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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  January 5, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST

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good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. it is pretty clear that first week of the new year will end like so many weeks of the first year of the trump administration, almost entirely engulfed in revelations and controversies from russia and the russia investigation to a chaotic west wing. today the explosive tell-all that president trump calls phony and full of lies, well, it has been on sale everywhere and i mean everywhere now for an hour. days ahead of schedule.
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despite the president's best efforts to stop it. defending his reporting this morning the author of "fire and fury" says 100% of the people around president trump question his fitness for office. >> what's the suggestion there? because that goes beyond saying okay, the president's not an intellectual. what are you arguing there? you say, for example, he was at mar-a-lago and didn't recognize lifelong friends. >> i will quote steve bannon, he's lost it. >> but wait, there's more. this morning "the new york times" is reporting that the president personally ordered the white house counsel, not his white house counsel, the white house counsel, to try to stop jeff sessions from recusing himself from the russia investigation. this goes to the heart of the obstruction of justice question and apparently hit a nerve with the president. how do we know that? moments ago, he put out this statement, repeating his claim that collusion with russia is a total hoax.
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he called the book "fire and fury" not only phony but also sad. kaitlan collins at the white house. i think the white house juggling several controversies all of a sudden this morning. >> yeah. they certainly are, john and poppy. one of the key parts in that book that has caused so many headlines is one where the president, michael wolff claims, insisted on saying that trump tower meeting in the summer of 2016 with donald trump, jr., jared kushner, paul manafort, and the russian lawyer, was strictly about russian adoption. now the part in this book michael wolff writes the president insisted the meeting in trump tower was purely and simply about russia adoption policy. that's what was discussed, period, period. wolff goes on to say even though it was likely if not certain that the "times" had the incriminating e-mail chain, it was possible that jared and ivanka and the lawyers knew the times had the e-mail chain the president ordered no one should let on to the more problematic
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discussion about hillary clinton. now the white house is dismissing many of the claims in michael wolff's book as complete fantasy and even the president himself is specifically pushing back on the book and the idea that michael wolff had a great amount of access to him. he tweeted overnight saying, i authorized zero access to the white house. actually turned him down many times for the author of the phony book. i never spoke to him for the book. it's full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. look at this guy's past and watch what happens to him and sloppy steve. now that directly contradicts what wolff said this morning in that interview on the "today" show where he said he absolutely spoke to the president for this book and that he more specifically said he spent three hours with him over the course of the campaign and during his time in the white house. when savannah guthrie asked wolff if he flattered his way into getting access into the west wing, he said that he did what he had to do. what's clear here, john and poppy, the president's cease and
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desist order to the publisher of the book did not work because not only was the book still published, they released it four days early. >> kaitlan collins for us at the white house, a lot about russia and the russia investigation in this new book and a heck of a lot about russia and the russia investigation in "the new york times" this morning. joining us one of the "new york times" reporters who contributed to the report, julie hersfeld davis. as we said you're listed as a contributor, michael schmidt the main reporter. there are revelations which really jump out that are important developments in the russia investigation. let me read you a quote from the piece. president trump gave firm instructions in march to the white house top lawyer, stop the attorney general jeff sessions from recusing himself in the justice department's investigation into whether or not mr. trump's associated helped the russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election here. what's the significance of this statement and where does this fit in to our broader understanding of the timeline here? >> well, listen, the reason that we know about this is because this is one of the issues that
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the special counsel, bob mueller, is looking at as he explores whether there is a case against the president for having tried to obstruct justice. we know at this point jeff sessions had -- was considering recusing himself from the russia investigation because he had admitted that, contrary to his initial statements, he had met with russians during the campaign, met with russian officials, and he was looking into whether he should be recusing himself. he was exploring that option. the president expressly told him through the white house counsel we now know, not to do that and had don mcgahn go to the attorney general and make the case to him that he needed to stay in his position, he needed to stay in control of this investigation, and when he refused to do that and decided, in fact, to recuse himself, the president was furious and basically said he needed a protector, he needed an attorney general who would insulate him personally the way that he said robert kennedy had for john f. kennedy, the way eric holder had
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for barack obama, and he said, i want -- where's my roy cohn. he wanted someone whose job he felt it was to protect him personally. >> fundamental misunderstanding of the, you know -- >> the justice department? >> the justice department. thank you. it really is. and there are a lot of implications there. let me get you on this, too. it does tie into sessions and the justice department. the reporting you have that, you know, just days before firing comey, sessions' aide goes up to capitol hill and tries to get dirt on comey. whatever he can find. that's big. >> right. well i mean we know that trump was very angry at comey for refusing to publicly clear him in this russia investigation. he had told him privately that he wasn't a target, but he wouldn't say it publicly and, in fact, he had gone to the hill and testified and refused to say that. so he was very angry at comey and it seems that he enlisted the attorney general in an
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effort to either directed by the president or on his own volition, to try to sort of smear comey and make it clear publicly in a way that wouldn't tie back to the administration that they didn't trust him, that they felt he was conflicted and of course this is something that we know some of the president's top aides and the president himself believe about bob mueller. when he was first named special counsel, there was a real effort, a sort of quiet effort, to discredit him and that's only gained volume recently. we know that now as far back as, you know, just before comey was fired, there was this effort to try and make him look bad essentially and to build the case for why you might want to get rid of him. >> julie, thank you for this. and thank you for your reporting. it's, obviously, very important reporting. with us now jackie kucinich, political analyst, carrie karota, and peter, former senior adviser to good morning w. bush
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and worked in the past three republican administrations and brian lanza, former deputy communications director for president trump during the transition. carrie, let me begin with you. the fact that "the new york times" has reported that the president ordered don mcgahn, the white house counsel, not his personal lawyer, someone who works for the taxpayers, the office of the presidency, to go to sessions and to do pretty much everything he could to get sessions not to recuse himself from the russia probe, sessions didn't listen, and he did recuse himself, could that in and of itself prove obstruction of justice or is it part of a pattern or a troubling pattern? >> right. well, i think that the -- in order to make an obstruction case, if, in fact, there really is an obstruction investigation of the president and his activities, it would be one fact in a pattern of obstruction. so this one act alone i don't think would be the basis for an obstruction case, but it would be a long-standing pattern that dates back to last winter.
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the president's communications and interactions with the fbi director, his various tweets trying to perhaps intimidate the fbi director and other senior justice department and fbi officials who might end up being witnesses in any obstruction case, a whole range of activities, calls that he made to members of congress to try it to get the investigation shut down. there's been a whole range of activities that he's reportedly been engaged in over the last 11 months or so-and-so this would just be one niece that. >> it's important to know n all likelihood we're not talking about an obstruction case made by bob mueller in a courtroom. >> no. >> against the president of the united states. there are these big legal questions about whether or not the president can be prosecuted for anything, let alone obstruction of justice, but more likely that bob mueller lays out some kind of road map for congress to decide what it wants to do and along those lines while talking about this, don mcgahn, the white house counsel, now that we know as reported in "the new york times" we know he's testified to the special counsel about this, do you think
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he ought to come before congress? what would it mean for him to come before congress and be questioned about this and could he claim any executive privilege? >> well, it's a question -- i know there's questions should he go before congress. i guess he could go before the judiciary, the senate judiciary committee, if they called him. i think based on what we've seen of other executive branch officials, he probably would assert some type of privilege, whether that would be an executive privilege or an attorney-client privilege in terms of the advice given to the president in his official capacity. i'm not sure at this stage that that would be a very productive hearing, but certainly it does sound like there are members of congress who might be interested in that. it also -- this particular report about mcgahn's activities, a lot of it depends on the way in which it occurred. if it is as it was reported which is that he went to the attorney general and sort of was aggressive in giving the president's direction that he
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didn't want the attorney general to be recused, that's one thing. if he merely was in communication, had a conversation with the attorney general, asked questions, i mean there's different ways that this could have been done, and i think that those details probably matter in this circumstance. >> they do matter. the ranking democrat on the judiciary said he wants mcgahn to go as a result of this and we just had another member of a judiciary democrat says she wants him to come before them. bryan lanza, someone who worked closely with the trump campaign and transition in this reporting what seems like a very important quote when it goes to how the president thinks about the role of the justice department and the attorney general. quote, mr. trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him in the way he believed robert f. kennedy as attorney general had done for his brother john f. kennedy and eric holder for barack obama. mr. trump asked, where is my roy cohn. can you help us understand this? it seems like he thinks that the
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justice department should be like his keith schiller like his bodyguard, rather than working for the american people? >> well, i mean let's be clear, the attorney general wiorks for the american people but at the discretion of the president. the president was right to ask don mcgahn to reach out to attorney general sessions to not to recuse himself. at the end of the day this was a judgment call. whether sessions was being asked transparent as possible with the confirmation committee, and, you know, we can make the case that he didn't need to recuse himself and that's what president was doing. that's his prerogative. the president has say over personnel decisions. he can tell them these things. there's nothing illegal or criminal about that. >> but just -- >> the story -- go ahead. >> is it a misunderstanding? does he -- does it concern you that his primary focus seems to be from this reporting who will protect me, why aren't they protecting me? >> you know, the attorney general has to protect the president from certain things. i mean there is a lot of legal --
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>> no. >> -- a lot of legal challenges that show up and warn him about these decisions. >> i will ask this to peter who worked in several white houses, is it the job of the attorney general to protect the white house from investigations that might lead to the white house? that doesn't seem to be part of the job description? >> no. in trump world that's what they think the attorney general does. as anybody who works for donald trump, that's their job, which is to protect him. in fact, that's not. you take an oath to preserve and protect the constitution and to do what is right and to follow the law. i think it's quite right that this act in and hof itself doesn't constitute obstruction of justice but one of a lot of data points that are there. i think what's going to happen is bob mueller is going to reveal more data points and begin to connect them. you know, you take a step back, this is all of a piece when it comes to donald trump. he's a person who's narcissistic
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and has no moral center, no moral core, and everything in his life seems to be geared around advancing his interests, protecting him, meeting his own appetites and all sorts of different ways. he demands a kind of loyalty of people which is inappropriate within a white house and, of course, he doesn't give loyalty back to anybody else. this is a man who is unfit on every level to be president. what's happening now in this book and so many other things is the curtain is being pulled back. people are seeing donald trump for who he is and one other thing, if you talk to leaders, republican leaders, on the hill as i have, or to people who work in the white house as friends of mine have, these portraits of donald trump and all of these elements, this is nothing new. it is the people who work most closely with donald trump that i think have the deepest content and the deepest worry about him. >> michael wolff, author of the
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book was asked this morning, you know, if he has recordings and he said he does have some recordings of the interviews and also has notes as any journalist would. we'll see if some of that comes out. >> poppy, can i add something -- >> i want to get jackie in here, hold that thought. >> of course. >> another excerpt from the book that ties in no ainto this comed the justice department, is this, according to michael wolff, comey was a rat, repeated trump. there were rats everywhere and you had to get rid of them. john dean, he repeated do you know what john dean did to nixon. what was your takeaway from that? >> you know, again, it is this -- this is about loyalty. trump asked comey for loyalty and comey said during one of his testimonies to congress, i believe, i could be conflating a couple things comey said so forgive me, this idea that it's about protecting the throne and it's not. it's about protecting the
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constitution. but this conspiracy theory, deep state, some of the things you've heard the president say on the campaign trail and now in the white house, that hasn't gone away. while on some of these claims haven't been independently verified that are in the book, it does lay bare some of the things that a lot of us have heard off the record and behind the scenes. >> carrie one more legal question before we let you go, it has to do with the air force one drafting of the response to all the reporting about donald trump, jr.'s meeting at trump tower where the russians promised dirt on hillary clinton. the president, michael wolff says, insisted the meeting was purely and simply about russia, the quote goes on to finish up, you know, the president ordered that no one should let on to the more problematic discussion about hillary clinton. you know, how much of an issue is this meeting, do you think, and this reporting for the president and the special counsel right now? >> well, that meeting certainly is the focus of the investigation because it was a
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direct interaction between russian government surrogates and members of -- senior members of the campaign and so any effort by the president or his inner circle's part to try to hide what the content of that meeting was, matters to the investigator. just going back briefly with respect to the justice department and what these excerpts are revealing and the president's view of them, it really is consistent with the view that the president had expressed throughout the campaign trail and throughout his first year of presidency about his understanding or lack of understanding about the role of the justice department and the role of the fbi and their need for independent, neutral law enforcement activities that are separate and apart from political influence. >> all right. guys, stick around. a lot more to discuss. brian, we promise to let you jump back into the conversation. much more on the book and the claims of dysfunction inside the
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white house. the claim 100% of the people around the president say he is not fit for office. >> also, will steve bannon get bounced from breitbart. apparently a push to oust him after what he said to michael wolff for this book. stay with us.
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this morning, a scathing tell-all of the trump white house is on book shelves across the country, despite the president's all-out effort to stop it. in a new tweelt this morning th president says he never spoke to the author michael wolff for the book and the stories, name calling, distrust all described are misrepresentations. >> that is not how the author described it this morning. watch. >> i absolutely spoke to the president, whether he realized it was an interview or not, i don't know but it certainly was not off the record. >> our panel back with us. bryan lanza, i want to start with you here, the gist of the book, "fire and fury," the questions that michael wolff poses and the view he seems to have, is that the president is not fit for office. he says that as a universal theme among the people that he spoke to inside the west wing. listen to this.
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>> one of the overarching themes is that, according to your reporting, everyone around the president, senior advisors, family members, every single one of them, questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a marker in the sand here. 100% of the people around him. >> 100%, bryan lanza. you worked on the campaign, you are, i imagine, close to people inside the white house. have you heard that sentiment expressed? >> i will say this about "fire and fury." the title should be "fake and false." i've never experienced anybody in the administration say anything similar to that. i interact with the senior most people on a constant basis and during the campaign the same. but we also should look at the facts that exist. just during the christmas holiday he said -- the president sat down for a 30-minute interview with "the new york times" which is an opposing newspaper and in no time did the president display any of the erraticness that the reporter
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thus reported on. you have a guy peddling a book, proven to be fake and false, and, you know, we'll get through this. this is what happens when you're president of the united states. people write a lot of books to make a lot of money and claim to have insides when they don't and this was bannon's mistake and we're stuck living with it. >> most of the books aren't even close to what this one is. peter, to you -- >> you're right. most of the books are based on facts. >> you've worked in three of the pasts three republican administrations. savannah guthrie went on to ask on that same question that john just played part of, do you also mean the president's son-in-law, jared kushner, and his daughter, ivanka, trump, and he answered and said, certainly jared and ivanka in their current situation, which is in a deep legal quagmire, are putting everything on the president, not us, it's him. he even points specifically to the people arguably closest to the president. what do you make? bryan says this is all fake fiction? >> yeah. well look, bryan has a tough job trying to defend a man who is
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indefensible. he's doing the best he can. look, i guess from the point i would make is, this is not a state secret what wolff is revealing. i don't know him as a reporter and can't testify to his sources but this is in the open. read the transcripts that donald trump gives to newspapers. this is a man who is cognitively decomposing right before our eyes. his -- it's like a word salad. his points don't cohere, he can't make logical statements, and the other thing i would say is his tweets, the tweets are a road map to his mind. and they are deeply problematic and disturbing. as i said, i had conversations with leading republicans and what wolff reports are the kinds of things i've heard including the references to donald trump as a child. these are people who both deal with trump all the time and have a vested interest in him succeeding because they have a
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vested interest in the republican party. this is a man that is emotionally and psychological and cognitively not fit to be president and people are now seeing it and then the question becomes, what exactly do you do about it? as i say, this wolff book, this is not a shock. it's not as if any of the claims that are being made have caught people by surprise and they said, wow, could you imagine this about donald trump. this is simply validating what people know to varying degrees and have seen and have sensed over a long period of time. it's pretty alarming to have a president come apart like this. we'll see whether the institutions around the president and the people around the president can contain him. >> so bryan -- >> the only thing validating -- >> go ahead. >> the only thing validating about this book is the reporters from the other major news outlets that have questioned the integrity of the author. that's the premise we have to have this conversation with.
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like there's a lot of -- there's a lot of people who questions this author, who have high authority on the issue, there's people who are saying they didn't make these statements, you had tony blair who went out and said he didn't make some of the claims made in the book, so you have -- >> bannon is also not -- >> bannon quoted on the record and hasn't disputed any of it. >> bannon is accountable for the things he said. >> the president's lost it right now -- michael wolff says he has tapes of these conversations. let's listen to that. >> i work like every journalist works, so i have recordings, i have notes. i am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything i've reported in this. >> look, we're not going to settle a debate between bryan and peter on this. these are two divergent views. chris cillizza pointed out, take what the president says and the evidence that peter says, and chris points out maybe it is the same. he hasn't deteriorated from the campaign. it's the same donald trump.
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take that for what it is. jackie, i want to get your take on another couple points from what is inside the book, number one, there's a lot of focus on the infighting inside the white house, the back and forth between the forces of steve bannon and jared kushner and ivanka after the paris climate accord decision when the president pulled out. steve bannon, you know, had this interaction we think with michael wolff, wolff writes it was likewise the move that ivanka trump had campaigned hardest against in the white house, score said bannon, the -- is dead. this is a quote from steve bannon he hasn't disputed. this doesn't go into the fake area that bryan has been talking about here. pretty remarkable bannon would say that out loud about ivanka trump. >> it's shameful. >> coming at ivanka as recently as a couple weeks ago when he was in alabama giving a speech for roy moore. he had been attacking the trump children, particularly ivanka, and made it known that he wasn't ideologically or personally in
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line with them, so the fact that he stuck around for so long, even after these things were said, is really -- is really remarkable. equally remarkable, michael wolff didn't come out of nowhere. he's had a reputation, been around for a very long time, and i guess my question for bryan would be, how did this person get so much access inside the white house? because he was there. even if the president says that he didn't necessarily speak to him, which wolff disputes, he had incredible access. other reporters saw him not with a reporter badge but with a visitor badge in the white house. that is -- that in and of itself is remarkable. >> and i would note if you really read each word of the president's tweet this morning, he says, he didn't talk to wolff for the book. >> right. >> he didn't say he didn't talk to wolff. wolff told savannah he had three hours of conversations with the president. >> jackie, peter, bryan, great to have you with pus. a lot to digest this morning.
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>> thank you. >> remarkable to say the least. all right. north and south korea will sit down for their first formal talks in more than two years. we are live in seoul, next. mom, i have to tell you something. dad, one second i was driving and then the next... they just didn't stop and then... i'm really sorry. i wrecked the subaru. i wrecked it. you're ok. that's all that matters. (vo) a lifetime commitment to getting them home safely. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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developing for the first time in two years, north korea and south korea officials will meet face to face, talks now scheduled for tuesday in the demilitarized zone. >> will ripley live in seoul, south korea. the week started with the multiple phone calls between the two nations. now this. this is really significant what's going to happen on tuesday. what do you know? >> it is, poppy. the word actually came officially not by phone on that hotline but by fax. that's how the south korean government learned that north korea has officially accepted the offer for talks on tuesday. both sides will be sending officials from their respective unification ministries, ministries that both sides have set up to talk about the eventual reunification of the korean peninsula divided at the end of the korean war, north and south still technically in a state of war.
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number one on the agenda the olympics in pyeongchang. getting a delegation to participate. a lot of hurdles that need to overcome to make that happen. it could be considered a win for both sides. kim jong-un has athletes participating in the games, can point to the fact that he got the u.s. and south koreas to postpone military exercises until after the olympics and the south korean government that came into power on a promise of engaging with north korea can say he kept that promise after a difficult 2017 with 16 north korean ba list ig missile tests, 23 launched into the sky and north korea's most powerful nuclear test ever. there are some words from russia's deputy foreign minister basically warning the united states not to do or say anything that could undermine these talks. that, of course, a specific jab at president trump. i'll read you a portion of this statement from russia's deputy foreign minister. he said, quote, other participants in this drama should be extremely cautious, balanced and restrained in
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statements and assessments so as not to undermine such a fragile chance for some more or less stable political process. accordingly statements of a threatening nature, signals, even if not from officials but politicians, still have an impact on the situation. obviously referring in part to president trump's fiery tweets which have added fuel to the fire here on the korean peninsula. the big question moving forward, john and poppy, after they get the olympics out of the way, will there be further talks and talk about other bigger issues, the biggest, of course, north korea's nuclear program. >> yeah. will ripley in seoul, thank for the reporting. other news in hours the united nations will hold an emergency skecurity council meeting on a meeting in iran. this was requested by the united states and nikki haley praised the anti-government protesters. >> this is coming during the third day of government protests under way right now. michele kosinski joins us from washington with more. what do we know about the goals
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out of the end of the meeting? >> is an emergency meeting and the u.s. wants to garner support and have kind of a stronger, more collective voice, supporting the anti-government protesters in iran as well as condemning the iranian government. we've seen the u.s. be extremely vocal on this over the last couple of weeks. even at times seemed to -- they seemed to be pushing for regime change, even though they haven't been so specific on the language. so you would think it would be simple since so many of the u.s.'s allies feel the same way to have this collective voice, but not exactly. it really depends on the circumstances. we know from last week the u.s. and its closest allies, france, germany, the uk, and italy, they were trying to get italy on board too, they were going to put out this strongly worded condemnation of how iran has responded to these protests, but it never happened. they just couldn't agree on the consensus.
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now at this security council meeting it is possible that other members could call for a vote to even discuss this and already nikki haley has put out a statement that sounds like a preemptive admonition of anybody who doesn't want to join the u.s. in this similar rhetoric. >> all right. michele kosinski for us, thank you very much. we should say moments ago we got a new statement from the president, bashing his former chief strategist steve bannon. what this means for bannon's future, that's next. the great emperor penguin migration. trekking a hundred miles inland to their breeding grounds. except for these two fellows. this time next year, we're gonna be sitting on an egg. i think we're getting close! make a u-turn... u-turn? recalculating... man, we are never gonna breed. just give it a second. you will arrive in 92 days. nah, nuh-uh. nope, nope, nope. you know who i'm gonna follow? my instincts. as long as gps can still get you lost, you can count on geico saving folks money. i'm breeding, man. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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out this morning, that explosive new book detailing the dysfunction in the west wing and detailing exactly what author and journalist michael wolff says president trump thought of former fbi director james comey. >> according to the book, before comey was fired, president trump called him a rat, saying rats are everywhere and you have to get rid of them. so tonight, cnn justice correspondent pamela brown has a special report taking a look at the russia story from beginning to now. pamela? >> good morning, john and poppy. we felt like it was so important to do our cnn special report on the trump/russia investigation because we found that so many viewers have lost track of this
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story over the past year or so. and we thought it was vital to start at the very beginning and put cnn's extensive reporting in one places from our team because we've broke somebody of the biggest developments since this all began. we made one documentary that avoids all the speculation surrounding the story, included only what we know to be true, stuck with the facts and one of the chapters of the story is the comey firing because there are still so many questions about why it was hand sold abruptly and what the president's real motivations were. i want to show you this clip from the special that illustrates how dramatic the firing was and how much this caught everyone off guard. >> comey wasn't even in the city. he was all the way across the country. he found out by looking up and seeing it on the television. >> just -- i just got to stop it. he was talking to fbi agents in los angeles and he looks up and he sees that he's fired from television? >> that is what we are told.
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>> that just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was and it really did backfire. >> the underlying facts are not in dispute. the president fired james comey. the issue is why. >> if something specific happened? was there a moment? >> the white house comps department didn't know about this. >> the media team was scrambling to answer reporters' questions. >> they couldn't come up with some talking points, a statement, an explanation, like the basic facts. >> and sean spicer with you left standing by the bushes. >> no cameras. >> hold on. turn the light office. >> can you -- >> no cameras in a moment. you will do one on ones. >> relax and enjoy the night. glass of wine. >> they deliberately didn't tell the press office because they thought the press office would leak it. this is the moment when he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff. >> we concentrated an other major chapters of the russia story as well, the trump tower meeting and dossier and followed the money looking at president trump's past dealings with
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russians and business. john and poppy, seems nearly every day a new development comes to light and a special counsel robert mueller's investigation continues, the story seems far from over. back to you. >> all right. pamela brown, thank you so much. remember, watch the cnn special report, "the trump-russia investigation" tonight on cnn 10:00 eastern time. maybe connected to this, this morning cnn learning about a push to get breitbart to dump steve bannon for his comments to "fire and fury" author michael wolff, but most importantly, breaking news, moments ago this is what the president wrote on this. the mercer family recently dumped the leaker known as sloppy steve bannon. smart. >> brian is with us, host of "reliable sources" and oliver darsy joins us now. most americans don't know who the mercer family is, they're a big new york billionaire family that bankrolled this stuff. we'll get to the president's
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tweet. breitbart without bannon, bannon without breitbart, true, happening? >> if it is happening, and the signs point to maybe, maybe it's going to happen in the coming days, breitbart would change forever and so would bannon. bannon might create a new conservative news outlet. who knows what he might do next. >> oliver, you've done some reporting on this and spoken to people inside breitbart. look, the people i know who work for breitbart were fiercely loyal to steve bannon, up until now. what are they saying? how is this going to work? >> there are a lot of people who are fiercely loyal to bannon inside breitbart still but kind of left in the dark. they don't know what's going on. there hasn't been anyone addressing or sending an e-mail out saying this is what's happening. they're finding out everything they know from news reports. what we know is that a person familiar said there's been a hard push to convince the ceo of breitbart and suzzy breitbart the widow of andrew breitbart to oust bannon as executive chairman and that's being debated. we don't have anything other
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than that. >> brian, to the president's tweet about the mercer family, if he really doesn't care about steve bannon and they weren't that close, why dedicate your 45.2 million twitter followers to this. >> calling him sloppy steve. the president loves to give away nicknames. the more he talks about this issue the more attention is driven to the book. i mean "fire and fury," michael wolff's book number one, it's been number one on amazon for two days, out early as of now. people can read it for themselves. as the president talks more about steve bannon and the mercers, et tet serra, he's really promoting the book. this is pr malpractice. everything trump has done is pr malpractice. driven more attention to this book which is damming for his white house. this book is all about a white house in crisis, led by a guy who is not fit for office. that is the theme of the book. every time he tweets he's driving more people to amazon. >> the lawyer sent the letter, it didn't work, it's out. >> out faster. >> so this is -- the president
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is forcing people to choose, people like the mersers, the billionaire family which has bankrolled steve bannon for a long time, forcing people to choose in a way between the president and steve bannon right now. do we have a sense of who people are choosing? which side they're going on? >> it looks clear people are mostly choosing the president. bannon had a few things. he had three things going into this. proximity to trump, he's lost that, he had the backing of mega donors mercer family, seems he's lost that, and right now all he has is his perks as executive chairman at breitbart. if he loses that it's hard to see how he stays relevant or influential. >> steve bannon says the presidency is over. he says some of trump's kids might end up indicted or in jail. maybe bannon is being punished for telling the truth. >> steve bannon talks a lot to a lot of people. so it could be a threat long term. >> could be leaking right now. >> for the white house. great to have you with us right
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now. >> thanks. we have breaking news. federal authorities investigating the clinton foundation, more on that next. >.
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the 75th golden globes are on sunday. we may -- i may be asleep for them, but they are on sunday. it's about a lot more this year, though, than just the glitz and glam. of course you will have that.
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you have 300 of hollywood's, though, most prominent actresses and executive entertainment executives launching this movement called time's up, combatting sexual harassment in their industry and others. they are asking everyone to wear black on the red carpet. >> cnn's stephanie elam has a preview. ♪ >> reporter: it's that time of the year. award season in hollywood. the golden globes kick off the festivities by honoring the best in film and television from the last year. the shape of water leads the movie categories with seven nominations including best picture drama. >> it's a very artful, fantastic visually striking film with an actress sally hawkins whom they like very much. >> reporter: the unusual romance faces off against "call me by your name," "dunkirk" and the post. >> how long has this been going on, this thing?
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>> reporter: the inclusion of "get out" for best picture in the comedy or musical category stirred up some controversy, but the racially tinged thriller was a fan favorite in theaters. the box office hit is against "the disaster artist" "the greatest showman" and "lady bird." for television it's about the ladies of "big little lies." the series up for six awards the most for any television program including best tv movie or limited series. >> in addition to being a great show, it's also really on point with the conversation in hollywood right now. >> reporter: in fact, expect sexual harassment and sexual assault in the entertainment industry to be addressed during the show. nominees like meryl streep are planning to wear all black in support of the #metoo movement. >> everyone is going to be there. what's that? oh, he's not going to be there. that's good. nobody wants him there. >> reporter: seth meyers, hosting the show, is nope for
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his politically charged comedy. his promo posters which tout "hollywood we have a lot to talk about" make it clear the late night host won't back down at the globes. >> it will be difficult to avoid having some national and presidential politics creep into what seth meyers has to say from the stage. >> reporter: a lot to expect from hollywood's biggest party. stephanie elam, cnn, hollywood. all right. >> don't forget they have open bar by the way during that too. it's true. >> always makes for a more interesting show. >> what if we had it before this show. >> i agree. switching gears, big breaking news. a federal investigation has been launched into the clinton foundation. laura jarrett has the details next. resolution #1: binge more. join the un-carrier, and get four unlimited lines for only forty bucks each. plus, netflix for the whole family. on us.
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so, they get their shows... let's go, girl! you're gonna love this bit! and you get yours. watch however you want. on your phone, tablet, or tv. for just forty bucks per line. with no extra charges. let's rock this joint! all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile.
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we have breaking news. we're learning federal authorities are now actively investigating allegations of corruption related to the clinton foundation. cnn's laura jarrett, part of the team breaking the story. what can you tell us? >> hey, john and poppy. a significant legal development here. cnn has learned that federal authorities down in arkansas are actively investigating the clinton family foundation for corruption. a u.s. official tells me that the fbi and federal prosecutors there are digging into specifically whether the foundation donors were improperly promised policy favors or some type of special access to clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations to the charity's coffers and coming whether tax laws were followed here. cnn reported back in november of 2016 that the fbi had actually opened preliminary inquiries into whether there had been any sort of impropriety in the
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foundation's dealings with donors and caused tension within the bureaund at justice department. so the current inquiry into the clinton foundation, is at least in part, a continuation of that probe that originated before the 2016 election. it's not new new, but what's unclear is what, if any, new evidence ignited the current federal investigation after those previous inquiries stalled earlier. now the clinton camp is pushing back very hard against things news, as meritless, as the spokesman for hillary clinton told me, let's call this what it is, a sham, and a spokesperson for the clinton foundation said the clinton foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations and time after time, these allegations have been proven false. nevertheless, this current probe of the foundation comes at a sensitive time for the justice department when the president is constantly demanding for his political rival to be investigated. >> yeah. and two republican members this week called for jeff sessions to
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resign, in part because he had not ordered special counsel to look at things like this. laura jarrett, very important reporting, thank you for breaking it, being on top of all of it. we appreciate it. thank you for joining us. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. "at this hour" starts right now. happy friday. i'm ana cabrera in for kate bolduan. a report sending shockwaves through the white house raising new questions about whether the president of the united states attempted to obstruct justice. "the new york times" is reporting president trump gave firm instructions in march to the white house's top lawyer, stop the attorney general jeff sessions from recusing himself in the justice department's investigation into whether mr. trump's associates helped a russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. and the "times" reports that the president wanted sessions, a loyal ally, to protect him


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