Skip to main content

tv   Debate Night Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor John Kasich  CNN  May 16, 2017 10:00pm-12:01am PDT

10:00 pm
happened is we've all become obsessed with domestic politics and we forget that we're not the only ones reading the president's twitter feed. we're not the only ones arguing over who leaked what. >> i've got to go. >> the whole world is watching this. >> i've got to go. we're at the end of this broadcast. thank you, gentlemen. i appreciate it. that's it for us tonight. thank you so much for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. good evening. a lot to get to tonight. fired by president trump, former acting attorney general sally yates is speaking out for the first time. her only television interview. she talks about james comey, michael flynn, and president trump. we begin, though, with yet another bombshell story that broke just a few hours ago. it involves the fired fbi director james comey and the memo our sources say he wrote. president trump threatened comey with tapes. now it turns out director comey has notes. notes and memos that document what he says the president said to him in private. statements that might constitute obstruction of justice. sources tell us in a memo describing a meeting in february the president first asked others to leave the room and then once alone with director comey asked him to end the investigation of
10:01 pm
national security adviser michael flynn. his words, according to director comey, "i hope you can let this go." this was the day after comey himself had -- that flynn himself had resigned. now, again, if true, this memo is a clear sign yet of presidential interference with the investigation into whether members of his campaign team colluded with russian officials. and the news comes a day after the revelation that the president revealed covert classified intelligence to russia's ambassador and their foreign minister. we have a team of correspondents on this. pamela brown, jake tapper, jim acosta at the white house, jim sciutto, phil mattingly on the hill. pam brown has new reporting. she starts us off. what are you hearing, pamela? >> well, andon, according to sources speaking to myself and my colleague jake tapper james comey the former fbi director wanted to document a specific conversation he had with the president in february where he alleged that the president asked him to end the probe into michael flynn. and according to a source i spoke with, he wanted to document the good and the bad.
10:02 pm
everything that he could remember. not only after that conversation but other conversations he had with the president. and this is a direct quote from this source. the source said you realize something momentous has happened and memories fade, so he wanted to memorialize it at the earliest time. i'm told through my sources that even though he liked to create paper trails through his years in the justice department and the fbi it was not common practice for him to document conversations with senior officials unless he thought it was significant. conversations that comey had with trump, he documented in one memo, anderson, he included a description of the president talking to him about crowd size at the inauguration. the source i spoke to said comey did not do this with president obama in part because he had fewer one-on-one conversations with the president and the source says in comey's view there was no need to document
10:03 pm
the conversations with people where the conversations are routine. when you have conversations with people who are not routine and not truthful you wrote write a memo. these are contemporaneous memos. there had been other occasions anderson for context where comey would do in but it was not done every day as the source said. i'm told that conversation in february comey was appalled when he claimed that the president -- when the president apparently asked him to end the probe. apparently there was more flynn focused, not about the overall russia investigation. but clearly he thought it was important enough to write it down and document it, anderson. >> wow. pamela brown, appreciate that. turning to jake tapper. you've been talking to your sources. what are you learning? >> this is cord informing a source close to comey who has a copy of the memo having been given it by former fbi director comey. as you note, on february 14th he was in the oval office, director comey, meeting with president trump and vice president pence and attorney general sessions was there. after that meetinging the president asked the vice president and attorney general to leave.
10:04 pm
this is as you know one day after michael flynn resigned under a cloud of scandal. and after pence and sessions left the oval office president trump according to this memo which was written by comey said i hope you can see your way clear to letting this he gorks to letting flynn go, he's a good guy, i hope you can let this go. he went on to say that he didn't think that flynn had done anything wrong. comey was according to the source concerned that the president was telling him to stop an investigation. and this source tells me, "comey wrote a number of memos. a great many if not all were about contacts with trump. particularly the ones that made him feel uneasy." the source did not know how many memos comey has written, but says there are more, anderson. >> and jake, for the people in congress, the white house who are asking why director comey did not come forward with this memo earlier, have you heard anything about that? >> yeah. i went back after the white house started asking this question, trying to cast aspersions on the legitimacy of this report and on jim comb
10:05 pm
chriss integrity asking, well, if this happened, it was so horrible, why didn't he say something about it then? what the source close to comey told me was because it wasn't a very successful effort and he thought he had pushed back on it, living with this president is about standing up and pushing back. he thought he pushed back and was working to regularize communications between the bureau and the white house. he knew more work was needed, thought he was trying to succeed. he was very sensitive to how difficult this was going to be to work with this president. he also thought he could do it, unquote. and if i could just offer a note of analysis as somebody who has covered fbi director comey, former director comey for several years now and watched him emerge not only unscathed but the hero in some of the stories of controversy in washington whether in the bush years when he was deputy attorney general and he was involved in the controversy over the firing of u.s. attorneys or the torture memos or the nsa wiretap, all of that, director comey keeps detailed contemporaneous e-mails and
10:06 pm
notes all the time. he's known for doing this. and it should be noted that he is somebody, and i don't mean this in a pejorative sense. he is somebody who has rather high regard for his sense of integrity is and what he can accomplish. the source says comey thought i pushed back on it, i had dealt with it and we were moving on, i can deal with this president. that sounds like the james comey that i've covered. >> jake, it's an interesting detail that the president asked the attorney general, jeff sessions, his own attorney gener general, and his vice president to leave the room and for comey to stay behind i guess so it could only be a one-on-one conversation. >> that's right. of course now there are questions about whether there are tapes of that conversation. president trump referred to those tapes in quotes. in a tweet he said, vague lly threateningly against james comey last week when he said comey better hope there aren't tapes of those conversations. the source says he hopes there
10:07 pm
are tapes of the conversations. the whole reason he wrote these memos was to provide some sort of corroboration of something he didn't think he would be able to corroborate. but he would love to testify in an open hearing on capitol hill. and if there are tapes bring them on, release them, says the source close to james comey. >> incredible. jake tapper, thanks for that reporting. to the white house. cnn's jim acosta. what's the white house saying about all this? >> anderson, i'm picking up on some anxiety over here inside the white house. even some gloominess in response to this comey news. but the official line coming from the white house, the bottom line coming from the white house tonight, anderson, is that they are pushing back on the memo, the president had any kind of conversation with jim comey and said to stop the investigation of former national security adviser michael flynn. here's the official statement that the white house put out earlier this evening. we can expand on it. it says the president -- while the president has repeatedly expressed his view that general flynn is a decent man who protected and sefshtd our country the president has never asked mr. comey or anyone else to end any investigation
10:08 pm
including any investigation involving general flynn. the president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies and all investigations. this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and mr. comey." and so really, anderson, what this is setting up is a collision course between the white house and the fbi director that the president just finished firing because ks now really a he said he said. and as jake was saying if there are tapes it may corroborate one side of the conversation or other. but the white house is definitely saying tonight what james comey is saying in that memo is just not true. >> and jim, i don't ask this next question lightly. but that's an official statement from the white house. why should anybody believe that given that other official statements from this white house have then been contradicted by the president of the united states in a tweet storm early in the morning the next day or hours later even at times? how do we know that the president himself isn't going to come out with something else completely different tomorrow
10:09 pm
morning? >> anderson, that is the danger zone that this white house is in right now. that is the danger zone these administration officials, spokespeople for the president, people like sean spicer, sarah huckabee sanders and so on, they can put out a statement. obviously their name is not on that statement. that was from a white house official. that is how this white house and other administration disguised statements they don't want to attach to an individual person. but no question about it. the president could easily, as he did last week with the firing of james comey, completely undercut his own team with statements tomorrow, for example, whether in an interview or on twitter, as you said. i talked to -- but i did talk to one senior white house official who said earlier this evening, anderson, no, it did not happen, a conversation "of that nature did not happen." but anderson, i have to tell you, i did talk to another source, another top white house official earlier this evening here. this is a person who is readily available for spin and to give you their take of what the white
10:10 pm
house, what the trump administration is saying. and in the words of this official, this is what this person said to me. "i just don't know on this one." "i just don't know on this one." this person sounded gloomy, dejected. i think there's a sense inside this white house, anderson, it may not be shared by everybody, because there is really -- there is a sense of defiance among several members of the president's close inner circle. but some of these other officials who have to defend this day in and day out are sort of running out of answers here and they know it. >> also, if this meeting only occurred between the president and director comey, all these officials who are defending him or the unnamed one, they're only going by what the president of the united states has told them. and given his past track record of what he has said to his own people we know that's not always reliable. jim acosta, appreciate the reporting. let's bring in our legal political and national security experts. david gergen jeffrey toobin alan dershowitz, jim sciutto, phillip mudd and laura coates. is this obstruction of justice if it's true? >> well, if it's true.
10:11 pm
let's just set the scene. february 14th. everybody knows there is a pending fbi investigation of michael flynn, of the trump campaign regarding false statements he may have made. >> white house has been informed by sally yates that the fbi has already interviewed michael flynn. >> correct. there is a pending investigation. donald trump tells his attorney general and his vice president to leave the room, suggesting that he wants to say something that he doesn't want overheard. at that point he says to director comey, please let it go. end the investigation. that if it is true, if it's borne out by records, tapes, whatever, that to me is the definition of obstruction of justice. richard nixon on june 23rd, 1972, six days after the watergate break-in, he said to h.r. haldeman, tell the fbi stop investigating watergate. >> he wanted to get somebody from the cia to tell the fbi.
10:12 pm
>> that's right. that was the smoking gun tape that forced nixon's resignation. this to me, if it happened, and again, we don't know that it happened. but if it did, it is precisely analogous. it is obstruction of justice. and it's a threat to his presidency. >> for other legal advice let's go to professor alan dershowitz, your former professor. is your former student right? >> i would respectfully disagree. what he said is perfectly reasonable but we have separation of powers. the president is in charge of the entire executive branch. historically the president has always told the fbi and the justice department who to investigate, who not to investigate. now, i agree with you. if it ever came out that the president did what nixon did, that is, told his assistant to create a fake story, tell the cia to say this is a national security issue, we can't have any further investigation, that comes much closer to an obstruction of justice.
10:13 pm
but for a president, and tone is everything, that's why the memo has to be seen. and that's why if there are tapes we should hear them. if the president politely suggests to the director of the fbi he's a good guy, flynn, i would appreciate if you let him off the hook, i fired him, that doesn't become -- >> even though the president himself is a subject or part of this investigation it's okay for him to say shut it down? >> and we should also point out the president had had dinner with james comey previously and supposedly had asked comey for a pledge of loyalty. >> and he said comey told him he was not a subject, he didn't get a target letter, he didn't get a subject letter. look, this is a close question. but when it's the president of the united states and we have separation of powers, the courts are going to resolve these issues in favor of the president if what he did was lawful. if he destroyed tapes, if he refused to comply with a subpoena, that's one thing. but we're going to see there's
10:14 pm
going to be erring on the side of presidential authority and presidential power. let me tell you why i don't think there are tapes. i don't think the white house is stupid enough to create a credibility contest with comey. because comey's telling the truth here. there's no doubt about that. his memos are true. but if there are no tapes, the president can deny the conversation occurred and say what's a memo. but if there are tapes the white house knows they're going to come out eventually and he would not have created this credibility dispute. >> david gergen, how do you see this? >> i must say i was in the nixon administration as you know, and i thought after watching the clinton impeachment i never thought i'd see another one. but i think we're in impeachment territory for the first time. >> really? >> i think the obstruction of justice was the number one charge against nixon that brought him down. obstruction of justice was the number one charge against bill clinton, which led to his indictment in the house. he won in the senate. i'm a lapsed lawyer.
10:15 pm
i cannot tell you whether it meets all the legal definitions. but i can tell you from a lay point of view it looks like he was trying to impede the investigation. he was using his power to do that. and when james comey didn't go along with him, when he wasn't his boy he fired him. which i think is also relevant to the question of what he was trying to do. so from my point of view this is of enormous consequence for his presidency. i think if you look at the three bombshells we've had, the comey firing last week, then the sharing of this highly classified information with the russians of all people, and now telling comey to drop the case, what we see is a presidency that's starting to come apart. >> gloria, you've been talking to a source close to the president. what are you hearing? >> i've been talking to sources close to him both yesterday and today and the word that was used to me is disconsulate. these are people who are friends of donald trump and is who told me that they've effectively given up on him, that this is a president who believes he's under soldier and has no trust in anybody anymore. but i spoke with one source this
10:16 pm
evening who made the point that comey did exactly as he should have done. this source who understands legal issues said to me comey was in the middle of an investigation, he was under no obligation to go to congress because the minute he informed any oversight committee it was going to be leaked. that he memorialized his conversation, that he shared it with his team, and he went on with his investigation which after all he considered to be quite important. he believes the only weakness here for comey if this story is true is his response to donald trump. because instead of saying mr. president, i have to leave the room now, that's completely inappropriate, you shouldn't have said that to me, he in effect said, well, i agree with you that -- you know, that flynn is kind of a nice guy. he said -- so that's the only kind of weak part in what comey did. but otherwise, he says look,
10:17 pm
comey did exactly the right thing and the president ought to be afraid there may be some tapes. >> phil mudd, you worked at the fbi as well as at the cia. to those in the white house who say why didn't director comey release this earlier on? why didn't he go public right away? could you also make the argument from the fbi standpoint that this was an ongoing investigation and if you have somebody like the president of the united states trying to interfere in that investigation isn't that just inherently then part of the investigation? isn't that why you would take notes and sort of let it play out? because if a potential suspect in an investigation, the guy who ran the campaign you're investigating, is telling you to lay off, doesn't that then become part of an fbi investigation? >> anderson, i think the story's even simpler. i've heard the conversation about why jim comey didn't speak. let's remember, the fbi director is unique in washington, d.c. that's a ten-year term. he's going into a conversation
10:18 pm
in the oval office in a dinner with the president thinking that he will be there for another whatever it is, i think about six years left in his term, and that the most -- the highest-profile investigation that he's overseeing directly implicates the white house. so for anybody who says he should have discussed this with the congress when he was still the fbi director i would say as soon as he says that, as soon as he makes that comment, his conversation with the president is over, the likelihood that this investigation continues under his leadership is over, and i think he cements his ouster. he could not have imagined three weeks ago that he would be out as fbi director. i think he was just trying to protect the integrity of his capability, the fbi's capability to run the investigation. >> jim sciutto. this is equally or principally a political question as much as a legal question. where do republicans go from here? and until this point the republican voices who've been openly critical of the president have been very limited in number.
10:19 pm
principally the mccains, the grahams and some house members in competitive districts. it is somewhat different now, spending the last couple of hours talking to democrats and republicans in the house and the senate. o'and hearing from the republicans a level of concern i've never heard before. a lot of this is in private. big difference between going public and private. one republican lawmaker said toe me, and i apologize for the indecent expression. when the news broke among his republican colleagues the reaction was wide-eyed and wtf. real concern about what to do next. you have a handful of republicans who have already called for an independent prosecutor. that's a step. but do you have a critical mass developing among republicans? and i think that's the real question going forward. >> i think it's much better to keep this a political issue and not to muddy the waters with legalisms. because first of all a sitting president being indietd it beins
10:20 pm
not going to happen. is it an impeachable offense in it doesn't have to be a technical crime committed by the president to be impeachable. if the president commits an act which would be a crime when committed by someone else then the house can consider that as impeachable. and remember there's no judicial review of what's impeachable. the constitution says high crimes and nis demeanors but there's no judicial review. that's separation of powers as well as the president's ability to control the fbi is separation of powers. >> as you well know, alan, your good friend larry tribe is part of an effort now to build -- start building a case for -- >> and we're on e-mail back and forth. >> i'm sure you are. but based on the idea that if the democrats were to take back the house in 2018 there would be cases coming through the courts and the democratic majority could then bring an indictment against the president, whether it be on emoluments or obstruction of justice or other things. but there are serious paem now, and larry tribe is a constitutional scholar, who are
10:21 pm
talking in these terms. >> laura coates how does the justice department factor into all this? the attorney general has supposedly recused himself from anything to do with the russia investigation. the deputy attorney general is center stage until comey firing. they both answer to the president. it seems incredibly complicated. >> does. and it's hard. i don't know what alan's talking about not to muddy the waters with legality here. that is the crux of the issue. and there's two things that are really important as you go on with this investigation. considering the fact that the fbi does not disclose the existence of an investigation so it's not halted or impeded in the fashion that it is. but remember, you've got andy mccabe who's the head of the fbi now saying that there was no effort to obstruct the investigation. you have to balance that against the fact that you had the attorney general asked to leave the room, which really signals to you legally speaking that perhaps trump knew and was well aware of the duty to recuse himself from a russia investigation. enter in the story of flynn. and i've asked you not to be part of a conversation that i know you cannot be a part of. those two facts tell you two
10:22 pm
things. number one, the fbi knows that as an investigative agency the surefire way to impede their own investigation is to make it public. telling -- talking to the president's spokesman would have made it public and would have interfered with it. and number two, if sessions was not a part of that conversation, it talks about the motive that was involved in firing perhaps jim comey later on and more importantly about the motive of having that particular conversation. >> we've got to take a quick break. we're going to continue this important discussion when we come back. also dana bash has new reporting on what jim and gloria briefly touched on how even some white house allies appear to be troubled by all this. later in the hour my exclusive conversation with sally yates starting with her take for the first time publicly on the firing of fbi director james comey. >> do you think the truth on what happened to director comey is known yet? >> i don't think the complete truth is known yet. whoa, this thing is crazy. i just had to push one button to join. it's like i'm in the office with you, even though i'm here. it's almost like the virtual reality of business communications.
10:23 pm
no, it's reality. intuitive one touch video conferencing is a reality. and now it's included at no additional cost with vonage business. call now and see why 3,000 companies a month are switching to vonage. business grade. people friendly. take 5, guys. tired of your bladder always cutting into your day? you may have overactive bladder, or oab. that's it! we really need to get with the program and see the doctor. take charge and ask your doctor about myrbetriq (mirabegron) for oab symptoms of urgency, frequency and leakage. it's the first and only oab treatment in its class. myrbetriq may cause serious allergic reactions. if you experience swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue, or difficulty breathing, stop taking myrbetriq and tell your doctor right away. myrbetriq may increase blood pressure. tell your doctor right away if you have trouble emptying your bladder or have a weak urine stream. myrbetriq may affect or be affected by other medications. before taking myrbetriq, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems.
10:24 pm
common side effects include increased blood pressure, common cold symptoms, urinary tract infection, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness and headache. okay, time to do this! don't let your bladder always take the lead. ask your doctor if myrbetriq is right for you. and visit to learn more. if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough, ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio works by focusing right in the gi-tract to help control damaging inflammation and is clinically proven to begin helping many patients achieve both symptom relief as well as remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious. while not reported with entyvio, pml, a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus may be possible.
10:25 pm
tell your doctor if you have an infection, experience frequent infections, or have flu-like symptoms, or sores. liver problems can occur with entyvio. if your uc or crohn's medication isn't working for you, ask your gastroenterologist about entyvio. entyvio. relief and remission within reach. coming up tonight, my exclusive interview with former acting attorney general sally yates. that's in a few minutes, in her first interview since being fired by president trump. a quote from david gergen, i think we are in impeachment territory he said. just moments ago i said that. that's about tonight's breaking news. reports that fbi director comey kept a memo detailing a request by the president to end the investigation of national security adviser michael flynn. and now we have new reporting on the pressure being felt tonight by some ordinarily staunch supporters of the president. details from our dana bash who joins us. you talked to a fan of the president. what did he tell you? >> that first of all this source
10:26 pm
that i talked to and others are speaking to me with a level of gravity and concern that i have not heard in the four-plus months that the president has been in office. about the severity of this allegation and the notion that james comey has this memo, that he no doubtedly will give to congress at some point and testify publicly about at some point, probably in the near future, that suggests that the president was effectively trying to impede the investigation that was under way. there have been lots of questions, some of which has been coming from sources in and around the trump administration i've been talking to about whether james comey did the right thing in holding on to this and not meesly getting in the car, driving up pennsylvania avenue to congress and saying this is a problem. and that is actually a question we heard from lindsey graham, somebody who has been pretty critical of the president saying wait a minute, james comey
10:27 pm
should have been more active. but others are saying no, no. and i'm hearing very similar things from what gloria reported before the break, that james comey followed procedure. he memorialized the conversation, did it contemporaneously and held on to it, and if he did anything different he would have impeded the investigation. so that's sort of that side of it. but one thing i will tell you as i'm communicating with republicans who are talking about the gravity of this, right now these are very private conversations. it seems as though the question is should there be a special prosecutor now at the justice department or should there be a 9/11 type of independent commission in congress? and those are the discussions. which one is better or worse for the trump administration. not if any should be but which one -- which one are republicans and the white house just going to have to deal with. it's that kind of conversation, that level of conversation, which is quite different from just a few hours ago, frankly,
10:28 pm
anderson. >> dana bash, i appreciate your reporting. back with the panel. david chellian, we haven't heard from you. is it too early to gauge fully the impact? >> it's still unfolding. but picking up on what jim sciutto was saying before, anderson, let's start with what we know, which is that the trump presidency is off the rails right now and there's not a clear path to get it back on track. so you look to the hill and i think you see sort of three buckets of republicans right now. there is sort of the diehard republicans who are with him no matter what, think we in the media are taking too much of this, and that we're out to get him. and i would put the 36% to 39% of americans who say they support the job that the president is doing sort of in that category too most likely. then you have the vulnerable republicans who are up for re-election in 2018 as all house members are in really tough districts, though. and those are folks that normally you hear leadership say they've got to go do what they've got to do for their own politics. if they need to separate from trump it's understandable, they're in tough districts.
10:29 pm
and then there's leadership. and the chairman of committees. and that is right now where i am looking most intensely to see if there are any cracks there. this is the second night in a row, anderson, that we have heard from paul ryan issue a statement yesterday after the report about the sharing of intelligence with the russians and then tonight on this report about the comey memo where there is zero, literally zero embrace of the trump white house, his supposed ally down at the other end of pennsylvania avenue, and instead just we need to see the facts. and paul ryan went on to say tonight, we need to see the facts and it is totally appropriate for the house oversight committee to start gathering information here. now we see this letter from jason chaffetz, the chairman of that oversight committee, to the fbi giving a may 24th deadline to collect all the memorandum, everything that comey left behind, documenting any conversations with the white house. so now you really start seeing
10:30 pm
that leadership chairman area of the republican party starting to approach this differently than we've seen to date. >> you look at that picture on capitol hill right now, a beautiful picture that looks calm. washington, d.c. right now is anything but calm, on capitol hill and certainly at the white house tonight. imagine what that must be like. jeff toobin, just in terms of the next steps, obviously comey's going to testify i would assume. he says he wants to testify openly in open hearings. he probably has to bring all the information forward that he has. if there's any tapes, would those be subpoenaed? >> i think they have to be. is i think there's no question that if these tapes exist -- the first question any congressional committee should ask and i'm sure they will ask is in a letter to the white house counsel do tapes exist? the president has hinted at it. but then he sort of backed off on it. that's question one. but there is no question that director comey -- former director comey will be
10:31 pm
testifying about this and he will be testifying with his memos in front of him. so tonight is not the beginning of the end. it's the end of the beginning. this story can only get -- >> as john mccain was saying this is a centipede with a lot of shoes still to drop. >> i can tell you, though there will be disagreement on this panel, there's one very lucky thing for donald trump and that is it took yesterday's news off the front page. and what happened yesterday is so much more important than what we learned today. what happened yesterday, the idea that sources and methods involving the most sensitive information was put at risk and that everybody who flies may be at greater risk because of what the president did and that israeli intelligence, they may have planted somebody within isis -- do you know how hard that is to do? may have had his cover blown. that story should not be taken off the front page. yes, focus on this. this is important. but don't let that story get
10:32 pm
buried. >> david? >> i think that's absolutely right. and you know when the president goes to israel it's going to be a major story the next few days. i want to come back and ask you guys this. in terms of what the fbi's overseeing is the investigation of whether there's possible collusion between the russians and the trump associates, right? >> correct. >> do these conversations, the conversation that comey had with the president, does that expand the investigation or is that a separate issue that's going to be considered by congress? are there legal implications -- >> why wouldn't that be part of the russia investigation? if you have the guy who's running the campaign who's now the president telling somebody hey, lay off the investigation? doesn't that become part of the investigation? >> certainly it does. but i think constitutionally and politically any possible misconduct by the president is in a separate category. there's a legal question that's never been fully resolved about whether a president could be indicted as opposed to being
10:33 pm
impeached. but it is certainly true that you can't -- that an investigation of the president is different from an investigation of just anyone else. but it can be part of the same investigation. during the watergate investigation there was a trial of the watergate conspirators and the president richard nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the course of the trial. so he was certainly part of that investigation. >> and i've had many cases where my clients have been accused of doing an act and then they try to do something that maybe constitutes an attempt to cover up and of course a good prosecutor, as jeffrey was, would introduce that evidence as consciousness of guilt, as proof of a guilty conscience. i think they do come together. >> does the president of the united states need to consult an attorney right now? >> he does. he should get a private attorney. he should get somebody who understands. and the first thing that that lawyer would tell him -- >> if he called you, would you pick up the phone? >> -- is zip it. he has to stop tweeting and stop
10:34 pm
talking and stop making arguments that he thinks will help him in a defense. in the end they may -- >> how can the president of the united states stop talking? >> well, about these issues. >> not just donald trump. i mean any president. that's part of the job. he's a public figure. >> we've got to take another quick break. reaction from where it matters most when it comes to whether the president will face consequences. what lawmakers are saying when we come back. at the top of the hour stay tuned for my exclusive interview with fired acting atoernlg s ii general sally yates. >> do you think michael flynn should have been fired? >> i think this was a serious compromise situation, that the russians had real leverage. he also had lied to the vice president of the united states. you know, whether he's fired or not is a decision for the president of the united states to make. but it doesn't seem like that's a person who should be sitting in the national security adviser position.
10:35 pm
so how old do you want uhh, i was thinking around 70. alright, and before that? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement? we're absolutely doing that. but there's no law you can't make the most of today. what do you want to do? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. yea. hope you're fast. i am. get a portfolio that works for you now and as your needs change. investment management services from td ameritrade. is america's number-one you kmotorcycle insurer. yeah, she does purr! best bike i ever owned! no, you're never alone, because our claims reps are available 24/7. we even cover accessories and custom parts. we diget an early start! took the kids to soccer practice. you want me to jump that cactus? all right. aah! that lady's awesome.
10:36 pm
i don't see a possum!
10:37 pm
the shlike a bald penguin. how do i look? [ laughing ] show me the billboard music awards.
10:38 pm
show me top artist. show me the top hot 100 artist. they give awards for being hot and 100 years old? we'll take 2! [ laughing ] xfinity x1 gives you exclusive access to the best of the billboard music awards just by using your voice. the billboard music awards. sunday, may 21st eight seven central only on abc. the president of the united states told the fbi director to consider putting reporters in prison. the president shared classified information with russian officials including one known as a spy by u.s. intelligence officials. two major reports, and neither is the breaking news tonight. all of it being eclipsed by this. sources say that the president asked james comey, then the director of the fbi, to end his investigation into national security adviser michael flynn, who had just resigned. on the senate floor chuck schumer put it like this. "the country is being tested in
10:39 pm
unprecedented ways. history is watching." phil mattingly joins me now from capitol hill with more reaction. so what are you hearing from lawmakers? particularly most importantly probably republican ones. >> reporter: very little. and i think that's actually very indicative of what's going on right now, anderson. house lawmakers just came back tonight from an 11-day recess. they've been out of town for most of these bombshell developments over the course of the last week and a half. and as they were walk onto the house floor, even the most talkative of members not answering questions. not spongd. not commenting at all. several starting to get really conveniently timed phone calls, all to avoid reporters. this is a shift. usually house republicans have been pretty steadfast in supporting the president. that changed tonight. now, anderson, i texted one member who's been reliably defensive of the president and asked what's going on, why is everybody avoiding the reporters right now? and he responded simply, "because this looks really bad." i asked him if he thought this was a game-changing moment for the conference, for republican support, he said, "we'll see. it's too early to tell."
10:40 pm
now, i will tell you, anderson, david made a really good point. everybody has eyes on right now senior members of the republican party. the chairman, the leadership, what they'll have to say. and we got one kind of break from the norm. house oversight and government reform chairman jason chaffetz just sent a letter to the fbi requesting any memoranda, notes, memos, or recordings between -- that summarize the conversations between fbi director jim comey and the president. he said he needs a response to that by may 24th. he's also stated that he's willing to subpoena any documents that he doesn't get. so you're already seeing top republicans zeroing in on this and other republicans really just kind of scared to death, anderson. >> what are lawmakers saying about the next steps? >> i think you're hearing from both sides of the aisle right now that former fbi director jim comey coming in and testifying is crucial, from house republican leadership to democrats across the board here saying that public testimony is crucial going forward. you obviously have the house oversight committee asking for
10:41 pm
documents. you had several senate democrats asking for any recordings to come through. so those documents, anything you get out of that are really important next steps. but i also think it's really important to note the frustration that i'm hearing behind the scenes right now, anderson, is really palpable. i talked to one republican senator earlier today before this latest news even broke and asked kind of how do you defend, how do you characterize what's going on in the trump white house? he gave a very diplomatic answer last night. and then he leaned over to me and whispered and he said simply, "it's crazy. every day is crazy." that's what you're hearing right now on capitol hill. republicans, again, who have been steadfast supporters of the president really recognizing that this is a very serious problem and as they look forward to a very ambitious agenda, they thought control of washington would help them secure, real questions right now, anderson, if anything at all can get done. >> crazy. capitol hill. phil mattingly, thank you very much. joynering us senator richard blumenthal, democrat of connecticut and member of the senate judiciary committee. first to get your reaction to
10:42 pm
the news president trump asking james comey toned the investigation into flynn. >> what we're seeing, anderson, is an obstruction of justice case unfolding in real time. and i am still stunned that more of my republican colleagues aren't standing strong and speaking out. but i think they're shaken and almost shell-shocked by this news as i was because as stunning as the developments of recent days have been this one really is a bombshell that tops all of them so far. >> do you think they're just looking after obviously their own interests, they obviously want this president to succeed, to have their agenda be able to move forward. is it just a question of partisanship here? >> more than partisanship. i think they're sensing the moral ground shifting as well as seismically the political dynamic changing. and clearly this direction or
10:43 pm
request, however you interpret it, by the president of the united states to the director of the fbi, that he in effect end the investigation adds another piece of evidence to an unfolding case. it's more than just a conclusive piece of evidence. it's very telling. but much more evidence will be forthcoming in the tapes, in the transcripts, and other documents. and that's why a subpoena and an independent special prosecutor's necessary right away, to make sure that evidence is secured and produced, that the evidence in fact is preserved. we don't know what may happen to it. subpoenas are necessary to make sure that there is no destruction or hiding of evidence. >> you mentioned tapes. i just want to be clear, you don't know for a fact that there are tapes. i mean, the president did sort of mention tapes in a veiled threat against or maybe not so veiled tweet against director comey, but there's -- it's not clear whether there are actually
10:44 pm
tapes, correct? >> very good point. and the reason for subpoenas is not only to obtain evidence that you know exists. it's also to find out what evidence there is because the fact that the president has implied there are tapes means that there has to be some kind of authoritative request. a subpoena's issued by a grand jury, in other words, by a court, that says in effect produce any of the following, all subpoenas, all documents, all memos. and my hope is that jim comey, jeff sessions, rod rosenstein, don mcgann, all of the relevant actors will come before the judiciary committee under oath in open session to give their account and an explanation to the american people. >> is time of the essence for that? when would you like to see former director comey testifying openly? >> as soon as possible. and my hope and expectation would be within days and not
10:45 pm
weeks because this kind of constitutional crisis really demands the truth. >> you're saying this is a constitutional crisis? >> a constitutional crisis involves confrontations of one branch against the other. and here we have congress potentially issuing subpoenas against the president, which resulted in the case of united states v. nixon back in the watergate years that went to the united states supreme court and ultimately precipitated watergate. now, the evidence needs to be followed wherever it will go. and so far what we have is pieces of evidence that will form a chain or a mosaic that can be presented in effect to the jury, which may be the american public at the end of the day or the folks who make decisions about whether to prosecute flynn, carter page, roger stone, paul manafort, trump associates who were involved in possibly colluding with the russians. and there's a common thread
10:46 pm
here. the russians were involved in meddling in our elections. the russians were potentially aided and abetted by those trump associates. the trump ties to the russians were at issue in the investigation, which the president wanted to stop. so there is a thread of evidence here that has to be pursued. >> senator blumenthal, i appreciate your night on this busy night. also jointion the conversation jeffrey lord paul begala, matt lewis and kirsten powers. jeff lord. if this reporting is true, and right now it seems like it will boil down to what the president claims he said, although we haven't heard him tweet yet and who knows what he will tweet tomorrow morning and what director comey believes the president said and wrote in notes, how much trouble is the president? for this? >> well, we'll have to see. but there's no -- >> if the story is accurate as reported. >> if the story is accurate, it will be a big deal. the question is is it accurate? let me just -- the two quotes here from that memo as presented
10:47 pm
in the "new york times" from the president, "he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go." comey replies, "i agree. he is a good guy." the narrative seems to be that the president overstepped, that the president is doing this. there is no narrative here that james comey was bargaining to keep his job. i don't know that he was. but does that indicate that? >> that's not the whole thing, jeff. you didn't read the whole quote, though. >> i copied it from the "new york times." >> it's more than that. he says let it go a couple of times. >> that is not richard nixon saying to elliott richardson you do this or you're fired. >> no, this is like saying nice house you've got there. it would be a shame if something happened to it. >> you can interpret it -- yeah, you can interpret it in the most benign way, which is yeah, he's a nice guy and i hope you can let it go. >> but my point here -- >> do you think he's singing "let it go"? >> we are once again in high-tech linching mode here. these media circuses happen. clarence thomas, bill clinton i might add -- >> this is not a media circus.
10:48 pm
this is the president of the united states in the oval office excusing the attorney general, excusing -- >> did he say go do this? >> excusing his vice president and talking to the director of the fbi, a guy who did he instruct him to do it? >> you don't think he's asking -- >> he did not instruct him to do it. and that's a big deal. >> you're telling me if the president of the united states brings you into the oval office and is standing close to you just like lbj used to and point at people and say gosh, i hope you can find it in your heart to let this go, jeff, i hope you can find it in your heart to say -- to back me up on everything i say -- >> i get the option to do it or not. >> yes, you do. >> right? archibald cox had no option. he was fired. that's it. >> all right. paul? >> in february the president meets, we now know, privately with the fbi director. hugely inappropriate. maybe obstruction of justice. i'll leave that to the -- >> this is by the way after the president has allegedly asked the fbi director for a pledge of loyalty. >> i forgot about that. pledge of loyalty. then this private meeting -- >> which he denies, does he not
10:49 pm
in. >> sure he denies it. >> well -- >> until he tweets about it tomorrow and says he did it. >> let me just set the timeline. the first was a pledge -- request of loyalty. the second then he says this is a good guy, i hope you can let this go. then on march 10th comey testifies, confirming that trump's campaign is under fbi investigation and that in fact flynn is as well. there's much discussion in that march 10th testimony by comey about flynn. so that's one way to tell the trnt i'm not backing down. that was in march, march 10gth. may 9th comey is fired. >> we should also point out and we'll hear this from sally yates tonight. sally yates had told -- had informed the office of legal counsel apparently the first he'd heard this that flynn had been interviewed by the fbi in the white house and she gave the indication that the interview didn't go so well. the legal counsel asked for details. she wouldn't give details. but the indication was it didn't go very well. then the legal counsel takes that to the president and the
10:50 pm
president that night has dinner with comey asking for a loyalty pledge and then days later after -- 18 days later has this meeting. >> why is the president so loyal to general flynn? i'm sure he's a good guy. i've never met him. that's not all roads lead to russia. that's what's going on here. and on the night he fired flynn, i said, be careful who you fire. this guy knows where the bodies are buried. >> there's nothing illegal who flynn did. and sally yates says, there is illegality in the underlying behavior of flynn. >> yeah. this could be the whole cover-up is worse than the crime thing, too. whether or not there was any there there, there now is potential obstruction of justice. and i think it will be very interesting to watch how republicans react to this. if they start jumping off, i can just say, my sense is, the football line. they are who we thought they
10:51 pm
were. for this conservatives, like me, who were concerned about donald trump, in terms of issues like temperament, experience, and character, this is sort of the worry. you know? the one worry was that hillary would win. this is the other potential worry. >> kirsten, i want to play the acting director, mccabe, when he was asked about comeys files after he was fired. >> who was in charge of securing his files and devices when that information came down that he had been fired. >> that's our responsibility, ma'am. >> are you confident that his files and his devices are secured in a way that we can maintain whatever information or evidence he has in regards to the investigation? >> i am. >> some of our reporters reporting, they've talked to people who apparently have a copy of at least one of the memos. >> yeah.
10:52 pm
i think jason chafe its has said they're going to southbound everything. and they need to find out if -- it's probably unlikely there was someone in the room taking notes. if there was anybody there, they need to confirm the attorney general and vice president pence were asked to leave. there's a lot of things they have to look at. on the cover-up worse than a crime thing, there's no need for a cover-up unless something happened. people that want to give donald trump the benefit of the doubt, the last couple days should give them pause. he's trying to stop this investigation. he's not looking out for general flynn. he doesn't to that for other people. unless that impacts him somehow. and the fact he fired the fbi director. this is somebody that's pan
10:53 pm
panicking. >> i can see trump doing this because he's an e gomaniac. maybe i'm giving him the benefit of the doubt? >> i think he is a child. >> all right. everyone, we are more coming up on tonight's breaking news to tell you about. my exclusive interview with sally yates. her take on the firing of james comey. her own firing, much more, after a quick break. if person who said to nbc, before he fired director comey, when i decided to do it, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. it's an excuse for the democrats for lossing the election they should have wob. >> was russia the reason that
10:54 pm
director comey was fired? >> i can't speak to that. that's one of the important questions we all need answers to.
10:55 pm
10:56 pm
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
tonight, as we continue to report on the memo that sources say james comey had from donald trump for the investigation of flynn. sally yates was the top law enforcement official, for this administration and the history books. she warned that a sitting white house national security adviser was vulnerable to russian blackmail. also, when she refused to enforce the president's travel ban, which could end up before the supreme court. she was fired for that. and now, for the first time in her only television interview wince h since her firing, she's speaking out. the white house is calling her partisan and opponent for the. she wants to set the record straight. we begin with director comey. what did you think when you heard that director comey had
10:59 pm
opinion fired? >> i think this is a tusroublin situations. there's questions about the timing of the president's actions. >> you reporting to him as attorney general. ? that's right. >> what was he hike? >> jim is obvious hi a very qualified and experienced guy. he held my position before, teptep deputy attorney general. we had a common background. i found him to be a straight shooter and can did. >> did he strike you as a showboater? >> no. jim would speak his mind. >> the multiple reasons that the white house gave for firing director comey, dud they make sense to you? >> since i'm not at d.o.j. anymore, i don't want to go much more into it other than that.
11:00 pm
the explanation seemed to change on an hourly basis o. it seems there's only one truth the we ought to get to that. the idea of the director of fbi being asked for a loyalty pledge. donald trump says he did not ask for loyalty. is that proecappropriate? >> no. our loyalty at the department of justice, should be to the people of the united states and to the law and constitution. >> why is that? why isn't loyalty to the president something that should be pledged? >> our oath is uphold the constitution and the law. we have to be able to call it like we see it. >> when you were in the department of justice, if somebody asked you to pledge loyalty to them, what would you have said? >> i wouldn't have todone it. >> it's inproto.
11:01 pm
>> the person who said to nbc news, when i decided to do it, i said, this russia thing with trump is an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election they should have won. in your view, was russia the reason that director comey was fired? >> i can't speak to that. that's one of the important questions that we all need answers to. >> do you believe that the firing of director comey will have impact of the russian investigation? >> i've worked with the men and women with the justice department and the fbi, for over 27 years now. they're committed to finding the truth. b this is a troublie ining situat. they should be able to do their jobs without fear. >> the testimony you're about to give the subcommittee is the truth, the whole truth, so help you god? >> this is the first time sally
11:02 pm
yates is speaking publicly, since she was called to testify in a subcommittee investigating russia. on january 26th, she gave the white house an extraordinary warning. the warning was about his national security adviser, michael flynn. when were you first made aware that general flynn was lying about his interactions with the russian ambassador? >> i can't really talk about what general flynn's underlying conduct was. >> can you say when you were made aware about an issue? >> it was in the early part of january, when we got some indication, about what he had been involved in. the middle of january, false statements coming out of the white house, made by representations he made. >> reporter: she is talking
11:03 pm
about statements, like the one the vice president made to cbs news, on january 15th, when he was asked if michael flynn had discussed sanctions with the russian ambassador. >> what i can confirm that those conversations that happen to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats, had nothing to do with those sanctions. >> we were concerned about the underlying conduct before there were disrepresentations about it. then, there were misrepresentations out of the white house, saying it was based on what general flynn had told them. 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 23rd. we were balancing that of the need of an negative legislation.
11:04 pm
when the final recommendations were made on the 23rd, the fbi got to interview him on the 24th. and i called mcgahn to go over and make the notification. >> reporter: don mcgahn is the white house counsel. he's the man that sally yates met with to warn him about general flynn. >> why wait until the 26th before taking a letter to the white house? >> we were trying to weigh the impact it would have on the administration. >> you had to wait until flynn was interviewed by the fbi. >> we looked at that that the misrepresentations didn't show up until mid john because of the complications. >> you believed that took it to another level? >> it did.
11:05 pm
it 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 this works. >> this has been a tried and true cap for them. if they have information they can use to -- as leverage over someone, they will use that. they have a word for it, compromise. in this situation, we had the underlying conduct for mr. flynn, and then, the public lies that general flynn had told the vice president and others. and the combination of that is information that the russians can use as leverage with general flynn who was the national security adviser. the last person in the world you would want for the russians to have leverage under.
11:06 pm
>> he's privy to highly classified information? >> yes. >> what did you tell the white house counsel? >> we had two meetings. and i took the person who was overseeing this investigation, a senior career official from the department of justice with me. and we began the meetings by pulling out the statements that had been made by the vice president and sean spicer and others, with respect to general flynn's conduct. we knew that wasn't true and what our evidence was and what he had actually done. >> did mcgahn tell you what he was going to do with the information? >> we told him what we knew and what we were telling him about it. we were concerned about underlying conduct and explained the compromise situation with
11:07 pm
the rulssians. we told him we were giving him information so they could act. >> reporter: it's extraordinary to know that sean spicer has described sally yates's return to the white house in less terms. >> the acting attorney general informed they wanted to give us a heads-up to there may be information. just because someone gives you a heads-up about something and says i want to share information, doesn't mina you jump the gun and take an action. >> reporter: but sally yates insists it was more than just a heads up. did you ever use the term heads up? >> no. i did not use the term heads-up. >> reporter: heads-up does seem to be a casual characterization. >> i mean, i called don mcgahn and told him i had a sensitive matter that i needed to discuss with him that day and it needed
11:08 pm
to be in person. >> when you met, were you at his regular office? >> we are. but his office is a skiff. >> he would have been aware this was unusual to have the acting attorney general coming over and doing this on urgent notice. >> yes. mr. mccain got it. he knew it was serious and important. >> last week, president trump continued to insist that he didn't know that sally yates had informed them of an emergency. >> since my white house counsel came back to me, didn't make it sound -- she 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's a general. he's a -- in my opinion, have very good person. i believe it would be unfair to
11:09 pm
hear from somebody we don't know and fire a general. >> the acting te ining attorney. >> he said, my white house counsel don mcgahn came back and didn't sound like an energy. and she didn't make it sound that way, either, in the hearings the oh day. is he misinformed? >> i wasn't there for the meeting. i have no way of knowing how that meeting went. but i know we conveyed a sense of urgency when we met with the white house counsel. >> he said you didn't make it sound that it was an emergency. >> when you call the white house counsel and say you've got to meet with them that day about something you can't talk about on the phone, and you tell them their national security adviser may be able to be black guibiley the russians, i don't know how
11:10 pm
much more of a siren you have to sound. >> that's not a typical day at the office? >> no. >> don mcginn asked if you thought the national security adviser should be fired. >> mm-hmm. >> what did you tell him? >> that we were not involved. >> yates was asked to come back to the white house, for another meeting of the white house counsel on january 27th. yates disputes the way the character is characterizing the reason for the second meeting. sean spicer said it was to try up issues on the things that weren't clear . >> mr. mcgahn had additional issues he wanted to discuss. but there was nothing unclear about the first meeting. >> can you tell us what they are?
11:11 pm
>> there were three or four things he raised. why does t.o.j. care if one white house lies to another white house dolph. we walked through that it was really a whole lot more than just one white house official lying to other another. >> this is the vice president being lied to, who toll the american people. >> exactly. and we explained the compromise this created again. we walked back through all of those things. that's why the department of justice was involved. it was a national security threat? >> absolutely. >> the seriousness of her warning isn't the only significant discrepancy between yates and the white house. she says she made the evidence, investigators gathered on flynn, available to the white house, january 30th. that's not what the white house
11:12 pm
daze. >> the white house didn't get k access until the 22nd. >> you wanted the white house to act? >> yes. we expected the white house to act. >> did you expect them to act quickly? >> yes. >> there was urgency to the information? >> we had made arrangements over the weekend. that was one of the issues he had raised. whether that they could look at the underlying evidence, that established general flynn's conduct. this is unusual for us tore o fbi to allow that. >> because there's an ongoing investigation. on that day, january 30th, sally yates was fired. she was out.
11:13 pm
and michael flynn was still the national security adviser. you're watching day after day go by and nothing seems to have happened to the national security adviser that you have informed the white house about. just as a private citizen at that point. did it concern you? >> sure. >> it took the white house 18 days after sally yates first warned them to get rid of michael flynn. on february 13th, he resigned as national security adviser. the next day, sean spicer said she was let go because of an issue of trust. >> when the president heard the information as penaltied by white house counsel, he thought that general flynn did not do anything wrong. and the white house counsel's review corroborated that. >> to you agree there was no legal issue with flynn's underlying behavior? >> i don't know how the white house reached the conclusion that there was no legal issue.
11:14 pm
it wasn't from my discussion from him. >> to you think that michael flynn should have been fired? >> that's a decision for the president to make. >> michael flynn was let go after "the washington post" reported a story. some republicans have accused you of leaking it. did you leak to "the washington post"? >> absolutely not. i di not and i would not cleek classified information. >> have you ever leaked information -- >> no. >> the president seems to suggest that you were behind that "washington post" run, the morning before you testified, he tweeted, ask sally yates under oath if she knows how to classified information got leaked after talking to white house counsel. what did you think? >> there's been a number of tweets that have given me pause.
11:15 pm
>> you wan to e r elaborate? >> no. >> was there more your hole as the acting attorney general would have permitted you to do? >> i would have gone back to the white house. >> if you were acting attorney general, you would go back to the white house. >> i would be knocked on the door. >> why? >> we have a national security adviser that was compromised. i wouldn't be able to control what happened, but i would go back to him. >> what sort of questions would you have asked? >> what have you done? >> some surrogates point out that you come from a family clearly involved in politics. are you a democrat? and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough, ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's.
11:16 pm
entyvio works by focusing right in the gi-tract to help control damaging inflammation and is clinically proven to begin helping many patients achieve both symptom relief as well as remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious. while not reported with entyvio, pml, a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus may be possible. tell your doctor if you have an infection, experience frequent infections, or have flu-like symptoms, or sores. liver problems can occur with entyvio. if your uc or crohn's medication isn't working for you, ask your gastroenterologist about entyvio. entyvio. relief and remission within reach. sorry, just getting a quote on motorcycle insurance from progressive. yeah? yeah, they have safe rider discounts, and with total loss coverage, i get a new bike if mine's totaled. but how's their customer service? great. 24/7. just like here. meat loaf! [dings bell] just like here.
11:17 pm
anybody got a pack... that needs leadin'? serving all your motorcycle insurance needs. now, that's progressive.
11:18 pm
former fbi director james comey wrote in a memo that president trump asked him to end the investigation into michael flynn. that was made after flynn was fired. director comey was dismissed last week. a white house official saying this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal between the conversation between the president and mr. comey. back with former acting attorney general sally yates. before she became a household name, she was a prosecutor. she has comes from a family of judges in georgia. and hr grandmother was the first
11:19 pm
person to george the georgia bar association. she stayed there for nearly three decade ps she was known as a tenacious prosecutor. after her testimony in russia, she was labeled as something else, political opponent to the president. >> how is she a political opponent to the president? acting attorney general. >> appointed by the obama administration. >> reporter: the day after you testified, the white house called you a political opponent of president trump? >> i'm a 27-year veteran of the department of justice. >> some would say, politics must play a role in some way. you have political beliefs. >> yes. but that has nothing to do with how i did my job here. i've been doing my job for a lot of years at d. oflt o.j. if you're appointed by a president, the politics is supposed to end at d.o.j. >> after she appeared before the senate, "time" magazine says that president trump talked to
11:20 pm
them about the sally yates' testimony. >> the president was being asked about the unmasking process. the president said, 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 paper on you, saying your husband made donations to democrats, including president obama. >> i was appointed by president obama. as when talked about a little while ago, i've been working for d.o.j. for almost 30 years now. >> you were hired by bob barr. >> in republican and democratic administrations? >> are you a democrat? >> yes, i am a democrat. >> she is a democrat.
11:21 pm
but she was hired 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. >> were those the options? >> i think it was. after law school, came here. as i thought about career options, it seemed like a job. and practicing law seemed like a profession. >> why did you pick government service? >> it didn't start that way. >> you worked from for three or four years. >> when i was in law school, i didn't have a thought that i was going to be a prosecutor. didn't take any criminal law classes, which would probably concern people, given the job i ended up with. i went to private practice and decided i would go to the u.s. attorney's office. at the time, i was thinking i will get some trial experience and opportunity to do work that
11:22 pm
was more meaningful. but i was unprepared for how meaningful it would be. >> she rose through the ranks. she was the lead prosecutor in the eric rudolph case, the olympic park balmer. and went after lawmakers in georgia for direction. she has tried tass against atlantic city officials, including bill campbell. she became the first woman to head the u.s. attorney's office in the northern district of georgia. >> i'm grateful for this opportunity. and grateful for president obama's nomination. >> reporter: in 2013, barack obama asked her to be attorney general. >> it reared its head in the sense that u.s. attorneys under whom i was serving, would change, depending on the administration. but not in terms of how our cases operate. >> ms. yates, you're going into a different world. >> reporter: during her confirmation hearing in 2015,
11:23 pm
yates was asked by jeff sessions if she would be able to stand up to the president. >> do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president, if he asks for something that's improper? if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no? >> i believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general, have an obligation to follow the law and the constitution. >> like any ceo, with a law firm, sometimes you have to tell the ceo, don't do that. we'll get a suit. it's going to be in violation of the law. you'll regret it. please, no matter how headstrong they might be. do you feel like that's the duty on the attorney general's office? >> i do believe that's the duty of the attorney general's office. >> sessions voted against her. but she was confirmed with wide bodily harm support.
11:24 pm
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 friday, january 27th. >> i'm establishing vetting measures to keep radical islamist terrorists out of the united states. >> hours after her second meeting at the white house to discuss general flynn. that temporary order banned immigrants from seven mostly muslim nations. when did you first hear about the travel ban? >> it was friday afternoon. late friday afternoon, around 5:00 or so. i was in the car on the way to the airport. >> this is the same day of your second meeting with don mcgahn. >> i had been meeting with mr. mcgahn at the white house. i was on my way to the airport. i got a call from my principal
11:25 pm
deputy, saying he saw online on a news report, that the president had issued an executive order with respect to immigration. and this was the very first we had heard about it. >> you are the acting attorney general of the united states of america. >> right. and you did not know about this order. >> that's right. >> the office of legal counsel had been asked to weigh in on this. >> they were asked to review it for form and legality. >> if the office of justice was given a heads up and asked to review it, wouldn't they have given you a heads up about it? >> normally they would. but my understanding is they were asked not to tell us about it. >> the department of justice office of legal counsel was asked not to inform you, the acting attorney general, about this order? >> that's my understanding. >> do you know why you weren't
11:26 pm
performed? >> i wasn't informed zwlp is that procedure? >> no, it wasn't. >> you had never heard of it before. don't kick it up higher or don't tell sally yates? >> i don't know the details about that. >> reporter: in courts across the country, the legal challenges came the next day. sally yates had to decide what she would do. >> we spend the weekend in a flurry of activity. trying to get our arms around what is this thing? what are they trying to accomplish? >> when did you make the decision you were going to instruct your attorneys not to enforce this? or not to argue this? >> on monday, i brought in the folks from the department of justice, who were hands-on involved in this. in a would include the career people at d.o.j., including the trump appointees at d.o.j. the last time. i pulled up the legal challenges. i read through those.
11:27 pm
i had written down the issue s was concerned about. >> did you see what was happening at airports? >> i had seen. >> you saw the impact it was having. did that have an impact on me? >> it had an impact in terms of the chaos it created. i was trying to get a handful on what does this executive order do? is it lawful and constitution? on monday, i was told we had to take a stand on on confidentialiconfidentia confidentialiconfidentia confidentialial. and as the department of justice, on something as essential as religious freedom, i couldn't in good conscience send our lawyers into make an argument that wasn't grounded in the truth. >> on monday, january 30th, yates made a decision. she issued an order to the department of justice, not to defend the president's executive action. you knew at this point, you were
11:28 pm
taking -- you were challenging the president of the united states. >> i didn't view it as a challenge. i was doing my job. >> you knew it would bring you into conflict with the president of the united states. did you think about that? >> sure. >> several hours after telling lawyers not to defend the president's executive if order, sally yates was fired. >> how did you find out you were fired? >> a letter was at the office door. >> you actually got the letter. did you know what it was? >> i had a strong suspicious as to what it was. >> was it a letter from the president itself? >> no. it was from someone at the white house. >> what is it like after 27 years what is it like the read that letter? >> i knew this was a possibility
11:29 pm
that this could happen. but i would be less than honest with you the i were to say it wasn't a bunch in the gut. >> that's emotionally what it felt like. >> to have done anything else, would have been an abdication of any responsibility. i wasn't looking to be fired. but given the situation i was in, i couldn't have done anything else and lived with myself. >> do you believe that the president made the right decision firing you? >> he had the authority to fire me. that's all i'll say on that. >> i want to read the criticism you received from republicans and also democrats. steven miller said your behavior was reckless. former attorney general h.w. bush, a foolish move by an holdover official. was this with a political move? >> no. i was doing my job. >> politics had nothing to do
11:30 pm
with this. allan dershowitz said, i think she's made a mistake here. it's holdover terrorism. he thinks you made a political section, not a legal one. >> i struggled. >> you thought about resigning? >> absolutely. i went back and forth. >> two former attorneys general, alberto gonzales said you should resign. if you disagree. you were grandstanding looking for a way out. >> i think it's a fair question to ask, why didn't you just resign? and that's something that i crapled with. i felt like resigning would protect my personal integrity. >> reporter: from the time she was fired,ial sally yates didn'
11:31 pm
speak publiclien in she was on mril testifying last week. >> are you familiar with -- >> not off the top of my head, no. >> the binding statutory authority for the binding order that led to your administration. >> i am familiar with that the i'm familiar with an additional provision that says, no person shall receive preference or being discriminated against in theish wans of a visa, because of place and nationality and place of birth. >> no other president has been denied his authority, under that provision. so, i guess the question is, did you go too far? >> well, i don't know if we had
11:32 pm
a situation where the true intent demind a president's actions that we had it out that it was here. and an intent that is answer tugsal. >> that's going to boil down to an argue in that 1952 provision? >> i think it will boil down to -- it could be a number of issues on that. certain ly, i would think, the president's motivation, what he was trying to accomplish. was this an effort to disfafr muslims? make effort on the muslim gan he could? i would think 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? our hearts racing as one.
11:33 pm
i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ be the you who doesn't cover your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. be the you who shows up in that dress. who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before starting stelara® tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. always tell your doctor if you have any signs of infection,
11:34 pm
have had cancer, if you develop any new skin growths or if anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. some serious allergic reactions can occur. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. most people using stelara® saw 75% clearer skin and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks. be the you who talks to your dermatologist about stelara®. just turn on cars.coms on tprice dropswant? and get real-time notifications that could help save you money. use and save.
11:35 pm
11:36 pm
in a moment, more of our breaking news. sources telling cnn, that james comey wrote in a memo that president trump asked him the to end the investigation f michael flynn. the white house is wushing back on the report, even as it deals with fallout of officials from russia. first, the conversation with sally yates. yates put out an article that if yates would run for governor of georgia as a democrat. i asked her if she had spres in r running for governor or getting into politics. >> are you going to get into politics? >> no. >> there's pundits that say you've been approached by folks in georgia about running for
11:37 pm
governor or some political office? >> i read that. i haven't returned the calls. i'm not running for governor. >> the president watches a lot of tv the cable news. if he's watching, is there anything you want to say to him? >> i don't think so, no. >> after 2 years in the department of justice, is it strange to have your career defined in the public consciousness, by the last week of your career? that's base -- >> yeah. >> people see you on the street. they recognize you. 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 had a career before that. is it strange to be defined by the last couple days? >> it feels a little weird. after being a deputy attorney general, that folks would define
11:38 pm
me in that way. on the other hand, they wouldn't have any reason to know about the work that i had done in all the years prior to that. and 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. >> a quick reality check on how fast developments are unfolding. i interviewed sally yates yesterday morning. a memo by james comey, first reported by the "new york times," says the president asked him to end the investigation on general flynn. we asked sally yates what she thought, but she would not comment. now, more crisis. first of all, in terms of what we heard from sally yates, what
11:39 pm
stood out to you? >> she was -- i was proud to be a justice department employee. and she's very much the model of a career justice employee. someone who worked there for 30 years. a great deal longer than i did. you can disagree with some of the conclusions she reached, as i did. but i think her motives are impeccable. she is someone who has done honor to the justice department. what better thing can you say? >> after this 27-year career she had, she is being defined by trump supporters, surrogates, as an obama appointee, even though it was bob barr that hired her. >> she's not interested in running for office. she has seen herself as a career person in the justice department. what was striking about what she told you was that it was very
11:40 pm
clear that she called don mcgahn the white house counsel and her hair was on fire. and 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. >> right. it wasn't a normal day at the office. she goes over there. her hair is still on fire and then, nothing. it was striking as she recounted this in a very sort of, matter-of-fact way, without overdoing it. and the other thing she told you, of course, she hadn't been informed about the travel ban, which was stunning. >> i thought that part of your interview was amazing. it 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.
11:41 pm
and nothing happens. they treat it like a heads-up. >> had she not been fired three days after going to the white house initially about michael flynn, she has no evidence the firing had anything to do to go to the white house about mike fl flynn. but had she been the acting attorney general, she would have gone back to the white house, for the 18 days to pound on the door and see what was going on. >> there was such a difference in the perception of urgency. you played that trip for donald trump in the nbc interview, oh, my lawyer told me about it. and she clearly believed that she went with such a dedicated purpose. i also thought, anderson, it was 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 the work of the d.o.j. i had not heard her describe
11:42 pm
that in detail before. >> let's switch -- if true, how damning is this for president trump, that he asked comey to stop the investigation on general flynn? >> really damaging. i said before this presidency is off the rails. i believe this moves to capitol hill now. this is a new moment in time for republicans to respond to the trump presidency. and you're starting to see it. you see jason chafeets, to get everything on this, up to the hill. you hear people asking for tapes and transcripts, meetings of trump and comey. this is a new time for republicans. we have to be on the lookout to see if they take a different public posture, than they have to date. >> that's what it's going to be boil down to. if it does move intoimpeachment.
11:43 pm
it will be up to republicans how far this goes. >> it sure does. but during the nixon impeachment, i read this today. half of the house judiciary committee, republicans, didn't vote for impeachment then. so, you know, it's not as if republicans have been eager to indict their own president. i think what you're going to see is republicans looking for information to hang their hats on. and i was talking to somebody who's close to the president today, who's very upset about all of this that's going on. and i asked him, well, what would be the strategy you would recommend for this president right now? >> and the answer was, i would tell the president he should encourage a complete congressional investigation. give a little cover for his
11:44 pm
republicans to go do that. and then, sit back and wait for it to occur. >> jeff? >> i think also, the facts matter a lot. there's been brilliant reporting by michael schmidt, pamela brown and jake tapper. we know a lot. and there's a lot we don't know. we didn't hear james comey's testimony or his memos, what he wrote down about what donald trump said to him. and of course,hovering over all of this is the existence or nonexistence of tape. >> does contemporaneous memos, do they hold legal weight? >> sure. i don't want to get nerdy about it. the way they usually come in. you can't introduce them in evidence. >> you're among the nerds here. >> when am i going to stop you?
11:45 pm
>> thank you. once an agent has cross examined, if the agent's memory is challenged -- first the notes, then, the 302, which is the typed up summary of the notes. an one of the interesting things about comey's records, will there be handwritten notes? or also, in addition to the meme low memos we know exist. >> go ahead. >> i know in a political investigation, motive matters. but in a criminal -- he told his attorney general to leave the room. does it matter? >> yes. particularly in a political environment. but it's up for debate. people will say his motives were
11:46 pm
pure. people say his motives are krumkrum corrupt. >> if there are tapes, that's fascinating. >> already fascinating. >> i -- the reporting that jim comey want there's to be tapes because he's confident of what he republicans. just ahead, more late reaction from the till. we'll talk to david gergen and john dean who worked for richard nixon during watergate. we'll be right back. starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and.
11:47 pm
11:48 pm
you know win control? be this guy. check it out! self-appendectomy! oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro. e*trade's powerful trading tools, give you access to in-depth analysis, and a team of experienced traders ready to help if you need it. it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are. it's your trade. e*trade
11:49 pm
time's up, insufficient we're on prenatal and administrative paperwork... your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you, too. for those who won't rest until the world is healthier, neither will we. optum. how well gets done. comey asked him tonight house oversight jason shchafeets has asked for all memos.
11:50 pm
the white house is deny the report. we're joined now, so what is the white house saying about these allegations? >> the white house is pushing back on that. they're saying look, it did not happen as these memos explain. let's take a look at a statement released earlier this evening. while the president has repea d repeatedly expressed flynn, the president has never asked mr. comey or anyone else to end any inform gags including any investigation involving general flynn. the president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agenci agencies. this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of mr. president and mr. comey. the question is the advisors, the aides that would have more of a sense of these things simply don't know because they weren't there. so the president is telling them in this case with that statement
11:51 pm
very explicit. >> that statement, it's based on apparently what the president maybe told some white house official, but as we know, in the past, the president said things to white house officials that are not true, they go out and say it and then the president undercuts what they say because he's changing his mind. >> from the talk of staff shakeups, the president often fuels this nemhimself. i'm getting a growing sense that in the words of one top republican who's close to this white house says this is quote, on him. meaning this is on the president. i'm told that there has been more of a comrade building between some staff members as they're all involved in this will i stay, will i go, will he fire me, will i not, but this is a rare controversy that is entirely on the president. and as we see these republicans
11:52 pm
on capitol hill subpoena these memos and documents, this is a he said he said. it will ultimately likely end up on a hearing on capitol hill with james comey testifying all of this coming ahead of the first foreign trip the president is taking on friday. >> it's going to be a fun ride. >> it's also a fascinating detail that he told jeff sessions to leave the oval office. the vice president as well, but for director comey to stay behind and no's when they had this one on one conversation. now to reaction on capitol hill. what are you hearing? >> bipartisan questions and concerned anderson. democrats and the house overnight committee demanding an investigation into what they believe, even maybe a quote conspiracy to quash the russia investigation. republicans are not going that
11:53 pm
far w but they're raising concerns. >> if that's accurate i don't have any reason right now that it's not, i'm just hearing it from one of our staff people. to say that -- that we would have some concern would be accurate. that would be troubling. for me to act like it's not a concern would be remiss on my part. >> the larger concern is just what seems to be a lack of communication coming out of of the white house and i think some of that is driven by the desire to have an immediate response to everything and even -- you know, you you hate to have to clarify a all the time. i'd prefer they wait a half a day and get everything right the first time so you don't raise more suspicion. >> and arounder sonderson, i as mcconnell and he said quote, it would help to have a litting
11:54 pm
less dra many. >> what happens next? this all happens now on capitol hill. what happens? >> we're expecting calls for more investigations including from some republicans. tonight jason chafeets asking for records relating to james comey, relating to any of his meetings they had with any of his meetings with president trump. i talknd to other republicans saying today they want comey to testify publicly including the congressman for south carolina. the question though, anderson, will any of them embrace a special prosecutor telling them it depends on what he says in a public hearing and i think if trump is backing this investigation republicans are not there just yet. >> it was going to be a private hearing, there was reporting that he wanted a public hearing. any idea of when he might actually testify?
11:55 pm
>> no clue yet because several committees have asked him to come publicly. he has not accepted that invitation, but there is expectation that will happen. >> and is there any talk about subpoenaing any tapes from the white house? >> that's a good question. i asked that question of the chairman of the senate judiciary committee who would have jurisdiction over the justice department. he said they don't want to know if he had desks yet. we'll see what comes of that and if they -- the republicans make any subpoenas to exist we'll deal with that. >> joining us now is john dean, former nixon white house counsel. so last night our david he believes this has impeachment
11:56 pm
peritoir. do you agree with that? >> i think it has. we don't have all the facts of this point, but the broad outline certainly suggests for impeachment purposes would fall right in the parallel with nixon. >> because takes us back for those that don't remember. 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 haldemon talking to the president just days after the arrest and he gave hollowman consent to have the cia go to the fbi or they were threatening operations when that was a stretch, it doesn't clear whether it was true or not, but they proceeded with that and it was just an effort to block the mib in the long run.
11:57 pm
>> and once that tape emerged, that was the nail in the coffin? >> that -- not is mouch for the obstruction. what it did is it really caught nixon in the lie. he had no knowledge of a coverup and had been saying that for month after month. he said he didn't know anything about the coverup until i told him on march 21st. that was his defense. when the supreme court forced him to re's the tapes and this tape was in there on june 23rd having the cia block the fbi, that certainly put the lie to his known about a coverup because he was directly involved in it. >> what is it like working in a white house in chaos, working in a white house where there are the swirling investigation as you did and i mean, i'm not sure it's exactly the same parallel here, but it's certainly a white house where there's got to be a lot of employees, you know, looking at the exits or wondering, are they going to be
11:58 pm
fired or what's going to happen next? >> the nixon white house was surprisingly well organized, the worst went on with surprising quality and ease. >> you famously testified that you'd warn president trump there was a cancer grown on the presidency. do you think he merits something of someone close to him? >> i think you could tell the dangerous territory he seems to be getting into. he doesn't want to listen to anybody other than his own gut instrict and he should know since he really started his presidency, that he's doing well by him. so i think he resists someone that he respects and he'll listen to. >> he was saying it's time for
11:59 pm
the president to lawyer up essentially and the first thing that lawyer should talk to the president is stop talking. stop trying up to cig shagss that you don't know how it's digging back in. >> you've got to understand post watt gaet, the white house council dollars not represent donald trump. they're having a tough time right now is to that institution in that office and down to donald trump. so they can't really give him advice as you need it. >> does it seem to you that the lesso lessons, all the cautionary tales have been lost? >> i don't think this presidency knows anything that well. i think he's seems to be
12:00 am
following the same mistakes that nixon made, so i think somebody who could remind him of that history since he's not a reader, maybe somebody could tell him a story. >> john dean, thanks to have you on and thanks for watching 360 tonight. telling the fbi director to close down an investigation of your senior campaign advisor, that is obstruction of justice. >> here we go again with another extraordinary day in the nation's capitol for an 'em battled white house. do we ask him to end the michael flynn investigation? that is coming before trump fired him from the fbi.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on