tv For the Record With Greta MSNBC May 12, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
with you. >> it's fine. my life has been an interesting life. >> anyway, just it felt like something that was worthy of remembering this week. of course if it's sunday catch "meet the press" on your local nbc station. this will be a good one i promise you. for the record with greta starts right now. >> chuck, i never miss "meet the press" on sunday. >> i appreciate that. >> see you sunday. breaking news tonight, former fbi director james comey says, no, he will not be testifying on tuesday. the answer is no. he will not testify before the senate intelligence committee. that committee had invited comey to testify and that invitation coming after comey was fired on tuesday night. the leaders of the committee say they do hope to hear from comey soon. so for now, no response from comey to president trump's early morning tweet. this morning's tweet has rocked washington. james comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. now, that tweet created a brand-new fire storm.
did the president tape his dinner conversation with comey? the dinner where the president says comey assured him he was not under investigation, is the president threatening the former fbi director and did the president record anyone else? in his briefing today white house press secretary sean spicer did not make any of those questions go away. >> did president trump record his conversations with former fbi director comey? >> i assume you're referring to the tweet and i've talked to the president. the president has nothing further to add on that. >> why did he say that? why did he tweet that? what should we interpret from that? >> as i mentioned, the president has nothing further on that. >> there recording devices in the oval office or in the residence? >> as i said for the third time there is nothing further to add on that. >> does he think it's appropriate to threaten someone like mr. comey not to speak? >> i don't think that's not a threat. he's simply stated the fact. tweet speaks for itself. i'm moving on. >> does anyone in this white house have an audio recording of what unfolded during the january
27th dinner between the former fbi director and the president of the united states? >> i'm not aware of that. >> is the president of the united states currently recording conversations taking place in the oval office? >> i think the point that i made with respect to the tweet is the president has no further comment on this. see you on monday. thank you. good-bye. >> listening devices in the white house, did you ask thement if he installed listening device s? >> and in a new interview out late today, no answers from the president either. >> what about the idea that in a tweet you said that there might be tape recordings? >> they can't talk about -- i won't talk about that. all i want is for comey to be honest and i'm sure he will be. i hope. >> with me from the white house cnbc's a man jabevs. you were in the room. tell me what it was like when spicer wouldn't answer that question. >> greta, it was a packed house
in that room. it was a tense day for sean spicer returning after two days off into this very heated moment here in washington, d.c. and there are really two possibilities here. either the president of the united states is bluffing about having secret tapes, or he's telling the truth. if he's bluffing there is a problem for the president because it's an empty threat from the white house. it he's telling the truth, that lays out another series of potential problems for this white house because democrats on capitol hill will want access to those tapes, investigators will want access to those tapes. they could eventually at some point face a subpoena situation and there is a history to this. richard nixon, the president of the united states, faced a similar situation with his secret tape system. didn't end very well for him. >> aman as the day marched on we're trying to get more information. seems to me the question is a simple yes or no. but all we hear is that nobody has anything further to add. is there any sort of confusion or what's going on in the communications division of the white house? >> well, we don't know. they have clearly decided to stand on the explanation that they stand on a lot around here,
which is the tweet speaks for it 1e678. b -- itself. it is an implication of the fbi director who has been fired by the president of the united states. he raises the possibility of a taping system. people want answers to that. i imagine there will be inbound questions from capitol hill investigators, fbi investigators who want know what is on those tapes, how extensive is the system, what other conversations were captured here. today is the beginning of a series of questions the president has raised for himself. >> thank you very much. and we may not know yet if there are white house tapes, but if there are, democrats in congress want them. >> the president is saying there may be tapes. if there are tapes, i believe maybe it's not our committee's jurisdiction, but we should, one, make sure they are preserved and, two, make sure the appropriate committee and congress should take a look at them. >> that was senator mark warner, the top democrat on the senate intelligence committee. and a top democrat on the house intel committee, congressman
adam schiff is tweeting. mr. president, if there are tapes relevant to the comey firing, it is because you made them and they should be provided to congress. and the top democrats in the house judiciary and oversight committees also today sending a letter to white house counsel donald mcgahn writing they are compelled to ask whether any such ro recordings do exist. miker sheerer, who sat down with the president nearly 100-minute interview and a four-course dinner on monday. naturally the question is did you feel taped? >> it's funny when we sat down at the meal, he looked at the table, we were in the blue room. and there was a digital recorder by the flower display next to a candle. he says, whose is that? he wasn't sure. it was one of his staffers who put it there. so he was aware when he sat down, you know, where the recording devices were in the room. and we were recording, too. we were recording on our iphones. >> you were recording, everybody was recording. >> there is no secret. if the white house has tapes it
will match the tape i have on my iphone i'm sure. >> bill -- >> congress is probably more interested in the tape of the dinner with comey three months ago. excellent discussion. i think -- i mean, the president is in serious trouble for a couple reasons. he tweets things he can't back up and sean spicer has a tough day. the media says bad p.r., bad couple days. this is way beyond that. there is congress, which now is going to say -- how do we find out nixon had tapes? alexander butterfield as i recall -- read about it was testifying to congress, right? they asked him is there a taping system in the white house? yes, the tames had to be made public, there was an 18-minute gap. secondly, this is an fbi investigation. you're a lawyer. it's not like i said something a little misleading. it is a criminal and national security investigation. you are now -- he is part of that investigation. that is a whole different level of problems. and third point i would make is
what is the effect everyone is focused on the media, media effect, what happened this week? comey was fired. what has to happen now? he has to nominate another fbi director. how is that going to work out? he can't put a trump loyalist. he is going to have to put in someone from all the pressure is going to be to have a very serious investigation, knocked back at all, huge oversight from congress, scrutiny from the media. trump has created almost a nightmare for himself, i think. >> the white house has a phrase they use, a lot of staff i've heard say it, the controversy elevates message. it is a rule that trump lived by during the campaign. he's living by right now in the white house. i don't know if there is a taping system. i doubt there is a taping system in the white house. i think what he did with that tweet today was take everyone's attention off what looked to be a very damaging "the new york times" story from yesterday in which people close to james comey are quoted saying there was basically a loyalty test issue to me by the president. we are now talking about taping systems in the white house. i think that's probably not --
>> it doesn't matter because james comey is going to speak at some point. and he will testify and he will tell -- he'll say yes or no. the president is getting short-term maybe, slight diversions in message at the cost of laying unbelievable traps for himself down the road. >> he accused president obama of wiretapping him. >> trump has -- i think the big drama we're seeing play out this week, the last several weeks is that a president who is not used to being a president, is used to being donald trump, is trying it figure out how to fit into the box of the presidency. these are tactics, techniques short term gain, long term -- >> you're being too nice. >> he's always used. i'm not disagreeing this might not hurt him down the road. it could hurt him down the road. >> it's hurting him now. the obama tapping, he played a huge price for that. there is an fbi investigation going on, i did nothing wrong, let them investigate. they're not going to find anything, thank you, good-bye. he said president obama tapped
him which required director comey to testify and say he didn't. he has laid down -- he has started down a path that is way beyond p.r. embarrassment. oh, he's not used to being president. oh, he's an unusual type of guy, i think really. he is now -- he has put his presidency at risk. >> i'm agreeing with you that it's hurt him. i think what he is thinking, the reason he is doing this is he is falling back on his own tech north koreans. that's a different point. he thinks of himself as a gut player. when he gets insecure when he's unhappy with a situation, he returns to his gut play moves. that's what he did. he had a couple quiet weeks on twitter. the white house had kind of calmed down. he gets into a jamb and he lashes out again. >> we focus here, everything is happening in d.c. because it has consumed us. the problem is we're not keeping this issue of the family, the weird tweets, the whole world is watching. when you think of the role of the united states in the world, and the president is about to launch on a tour of many important nations to our national security, that now we
have this dragging us. >> the president fired the director of our leading law enforcement organization. it happened once before. it was done because with good cause by president clinton who immediately explained he immediately nominated a successor who was a republican. there was no issue after about a day. he has now left, thiss hanging out there. again, i come back to the reality. the reality is there is not -- he fired the fbi director. that's the fundamental thing that happened this week. the tweets compound it. he set up situations where the fbi director and others are going to have to explain themselves and explain what happened. his staff -- the congress can find out whether a taping system has been put in the white house. they can call the people who would have to do that. either trump is blatantly lied and kind of ridiculous bluff, but i agree with michael. this is what he worked from in business, tough negotiation. i'm going to bluff i'm going to walk away from this deal. this is different. he's president of the united states. >> the weird thing is the whole sort of drama about whether it was his decision or whether he's taking the recommendation from the d.o.j. i mean that wasn't very helpful. >> they came out with a cover
story initially, the cover story immediately -- the president comes out and says the cover story isn't true. i don't think -- this is also the other thing that has been highlighted again is that there is not a coherent white house operation around trump. there are several operations inside the white house. they cater to him differently. he has different teams working on different things and then he is rolling with his gut move and those different teams aren't communicating with each other. you mentioned bill clinton's planning his firing of an fbi director. there simply was no planning in this. >> that's what struck me about the statement, he put up a written statement tuesday night in the middle of it is i had three conversations with director comey in which he said -- >> i was president under investigation. >> how could the white house counsel allow him to say ha? would you allow -- >> i didn't think the white house counsel saw it. >> they're putting out statements in a legal -- >> it came out through his office. >> i'm just saying the staff -- this is michael's point. the staff has so little ability to tell him this is extremely unwise for you to do. this is like the defendant in
the murder case totally ignoring his counsel. >> i have had that. anyway -- >> did it workout well? >> didn't work out well. thank you both. still ahead, who invited who to that now infamous dinner at the white house and why? you might be surprised to find out what was happening behind the scenes in the days before the dinner. also is president trump at war with the fbi? we'll hear from fbi leader with decades of experience who met with james comey just days before he was fired. plus, are we about to see the end of the white house press briefing as we know it? you have to hear who president trump thinks should take over the job. what does a trending hashtag have to do with the russians? that's ahead. the living room. we were able to replace everything in it. liberty did what? liberty mutual paid to replace all of our property that was damaged. and we didn't have to touch our savings. yeah, our insurance won't do that. well, there goes my boat.
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>> a shocking refusal by the white house to deny that president trump is recording conversations. now this all stems from the president's tweet threatening fired fbi director james comey about tapes from their dinner and phone conversations. so, what do we actually know about the dinner? it all starts back on january 24th when then national security advisor michael flynn is interviewed by the fbi. the next day january 25th, the justice department gives details about that fbi interview. then the following day, january 26th, then acting attorney general sally yates warns the white house that general flynn is vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. one day later, president trump has dinner with then fbi director james comey. it was at that dinner president trump says he asked comey if he was under investigation. the president insisting comey said no, but fbi officials telling nbc news this is not true. even former director of national intelligence james clapper talking about it today. >> he mentioned that he had been
invited to the white house to have dinner with the president, and that he was uneasy with that because of even compromising even the optics, the appearance of independence, not only of him but of the fbi. >> with me former justice department spokesperson matt miller and national security correspondent ken delaney. ken, what can you tell me about any details surrounding this dinner? >> greta, the story we're getting about how the dinner came about is completely at odds to the way president trump described it to lester holt. this was a last-minute invitation that came the 26th or the day before, the 27th the day of. and by that time sally yates had made her warning and according to sean spicer, the president had been briefed about it. so, he knew that sally yates had said his national security advisor mike flynn was subject to being blackmailed. he then asked jim comey
to dinner according to our sources. comey was reluctant to do it because he wants to preserve the
independence of the fbi. he didn't want the rank and file of the fbi to know about this dinner, we're told. but he felt like he couldn't say no to his boss. now, the people we've talked to find it inconceivable that jim comey would tell donald trump he was not under investigation, but they don't know for a fact because they weren't at the meeting. only comey can testify to that, greta. >> ken, is there -- usually when the fbi director or any of these cabinet officers travel, they have assistants or deputies with them. was there anybody else at that dinner besides the president and james comey? >> i don't know the answer to that, but my understanding is it was mainly a one on one dinner. but you're right, both these men have staffs. it is hard to imagine they were completely alone at all times. it was billed as a one on one dinner, greta. >> matt, is there any information there is a taping system in the white house? >> well, other than the president's strange threat of blackmail to jim comey on
twitter today, not necessarily. we don't know whether he was making that up, whether it was just a bluff to try to
intimidate jim comey into not testifying, whether he's just trolling the press core, or whether there is a taping system. but it's pretty remarkable that the white house won't answer that question now. that is a fairly big thing to reveal given the historical ramifications of that. >> they're pretty coy with this sort of cat and mouse game with the media, which is not -- i mean i don't think it's right to do, but nonetheless they have been doing that. >> about many things. given -- talk about the history here, when you go back to the only president to have ever been impeached and resign was richard nixon because what the taping system revealed about the ongoing criminal conspiracy that emanated in the white house. for the white house to dangle that out and not answer the question it is obviously something that isness tenable. they won't be able to stick with that answer very long. >> ken, to put it in context, if this is the only dinner the president had it would be more suspicious than if he has dinner often with different people. so, tell me, is this sort of routine that he has dinner was cabinet officers or directors of the epa, the fbi or members of
congress? >> well, he may have dinners with other cabinet officers, but i just know that for jim comey, this was a real source of unease because it's one thing for comey to go brief the president in the oval office, but to have a one on one dinner at a time when there is a investigation swirling around looking at whether the trump campaign is colluding with russia, comey felt awkward about that and he wished he didn't have to do it but he also felt he couldn't refuse. go ahead. sorry. >> go ahead. >> our sources find it inconceivable, as james clapper said on the air today, though, that comey asked to be retained in his job at this dinner which is the story that president trump told to lester holt. >> this is unusual. i mean, the president keeps making it more unusual by things he does, making this sort of veiled remark about comey being a leaker. >> yeah. it makes no sense for the president to do this, but i think one of the things that we're going to see. look, jim comey has been in this town a long time. he served in very senior jobs
and he's shown that when he thinks there is something inappropriate, he usually leaves a written record of that. he did that in the bush administration in 2005 and sat on something until four years later when he had to leak an e-mail to the "the new york times." he testified at a very dramatic hearing in 2007 where he revealed allegations of wrongdoing in the bush administration. if there is something in that conversation between him and the president that jim comey thought was inappropriate, i guarantee you we're going to hear about it from jim comey sooner or later. >> ken, is the white house staff concerned about this at all? are they rattled by this? >> well, they seem to be out of the loop. i mean, the explanation that they gave for the firing of jim comey has completely crumbled, right? but i just want to echo what matt said. the people that we're talking to who know jim comey and are speaking to jim comey are very confident that the truth of this will come out. and they're angry about the way he was treated and they believe that at some time he will tell his story and it won't be pleasant for the trump administration. >> gentlemen, thank you. the plot thickens. keep trying to dig at facts. thank you both. after the break, concerns
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official today who said that the president's tweet be implicit threat to fbi former fbi director james comey indicates that the president in his words is simply out of control. i'd like to get you to respond to that. is he? >> i -- that's frankly offensive. >> with me former fbi agent nancy savage. she is the executive director of the society of former special agents of the fbi. nice to see you. >> nice to see you, greta. >> all right. you saw james comey when, when did you last speak to him? >> it was a week ago. >> and then when he was fired on tuesday, your reaction was one of what? >> shock. i think everyone was pretty much devastated, especially how it was enacted by the administration. >> i mean i agree. if you're going to fire somebody, bring them into the oval office and have a discussion and do it better. but anyway, i don't like that either. >> yeah. >> what's comey like? >> i mean, he's just a great individual. he's easy to talk to.
he has, you know, fantastic grasp of the issues very quickly, even complex issues. he remembers almost everything verbatim. that's very impressive. he's very supportive to the active duty agents. and i've seen him in situations where he's talking to our group, which are mainly former agents, but i've seen him when he's talking to all fbi acts on critical investigative matters, and he gets down in the weeds and is very supportive of them. >> all right. there were reports of the white house that the morale at the fbi was bad, suggesting that as the leader he was responsible for morale. do you have some sort of feel for what was going on at the fbi before and now since this firing? >> i think from all of the -- my associates who are still active duty, they're very, very
positive about him as a leader. i think there was some concern because it was a difficult situation that they were put in, you know, as fbi agents are used to very sensitive investigations. but the hillary clinton investigation was especially sensitive because she was a front runner on the democratic side, and there was a lot of pressure to get that investigation completed, but do it correctly. and the country evenly divided, the fbi is going to call it like they see it. i know my career, no one tries to force an fbi agent to do something for political reasons. >> i read back then, or at least i think i did, there were some who thought that comey was wrong in not pursuing -- and the way that he handled that july fifth press conference and he sort of bypassed justice department. >> well, i just think it's important to bring out the situation where essentially a.g. loretta lynch came forward and
said she felt very sorry that she had had that meeting on the tarmac with bill clinton, and that came out in the press. and because of that she said she wasn't going to make a recommendation on this, and she sort of informally said, i'm going to follow the recommendations of the fbi. that put him in a highly unusual situation. it put the fbi in an unusual situation. normally you do what jeff sessions is doing. >> in a big organization, like a big prosecutor's office, decisions are made by the people handling the cases. to what extent does the departure of the director of the fbi impact the investigations, more specifically, the one of whatever is going on about the trump campaign? >> right now, you're talking about the russian -- potential alleged russian involvement.
i don't think that that -- anything political is going to impact those. i really don't. i mean, fbi agents are going to bring the facts out. they're going to write the reports. they're going to pursue it aggressively. and then they're going to present that over to the department of justice. >> thank you very much for joining us. >> okay. >> next we have a letter president trump's lawyers just wrote him. this letter now sparking a viral internet jokes including a top turning twitter hashtag and a whole bunch of new questions. with e*trade you see things your way.
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president trump this morning making a surprise suggestion about daily press briefings tweeting, quote, as a very active president with lots of things happening it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy. maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future press briefings and handout written responses for the sake of accuracy? obviously that did not go into effect today. press secretary sean spicer was asked about the president's tweets. >> is the president considering cancelling the daily press briefings? >> i think he's dismayed we seek time and time again to parse every little word and make it more of a game of gotcha, as opposed to really figure out what the policies are, why something is being perceived or what the update is on this. >> president trump also later talking about this issue. >> are you moving so quickly
that your communications department cannot keep up with you? >> yes. that's true. >> so, what do we do about that? >> we don't have press conferences and we do -- >> you don't mean that. >> you just don't have them. unless i have them every two weeks and i do it myself. we don't have them. i think it's a good idea. first of all, you have a level of hostility that's incredible and it's very unfair. sara huckabee is a lovely young woman. you know sean spicer. he is a wonderful human being. he's a nice man. >> is he your press secretary today and tomorrow? is he going to be tomorrow in >> he's doing a good job, but he gets beat up. >> will he be there tomorrow? >> he's been there from the beginning. >> with me jonathan swan national political reporter for axio, pulitzer prize winning columnist for the washington post. chief correspondent for the washington examiner. jonathan, first to you. your thoughts about the president suggesting he does not have any at all press briefings or that he have them every two weeks and that he handle them
himself. or he also said answer questions in writing. >> well, i can tell you the president has been incredibly frustrated with sean spicer specifically and his press team in general. he's been venting all week privately about spicer. he thinks that he's been poorly served. he views the whole comey incident not as a failure of himself as not giving them enough time, but he thinks their response was incompetent and that he was completely exposed on air. so, that's where all this is coming from. and he also has always thought that he's his own best messenger. he's his own best messaging strategist. he was very proud of that free wheeling press conference he did earlier this year when he was just getting fed up with seeing people not representing the way he wanted to. so he stood up for an hour and just riffed. so, i think all these things are coming together. >> kathleen? >> the interesting thing about his concerns of accuracy, you know, the briefings are public. you can tune in and watch them
yourself. the public can. and you can follow the conversation, you can follow the questions and the answers. but the problem isn't -- with accuracy is that his staff people, his surrogates are unable to give an answer that will hold for more than a couple of hours because he keeps changing the message. i don't know how much -- i don't know how he can claim as you say that he's great at controlling the message and directing the message. that may work in the rally scenario, but working with the media who are actually, i don't think, badgering so much as they're trying to get a straight answer that in fact answers the question they pose. so often they sort of -- they deflect or say something that is just basically an end to the conversation rather than a response that the media can actually use. i'm not saying the media are perfect certainly, and they are certainly aggressive. but that's kind of what our job is. >> aggressive, but i do agree
with trump they play gotcha more with him than any president that i've seen in my lifetime. but his message is different than even what the vice-president's message was this week. i prefer the briefing stay every day. i would hate for them to go away. but if he's going to be an unconventional president maybe he should come up with an unconventional way of communicating with the press. >> he has, twitter. >> but what he's trying to do is he's trying to combine both worlds where he has twitter and his own way of communicating with his people, his base, answering back to the media. and then you've got the classic traditional structure of the daily press briefings and his messengers going out and it's clashing all the time. that's why -- >> the problem the other day, i don't think spicer was spinning everybody about whether comey was going to go or not and a couple hours later comey was gone. i think spicer was relaying what he knew or didn't know. >> that's my point, it's that he is unconventional and he kind of goes his own way. he operates like a person who
runs a company with nobody to answer to which is what he was before he came to the white house. he's not the big -- he's not someone who is used to running -- working in a big team which is what is really essential in the white house. for him to say maybe we'll just get rid of the press briefings, i'll talk to you myself every two weeks, that doesn't sound too crazy, that's kind of what he's doing anyway. >> i think it sounds pretty crazy. bush definitely was dealt with rather scathingly and lots of gotcha questions in those press briefings. president obama definitely had it a lot easier, but he had a much cooler way of communicating. >> with twitter, though, the president tweets some provocative things. he lays out his 140 characters, he punches and runs and his communications department is supposed to pick it up and they're supposed to pickup the pieces and explain well, what he really meant to say essentially, he's making it rather difficult for them. if you're a big trump fan, you still have to admit he's making it very difficult for his team.
>> yeah. and privately they're all trying to sort of keep up. i mean, like there's times when you're on the phone to him and he's tweeting. here like, what did he say now? this is the reality. >> he makes it difficult. >> they wake up in the morning and okay, what has my boss said that i need to like get up to speed on? >> it's -- i'm sort of sympathetic -- >> he's not, let me be clear. he is not sympathetic. >> oh, no, he's hard on them. all right. another big story today, the question whether president trump has any business dealings in russia. here's what he told lester holt. >> that i have nothing to do with russia. i have no investments in russia. none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. >> today the letter emerged from his law firm trying to make that point. it says the president has no income from russia over the last ten years. quote, with a few exceptions except the miss universe pageant and third-party revenue. the hashtag with few exceptions immediately popped as the top trender in the u.s. and number 3
worldwide. of course the president did not release the tax returns that might prove what the letter is saying. and here is the punch line. it does fall under the headline, you just can't make this up. the law firm that handled this for him that sent him this letter for the president, last year that law firm was named, you got it, russia law firm of the year. i kid you not. susan? >> well, he needs to tell us what the exceptions are. i think at this point -- we know trump and his sensitivity the way he's reacted to negative responses that he will see that he's being ridiculed over this and will try to hopefully clarify what those exceptions are because -- >> the exceptions are a $95 million real estate sale -- >> the other things, too, we don't know. >> they so stipulate -- the problem from my view is we don't have -- to your point, we don't have substantiation. the letter does specify what those exceptions are. >> do we trust the source? >> that's my point.
that's my point. >> he does have some financial dealings with russia, but they are minor and here's what they are. >> here's what i don't know. first it said march and not may, but i can make that typo. there was a typo in the letter. anyway had the wrong date. and i'm a little rusty on this i admit. but the letter was written from the law firm to president trump and then released. and i'm curious i have to go back and research alan dershowitz whether attorney/client privilege has now been broken. maybe we can get more information now. i don't know. i don't know how that will be pursued. >> doesn't attorney/client work both ways? if the client says release it, then there wouldn't seem to be any violation. >> the client released it. the client has the privilege. >> right. >> i don't know. like i said, i'm pretty rusty. obviously the president wanted to get that out today. >> yeah, and i think it was designed for a very narrow audience which was lindsey graham and a few other republican senators who were starting to cause a bit of trouble for him by talking about
his russia dealings. he doesn't care about the democrats so much. when you have some of these republican senators that starts to get people pretty concerned. >> he is working closely with lindsey. when he was ready to fire comey he called lindsey graham and gave him a heads up beforehand. >> a whirlwind week from the sally yates block buster hearing to comey firing. melissa mccarthy in her sean spicer costume motoring around new york city. mobility is very important to me. that's why i use e*trade mobile.
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remember when sally yates was the big headline? that seemed like years ago, doesn't it? the former acting attorney general testifying before the senate how she warned the house about general michael flynn that he was, in essence, russian blackmail bait. that was on monday. by tuesday night there was a different headline dominating. here's a look back at this whirlwind week. the clouds of suspicion related to russia, the trump
organization, and what happened with the former national security advisor comes back in a big way today. >> sally yates, the former acting attorney general who warned the white house about michael flynn, testifies publicly today. >> despite the obvious, you don't want your national security advisor compromised with the russians. >> nbc news reporting that president obama warned president-elect trump about mike flynn's russian connections. >> the investigation of russia's hacking during the election and whether any trump campaign associates were involved, that work goes on. >> breaking news. jim comey is out at the fbi. >> sending shock waves across washington this evening, the president dismissing the man who was leading the investigation into his campaign. >> the president informed comey that he's been terminated and removed from office. >> the trump white house getting extreme heat tonight for the firing of now former fbi director james comey. >> congressional sources say comey was seeking to step up his investigation at the time of his firing. >> did the president fire
director comey to impede the russia investigation? >> did the white house oppose the appointment of the special prosecutor? >> has the dismissal of mr. comey in any way negatively impacted any investigation? >> we need a special prosecutor right now. >> he'd been considering letting director comey go since the day he was elected. >> the story has changed and it's simply not clear why. >> behind the scenes report of the comey firing, president trump has been enraged and fuming about the russia investigation. >> he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. >> and did you ask him about the investigation? >> i asked him, yes. he said, you are not under investigation. >> what a week in d.c. and president trump has one more week of holding down the fort here in d.c. before he jumps on air force one for a whirlwind trip, his first as president. he will visit four countries in about nine days. the president is normally a home body, but right now he might be eager for a change of scenery. back with me jonathan, kathleen and susan. susan, if i were the president, i'd be anxious to get out of
town. >> well, actually the best thing he could do right now before he leaves town is appoint a new fbi director twhos credible and acceptable to both parties. he can appoint anyone he wants and get it through with 51 votes now because of the change of the rules in the senate. but i think it would serve him well to pick somebody who the democrats would embrace. i mean, they are floating merrick garland, the supreme court nominee picked by president obama as a possible replace many. >> he'd have to get 100, have to get all of them. >> well, in this instance, if he gets -- picks somebody who democrats like he could -- things would simmer down with comey and the russia investigation because there would be more faith in how it would be carried out. if he picks somebody that looks like he chose simply to be a loyalist or to improve the chances somehow that he won't be implicated in anything, i just think this is going to go -- it's going to escalate in congress and eventually, eventually enough republicans will come around and put some real pressure on him. it's not there yet, but i know it's percolating because i hear it. >> kathy, there is nothing like a bigger store toy make the
other headlines disappear. the yates story disappeared with the comey story. if the president names someone quickly and gets this, throws the bait out we'll forget the bait and look at the other stories and -- >> for a little while. i think everything he says is accurate. finally there is a lot of -- maybe not enough quite yet, but a lot of republican pushback for trump to do the right thing. and, you know, the senate's going to continue with their own investigation. we'll see how that unrolls. but i'm intrigued by trump's trip, you know, and the inclusion of the -- hitting all three major religions. >> a little trivia. kathleen parker and i went to saudi arabia together with first lady laura bush. just a little trivia for the viewers. >> that was a great trip. we both came back with a whole new attitude about, you know, just how we see women in those countries. it was so -- >> it's very different. >> it's very different than one thinks. >> all right. jonathan, this trip that's coming up, getting out of town, good for the president? he's visiting saudi arabia, israel, nato.
he's busy. and seeing the pope, i should add. >> and seeing the pope. what's really interesting, you know, listening to h.r. mcmaster talk about this trip, donald trump is trying to do two things -- isolate iran on this trip and get the gulf states to kind of coalesce around a vision for attacking isis and countering iran, and he wants to be more inclusive in terms of a religious message, which is very clear and jared and mcmaster are pushing that as well. >> i read in the sudan tribune, this is self-interest, that president bashir of dsudan is under indictment on genocide. finally the russian controversy and vice president mike pence. he has mostly been able to stay out of it except for two times when he relayed information that turned out to not be true. here's what he said on wednesday
about the comb my fiey firing. >> president trump made the right decision at the right time to accept the decision of the deputy attorney general and to ask for the termination, to support the termination of the director of the fbi. >> but we learned yesterday from president trump that he had planned to fire director comey regardless of that doj recommendation. and then there was the time back in january when the vice president said this about general michael flynn. >> conversations that happened to occur the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. >> but of course now we know that general flynn did, in fact, discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador, and that discrepancy and making the v.p., the vice president look bad, that got flynn fired. jonathan, back to you. the vice president, a very busy man. we jump on it every time he seems to have information that
may be a couple hours old. fair or not fair? >> well, it's fair. it's fair reporting. all i can tell you is i'm told that privately he views those two incidents very differently. like flynn, he was genuinely distressed, angry, upset. he saw it as a man-to-man thing. flynn told him something that was false. he went out and humiliated himself on sunday television. i think he sees this as much cloudier. he doesn't want to get in front of the president, and i don't know. we watched that tape. i think it's a bit hard to call it a lie, you know. he said -- >> oh, i didn't think the vice president lied. oh, no, no. >> i wouldn't even go so for as to say, okay, it's somewhat misleading. >> we were all saying that. let's get it straight although we're not the vice president. >> everything was far more clear cut. >> i think he now knows how susan rice must have felt. he's been given incorrect information and gone out in good faith and reported it, and now -- >> that was a one-time deal. >> that was all in one morning,
but she was giving out information she was given. but i think with -- i feel sorry for vice president pence because the impression is that he's not in the inner circle, that he is not the person that the president holds close. >> but i think he's got his own portfolio. >> he certainly does. but this speaks to the president's continuously changing his own narrative and everybody having to quickly respond to it. >> 30 seconds, susan. >> he's an incredibly important messager on capitol hill for the president. it's really important for the trump white house to make sure to protect pence's credibility on capitol hill. he's so important out there. he's there every week, sometimes every day working on legislation. he's such an important ambassador for the white house. i'm curious how this will change or shape his behavior in the future. >> thank you all. coming up, something you need. actually, something we all need.
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i have something to say for the record, and i don't know about you, but i think this has been a head-spinning week. it started monday with former acting attorney general sally yates' testimony, which now seeps years ago. then after fbi director comey's firing that likewise seems years ago. meanwhile we were sprayed with all sorts of presidential tweets including a threat to stop press briefings which is how you find out what's going on in your white house. we have name calling, accusations, allegations, some even going for the throat. it goes on and on. so bad this week. so it's easy to forget we're all
on the same team. we're all americans. so it helps if we can laugh at ourselves. i admit i don't need to take myself so seriously all the time. i need to laugh at myself. so i resurrected this. "saturday night live" making fun of me. >> i'm greta van susteren. i'm going to try this again now. she sells -- no, i can't do. senator, do you support a ban on muslims, yes or no? >> well put simply, nyes. >> nyes. is that no or yes? >> it is indeed. >> and while i figure now that i've made fun of myself, it's okay for me to laugh not at, but with white house press secretary sean spicer. >> i'm here to swallow gum, and i'm here to take names. are you kidding me?
you better run. you don't have a chance. it's spicy. >> and it looks like melissa mccarthy is taking her sean spicer act on the road literally. here she is cruising through the streets of new york city today on a mobile podium in full sean spicer gear. have a great weekend. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here monday night 6:00 p.m. eastern. check out my facebook page and follow me on twitter @greta. "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. president trump's tale of the tapes. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm katy tur in for chris matthews. yesterday president trump insulted his recently fired fbi director, james comey, as a show boat and a grandstander. today he delivered this warning. james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to t
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