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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  May 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> no. the short answer is absolutely not. i think there's a separate thing that we have to separate. that's the question of counter intelligence operations. when it comes to the detection and the neutralization of a foreign intelligence meddling or operations within the united states, that is what we have to focus on. if there is no investigation answering that question, we won't go anywhere. >> thank you for your time. it is 3:00 on the east coast. that wraps things up for me. chris jansing wraps things up. >> some answers, more questions when it comes to the firing of fbi director james comey. last hour, press secretary sean spicer giving the latest version of the white house view of things but it is the question he repeatedly refused to answer that is drawing the most attention. did president trump -- >> the president has nothing
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further to add. >> why did he say that? >> as i mentioned, the president has nothing further to add on that. >> are there recording are devices in the oval office or the white house? >> there is nothing further to add on that. >> is the president of the united states currently recording conversations taking place in the oval office? >> i think the point i made is the president has no further comment on this. >> plus a new and very important inside perspective from the man frequently cited by the president. andrea mitchell's conversation with james clapper. new details. plus this. >> i think what needs to happen is to clear this cloud. the cloud that's hanging over the administration, over the president and the white house. it would be in he have one's best interests to get to the bottom of this and for the untry. otherwise, this is going t continue to linger as a dark oud over, in my opinion, over this administration.
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>> we have a lot to get to this hour. and fortunately the best in the business are here to walk us through it. so let's get right to it. kelly o'donnell on the lawn of the white house. pete williams from the d.c. bureau. manny gomez is a retired fbi agent, jeremy peters with new reporting from "the new york times" and allan dershwitz was specifically mentioned by sean spicer last hour. kelly, i'll start with you. we just heard sean spicer pass on questions about whether or not there are recording devices in the white house. it started with the lester holt news making one-on-one exclusive interview yesterday which sparked a series of tweets by the president and then white house briefing. brill us up to date. >> in the president's interview with lester holt, he described having a dinner conversation with the former fbi director and the nature of the conversation where the president suggested that comey was trying to secure
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his job, although he was only a couple of years into a ten-year term. and it included the president making a request that if possible he would like to know if he was under investigation, and although he are thought he was not. and comey assured him he was not under investigation. the next iteration said the conversation was very difficult, that the president had pressed for loyalty. and comey couldn't provide that except to say honesty. that prompted the tweet where the president said that he homes comey better hope there are no tapes. that is yet another in the echo of sort of watergate era tone. very different facts but the notion of tape-recording. so pressed repeatedly at the briefing about tapings, not only in the oval office, which is a place of business, but in the private residence. and one might expect that the dinner that comey and the president had in january would have been perhaps in the
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residence just based on the nature of the way it s described. so it is a differe sort of set-up. were there any recordings? here's how sean spicer responded to these questions. okay. we're going to pause only. the idea is sean spicer responded by saying, the tweet speaks for itself. there's nothing further. so the news value. in is that spicer did not say no, there are no recordings. he did not define whether recording is even possible. if there is a system for reporting or some other means of recording. conversations the president has with james comey or any other guest or official in the white house. so a big question left unanswered. and of course, this is one of the things people will want to know. there might be legitimate reasons for his, toal purposes, for recording to take place.
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would all parties need to know? i think pete williams can speak to that issue. surprisingly today, based on the president's tweet, the issue of recordings, in the white house, is now a hot button issue. >> the meeting on january 27 is a pivotal moment in this saga. my understanding is that the view from his camp, from the comey camp is, bring it on. we hope there is a recording. right? >> well, that's right. and i should clarify that we have not heard from james comey all week. we haven't heard from him after he was fired. we haven't heard from him since the lester holt interview. we certainly reached out, giving him ample opportunity. he certain it will hasn't responded. people familiar with this dinner, who heard about it at the time say that his version of it is so different than the president. they have no doubt that mr. comey would love to have any times come out.
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i assume what kelly meant was, asking whether there was a legal requirement that the president tell someone if there is taping ing on. i can't remember under the law if theistrict ofolumbia is a one ortwo-party const thing. a wiretap law is what she's talking about. i took away from a later comment that sean spicer made that he wasn't aware of any recordings. the point is that people who talked on comey at the time say first of all, he was not, he did not call the white house and and to come to dinner. that he was invited to dinner. he was somewhat reluctant. >> we have that sound that andrea mitchell did the interview today with james clapper and asked him specifically. on that day he had a chance to talk to comey. >> what do you know about that dinner? you were with him the day of the dinner. with james comey. >> i was. it was the 27th of january and the fbi hosted a wonderful
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farewell ceremony for me, which i'll never forget. and jim and i spoke briefly before the ceremony and he mention that had he had been invited to the white house to have dinner with the president. that he was uneasy with that because of even the optics. the appearance of not only him but the fbi. >> but he was going to the dinner. did he explain why he thought he had to go? >> i think anyone who is a serving officer in the government, and you're asked by the president for dinner, i think as a professional courtesy, you're in a difficult position to refuse to go. >> so he's there. take us inside that dinner and what we know. >> i should say, by the way, mr. clapper is not the only person to have told us that mr. comey was invited and didn't invite
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himself. what these people who talked to him at the time say, that comey told them during dinner, the president asked if he could be loyal. that comey said, well, i can't guarantee you that. i would certainly be honest. the president asked about that a couple more times and finally comey said, what if i say i would be honestly loyal. the president said, okay, that's fine. that's the big divergence here. these people say mr. comey did not go to the white house. he did not and for a meeting because he was hoping to keep his job. he had a ten-year term and it didn't require any action by the president to keep it going. >> would it make essential for him to go and say i would like to stay on. he was staying on. he had a ten-year term. >> obviously as we've learned this week, that can be ended any time by the president. unlike other officials, for instance, u.s. attorneys who serve a four-year term or whose term expires when the presidency
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does, the fbi director's term goes on. we've seen this before when administrations change, fbi directors remain. >> for some analysis, i want to bring in my panel. it includes jeremy peters with "the new york times," manny gomez, former fbi agent, i have to start with you, allan, you got a callout today. it was asked if it was appropriate to and the fbi director if he was under investigation, sean spicer said i will tell that you i know several legal scholars including allan dershwitz who have said there's nothing inappropriate with that. >> it happens every day. every time i have a client, they say is he under investigation? i say i can't tell you. if you were a target, you would get a target letter. if he is a subject, you would get a subject letter. there's nothing wrong with asking. there's almost nothing wrong asking. >> can you imagine a
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circumstance in which the sitting fbi director if he is asked, am i a target, that he says no, you're not. >> here's what i think happened. we'll hear if there's a tape and the district of clul is a one party consent tape so it is perfectly legal for the president to tape anybody he's having dinner with. my own view i don't think there's a tape. i think he's bluffing. i think he wants comey to think there's a time. i think the president said am i under investigation and comey did the usual answer. if you are a target, you would get a target letter. the president said i didn't get a target letter. if you didn't get a target letter, you're not a target i the investigation. the president undersod that as, i'm not being investigated. i suspect that each party to that conversation has a different interpretation of the same words that were used. >> there has been another part of this where there's a discrepancy. that has been about how people, the rank and file in the fbi, actually feel about how all of
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this went down and how they felt about clapper. the president has said clearly, sean spicer, other members of the senior staff have said very clearly that people are very unhappy with him within the agency. here's what james clapper said to andrea mitchell earlier today. >> i can attest, it is always difficult when you're assessing are the morale of a large institution. from my vantage, i think i'm pretty good as assessing a command climate as we say in the military. the morale in the filibuster bi high and i witnessed the very high esteem that people have for james comey. sure. some people probably didn't like some things he did. but i think overall, as far as jim's stature as a public servant, the consummate public servant, he was tremendous.
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>> that's what he said sitting in front of congress. what can you tell us? >> going to what you said, the acting fbi director, then deputy director, spoke volumes about the credibility and what the fbi thinks about james comey. this is according to some of my high level colleagues in the fbi, they consider him a rock star. >> when the white house says that he had lost the kfconfiden of the sxrank file, there is nothing you know, having worked within that passion suggested that's true. >> absolutely not. i'm sure as he said in thousands of people, there may be some malcontents. the overall almost and effort that the fbi was putting in for this director was highly motivated. and that motivation is still ongoing out of respect for this
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man. >> meantime we're hearing reports that the former director himself now fired, obviously, isn't very happy with the way he was treated. it is almost legendary within a couple days, he thought it was a joke when it was flashed on a tv screen and he had to be pulled into a room by his aides. he wasn't sure if he could use a government plane and get yanked back to washington, d.c. and there are members of congress. >> right now what you have in the white house is a search for the next fbi director. we've learned some new names that are a part of that pool of likely candidates. first you have a former federal appeals court judge who served, was appointed by george h.w. bush and is now the genteral counsel for boeing. he would be an interesting choice.
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he is a widely almosted juryist. you have john cornyn who is on that list who might surprise a lot of people. the president is taking a look at him. mike rodgers, a former fbi agent himself who is widely liked within the fbi. a few names are looking press likely at this the point. kelly ayotte, the former new hampshire republican senator, who would become the first woman to are not the agency but she was very critical of president trump during his campaign. and i find it hard to believe according to my reporting that he would ever appoint her. so there is a growing list. and the one thing all of these candidates have in common and this is intentional on the white house' part, they have no connection to speak of to president trump. the white house wants to turn the page here. hope they can put this behind them if that's possible and put
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forward a candidate who will have no appearance of any kind of cronyism. because president trump's associates are indeed under investigation by the various agencies these people would be picked to lead. >> what does the white house have to do if indeed, as you say, as the acting director says, the former dni, people in the area had respect for clapper -- sorry, almost for the director, respect for everything he stood for and in fact were unhappy with the way he was fired. what does the white house have to do? >> they have to look for somebody that is a-political, somebody who is a leader. >> so somebody who is a member of congress won't do it. >> to fill james comey's shoes will be very difficult. and that is something that was, you can't undo what's done. he fired man in the worst possible way where towed find
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out on network tv that he was fired. that's not professional. that's not right for a man who served his country in the way that he did. so to fill his shoes, he will have a tough time doing it to earn the respect of the rank and file and the country as a whole. >> this is not a great list. i think the politicians are too political. which a are are for being the most right wing. he was skimmed over for the united states supreme court. he is not someone who could be confirmed by a 94/6 vote. that's what the president needs. he said why shouldn't the president pick merrick garland? he would be fantastic. he was picked by president obama. he would win 100-0. there would be a fight over
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ludic, over some of the members of congress. i think you need a 100-0. we're hearing a lot of glowing reports about the fbi, what a great wonderful organization it is. the fbi is an organization in deep trouble. the office in boston was highly corrupt. there were rumors the people in new york were leaking things to the administration. to undercut hillary clinton. this is not a perfect organization by any means. it is an organization that always needs to be kept in check. >> i have to let manny respond. >> i have a high deep respect for the professor and he's right. there were problems in boston. i don't know so much he about new york leaking but the fbi around a long time. it is the leading investigative agency in our country, both internally and internationally. that being said, the director of the fbi's office is given a
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ten-year term. it is supposed to be an axe political term. for this president to fire somebody for a political reason is outrageous and i agree the professor. it will be very difficult to fill those shoes that he has taken away from this organization and from this country. yes, the fbi has its faults bust it is still our number one leading organization when it comes to counter terrorism. >> and to one more the point about this letter. a letter that came from a law firm. morgan lewis and douglas, that they have looked, they say at ten years of taxes for donald trump. and they say with few exceptions, and that includes the misuniverse pageant in moscow. tax returns do not reflect income of any type from russian sources or any debt known, owed to russian lenders.
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there is no supporting documentation. we haven't seen the tax returns. what do you make of that letter? >> that may constitute a waiver. the irs may say, when you have somebody representing what is in the tax returns over a ten-year period, make it means the irs can now release those tax returns. >> so independent of the presiden saying that's okay, this could be an opening? >> some people will make the, a utility, you can't simply release conclusions about your tax returns without releasing all of your tax returns. yothsds the i i don't think the lirs make that argument. >> is there a question how quickly we'll hear from the white house that a possible replacement? >> i think they'll take their time on this. i think the desire to turn page. to change the subject is so intense. they need pick somebody who is a
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nick-vote run-up in the senate. they can't afford to have this turn into a part sandal side show. so they'll take their time and they need also to prove that we are not in the constitutional crisis that a lot of democrats are saying we're in. they're very eager to show the checks and balances and that would be the president confirming his next fbi director. >> and questions of obstruction of justice which we'll get to later in the program. thank you to all of you. up next, president trump's legal team says for the most part, his last ten years of tax returns do indeed show zero income originating from russian sources. reaction to that and everything else going on today. more people than ever are making the move to nissan. because of rogue, the best selling suv in america.
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at this hour we continue to follow breaking news following the nbc news bombshell interview with president trump. his attorney said their review of his last ten years of tax returns show no income from russian sources with only a few exceptions. here, james clapper disputed president trump's account of his meeting with director james comey saying trump requested the meeting and that comey felt uneasy about going. also today a string of tweets,
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including one that said he might have a recording. quote, james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. during the press briefing, sean spicer refused to answer questions about that tweet. for more on all of you, i want to bring in ben cardin. a lot to get to, senator, but let me start with the fact the white house basically is saying that tweet speaks for itself. the president says he better hope, james comey better home there is no tape of that. and then we have sources telling nbc that what the former fbi director is saying, i hope there is a tape of that conversation. what do you make of all of this? >> this gets more bizarre every day. if there are tapes, let's hear what he said. quite frankly, i would be very surprised if the president has
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these recordings. i think this is something that he is saying to try to intimidate mr. comey. i doubt they exist. >> if they exist, would it be bothersome from you? we just heard that it is a single consent so he could do it legally. would it be a bother to you? >> absolutely. with people being recorded and not knowing their conversations are being recorded, that would be to me a real disregard for privacy. so yes, i would be very troubled. i think what president trump has done, what he did in firing fbi director where there is an active investigation involving people that are close to him. involving russia. this crossed the line. he always tries to distract from the real story and the real story is the action he took
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against the fbi director. so what do you think should happen next? >> well, quite frankly, the first thing is we need to make sure that investigation is carried forward in an objective and independent way. so it is very important the department of justice appoint a special prosecutor has total independence and does not have to rely on the justice department or the president. >> the reality is that in the house, in the senate, in the white house, you know, it is the republicans. the republicans seem to have some backing for this. in our new nbc survey monkey poll, a vast majority of republicans support the firing of the former fbi director. so what ammunition do you have to see that a special prosecutor gets appointed? what are the chances you see of that happening? >> i think the american people want an independent investigation in regard to criminal charges that the fbi was conducting.
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i think they understand the importance of an independent department of justice. the department of justice which i think required the point of a special prosecutor. i can be done by the department of justice. it is supposed to be an independent agency that represents the american people. it doesn't represent one person. the president of the united states. it represents the american people. i think they have an obligation to restore the confidence that it is independent by appointing the special prosecutor. >> could you use the office of the fbi director as leverage? your colleague said he would vote against confirmation of an fbi director unless there is support for a special prosecutor. >> i think the department. justice would be making a major mistake if they don't have a special prosecutor named for the president, nominates the next director of the fbi. if that's not done, the whole process will be about this one investigation. as to whether it can be continue in the an objective nonpartisan way and where the facts can lead to wherever they may be and no
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one is above the law. if theyppoi a special prosecutor, then you don't have to worry about that. that has been taken care of. we can concentrate on who the next director can be. >> good to see you. thank you so much. >> up next, live from new york, melissa mccarthy. seen here, cruising the streets of new york on a motorized podium in full costume. a taste of what's to come when she hosts "snl" tomorrow night. what's that?
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♪ >> i didn't even know melissa mccarthy could sing like that. there she was with her infamous important trail of sean spicer in a promo for her hosting of saturday night live tomorrow night. let's me bring in dean, scott
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blakeman is a political comedian and they tour together and stand up for peace. so somewhere in this building right now, i think melissa mccarthy is practicing for her gig. what are you expecting from her? >> a lot of comedy. a lot of sean spicer. i home alec baldwin shows up as trump. there is so much to do. i think "snl" should get a special award. they've been leading the comedy resistance against donald trump. it has been colbert, seth myers, my friend, doing a great job. people look to comedy. it is today thwartic, it reaches people. so i'm looking forward to "snl" tomorrow. i think it will be great. >> when you have the president getting into a twitter war with a comedian, something we never would have seen the way he is now with stephen colbert. what is it about this period of time? is it different? there does seem to be a responsibility, at least, i think a lot of people do tune in
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now because they look for that kind of sarcastic, funny take on it. but also, i think an element of truth? >> there's always a need for political comedy. there always will. anybody watching today, we're living in a dangerous, dark time. more than ever, what struck never about watching the sean spicer important trail, as outrageous and over the top the comedy is, it cannot match how over the top reality is. sean spicer just moments ago said i can't comment on that ufrl a press cretary. then people sayelissa mccarthy is disrespectful or colbert is obscene. but donald trump's words and actions are sadly indecent and obscene. >> is it easier or harder when you have a situation like this? i can just say if you're working on capitol hill, i can't tell me
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how many people have told me the constant pace of news is overwhelming. i've never experienced in decades as a journalist the pace of news. you constantly have opportunity. is it easier or harder? >> donald trump is making america laugh again. there is upside. he is giving comedians an abundance of material. we would trade not having donald trump as president and having less material with another president. there is a difference. george bush was great for xheed yanls. he wants to ban muslims. we could be put in internment camps. so jokes are him less fearful. it is very unique. >> there are so many people talking about "snl," one of the things they're wondering drgs they find somebody to play sarah
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huckabee sanders. any idea? >> they're playing off the gender bending with sean spicer. i would choose john loveits. i'm not sure, that's not even what i'm saying as a partisan which i'm not. donald trump yesterday said, so much is happening. they can't be accurate all the time. so he is defending lying. this is a very unique time. i'm dating myself, i'm going to be really old, during watergate. that was my first joke. this is much worse than that. that's why we need political commenting. the deceit and lying is going on in the white house and we need comedians like us. >> i would say bobby moynihan would be great. just go way out there. i hope whoever plays it, it is very, very funny. it is cathartic and empowering. i keep saying that. >> laughter is the greatest mechanism to survive.
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we can't just think about how bad it is all the time. we do think the role of a comedian, make people laugh and think and that will get us through this. i think the series finale of this administration may be, whoever plays sarah. >> where are the conservative comedians out there? >> there aren't many. we won't get into that. coming up we'll talk to the ranging member of the senate intelligence meeting and a meeting he had just this week. what's that?
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and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at at this hour we're still following the fallout from the firing of james comey. leading the investigation on the senate side into the trump campaign, and russia, senator, thank you for joining us. i want to ask you first, inls you met with comey monday, the day before he got fired. did everything seem like business as usual? what can you tell us about that conversation? >> did it feel like business as usual. we had the firing, we told the maerg director comey was supposed to appear at. the new acting director mccabe
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came in. no one could have predicted any of the fallout. now the president is saying there may be tapes. if there are tapes, maybe it is that our committee's jurisdiction. we should make sure the appropriate committee in congress should take a look at them. >> so you believe that would be part of a larger investigation? >> it would be, listen. i think there may be criminal issues involved here. let's make sure, if the times exist, they don't disappear and then two, the appropriate committee and maybe it is a judiciary ought to get a look at them. >> one of the things people talked about is the possibility. collusion. one of the times put out said this. when james clapper and everyone
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else with knowledge of the witch hunt says there is no collusion, when does it end, and then andrea mitchell talked to james clapper who said i have no knowledge of collusion. i didn't say there was no collusion. where do you stand on this whole issue of collusion? >> listen, that's what our investigation is now headed into. >> that's what we are looking into. i was happy to hear director mccabe clear up one issue, and he said i accept his statement that the fbi does have the whoep resources to carry out this investigation and i thought did he a very strong job. that he was going to pursue t s this. i asked if there was any outside interference, that he would report back to the committee.
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this goes to the heart of our democracy. i think it is way too early to reach any conclusions about possible collusion. i know that's one of the things we'll look into. we issued to general flynn. could you subpoena the tape that's the they existed? or could you find out whether or not they even exist? is that within your purview? >> i think that would be technically more within judiciary aets purview. at the end of the day, we have to find out if these times exist. if so, they have to be preserved and not destroyed. and i believe as we've seen in past his, toal references, at some point the congress will have to take a look at they will. >> in the meantime, the number two democrat said president trump may be, have obstructed justice with this firing.
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i said gh the director was fired, i thought it was outrageous. i thought the timing frankly was very bizarre, to say the least, the day after sally yates had testified about the notion of general flynn not being forthcoming enough and then director comey was supposed to testify before a committee on thursday. >> would you consider it critical to this ongoing investigation that you talk on comey sooner rather handle the later? >> yes. one of the things we did was we invited comey to come testify on tuesday. he won't be testifying on tuesday but it is our hope in the not too distant future that we can find time for him to come in and talk to the committee. >> so tuesday was a know. i understand that was the original ask. but he is trying to find time to come in? >> i have enormous almost for
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james comey and i believe the appropriate time and place, he will tell his side of the story. and my hope is that will be in front of our committee. >> part of question a lot of the american people want to know, the president's business dealings within russia. and i don't know if you've had a chance to look at the letter that was sent by a law firm suggesting they looked at tax returns over ten years. they said with a couple of exceptions, he didn't make any money in russia. what is your thought about that letter? and does it satisfy any of the questions you have? >> no. d it doesn't satisfy. it was the same letter that was a lot of blank pages so not a lot of credibility with that firm. what i would take is the president's tax returns. we can clear this up if we get his tax returns are.
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it could clear it up. we know our committee has put a request into the treasury department had which basically looks at questions around money, foreign payments, et cetera, to make sure that we collect all the appropriate data. >> allan dershwitz was on early and he suggested just by putting this letter out, that may provide an opening to get tax returns. are you aware of that? has anyone suggested that to you? >> he was one of my professors. i always think he has sound legal advice. he may be right and i think i have to look into that. >> if you had to prioritize and this is important for a lot of people who felt the firing of the director cast a pall over the investigation and the ability to get to the bottom of it. as someone in a key position, can you give as you sense of your priorities right now?
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who you need to talk to and what you need to get into your hands? >> we met with the new attorney general, mr. rosenstein. and i hope that he has the right to make this decision. i home because he's served under this president's administration, that he will go ahead and appoint a special prosecutor, a special counsel to oversee this investigation. unfortunately, a lot of folks feel due to the fact he wrote t the memo. tunneled original reason for the firing which was supposedly his recommendation, when the president said he already decided he would fire comey. we ought to get that special prosecutor first. two, make sure these time that's the they exist, are preserved. three, i think we ought to find a way and perhaps this letter today is a way to get access to the president's tax returns.
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what we have to do, and again i'm glad to hear that acting director mccabe said he has enough resources to put that question to breast whether there were appropriate resources. he has to continue his investigation. we've got to continue ours and now we're moving into those individuals affiliated with the trumt p campaign to ask the right questions and get to the bottom of this. >> senator warner, appreciate your time, sir. thank you and have a great weekend. >> thank you, chris. >> we'll talk to our chief legal correspondent about comments from democrats that the president may have indeed obstructed justice. we'll be right back. it's about , not back. it's looking up, not down. it's being in motion. in body, in spirit, in the now. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for when you need a little extra. boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink.
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in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> are you angry with mr. comey because of his russia investigation? >> i just want somebody that's competent. >> that was more of nbc's exclusive interview with president trump after he fired james comey on tuesday. now, a few people have been floating the idea that maybe the president could be obstructing justice in the russia investigation. here's senator dick durbin today on "morning joe." >> president trump is dangerous. dangerous because he may be obstructing justice in terms of the investigation that really goes to the heart of our democracy. the accountability of the president and people around him to rule of law, protecting our
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democracy from an invasion, cyber invasion by the russians and sendly, his credibility has been destroyed. >> for more, i want to bring in chief legal correspondent arimelber, may be obstructing justice. what qualifies as obstruction of justice? what's the legal qualifications? >> the legal standard for obstructing justice in this manner, being in a supervisory role would be to impede or interfere with an investigation. a classic example would be going to a witness or subject and telling them not to talk or the saturday night massacre, where you have the idea of removing people to end a criminal inqu y inquiry. >> there have been people that have suggested it is obstruction or could be part of an obstruction case, this tweet by the president today which some are viewing as a threat. >> this is where we have judgment and we have the law. the tweet that the president sent was probably misleading if there are no tapes and it was in
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poor taste and judgment. it felt like a bullying and senational tactic. could you bring an obstruction case based on the tweet? no, i don't think anyone thinks that. the question is not firing comey itself is obstruction, it's whether over time there's enough information and evidence, some of which i should note has been provided by the president himself, that would suggest you were trying to impede the investigation. there are allegations here that that was his goal in thinking. that hasn't been proven. he's made it worse. i mean the president made several statements that we would call admissions against interest. things lawyers would tell you never to say, please don't say that is what you would tell your client when your client departs from a defense, we fired this person because of this stated written reason and says actually it was partly related to russia, which is what he seemed to concede. >> why nbc news was reporting today there were a number of people on his staff that were
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against him doing this interview and afraid that what has happened actually would happen, which was it did not put it to rest, it made it more complicated. when dick durbin talks about obstruction of justice, one of the arguments that they make for a special prosecutor. but absent t scial prosecutor who can bring a obstruction of justice charge? >> this a great question, chris. it's the impeachment process that exists, i'm not making a statement about impeachment in this moment in time but you're asking a question how does it work, if you have -- i would refer to nixon and clinton situations where impeachment involves assertions of high crimes and misdemeanors. the precedent is obstruction has been found by previous senates to be a high crime. so that would ultimately be the more likely process if you're talking hypothetically how it is enforced rather than the underlying prosecutors in the chain of command. the other point about the
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wiretap that is so fascinating is the nice word, stupid would be a meaner word for the president to hypothetically raise this is, it's the case nixon versus the united states that nixon lost that was the precursor to impeachment proceedings that he dealt with was about missing recordings -- >> there can't be anyone of a certain age and think immediately of richard nixon. >> i say this regardless of politics or ideology, i think for the process to continue in a fair way, number one the president and white house have to clear up whether there are recordings or not. they have to deal with that. >> rerefused to do it today. >> refused to do it today. >> the justice department totally separate from donald trump has to deal with the fact that hanging out there now is a three-page memo called restoring public faith in the process that has been outed by the president as partly false, that's the fairest way i can put it. that does not restore public
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faith. the doj will have to deal with that. we have deputy attorney general rosen stein talking to the senate. but how do you lead -- this is a question i would ask and perhaps we end on this point we're almost out of time. how do you leave a memorandum hanging out there that has now been discredited by the president of the united states? that doesn't restore public faith. ari melber, thank yery mu for more on what happens next, be sure to tune into "the point" this sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern. his office is next door to mine, booking great guests, don't miss that, 5:00 to 7:00 eastern time. that will wrap up, a very busy week for me. thank you so much for watching, look for me on twitter @ chrisjanuary sichri chrisjansing, deadline white house with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone, imminents
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threats, with a briefing on threats to the nation not threats made by the country's president. this is no ordinary president. this morning donald trump tweeted this, james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. you don't need any special security clearances to understand what he intended. this comes on the fifth straight day of crisis containment from the white house and more fall joult from the comey firing. here's sean spicer answering questions about recording devices a short time ago at the briefing. >> did president trump record his conversations with former fbi director comey? >> i assume you're referring to the tweet. i've talked to the president and he has nothing further to add on that. >> why did he say that? why did he tweet that? should should we interpret from that? >> the president has nothing further to add on that. >> are there recording devices in the