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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 12, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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comey. in an extraordinary tweet, trump makes a thinly veiled threat against the fb i director he just fired days ago. it is says there is no mincing words so what did he mean? the president suggests there may be tapes of his conversations with comey but later says he can't talk about it. now lawmakers are asking for copies of any recordings of mr. trump and comey. will the white house turn them over? demanding loyalty. cnn is learning details of a white house dinner in which president trump asked fbi director comey to pledge his loyalty while comey is overseeing the investigation into ties between russia and the trump campaign. how did comey respond? and accuracy? maybe. as the president top aides keep up with the shifting narrative of firing james comey. mr. trump says he is so active it is impossible for his sur gates to be perfectly accurate. is he about to cancel all future
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press briefings? we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight, president trump escalating a spike with fbi director he fired just days ago, appearing in a tweet to threaten james comey. the president insinuated he has recordings of his conversations with comey and when asked about it later, mr. trump said, i'm quoting him now, that i can't talk about. in the same tweet storm, the president defended the conflicting accounts of comey's firing, given by the white house and surrogates. mr. trump claimed it's impossible for them to be perfectly accurate because he's so active. he also raised the possibility of ending white house press briefings and replacing them with written questions and answers. and there are also new contradecks tonight between president trump and former
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director of national intelligence. the president claimed it in still another tweet that james clapper said there was no collusion between the trump campaign and russia. clapper responded in an interview saying there could be evidence of collusion. while recovering all of that, much more this hour, with our guests including republican congressman ted yoho, foreign affairs committee and democratic congressman of the intelligence and judiciary committees. koernds and specialists are also standing by. let's begin with the remarkable developments over at white house. our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny is joining us. jeff, the president's latest tweets and latest remarks only deepening the turmoil sparked by the firing of the fbi director james comey. >> wolf, turmoil is deepening indeed, largely because the president's own words himself. now we end this extraordinary week here with so many more questions about why the fbi director was fired. but now tonight about whether the president was secretly recording him.
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>> president trump adding new fuel to the fire today, inis escalating fight with the fbi. making a veiled threat on twitter to james comey. the president saying the fired fbi director better hope there are no tapes of our conversations, before he starts leaking to the press. stunning words from the commander-in-chief. directed at the nation's former top law enforcement official. the man who was leading an investigation into potential collusion between the trump campaign and russian operative before being fired tuesday. the president refused to answer the question he raised himself in an interview tonight with fox news. >> what about the idea that in the tweet you said that there might be tape recordings. >> that i can't talk about. i won't talk about that. all i want is for comey to be honest, and i hope he will be. i'm sure he will be, i hope. >> white house secretary sean spicer refused to answer if there is a recording device in the oval office or if the
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president is taping his conversations there or elsewhere. >> i have talked to the president and the president has nothing further to add on that. >> when asked again and again, press secretary sean spicer ending the daily white house briefing with the question whether any tapes exist, still hanging in the air. spicer disputed the suggestion the president's warning to comey was a threat. >> that's not a threat. he simply stated a fact. the tweet speaks for itself. i'm moving on. >> it is unclear if the president is moving on. aiming mother miss at comey today after making feelings clear in an nbc interview thursday. >> look, he is a show boat. grand stander. >> at issue is a dinner the president invited comey to seven days after taking office. it was there cnn learned that the president asked the fb i director about loyalty. >> we had a very nice dinner. that time he told me, you are not under investigation. >> tonight the credibility of
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the president and his advisers is in question as the white house becomes increasingly consumed by chaos in a crisis of leadership. the president is isolated and agitated, associates tell cnn. he finished a full week barely scene at the white house before making this brief afternoon appearance with the first lady. >> hi, what a friendly beautiful group. >> but his views have been heard in a roaring twitter storm. he acknowledged conflicting explanations in the time line of comey's spiralling. as a very active president with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at the podium with perfect accuracy. he went on to say maybe the best thing do would be to cancel all future press briefings and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy. >> today at least that didn't happen. >> wow. >> a full house today. >> the white house press second was back at the podium under siege after a perilous leak for the administration. >> time and time again in an attempt to parts every little
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word and make it more after game of gotcha. >> looking to point blame elsewhere, the president is frustrated by his communications team, telling fox news he might take matters into his own hands. >> sean spicer. he is a wonderful human being. a nice man. >> is he your press secretary today and tomorrow? will he be tomorrow? >> yes. he is doing a good job. >> will he be there tomorrow? >> yeah, well he's been there from the beginning. >> tomorrow spicer is in place, in time to be lampooned again on "saturday night live." melissa mccarthy, spicer's character, spotted today in manhattan filming this episode. >> the white house said council's office to release any recordings if they do exist of those conversations. look for that to continue going forward here. wolf, there is also a question here, was the president simply throwing up another shiny object here. is he trying to get the showing changed off of the firing of the
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russia investigation specifically. one top administration official here said that president did this intentionally wolf because he knows the press likes to talk about themselves. >> jeff zeleny reporting for us at the white house. thank you. amid all of this, the president continues to insist that officials have said he's not under investigation. and that there's no evidence of collusion between his campaign and russia. but that's not necessarily the case. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is working this part of the story. jim, white house says former director of intelligence says there is no collusion between trump advisers and russia, but is there? >> the white house story is at best misleading and at worse ini inaccurate. former intelligence said he hasn't seen any collusion but he would not see all of the evidence. he dwaf lee way it law enforcement, to the fbi, counter
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intelligence investigations because they are criminal investigations involving u.s. persons that u.s. intelligence agencies shouldn't be involved in. that should be made clear. the person with the most broadest comprehensive view with the intelligence and in the vin gaest ga investigation and the fbi and the occupant of that seat no longer has his job. >> tonight the nation's former top spy says that he has never ruled out evidence of collusion between trump associates and russia during the campaign. directly contradicting president trump who tweeted just hours earlier, when james clapper himself and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt says there is no collusion, when does it end. in an interview with msnbc, former director of national intelligence says he believes -- >> there is no evidence that rose to that level. at that time that found its way in to the intelligence community assessment which we have pretty high confidence in.
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that's not to say there wasn't evidence. but not that met that threshold. >> during the white house press briefing, white house says clapper is changing his story. >> it is interesting how the story changed. now suddenly saying i wasn't sure about it. the burden seems to be on him, not us. >> today director clapper also expressed doubts about mr. trump's version after dinner with fired fbi director james comey in january. >> he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. a dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner. >> clapper says it was trump who invited comey. >> he had been invited to the white house to have dinner with the president. >> and the former fbi chief was uncomfortable with the invitation. >> you're in a difficult position to refuse to go but i do know he was uneasy with it. for just for the appearance of compromising the independence of the fbi. >> the dinner came just one day
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after then acting attorney general sally yates warned the white house that then national security adviser michael flynn could be compromised by russia. that timing raising concerns about white house interference in the fbi's ongoing investigation. to whether trump campaign associates colluded with the russian government. cnn has learned that comey was quote taken aback when trump asked him to pledge his loyalty during the dinner. a source close to comey told cnn the fbi chief refused and instead promised to always be honest with the president. infact fbi employees pledging only to be loyal to the u.s. constitution, not to any individual including the president. >> all of us in the fbi are hyper focus is on failty to the mission, not failty to a politician, not failty to my person. >> the president claimed that comey assured mr. trump that he was not under investigation related to the russia probe. and that comey asked trump to keep him on as fbi chief.
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a source tells cnn this is a fabrication that comey did not ask to keep his job and that in fact just three days earlier the president told comey he would stay on as fbi director. the source adds the former fbi chief is quote not worried about any recorded conversations between him and the president after trump issued a thinly-veiled threat to comey tweeting quote, james comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. >> james comey invited by senate intelligence committee to testify before them next tuesday. we learned he turned down that invitation. a person with first-hand knowledge said he simply wants to take time off and lay low for a while. >> jim sciutto, good reporting. ef evan perez, justice correspondent, is with us as well. have you more breaking news with the justice department and its probe into the russia allegations of collusion. >> right, wolf. deputy attorney general is under pressure to step aside and
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appoint special council, special prosecutor to take over this investigation. we're told that at this point he is not inclined to do that. he feels from talk together fbi that the only take a move like that if you feel the fbi investigation is in pearl. at that point he has been assured by fbi officials that the investigation is going to proceed exactly where it should. he has also told lawmakers in his meetings up on capitol hill that will make sure there's no interference from the white house or from anyone anywhere else. this is an investigation being led by the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia in alexandria. and he is also now in charge of national security prosecutions of justice department headquarters. he is actually the one that is running the investigation day-to-day and is in charge and he will remain doing that. >> so investigation continues. >> exactly. >> thanks very much, guys. >> when i get more on all of this republican congressman ted yoho, member of foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us.
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>> thanks for having me on. look forward to talking to you. >> the president tweeted that james comey in his words, better hope there are no tapes of their conversations. do you, congressman, do you believe the president is taping these conversations over dinner or what have you? do you think these tapes exist? >> i don't know. i think we'll find that out down the road. you know, i think that each administration has a policy that they set in place and we'll find out down the road. as of right now we have no evidence of that. i think a lot of those presidents learned after richard mixon to be careful. >> do you think he should be taping these kinds of conversations? >> if i were the president, i would tape everything that is said around me. and what i said. because we know how sometimes things get misconstrued. whether president trump did or did not, that's up to him and his white house. that's a question they will have to answer. >> do you believe it was appropriate, this thinly-veiled threat against the fbi director?
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>> again, we have talked about president trump's style. i don't know what purpose is for that. it is not something i would have done. we will see how this works out. let the investigation go forward. i think a lot of this information will come out and you know it will answer a lot of these questions. that's what i look forward to doing. >> if these tapes do exist, should he release them to members of congress as you know there are already calls by some democratic leaders in the house to get these tapes. if they exist. >> if they exist. if it warrants releasing tapes down the road, depending on what was said or where this invest goes, i think if there are tapes, there would be a formal request and the tapes would be released. let's let the investigation come out, see where it leads, then you know, a lot of these things we're speculating, looking down the road if this happened, this should happen. this should happen. we should release these. we don't know what's happened. do the investigation. what i want people to understand
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is we have serious problems in this country. i got that note i shared with you and other people in the news that we got a message that social security would be cut by 25% within 12 years. we've got a growing debt, interest on our debt is going to collapse this country. we need to focus on these things. and let these committees -- >> yeah. >> why is the president waking up in the morning and this morning starting to tweet about tapes of these conversations and issuing these thinly-veiled threats to the now former fbi director? you make a good point, there are a lot of important issues out there, but the president is focussing in on these issues. >> again, you're asking me why he does that early in the morning, i cannot answer that. i don't know if it is his caffeine in the morning or what. i have coffee in the morn, that does it for me. >> coffee has caffeine. we are discussing it because the president is issuing these kinds
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of threats in his tweets and he was doing it almost nonstop for about an hour this morning. let's talk about james clapper. he said there was no evidence. he said there is no evidence of the trump campaign and russians. he didn't know there was an investigation going back to july. he is saying there could possibly be serious evidence as far as we know right now. >> wolf, when i heard that statement, what i heard him to say was there is no evidence of collusion and then he went on to say -- >> what he said, he hasn't seen any. but he also said he wouldn't necessarily see that kind of evidence because this was an fbi investigation, a law enforcement investigation and as leader in the intelligence community he's not involved in investigating u.s. citizens, the fbi does that. >> i think you brought up an
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important point there. number one, he he said there is no evidence that he has seen. but that doesn't mean there isn't. that means there could be or couldn't be. i don't know. let's let that investigation go out. go back to when things in was being leaked. i think that is something more serious that we all need to be concerned as americans. if highly classified information is being gathered by these intelligence services, you know, if they tapped into, i don't want to say tapped -- if they surveilled general flynn's telephone conversations, they could do that to you, me, any american out here. >> if they did that, they weren't targeting general flynn. they were targeting the russian ambassador to the united states and he was having a conversation and his conversation was picked up, not because general flynn was targeted because the russian ambassador to the united states was targeted. >> and that's right. and look at how much power in that drag net ability of the federal government to pick up this information and then slice
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and dice and find down to the pun person that's talking on there. again if they can do that to him, they can do that to everybody. >> aren't you glad that what he did was discovered why the president fired him because he was lie together vice president about his conversations with the russian ambassador to the united states? >> i think any time that somebody that works for the government lies, yeah, they should be removed. >> so the system is appropriate -- so what i hear you say sgt systing is that the worked appropriately in the case of general flynn? >> i have faith the system will work if you give it time to work. but if you analyze every play of the football game, how the center puts the ball down on the field and how he rotates it, if you analyze all that one miss the game. let's focus on these things, let the investigative committees do what they are supposed to do and let's focus on debt and national security. we just got health care off the floor of the house to the
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senate. let's focus on tax reform for the country to get the tax economy going more than it is now. let the committee dose that and don't get bogged down in the minutia which happens so much. great for tv, keeps people in business. but it kind of disattracts the nation on the problems that are serious that are facing the nation that we all contend with. we are looking at a situation in this country where we could be the next puerto rico or next greece. i don't know anybody that wants that to happen and the only way we avert that is by taking the problems and deal with the situation before the situation dictates us to, the american people, how it is going to happen. >> a lot of critically important issues out there right now. we are talking about the tape, if there are tapes, firing of the fbi director. these are issues the president this week himself raised and that's why it has caused so much after commotion. let me just press you on one issue. you say any time someone in the government lies, that individual should be removed. as you know the president has
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been accused of lying. would that include the president, that standard you've set? >> which president do you want to go to? you know, if we go back to the last administration, your insure suns going down, not losing your doctor, we can go down and down and down. if it is national security issue, it needs to be looked at. if you look at what james madison said, perfity in the constitution is grounds for dismiss dismissal and that's why they wrote into the constitution how we can hold the executive branch accountable for. >> fair enough. let's talk about the president citing this russia investigation in saying that is the reason they decided to fair james comey. he said this investigation is made up designed by the democrats to explain why they lost. he said it's simply a witch hunt. do you believe this investigation of russia's meddling in the u.s. presidential election is simply
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a witch hunt? >> no, not at all. i think that any time another nation, whether russia, china or any nation met els into our election process, our democratic process to preserve our constitutional republican, any time anybody haks into that, that's concern for all of us. i'm all for the investigation going forward. we have three different agencyes. house and senate intelligence committee looking at this. fbi looking at this. and even if director comey has been removed and personally i think he should have left a long time ago. with the mishandling of the clinton information. and rereleasing it right before the election. i think that was just unc unconscionable and not something i would like to see my fbi director do. but he can still be a witness, be subpoenaed. that investigation will go forward. let that process work. let's get working on tax reform and getting our debt under control and other things.
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national security. those are the things and don't forget about north korea. >> we never forget about north korea. obviously critically important issue. almo as you heard, cnn is reporting comey was taken aback by trum aep request during the course of that one on one dinner, a personal assurance, pledge of loyalty to the president. do you think it is appropriate for a president to ask an fbi director for such a pledge of loyal loyalty. >> you know, again, i wasn't in the room. if somebody were to ask me to give you unbendable loyalty to you, i wouldn't do that. i give loyalty and i make a pledge to three people. my god, my family and my country. and our constituents, that's four. and our constitution. those are things that we give loyalty to. i'm not giving loyalty to a branch of government. my loyalty is to my country. and i take that very seriously.
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i serve a country, nation, not a party, not a person. and i think director comey was pretty succinct about that in his statement. again, i wasn't that dinner. i don't know what was said. that would be my response if someone asked me. >> let me press you on one point you made. you told us congressman, that president of the united states should record every conversation. you've been in the oval office. when you want all of your personal conversations to be recorded by the president potentially released publicly? >> wolf, i don't believe that's what i said. i said if i were president, i would record everything. each administration will have their own policy. that was for me. if i was sitting in the white house i would want everything recorded so i can come back and i could rebut that. here's the proof. what president trump or any other president does, that's their policy. >> you think he should be recording all those conversations? >> i think i would be.
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you have to ask the president trump if he should be. >> you think he is recording all those conversations? >> i have no idea. >> he never told you he has, has he? >> never did. i would love to have -- when i was in the oval office come out, it was a great conversation. >> congressman ted yoho, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks a lot. have a great weekend. >> you too. democratic reaction to democratic eric swaud well. more much reaction on breaking news. there's nothing traditional about my small business so when
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thinly-villed threats against james comey, who he fired just days ago. joining us, a member of the intelligence and judiciary committees, congressman, thanks for joining us. >> so. >> president tweeting, better hope there are no tapes of their conversations. democrats on ju didiciary and oversight committees are requesti requesting any recordings. >> so tape is a five-let are word that conjures up a five-letter previous president that you wouldn't want to compare president trump with. the president needs get to work for the american people who are needing jobs and opportunities. i agree with my friend and colleague ted yoho. he should be more focused on that and let this investigation proceed. >> do you believe there are tapes?
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>> i don't know. i don't know what to believe with this president. it is the same president who says that president obama was wiretapping trump tower. so a lot of times he says things to deceive, distractor disrupt. >> tell us why you think he is getting closer to nixon. >> well, wolf, congress is home this week. and i spent any time home going to five different rotary clubs. rosery club members have a good sense of what is going on in our country. they are good community leaders. they said this firing stinks. you can't fire the guy who is investigating you. this is a lot like we saw from the nixon administration. >> the whole russia investigation and saying that's the reason he decided to fire comey, calling that investigation he said it was a made-up investigation.
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he said a hoax. does all of this rise to the level of injustice. >> who is the president talking to at department of justice? he told the senate he had no contact with russia and today go back and amend that statement. so i want to know what attorney general's role is now in the russia investigation. is the president limiting resources of the fbi has to go forward? i'm not jumping to conclusions. we need the house and senate investigations to be unimpeded by politics. sfrs. >> he shouldn't have been anywhere near firing. he was overseeing investigation into the president's campaign. if jeff sessions was siern ncer
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recusing himself, he wouldn't have recommended the firing. he should come to the house judiciary committee and explain what is going on. >> a few of your democratic colleagues, not many but a few, said this could potentially lead to impeachment. do you think there are grounds potentially that could lead to impeachment? >> wolf, the word i think we should use right now is investigation. we have investigations in house, senate and fbi but hurdles keep getting put up for those investigations. we need to hear the hurdles and what russia did and what persons were involved and if so they are held accountable. with you make reforms so that a hack like this and interference campaign like this never happens again. i think that would be most reassuring for the people. >> have you seen collusion? >> i want to make clear that
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evidence of collusion is different from colluding. the house and senate are looking at this. we are refewing documents, witness accounts, witness testimony and so that is evidence. but evidence has to be tested and developed. so we are a long way away from making any conclusions. >> the now former fbi director james comey has declined an invitation from senate intelligence committee to testify, at least not now. do you believe his testimony is absolutely necessary for this ongoing investigation? >> yes, i do. i think taking a few days to cool off, but i want his honest assessment of what happened. whether he was requesting more resources for the fbi investigation and if that was approved or denied. by deputy attorney rod rose
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enstein, do you i have any indication the house will get a similar debriefing? >> hopefully the house receives the same briefing as senate. >> cnn is reporting the deputy attorney general doesn't feel the need at this point for special prosecutor. react to this because so far i don't think there are any republicans who have formally publicly called for a special prosecutor. >> respectfully the appearance or perception of conflict of interest if there is a conflict. i think just to get rid of appearance that is out there, the country would be served by having a special prosecutor. >> congressman, thanks so much for joining us. >> my pleasure, wolf. >> just ahead, more on the
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president's extraordinary tweet firing the fbi director, james comey. another presidential threat, will he do away with the daily white house press briefings? >> are you moving so quickly that your communications department cannot keep up with you- >> yes, that's true. >> what do we do about that? >> we don't have press conferences and we do -- >> you don't mean that. >> we just don't have them. unless i have them ef two weeks and i do it myself. old me i have age-related macular degeneration, amd, he told me to look at this grid every day. and we came up with a plan to help reduce my risk of progression, including preservision areds 2. my doctor said preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula the national eye institute recommends to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced amd after 15 years of clinical studies. preservision areds 2. because my eyes are everything. won't replace the full value of your totaled new car.
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breaking news tonight. let's get more from our specialists and our analysts and david axelrod, let's begin with this controversial tweet. i will put it up on the screen again. james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leak together press. the white house insisting this is not a threat. your reaction? >> well, i guess it could have been a caring executive offering advice to a departing employee. but i think it -- anybody who reads it reads it as a threat. it was meant as a threat. the irony is that no one on the planet would enjoy more a release of the tape of that particular dinner than jim comey.
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because the president has made, he characterized it in his own way. we know from reporting that comey has a much different recollection of it and you know, president doesn't have a lot of chips in the credibility bank right now. and i suspect that comey's version might hold up very well. >> jeffrey toobin, white house refuses to say whether or not these tapes actually exist. the press secretary sean spicer saying quote the president has nothing further to add on that. let the tweets speak for itself. what are the legal consequences of all of this? >> very simple legal situation. if a congressional committee oregon grand jury could send a subpoena can say provide any tapes of conversations with james comey and we would find out whether they existed or not. what that requires is an independent investigation. now, two democratic congressmen
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sent a letter asking about tapes and you know, and the story is that republican party remains aligned behind donald trump and there is no indication that they are going to send any such subpoena. and donald trump just fired head of the fbi because he was investigating the russia matter. the fbi will be cowed and refuse to investigate aggressively. so it could be done. the question is, will it be done? >> you know, rebecca, the sources have told cnn we have been reporting this that the fired fbi director james comey was uncomfortable during that one on one dinner at the white house with the president because the president pressed him for what was described as some sort of loyalty pledge which he refused to offer. the president denies ever asking for such a pledge. but he does tell fox news in a new interview today that it
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wouldn't be inappropriate if he did. what do you make of that? >> there are two components. hypothetically that president would ever ask the director of fbi for a loyalty pledge is just outrageous. the fb i director, any fbi director, is not loyal to any president. he is loyal to the constitution. to our laws. and any president should know that. but it's clear donald trump, based on what he said on this interview on fox, does not recognize that or didn't say so in that interview. that's significant. but then there's also this he said-he said component. did james comey ask for this -- or did the president ask james comey for his loyalty? the president has a credibility problem right now. we're told as journalists to always consider the source. the president has fallen short of the truth in the past. lied outright. so if we're asking to choose between james comey's version of events or the president's, the
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president has a credibility problem right now. >> kate lin kcollins is with us. welcome. as you know, kate lynn, the president always expected absolute loyalty to him from his employees. but the federal government doesn't work that way, does it? >> no, it doesn't. he pride id hd himself on not ba politician. it is funny that trump requires loyalty from the people that work for him because he doesn't seem very loyal. they kept asking if sean spicer would be his press secretary tomorrow and in the future. he wouldn't give a straight answer. saying, sure, sean spicer gets beat up a lot. he undermined him and threw him under the bus a little bit. >> we will get to that in a little bit. david axelrod, you worked for president obama.
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did he demand loyalty from all of the people who worked for him? did he say i want you to be loyalty, you have to pledge your loyalty to me? >> you know, i think that this would be so far from his mind to demand loyalty, particularly if there was an investigation going on touching his people. the president had very strict ethical guidelines in the white house which is why you had no major scandal attaching itself to the white house during his years there. >> jeffrey, i will play a clip for you. james clapper, former director of national intelligence. the white house and president keep citing stuff that he said to say there is no confirmation of any collusion between the trump campaign and russia. he was on msnbc today with andrea mitchell. listen to this. >> it's not surprising or out of abnormal that i would not have
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known about the investigation. or more importantly the content of that investigation. i don't know if it was collusion or not. i don't know if there is evidence of collusion or not. nor should i have in this particular context. >> and you were not intending to clear, to convict or clear anyone of collusion. it is just outside of your scope? >> that's correct. >> did he just poke some holes in the white house, meredith? >> i would say he destroyed the white house, narrative. >> this is not his job to follow an fbi investigation of possible solution between the trump campaign and russia. that is an fbi investigation. the fbi does not report to the director of national intelligence. he has access to lots of things but he does not have access to fbi 302s which are reports by fbi agents to grand jury testimony, to the department of
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justice prosecutors working on this. that is just a separate part of the government so the fact that he is unaware of collusion did not tell you -- it doesn't conclude the question of whether there is any evidence of collusion that exists somewhere in a government investigation. >> clapper says that he didn't even know that the fbi launched the investigation as far back as july, only learn bed that when comey made it public in the statement. everybody stand by. up next, another threat by the president. will he cancel all future daily white house press briefings. stay with us.
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to keep up with one of the biggest stories of the trump presidency so far but it's the cuts of the firing of james comey keep changing. rebecca, the president seems to be blaming his own communicationsing department for some of these problems. this is what he tweeted this morning." 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 hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy." >> i mean in this case this was not due to a fast moving
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presidency that donald trump's press team did not know what was going on, and the reasoning behind his decision to fire james comey. this was the president's fault for not keemg his team in the loop for telling them what happened and making sure they were prepared to go out and tell the american people what this all meant, so he's making excuses but i think he's tweets speak volumes about what we might see from the press team moving forward. there are reports that sean spicer's job might be -- >> go ahead. >> can i disagree with that respectfully? the problem was not a communications problem. the problem was a substantive problem. he fired the person who was investigatesing him. you can't have a good communications strategy about that. it's not a failure of the right person or the right message. the problem is 2 substance when you blame the messenger, when you blame the fact that issue wasn't framed properly, that misses the point. the problem is this was the most
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significant firing of a law enforcement official since watergate. you can't spin that. that's the problem. >> indicate, you go to the white house daily press briefings every day. the president lab vat raid t lated and explained his thinking. listen. >> 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 them. >> just don't have them and vp or just have them every two weeks and i have them myself. i think it's a good idea. sarah huckabee is a lovely young woman. you know sean spicer. >> uh-huh. >> he is a wonderful human being. he's a nice man. >> is he your press secretary today and tomorrow? >> yes.
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>> will he be there tomorrow? >> yeah. well, he's been there from the beginning. >> what did you think of the president's threat to end these daily press briefings? >> i think it's funny that he thinks the answer is to handled out a prewritten story to reporters. the that's exactly what will they did when they fired comey. they handed it out because they couldn't e-mail it out. it was a disaster. there is no message when you fire the fbi director suddenly 110 days into your presidency and it's because there's an investigation into your ties to russia that is coming close. >> at the least they could have been consistent with their message, so they could have maybe acted more employeely and then they wouldn't have had to explain it away. but the there have been inconsistencies in their messages that have made it that much more damaging for the white house. the president was on capitol hill the day after comey was fired saying the president had just taken recommendation of the deputy attorney general.
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he was acting as the deputy attorney general recommended he act and then come to find out from the president himself, that that wasn't the case, that he was going to fire james comey no matter what. if you have inconsistencies it makes you look even worse. >> how can you -- >> david, let her finish. >> how can you be consistent when you're butting out this message and your boss, the president of the united states undermines you and throws the entire communications team under the bus. >> all right. go ahead, david. >> he's sanctioned a phony cover stheer didn't hold up and then he cut the legs out from his own vice president and his press people who carried that phony cover story. so i mean, i think everybody hereby is being a little too kind. he knew what was being told to the american people about why hoe made the decision he made and then he decided to go out and on that, i think he was more honest. he finally acknowledged -- it wasn't about the recommendation. i just decided to fire him and
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the russia thing had a lot to do with it. >> david, you have a very revealing sbrooufl coming up we will california governor jerry brown on the parvegs xe files. let me play a little bit. le. >> i do think that comey's public statements about the e-mails and hillary was a very bad -- and unprofessional. i think comey has serious problems. >> what about the timing of it? >> no. but that's the other point that, he asked for resources to investigate the russia-trump connection. so yeah, that smells. no question. >> where do you think this all goes now? is this going to hang over trump? >> well, it's hanging over washington. that's all we can think about. i would like to see the senate restore some of its earlier luster, the great giants in the senate in the past, and with truly bipartisan, democrat and
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republican, let them investigate. i think that -- maybe bring the house in, too. but watergate was a lot -- the investigation there was driven by the house of representatives and by the committees, so i think they're capable if they could get off this circus of partisanship and polarization which they seem addicted to, tragically. >> you share that assessment, david? >> well, he goes back -- he was elected in the watergate year in 1974, so he has a big historical sweep. we saw mitch mcconnell take a partisan position on an independent counsel or independent commission. so yes, i think there's been a lot of partisanship in response to what should be treated as a national challenge. >> jeffrey, what do you think? >> it's not a pox on both houses. the they just don't want to investigate this.
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that's what's stopping it. it's convenient to say it's both are baerts but it's not. i mean, the republicans do not want an independent investigation and the republicans don't want to see this pursued and that's why it's not going to go anywhere. >> rebecca, take a look at this video that was shot today by melissa mccarthy. she plays sean spicer on saturday night live. she's i guess taping a skit that's going to be airing tomorrow night. a lot of people will want to watch it. >> i likely will be watching that, wolf. i'm a big fan of melissa mccarthy's impression of sean spicer. if he's already happy with his communications team, that skit might damage sean spicer's position even further. >> you going to be watching? >> of course. >> everybody's going to be watching tomorrow night. we'll see what happens on snl. >> be sure to tune in to the axe files tomorrow night 9:00 p.m.
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eastern right here on cnn. you will learn in the process. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." and to all of the wonderful mothers out there, have a very, very happy mother's day. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. . >> next breaking news, the president of the united states hinting he may have secret tapes of jim comey. does he have them or is this a total bluff? plus a top official says there could be evidence of collusion between the trump team and russia. new details this evening. and the man that hand delivered the letter to fire comey. good evening. i'm erin burnett. out front, the breaking news, the tale of the tape. the president of the united states tonight suggesting he might have secre


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