you now. you had a chance, you're in the hearing room, you had a chance to talk to some of the senators after the public hearing and, of course, that was followed by a closed hearing. what are they telling you about their reaction to what they heard today? >> well, judy, this was an extraordinary hearing. i counted 259 questions in just over two and a half hours to mr. comey, and after all of that in the end, judy, i have to say, overall i came away with a feeling from senators that they are moving in a more bipartisan direction than they were a couple weeks ago. there were very few senators who were willing to take sides on this debate between mr. comey and president trump and his attorney, not willing to say yet who they believe in that fight. mostly they're deferring to upcoming investigation. there were a few partisan hits. chuck schumer took to the floor and said the clouds over the white house have become darker. and a republican of missouri said he felt today the president
6:10 pm
did better than worse. talking to ron wyden, democrat, who is one of the president's sharpest critics, when asked about the idea of obstruction of justice and what he thought came from this hearing today on that front, he said, to him, obstruction of justice is a lawyer's term. he thought there was instead a pattern of abuse of power. what that told me, judy, was they didn't feel they made any ground on that case for obstruction of justice. >> woodruff: and lisa, just to follow up, when you say your sense is the members of congress may be moving in a more bipartisan fashion, why? >> senator after senator, including republicans like marco rubio, democrats like mark warner, who about a month ago seemed to be at odds with each other, even about direction and including chairman burr, there were accusations even within the intelligence committee, even on the senate side, i don't hear that anymore. instead i hear all these senators in a more unified voice saying they want to answer these questions later. they're not going to make
6:11 pm
conclusions yet. they're withholding judgment. they're also unified on the idea that they need more information from the intelligence chief. and for news on that, judy, i'm told by the chairman of the intelligence committee, mr. burr, that they are planning to have hearing probably next week he says, closed doors, with those intelligence chiefs who they feel did not answer their questions yesterday. >> woodruff: all right, lisa. we are also joined by matt appuzzo, reporter for "the new york times" who broke many of the stories that frankly led up to what we've seen today. matt, you have spent so much time looking into all of this. how did what director comey, former director comey had to say today square with what you had learned beforehand? >> well, we had known obviously a lot of these individual meanings that comey and trump had been having in the several months that trump's been in office. we've known about those, but hearing it from the f.b.i. director, who frankly has been really good in senate testimony
6:12 pm
over the years, some of the senate staff jokingly call him senator comey because he's really... he does a really good job, but this was a an unusual bit for comey. he was obviously untethered and unrestrained by the limitations of bureaucratic job now that he's a private citizen. and we saw him more... we saw a more emotional, frankly blunt former f.b.i. director. any time somebody in washington says the word "lie," you know they're taking the gloves off because everybody likes to soft-pedal that word around here. >> woodruff: matt, one other thing i want to ask you about quickly, there was a reference during the hearing, director comey was asked about a piece that you and two other any timed reporters wrote. it appeared back in february on february 14th. it was really the first report of extensive contact between the people around then-candidate donald trump and russian officials. we heard james clapper today say
6:13 pm
that he did not think that there was much accurate in the article. what's your version of that? >> yeah, it's obviously very hard to sort of get in a back-and-forth on classified information with a former f.b.i. director, especially when he won't say what's inaccurate. the main point of the story, as you said, was that there were repeated contacts between members of trump's campaign and people tied to russian intelligence. frankly, we only know more about that now. we know carter page. we know jared kushner was meeting with, you know,er sergey gorkov. we know about a meeting in the seychelles. we know all of these meetings that happened. we know someone talked to a front for russian intelligence. that part we know is true. it's hard to say what he is taking an issue with, whether he's splitting hair on whether it's a russian intelligence officer or russian intelligence
6:14 pm
agent, or whether he's saying... we attributed this to intercepts and call logs. is he saying, no, no, no, it wasn't intercepts and call logs? it's hard to get into that become and forth. we will continue to follow this. doing this stuff, you want to try to be as transparent as possible. >> woodruff: for sure. matt appuzzo with "the new york times." thank you for that. john yang at the white house, lisa desjardins at the capitol, thank you all three. >> woodruff: and now we get analysis from four people with extensive experience in government and the law: george terwilliger served as deputy attorney general under president george h.w. bush. gregory craig, former white house counsel to president obama. john carlin served as assistant attorney general for national security at the department of justice from 2014 until october of last year.
6:15 pm
and carrie cordero served in the justice department under presidents george w. bush and obama, where she worked on matters of national security. let's take a closer look now at some of the revelations from today's hearing, beginning with what comey said he couldn't answer publicly. it starts with a question from committee chairman, senator burr. >> in the public domain is this question of the "steel dossier," a document that has been around out in for over a year. i'm not sure when the f.b.i. first took possession of it, but the media had it before you had it and we had it. at the time of your departure from the fbi, was the f.b.i. able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the steel document? >> mr. chairman, i don't think
6:16 pm
that's a question i can answer in an open setting because it goes into the details of the investigation. >> and when you read the dossier, what was your reaction, given that it was 100% directed at the president-elect? >> not a question i can answer in open setting, mr. chairman. >> let me turn to the attorney general. in your statement, you said that you and the f.b.i. leadership team decided not to discuss the president's actions with attorney general sessions, even though he had not recused himself. what was it about the attorney general's interactions with the russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the f.b.i. to make this decision? >> our judgment, as i recall, is that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of
6:17 pm
reasons. we also were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an opening setting that would make his continued engagement in a russia-related investigation problematic. >> how would you characterize attorney general sessions's adherence to his recusal? in particular, with regard to his involvement in your firing, which the president has acknowledged was because of the russian investigation. >> that's a question i can't answer. i think it is a reasonable question. if, as the president said, i was fired because of the russia investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain? i don't know. so i don't have an answer for the question. >> let's turn our attention to the underlying activity at issue here. russia's hacking of those e-mails and the allegation of collusion. do you think donald trump colluded with russia? >> that's a question i don't think i should answer in an opening setting. as i said, when i left, we did
6:18 pm
not have an investigation focused on president trump. but that's a question that will be answered by the investigation, i think. >> woodruff: george terwilliger, you've been hearing all of this. what do you take away from the fact that the former f.b.i. director sayings he can't get into those areas? >> i'm saddened by this entire spectacle that we saw today and really going back to last july beginning with the original speech by the then-director on the hillary clinton e-mail case and up to today. >> woodruff: why? >> there is a thursting that results from this of the justice department and the f.b.i. into the middle of political affairs that seems to follow mr. comey around. he's become kind of a one-man wrecking ball as to accusations and recriminations against several other major government
6:19 pm
figures, candidates, presidents, attorneys general, and i hope that all of this will get dialed back. i'd much rather see the intelligence committee and bob mueller continue their investigations and come to some conclusions and then let's talk publicly. >> woodruff: gregory craig, a one-man wrecking ball? >> well, i think if he'd had the choice, director comey would have preferred not to have been fired, so i think it's hard to blame his being thurst into the forefront of this discussion and debate because he was fired: that was the decision of president trump. and that's the core issue of obstruction, george, it seems to me, whether the fire was the product of a decision to tried to end the investigation by the president or not. i think the meaning, judy, of what happened today was you got testimony about exchanges between the director of the f.b.i. and the president of the
6:20 pm
united states that give you flavor and texture and information about what went into the decision to fire mr. comey, which is the obstruction in this case. >> woodruff: carrie cordero, what about just specifically on those three sets of answers that mr. comey gave, i mean, should we read something nefarious into that? >> i do have a slightly different take, which is that the number of times that former director comey was referring to items that could not be discussed in open session eludes to the fact that there is an ongoing investigation, and there's a whole bunch of classified stuff and classified investigation that's taking place that he could only feel comfortable and would only be appropriate to discuss in a closed session, and what was not part of the clips, but what he also said in his testimony today is that unequivocally there was russian interference in the election, and with all this soap opera related become and forth that we focus on so much, i feel like that aspect sometimes gets
6:21 pm
lost. there really was russian interference, and former director comey was absolutely crystal clear about that fact today. >> woodruff: and he in effect was confirming what the president himself, john carlin, has been saying in all this. but again, getting back to this, particularly on the attorney general, when he was asked about the attorney general's role in this, he said, there are aspects of that i can't talk about here. how are we to read that? >> well, there are three possibilities, three areas that he would be very careful not to testify about in public. one would be if it's classified information, if it's collected through sensitive sources and methods. that's what they do in a closed hearing. number two, information collected through the grand jury process. and number three in this instance would be if he thought it would interfere with the ability of the special council, bob mueller, my former boss, to conduct his investigation. i think it's unclear here which of the three bucks that it might fall into, but any time he says, that that's what i'm thinking in my head, he's falling into one of those three areas.
6:22 pm
>> woodruff: all right. let's look now at another exchange that was notable. here's democratic senator dianne feinstein of california. she's asking comey about president trump's request to drop the criminal investigation into his former national security adviser michael scherer. -- michael flynn. >> now, here's the question, you're big. you're strong. i know the oval office, and i know what happens to people when they walk in. there is a certain amount of intimidation. but why didn't you stop and say, mr. president, this is wrong. i cannot discuss this with you. >> it's a great question. maybe if i were stronger, i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took in. the only thing i could think to say, because i was playing in my mind-- because i could remember every word he said-- i was playing in my mind, what should my response be? that's why i carefully chose the words. look, i've seen the tweet about tapes. lordy, i hope there are tapes.
6:23 pm
i remember saying, "i agree he is a good guy," as a way of saying, i'm not agreeing with what you asked me to do. again, maybe other people would be stronger in that circumstance. i hope i'll never have another opportunity. maybe if i did it again, i'd do it better. >> woodruff: how do you... carrie cordero, listening to that, how did he handle that? >> the difficulty is that there really was at l3ast from the way that the former director testified today, he felt like there was nobody else that he could go to in the administration to talk to about this. he had attorney general sessions, who is somehow implicated in the investigation to the extent that he would have to be recused. this is the president who asked the f.b.i. director in his executive capacity, he does have to provide him with information if the president asks for it. so he was in a position i think where there was nobody else that he could really discuss this
6:24 pm
with given the lack of confirmed leadership positions in the department of justice at the time and given the fact that he is directly reporting to the attorney general and ultimately to the president. >> woodruff: george terwilliger, how do you read this? you have the senator saying, why didn't he just speak up in the moment? >> exactly. and frankly, i can't buy the argument that there was no one he could go to. dana bente, a career assistant united states attorney and united states attorney, an obama attorney who was acting deputy attorney general at the time and was perfectly available for mr. comey to talk to. comey had served with dana when dana was a united states attorney for several years. so i don't buy that explanation, and it's part of a pattern of mr. comey resorting to self-help because he feels like he's a lone ranger out there carrying
6:25 pm
the sword of righteousness forward. jim has served this country honorably for a very long time, but i really think, judy, he made some mistakes last july when he usurped the function of the department of justice in deciding about the hillary clinton e-mail case. he made a major mistake at that time in essence in indicting hillary clinton in the court of public opinion, and everything since then has flowed the wrong way. >> woodruff: how do you see that continuum? >> well, look, if true, it's hard to even describe how unusual it would be for a president of the united states, whether it's president bush or president obama, to have a meeting, order everyone out of the room, leave the f.b.i. director in the room, have a private conversation with him and essentially say, can you end an investigation into someone who used to work for me. i can't... there was no situation that came even close. if someone from the white house
6:26 pm
called over to the f.b.i. and said that they wanted the director to come to the white house with full staff, that would cause huge consternation, calls to the department, coordination, lawyers. so i can see in that context being shell-shocked. as he's described. if he's true, i think that would be a serious moment about the separation between our department of justice and the ability to conduct investigations free from political interference. that's a principle that's been strongly shared by both parties. so it's important to know whether that happened. >> woodruff: gregory craig, how else could he have handled it, or was there another way? >> well, i have to say, it's hard for me to blame jim comey when the president puts him in that situation. that's really... i agree with you, john, that's a very unusual situation. the director comes over prepared to talk about topics a, b, c, d, and e with a group of other people, and suddenly it turns into a topic that's really toxic
6:27 pm
and dangerous, and he's there by himself with the president. so first of all, i'm sympathetic, and i'm willing to be somewhat more forgiving of jim comey because he's in that situation, which is unprecedented and unexpected. >> woodruff: and we can't... i'm trying to think of another moment that we know of where a president called in an f.b.i. director and had this kind of a conversation. >> judy, i think one of the things we have to keep in mind is the concept of the independence of f.b.i. from the authority of the attorney general and indeed from the president is not quite the premise that some believe and that perhaps jim comey operated on. if you think back to the days of j. edgar hoover, j. edgar hoover lad a lot of independence from the justice department and from presidents, and it resulted in a very unhealthy situation. >> woodruff: and, in fact, comey raised the name of j. edgar hoover today.
6:28 pm
>> i heard that. maybe the biggest question swirling around: has the president or have other white house officials obstructed justice? let's listen to how senators pressed comey on that point. >> do you believe there were any tapes or recordings of your conversations with the president? >> it never occurred to me until the president's tweet. i'm not being facetious. i hope there are. >> so both of you are in the same findings here, you both hope there are taping and recordings? >> well all i can do is hope. the president surely knows if he taped me. if he did, my feelings aren't hurt. release all of the tapes i'm good with it. >> do you believe this rises to obstruction of justice? >> i don't know, that's bob mueller's job to sort that out. >> a lot of this comes down to who should we believe. do you want to say anything as to why we should believe you? >> my mother raised me not to say things like this about
6:29 pm
myself so i'm not going to. i think people should look at the whole body of my testimony. as i used to say to juries, when i talked about a witness, you can't cherry pick it. you can't say, i like these things he said but on this, he's a dirty rotten liar. you have to take it together. i've tried to be open, fair, transparent and accurate. of significant fact to me is so why did he kick everybody out of the oval office? why would you kick the attorney general, the president, the chief of staff out to talk to me if it was about something else? so that, to me, as an investigator, is a significant fact. >> woodruff: gregory craig, are we any closer to knowing whether the president in any way committed obstruction of justice here? >> i think he's on very, very thin ice. first of all, i think he's got a credible, plausible, believable witness in jim comey, and if you were betting between a swearing match between the president of the united states and jim comey, m money would be on comey.
6:30 pm
most jurors, most prosecutors would give him a good deal of faith in the truth of his testimony. secondly, the real issue here when it comes to a criminal prosecution is whether he falls within a title 18 united states code provision that almost word for word describes what some people would think donald trump has engaged in. and most prosecutors that had that kind of evidence against an individual wouldn't hesitate to bring a prosecution. it is, i believe right now, an indictable offense. but there's no way in which you can bring that kind of case against a sitting president, so then you move to the question of whether this conduct rises to the level of an impeachable offense, because that's the exclusive way that the constitution lays out for limiting or removing the power of a president, a sitting president. >> woodruff: is that how you're thinking about this, carrie cordero? >> i think there is certainly a
6:31 pm
difference between the criminal aspect and whether or not this moves to whether or not there is obstruction and whether or not this is a political matter. i think observers are looking for what's the one act that will make this an obstruction case. i think we'll find there's a time line and a series of events with some of the conversations. it was the dinner meeting. it was the will you be loyal to me at the same time of discussing job security. it was the tweet, some of the tweets that have stoked the investigation. it was the firing. and then it was the tweet sort of threatening that there are tapes. and so i think when people look back at this, they're going the look and find a time line that will eventually move toward the political consideration of obstruction. >> can i just add that the president of the united states has also said the reason he fired comey was because of the russians. >> that's perfectly legal. because the president can't obstruct justice by telling the director of the f.b.i. to do or not do a particular investigation. it's a unitary executive.
6:32 pm
the president is in charge of --. >> woodruff: what does unitary executive mine? >> it means that the entire branch of government is embodied in one person, and that's the president. so the president this give direction as to what should happen with cases. and carrie raises just the right point. the resolution of the issue, if there is an issue about the president's action is political, not legal. the talk of obstruction of justice as a legal matter is meaningless. it might make more an interesting academic debate. the president cannot obstruct justice by telling the director of the f.b.i. stop that investigation. there may be grand political consequences to doing so, but there are no legal consequences. >> woodruff: and we just heard greg say you then move on to the question of impeachment, but john carlin, is obstruction of justice as a question still on the table? >> aides an important question. the referral or saying it's in the hands of the special counsel in that sense isn't quite right.
6:33 pm
so what the special counsel could do and approach it like a prosecutor and an investigator and say, is there a corrupt intent when the act was taken. here the act would be the firing. i disagree with george on whether or not that would constitute the criminal offense. the guidance... the justice department guidance says it's not that you can't commit a crime as president, but you can't be indicted while you're the sitting president. so they could build out the facts. they could make out the elements of the case. but then i do agree, what there has been less focus on is what happens with the special counsel's report? under the old statute you knew that would go to congress with a referral. under the current terps, it's not clear at the end of the day. the acting attorney general would make a report to congress. what's in that report isn't clear. >> woodruff: george, you shook your head. >> it's not a matter of justice department guidance or preening. it's the constitution. the constitution places the
6:34 pm
president in charge of the executive branch. i'm not trying to defend the decision, but the fact of the matter is the president has complete and utter legal authority to fire the director of the f.b.i., including for pursuing a particular investigation. >> woodruff: all right. we'll leave it here as we look at this final piece of tape from today's hearing. russia and the president were not the only subject that made news today. senators again questioned former director comey about his handling of the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mail and what pushed him to take the unusual step to discuss it publicly last summer, which you all have brought up. here again committee chair senator richard burr. >> let me go back if i can very briefly to the decision to publicly go out with your results on the email. was your decision influenced by the attorney general's tarmac
6:35 pm
meeting with the former president, bill clinton? >> yes. in an ultimately conclusive way that was the thing that capped it for me, that i had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the fbi and the justice department. >> were there other things that contributed to that, that you can describe in an open session? >> there were other things that contributed to that. one significant item i can't but know the committee's been briefed on, there's been some public accounts of it which are nonsense but i understand the committee has been briefed on the classified facts. probably the only other consideration that i guess i can talk about in open setting is that at one point the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me, but that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude i have to step away from the department if we're to close this case credibly. >> woodruff: carrie cordero,
6:36 pm
this is the one part of today's hearing that looked back at the clinton e-mail story, which, of course, went on for months and months. how do we read what director comey is saying here about the former attorney general, loretta lynch? >> i think the former director has take an really bad rap on this july decision to go public with his finding. in my view, the attorney general at the time, loretta lynch, put him in an extraordinarily difficult position. she did not officially recuse from the decision, which she could have done after the tarmac meeting, nor did she say, i'm going to make the decision and i own it, and because she did neither of those things, either said she was going to make the prosecutorial decision and own that decision or officially recuse and say, sally yates is in charge, she left this sort of middle ground where she said, i'm going to accept the decision of the prosecutors, and therefore, i think that what the former director was saying is he felt then that that would have tainted any future decision. >> woodruff: george
6:37 pm
terwilliger, some people who are close to the former attorney general say this came up more innocuously, that it wasn't an order, stop using the term vision, call it a matter. be that as it may, comey is left out there being very critical of the former attorney general. >> yeah. i'm sort of troubled by this aspect of that exchange and what we heard today. i can understand the point that carrie makes that comey felt like the decision-making process at the justice department appeared corrupted because of the tarmac visit and so forth, but there are other remedies to that, and to point to a discussion with the attorney general, i mean, i sat in the attorney general's office. i was the acting attorney general. i'm sure i had discussions with subordinate officials about whether to call something a matter or an investigation, and i'm not saying this wasn't significant, but it seems to me it kind of got blown out of proportion if that's the
6:38 pm
justification for the july proceeding. >> woodruff: john carlin, how do you see this? >> we know the russians are going to try to attack us again. they tried to undermine confidence in the integrity of our election, it's been reaffirmed today and it's been reaffirmed by every national intelligence security firm, and they're going to do it as early as 2018. when you think about the clinton investigation, the russian investigation, it was extraordinarily difficult for the political appointees to make a decision calling out investigations, particularly when they have to do with the interference of the election. what i worry about going into 2018, we're in for a worse shape right now in having a credible official who can call out russian meddling in our elections. i think we should think seriously about which career non-partisan career officials do we give the task of calling out, if the russians attack our electoral system again in 2018? >> woodruff: in about 20 second, gregory craig, you get to weigh inch final word.
6:39 pm
>> well, on the comey press conference in july, i do have views on that. i think he violated guidelines and practices in the justice department, and he went beyond that and commented on her conduct and it was unacceptable and it was a mistake, a terrible mistake. >> woodruff: that one i don't think we're going to resolve as we sit here this evening. but thank you all for being here. greg craig, carrie cordero, john carlin, george terwilliger, thank you all very much. >> woodruff: now to the rest of the day's news, polls have closed in britain, and voters appear to have delivered a blow to the ruling conservatives. exit surveys indicate they are likely to come in first, but lose their majority in parliament. special correspondent malcolm brabant reports from london. >> reporter: after an election
6:40 pm
campaign punctuated by terrorism, voters went to the polls amid tight security. conservative prime minister theresa may, who repeatedly promised "strong and stable leadership," cast her ballot in a village west of london. labour party leader jeremy corbyn campaigned on reversing public service cuts, and increasing spending on health, schools and police. >> it's a day of our democracy, i have just voted and i am very proud of our campaign. >> reporter: may announced the snap election seven weeks ago. >> the government should call a general election to be held on the 8th of june. >> reporter: the tory leader sought a popular mandate to boost her majority in parliament and negotiating hand in the talks on leaving the european union. she began with an overwhelming lead, but then came a series of campaign mis-steps, and a pair of deadly terror attacks, on a concert in manchester last month and around london bridge last
6:41 pm
weekend. some conservative supporters, in may's constituency west of london were anxious. >> well previously to last weekend i thought that she'd be doing quite well, but i'm not sure she hasn't shot herself in the foot now. i'm hoping not. but who knows which way the cookie crumbles. >> reporter: meanwhile, borough market, where terrorists fatally stabbed people on saturday, remained closed as voters went to the local polling station. conservatives were not expected to do well here. labour supporters clung to the hope that young voters, energized by corbyn, might propel him to an unexpected victory nationwide. >> if you look at him in comparison with theresa may, he's such a principled person. he does what he believes. he follows the politics of unification not division and i just prefer so much that outlook. >> reporter: according to the joint british television exit polls, it looks as though the conservatives have lost their overall majority down from 330 seats to 314.
6:42 pm
labour is projected to have gained 37 seats, up to 266 in total. now these numbers could change as the official results come in. but as it stands right now theresa may's gamble in calling the election seems to have failed and political experts believe that she may be much diminished by the end of the night. it's going to be a long and fascinating night. judy? >> woodruff: malcolm brabant, in london. in iran, authorities says five of the men who carried out attacks in tehran were islamic state members who'd fought in syria and iraq. isis claimed responsibility yesterday, after gunmen and suicide bombers struck parliament and the tomb of ayatollah khomeini. they killed 17 people and wounded 40. six suspects are in custody, and iran's semi-official news agency reports investigators are examining whether saudi arabia was involved. there's word of a new atrocity by islamic state fighters holding out in the iraqi city of mosul.
6:43 pm
the u.n. human rights office reports isis killed more than 200 civilians trying to flee last week, including children running for safety. it also says at least 50 people died in an air strike in mosul in late may. it's unclear who launched the air strike. north korea has fired off another round of missiles, this time, short-range, anti-ship weapons. the south korean military says they flew some 125 miles today before landing in the waters between the korean peninsula and japan. south korea's new president moon jae-in had called for reaching out to the north. today, he demanded an end to the provocations. >> ( translated ): our government, as i have already clarified multiple times, will not back off at all or compromise regarding national security and people's safety. also, the government will unwaveringly make efforts for complete denuclearization of north korea's nuclear weapons through both sanctions and dialogue.
6:44 pm
>> woodruff: just yesterday, moon postponed the full deployment of a u.s. anti- missile system. it's meant to be a deterrent to north korea. the u.s. house of representatives voted today to dismantle much of the dodd-frank act. the bill would weaken the consumer financial protection bureau and undo many regulations imposed after the financial crisis. republicans say it's been a burden on small banks and harmed economic growth. democrats said it's discouraged risky lending practices. the measure faces an uncertain future in the senate. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained about nine points to close at 21,182. the nasdaq rose 24 points, and the s&p 500 added a fraction. and we'll be back shortly with a report from our student reporting team, part of our series: limitless, about people living with disabilities. but first, take a moment to hear
6:45 pm
from your local pbs station.
6:46 pm
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
>> woodruff: and now another in our series, limitless, stories about living with disabilities from youth reporters in the newshour's student reporting labs network. tonight, we travel to norfolk, virginia to meet jonathan atkins, a 19-year-old body builder with down syndrome who competed in the 2017 body sculpting open. the story was produced by
6:52 pm
students at granby high school. the student correspondent is jamil aforo. >> reporter: professional bodybuilders are praised for their ability to enhance their external appearance, pushing the limits of the human body. but for jonathan atkins, the hobby has transformed not only his body but his life. the 19-year-old athlete comes to this virginia beach gym, called the house of champions, to workout with his trainer joe hartfelder every week. jonathan was born with down syndrome, a genetic disorder that stems from an additional chromosome. >> my name is joe hartfelder. i'm a w.m.b.f. natural pro body builder. i met jon over a year ago through his mother who i have known since i was around six or seven years old. he always showed an interest in lifting weights at the house and kind of doing his own thing. i don't impose bodybuilding on anyone. because a lot of people don't get it and everyone does it for a different reason. and there is a lot of ego in the industry and i don't like that.
6:53 pm
>> reporter: after working together for about a year, joe encouraged jon to enter a local bodybuilding competition. >> i really love people and helping people. so with jon he was already flexing and he was kind of already doing that anyway and looking on facebook and looking on different things on social media and so i was just like hey he could do this. >> down syndrome has low muscle tone so for him to have the muscles he has is pretty impressive. because he didn't walk until he was almost six. >> reporter: lisa dudley, jonathan's mother, has seen how bodybuilding has improved her son's self esteem. >> a lot of times he knows that he is different and there are certain things that he cannot do but this is one thing that he knows that he can do that you know there are some guys in for self confidence i think it's been awesome. >> reporter: with encouragement from his trainer, jon traveled
6:54 pm
to phoebus, virginia in february 2017 to compete in the body sculpting open. he had never been on a stage before, or been in front of so many strangers. he was one of two participants to compete in a challenged division section of the competition. >> when i saw him on stage i felt very nervous, but i was proud. i was proud that he actually went out in front of all these strangers and hundreds of people. and it was like he had done this a hundred times before. he didn't look the first bit nervous and he looked good. he looked really good up there. >> oh it was great. he loved getting the trophy. every part of it he was just a champ the whole way through. the beauty in it is you can always get better. in lifting or whether it's bodybuilding or in life you are always pursuing to do better.
6:55 pm
>> woodruff: jonathan atkins, you are a star. you can see more of these stories from young journalists across the country at the before we go, just a quick note: we needed to devote most of tonight's program to the senate hearing with james comey. but next thursday we expect our weekly series, making sense, will return. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks analyzing an extraordinary week in politics. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> this program was made
6:56 pm
possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
boom! hello, i'm julia child. welcome to my house. what fun we're going to have baking all kinds of incredible cakes, pies and breads right here in my own kitchen. johanne killeen, pastry chef and co-owner of rhode island's highly regarded al forno restaurant introduces us to a variety of her own very special baby cakes.