tv Washington Journal Eleanor Clift Discusses President Trumps Dismissal of... CSPAN May 10, 2017 5:04pm-5:35pm EDT
>> james comey was fired yesterday. we heard more about it from the washington journal. at our desk, she covers politics for the daily beast. and is a longtime panelist on the mclaughlin group. want to get your reaction to james comey's firing yesterday. guest: in 100 plus days where we have had more surprises and sharks that i can remember and my time in washington, this was a major shock to the system. the firing of the man who is leading the investigation against the president seems like something no sitting president would do because of the political fallout. and donald trump has defied expectations once again and fired mr. coming. host: president trump and
attorney general session's explanation talked about a fresh start at the fbi and the wake of james comey's handling of the clinton investigation last year. was there a time last year that you ever called for comey's firing? guest: i, like many people, thought that he mishandled the intervention into the hillary emails 11 days before the election. that was inappropriate, but it never occurred to me that sitting president barack obama would fire him over that. donald trump seem to be very pleased with the way the investigation turned out. many people believe that come these intervention and effect -- comey's intervention in effect handed the presidency to mr. trump. host: do you think there is a lack of confidence in the fbi that that trust have been broken? guest: not really. [laughter]
i think it was a political football depending on which side you are on. people who were critical of mr. comey for the handling of the hillary clinton emails saw him serving of the russia investigation. you can flip that reaction to like the party, who way he handled the clinton emails and that are critical of the russia investigation. i people do look at it through partisan eyes. if you watch mr. comey, you can see that he was struggling to do the right thing. you can disagree with his judgment in the end, but he really did agonize over doing the right thing. i think reading the news accounts this morning, it seems didn'tgh the president like the fact that he was on tv so much and that he wasn't saying there is no there there in the russia investigation. he was saying it was very much alive. that in the end prompted his firing.
i know they are saying they were considering it for the better part of a week, but still a very a man whofiring of had at 10 year contract with the government. need to testify about the status of the russia investigation at the time that he was fired? is that something that can and should happen? tv because heon was answering congressional requests. that is how the country operates. there are three coequal branches. he was entirely doing his job. in fact, in the hearing that he was an last week or so, there were many questions that he dodged and would not answer and said he would discuss more fully in private sessions. president sitting in the white house thinking he's on tv too much, this is the way our government operates. giveparency is what should the american public confidence
in the government. leadinghe person who is the investigation against you, whether you are guilty of anything or not, makes you look guilty. i think you have a lot of talk this morning about the white house and cover up -- in cover-up mode. host: what you make of the watergate analogy and the saturday night massacre analogy? guest: anyone alive in 1973 and 1974 and remotest that holst -- remembers that whole sequence of events, you see that similarity. presence and fire to attorney general's -- president nixon fired to attorney general's until they could run the watergate investigation. it was a lot more complicated back then, but the way that this president has acted in the abrupt firing of the acting attorney general sally yates and
now this behavior is very reminiscent of watergate. host: if you want to talk to eleanor clift, the phone lines are open. democrats -- (202) 748-8000. 1.publicans -- (202) 748-800 independents -- (202) 748-8002. we start with claudius. a. caller: i was wondering if coming was fired because he didn't -- host: didn't what? caller: didn't appear to be the good little soldier that trump in earlierm to be 2016 to now. if you were fired because he was seen now as a threat to the agenda trump has for the united
states. host: eleanor clift? guest: i think the president is very frustrated. he apparently believes there is no basis into looking into the , thesion or coordination word that mr. comey actually used, between his campaign allies and russia. he thinks it's a witchhunt. the fbiinks that by now director should have enough thisnce to just and investigation and say there is no there there. mr. comey has appeared on television because he has testified on capitol hill saying the investigation is ongoing. i think the president may also onangry over the fact that march 20 in testimony on capitol hill director comey said there was no evidence that president
obama had wiretapped trump tower. that is the tweet that president trump sent out that he and his aides had been furiously trying to defend ever since and have not found anybody willing to defend it. i think there are some frustration and personal animosity on president trump's part toward mr. comey. host: and president trump letter yesterday firing director " it ishe wrote, newntial that we find leadership for the fbi that restores public trust and confidence." mr. trump praised the move. he brought his reputation and brought it back, mr. trump said
that the rally that month. a lot of people want him to do the wrong thing could he did the right thing -- do the wrong thing. he did the right thing. he reversed course once again when mr. comey, just two days before the election, told congress that the new information in the clinton pro didn't change the fes determination not to prosecute. he says hillary clinton is guilty. changing thoughts about mr. comey. event he reacted to every through the prism of his own reelection chances. he thought it was great when hard oname down o clinton when in the end he exonerated her with no new evidence on the laptop in new york. he was saying that the fbi was reading the system. -- rigging the system. there no clear pattern of
thought here except what helps mr. trump personally. if you apply that same logic to the action he just took, there is reason to believe that moving mr. comey out of the way gives him reason to believe that he can either stall or potentially even shut down the russia investigation. innocent, hewere should be banging on the table, demanding a special counsel to immediately clear his name and he should be revealing his tax returns, which would tell us a lot about whether he borrowed money from russian banks and russian oligarchs. host: angela is in madison, illinois, democrat. good morning. caller: good morning. yes, i have a problem with the informed trump that he was not under investigation according to trump.
when he was in all the meetings, he would never say anything. allouldn't speak on it, but a sudden, he can tell trump he is not under investigation. he got the information he needed , so why not let him go? host: the president said it was occasionsarate that he was informed he was not under investigation. guest: i will look at the specific wording of those three separate occasions, whether he's a target of the investigation. i imagine that's not the case . the investigation is looking at ties of his campaign. the general flame -- general has been very well compromised in the investigation and the fact that the acting attorney general warned the white house that flynn was subject to blackmail and the white house did nothing for 18 days.
these are all appropriate questions to be probed. itself, if thent attorney general and the fbi director are not capable of overseeing the investigation, there are two congressional investigations. i think they have good intentions, but you are going to see this is now highly politicized on capitol hill. you have a lot of democrats calling for special counsel or a special investigative committee. somebody that could be seen as independent, and i think you are going to see some republicans joining the call as well. host: scott is in enhancer, republican. -- new hampshire, republican. caller: the democrats whine and cry about everything president trump does. no one takes liberals seriously. comey has had plenty of time to investigate trump. the facts are that they have no proof and want to drag this out
for years. at some point, liberals need to move on because this is just hurting the country and making us all look stupid. host: eleanor clift? guest: i think firing of a person leading the investigation does not clear anybody's reputation. host: do you think the cal ler said, he had plenty of time to investigate trump? do you think that's plenty of time? guest: look at how long the republicans took to investigate benghazi. host: maxwell, independent, good morning. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. for the subject is i feel like comey was used and dumped by trump. if you watch during the campaign and what comey did 11 days before the election, and afterward said there was nothing
emails, -- in the emails, the republicans were happy about it. the man achieved their goal and they dumped him. this is disheartening. that's my comment. guest: it is not credible on the part of the white house to say they are firing mr. comey because he mishandled the clinton female investigation, when in fact they praise the way was handle -- they praised the way was handle. if there was any dissatisfaction about the email investigation, it was that mr. comey chose not to indict hillary clinton. the election is over and to say that you are firing and attorney intoal more than 100 days your new administration for actions he took during the campaign, if the president would come in and have immediately fired mr. comey, people's jaws would've dropped come up with a would've been explainable. this is really not explainable.
host: the 2018 election has only begun. you really process -- recently profiled a group that is laying the groundwork for impeachment of president trump. what impact does the comey firing have on those progressive groups and the movement they are trying to create for 2018? guest: this is a rocket booster who want for activists to remove this president from office. and who want to take back the house or the senate. if you look at the number of seats up in the senate and where they are, the democrats are going to have a hard time taking back control of the senate. the house, which has seemed out of reach for so long, now suddenly seems plausible. to put as a goal flipping the control of the house and then you could actually have impeachment articles, i wrote in my article that it it's like cap
the -- catnip or political activists. host: the constitutional reasons why? guest: if you will have articles of impeachment filed, they have to start in the house. if you go back to the watergate analogy, the tuesday after the saturday night massacre, articles of impeachment were brought in the house of representatives, which was controlled then by democrats, but republicans soon joined in that effort. a republican-controlled house is going to be very reluctant to make any move toward impeaching this president. i'm not saying there's grounds there now, but i think they're well could be. control the house, the democrats need to get 24 seats. they have 23 republicans sitting in districts that hillary n.inton wo traditionally the party in power loses seats two years and. iunn.
democrats lost 54 seats while bill clinton was in the white house and democrats lost 63 in the house when barack obama faced his first midterm election. 24 seats should be doable. there is now such a backlash to this president because of the health care act. suddenly obamacare is very popular and people are genuinely frightened about what congress could do in remaking health care. the democrats really have some issues out there that are legitimate issues to argue that they should be put back into power. host: eleanor clift with us for about 10 more minutes, taking your calls and comments. jerry has been waiting in huntington beach, california. good morning. caller: a big fan for years. as far as this president goes, the biggest problem i have with them -- i've several problems with him -- but the main thing is that he lies consistently.
he is all over the place all the time. shouldn't the president set some sort of example for honesty and integrity? that aside, how does the rest of the world view this president and this country that we put somebody like that in office who has no inkling of honesty whatsoever and says whatever he feels like saying i whatever moment? guest: it has been noted that he lives in the moment. you're right. he says whatever he happens to think without much sense of history or his own personal history of what he said or the history of the country. i think it's very challenging and the news media has typically reacted with their fact checking and awarding pinocchios and all of that. that's really not enough. this president has a platform that no previous president had. it's a social media platform. i forget what the number is -- 26 million followers?
it's his own news channel. the fact that he has adopted the phrase fake news at whatever he doesn't like and he calls it fake news. what he did in the firing of mr. comey is not fake news. it is real news. what is amazing is that the white house seem to be taken aback at the firestorm of political reaction. it's as though again they have no sense of history. 1974 was not 200 years ago. it was fairly recent. people are going to react as though this is a major event, and it is a major event. host: mark on twitter wants to get your thoughts on andrew mccabe and whether he is independent. andrew mccabe takes over the fbi now as acting director after the firing of james comey. guest: mr. cumming and tim the us -- mr. comey named him the assistant director before he was fired. he was his deputy.
he has a certain amount of confidence in him. i'm sure he's going to do his best to keep the investigation intact. a new director will have to go before the senate and they can confirm him with 51 votes. they can do that without a single democrat. i think those republicans are going to be mindful that they are going to face the voters again sometime. who is install someone going to pledge to shut down the investigation into russia, i don't think that's going to pass muster. host: from the nbc news story on the background of andrew mccabe, who has been with the bureau for 20 years, joined in 1996 as a special agent working out of new york, focused on organized crime , promoted to a unit focusing on , and in 2016ism promoted to deputy director of the fbi. randy is in wisconsin, republican. good morning. caller: good morning, c-span.
i tell you what. it's an interesting show thanks to president trump and director, comey here. stopping what happened here. hillary clinton got caught lying on many things. she got caught with her own private server. everyone has to turn president trump into a liar. let's look back at what happened. was caught on a plane with president clinton. i believe that was on purpose so put all the stuff going on in comey's hands. comey gets on tv and spills everything that hillary had done and then he said that he's not going to bring charges. he's not going to bring charges. it should have been loretta lynch. host: under that scenario,
explain october 28 when come we sent a letter to congress, essentially reopening the investigation two weeks before the election. caller: that's right. comey did that to save face a little bit with the rest of the electorate because he knew how hillary clinton was and all the stuff that they had on her. now the democrats and the mainstream news media has to bring up this russia baloney because every president has always talked, even before, and trump especially -- he was a businessman. he's done business all over the world with this russia stuff. this is all set up. when president trump said he was going to drain the swamp, he's draining the swamp. you democrats and ms. clift here is one of the very strong ones. she brought up watergate. she brought up what has to happen in the house to impeach.
this is part of the problem. host: but give her a chance to respond. guest: i don't have to bring up any of those things. people are fired up enough on their own. the reason that mr. comey did not indict hillary clinton is they never found any intent to betray the country. you had to have intent in that case. his ruling was correct. because there was a much pressure from both sides, he felt obliged to go through his thinking. in retrospect, that may not have been wise, but that is no reason several months later to fire him as though mr. trump really has hillary clinton's best interests and heart. of hillarying clinton and her involvement here in the history of this, what do you think her role is going forward in the democratic party? guest: i think she understands that she has a platform and she is trying to figure out exactly
how to use it. she did when almost 3 million more popular votes than donald trump did. -- has nowe is now created an organization where to would be raising money dispense to organizations that she supports. two very proudly said that she is part of the resistance. -- she very proudly said that she is part of the resistance. she becomes kind of a cheerleader for democrats as they try to reassert themselves politically. in the book that she publishes in the fall, i think she will acknowledge her own struggle at being a charismatic politician in an age where you are competing against the reality star and her fundamental difficulty in articulating exactly why she wanted to be president and coming up with a compelling economic message. i think that was really a major flaw. host: let's head down to alabama where carl is waiting come a democrat.
-- carl is waiting, a democrat. , heer: the fbi director clearly was investigating the trump administration and the trucmp campaign. why and where did he disclosed the president trump that he was not being investigated? why would you give that kind of information even to the president if you are investigating him? guest: i don't think these were private conversations. host: it's a lot of the reporting tried to figure out what these three were. guest: exactly. often mr. trump would watch these hearings and he would pick up a phrase or two and he would choose to see that as exalted him. he would tweet something about it. i don't think he is a target of the fbi investigation. i think probably mr. comey said something to that effect, but they were looking -- they are
looking at the campaign ties. they are looking at the financial ties. you have other figures like the former campaign manager, paul manafort, and the shell corporations he created. mr. trump comes out and is still part of a financial empire. looking at that is part of what the fbi is doing. host: let's go to chicago, where linda's waiting. good morning. linda, are you with us? got to stick by your phone. ron and west chesterfield, new hampshire. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i love the show. host: appreciate it, ron. caller: i think director comey has been put into an incredibly difficult position by both the kratz and republicans over the -- the democrats and repentance
over the past for yea few years. -- republicans over the past years. i've been listening to be republicans calling up on this show and they are saying the democrats are mad because hillary clinton did not get in. i'm a democrat. i did not vote for hillary clinton. i actually spoke with hillary clinton at one of her town hall yatesed hillary clinton didn't get in. democrat. i didn't vote for hillary clinton. her face-to-face at the town hall meeting that i was voting for bernie sanders. both my wife and i. host: what did she say to you when you said that? caller: strictly enough, she said you may not support me, but i support you, which i thought was a very incredible response to my being angry about what happened in 2008. i have to tell you that donald trump draining the swamp -- he
is replacing the swamp with a cesspool. the same people who brought the economy down in 2008, he is hiring them to run the economy. it's stupid. host: ron, we are running out of time. want to give eleanor clift a chance to respond to your comments. guest: his campaign rhetoric and the way he stacked his ministration been arisen wants to each other. goldman sachs is well represented in the white house. billionaires are also well represented, which again is counter to what he said he would do. the health care plan that they are now trying to hustle through the congress hurts people in rural counties the most. those are the trump voters. host: i appreciate you bringing up the health care plan because we are talking about that and our next segment of "washington journal." eleanor
the american association for the advancement of science hosting a discussion shortly on the opoid crisis. the healthed and human services secretary tom price today in new speaking in concord at a listening session on the opoid that state. he concord monitor saying they're committed to solving the opoid crisis. c-span. rage here on >> good afternoon. i'm the interim director for the and r of science, policy, society programs. our lecture this afternoon on is opoid epidemic
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