tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 11, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
allow anyone to interfere with the probe. >> the work of the men and women continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions, there has been no effort to imbreeze our television to date. simply put, you cannot stop the men and women of the fbi from doing the right thing and upholding the constitution. >> parting worlds, trying to reassure the fbi saying the president could fire him for any reason or no reason at all. the bureau still shaken. >> you're going to have people who like what the boss is doing, and people who don't, but i think he had the support of the rank and file. >> you have to ask yourself how much evidence do i need to support my claims at this point. when will i be believed or not believed at this point. >> and the presidential
connection. the fiery letter claiming comey told him three times he was not under investigation. >> why did the president feel it was necessary to include that bart in there? >> i spoke to him correctly, and he said those conversations did take play. >> do you have proof? >> i spoke directly to the president, i think that is a pretty good source. >> does the president have any proof of those conversations? >> that is something we'll have to ask him. >>. >> and good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we have heard from andrew mccabe for the first time the investigation into possible ties between the trump campaign and
the russian government will not be slowed down. our team has all of the new angles, peter alexander at the white house, kristin wellker on capitol hill. what you heard today from andrew mccabe, who has not been ruled out as a contender, to replace him. >> yes, you're not going to stop the fbi no matter the firing, he said a number of things here, this is a hearing about worldwide threats. but he was asked a lot. he said the push back on the white house claim that one of the reasons comcomey was fired he lost the respect of the rank and file agents. mcmccabe said that is not true, and they said they have adequate resources for the russia investigation, and that the moral at the fbi is good, they didn't like being dragged into the back and forth in the
election. he added some in the fbi didn't like the outcome of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and were vocal about it wblg but he sa , but he said that moral was good. >> let's play some of that back and forth. >> is it accurate that the rank and final no longer support director comey. >> no, sir, that is not accurate. i hold director comey in the highest regard. i have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and indegty, and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my life to work with him. i can tell you also that he enjoyed broad support within the fbi. and still does to this day. >> peter alexander, there was another exchange with senator
king, angus king, speaking to the director, let's play that so i can ask you about it. >> yesterday a white house press spokesman said this is one of the smallest things on the plate of the fbi, is that an accurate statement? >> is it a small investigation in relation to the other work you're doing. >> we consider it highly significant. >> so you would not characterize is as one of the small etest ths you're engaging in? >> i would not. >> the white house keeps minimalizing what it is all about. this is the new man at the fbi, a career man, and he is disputing all of that. >> i think you're exactly right, it is not just the white house, sarah huckabee sanders saying we need to put the russian investigation behind us. it was earlier this week the president said this russian
investigation was, in his words, a taxpayer funded charade. i think that we're hearing a very different perspective. what is notable as we go forward on this, a conversation with lester holt taking place here at the white house. the question is what will he do. will he support the idea of the investigation. he has the desire for more staff on this investigation, and would he have more support under the new acting director. >> and this hearing, they are questions mccabe if he would support an independent council, let's watch. >> that is our responsibility, ma'am. >> are you confident his files and devices have been secured in a way we can maintain whatever
information or evidence he has in connection with the investigation. >> yes, ma'am i am. >> it has been widely resourced and reported that director comey asked rosenstein for additional resources, and you believe you don't need them? >> i believe we're adequately resourced. >> and you will commit that you will come to us understanding that we will make you every effort to get you what you need. >> i absolutely will. >> i understand that you have not talked with the white house about the russian investigation, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> have you talked with jeff sessions? >> no, ma'am. >> have you talked with anyone other than rod rosenstein. >> i don't believe i have, not recently, obviously not in the last -- not since i have been in this position. >> what protections have been put in place to ensure the good men and women of the fbi
understand they will not be fired if they aggressively pursue this investigation. >> yes, ma'am. we have very active lines of communication with this team that is working on this issue. they are -- they have some exemplary and effective leaders they work directly for, and i'm confident that they understand and are confident in their position moving forward on this investigation, as my investigators, analysts, and staff are in everything we do every day. >> and you have no question about the commitment that the men and women of the fbi have to pursue their position, but do you agree to me that you will directly communicate in some way now that these occurrences have happened and director comey has been fired, will you commit to me that given this circumstance you will find a way to directly communicate with them to assure them they will not be fired for
aggressively pursuing this investigation. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. how do you believe we need to handle, to the extent that it exists, in the crisis of confidence of the leadership of the fbi because of the firing of director comey. >> i don't believe there is a crisis of confidence in the leadership of the fbi. i suppose that is self serving and i'm sorry for that. it was in the president's authority to take the steps he did. e understand that. we expect that he and the justice department will work to find a suitable replacement and a permanent director and we look forward to supporting whoever that person is whether they gym as an interim director or permanently selected. this organization in it's entirety will be completely committed to helping that person get off to a great start and do what they need to do. >> do you believe there will be
any pause in the investigation during this interim period where we have a number of people in the acting positions of authority. >> no, ma'am, that's my job right now to ensure that the men and women that work for the fbi stay focused on the threats and the issues that are are needs reassurance. >> a freshman senator ensuring that moral is good, that whistle-blowers are not punished. what about the president in his firing letter saying he had been reassured three times by james comey that he was not investigated by the fbi. >> i have been reaching out to white house officials today for better clarification on what the three occasions were. i'm sure it is a question that lester holt will pose to the question on this day.
we know chuck grassley, the senator from iowa today, said they he and dianne feinstein had been briefs, and in simple summary said there is nothing they have learned that would contradict that assertion by the president. a point that white house aides quickly distributed, but the question that remains unresolved is were these contacts initiated by the fbi director, or were these questions posed first by president trump to his fbi, or now former, fbi director at the time james come jy. >> lester holt has been interviewing the president this hour and it will be on later on on msnbc, nbc nightly news, and the "today" program. the timing of the previously
scheduled interview perfectly timed to get answers to a lot of questions coming up. kristin welker, you have been all over the hill, interviewed the vice president, and there is nervousness among a number of republicans, chairman burr not happy about the timing of the firing of james comey. others from republican leadership, despite what mitch mcconnell is doing in circling the wagons. >> that's right, we're hearing more republican voices today, andrea, join the chorus of those questioning the tiling of a timf this, senator marco rubio and ted cruz wanting to get to the bottom of the timing and saying it raises tough questions. that is certainly striking if is important to point out you have democrats calling for a special prosecutor.
that is certainly something that we continue to put to republicans and andrea, i have been speaking to senators who are on the intelligence committee to get their early reactions to mccabe's testimony, and we have been asking do they still have confidence in the fbi and mccabe and russia, and universally they said they don't have any reason to believe otherwise, but important to point out that senator widen said he doesn't want to make any sweeping or blanket statements at this time. he wants to let the sttestimony play itself out, so we're still hearing about a confidence in the fbi to move forward with this investigation, and mechacc to be at the helm, but we'll have to wait and see if there are any detractors at the end of this. >> and pete williams, let's talk about the pluses and minuses
from a congressional standpoint of a special or independent coun council. and they have a broader scope for issues that are not just prosecuting decisions. the congressional committees would lose all control. there is a lot of second guessing around that. >> the special council comes in and acts in the shoes of the deputy general in this case and has the full authority of a u.s. attorney. the members of congress, as opposed to the deputy attorney general, frankly that's not one that i looked into. i'm not sure what having a special council would mean and that they could no longer talk to the members of congress. we just don't know the answer.
>> they will be planted, and they would not have as much power. i wanted to talk about james comey. he wrote a farewell letter. the decision or the way it was executing, hoping you won't either, it is done and i will be fine, althoughly michigan you and the mission deeply. talk about what is going on in the bureau o. >> certainly he is right that the moral is high. they are shocked by this, they are shocked by what happened and frankly they believe the shabby way the director was treated, the way the word got to him. the fbi headquarters are, that he was down in l.a. at a event
trying to recruit people. they are very upset by this, by as you sense, there was a steely determination to get on with business, but when you have a tern over on top, or an uncertainty, that always casts a cloud over an organization. as for the director, he has been quiet about this. the letter apparently is the only thing he would l say, but i would not be surprised if in the coming weeks we don't begin to ha hear more from him. >> keen interest in that. thank you all so much. and lester holt's exclusive interview with president trump this hour has just concluded. here is your first look at that one-on-one at the white house. we'll have a portion at that interview coming up in moments. stay with us. make sure you tune into nbc
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also an nbc national security contributor. thank you for joining us. i was so struck by this, we get 22 peckturictures, distributed,p on the foreign minister website, what concerns would you have about that task photographer going in with his equipment, what could have been hidden in his camera? >> i think the thing to bear in mind that they're not an independent news, they're a tool of the russian state. and whoever was carrying it was an employee of the russian government and for all we know an employee of the russian intelligent services. i'm concerned the equipment brought in and potentially left behind, i hope they were
practicing good security and keeping an eye on what was going on. i would be concern there'd is a potential compromise there. that is the risk you run if you bring into the oval office common with electronic equipment that works for the russian government. >> no one goes into the embassies with any equipment at all of any sort, and you don't go in the white house room with anything. and the other thing is pr, the u.s. often releases a white house photo of such a meeting. a still photo, but within minutes, the russians posted all of these pecktures shictures no
showing the president layoughin it up, he is with a central figure in the investigation, and they are worried he has compromised the national security advisor. >> i will not pretend to be a public relations specialist, but it is striking that the president is shown yucking it up with a guy that is one of the central figures in the ongoing investigation that the fbi is conducting. >> and we have no way of confirming this right now, but he will be replaced after the g 20 summit where president pew tin is expected to met with president so they are very carefully announcing a lot of things and gaining from the u.s.
side. it is something they have always done in these meetings. let's talk about what the senate intelligence is doing at the treasury to get any kinds of records on possible financial crimes. carter page, paul manifort. what could they possibly learn from these records. it is an agency in the treasury department and their mission is to follow the money. they work with federal and state law enforcement to conduct investigations. they do that by obtaining records from u.s. banks and foreign banks. so as the investigation continues, my understanding is
that they are working with the fbi, trace the crimes. that is what they do for a living, and the records we collect can help illuminate the final trails. >> as the investigation continues, and we hear that big headline she not going to let the investigation be stalled in any way. thank you so much, david, great to see you. coming to us from california. lester holt interviewed the president in the hour, it just finished at the white house. stay with us right here on msnbc and more coming up on nbc nightly news tonight with lester. (vo) pro plan bright mind
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the attorney general, i director sessions and informed him they was dismissing him effectively as director of the fbi. >> do you think there is any way the fbi is being politicized. >> absolutely not. >> they did take a lot of time. the only other time an fbi has been fired. they are dismissing jeff sessions an ultimate may time sixth months earlier. he improperly builds the fbi for personal spending. this is not ancient history, the
president in the briefing room, they had a 61 page report. he resisted being fired. by the security guy after it was already on television. in the l.a. briefing, the agents at the command center. >> a little different right now, you look at what was in that ethics report. bill clinton gave him months. the key thing was that he announced it in a press room and was open to questioning by the free press. that has not happened with donald trump until today with our own lester holt. >> we're going to bring that to you momentarily. the tape that was done at the
white house. the investigation committee, they have twice a year hearings on what are the threat levels. they have a nice day. there is certainly a man on the spot, they give good testimony, and now rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. he is now in with the intelligence committee leaders, clearing up some of the mysteries including what did comey tell the president in a quite unusual way. was the president told he was not a target, that is something that senator grassly said, and
can we get confirmation that comey did ask for more resources which is certainly what we're hearing from capitol hill and other sources, but they asked for more resources just a few days early and he is fired. >> any historian would say they are trying to claim that this is what the president told lester, but if he is still trying to claim there was no connection, and his firing of comey. absolutely fascinating. >> you are read and studied emotions of what they aand do. and you see how angry he is, and how he did not anticipate the blow back from the fbi firing
thinking incorrectly they were highly critical of comey, would take offense, not just as a matter of hypocrisy, but at the way he was fired and the transparently false premise. and at the time, and since. >> he is not known for indignation of bad treatment of hillary clinton by the fb iraq. you can chalk it up to the fact that he was not in politics, but where is the staff. any other president that makes a misjudgment like that, they go to him and say mr. president, you don't want to hear this mess an, but if you do this you will
damage it very badly. the problem is you begin to conclude there may be no one or few people on the highest rung of the white house staff willing to tell the president. who on this white house staff has this kind of white house sprns in the past that will allow him or her to say that. >> let me just say lloyd cutler, look it up, thank you very much. >> indeed, everyone should google immediately, lloyd cutler. >> thank you so much. >> thank you andrea. >> exclusive interview with president trump has finished at the white house. we'll have the first exchanges from that wide ranking interview. we'll have more and we'll be right back. a pain. he also prescribed lyrica.
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mcglauflin. welcome to both. there is a bigger picture here, john, there is no problem with comey. no moral problem with the fbi towards comey. there was i differences of pin, but there was no moral with jim comey that justifies his firing. they don't seem to have their message together. >> i think that is right, i'm sure there was no major moral problem. i'm also confidence that he was well respected in the fbi and importantly in an intelligence agency. seeing as someone that would prote protected for the investigation, should they come upon something
extraordinarily sensitive, he would protect them and preserve their independence. i think they had that kind of confidence in him. >> are you confident having worked so closely, that the phones, the devices, the records, that comey assembles, the core of this is making it very clear, it is a big deal investigation, not some minor thing that they wrap up it is safeguarding? >> i am confident it can. people are very professional and committed. it matters to have a leader, so the professionals that are doing the investigation will, after some down time, this will be a disruption, don't misunderstand me, it will slow things down, perhaps that was the white house's intent, but it will make
a difference that the leader is gone. >> and you understand bureaucracies and everyone has their own careers at stake. if you keep seeing tweets from the white house, the president, saying this is a witch hunt, it's not important, why can't they wrap it up, get done with this probe, does it have a chippichi chilling effect on the career men and women going through a transition? >> i think that is an open question. my own sense is that the fbi professionals are likelier to take umbridge at that. that this is an attempt to interview with ongoing investigations and that they're protective of their autonomy.
it may have an effect on how courses and juries view the investigation, and i believe the to president's detriment, but i think it will make them more protective on the work they have ongoing. >> also a very unusual tweet from the u.s. ambassador to qatar saying increasingly difficult waking up to news from home knowingly wake up explaining our mission. >> well you know the truth of it is here, and i hate to say this, but the president does not have a lot of credit ability over seas, and it is embarrassing for those that have to represent
with the united states and around the world. i would say looking at the larger picture is he has not established moral authority. he is so frequently into falsehoods that can't be believed. i hate to say that, it is the only time i have ever said that, but at the end of the day you could still believe them and that is a major problem for our diploma diplomats. >> how long were you in the cia. >> 32 years. before leaving to become an academic. >> i guess that's what i am. >> part of what you are. an important part, we have a new south korean president election. china with a new role, a new
strategy from iran, and we have a lot of balls in the air. to is really and meeting of course down the road with putin in july. a big foreign policy agenda. >> a big foreign policy agenda, and the choices on domestic policy including the stiering of the chief are an opportunity cost of discussions that we are not having on national security. the important ones that you just mentioned, i add into it the economic basis for the president's budget, whether or not we should be increasing defense spending and by how much. we're not having those conversations because the president's domestic policy choices are sucking all of the air out of the broader national security space. the second is that it leaves
stunting for america's advers y adversari adversaries. and the third is, as john mclaughlin suggests is it is harder for them to stand next to the president, to support our initiatives, and say yes to what the president is asking when his behavior is less like the president of the netherlands and more like the president of turkey or russia. >> and a quick question, the president, the white house is considering mike rogers, the former house intell chair that left congress, as a possible replacement at fbi. >> i think mike rogers would be a good choice. one thing the president can do is choose someone who is broadly sported a supported and seen as a person
of integrity. he did it in a bipartisan way. one of the few times that it occurred in recent years. skpl ever. >> when you find someone that is not one sided as a good thing, rudy giuliani, fran townsend, how important is it with the job of fbi director, there have been terrible cases in history with bad choices at the fbi, but you had for nine years, the second
longest stenure was william webster. >> they need someone, in this job particularly, that is above the fray or politics. this in part because it was designed as a tenure to sprat it from politics, that is a signature aspect of being fbi corrector or cia. so judge webster really stands as the arch-typical. they need that type of person. >> in the white house briefing room right now is peter alexand alexander, do you think they are close to making a decision on fbi director? they don't want anything to
create a stumble at confirmation hearings? >> i think it was most striking when the announcement came. it was word of mouth as opposed to sending out an e-mail about it. in a time you if you an idea of how happen as argue it was. i think they want to do it carefully and dlib ratively. you have the acting abi director, if they appoint an fbi director that would not is it possible they appoint an interim director and they hold that position for an extended period of time. so as they try to come up with those names, we reached out to the white house for more specificity right now, but they're trying to get their
hands around a messaging war. and they have had conflicting messages, peter, take a look at scene spicer and sarah sanders and the reasons they're giving for why jim comey was fired. >> did anyone order them to do this review? >> i do know the decision to fire director comey was the president's and the president's alone. the president had been thinking about it since november. it was something he considered -- >> so, kristin wellker, you see the differing points as to who made that president rosenstein. to come up with a reason, write a letter, and then like that the
president just fired him. >> that is one of the key questions i have been putting to lawmakers throughout the day, what conflicting messages that we are hearing coming out of the white house? i have to tell you, that there is bipartisan concern about that, andrea, and there is a mounting call to get to the bottom of what specifically led the president to fire fbi director james comey and adding to those concerns, senator dianne feinstein today, releasing a statement saying that she has real problems with the momeemo the acting ag rosenstein released because she said this someone who is a 27-year professional. she was anticipating a memo that was heavily based in fact, and evidence and instead, according to senator feinstein, she felt like it was a cursory response to why they were firing the fbi director.
i can tell you senator harris has expressed concerns about that memo. i asked senator feinstein if she was making the case it was hastily written. she wasn't willing to go that far but those are among the questions that we are hearing asked today on capitol hill as they try to get to the bottom of what specifically happened. this is a real problem for the white house because of its messaging, but because you have so many republicans who are breaking ranks with the president and saying they want answers, that something doesn't seem quite right about how this was handled and the timing of when all of this came down, andrea. >> and rejoining us is michael berb losh as well. the firing, the entire sequence that kristen was describing, upsetting capitol hill. you get a sense you have leaders at the key committees, dianne feinstein, senator warner, senator burr, there is a
bipartisanship emerging on the senate side. they're looking for a way to approach this and to be constructive but they are determined not to let the russia hearing, the russia investigation, be compromised. >> that's exactly right. and i think most people have said the real issue here is can a president stop an investigation that may damage him by doing something like firing the fbi director. we haven't seen that happen before. i think the people who are operating properly and worried about our democratic system are moving in and saying, let's make sure that doesn't happen. >> john mclaughlin, you've been a witness many times before these committees. it's very challenging. did james comey mishandle even his testimony, the whole subject of was there collusion or not collusion, just his being as transparent as he was? >> you're right it's very
challenging. you can prepare but you still don't know exactly what's coming at you and it's live. so i think in my judgment, comey was right to be transparent about it. he was right to convey a sense of honesty i think. one could quarrel with his words, but i would rather he did that than not do it. >> and peter alexander, how unsettling is all of this for the white house? with the criticism that the chief of staff, the white house counsel, none of them anticipated just how dramatically this would go off as a bombshell in washington? >> i think you're right. what's striking we've heard this from officials inside the west wing saying there was no strategy session, no internal meeting, where this was discussed with the senior staff of the president, had as it was described, with a small number of individuals close to him, jared kushner, don mcgahn, vice president pence, all of them
agreed with his decision basically to fire james comey, but what's striking is how they were caught off guard by how big of a bombshell it was and received. they thought it would be simple to sort of push back on democrats who might be critical of this. obviously they had leaflets that they distributed about some of the comments, the criticisms by chuck schumer, the top democrat in the senate, but i think the white house, it's fair to say, was definitely caught off guard by this and notably one piece of information striking to me the following day, the day after the announcement was made during the morning meeting where the senior staff and president are there, they basically glanced over this issue altogether, comey's firing, and moved on to other topics. as one senior white house official describes it there's real frustration but anger inside the west wing about the handling of this. not so much that it was done, but how it was done. that they fear now ultimately could swamp this administration, this white house and its ability to focus on its agenda over the course of not just the several
weeks but perhaps months. >> john mcchertolaugh lin. >> one thing that strikes me having watched seven white houses i suppose over my time, this is a situation where if anyone should be fired, it probably should be the white house chief of staff. it's the chief of staff who has to have the situational awareness to coordinate all of this to anticipate the problems, to orchestrate what the white house says and what it does, and if the chief of staff was cut out of this, which is implied by some of what we're learnings the chief of staff should resign out of protest. you cannot run a white house this way. it's too important. >> michael, you've got the historical perspective on all of this. we've seen strong and weaker chiefs of staffs and chiefs of staff who have been replaced in crises the most notable in my time was, of course, don reagan. >> sure. but you also have to have a president that wants to lean on
his chief of staff and other advisors. if you're looking at national security and i think john would agree with this. >> yeah. >> jimmy carter came in, did not have that kind of experience. same with george w. bush. they appointed strong people and approached it from a position of modesty. they said this is something i don't know that much about, i want to learn, i want to lean on people who have had experience for years. you don't see that kind of modesty in donald trump to make the understatement of the day. >> i wouldn't put modesty and donald trump in the -- >> that's exactly right and should be especially on -- >> that's why he's so successful and won the presidency. >> the other argument he made is that i am successful because i get the best people and i listen to them. you don't see that here. >> kristen welker, what we haven't been talking about is their prime agenda, which is health care, to make way for tax cuts, and none of that domestically legislative agenda is getting forward as everyone is preoccupied with what's happened this week. >> andrea, let's think about
where we started this week. it was discussing health care. it was that a senate committee had met for a second time trying to move forward to effectively overhaul that bill that passed in the house that was so controversial. we were all digging into the weeds of that, where would the health care debate go next as it related to preexisting conditions and medicaid expansion. that was quickly overshadowed by all of this. and now, you have senators, having to answer all of these thorny questions about this decision that was made by president trump. why did he do it? the timing of it. and as you point out, andrea, it's not just health care. obviously the republicans were unsuccessful in their first attempt to get something done on health care. they're trying to make a second push at it. but what they're really looking toward as well, of course, is tax reform. where does that stand? the white house put forward that one-page bullet points of its tax proposal, but it hasn't really been able to move forward in the policy of it and all of
that, andrea, has effectively come to a halt while both sides of pennsylvania avenue deal with this crisis, andrea. >> right now, we have that first part of a lester holt interview, the president of the united states, let's watch. >> it has been in turmoil, you know that, i know that, everybody knows that. you take a look at the fbi, a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. it hasn't recovered from that. >> monday you met with the deputy attorney general ron rosenstein. >> right. >> did you ask for a recommendation? >> what i did is i was going to fire comey. my decision. it was not -- >> you made the decision before they came in the room? >> i was going to fire comey. there's no good time to do it, by the way. they -- >> because in your letter you said i have accepted their recommendations. you had already made the decision? >> i was going to fire regardless of recommendation. he made a recommendation. he's highly respected. very good guy. very smart guy.
the democrats like him. the republicans like him. he made a recommendation. but regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey. >> let me ask you about your termination letter to mr. comey. you write, i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation. why did you put that in there? >> because he told me that. i mean he told me that. >> he told you you weren't under investigation. >> i've heard that from others? was it in a phone call or did you meet face to face? >> i had dinner with him. he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. >> he asked for the dinner? >> dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner. and he wanted to stay on as the fbi head. and i said i'll consider it. we'll see what happens. but we had a very nice dinner. and at that time he told me you are not under investigation. >> that was -- >> which i knew anyway. >> first of all when you're under investigation you're given all sorts of documents and everything. i knew i wasn't under. i heard it was stated at the
committee at some committee level that it wasn't. >> that didn't come from him? >> during the phone call and another phone call he said it. he said it once at dinner and then said it twice during phone calls. >> did you call him? >> in one case i called him and one case he called me. >> did you ask him am i under investigation? >> i asked him, yes. i said if it's possible will you let me know, am i under investigation. he said you are not under investigation. >> but he's given sworn testimony that there is an ongoing investigation into the trump campaign and possible collusion with the russian government. you -- >> right. >> were the centerpiece of the trump campaign. was he being truthful -- >> i know i'm not under investigation. i'm not talking about campaigns or anything else. i'm not under investigation. >> and kristen welker and peter alexander still with us. you cover the president every day. let's get your immediate take. he says he's not under investigation. he wanted to fire