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EARLY START

Comey's Blockbuster Senate Testimony; What's Next in the Russia Investigation; Senate Wants Comey-Trump Tapes; Trump Feels "Completely" Vindicated; House Votes to Kill Dodd-Frank; May's U.K. Election Gamble Backfires; Accused NSA Leaker Pleads Not Guilty; U.S. Military Jet Shoots Down Drone in Syria; Wall Street Bull Keeps Running. Aired 3:30-4a ET

Aired June 9, 2017 - 03:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[03:30:32] JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever, the Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The road ahead for the Russia probe after former FBI Director James Comey directly contradicts President Trump's claims in sworn testimony. So what will Comey's statements changed?

Good morning. Welcome to "Early Start". I'm Boris Sanchez in for Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you this Friday morning. Always nice to have you here. I'm Christine Romans.

Thirty minutes past the hour, with James Comey's blockbuster testimony now in the history books. But the question becomes, what comes next in the Russia investigations and how will it affect the Senate probe or the work of the independent counsel Robert Mueller as he build the path for obstruction of justice case. And more on that in a moment.

SANCHEZ: But first, Comey's testimony, the fired FBI director laying out his meetings with President Trump in stunning new detail, all of it, under oath. He described the dramatic flare of the president's demand for loyalty and his apparent desire to influence the Russia probe. Comey accused the president of lying multiple times and Comey admitted that he leaks material from the memos he says he kept to protect himself and the bureau. Listen.

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COMEY: He asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. As I said, what was odd about that is we'd already talked twice about it by that point and he said I very much hope you'll stay, I hope you'll stay. I could be wrong but my common sense told me what's going on here is, there -- he is looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay on the job. I created records after conversations and I think I did it after each of our nine conversations. I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself but to defend the FBI. And was honestly concern that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I thought it really important to document.

And it's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader.

Those were lies, plain and simple. And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons by asking him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

I very carefully chose the words. And look I -- I've seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes.

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ROMANS: Lordy, I hope there are tapes. This morning we're hearing new information from the Capitol Hill sources. They say Comey revealed in a close door session that there may have been a third meeting between the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. To look at what's next now in this investigation, let's turn it over to CNN's Manu Raju On Capitol Hill.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning Christine and Boris. The question is, where did this go from here? A Democrat and -- a top Democrat and the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee do plan to meet with Bob Mueller, the special counsel next week to discuss how to move forward on their investigation and see where it conflicts with the special counsel's investigation.

And one thing that the Senate Intelligence Committee wants are any tapes communications. Comey's communication with President Trump. I had a chance to talk to Mark Warner, the top Democrat about that yesterday.

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MARK WARNER (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITEE: Well, it would be great if actually the president or one of his many spokespeople would at least acknowledge whether they exist or not. I mean, I am amazed that they have not even answered the press whether there is an existence of a secret taping system in the White House. I mean, we've seen in past history that secret taping systems used by presidents don't end up in a very good position.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: Now as you can see did not ruled out issuing a subpoena for those tapes but the White House still not saying whether or not there are any tapes or there are any device set up in the White House to tape communications between President Trump and anybody else. Well, that is a question. Investigators will continue to probe on Capitol Hill and the special counsel's office. Boris and Christine?

SANCHEZ: Our Manu, thank you. President Trump playing low in the wake of Comey's explosive testimony but his lawyers and allies have come out aggressively. They're all stating a message insisting the president feels completely vindicated and they're going after Comey's credibility.

[03:30:01] CNN's Sara Murray has more on the White House strategy and their response.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Boris and Christine. Well, amid at James Comey testimony, President Trump was restrained. He did not live tweet the event, he did not respond to reporters' questions later about what he thought about the testimony. But he did make sort of a veiled reference, a hint, if you will while speaking to the evangelicals, saying essentially, we're all under siege and insisting that he will keep fighting for them.

But for the most part, the president left it up through his allies and his special counsel, Marc Kasowitz to defend him. Now, Marc Kasowitz, he was the president's personal lawyer insisted that Comey's testimony vindicates Trump.

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MARC KASOWITZ, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone. Including, the President never suggested that that Mr. Comey, quote, let Flynn go. The President also never told Mr. Comey, quote, I need loyalty, I expect loyalty, close quote.

He never said it in form and he never said it in substance. Of course, the office of the president is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving the administration. And from before this president took office to this day it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been, and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.

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MURRAY: Now Kasowitz latched onto the part of Comey's testimony where he said that President Trump was not under investigation at various points when he was the FBI director. As for the White House, they also leap to the president's defense, insisting the president is not a liar. That is after Comey said he started to document his interactions with President Trump because he was worried the president would misrepresent those conversations. Back to you guys. ROMANS: All right, Sara Murray at the White House. The investigation continues though as President Trump's son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner is expected to meet with staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as this month. Now, it is not clear when he might meet with the actual committee members.

Federal investigators are looking into Kushner's handling of the president's voter data operation during the campaign and his relationship with fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. They're also exploring if and how Kushner attempted to set up the reported back channel to communicate with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

SANCHEZ: We have so much to discuss. So let's bring in CNN political analyst and Princeton historian, history professor, Julian Zelizer and Michael Moore, former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Gentleman, thank you so much for being up early for us.

Michael, let's start with you. I want you to listen to this exchange between Senator Dianne Feinstein and James Comey where she asked him about his response to what the president told him.

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SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: But why didn't you stop and say, Mr. President, this is wrong. I cannot discuss this with you.

COMEY: That is a great question. Maybe if I were stronger I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in. And the only thing I could think to say because I was replaying in my mind, because I could remember every word he said, I was playing in my mind, what should my response be?

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SANCHEZ: Michael, how big of a weakness is this in James Comey's testimony? The fact that he didn't stand up to the president when he saw something that he felt was inappropriate?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: I don't really think it's a weakness at all and I think it actually leaves some credibility to store. I want you to think about the scenario he was in, even in the Oval Office when the room was (inaudible) by the president so they (inaudible) down on Comey, and essentially suggest that he'd stop his investigation and also when he said, I'm grabbing dinner with it. And his topic did when asking him specifically for loyalty.

I think, you know, James Comey is that shrinking violet, and he certainly is a man of character and he has backbone and then he was FBI director at the time, I was U.S. attorney. So I think for fact it works with in his agency that he is not afraid to take the stand. But it just (inaudible) us back that this is a man who true probably was caught off guard with what he's been asked to do.

[03:40:01] It's unbelievable to think that the president of the United States would come in and suggest that you back off of an investigation that involve sort of the crux of our national security and that is our relationship and our communications with the Russian government (inaudible) Russian government. So, I think it leads us to the fact that he's a real man and you can place some stock in the fact he went through a real experience and this is what he said and how he dealt with it at the time. I mean, we see this all the time with victims of crimes, sometimes. So why don't you do this, why didn't you run, why don't you push back, why don't you fight? They're caught off guard, and that's what he was in that instance.

SANCHEZ: But Julian, this is something that Republicans are pouncing on this. And the language that was used by the president saying that he hopes that he would let Flynn go. Making the assertion that, that's not necessarily a direction for James Comey.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN'S POLITICAL ANALYST: Right they're making several arguments. One is that he didn't say stop the investigation. He suggests that stop in the investigation.

Two is this argument about why Comey didn't stand up to him which in some ways I agree, it was even worse, the testimony. If Comey is stunned and that frightened in that situation, given who Comey is, it actually makes the whole account even worse. And finally the new argument that he is the, you know, chief leaker of all of this information, that's how they're going after him.

I don't know if that will hold. He doesn't come across that way, I think for many Americans who are watching.

ROMANS: You know, it's interesting, we heard from Paul Ryan yesterday on this, we've heard from some Republicans who are just like come on, you know, I mean, he is an outsider, you voted for an outsider. You can't expect him, you know, to know how the Washington swamps work. Listen to what Paul Ryan said.

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REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president is new at this. He's new to government and so he probably wasn't steeped in the long- running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White House. He's just new to this.

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ROMANS: Does that fly Julian?

ZELIZER: No, that doesn't hold water. A, it's not even clear that's true. There's a lot of evidence from these conversations that the president understood what he was doing and did it over and over again in different settings. And at the same time, if it's true that he doesn't understand that there are these boundaries to his power and that you can't stop an investigation, that's also a problem.

So it's not an excuse to say you're an outsider and then, a president can do whatever they want. That's not how the system works. ROMANS: The other thing -- let's talk a little bit more about Comey having his friend leak his writings to the New York Times. That's something that Republicans are really jumping on too. They say look, this, you can't complain about leaks and then be a leaker as well.

So this really got a lot of attention. So let's listen to that exchange -- that moment from James Comey yesterday.

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COMEY: The president tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there's not tapes. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn't dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape. And my judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square.

And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. And so I asked a close friend of mine to do it.

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ROMANS: Michael Moore, that's a revealing moment of how the sausage gets made in Washington. And how all of the stakeholders and players, you know, make news with the unnamed sources. So that helped him or hurt him?

MOORE: No, I don't think it hurt him at all. I mean, at the time he did it, he'd been fired, he was essentially called into question by Trump coming out saying, well, James Comey better be telling the truth because there might be tapes. And all he did is gets a story out.

He -- I don't know of anything in the memo that was classified. In fact it was just his recounting of the meeting. And if he decided that one as a private citizen to talk to a reporter himself he could do that -- he could have done that. This is -- he just simply went through a third party.

I think it was a better move than himself talking to a reporter or passing any information on that way. But again -- I mean, there was -- he did leak classified information. I think it's interesting when you hear the spin doctors from the administration. Then will say, well he's, leak or leaking classified to (inaudible) information.

Well, a point to me something in the memo that was classified if you talk about it. But in fact, all he did is give a recount of the meeting because it had been already publically discussed by the press with the tweets about, you better tell the truth because there are tapes.

SANCHEZ: We've got another -- I don't know, about 50, 100 questions to go through but we thank you gentlemen for joining us this morning. We'll see you again in another half hour.

ROMANS: Julian Zelizer, Michael Moore. Thanks guys. House lawmakers are raising major banking rules of the Dodd-Frank, effectively gutting the Obama era Wall Street Reform law. The House passed the Financial Choice Act. That's what they call it. It undoes significant parts of Dodd-Frank.

We'll give you an example. It lets some financial institutions opt out of risk-taking restrictions. It offers a new way to deal with failing banks and weakens the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That's a watchdog for consumers and agency created under Dodd-Frank.

Also, the president can now fire that agency's director. Republicans criticized Dodd-Frank for causing anemic growth and strangling small business. Democrats say the bill to step backward. Two days before the financial crisis, the bill passed with only Republican support. It now heads to the Senate where it won't likely pass in its current form.

[03:45:03] And we are told it could take months for them to hammer out, you know, to hammer out something that the Senate and the House can agree on.

SANCHEZ: From the U.S. to Europe, Britain in political turmoil. What surprise election results mean for Trump ally, Theresa May coming up, next.

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[03:48:59] SANCHEZ: An earthquake in British politics as Prime Minister Theresa May's conservative loses majority control. May suffering a stunning election setback that defied all the polls. She's now also in jeopardy of losing her job.

There are already calls for May to step down. The Conservative party hemorrhaging seats in Thursday's snap election. So what does this mean for Britain and for relations with the United States? Let's go live to London, bringing CNN's Nina dos Santos. Nina, the reaction especially in the markets has been swift.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has, yes. If you're a traveler from the United States heading over to Britain, the good news is that your dollars will buy you more pounds. It will be cheaper to come here, and it was already cheaper to come here after the Brexit right after the year so it goes. So the pound really feeling the immediate reaction in the currency markets.

And if you look at some of the reaction in the newspapers, this tells the story of the day here, definite shock defeat for Theresa May here. Although that party did manage to win the most seats in this election, she gambled big time and she lost because she lost the majority. That's reflected on the front page of the center right newspaper.

[03:50:03] It says, "May's big gamble had failed." And also the center left newspaper, that is often more pro the Labour Party, "The Guardian", as you can see the exit post shock for May there. And what they're pointing out here is how the Labour Party managed to capitalize on a more positive campaign message, whereas Theresa May (inaudible) stop to Brexit as a key issue whereas voters wanted to talk about other things.

You know, these election topics that come back time and time again, whichever side of the Atlantic you're on, health care, the economy, inauguration and so and so forth as well as actually climate change. And that brings me the whole things they're going to change with the United States. At the moment it seems as though the Conservative Party do have enough votes not to govern on their own but if they partner up with the Northern Irish party, they might just have enough to govern and stay inside the House of Parliament.

Not said and done that Theresa may will become the next prime minister and of course as we know, she struck up a good relationship with Donald Trump. So the big question is, who will replace her perhaps inside the Conservative Party from here on, or will we see another government? Again, this country will have to reestablish its relationships with the U.S. because of course it's losing its biggest trading partner two years after Brexit. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Lot of uncertainly now as a result of this election. Nina dos Santos reporting from London, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, despite the surprise U.K. election results and Comey's testimony, it looks like nothing can stop the bulls on Wall Street. I'm going to check on how the stocks reacting on CNNMoney stream next.

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[03:55:06] ROMANS: A not guilty plea from Reality Leigh Winner, the 25-year-old and as a contractor accused of leaking classified documents. A federal judge in Georgia denying bail for the former air force linguist. Winner is accused of using a thumb drive to download and illegally transmit top secret information about the Russian hacking efforts. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Prosecutors are not trying to link her to terrorism but they she wrote in a notebook that she wanted to quote, burn the White House down.

SANCHEZ: A U.S. fighter jet shot down a drone that fired on coalition troops patrolling in Southern Syria. Official says it's the first time that pro-Syrian regime forces have attacked that U.S.-led coalition. The F-15 aircraft took out the Iranian-made drone after it dropped one of several weapons it was carrying near position where coalition personnel are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

Now, the mild weather is in a give way to a big warmup --

ROMANS: Finally.

SANCHEZ: -- pretty soon. Yes, meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now with the weekend forecast. Summer is here finally.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning Boris and Christine. It's almost like Mother Nature put a blow torch on the mid section of the U.S. because we have a lot of heat building then across this area. And that's going to spread to the Midwest by this weekend. Heat is going to build for places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Temperatures soaring to five to 15 degrees above normal. And we even see some of that heat starting to move eastward as well. More on that in a second. Look at the seven-day forecast for Chicago, middle 90's by Sunday and Monday. Get those air conditioners checked, make sure they're ready for this summertime weather.

And we talked about how it's going to heat up along the East Coast as well. You have to wait, basically towards the first parts of next week, but you can see how the mercury and the thermometer is going to climb for D.C. as well as the Big Apple. Have a chance to severe weather today across North Dakota. Keep an eye to the sky, damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes are possibility.

Here's a broader picture. We have sunshine dominating this south, we have a few scattered showers near Miami, few thunderstorms for Central Texas and light rain showers for the Pacific Northwest. Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Derek, thank you. That's to your weather. Here is your money this morning. Despite the turmoil of the British election and the Comey testimony, it looks like nothing can stop the Bulls. Global markets of US features higher today after Wall Street finished up. The Dow even hit a record high during Comey's Senate appearance.

Why? Well, it didn't convince investors it would delay the things they care about. What do they care about? Tax reform and Wall Street is willing to wait for it.

Tech is also having a breakout year. The NASDAQ is at record highs and more than a third of the gains for the SNP500 are from these five tech stocks. Another of the question on Wall Street, will the Fed raise interest rate soon? The answer is overwhelmingly, yes.

In fact, 96 percent investors think it will happen at next week's Fed meeting. That will be the fourth hike since the financial crisis. So what would that mean for your wallet? Higher, borrowing rates on things like auto loans, credit cards, mortgages, right now, mortgage rates are still a historic loads. They're averaging less than four percent nationwide.

Verizon's deal with Yahoo will close next week and layoff 2,100 employees in the process. Yahoo shareholders approved with a $4.5 billion deal. Verizon plans to merged Yahoo with AOL to from a new digital company. That company will shed 15 percent of the combined employees. Yahoo was already endured many rounds of job cuts, firing about 46 percent of its work force in the past five years. Boris.

SANCHEZ: A lot of news going on this week but the biggest is clouding everything else. That's right. Early Start continues right now.

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COMEY: It's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.

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SANCHEZ: What is next for the Russia probe after former FBI director James Comey talks about his interaction with the President Trump and his firing. Did his testimony change anything?

Good morning and welcome to Early Start, I'm Boris Sanchez in for Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Nice to have you along this morning. It was nice to see you. I'm Christine Romans, it's Friday, June 9th. It is 4:00 a.m. exactly in the East folks.

With James Comey's blockbuster testimony now in the history books, the big question becomes, what comes next in the Russia investigation? How will it affect the Senate probe or the work of the independent counsel Robert Mueller a he builds a possible obstruction of justice case. More on that in a moment.

SANCHEZ: But first, Comey's explosive testimony, the fired FBI director laying out his meetings with President Trump in stunning new detail all of it under oath. He described with dramatic flare the President's demand for loyalty and his apparent desire to influence the Russia probe. Comey accused the President of lying multiple times and Comey admitted that he leaked material from the memos that he says he kept to protect himself and the bureau. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: He asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. As I said, what was odd about that is we'd already talked twice about it by that point and he said I very much hope you'll stay, I hope you'll stay. I could be wrong but my common sense told me what's going on here is, there -- he is looking to get something in --