tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 31, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
happening now, war with the fbi. undermining the president's plan to release a memo. grave concerns and constitutional showdown over the russia investigation. team sport. mr. trump appeared to test the loyalty of his deputy attorney general as he fished for information about the special counsel's investigation. stand by for our exclusive reporting on that. congressional crash. train carrying dozens of gop lawmakers slams into a truck, killing the driver. we'll have the latest on the accident and tell you how congress, how members of congress are doing tonight. did his cloak and dagger meeting with an american have something to do with his death?
wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room." breaking tonight, the bureau expressing grave concerns about a controversial republican memo that the president says he is certain to release at any moment. christopher wray saying the memo alleging fbi misconduct is misleading and blatant step to discredit the russia investigation. first to cnn justice correspondent, jessica schneider. jessica, this was a stunning statement from the fbi. >> it was, brianna, a very public push back against the president and the president's
chief of staff, who have made it clear they tend to release this memo alleging abuse. the fbi isn't holding back, to reiterate the dangers the release of this memo might pose. tonight in a stunning move, president trump's handpicked fbi director christopher wray clashing with the white house, saying do not release the memo, this stark statement despite justice officials about publicly opposing the white house. the fbi was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo. we have grave concerns about material owe missions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo'scracy. chief of staff john kelly implied the decision to release has been made. >> it will be released here pretty quick, i think, and the whole world can see it. this president, it's so unique, brian, he wants everything out so that the american people can make up their own minds. if people are to be held
accountable, so be it. >> after a hot mike moment between south carolina congressman jeff dunkin and the president post state of the union. >> let's release the memo. >> don't worry. 100%. can you imagine? >> press secretary sara sanders seemed to walk back the president's 100% promise. >> we've said all along, from day one, we want full transparency in this process. we haven't hidden that. at the same time we're still going to complete the legal and national security review that has to take place before putting something out publicly. >> is there any chance that the president does not release it? >> i think there's always a chance. >> the apparent promise came after days of discussions. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and christopher wray urged chief of staff john kelly to delay monday's house vote on releasing the memo. when the committee voted anyway, officials from doj and fbi went to the white house tuesday, to
make a renewed effort to discuss discrepancies in the memo. devin nunes, courier to the white house monday night, kicking off a five-day window for the president to review the memo and decide whether or not to release it. sources say the memo alleging that the fbi did not disclose to the judge who signed off on a secret surveillance warrant for foreign trump campaign adviser carter page that the dossier relied on, in part, was partially paid for. imminent release of the memo has sparked concern in the intelligence committee that sources and methods could be compromised, according to multiple sources. >> the president says 100% i'm doing it. we haven't vet it, i haven't read it but 100% i'm going to do t the sad reality of this is, this doesn't surprise anyone about this president.
because no one has any doubt that the priority is the national security, interest of justice. it's just the naked, personal interest of the president. >> tonight republican devin nunes is responding a terst response, saying they've stonewalled congress by withholding documents over the past year and if they want the record to be straight they should release all the information they have on these alleged abuses. the intelligence community has already said any release of information could compromise sources and methods and endanger national security. >> jessica schneider, thank you for that report. to a cnn exclusive on the president, appearing to question the loyalty of another top official overseeing the russia investigation. it happened first to fbi director james comey before he was fired. now we're learning that the current deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, faced similar questions from president trump just last month. we're joined now by cnn senior
white house correspondent, pamela brown and cnn justice reporter laura jarrett. tell us what you and your team have learned here. >> did brianna, rod rosenstein went to the white house this past december, seeking president trump's help to block demands from house chairman devin nunes. sources familiar with that meeting tell us the president has other things on his mind before a house committee. the president asked rosenstein where he thought the investigation of links between russians and his campaign was headed and he went on to ask whether rosenstein was, quote, on my team. as a reminder, rosenstein is the person overseeing mueller's russia investigation. this is only the latest episode to come to light between a president who asked questions that sometimes cross a line that presidents traditionally try to avoid when dealing with the justice department. this exchange could raise further questions about whether trump was seeking to interfere in the investigation by special
counsel robert mueller, looking into collusion, and object instruction of justice by the white house, brianna. >> the former fbi director, jim comey, testified about this kind of thing before congress. he said that the president had asked him for a loyalty pledge. is there a sense that rosenstein thought this was the same thing? >> briana, we're told that rosenstein appeared surprised by the president's comments. he responded somewhat awkwardly to the president's team request, saying, of course, we're all on your team, mr. president. at that hearing, before congressi congressional investigators in december, rosenstein was asked about loyalty pledges. here is what he had to say. >> is it ever appropriate for the president of the united states that an official take a loyalty pledge? >> nobody has asked me to take a loyalty pledge, other than oath of office. >> at that hearing, rosenstein
also told lawmakers, quote, as long as you're following your oath of office, you can also be faithful to the administration of justice. the justice department declined to comment on this story. and the white house has not g gotten back to us with comment. >> pamela, your reporting shows the president was particularly focused on that december hearing. >> that's right. a source familiar with the matter tells me he was very focused. in fact, brianna, he brought up the upcoming meeting. trump went on as far as to suggest questions to members of congress that they could possibly ask rosenstein during that hearing. one line of inquiry, we're told, trump proposed to lawmakers was whether rosenstein appointed mueller as special counsel because mueller was not selected as fbi director. now cnn has previously reported that president trump has been venting to his aides in recent weeks and has raised the
possibility of firing him. sources say president trump believe rosenstein was upset that mueller wasn't selected as fbi director and responded to that by making mueller special counsel. it isn't clear that the questions the president tried to plant with members of congress were actually asked at that meeting. >> great reporting. thank you so much for that report. tonight we clearly have many questions about the president's conversations with his deputy attorney general as well as the stunning public pushback he's getting from his handpicked fbi director. what, if anything, jim, are you hearing from the white house tonight? >> the white house has been all over the place, from the president to the chief of staff to sarah sanders, the white house press secretary, as to what is going to happen with this nunes memo. one thing i can tell you, brianna, when that statement came down from the fbi earlier today, essentially saying there
are grave concerns about the potential release of this memo. this white house has gone radio silent and clamped down on questions about this. watch what happened when i tried to ask the president about all of this in the oval office earlier today. >> any response to the fbi saying in that statement that the nunes memo should not be released? >> jim, thank you. we're leaving. let's go. >> appreciate it. >> thanks, jim. >> it was difficult to get the question out. almost as soon as i started asking the question, officials in the oerchl office were shouting over top of me and pulling on my suit jacket at one point toward the end of it. they clearly don't want the president to answer the question at this point. i did talk to a source close to the white house a short while ago, saying that one of the conversations that may be going on behind the scenes is whether or not there will be redactions made to this memo before it's released. that would conflict somewhat to
what general kelly said in that radio interview when he said the president wants everything released. obviously if there are redactions, that would not be everything and that would also fall short of what the president said last night after the state of the union speech in which he said 100%, 100%. it appears behind close doords but one thing that is very clear according to a source of the white house they've stepped all over the state of the union message from last night. >> you always get your question out. you were undeter there had, as always. thank you. from the white house, our chief correspondent at the white house, jim acosta. joining me now, former u.s. attorney fired by president trump. preet, thank you for being on with us. >> of course. >> the fbi says it has grave concerns. that's a quote, grave concerns, about the release of this nunes memo. i wonder how damaging it is for the president to have the fbi
come out publicly against him when it goes to the voracity, truthfulness of this memo. >> there have been a lot of things damaging to the president politically and potentially legally. what i think is extraordinary is not that the fbi has grave concerns, you know. there's a back and forth always in the intelligence community where people outside of the intelligence community with law enforcement community want to release something, even if you wanted to use something that was classified in court, you go through a process and everyone is supposed to respect very deeply for obvious reasons the reasoning for the fbi thinking that some material, they have concerns about. and here, not only do they have those concerns, but they're stating them publicly. it's not something i've ever seen before but i think it's something that is good to see because it shows that the fbi director, at least in this
instance, is asserting himself, his independence and is putting his job before, you know, what some people have been expecting, at least in the white house, before loyalty to the president. >> that's right. he was appointed by president trump, the fbi director. he went to the white house as well. this is a long effort that's been going on by the fbi and the doj. what do you think about the president breaking with his own handpicked people? >> that's a tradition in the last year. he loves you on monday. hates you on friday. he has done that with sitting attorney general, who he has not fired yet. we have information that makes us believe various times he wanted to fire him. he went back and forth on whether he wanted to fire jim comey before he ultimately did.
he told mcgahn to fire mueller, we have reports. based on his track record of the past year of what he thinks about a particular official doesn't necessarily last long and suggests what he cares about most is not for people to be doing their independent job and paying attention to their oath of office and their legal and constitutional duty but rather he prefers people to be loyal to him. >> weighing the release of it, they're just trying to be transparent. it's key to note this is before the president had even read the memo. >> let's release the memoo. >> don't worry. 100%. can you imagine that? >> the whole goal of releasing this, it appears, is a purely political one.
because that have, i wonder if you're worried about the precedent that this sets if the nunes memo is released. >> i think we should all be worried about the precedence that it sets. republicans should be worried about it. the president should be worried about it ultimately and citizens of america should be worried about it. if there were untoward conduct or bad behavior at the fbi at some point in the proper way, in a method that doesn't affect confidential information or classified information or undermines national security, it should come out. i was involved in investigations as a white house staff. in a way that's going to be credible to the public and law enforcement for public safety. the other thing people have to remember, i'm not in politics, although i worked for a senator for a period of time. what comes around goes around.
and so some bias on the part of some at the fbi is the highest irony. at some point the other party may take control of the house and control of the chairmanships of this committee and other committees and they can use this rule as well, even though it's not been used before. so i think what ends up happening when people play these kinds games based on politics, it seems, you get into a back and forth year after year. that's not good for the public. the fbi director, i think, is a good person trying to do his job and is maintaining the principles important to the fbi. public safety, national security i think the whole thing is
unfortunate. i think i'm not alone in that conclusion. >> it's interesting. as you say, they're essentially opening pandora's box. it could be yielded by both parties. i wonder because cnn has also learned that president trump asked the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein where the russia investigation was headed. how is it going. and he also asked rosenstein if he was on the president's team. explain why that's not -- >> people talk about being on teams f you're appoint bid the president, in some way, you're on the team. you're on team america, team law enforcement, team public safety. the problem with what is being reported about what the president said there is the tenth or 11th or 12th time you have evidence that the president of the united states, who is supposed to be at arms length with law enforcement, allowing them to do their job
independently, without fear of favor, without partisanship and treating everyone equally before the eyes of the law, it shows that that's not how he thinks about things. we have evidence that he asked jim comey for his loyalty, personal loyalty. we have evidence that he told jim comey to lay off a political ally, an employee in the white house, michael flynn. we have evidence that he asked jeff sessions about what he might do to prevent the case from going forward against arizona sheriff joe arpaio and now this evidence that he had this conversation with rod rosenstein. although in my case nothing untoward was ever said, he engaged in odd telephone relationship with me. i think to cultivate something beyond what the normal relationship should be between the sitting united states attorney, sitting independent law enforcement officer and political official in the white house who has a vested interest in the kinds of investigations going on. ordinary conversation, building of morale, camaraderie in some
sense is okay. when you have a president who again and again and again makes it clear he wants a criminal investigation to go away and, among other things, have told that to folks and fired someone over it, thought about firing another person over it and is now telling the new person, who he hand picked for the job the same thing i think it's self evident why it's problematic. >> what about legally problematic? is this obstruction of justice? >> one conversation we don't have a recording of, is that obstruction of justice? i don't think so. >> is a pattern which you have described? >> sure. it tells us a story. was the intent in his mind to
put to an end an investigation that might land on his doorstep. every you have a story that could be corroborated, that's credible, that the president of the united states was trying to stop something or trying to steer an investigation in some way, impede an ongoing proceeding, that's helpful evidence in support of obstruction. >> pareet bahara, thank you for being with us. direct challenge to the president and what will happen if president trump goes ahead and makes that disputed memo public. and we'll get an update on dozens of republicmembers of co who survived a deadly train crash.
we're following multiple breaking stories involving the president and the russia investigation. handpicked fbi director is challenging his plans to release a memo declaring the bureau has grave concerns about its accuracy. we're vojoined by luis gutierre. thank you very much for being with us. >> pleasure to be with you this ooeven evening. >> last night the president was overheard after the state of the union saying he would 100% release the nunes memo. that was before he read it, as %-p statement today say they go have grave concerns about this memo, about the accuracy of it. and it becoming public. what do you think about this strong objection from the fbi?
>> yeah. let me try to follow up on your previous conversation with the form former. >> i served on the intelligence committee. most of america don't know because that's the way we operated, as members of the intelligence committee not to put findings out, not to release information but to safeguard the american public from any abuses of the intelligence community and to safeguard the methods and the secrets of our nation. i find this unprecedented. both in the senate and the house, the intelligence committee. now you see this openness. the republicans, chairman nunes, want to share this information. that just didn't happen six years i was there.
we fought about obamacare, a woman's right to choose, gay rights. we fought about a lot of things but not national security. several months ago, group of colleagues and i authored articles of impeachment. i think this is all evidence, continuing pattern of obstruction of justice. let's remember that the current fbi director, as you have stated so clearly, chosen by the president of the united states, he is having trouble. but the former one was fired by the president. and if you remember the circumstances, the president was there, vice president was there and he said the fbi director was collateral and then he asked comey to stop the investigation into flynn. >> we have reported on that. i do want to ask you about something new that we have,
reporting that in december -- >> sure. >> -- the president asked the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein where the special counsel russia investigation was headed. >> sure. >> he asked rosenstein if he was on his team. >> if you run a company and get to tut putt your name on everything, the cigars, wine or buildings that you build and you put your name on it, you kind of get to act like a dictator, right? it's yours. but that's not the presidency of the united states. the presidency of the united states is the head of our government and should be safeguarding our most democratic institutions, and one of them is our justice system.
when the justice department and fbi come forward, you remember this whole anger around hillary clinton and the e-mails was about, what, classified information. yet they're going to release classified information that the head of the fbi and the justice department say don't release it because it could be dangerous to the health of our nation, to the methods of gathering that information. this president will do anything in order to stop the investigation into his campaign and russia. >> this meeting with rosenstein happened the day before the deputy attorney general testified in front of your committee. the president thought he might have appointed robert mueller as special counsel because he wasn't chosen as fbi director.
do you know approximanything ab? >> no, but i was there when the question was asked of the deputy attorney general. he stated he had never been asked of loyalty. >> even if it's in an informal way have you ever received input from a white house when it comes to -- it's not that unusual to get talking points. is this something that may be different to you? >> never, never, never, never. there has to be clear lines. there's the judiciary, the executive and i may get -- i want you to ask these questions, and that happens. but that's not the congress of the united states.
we have to safeguard our institutions. we know that chairman nunes went to the white house and told the world as chairman of the intelligence committee i have found out spectacular information that can confirm possibly that president of the united states actually interfered with the communication of then candidate trump. that barack obama actually did that. and what do we know? he got the talking points from the white house. does it surprise us that they want to put out other talking point bus it's in a memo? there are members of congress that have worked hand in glove with this administration to draft that memo. president trump says he hasn't read it. he may not have read it, because he doesn't have to. because his staff probably put it together. >> we do not know that. there are other democrats who
say that as well that. is an outstanding question out there, if they did help with that. congressman luis gutierrez, thank you so much. appreciate you being with us. just ahead more on our exclusive new reporting, the president asking the deputy ag if he's on his team. is this evidence of obstruction? helped put a roof over the heads of hundreds of families, he's most proud of the one he's kept over his own. brand vo: get paid twice as fast with quickbooks smart invoicing. quickbooks. backing you. a little to the left. 1, 2, 3, push! easy! easy! easy! (horn honking) alright! alright! we've all got places to go! we've all got places to go! washington crossing the delaware turnpike? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money sean saved by switching to geico. big man with a horn. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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a stunning show of defiance from the president's fbi director, christopher wray, expressing grave concerns about a controversial memo that the president has said he's 100% certain to release. we also have an exclusive new cnn report that president trump asked the deputy attorney general if he was on his team just last december as he pressed him for information about the russia investigation. we're joined now about our analysts and panelists to talk about this. gloria borger, having covered washington for some time how incredible is it to see the fbi and the president of the united states at odds like this? >> it's just stunning. i think you have to go back to richard nixon to find anything at all similar. the department of justice saying any release of this memo would be reckless. you have the fbi saying that
essentially if it is released it's inaccurate, a lie and misleading. put those two things together and you have the president of the united states who, offhandedly, before reading it, tells a member of congress, 100%, 100% i'm going to release this. the president now is at lagerheads with the justice department, with his newly appointed head of the fbi. if he releases this, what does chris wray do? does he resign? does he get fired, like james comey got fired? we don't know the aens to these questions. >> jeffrey toobin, he is the president's handpicked fbi director. you had republicans alleging that there is this deep state of obama administration hold overs, that they are anti-trump. this is someone president trump pick who had is trying to stop the release of the memo. what does that tell you?
>> that republicans in congress are getting most of their information from tin foil hats. this is political partisanship dressed up as attacks on the fbi. let's just pause for a second and ask ourselves what are the chances that the federal bureau of investigation is a nest of liberal activists? has anyone here been in the united states before? this is the fbi. this is not how the fbi has ever worked. it has been a conservative law enforcement institution. that's what the fbi was, that's what the fbi is. this is insanity. >> shimone, you've been in law enforcement before. know a thing or two about the fbi. what are folks saying about this conflict that spilled out so publicly? >> today a proud moment for some
of them. it's nice to be able to put out a statement and defend the organization. >> waus they felt a little battered without being able to say? >> of course. and look at the headlines. it's been the lead story all day now. i think there is some feeling that at least we're fighting. there is a ton of concern over this, more for the inaccuracies. it's clear where devin nunes stands and how he feels about the fbi and where his intent stands. it's clear he's doing this for the white house, for political reasons and that's basically it. there's nothing good that could come of what this memo, releasing this memo. it goes to the credibility of the fbi and the work that they've been do iing. >> by the way, whatever happened to devin nunes being recused
from the russia investigation? do the rules apply here at all? >> he did remove himself. he was facing an ethics inquiry. he was cleared of that and clearly he is -- >> close to the speaker. >> he has injected himself back into this. >> that leads to the question where is the speaker? >> you hear the speaker saying in a way -- he's trying to make a distinction. i wonder if it's lost on some people. he's trying to say when you're dealing with all of this memo stuff, keep it separate from the investigation. hello, the cat is out of the bag. >> the president isn't doing that. the president knows this is very much aligned with the russian investigation. >> sabrina, we have exclusive reporting. the president asked the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, back in december, where is this
investigation going? back in december. that's not that long ago, to be clear, just last month. this is after there have been many times where the president is aware, hey, you don't do this kind of thing. but he asks him where is the investigation headed. he asks if he's on his team. this is the kind of thing we go oh, my gosh. explain why that's so out there. >> this is not just one incident in isolation. the president asked then fbi director james comey for his loyalty. he urged him to drop the investigation into michael flynn. he tried to prevent jeff sessions from recusing himself from the russia investigation. he asked andrew mccabe who he voted for. take nen totality, you have a pattern of behavior where the president does not respect the historic independence of the fbi and thinks ultimately the nation's top law enforcement agency is there to serve him. >> he knows, right, because he has been told over and over. it seems like, sabrina, he -- >> he is fixated on this investigation. he thinks it undermines his legitimacy as president.
whether republicans on capitol hill will line up behind these attacks on the fbi. there is certainly a split between house republicans and those in the senate. i've heard -- >> i have a different idea. the real question is whether the president is engaged in a continuing crime in the oval office. >> obstruction. >> obstruction of justice. >> sure. >> what do you think? >> how many times -- >> what do you think? >> there's certainly plenty of evidence to that effect. how many times do we have to have him use law enforcement for his personal advantage. that's why there was an impeachment investigation of richard nixon. that's why bill clinton was impeached, obstruction of justice. and how many times do we have to see this from the president before we acknowledge that that's what's going on? >> there's no indication -- >> there's a difference. there's a difference between going to the secretary of the treasury and say, you know, i want you to be loyal to my tax
proposal. i want you to be on the team. >> shimon, one final word. >> law enforcement is different. >> in terms of obstruction investigation, there's no indication that is anywhere near complete. we know that someone else who was on the president's legal team, spokesperson is going before the special counsel. that has to do, potentially, with an obstruction case. who knows what this will bring, our reporting today. this will probably be something that rod rosenstein would have had to tell mueller about. perhaps this is something that mueller is already looking into, for all we know. we just don't know. >> a lack of knowledge about the way the government works and the separation of powers, i don't think is an excuse that would fly with the special counsel. we know that the president has complained that the justice department doesn't do what he wants. he said that, i believe, in a radio interview. so a lack of knowledge about this doesn't mean that you can't also obstruct justice. >> thank you so much to all of you. five of my favorite people here with me this evening. i appreciate it.
still ahead, an update on that deadly train crash. dozens of republican members of congress were on board when this happened. we'll tell you how they're doing. we're going to tell you what they're also doing tonight. if your moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's symptoms are holding you back, and your current treatment hasn't worked well enough, it may be time for a change. ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio works at the site of inflammation in the gi tract and is clinically proven to help many patients achieve both symptom relief and remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious. pml, a rare, serious, potentially fatal brain infection caused by a virus may be possible. this condition has not been reported with entyvio. tell your doctor if you have an infection, experience frequent infections or have flu-like symptoms or sores.
now. a train calling hundreds of lawmakers to a retreat hit a truck while traveling the tracks in virginia. at the gop retreat going on as it was planned. brian, tell us the latest. >> reporter: brianna, dozens of lawmakers arrived here about an hour outside of charlottesville, virginia. as you mentioned that crash led to the death of the driver. six other people taken to a nearby hospital and treated and evaluated after what happened at that crash. among them member of congress, treated for concussion and released. expected to end up here at the greenbrier to take part of in this resort. even though most members of congress will be okay after this clash, it's clear they were rattled what took place.
many of them traveling with spouses. some traveling with children. tweeting pictures of the scene, of the accident sending out notes to constituents and family and members to make sure they n knew they were okay. and offering up prayers and condolences for victims. there was some deliberation if they should continue on with this retreat after what happened. but they have a lot planned here over the next three days including a visit from the president of the united states tomorrow and vice president expected to speak here tonight. meanwhile the investigation continues at the scene of the accident. at this point it is too early to tell exactly what went wrong. >> all right. ryan nobles in west virginia. thanks so much. more ahead more breaking news on russia investigation as president is locked in show down with his handpicked fbi director. plus kim jong-un brother had a meeting before his gruesome
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and so we have to practice safety everyday. utilizing pg&e's talent and expertise in that area trains our firefighters on the gas or electric aspect of a fire and when we have an emergency situation we are going to be much more skilled and prepared to mitigate that emergency for all concerned. the things we do every single day that puts ourselves in harm's way, and to have a partner that is so skilled at what they do is indispensable, and i couldn't ask for a better partner. new tonight cnn has learned that a test of u.s. missile defenses against north korea failed. it's a potentially troubling set back as kim jong-un regime threatens to attack the united states. we are also learning more this hour about the mysterious murder of kim's half brother and brian todd has been digging into that.
what are we learning? >> reporter: we are learning that he had a meeting with an american man just a few days before he was killed at the airport. reports that the american man was a spy. and there are serious questions being raised tonight whether that meeting had anything to do with the murder. a choreographed murder, kim jong-un half mother smeared in the face of a nerve agent in the crowded airport. he dies within minutes. now a top malaysia investigator says just a few days before he was killed in february of last year, kim jong-un met with mysterious american man on a malaysiian island. >> it's possible he was american intelligence, we don't know, but it's quite possible if you think about kim jong-un background. >> reporter: japanese newspaper previously reported that the man he met with was intelligence and korean american.
cia would not comment. >> if he was a handler what could he want to know from kim jong-un? >> right. whether american intelligence, here we think it's american, would want to know information about the inner workings of the intelligence services. which kim jong-un helped to run at one point when he was being groomed to take over for his father. they would want to know about the workings of the government. maybe about succession. >> reporter: the latest information from the malaysiian police investigator came in the testimony this week at the trial of the two women accused of killing kim john nam. they have denied the dictator ordered hit on half brother. the malaysiian veginvestigator d the court he was carrying money. >> these are hundred dollar bills in denominational bricks which suggest it could have come from agent paying him for
information. >> reporter: escape in 2006. president trump paid tribute to him during the state of the union address. >> your great sacrifice is inspiration to us all. >> reporter: in an interview at the white house, he spoke to cnn about kim jung nam killing and how much defectors face in other countries. >> i personally believe north korean defectors are being active target by the northern regime. even though they are not engaged i think north korea is trying to identify their location, then they will try to threaten the families. >> reporter: now former fbi agent o'neil does not think the meeting wg the mysterious american was necessarily kebted to murder a few days later. o'neil points out that operation at the airport involving those two women appeared to have been planned for weeks, if not months, before kim's murder.
brianna. >> thank you so much for that. i'm brianna keilar, thank you so much for watching. erin burnett outfront begins right now. outfront next breaking news, president asks rod rosenstein the man in charge of the russia investigation if he's on his team. plus the clock is ticking on the president, will he release the nunes memo against the wishes of his own fbi director. fbi slammed for text messages that showed anti-trump bias, cnn played a major role opening the clinton investigation days before the election. let's go outfront. good evening i'm erin burnett outfront. wray telling the president not to release the republican memo alleging abuse