tv Debate Night Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor John Kasich CNN May 16, 2017 6:00pm-8:01pm PDT
and then sort of the middle part of january when there were false statements that started coming out of the white house based on misrepresentations he had made to people there. >> she's talking about false statements made by sean spicer and vice-president mike pence. statements like the one the vice-president made to cbs news on january 15, when he was asked if michael flynn had ever discussed sanctions with the russian ambassador. >> what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. >> we were concerned about the underlying conduct in and of itself, even before there were misrepresentations about it. then there were misrepresent takss coming out of the white house again where they were saying it was based specifically on what general flynn had told tem. and they were getting more and more specific. it became clear they weren't
going to stop. the latest being i think it was monday january 23. and so we were balancing that with the need of an investigative agency to be able to complete its investigation and not to have any kind of notification negatively impact that investigation. but when those final misrepresentations were made on the 23rd, the fbi then interviewed general flynn on the 24th. we got the readout of that on the 25th. then i called first thing on the morning of the 26th to go over and make the notification. >> don mcgahn is the white house counsel. he is the man sally yates met with on the 26th of january to warn him about general flynn. why wait until the 26th to take the information to the white house? >> just like in any matter, we were trying to balance notification against an impact that it would have on an fbi investigation. >> you had to wait until flynn was interviewed by the fbi. >> we looked at that as well as
the fact that it was the misrepresentations that didn't really start until mid january that aggravated the situation. >> because misrepresentations to the vice-president and others in the white house, that you believed took it to another level? >> it did. it certainly aggravated the situation in terms of the ability for that information to be used for compromise with the russians. >> explain the idea of compromise, how that works. >> sure. this has been a try and true craft of the russians for decades now. the gist is simple. if they have information that they can use to -- as leverage over someone, they will use that. they even have a word for it. in this situation, we had both the underlying conduct that was problematic for general flynn. but then the public misrepresentations about it that were based on lies that general flynn had told the vice-president and others. the combination of that is
absolutely information that the russians can use as leverage with general flynn who was the national security adviser. the last person in the world that you would want for the russians to have leverage over. >> he is privy to highly classified information. >> yes. >> what did you tell the white house counsel? >> well, we had two meetings. first -- sg >> the first meeting. >> i took actually the person who was overseeing this investigation, a senior career official from the department of justice with me. we began the meeting by pointing out some of the statements that had been made by the vice-president and sean spicer and others with respect to general flynn's conduct and let them know that we knew that was not true and how we knew it wasn't true and what our evidence was and what he had actually done. >> did don mcgahn tell you what he was going to do with that information? >> no. we went through and told him not only what we knew but why we were concerned about it and why we were telling him about it.
again, that the public had been misled. we were concerned about the underlying conduct and went through and explained the compromise situation with the russians and told him specifically that we were giving him this information so that they could act. >> it's important to note that sean spicer has portrayed sally yates' warning to the white house in far less dramatic terms. he has characterized it as just a heads up. >> the acting attorney general informed white house counsel that they wanted to give, quote, a heads up to us. she said, wanted to give you a heads up there may be information -- sally yates gave us a heads up. just because someone gives you a heads up and said i want to share information doesn't mean that you immediately jump the gun and take an action. >> sally yates insists it was far more than just a heads up. did you ever use the term heads up, i'm giving you a heads up? >> no. i absolutely did not use the
term heads up. there was nothing casual about this. >> that does seem to be a casual characterization. >> i called don mcgahn and told him i had a very sensitive matter that i needed to discuss with him that day and it needed to be in person. >> when you met were in his regular office? >> we are. his office is a skiff. >> it's a secure environment. >> yes. >> he would have been aun wewart this is unusual to do this on such urgent notice in a skiff? >> sure. mr. mcgahn got it. he knew it was serious and importance. >> just last week, president trump continued to insist he didn't believe sally yates had been informing them of an emergency. >> you made the decision -- >> this is an interview he gave to nbc news. >> my white house counsel came back to me and did not sound like an emergency of -- didn't make it sound like he was -- she actually didn't make it sound that way either in the hearings the other day. like it had to be done immediately. this man has served for many
years. he is a general. in my opinion, a very good person. i believe that it would be very unfair to hear from somebody who we don't even know and immediately run out and fire a general. >> she's the acting attorney general at the time. >> president trump said about your meeting with the white house counsel, he said my white house counsel came back to me and did not sound like an emergency. he also said, she actually didn't make it -- meaning you. she didn't make it sound that way either in the hearings the other day. is he misinformed? >> well, i wasn't there for the meeting between mr. mcgahn and the president. i don't have any way of knowing how that meeting went. i know that we conveyed a sense of urgency when we went over and met with the white house counsel. >> in your testimony he is saying you didn't milwaukee ake that way like it was an emergency. >> i don't know if i used the word emergency. when you call the white house counsel and say, you have to meet with them that day about
something you can't talk about on the phone and you tell them that their national security adviser may be able to be blackmailed by the rush slan si not sure how much more of a siren are you to sign. don mcgahn asked you whether or not you thought the national security adviser should be fired. what did you say? >> i told him it wasn't our call. >> was the underlying conduct illegal? was it illegality? >> there's a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct. >> yates was asked to come back to the white house for another meeting with the white house counsel on january 27, the day after her initial warning. yates disputes the way the white house is characterizing the reason for the second meeting. sean spicer said that meeting was to discuss issues that were left unclear in your first meeting with don mcgahn. do you feel that you were clear in your warning to mcgahn in the first meeting? >> i don't think there was anything unclear about the first
meeting. he had some additional issues he wanted to discuss. there was nothing unclear about the first meeting. >> can you say what the additional issues were. >> there were three or four things he raised. the first issue he raised was essentially why does doj care if one white house official lies to another white house official. so we walked him back through the same things we discussed the day before, that it was really a whole lot more than just one white house official lying to another. >> this was the vice-president of the united states being lied to who told the american people? >> exactly. then that we explained the compromise situation that this created again. we walked back through all of those things. >> that's why the department of justice was interested,underlyi the potential for compromise. it was a national security threat? >> absolutely. >> you have no doubt about that? >> i don't think anybody in the intel community has a doubt about that. >> the seriousness of her warning isn't the only
significant discrepancy between yates and the white house. she said she made the evidence investigates had gathered on flynn available to the white house on monday, january 30. that's not what the white house says. >> the white house didn't get access to that underlying evidence described by miss yates until thursday, february 2. >> they could have looked at it sooner? >> it was ready on monday the 30th. >> you wanted the white house to act? >> absolutely. yes. >> to do something. >> we expected the white house to act. >> did you expect them to act quickly? >> yes. >> there was urgency to the information? >> yes. i called on january 30th. that monday morning to let mr. mcgahn know that it was ready. we had made arrangements over the weekend. that was one of the other issues that he raised in the second meeting was whether they could look at the underlying evidence that established general flynn's conduct. this is really unusual for us or for the fbi to allow that. >> because there is an ongoing investigation? >> right.
this was really important. >> on that monday, january 30th, three days after first warning the white house about michael flynn, sally yates was fired. she had instructed the department of justice not to defend president trump's ex executive order on immigration. sally yates was out. michael flynn was still the national security adviser. you are watching day after day after day go by and nothing seems to have happened to the national security adviser that you informed the white house about. as a private citizen at that point, did it concern you? >> sure. i was concerned about it. >> it took the white house 18 days after sally yates first warned them to get rid of michael flynn. on february 13, he resigned as national security adviser. the next day, sean spicer said he was let go because of an issue of trust, not because he had done anything illegal. >> when the president heard the information as presented by white house counsel, he thought that general flynn did not do anything wrong and white house counsel's review corroborated
that. there's not a legal issue but rather a trust issue. >> do you agree there was no legal issue with flynn's underlying behavior? >> i don't flknow how the white house reached the conclusion there was no legal issue. it wasn't from my discussion with them. >> do you think michael flynn should have been fired? >> whether he is fire order not is a decision for the president of the united states to make. doesn't seem like that's a person who should be sitting in the national security adviser position. >> michael flynn was left go after "the washington post" reported a story. some republicans accused you of leaking it. did you leak? >> absolutely not. >> did you authorize someone to leak? >> i did not and would not leak classified information. >> have you ever leaked information -- >> no. >> the president seems to suggest that you were behind this washington post article. the morning before you testified, he tweeted, ask sally yates under oath if she knows how classified information got into newspapers soon after she explained it to white house counsel.
he seems to believe that you are the leaker. when you heard that, what did you think? >> there have been a number of tweets that have given me pause. >> do you want to elaborate on that? >> no. >> if you hadn't been fired, if you were still many your position and you hadn't seen any action over the course of that 18 days, was there more your role as the acting attorney general would have permitted you to do? >> i would have gone back to the white house. >> if you were still the acting attorney general, would you have gone back to the white house? >> i would have been knocking on the door again. >> why? >> i would have been concerned we had a national security adviser who was compromised. i wouldn't have been able to control what happened but i would have gone back. >> what would you have asked? >> what have you done? >> some of the president's surrogates pointed out you come from a family that's prominent democrats, been involved in democratic politics. clearly implying you are partisan. are you a democrat?
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but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount welcome back. our breaking news, sources telling cnn that james comey wrote in a memo back in february
that president trump asked him to end the probe of michael flynn. that was made in a meeting the day after flynn was fired. director comey was dismissed by the president last week. a white house official saying, quote, this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and mr. comey. now back to my exclusive interview with another person fired by president trump, sally yates. she was a career prosecutor and preferred to stay out of the spotlight. she comes from a long line of lawyers. her father and grandfather both worked as state appellate court judges. her grandmother was the first woman to join the georgia bar association. she began her legal career with the justice department three years after she graduated and she stayed there for nearly three decades. she was known as a tenacious prosecutor. she was labeled as a political opponent of the president. >> how is she a political opponent? she's acting attorney general. >> appointed by the obama
administration. >> the white house called you a political opponent of president trump. are you a political opponent of president trump? >> no. i'm a 27 year veteran of the department of justice. >> some people say politics must play a role in way. you have political beliefs. >> but that has nothing to do with how i did my job here. of years in doj.my job for a lot even when you are appointed by a president, at that point the politics is supposed to end at doj. >> after she appeared before the senate, "time" reports president trump talked to them about sally yates' testimony. the president was with a "time" reporter watching a clip of you testifying and being asked about the unmasking process. the president then said, quote, watch them start to choke like dogs, watch what happens. they are desperate for breath. what do you think when you hear that? >> i'm not going to dignify that
with a response. >> you come from a family that's been involved in democratic politics in georgia, the white house put out a briefing paper on you after you were fired saying that your husband had made donations to democrats, including president obama. clearly implying you are partisan. >> i certainly was appointed by president obama. as we talked about a little while ago, i have been working for doj for almost 30 years now. >> you were hired by bob barr. >> republican and democratic administrations. >> are you a democrat? >> yes, i am a democrat. >> sally yates is a democrat. but she was first hired to the department of justice in 1989 by bob barr, a staunch republican. tell me why you started in the law. >> i come from a long line of lawyers in my family. lawyers and methodist preachers. after i graduated -- >> were those two options? >> it was a binary choice here, law or preaching. after law school, i came to washington and worked for a couple years.
i thought about career options, everything else seemed like a job. practicing law seemed like a profession. >> why did you pick government service? >> i didn't start out that way actually. i went to a big firm in atlanta after law school. >> you worked there three or four years? >> three years. i didn't have any thought i was going to be a prosecutor. didn't take many criminal law classes which would concern some people given the job i ended up with. i went to private practice. then decided i would go to the u.s. attorney's office at the time i was thinking more that i would get trial experience and an opportunity to do some work that was really more meaningful. i was totally unprepared for just how meaningful it would be. >> she rose through the ranks. she was the lead prosecutor in the eric rudolph case. she went after lawmakers in georgia for public corruption. she successfully tried cases against atlanta city officials, including the democratic mayor bill campbell. later she became the first woman
to head the u.s. attorney's office in the northern district of georgia. >> i'm very grateful for this opportunity. grateful for president obama's nomination. >> in 2015, president obama nominated her to become deputy attorney general under loretta lynch. did politics rear its head over the years? >> in the sense that u.s. attorneys under whom i was serving would change, depending on the administration. not in terms of how our cases operate. >> miss yates, you are going into a different world. >> during her confirmation hearing, yates was asked by then senator jeff sessions if she would be able to stand up to the president. general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that's improper? if the views of the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no? >> senator, i believe the
attorney general or deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution. and to give their independent legal advise to the president. >> like any ceo with a law firm, sometimes the lawyers have to tell the ceo, mr. ceo, you can't do that. don't do that. we will get sued. it's going to be in violation of the law. you will regret it. no matter how headstrong they might be. do you feel like that's a duty on the attorney general's office? >> i do believe that's the attorney -- the duty of the attorney general's office. >> sessions voted against her. she was confirmed with wide bipartisan support. two years later, as acting attorney general, she did exactly what she told sessions she would do, after president trump issued his executive order on immigration on friday, january 27. >> i'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical islamic terrorists out of the united states of america. we don't want them here.
>> hours after her second meeting at the white house to discuss general flynn. that executive order temporarily banned immigrants from seven mostly muslim nations. when did you first hear about the travel ban? >> well, it was friday afternoon -- late friday afternoon around 5:00 or so when i was in the car on the way to the airport. >> the same day -- >> same day. >> of your second meeting with don mcgahn. >> right. i had been meeting with him around 3:00 that afternoon. his office there at the white house. i was on my way to the airport. i got a call from my principal deputy saying he saw online on a news report that the president had issued an executive order with respect to immigration. this was the very first we had heard about it. >> you are the acting attorney general of the united states. >> right. >> you did not know about this executive order? >> that's right. >> the department of justice has an office of legal counsel.
they had been asked to weigh in on this executive order. >> they had been asked to review it for form and legality. >> if the department of justice, if their office of legal counsel was given a heads up so to speak about this and asked to review it, wouldn't they have given you a heads up about it? >> normally they would. my understanding is is that they were asked not to tell us about it. >> the department of justice office of legal counsel was advised not to inform you specifically, the acting attorney general about this executive order? >> that's my understanding. >> do you know why you were not informed? >> i don't know. i wasn't informed. >> is that normal procedure? >> no. first i heard that wof that. >> was it don't kick this up higher in the department of justice or don't tell sally yates? >> i don't know all the details about that. >> in courts around the count, the legal challenges came the next day. sally yates had to decide what she would do. >> we spent the weekend and a
flurry of activity trying to get our arms around what is this thing and what are they trying to accomplish. >> when did you make the decision you were going to instruct your attorneys, the department of justice, not to enforce this? >> well -- >> or not to argue this. >> on monday i brought in the folks from the department of justice who were hands on involved in this. that would include the career people at doj as well as the trump appointees that were at doj at this time. i had pulled up many of the legal challenges that we had and had read through those. i looked at cases. i had written down the issues that i was concerned about. >> had you already seen what was happening at airports? >> sure. yeah. on tv, i had seen. >> you had seen people coming in, people demonstrating. you saw the impact it was having. did that have an impact on you? >> it had an impact in terms of the chaos that was created. i was trying to get a handle on what does this executive order do and is it lawful and
constitutional. by monday, i was advised that we were going to have to take a position on the constitutionality of the statute. the facts reflected that this really was an attempt to make good on the president's campaign promise of a muslim ban. it was about religion and that as the department of justice, on something as essential as religious freedom, i couldn't in good conscience send our doj lawyers in to make an argument that wasn't glourounded in the truth. >> she issued an order to the department of justice not to defend the president's executive action. you knew at this point you were taking -- you were challenging the president of the united states. >> i didn't view it as a challenge to the president of the united states. i viewed it as fulfilling my oath and doing my job. >> you knew this was going to bring you into conflict with the president of the united states? >> yes. >> did you think about that? >> sure. >> several hours after telling department of justice lawyers not to defend the president's
executive order, sally yates was fired. how did you find out you were fired? >> a letter arrived at my office door. >> you got the letter? >> yes. >> director comey was sent a letter but didn't get it. you got the letter? >> i got the letter. >> did you know what it was? >> i certainly had a strong suspicion as to what it was. >> is it a letter from the president himself? >> no. from someone else at the white house. >> can you say what is it like after 27 years to read that letter? >> intellectually, i knew that this was a possibility that this could happen. i would be less than honest with you if i didn't say it wasn't still a punch in the gut when the letter arrived at the door. >> that's emotionally what it felt like. >> sure. but to have done anything else i felt like would have been an abdication of my responsibility. i wasn't looking to be fired. given the situation i was in, i couldn't have done anything else
and lived with myself. >> do you believe the president made the right decision in firing you? >> he certainly had the authority to fire me. that's all i will say on that. >> i want to read some of the criticism that you received from republicans but also from democrats. steven miller in the white house said your behavior was reckless, irresponsible and improper. they called it foolish, naked political move by what appears to be an ambitious holdover official. was this a political move? >> no. i was doing my job. >> politics you say had nothing to do with this. >> absolutely not. >> a harvard law professor said you are a terrific public servant but she made a serious mistake here. this is hold overherholdover he. he went on to say he thinks you made a political decision, not a legal one. >> well, look, i struggled over the decision whether to resign or whether to direct the department of justice not to
defend. >> you thought about resigning? >> absolutely. i went back and forth. >> two former attorney generals say you should have resigned if you disagreed with this order and that essentially you were grandstanding looking to get out in a way that would set you up for a political career. >> putting that aside, i think it's a fair question to ask why didn't you just resign. that's something i grappled with during that time. sort of the bottom line is that i felt like resigning would have protected my personal integrity but it would not have protected the integrity of the department of justice. >> from the time she was fired, sally yates didn't speak publically until she was asked to testify in front of the senate judiciary subcommittee on russia last week. while many democratic senators praised her actions, she faced tough questions from republicans. >> are you familiar with eight us c-section 1182. >> not off the top of my head. >> it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement and that led to your
termination. it certainly is relevant and not obscure. >> i am familiar with that. i'm also familiar with an additional provision that says no person shall receive prefer ens or be discriminations against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth. >> no other president has been denied his authority under that 1952 provision, including jimmy carter who stopped issuing visas to iranians during the hostage crisis. the question is, did you go too far? >> i don't know that we had a situation where the true intent behind a president's actions had been laid out in the vivid detail it was here. an intent that is unconstitutional. >> assuming this goes to the supreme court, that's what it's going to boil down, an argument over that 1952 provisions? >> it will boil down to -- it could be a number of issues on
that. certainly, i would think the president's motivation, what he was trying to accomplish, was this an effort to disfavor muslims essentially an effort to make good on the travel ban as best he could -- excuse me, the muslim ban as best he could. i would expect that would be an issue before the supreme court. >> are you planning on getting into politics? is that something you would think about down the road? life. intelligent technology can help protect it. the all-new audi q5 is here. well, what are you doing o take care otomorrow -10am? but... staff meeting. 3:45? tai chi. 6:30? sam's baseball practice.
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in a moment, more of our breaking news. fired fbi director james comey wrote in a memo in february that president trump asked him to end the investigation of michael flynn. the white house is pushing back against the report even as it struggles with foallout from th president sharing intelligence with russia. first with my interview with sally yates. after she testified in front of congress, the white house put out a paper about yates. i asked her if she had any interest in running for governor or any other job in politics. are you planning on getting into politics? >> no. >> there are some surrogates for
the president who have said or pundits who support the president who say you have been approached by folks in georgia about running for governor or some political office. >> i read that. i haven't returned the calls. i'm not running for governor. >> it's well-known the president watches a lot of tv, cable news. if he was watching tonight, is there anything you would want to say to him? >> i don't think so, no. >> after 27 years in the department of justice, is it strange to have your career defined in the larger public consciousness by the last week of your career? that's basically -- people see you on the street, they recognize you as the person who testified or who took the actions you did on the executive order, were involved with michael flynn. you have a career before that. is it strange to be defined by the last couple of days? >> yeah. it feels a little weird.
after having been a line prosecutor and a u.s. attorney and deputy attorney general that folks would define me in that way. on the other hand, you know, they wouldn't really have any reason to know about the work that i had done and all the years prior to that. i believe that the actions that i took with respect to those two issues in the last ten days were consistent with how i carried out my responsibilities the 27 years prior to that. >> you have no regrets? >> no. >> you wouldn't do anything differently? >> no. >> quick reality check how fast developments are unfolding in washington. i interviewed sally yates yesterday morning. more than 24 hours later, sources say a memo by james comey reported by "the new york times" says the president asked him to end the flynn investigation during a meeting in the oval office on february 14th. we reached out to sally yates after news broke. she declined to comment on it. what began as a day of crisis would end on another level all
together, more crisis. jeff, just in terms of what we heard from sally yates, what stood out to you? >> i was proud to be a career justice department employee. she's a very much the model of a career justice employee. someone who worked there for 30 years, longer than i did. i think you can disagree with some of the conclusions she reached. but her -- as i did. but i think her motives are impeccable. i think she's someone who has done honor to the justice department. what better thing can you say? >> it's interesting, after this 27-year career she's had that it's -- she's being defined by much trump supporters, surrogates as a obama appointee, even though it was bob barr who hired her. >> she's identified as a partisan. as she told you, she's not interested in running for political office. she's always seen herself as a
career person in the justice department. what was also striking to me about what she told you was that it was very clear that she called don mcgahn the white house counsel and her hair was on fire. she said, i can't talk to you about what this is about. i have to come over and meet with you today. >> it wasn't safe to talk about on the telephone. >> uit wasn't a normal day at te office. her hair is still on fire. and then nothing. it was just sort of striking to me as she recounted this in a very sort of, you negotiatiknow of fact way without overdoing it. she told you of course she hadn't been informed about the travel ban which was kind of stunning to me. >> i thought that part of your interview was really kind of amazing. it really was like out of a novel. she's going to the white house to say that your national security adviser may be
compromised by the russians. that's something out of a novel. nothing happens. they treat it as if it's a heads up. >> it was interesting, she said that if -- had she not been fired, three days after she had gone to the white house initially about michael flynn because of the executive order, she doesn't -- she has no evidence the firing had anything to do with going to the white house about mike flynn, but had she been the acting attorney general, she would have continued to go back over the course of the 18 days that there was no public action on general flynn to pound on the door and see what was going on. >> there was such a difference in the perception of urgency. you played the clip for donald trump in the nbc interview where he was like my lawyer told me about it. that was about it. she clearly believed that she went with such a dedicated purpose. i thought it was really interesting to hear her describe that final weekend grappling with whether or not to resign and whether or not she was going to protect her own hide or what
she believed was really protecting the work of the doj. i had not heard her describe that in detail before. >> david, let's switch to the breaking story tonight. the reporting according to sources the president asked director comey to end the flynn investigation the day after flynn resigned. how bad is this for president trump? >> really damaging. i said before that this presidency is off the rails. i really think this entire story moves to capitol hill now. this is a new moment in time for republicans to respond to the trump presidency. you are starting to see -- you see jason chaffetz asking for a may 24th deadline to get all fbi memos -- comey memos on everything related to this up to the hill. you hear people asking for tapes and transcripts of meetings with trump and comey. this is now a new moment in time for republicans. we have to be on the lookout to see if they take a different public posture specifically i'm
talking about paul ryan and mitch mcconnell than they have to date. >> that's what it's going to boil down to. if it does move into -- some people have talked about sort of the specter of impeachment. it's up to republicans how far this goes. >> it sure is. i can remind everyone that during the nixon impeachment, i reread a little of this today, half of the house judiciary committee republicans didn't vote for impeachment then. the articles of impeachment. it's not as if republicans have been eager to indict their own presidents. so i think what you are going to see is republicans looking for information to hang their hats on. i was talking to somebody who is close to the president today who is very upset about all of this that is going on. i asked him, i said, what would be the strategy you would recommend for this president right now? the answer was, i would tell the
president he should encourage a complete congressional investigation, give a little cover for his republicans there to go do that and then sit back and wait for it to occur if he has nothing to hide. >> jeff? >> i think also the facts matter a lot. there's been brilliant reporting by michael is mschmidt and pame brown and jake tapper. but there's a lot we don't know. mostly we have not heard james comey's testimony. even more importantly, we have not seen his contemporaneous memos, what he wrote down about what donald trump said to him. that's going to be -- of course, hovering over all of this is the existence or non-existence of tapes. >> do contemporaneous memos, do they hold legal weight? >> sure. i don't want to get too nerdy about it. the way they usually come in is
that you can't introduce them just in evidence. >> we're all nerds here. you are amongst nerds. >> thank you for making me feel comfortable. >> the way they usually come in is once an agent is cross-examined, if the agent's memory is challenged, they can introduce the fbi -- first the notes and then what's called the 302, which is the typed up summary of the notes and presumably -- one of the interesting things about comey's records is will there be handwritten notes, in addition to the memos that we know exist? >> go ahead. >> i have a question, because jeff knows all of this. i know in a political investigation motive always matters. in a criminal investigation, for example, if the president said, i was just kind of offhandedly suggesting this, even though he did tell his vice-president -- >> does motive matter? >> yes.
particularly in a political environment, motive matters enormously. but it's up for debate. people will say his motives were pure. people will say his motives were corrupt. certainly, it matters a lot both politically and legally. >> if there are tapes, that's fascinating. >> it's already fascinating. >> really hopes there are tapes. >> reporting is that jim comey wants there to be tapes because he's confident of what he remembers. just ahead, more late reaction from the white house and capitol hill. we will talk to david and john who worked for richard nixon during watergate. we'll be right back. so you miss the big city? i don't miss much... definitely not the traffic. excuse me, doctor... the genomic data came in. thank you. you can do that kind of analysis? yeah, watson. i can quickly analyze millions of clinical and scientific reports
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now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount the breaking news sources telling cnn that james comey wrote a memo saying president trul p a trump asked him to end the investigation into michael flynn. tonight jason chaffetz requested all memos written by director comey involving the president, the republican chairman says he is ready to issue a subpoena to get the comey memo everyone is
focused on tonight if needed. the white house is denying the report. what is the white house saying about these allegations? >> the white house is pushing back on that. they're saying it just did not happen as the memos explain. let's look at a statement released earlier this evening from it says while the president has repeatedly discussed his view that general flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked mr. comey or anyone else to end any investigation including any investigation involving mr. flynn. the president has the utmost respengt of our law enforce mnts agencies. this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and mr. comey." and the aids who have more of a sense of these things simply don't know because they weren't
there. so that statement of course very explicit. >> based on what the president told some white house official but as we know in the past the president said things to white house officials that there not true and then he undercuts what he said because he's changed his mind. i understand you have reporting on what's going on inside the west wing. >> the president often fuels this himself. i'm getting a growing sense after this whiplash of controversy that in the words of one top republican close to the white house says quote this is on him. meaning this is on the president. i'm told that there has been more of a comradery building between some staff members as they're all involved in this constant state of will he fire me? will he not? but this is a sense that this in particular is a rare controversy entirely on the president. and as we see these republicans
on capitol hill subpoena these memos and documents, it will ultimately likely end up on capitol hill with james comey testifying. all of this ahead of the first foreign trip the president is taking on friday. all of this -- the west wing advisors will be on a plane close quarters to saudi arabia. >> and he told attorney general jeff sessions to leave the oval auf office but for director comey to stay behind. and what are you hearing? >> reporter: bipartisan questions and consterns. earlier tonight democrats demandinging an investigation into what they believe may be a quote conspiracy by the white house and by president trump to quash the russia investigation. republicans are not going that far but they're raising
concerns. here are two trump allies who raise concerns earlier tonight. >> if that's accurate. i don't have any reason that it's not to say that we would have some concern would be accurate. that would be true. for me to act like it's not a concern would be a bit remison my part. >> the larger concern is wha seems to be a lack of communication discipline coming from the white house and i think some of that is driven by the desire to have an immediate response. i prefer they wait half a day and get everything right the first time so you don't raise more suspicion. >> anderson, i asked senate majority leader what led to the concerns? he said it would be help fool have a little less drama. >> what happens next in terms of
the next steps from capitol hill? what happened? >> reporter: we're expecting calls for more investigations, including some republicans. chaffetz asking for records related to james comey, any meetings he had with president trump. they want those record and chaffetz even suggesting a subpoena. and others want him to testify publicly. lindsey graham also saying that. the question is will any of them embrace a special prosecutor? graham telling me it depends on what comey said in a public hearing and if i think trump is threatening this investigation, i'll back one but republicans are not there yet. >> it it would be fascinating. he was invited before. there was reporting he wanted a public hearing.
>> reporter: no clue yet because several committees have asked him to come publicly. he has not accepted that invitation but there's expectation that will happen and if it does, buckling up. >> and is there talk about trying to subpoena any tapes from the white house? >> i asked that question of the senate judiciary committee. he said we don't even know if they have tapes yet. they want to question the number two at the justice department on thursday in a closed door session with all senators. so we'll see what comes of that and if the republicans make any moves to subpoena tapes if they exist. >> an extraordinary day in washington. so, john, i mean last night david gurgen, who also served in the nixon white house believes this has entered quote impea
impeachment territory. >> i think it has. we're talking about a potential obstruction of justice. the broad outline suggests from impeachment purposes would fall in the parallel of nixon. >> ysk rr been reading up on this. it was nixon saying on tape that someone in the cia should tell the fbi to end their investigation. is that right? >> that's exactly what happened. it was holdman talking to the president just days after the arrest and he instructed dave haulman consent to go to the fbi, have the cia go to the fbi and tell them they were interfering or threatening cia operations when that was a stretch. wasn't clear whether it was true or not. they proceeded with that and it was just an effort to block the fbi in the long run.
>> and once that tape emerged, that was the nail in the coffin? >> that -- not so much for the obstruction. what it did is really caught nixon in the lie. he had said he had no knowledge of a cover up and had been saying that for month after month. he said he didn't know anything about the cover up until i told him march 21st. well, when the supreme court forced him to release the tapes and this tape was in there on june 23rd showing him have the c cia block the fbi, he was directly involved in. >> what is it like working in a white house with these swirling investigations? as you did. i'm not sure it's exactly the same parallel here. but there's got to be lot of employees wondering are they going to be fired or what'ser
going to happen next? >> the nixon white house was surprisingly calm, surprisingly well organized, compartmentalized, so it really didn't effect a lot of people. the work went on with surprising quality and ease. >> you famously testified during water gate that you warned president nixon there was a cancer growing on the presidency. do you think president trump merits a similar warning from someone close to him? >> i think he needs someone he could trust. he doesn't want to listen to anybody but his own gut instinct. and he should know now since he really started his presidency that his gut instinct isn't doing well by him. so i think he does need somebody he respects and he'll listen to. >> we had allen dershowitz on and he was saying it's time for
the president to lawyer up, essentially and the first thing that lawyer should tell the president is stop talking, stop tweeting, don't try to keep coming up with explanations because it's only digging you deemer in. >> that would be very good advice. post water gate it's very clear the white house counsel represent the office of the president. in fact they're having a tough time because their loyalty is to that institution and to that office and not to donald trump. so they can't really give him legal advice and he needs it. >> does it seem to you that all the cautionary tales of watergate have been lost on the president? >> i don't think this president seems to know that history very well. he's saying and doing too many things that there too reminiscent and recall that very history. he seems to be following the
same mistake that nixon made. so if someone could remind him of that history. since he's not a reader, maybe someone could tell him that story. >> i wgoing to say there are soe books but not a reader. time hand things over to white house in crisis town hall starts now. ♪ live from washington, this is cnn's exclusive town hall on the white house in crisis. >> we are joined by two leading voices from across the political spectrum. senator, bernie sanders, independent of vermont and governor john kasich, governor of ohio. we have a new bomb shell story
here in washington tonight. sources confirm to cnn that the fired fbi director james comey wrote a memo detailing a conversation in which president trump asked him to end an active investigation into national security advisor, michael flynn. >> the news is breaking just 24 hours after it was released president trump released information about an isis plot. viewers are watching us from around the world. we want to give you each a minute to react to the latest news. we'll start with you, senator sanders. >> i think rilts arsad day and a sad period. the american people want us to focus on the real issues impacting them. why the middle class is in decline, why we have massive levels of income and equality and here we are today dealing with what we have to deal with. the facts are that for whatever
reason and i can't understand it trump ran for president touting how a positive relations with an autocratic president of russia, vladimir putin. the evidence is overwhelming that they interfered in our election through cyber war fare. there is an investigation going on as to whether or not there was collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. and that's a very important issue. because if there was and i'm not saying there was, this is a serious crime. and we learn in the midst of all of this that trump asked comey, according to news reports he just mentioned it, to stop the investigation of general flynn, which is kind of the definition of what obstruction of justice is about. yesterday we learned that he sat
down with and revealed classified information to the russians for supporting assad in syria, a mass killer. which has led to a major, major crisis in our relations with our allies around the world in terms of sharing of information. maybe put in danger an operative working for us or the zooisrael. so we need a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation to determine whether or not there was collusion. clearly we need to make the tapes, if there were recordings between trump and comey public to the degree that we're going to see a new nominee for fbi. this guy, a woman, has got to be absolutely independent, nonpartisan. i would hope we would require 60 votes in order to appoint that
person and that's kind of where we are right now. but it is a sad day for our country. >> governor kasich. >> well, bernie and i were supposed to talk about a bunch of issues that had only touched on national security and probably do that somewhere down the road soon. but we find ourselves in a serious situation today. i don't like people that say i told you so. but you both know how much pressure, criticism and heat i took because i was the one republican who would not endorse donald trump, would not go to the convention. some thought it was because i was angry or bitter. it had nothing to do with it. the things that have swirled around this white house are the reasons that caused me not to move forward and support him both in the primary and going to that republican convention. i'm just sad for the country.
because we have to get to the bottom of this and i believe this is not a time for republicans to hide and i also don't think it's a time for democrats to exploit. i saw bernie's wife and we were right there getting the make unand as i walked past her i said it's serious. we're all going to go to work and school tomorrow but it's very important we get to the bottom of this because once we can get to the bottom of it, i think we can move on and i think the senator is right. we have health care, debt, the differences between the rich and the poor, our education system, training workers. we have to get to the serious business of running this country. and part of my concern was not just some of what i saw during that campaign but it wasn't a real grasp on the issues that i think are so important and to the american people the thing i
would say is there's no pills and no apps, no bumper stickers to solve these very serious problems we have in this country. first we have to get to the bottom of this and again let's put our country first and we'll come out of this better and we'll see. maybe we'll find there isn't anything here destructive. and i'd like to get to the bottom of it all. >> if the memo that james comey wrote is produced and it showed contemp raenious notes to threat fbi investigation nothing to mike flynn go, do you agree with bernie sanders here that that is the definition of what obstruction of justice is all about? >> i don't want to avoid this. i'm not a lawyer and you're not either. if the intelligence committees cannot do their job, then we
need a special committee. if there's a violation of law, then we have a very serious problem, perhaps a constitutional problem for a country. but i don't want to speculate. i always like to tell my staff when somebody says this and somebody else says this, i said there's always three sides to every story. so we've got to see where this rests before we jump to any conclusions because i don't think it's fair to anybody but we need to know. >> i agree with much of what john said but what is key here right now is the american people not believe this is a partisan effort on the part of democrats and to make that happen as john indicated, it's absolutely imperative that republicans work with us in an open and fair process. i kind of think we need a special investigation. i think we need a special prosecutor. and i hope very much that this is done in a bipartisan way for
the sake of the american people. because if it looks like this is just a witch hunt, demoralized people are going to be even more demoralized. >> i'm open to the idea of a select special committee, something along those lines but whatever comes out of it, the american people have to have confidence that we got to the bottom of it because if there's a cloud hanging over all of this, there the recriminations are going to prevail. we're going to keep yelling and screaming at each other everywhere else we go, to the gym. people are fighting with one another. so it's important that once we have finished the american people say it's finished, thorough and we'll buy the conclusions. >> you mentioned a select committee. the option that you just heard from senator sanders is a special prosecutor. do you think given the news today and maybe the combination
of today and yesterday and so many other days that it is time for a special prosecutor to make sure it is nonpartisan. >> i'm not so sure if you don't have a select committee of republicans and democrats on the hill to work on this that isn't the better way to go. i remember reading the comments of ken starr who i believe expressed great regret in the role hawae had and how it all wurnged out. now, if bernie and senator warner and all these others say we can't do it any other way, then we do it. but i'd like to have enough faith in the men and women in a committee inside the congress along with the fbi to figure out if we can -- i'm not trying to argue against it.
i just -- my experience is i think it would be better if they could do it. if they say we cannot accomplish this, that's a whole other -- >> aren't you talking about apples and oranges? this is a question about the justice department. >> well, maybe and also maybe a special committee of the congress. bipartisan and bicameral. >> what we have now and i think this is good news. in the senate i think you have some serious efforts. richard burr is a conservative republican. but i think he's taking this issue very seriously. i think they're trying to move it along as quickly as they possibly can. so hopefully we can maintain bipartisanship on the senate committee in the senate and hopefully in the house as well and in my view move forward with a special prosecutor. >> you know i was with
representative schiff and i told him, very smart guy democrat from california, i said if you can do this in a nonpartisan way, you're going to become a star. my only question about the special prosecutor is everything is way up here. i'd like to get on a steady path to getting this resolved and i think there's more hype. but i want to get to the truth. if senator warner says this won't work, if the growing numbers say there's a white wash, then we have to do something else. i want to do this in a serious and sober way without raising the lights even brighter than they currently are. >> i want to bring in mark del mauro from new jersey and governor kasich, this question's for you. >> good evening. thank you. my question is as the intelligence agencies follow the
bread crumbs closer and closer to russia and in light of russia hacking into our democracy and on going conflicts of interest, do you think there's sufficient grounds for impeachment and if so, would you support it? >> i don't think we're there. the russian investigation is very, very important. not only have they hacked into our elections, it has, as it appears into the frenchlhe fren the austrian elections. their use of cyber warfare is growing and we need in our country a single cyber command with a single person in charge because the different agencies and bureaus argue among themselves. and it's critical for us and that's why i think these investigations should not just be about the comey memo but i
think the investigation ought to incomeber everything. the russian hacking. what happened there. the assoculate ulatassociates campaign. we have to get to the bottom of all of it. but it is very, very serious when a foreign power is not only trying to disrupt our elections and communications but throughout the world and to think they're our ally is ridiculous and bernie mentioned it. so you take a look at syria where they have looked at assad and there's a slaughter house over there. or what they've done in ukrain or the cyberer attacks all over the world. there is no way i would share anything with these people because they are not our friends. >> i think john is absolutely right. here the question, mark. i think you led us here. how does it happen? why does it happen that a
candidate for president of the united states consistently express sympathy for a guy who's undermining democracy in his own country who clearly wants to destroy the kind of alliances that have been in place since world war ii, is waging cyber warfare against country after country while holding free elections, trying to undermine democracy around the world. people scratch their heads. why is trump, during his campaign, saying such kind things about mr. putin? and then we learn of course about the cyber attacks that supported -- ended up supporting trump over clinton and where we are right now is trying to determine was there collusion between the trump campaign and trump's people have a number of contacts in russia but we -- jaunl is right. i don't think you want to make
that leap to impeachment until you follow a path that leads us there. but i'm not there at this point. >> the beauty of getting to the bottom of this so the american people can say yes or no can get us to a point where we can get on with the business of government. if you have an investigation or you short circuit it or it is not cleaned up, you're going to continue to divide the country more and that's why ririt's so important all of us demand to get to the bottom of this. >> and let me concur. i know obviously it's harder for republicans. to demand an investigation of their own president. but it is imperative that it be done in a bipartisan way and i really do appeal to the many republicans whose views are day and night from mine. but we are now in a moment where we got to worry about the future
of this country, got to address the issue boldly and honestly so we can begin to address the many other crisis that the american people want us to do. >> he's a long-time supporter of president trump and has a questioning for senator sanders. >> good evening. i was not picked up by the russians to go to the polls and definitely the russians did not tell me who to vote for so given there is a belief the russians colluded and interfered with the trump campaign and the presidential election results, why didn't the obama administration and his national security agencies take action to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states and the stanksty of our fair elections process? >> i don't think there is anybody who now doubts that the
russians interfered in a very significant way. maybe it didn't impact your vote but a lot of stuff flying around the media. outrages lies called fake news did have an impact. how big an impact? nobody in the world knows. we just saw it take place literally last week in france as well. and i wish we knew how to solve this and again what john said. democracy is being threatened all over the world if they can interfere in our elections through cyber warfare. should the obama people have been more aggressive? maybe thshould have been but th is tough stuff. they interfered on the side of trump just as they did in france on the side of le pen. they have an agenda. >> i think to some degree the
fbi was looking at the russian involvement. and people say why didn't comey release that? i think he felt a commitment on the clinton emails but on the russian investigation i think what he thought is if i intervene in this people are going to think i'm trying to tilt this election to hillary. tough situation for this guy. but look, now move forward. we can't be yelling about obama, talking about hillary's emails and all this other stuff. let's get to the bottom line and bernie, you're right. party sometimes is really important but when party trumps nation, we lose and it's been happening now for a long period of time. not just recently. party has been trumping the good of this country for too darn long and i'm tired of it, sick
of it, so are you and so are the american people. >> you're talking to the longest serving independent in the history of the united states. >> gina. >> so speaker paul ryan has been on record saying anyone who jeopardizes national security and classified information should have their security clearance removed immediately. should the same standard apply to the president as well? >> the president apparently, from what we're all ealearning things has the ability to do many things as the executive other people can't do. i just think that's kind of out there. we -- look, he's in bigger trouble than losing a security clearance if we find out there were very serious problems. i'm not jumping the gun anymore if somebody accuses you of something, i'm going to assume what they said is true.
i saw speaker ryan said things tonight about getting to the bottom line. i think he should be more aggressive and speak out more and hopefully he will. >> let me say above and beyond what you said is i think for whatever reason donald trump doesn't fully understand what being president of the united states is about. when you sit in a room -- and by the way exclude the american media, only have russian media coming in, and then you tell russians highly classified information which is indangering our security as a people. it may well be that some person somewhere willby killed as a result of what trump did. and certainly all over the world, not just in israel, where it is imperative that we share information, one of the most important things that has to happen.
we don't know at all. we need share information with our allies. they're saying should we provide informationing to the united states? or are they going to release it and endanger our agents? this is big deal. and this president had better learn what it's like the be president and not share classified information. >> and it's a three-fold issue really. you have a situation where we could jeopardize our ability to be safe. secondly, we jeopardize the ability of allies who have their folks protected and there are third parties at times that want to give us information because sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend and if you willy nilly disclose this information, you can put a shock on the system. that's one of the things that has to be reviewed here. i agree with bernie from this point of view. this is part of why -- i went
through a campaign. i was 13 debates, standing on a stage listening to things and i had doubts in my mind about this person's ability to understand exactly what was involved in being president. the fact is being president is the hardest job in the world. and never had a political office before. so i've been saying look now that he's in, it's like rooting for the pilot on the airplane that i'm on. but sometimes i think we have to get in the cockpit and tell the pilot no we have to do something different and i think it's really critical that he gets explained and understands the graphicty of the situation because it can jeopardize people. our allies and security. >> first of all i'd like both of you to answer starting with governor kasich. do you have concerns that president trump doesn't have
the -- >> i think he doesn't understand all the things about the job. i went to see him and talk to him about health care. i talked to him about my trip to munich on national security. i told him that time that john mccain asked me to go over there. they didn't want to see his secretary of defense. they wanted to see him and he said yeah, i've been reading about that. i guess that's true. so there's a learning process for anybody. there was a learning process for me to become governor. what i'm hoping is he will become a unifier, will more understand the graphvity of thi job, stop the tweeting and bring people together. >> no, i don't agree with john. i'm not a psychiatrist and not a lawyer but there's something strange going on, i think, with mr. trump. i don't know if you agree with
me or not on this but there has never been a president or a candidate who has lied all of the time. we're looking at essentially what he has said is don't believe a word anybody in the mainstream media has said. i'm not here to tell you everybody in the media is a liar. that's undermining what america is all about. this is a guy who said when a judge ruled against him i believe appropriately. this is the president of the united states undermining our judiciary. this is a president who is trying to divide us up, whether we were born in america, mexico, or whether we are muslims. this is not a typical president. i don't think this is just a learning curve. i think he's a smart guy but something else is going on. and his affection for putin and
trying all of this leesds me to think you got an authoritarian type mind. somebody not a great believer in descent or democracy and that worries me very much. >> correct me if i'm wrong, you expressed a desire for speaker ryan to say something more than he's already said. a lot of conservative pundits have noted how quiet republicans have been since the comey firing and since president trump admitted he was thinking about the russia investigation when he made the decision to fire him when he issued the threat to twitter on friday that comey better hope there are not tapes of their conversations, i could go on. are you disappointed on your fellow republicans on capitol hill for their silence? >> i would just say i think bernie pointed it out earlier. sometimes the party gets to be
very big and sometimes the party influences what you do. i can tell you from my perspective when i wouldn't endorse him, i wouldn't go to the convention. i got pounded. but i didn't feel badly about it. and maybe it's because i've been around a long time. maybe because country trumps party. yf as john kennedy said sometimes your party asks too much and so i -- i'm beginning to see more and more republicans come out and talk. there was a lot of news today for example in the new york times about senators starting to talk about it. i saw more and more republicans talk about this. at some point the country begins to matter to people. one thing i want to say to bernie. look, the more we move forward with rhetoric of incompetence or
any of these other things, it gets us off the subject. people now are -- we just got to look at ourselves in the mirror. because many of us are in silos. if we're conservativeses, we consume conservative stuff, if we're liberals, we consume liberal stuff. the only way is if we start thinking about being a little more agreeable and being care fwl the kind of words we use. >> i'm not going to apologize for the words i use. i disagree with george bush all of the time. i don't think he's a strange guy. i don't think he's a liar. there is something different about donald trump. and it's not -- you're right. a new -- >> you're good at that. >> a new president is going to
make mistakes. i disagree with trump on health care, climate change. i understand that. that's not unusual. there is something in usual about this president. you have never seen a president who has said everything you see on television is a lie. you haven't seen a president attack the judiciary, rye to divide us up in the way he has. >> what i'm trying to say is at the end i want to get to the bottom of it and move along. i was there when i saw republicans arguing that barack obama was not born in the united states and was a muslim. i remember when democrats wanted to impeach george w. bush. what i'm saying is let's -- i guess it's like the old television show. just the facts, ma'am and when we get hyperbole come into it. >> what did i say that was hyperbole. >> i'm not psychiatrist but maybe he's a little crazy.
>> no, i'm not a psychiatrist. i did not make that diagnoses. >> are you a lawyer? >> no. >> that proves you're not a psychiatrist. >> in my view i think he's a different kind of person. >> when partisans here -- see we got to stick to the facts. what happened with comey, what happened in the oval office with the russians? i say uncle. >> jake asked the question. >> he did? >> is trump a liar or am i using hip hyperbol hyperbole. >> sometimes he says things that don't resemble the facts. there's a difference between saying sometimes when i see -- i can see there are politicians that say things that don't resemble the facts and i can
actually call some people very close to me on the facts. but i'm not going to go so far as to call somebody a liar. that's where you get -- when you start using terms like that -- bernie, we saw it back in the days when we urin the majority and they were after jim wright. >> i got you. >> there was a lot of calling, liar. we just threat facts speak for themselves and then we can draw conclusion. and i'm not saying this to defend anybody. i'm worried about my country. >> but jake asked a pretty simple question and all that i'm saying is it's not a question. you're a conservative. we don't agree on everything but that doesn't make me a liar. but if you were to tell me 3 to 5 million people voted illegally
in which no official believes, i think that's a lie. >> i guess i'm going to belabor this. i didn't think i would. does that mean somebody that writes a campaign ad that dist orts a record is a liar? >> aokay. i made my point. he's conceded everything. >> want to bring in mccullau from right here in washington for governor kasich. >> my question is how can we trust the fbi to carry out a fair and impartial investigation into russian interference given that president trump may have tried to influence or pressure james comey to stop investigating michael flynn? >> have you ever met any fbi agen agents? let me tell you they're
unbelievable. they're some of the best you can find in our country. they do their jobs and even though comey is gone and i guess lot of people in the fbi were upset and disappointed by that. can they find somebody that can step up? of course they can. the fbi is an incredible, amazing organization that does one heck of a job in multiple ways. do i think they can get to the bottom of this? i don't have any doubt about this. >> if i might. i don't know if you would agree with me or not on this, john. couple of years ago democrats changed the rules in the senate requiring 50 votes for most appointees, not for the supreme court. republicans took it there got gorsuch. i would hope republicans would retreat a little bit and bring
us back to the 60 vote thresh hold for the fbi director so that the american people would see this is a bipartisan vote. if the vote for the next fbi director -- and historically they've almost always been unanimo unanimous. 100-0 for the fbi director. but it we have a new fbi director that gets appointed by a 52-48 vote, i think that will be a bad thing for the country and raise issues that gentleman who just asked the question -- >> this thing about the filibuster. the founders were very smart about this. and ib can remember being in new hampshire saying we need to get rid of the filibuster and the senator lectured me on the rules and why they matter and it's something designed to prevent kind of, in some sense -- i was going to say a ram page through
congress. designed the heat of the moment to not let things pass that we regret and now we've seen twice this issue of the filibuster being knocked down. what i would say to you is if i were up there and i were the leader of the senate or the speaker of the house -- and you came before the budget committee. i was very fair minded. and you can have 52-48 and it's going to be incumbent on the republicans and whoever they destood pick to say no we have to have somebody that can be widely accepted. >> that was going to be my question. >> well, you're right. >> senator sanders, does there need to be an fbi director nominee that is not political, not partisan, completely separate from that to help someone like you or other democrats -- >> in this moment -- i mean we've heard some of the questions tonight where there is
so much suspicion. i like the idea of 60 vote thresh hold for the new fbi director because that will automatically mean it's bipartisan. but john is right if you end up bringing forward somebody thumarecon people will feel comforted. this person cannot be political. that would be the worst thing in the world for trump. >> i want to turn to kevin, a green beret. >> without a doubt president trump asking fbi director comey to end the investigation into national security advisor michael flynn is a serious investigation. at the same time the senate is already investigating president trump. it is demoralizing to see people i care for continue to tear each
other apart. at what point can we threat investigations run their course and focus on important issues like health care reform and taxes? >> first of all thank you so much for your service to our country. and you made a point i keend of made when i began. let's get through this dam thing and to do that we need bipartisan efforts. we need to get to the truth. it may well be that there was no collusion and that's that. let's end it. but the point that you just made and why i think i'm so upset about this is the american people are hurting. you got an a middle class that is hutting. people can't afford their health care. they're worried about climate change and they turn on cnn and what do they got? here we are talking about this. i think we've got to get behind
this, over this. bjectively so we can get back to the business of the american people. >> the reason bernie and i are here tonight is we were going to discuss health care, taxation. the situation with the middle class. what we do to train workers. and it was going to be a very interesting discussion i felt and not yelling or screaming debate bought good discussion. but this is a serious matter now and cnn asked if we would come and do this. and this is the order of the day and bernie and i are in complete agreement when it comes to getting to the bottom line so we can move on and then have a spirited debate about how to move forward with our country. how about if we get everythingbody in america to take 10 minutes to read or
listen to something we don't agree with and open our ears and eyes to other people's concerns, other people's opinions. if we do that, we'll come together as a country. and in ohio. >> john make as good point. we should be open minded. we should lisp to people who disagree with us and begin to figure out why we have a congress which is so far out of touch with where the american people are obissue after issue. big money interests and campaign contributes. >> you will. we're going to have you back next month. coming up talk of secret tapes and possible obstruction of justice. the comparisons to watergate as we continue our live town hall on the white house crisis.
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welcome back to the cnn town hall. we're here in washington d.c. with senator bernie sanders of vermont and governor john kasich of ohio. you can learn more in their books. john kasich "two paths america divided or united". "our revolution. a future to believe in." >> and a history professor, an expert on the nixon tapes and digatized the nearly 4,000 hours of recordings and he has a question for grovernor kasich. >> you remember president nixon? there have been many comparisons between president trump's recent actions and those of president nixon during watergate but it seems to be trumpian is of a
greaterer magnitude than being a nixonian. >> i'd have to think about that for a half hour. i don't know how to feel about that. look, here's what i'm most concerned about. first of all i want to congratulate you coming here from texas a&m. you go to the edge of nowhere and catch plane. that's how you get to college station. here's what i'm really concerned about. republicans cannot go hide. i saw -- they couldn't even find any republicans to go on the air. they cannot go and hide. but democrats have to be careful they don't exploit because if they exploit this for political gain, it's going to be as bad as if the republicans hide. i think during watergate at the end of it the republicans had the select committee and a lot of careers were made on that committee and ultimately the republicans said there were something wrong and went down to
the and said you have to resign. but we're a long way away from that. don't let the republicans go hiding somewhere not right. go for your country and dmps keep the fac that we have a fragile democracy and a fragile nation. but thanks for your question and for coming tonight. >> let me add on to what john said. i think it would be awful for the country if democrats use this as a political opportunity and ran a partisan effort. but it is absolutely imperative that republicans come forward and they say we have serious problems here. let's go where the facts take us. but this is too serious a problem to run away from. we have to go forward together for the sake of the american people. >> bernie and i -- i don't think
wreerd agree on one out of 10 issues but there's some things we would agree upon and one is corporate welfare weform and i was one of the leaders of it in the republican party. i hope what you're hearing tonight is we care about the country and maybe it's experience, bernie, maybe it's the fact we've been around for so long but to sit around and try to calculate a political gain, how do you look at yourself in the mirror? because when you're in public office, it's like that and you want to look back and say i sunch sun served my country. it means that country always is going to come before the country. you can see it tonight with two of us that don't share the same philosophy but we have the same concern we have for our nation. >> and let me add to that. you use the word -- i don't know if you use it intentionally,
fragile democracy. we have the lowest voter turn out of any major country on earth. three years ago in the nonpresidential elections, 36% of the american people voted. almost 2/3 of the american people did not vote. congress has a favorableryi rat of 15/18%. we would probably disagree as to why people feel the way they do. i think they feel their voice doesn't matter when billionaires are buying elenctions and when corporations have so much power over our economy. our job is to revitalize american democracy to make you understand that you are america and when we stand together we can do real things. and that is a very serious concern.
>> it's about hope that every single person in america feels they matter and every single person feels as though they count and that's been the great divide. today in columbus i had a speech before i came here and there was a young woman. apparently she must have taken a bus or walked and she has mental illness and she said i'm so worried about the future and she started to cry. you know what she matters as much as anybody who's worth a zilian dollars. she counts and she matters. that's what we have to communicate because i maintain that neither party really understands the proclblems of those who are the poorest among us. this is a country that has to give everybody a chance to rise to whatever god given purpose they were born.
>> now let me give my speech. >> tat wasn't a speech. >> a short one. and that is there is something profoundly wrong when we live in a country where the top 1% own more than the bottom. there is something profoundly wrong when you get one vote and you get one vote and yet the koch brothers can spend millions to buy an election. you talked about this woman with mental illness and we have a republican party, i may say, that wants to throw 24 million people off of health insurance, throw medicate over -- >> i'm in the republican party. i didn't do that. >> i didn't say that you did. john. the united states congress. and the american people are saying what about me? i'm working two or three jobs. can't afford to send my kids to
college, can't afford child care and they're talking about hundreds and billions in tax breaks for the very richest in this country. i'm just the working class person. so those are the issues you have to focus on. how you rebuild a an economy that works for all of president trump already filed for re-election. if he does go through with the re-election bid, do the events of his first few months in office indicate that some republican, if not you, some republican should challenge him? >> well, i think it's too early, jake. he's been in for, you know, barely 100-plus days. i mean, look, i'm rooting for my country. a lot of people think i wrote a book or i'm on the show or travel around because i want something. i don't want -- i'm thrilled. i'm a happy man. i'm worried about, look, 17-year-old daughters, i don't
know if they are watching tonight, i love you, and my wife and my friends, and that's all i care about. we can't predict the future. when people -- at one point in my tour, i ruled out running for public office. why say that? you don't know the future. i flipped. i don't know what i'm going to do in the future. i don't know. i want to keep a voice. you know, think about this, i'm the governor of ohio, and i'm here tonight talking about one of the most serious issues a country can face, so i don't know where the world is going to take me or what the lord's pump is for me, but i'll try to figure it out, and it may not be politics or may be. who knows. >> senator sanders, you galvanized and inspired millions of people in 2016 and awaiting your signals for 2020. wait for you or shop for other candidates. >> i don't agree with that. >> which part? >> millions of people -- we just had an election. we just -- you guys never end. you probably wonder who is
running in 20 -- how old are your kids? are they running in 2094? >> might be. >> you know what, this is our k criticism that i have. talk about the issue. why is that the united states is the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to old people? do you think it is moral that so few have so much and so many have so little? it is easy to ask whether we are running. that's easy stuff. it is harder to talk about america, policiepolicies. american people are not worried. >> we're not worried about -- >> they are going to get decent pay in their jobs. >> bernie, my wife is worried about it. she doesn't want to go through this again. [ laughter ] >> for the record, we're not afraid of hard questions and issues, and we are talking about that and will continue to talk about that, but i have to say,
you won't want to hear this, maybe you will, that online, apparently, our viewers are saying that they are loving this, and some people are wondering if there's a joint ticket in your future? [ laughter ] >> are -- >> this is what i was worried about. [ laughter ] >> i think john is thinking about becoming a democratic socialist. >> i don't have any doubt you're not becoming a serial entrepreneurial republican. you want to know something? i think -- he just pointed it out. fewer people are voting, but more and more young people are deciding they are not either republican or democrat. they are independent. why is that? because the parties are not speaking to them. there's too much politics, not enough exciting issues. i was telling my staff, i go out, get 300, bernie gets 30,000 people. what do i do wrong? the fact of the matter is, i think it is possible in the
future for a well-funded articulate independent to become president of the united states. these parties are going to get better or erode, and we'll see a transition. >> there you go. >> realignment of how politics work in america. >> obviously, john's point a step further, the two major historical parties, republican party and socialist party, they did not make it into the rows, and i think there is mass discontent with both republican party and democratic party. many people believe that these parties are way out of touch with the working class and middle class of this country. you have a very good point. >> i want to wrap up right now giving you each an opportunity to make a closing argument of some sort. you'll each get two minutes, governor, starting with you. >> well, i think, really, everything that needed to be said has been said tonight about republicans not hiding, democrats not exploiting this
whole situation that we need to get to the bottom of it, get to the bottom of it. take health care, for example, i believe it is possible to fashion a reform of obamacare with republicans and democrats working together. i think that nothing major getting done in this country. i don't think -- i know nothing major gets done in this country unless both parties work together on it. you pass obamacare with no republicans, it's not stable. you pass republican plan without democrats, it's not stable, so it is critical, once we get through this, and maybe this is a great opportunity for us to put aside too much partisanship. we're going to be conservatives and liberals, put it aside, figure out how to cast that and work together to solve big problems. i would also say something to the people that are watching this show. please settle down. don't dislike or hate somebody that doesn't agree with you. love your neighbor as you want your neighbor to love you.
this is so important in this country. somehow we're treating each other, and not just in politics. if you're on the united airlines and they yank you from the plane or wells fargo and file phoney pens or epi-pen and jack up prices, is that how you wanted to treated. think about other people a little bit, and we'll have all a better life and more unified. i've enjoyed being with senator sanders tonight. we used to be in the house together. he testified before the budget committee. there's an old tape of it, and we both looked a heck of a lot better 20 years ago, so, thank you for having us here tonight, and i hope it did some good for america. >> thank you, governor. senator? >> i have to pick up on points john made. i worry very much about the future of this country. i worry about the fact that so many of our people are working so hard, incredibly long hours, and almost all their income and
wealth goes to the top 1%, and what i think has got to happen is that we need a revitalization of american democracy, and, by the way, i think we're seeing it. not so long ago, we had the women's march where millions of people throughout this country came out to say they are going to be involved in the political process, that they believe that a woman has the right to choose, that they believe that we need guaranteed paid family and medical leave. we say god knows how many people coming out to say that donald trump, in terms of climate, you're wrong, mr. president, climate change is not a hoax. it is a great threat to the planet. we got to take on the fuel industry, transform the energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. rallies, town meeting all over the country where people say you are not going to take away their health care that my wife has. if you do, she may die.
we want to improve the affordable care act, not throw 24 million people off of health care or raise premiums for older workers. we are the richest country in the history of the world. we should not be talking about cutting social security, cutting medicare, medicaid, and programs. we should not be talking about hurting the poorest people in this country. what we need to do is stand up, in my view, to the greed of corporate america, to the greed of the billionaire class, and tell them, they cannot have it all. this country belongs to all of us, not just the people on top. >> senator sanders, governor casaic, thank you for joining us tonight, appreciate it. thank you very much. >> we thank you senator and governor for being here. tonight, read more about the views, again, in their books, author of "two paths: america divided or united," and the other book is "our revolution, a
future to believe in," coverage continues now with don lemon and cnn tonight in new york. thank you forever wat watching. [ applause ] thank you very much. let's get to the news tonight, breaking news, and it is a story, here we are again, another one that's rocking the white house, trump white house, already in turmoil. seen on tonight on don lemon, thank you for joining us. firing james comey, wrote a secret meeting that president trump in the oval office asked him to end the investigation into michael flynn. sources familiar with the matter confirm this story, which was first reported in the "new york times," and there's more, another source telling cnn that come wrote down, quote, everything he could, everything he could remember after conversations with the president. source saying, quote, it's when
you have situations that are not routine, and people are not truthful, you would write a memo to file. that memo is the clearest sign yet of potential interference by the president with the russian investigati investigation. raising serious questions of obstruction of justice. throwing the white house and the capital into chaos tonight. we got it all covered for you, bringing in cnn's mark preston and pamela brown. pamela, starting with you, you first brought this information with the "new york times," president trump asking the former fbi director, james comey, to end the investigation. what are you learning now from the comey memo? >> we are learning he was ap appalled by the alleged request in the oval office meeting back in february where the president essentially asked him to stay