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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 25, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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>> i've convinced her. >> i think you made a lot of progress with sim monday. all that matters, what will this mean if the president does meet with special counsel and asked about this? if he gives answers he's been giving to the media and others, it may not go well. our coverage continues right now, "cnn tonight" with don lemon. >> and it is bombshell breaking news on the russia investigation, really. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. this is hugely significant. the president, president trump ordered robert mueller, the special counsel heading up the russia investigation fired this past june and the only thing that stopped him was when his own white house counsel threatened to quit rather than carry out the order. this story was first reported by the "new york times" and also reports that mueller learned about his near firing only in the past few months as his investigators interviewed
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current and former senior white house officials. it has now been confirmed by two other news organizations and we have all of the breaking news for you but i want to get to maggie haverman and cnn as well. thank you so much for joining us. this is bombshell breaking news. a huge scoop along with your colleague michael schmit talked about your reporting and what you're learning. >> we have four people who are familiar with what happened who told us that the president had ordered the firing of robert mueller to special counsel back in june of 2017 and don mcgann threatened to resign. the president ultimately backed off because of that. the president also planned to cite what he thought conflicts of interest. one was a dispute involving fees at the golf club that the president owns that mueller had belonged to at one point, which is creative and had never heard
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that one before. second one was that he had been at the law firm which employed one of jared kushner's lawyers and the third was that mueller had come in the interview as the interim director for special counsel's role shortly before he was appointed to the special counsel role. none of those as far as anything i talked to would stand up as actual conflicts of interest. the latter two were pushed by white house advisers at the time. but they were not pushed in the context of mueller will be fired but were pushed in the context of the information campaign or a singing up mueller's representation to sully his credibility. it's worth recalling that chris reddy -- speaks of him
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periodically, had said on tv in m mid-june of 2017 that he had been told that the president was seriously considering firing robert mueller. the white house pushed back aggressively on that and now clear it was more than -- it was more than he was thinking of firing him. he wanted it done and there was an episode -- >> his reasoning, do you have more about his reasoning that there was a dispute about a membership or golf club membership? any more to his reasoning? it doesn't sound very sound? >> it certainly does not sound legally sound but those were the three reasons cited. >> this order came in june and you mentioned chris rudddy was on television and talking about it and that was seven months ago. are you surprised this stayed under wraps for so long, maggie? >> i am a little surprised at how effective people in the white house were at lying to us about what was actually going on at the time. and it was untrue to say he was
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not thinking of firing mueller, they all insisted ruddy was wrong. ruddy was clearly right and there was even more there. it does make you wonder what else is happening. >> yeah. you also report -- excuse me, you also report that not only did trump want to fire mueller but they also considered fired rod roseenstein. can you talk more about that? >> mike schmit, my colleague with whom we broke the story, had reported a couple of weeks ago or actually may have been days ago and feels like weeks ago, the fact that the president had been concerned about essentially the recusal of sessions and some level of oversight of the probe on the russia issue. the rosenstein firing and
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rosenstein president -- had not trusted for quite some time, and again he's in the campaign -- the president kept saying to people that rosenstein comes from baltimore, which is not true. and the idea that he's trying to suggest he's a democrat. but rosenstein has been in the president's crawl for some time and the idea if you get rid of rosenstein, then you would have someone else become the deputy attorney general in this case the number three, rachel brant and she would be a better overseer of the special counsel. >> yeah. >> maggie haberman, we appreciate you joining us on cnn. >> thank you. >> this is breaking news tonight. hugely significant. president trump ordered robert mueller, the special counsel heading up the russia investigation fired this past june and the only thing that stopped him when don mcgann
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threatened to quit rather than follow out the order. let's bring in senior political analyst mark preston and carl bernstein and caitlin collins and john dean, who was of course white house counsel, nixon's white house counsel and laura coates joins us as well. mark, i want to get to you first. let me read this from maggie's reporting it says the west wing confrontation marks first time mr. trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. he learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interview current and former senior white house officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice. what's your reaction to this breaking story? >> unfortunately i'm not surprised by it at all and i don't think anybody at all watching should be surprised at all. he has been adamant about his opposition to this investigation, which leads you to wonder, why he has been so
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fervently against it. at the same time there's a track record. he fired james comey, because he wasn't considered loyal enough to him. he wanted jeff sessions to leave, his job as attorney general because he wouldn't recuse himself from overseeing the mueller investigation. jeff sessions offered his resignation and it wasn't accepted. this is another very big red flag that i think those people out there watching who think this is going down rabbit holes and this is a partisan attack or a criticism of donald trump, they need to stop and start looking at the evidence right now. >> of course, if you're only paying attention to conservative media, you might believe -- you may not even get the news on conservative media. i have to ask, the president didn't ultimately go through with it, okay? can this be used as evidence against trump for obstruction. >> yes, because it's a crime of endeavoring. you can endeavor to actually obstruct justice and that can be enough to move that needle towards obstruction. even if you did not accomplish
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that crime. and all of the things you're talking about, mark's discussion about a pattern, these are all patterns of consciousness of guilt and context you'll clues telling you you can inform what his intent to be and in one case, if his own statement to lester holt are to be believed. he actually accomplished one form by trying to fire and actually firing james comey because of his handling and continuation of a russian investigation that circled around him and his inner circle. >> john dean, i want you to hear the reporting. what do you make of all of this? i'm sure this is reminiscent of when you served as special counsel. >> in a way it is. laura is right in saying under the statutory law, this is clearly an endeavor. what we have is another set of laws called a law of impeachment, whatever that is what the majority of the house
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of representatives says it is and whether they decide it is an impeachable offense is a majority vote. but they often draw from statutes and make those the relevant standard but i think we're just piecing another piece in this big puzzle as to what is intent and he's making clear his intent was to on obstruct. >> if this had taken place, would this be on par with the saturday night massacre under nixon? >> absolutely. i think don mcgann threatened to resign because he had no choice. he realized he was engaging in possibly joining a criminal conspiracy to remove or to obstruct justice. and that's what a lawyer has to do in a situation like that, either threaten to resign or quietly resign in some jurisdictions, they have to make a noisy withdrawal when they do
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that. >> you were shaking your head in agreement, this is another piece in the puzzle, big piece. >> it is because we see the pattern above all things, donald trump through his first year in office has done everything possible to undermine, obstruct and demean and halt this legitimate investigation into his conduct, the conduct of his campaign, the conduct of people in his family, doesn't mean they are guilty, he doesn't want this investigation to go forward at all costs, he now has engaged the republican party, which is staking its future to some extent in trying to undernine the investigation. what we've seen in the last few weeks from republicans trying to demean mueller's investigation is quite extraordinary. >> this has to speak to deeper concerns the president might have to this investigation, carl and where it could lead, no? >> of course. i can't be in donald trump's head, that's a dangerous place to be but i think it's obvious
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and he talked to other -- he hates where this investigation is going. he would -- he tells his friends oh, there's nothing there. that this is a witch hunt, want to get into my finances, but this is about his conduct. about his conduct in the campaign, about his conduct in the transition, about his conduct in possible obstruction as president of the united states. it is deadly serious and the people around him understand he is in legal danger. he may or may not understand he is in legal danger but that's what we're dealing with here. there's an extraordinary second element of that and that is what we are seeing once again with the white house counsel restraining the president of the united states from following his instincts. what is going on in the white house now is trying to contain a president's -- a president whose basic instincts are out of control very often and to do things that are neither reputable, often not legal, and
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certainly not in keeping with the presidential oath to defend the office in a responsible way. >> with the tradition of presidents who came before him. what's the white house saying if anything tonight? >> the only statement they put out from ty cobb saying they respectfully decline to comment out of respect for the special counsel's investigation and process. a very interesting comment in light of anthony scaramucci saying that it's irrelevant because it didn't happen. which is not how this works. if you look what's happened over the last 36 hours, the white house put out this information to reporters saying 20 people from the white house have spoken with robert mueller. we've given them all of these documents and fully cooperated and putting on this front they are fully cooperating with the special counsel's office. as maggie just pointed out, the white house has spent the last seven months lying to not only
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reporters but the american people because they have said that the president did not consider firing him. he did not threaten to fire him. it was not on his mind at all from sean spicer to sarah sanders to kellyanne conway, they have lied to the american people saying the president was not considering firing the special counsel when in fact he was. >> thank you very much. carl burnstein, john dean, stay with me. when we come back, much more on the breaking news. president trump tried to fire special counsel robert mueller last june and only threat by his own white house counsel to quit stopped him. did the president learn nothing over the firestorm over firing james comey. can i help you? it's me. jamie. i'm not good with names. celeste! i trained you. we share a locker. -moose man! -yo. he gets two name your price tools. he gets two? i literally coined the phrase, "we give you coverage options based on your budget."
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our breaking news, president trump called for special counsel robert mueller to be fired in june but backed down when don mcgann threatened to resign rather than carry out that directive. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us here and continuing to join us here on the program. john, there have been multiple times since june that the president has denied that he considered firing mueller. watch this. >> mr. president, you thought about considered leading to the dismissal of special counsel. anything bob mueller could do that would send you in that direction. >> i haven't given it any thought. i've been reading about it, you're saying i'm going to
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dismiss them. i'm not dismissing anybody. i want the senate and the house to come out with their findings. >> another question, you discussed special counsel the investigation, are you considering firing robert mueller? >> no, not at all. >> no, i'm not. >> so john his staff and attorneys also denied it, at least five other times and we know now that's not true. >> it is not true. and this all will be used or could be used against him at some point and could come up when he's questioned by mueller how could he make a statement that is 180 degrees from the truth when he clearly has evidence that the exact opposite happened. his staff had kplis it as well. whether this is sufficient to join a conspiracy to obstruct is not clear but it's certainly a willingness to play along. we need more evidence to see if they actually agreed to
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conspire. but this is serious stuff, don. and it's a remarkable breaking story because it does show and complete the pattern that we've been seeing. >> carl, i've got to ask you and i ask in the tease before the break, did he learn nothing? did he learn nothing from the blowback from firing james comey? has he learned anything over past year? >> actually, he's been very successful in his own terms, which is to say, he acts as if nothing sticks to him. and in fact, very little has. and he -- if you talk to the people around him, they will tell you, this is his operating presumption. that if he can get his base riled up about a witch hunt, that is more important than the lying we just saw, more important than firing mueller or giving pardons. he believes on some level, i'm told, he can get away with just about anything and in fact he has in many regards.
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and this goes -- and now he has for the last two weeks the republicans on capitol hill tethered to him, tooting a line that is so much in his defense at a moment when they ought to be saying the president of the united states is not above the law. this investigation must go forward. we must find out what happened here and instead, mcconnell, ryan have done nothing to say to their members, let our position be we want this investigation to be completed. we support it. let's find out what happened and then we can move on. >> cnn confirmed that president trump ordered special counsel mueller be fired and it wasn't followed through. maybe they never worked for before or held positions in washington, that very little remains secret in the white house? you know that. >> that's very true.
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while it can stayinevitably the, particularly, that he was going to have great trouble with leaks. it has born out. one of my earliest tweets about the presidency, how porous it was going to be watching the campaign. and so he's got to assume everything he does is basically going to be report d at some stage. he ought to be acting in a way that he does -- will not be any problem to be reported. one thing i can say for him, he speaks his mind, which if he was doing this behind closed doors, as nixon did and then it came out, it would be even more devastating. it's pretty devastating coming out the way it is but at least it's not behind closed doors. >> does trump now have to admit to mueller that he tried to fire him when he interviews in a face to face? >> well, he's likely to be caught in a lie if he doesn't.
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mcgann obviously got the instruction, understood it, realized the implications of that, criminal implications of it. >> that's perjury right, if he lies? >> well, it depends on whether he's under oath. he said he'd like to be under oath. it's more likely he'll be interviewed with mueller with other aides and fbi agents present as well. and there his threat is under 18 usc 1001 which is the false statement statute. you cannot make false statements to federal officials particularly in an an investigative setting like this. so yes, he has to tell the truth. >> carl, i want to read more from "the times." this is the president's argument for why mueller should go. first he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at trump national golf course in sterling, virginia prompted mr.
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mueller the fbi director at the time to resign his membership. the president said he could not shall impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. finally the president said mr. mueller had been interviewed to return as fbi director the day before he was appointed special counsel in may. are those legitimate reasons any of those? >> not only not legitimate reasons but they are the product of some quote opposition research to find out everything they could about mueller that might be some kind of potential conflict of interest. none of them seriously are. what all of this is about is only his trump's desire to make this investigation go away. that's what he's been doing for a year, to discredit it in every way possible. to make sure somehow that his family is not brought into this any further and now the tent
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cals of this investigation are around members of his own family. those closest to him and his business organization in this campaign organization, doesn't mean that they are going to be found guilty or even indicted, but this investigation has touched and surrounded the people he's closest to and now himself. he knows he's in the cross hairs of this, particularly with the obstruction element and he still is determined according to those that he talks to to somehow find republicans to find a way to out them, make this investigation go away so that he is not further burdened by it. >> do you remember the red line john dean he set back in july when he told the "new york times," they cannot be looking into my finances. that was a month after he tried to fire mueller. >> that's right. he's in no position to draw red lines or his staff. mueller is going to decide the
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scope of his investigation. he can always go back to the deputy attorney general who is his superior in this instance because of sessions recusal and get broader authority if he needs it. we understand from testimony before the house judiciary committee by rosenstein, indeed he has done this. he's constantly been in touch about this investigation. so that red line comment is really meaningless, don. >> and he is looking at those financial aspects. we know this from the lawyers for other people who work at the white house and who have been asked questions by mueller's investigators about these specifics having to do with trump organization finances, with jared kushner's finances and donald trump's finances, he's looking into donald trump's finances particularly as they relate to russians and russian nationals and possible russian businesses and why would that be?
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because if indeed there is some suggestion or evidence of going along with russian efforts to undermine hillary clinton's campaign, there might be a financial component aimed at making the president open to ending these sanctions. >> john, i think it's important. i want to put this tweet up from walter schwab, the office of government ethics, before you canonize mcgann he pressured sessions not to recuse. also, this is not the first leak to paint mcgahn in a good light at trump's expense, if i were trump i would wonder about mcgahn. he is implying he could cooperate with investigators? >> i don't think -- he has any choice in this instance. his client is not donald trump it's the office of the
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president. he'll have to respond accordingly. i think walter makes a good point about canonizing the counsel for doing what he's supposed to do but he obviously i think it also suggests that he saw the peril in this and potential criminality in it and that's why he backed off and wise to do so. that might be why trump has changed his tune and saying i look forward to talking to this guy. he may realize he crossed the line. >> we'll talk to walter schwab at the top of the next hour. thank you, i appreciate it. much more on our breaking news, president trump ordered robert mueller fired last june. the only thing that stopped him, a threat of resignation from the white house counsel. we'll tell you what sarah sanders said when asked about the president firing mueller.
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. here is the breaking news, a source confirms to cnn tonight that president trump ordered the firing of special counsel robert mueller last june, backing off only after white house counsel don mcgahn threatened to quit. ryan lizza and scott jennings.
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good evening to you. ryan, president trump tried to pull off his own saturday night massacre except he couldn't. what's your reaction to this? >> it is part of a pattern we've seen for a year with this investigation whether it was demanding loyalty from comey and then of course firing comey, telling comey to back off the flynn investigation, trying to get sessions not to recuse. i guess the bright spot is that as hard as he has tried to get the people in his administration to stop this investigation, there have been some breaks. and the fact that he relented when mcgahn threatened to quit means there are some breaks on this president, or at least people in that administration that at the very least saving him from himself. but i think it's -- it's a pattern and it adds to the
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mounting evidence that there's a serious obstruction case here, whether it's one that can be proved in court, who knows. but the evidence is obviously mounting. >> what do you think of this, scott? when you think of robert mueller, first he finds out the president wanted to fire fbi director james comey and did it and now find out he wanted to fire mueller himself and only saved from doing it from the white house counsel, could investigators see it as proof as intent? >> well, sure. you could find lawyers that would say that and i'm sure you could say lawyers that would argue otherwise. i'm curious about the framing of this. we keep saying tonight that the president tried to fire mueller. in my view the president either does things or doesn't do things. in this case he didn't do it. i've also heard people say don mcgahn threatened to quit because perhaps he thought -- >> the reporting is that he gave the order and then don mcgahn refused to carry it out. >> right, and so he didn't --
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didn't go through with it. if he wanted to fire mueller, he would have sacked mcgahn and fired mueller. i'm curious to know what else happened around this situation that the president didn't go through with it and ultimately -- >> he wanted to give an order of ban of immigrants and sally yates refused. that doesn't mean just because he didn't -- it didn't happen that he didn't try to do it. his intent was to do it. >> i'm not disputing the reporting but i would also say he has gone through with other things. he obviously fired comey. there are moments when he did things and moments he didn't do things. i think the interplay there is important context for this conversation tonight. >> on comey, he had someone on the justice department as a fig leaf and excuse to do it, the rosenstein memo. he was probably hoping to get the same thing here where mcgan could go through it and say my white house counsel did it and said it was fine.
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>> go ahead, i know you want to weigh in. >> first of all, the fact that the white house is lying about something that happened, that's not news, but this is another big piece in a picture that's been unfolding as ryan was saying. this investigation has only gone in one direction since it started. at every point the president and white house have looked guiltier and guiltier as was mentioned earlier, it's not just obstruction of justice, it's also the president's finances. we haven't heard much about that but i think that is a deep well and i think he could be in much bigger trouble, he and his family thaen people think. to me, this is one more weight on the scales that republicans have to start considering. at what point, particularly are house republicans going to start to back away. people like devin nunes, do they
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really want to get so deep in defending this president when it's looking so likely that something really went wrong and the conspiracy theories get thrown up and die within 24 hours. i just wonder at what point is this going to be too much and republicans are going to start flaking away. >> do you want to take a crack at that scott? >> well, i don't think the republican party is going to peel away from the president of the united states based on one article in the "new york times." most republicans will watch what mueller does and see how it plays out and make decisions from there. we tend to have this conversation after every story. when is the republican party going to move? well, they are going to let the process play out and we don't know something yet, when the president will talk to counsel or any charges if any more are coming or what the results are going to be. i don't think one story in one news organization will cause republicans to go running for the hills. if they haven't already, they decided they are going to stick
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with the president until that i have seen real evidence that they've done something wrong here. >> is it just one story? >> it's an accumulation of stories and with each of these stories, the picture comes into focus a little bit more. but the general pattern is that the president of the united states doing everything he can up until certain -- up until certain lines to shut this investigation down. it seems like the comey firing was so politically disastrous inside the white house and i think a lot of republicans warned him that doing something similar to mueller would end his presidency. so it does seem that cooler heads prevailed when he ordered mcgahn to do this. if you remember, there were a lot -- there were republican voices on the hill when this was being floated this summer, saying don't do that. don't do that. that would be a red line. this firing mueller has for a lot of republicans has always been the red line and it looks like trump kontd figure out a
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way to pull the trigger on firing him without it being his direct decision. i think it's very interesting that the president wouldn't do it himself. he wanted his white house counsel to do it but wouldn't do it himself. for some reason he was scared. >> i was to ask this because anthony scaramucci, i know a little bit about anthony scaramucci, seemed to try to pin the blame on steve bannon. he spoke with chris, listen. >> i find it very ironic this information is coming out while he's here in davos and great fa fanfare, i would love to get a look at somebody like steve bannon's phone records to see who he's talking to and how this is out there. second thing i'll say, the president talks to everybody and this information apparently happened in june. why is it coming out right now like a big water balloon on the
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president when he's having a fantastic trip in davos, meeting with world leaders. >> ryan, how do you think the news tonight will reverberate in trump world? that won't be the only fingerpointing going on, will it? >> i'm sure like anthony i'm sure there will be a lot of people in the white house trying to figure out who leaked this. if i remember correctly, the times had four sources and other news organizations have now confirmed this as well. scaramucci has had a long running feud with steve bannon so -- and steve is a sort of easy scapegoat, he's unhappy how he was treated there but just to clear up what he said, there's no evidence of course that bannon did this. i think this is just scaramucci trying to point the finger at the current trump enemy. >> sarah sanders has been
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standing at the podium denying this and saying the president is looking forward to speaking with special counsel and what's -- and so on. but it seems some of the answers given over the past -- i guess over the past year really have been disingenuous to say the least. >> but the sky is blue. i mean, these guys have lied about things every single day on his campaign and now as president, that's not surprising. what is also no surprising frankly is the double standard here. i think this is another example where donald trump for whatever reason appears to get away with things that nobody else can. we obviously had the scandal about him paying a woman off and we're looking at other ee leked officials, congressman pat meehan was removed from the ethics committee immediately when allegations came out and evidence came out against him. but donald trump, it just seems to bounce off him. it's because -- it's ironic the sheer volume of scandal and sheer variety of scandal means
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nothing ever sticks and i'm sure we're going to be talking about something outrageous he says at davos tomorrow. but mueller, mueller's investigation means this will culminate at some point. i really think some republicans are going to regret how cozy they got with him and how hard they defended him when there was no evidence with which to defend him. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. i appreciate your time. we've got much more to come on our breaking news that president trump ordered robert mueller fired last june and white house counsel threatened to quit rather than carry out that order. we'll be right back. i have type 2 diabetes.
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our breaking news on cnn, only backing down when the white house counsel threatened to resign. let's talk about this with evan mcmullen, senior commentator jennifer granholm and curt bardella and rob astorino, we should also say you worked at breitbart, in communication snz. >> i was their media consultant
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spokes person. >> did you see anthony scaramucci says this has steve bannon's hands written all over it. >> it was very clear he has scores to settle and never misses an opportunity to go after steve bannon no matter the issue. he's made himself a convenient target. could bannon be one of the four people that perhaps talked to maggie? very much so, sure. >> does that really matter? >> no, of course it doesn't matter. it's true. >> i think it may matter in one respect. i look at don mcgahn and wonder, the story puts him in a very positive light. why now is the story coming out. we learned recently this week that jeff sessions was interviewed by the special counsel's office. other intelligence leaders have recent -- it's been reported recently that they too have been interviewed. there are other reports that show this obstruction of justice element of the investigation has moved forward and is moving forward. and so i wonder if the president
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isn't maybe returning to this idea now as the investigation intensifies, returning to the idea of getting rid of mueller and this isn't somebody leaking to -- >> if he did that, really. >> you think people are concerned possibly that he might try to fire him? >> leaks happen often for a reason. sometimes it's justnes interpersonal battles but sometimes there are other bigger reasons. i wonder about that. this story paints mcgahn in a positive light and makes it much more difficult for the president to make a move on mueller right now. >> mcgahn bannon and priebus all share the same lawyer. i think mcgahn is like pinto from remember the movie -- with bell lush she, animal house, he might have had the impulse to say enough of this but that was early on in the investigation too. >> what does that make trump?
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>> i don't -- i think his initial reaction was let's get rid of this guy. but since then, since talked into not doing it if that's what happened, this investigation continued on for months and months and will culminate in a few weeks if trump meets with the special prosecutor. i don't think they are leaking this to fire him -- it's well past -- >> i don't know why, i have no idea why it's leaked now. >> let me say, this whole conversation and the conversation yesterday about the secret society and the nunes memo, all is part of an arc to try to discredit law enforcement, in this case the department of justice. for those who worked in the department of justice or at least the fbi, has 35,000 people who work there. if trump was so upset that he wanted to fire mueller, if that didn't happen he's going to discredit that, one way or the
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other he's going to try to undermine and get rid of this investigation and by doing so, undermining the rule of law. this is why republicans -- i know he's got an 80% base but the republicans in congress leaders in congress, should step up and say, this is not who we are as a nation. put your country before your party. >> how many times, governor have you said that and other people said that. i don't think it's going to happen. >> really, how mac vel yan can you be to -- the ends justify the means. we don't care which institutions we're going to haul under, including the fbi, including the department of justice. including anything that gets in his way to be able to be clear of this investigation. >> this is a republican's best vehicle and they are saying the least they can say -- >> the best vehicle is what? >> to get whatever legislation or agenda -- >> i see, right, it's an ends justify the means is what you're
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saying. roy moore -- >> same thing, i asked evangelicals, ends justify the means. go on. >> can we rewind a little bit back to october right before the election. harry reid was throwing fire bombs at the fbi, harry reid was saying that the institution is corrupt and that they might have broken federal now the tables are turned. all of a sudden the dialogue is changing. both parties have attacked the fbi. both parties have attacked this institution. >> yeah that may be the case. but what we see happening now from trump's loyalists in congress is an unprecedented in modern times attack by -- by congress on our -- on our institutions on our law enforcement. i have to say, you know, there is a reason why this is happening. you know, the republicans could have opposed trump. republican members of congress could have opposed trump in the primaries. many remained silent. he won 47% of the primary vote.
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he was weaker then than now. now he has 85% approval. if they didn't do it then they're not doing it now. now they are stuck. and ner the party of government. and they have no one to blame. and so they have to come up with the conspiracy theories that unfortunately are eroding public confidence. >> i think that's why most people disagree with. where democrats may have been upset with comey during the investigation during the election, they said comey did it wrong. they said they had respect for comey. they did not have an orchestrated attack on the institution of the fbi. this has been an orchestrated attack on the fbi and on law enforcement in general from republicans, including conspiracy theories. >> yes. >> that didn't happen with the democrats. >> i don't think so. i don't think -- >> and mueller and comey are both republicans. >> i don't think it's the top of the fbi is who they were going after. not the men and women that do the everyday job. i don't think that's who they were attacking.
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they were attacking. >> the people they're talking about the e-mails they have. >> you but they were higher level. you're talking about struk and that whole thing. >> they weren't attacking 35,000 fbi agents thp they were attack the the the top and the intent of those two definitely. >>en those two people they are putting a broad brush against it. and now it's infecting what would be normal republicans, ron johnson i feel like he a tinfoil hat on yesterday as he was drooling at the thought of a secret society when he was -- you know it turns out he was embarrassed. >> hold your thought. we'll continue this conversation. don't go anywhere. which is why you didn't grab just any cheese. you picked up kraft mozzarella with a touch of philadelphia for lasanyeah! kraft. family greatly. looking for a hotel that fits... whoooo. ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest
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we're back now with our breaking nup evan mcmullin aen a
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rob. we're talking about the undermining of institution that is you brought up and the fbi. with all of these conspiracy theoryists and many -- a number of of the people bringing unthe theories used to be on the fringe. now they're the new normal. >> like devin nunes. >> that unfortunate in the conservative party. breitbart was the crazy people. you would have stories come up from them and people rolled their eyes. policy makers won take them seriously nop now you look at the content on fox news which is as you call it the basically trump tv. >> i call it -- i call it trump tv but it is state run television. >> they mice as well run headlines from breitbart. that's the new normal in the republican party. >> the crazy thing is that all day yesterday, fox news was all over this secret society thing. and other than one anchor today they didn't say one word. >> shepherd smith. >> because they've been
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embarrassed. but who is -- who is the biggest proponent of these conspiracy theories. it's like sean hannity et cetera out there taking pages from breitbart, info wars, et cetera. that should be frightening to everybody. because you've got a president who had the whole conspiracy thing down pat with barack obama and born in kenya, you know ted cruz's father, conspiracy -- was a coconspiratorer on the grassy knoll. now it's infected the main stream republican party. and that's such a shame. >> how does one have any credibility -- when you minks that, with any journalists when you had a grassy knoll conspiracy theoryist when you're on the proponent or perpetrator of the president not being born of a birther hop how does one have credibility when it comes to anything. >> i would say we're post facts. the game now. >> i refuse to allow. >> we can't allow it. >> let me read you the tweet.
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you said ---on tweeted this a short while ago. you said for trump to have ordered mueller fired even when the public backlash over comey's firing was still intense shows how intent on impeding the russia investigation he was and just how much he apparently has to hide. >> absolutely. >> what do you think the president has to hide. >> well, i think that the president and his team at least encouraged if not were more involved in russia's efforts to influence our election. we'll see what happens. i think he probably has something to hide with regard to his business dealings with russian intelligence and russian mafia figures prior to the election. and i think also he has a lot to hide with regard to obstruction of justice now. he has plenty to hide. we'll see what happens with the investigation. but to think that just a month after he fired comey. >> yeah. >> when there was still so much backlash that he then ordered the firing of mueller. that tells you -- that else you quite a lot about what lengths
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he is willing to go to even when there is plenty of public op zbliegs everybody has already hung the president he is already guilty, right? we haven't seen one ounce. >> one said he is guilty. >> but that's the implication. obstruction ever justice. >> a lot of complications, the implication -- the implication is that he tried to. >> why did he try to fire mueller. >> why did he fire mierl. >> he talked to his lawyer. >> he gave the order. >> it didn't happen because the lawyer said if he would resign. >> i got to run. i got to run. thank you all. >> nice try. >> best thing in conversation. appreciate having you here mp when he come back, president trump ordered the firing of robert mooring in june only backing when the white house counsel threatened to resign instead of following the instructions. is this proof he is trying to obstruct justice or our experts will weigh in -- i should say. we'll be right back.
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this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. 11:00 p.m. on of the east coast live with hunl breaking news on the russia investigation. a source confirms to cnn tonight that president trump ordered robert mueller, the special counsel heading up the russia investigation, fired this past june. the only thing that stopped him was when his own white house counsel, don mcgann threatened to quit rather than carry out the order. i want to bring in walter sh autobiography abfrrm director of the office of government ethic


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