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Attorney General Wants To Testify Tuesday; Trump And Trump Jr. Lash Back At James Comey; Trump To Be Sued By Washington D.C. And Maryland; A New Bubble For Tech?; British Prime Minister May Clings To Power. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired June 12, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the Russian investigation before he recused himself. Second, what safeguards are there now so that he doesn't interfere? Third, it says he was involved with the firing of Comey and the president said Comey was fired because of Russia. How does that fit in with his recusal? It doesn't seem to stand up well to me. Fourth, he's been involved in the selection of the new FBI director, did he talk about the Russian investigation with them?
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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Sessions' letter offering to testify before the Senate Intel Committee caught many off guard, including members of the committee. CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett joins us now live from Washington. Good morning. What's the latest?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Good morning, Christine. The attorney general's agreement to appear before that Senate Intel Committee did appear to catch members off guard over the weekend. But the big question is still unanswered. Will Sessions testify in public or behind closed doors?
Lawmakers have been clamoring for weeks to question him on everything from the firing of FBI Director James Comey to any undisclosed contacts that Sessions might have had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
While Sessions has recused himself from the broader FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, members of the Intel Committee say they still want to hear from Sessions and have him respond to some of Comey's revelations from last week.
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SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD (R), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The key things we've got to get obviously his side of the story related to Jim Comey, some of the conversations that Jim Comey had with the president, where Jeff Sessions was or was around to be able to get the rest of the story. Comey's statement to him of getting time alone with the
president, that interaction as well as his accusations about conversations that he might or might not have had with Russians prior to the election. So we want to be able to get his side of it, get all the facts out there.
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JARRETT: Now the chairman of the committee hasn't said yet whether the hearing will actually go forward tomorrow. But Democratic Senator Ron Wyden urged in a letter to his colleagues yesterday that if it does go forward, it should be open to the public. So that the American people can hear for themselves what the attorney general has to say.
ROMANS: All right, Laura Jarrett, thank you so much for that. We'll check in with you in just a few minutes. Lots to talk about on the legal front, on the Sessions front, on the AG --
DAVID BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot to get to, Laura Jarret's got a full plate.
Meanwhile, billionaire real estate mogul, reality TV star, president, now you can add a new title to Donald Trump's resume, and that is wedding crasher. A little downtime at his New Jersey golf club over the weekend, he dropped by the wedding reception of a couple from New Jersey.
He was not on the guest list but posed for pictures with the newlyweds and signed some "Make America great again" hats before moving on. "The New York Times" reports President Trump is a selling point for weddings at the club.
A brochure though saying if he was on-site for your big day he'll likely stop in and congratulate the happy couple that brochure has been discontinued. A clear conflict, but they took care of it.
ROMANS: I would say so.
All right, it's 3 minutes past the hour, President Trump escalating his defiant response to the former FBI Director James Comey's testimony that the president asked him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.
The president tweeting Sunday, "I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible, totally illegal, question mark, very cowardly."
I love to parse the punctuation. President's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. defending his dad on Fox News, but also possibly backing up Comey's claim the president discussed ending the investigation into Michael Flynn, listen.
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DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: When I hear the Flynn comment, you and I both know my father a long time, when he tells you to do something, guess what? There's no ambiguity in it. There's no, hey, I'm hoping. You and I are friends, I hope this happens but you've got to do your job. That's what he told Comey. For this guy as a politician to write a memo, oh, I felt threatened. He felt so threatened but he didn't do anything.
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BRIGGS: President Trump has also refused to say whether or not tapes exist of those private conversations with Comey. Now the president's lawyer saying, we may find out soon.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president said he's going to address the issue of the tapes, whether the tapes exist or not, next week. That's a decision that the president will make in consultation with his chief lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, and that the president said he will address it next week.
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BRIGGS: The response of the Republican Party has been mixed. One leading GOP senator saying the president should zip it.
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SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What the president did was inappropriate, but here's what's so frustrating for Republicans like me. You may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you just were quiet would clear you.
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BRIGGS: Lindsey Graham. Rejoining us now, let's bring back justice reporter, Laura Jarrett in Washington. Laura, great to have you back.
JARRETT: Nice to see you.
BRIGGS: Let's go back to what the president tweeted there. I want to ask you about totally illegal what the president's talking about, James Comey's leak, if you will.
[05:05:05]Some say it's not even a leak to begin with. Not a compromise, not a protected conversation. Is it illegal to do what James Comey did, getting those memos out to the media?
JARRETT: Well, no expert that I've talked to has said that this is illegal at all. Some have analogized it to a whistle-blower instead of a leaker. Mostly because it doesn't appear that anything that he disclosed was classified.
I think it was somewhat eyebrow-raising because it's not every day you that hear the FBI director admit to having disclosed something to a friend who then disclosed it to the media. But it is not illegal, according to any expert that I've ever spoken to.
ROMANS: Yes, totally illegal, question mark, he said in that tweet, very cowardly, he put in a single quote with an exclamation point. So maybe he is asking -- is he saying it's totally illegal?
BRIGGS: He asked, Laura Jarrett answered, no, it's not.
ROMANS: But meantime people around him, in his party, others, are saying, look, just stop talking. Stop talking about the Comey thing, move on. You heard from Dianne Feinstein, you know, release the tapes, Mr. President, what are you afraid of? So she's saying, let's get the tapes if there are tapes. Would you think there are tapes, Dave? What's your -- you don't think there's tapes?
ROMANS: If there are tapes, I mean, can those be subpoenaed by these committees that are doing these investigations do you know, Laura?
JARRETT: Absolutely. And not only can they be subpoenaed, but if there are tapes and we don't know if there are, but there are, he has an obligation to preserve those under the Presidential Records Act. So White House counsel really needs to be involved here, at least from everyone that I've spoken to, in past administrations.
This is a pretty serious issue. It's not something that you play around with, and it's certainly something that the special counsel, Bob Mueller, is going to want to get to the bottom of. Because it's critical to his investigation to match those tapes, if they exist, to what Comey has said in his contemporaneous memos.
ROMANS: It's so reality show-esque, though, isn't it, to say, maybe there's tapes. One of his attorneys saying, the president's going to reveal about the tapes next week, but we've seen the president in controversies before drag it out, whether tax reform --
BRIGGS: He is the next episode, that's how you do it in reality TV world. Let's ask you about Jeff Sessions and this testimony before the Senate Intel Committee. A lot of questions, is it open, is it closed? What will be asked? Why does it matter whether it's open or closed? What do you expect the big question?
JARRETT: Well, in his letter to lawmakers over the weekend, Sessions explained that the reason he's doing it in front of the Intel Committee is because this is the committee that sort of read in on all of the issues related to Russia, and it's the committee that can do this in a classified setting.
Should there be any information that he can't discuss publicly this would be the place to do it. He actually scrapped plans to go to the committees we thought he was going to on Tuesday, which was the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, to talk about his department's budget.
Instead he's going to send his deputy, Rod Rosenstein. So it appears as though even though he is recused from everything having to do with the FBI investigation of the Russia probe, that he does really want to confront what James Comey had to say.
Because obviously there were a lot of questions raised last week specifically having to do with those meetings with the president. To hear Comey tell it, he went to the attorney general and said, look, I'm uncomfortable with this, this is inappropriate, this can't happen.
And what are you going to do about it? Comey says Sessions did nothing. Sessions says the exact opposite. Sessions says I told him there are strict lines that delineate communications between the FBI and White House. So there are two very different stories they are playing out.
BRIGGS: But one can argue Jeff Sessions deserves a lot of credit here by saying, let's not go hide behind Appropriations, let's get it out there. Let's talk about this. Let's take it head-on. You wonder how happy the president is about his volunteering to go before the Senate Intel Committee.
He was already reportedly miffed about recusing himself from the Russia investigation. We haven't heard him directly say he has confidence in Jeff Sessions. You wonder how that will brew over the next few days.
ROMANS: At noon we're going to hear from the attorneys general for Maryland and D.C. about this lawsuit they are filing against the president. Accusing the president of violating anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting money from foreign governments in his hotels. What do we know about this lawsuit?
JARRETT: Yes, you guys will remember the very first lawsuit out of the gate against the president was this exact same thing. It all stems from the fact that he has retained an interest in his hotels. So when foreign governments or diplomats stay at those hotels, the question is whether they're doing it to curry favor with the president.
And if so, whether that is a violation of the emoluments clause in the Constitution. Now this is an escalation because this is the first time we've seen government actors sue the president. We've had private parties. We've had a D.C. bar that said this is unfair competition. But this is now an escalation coming from the attorney generals of Maryland and D.C.
[05:10:07]BRIGGS: In particular that Trump D.C. hotel of particular interest. They want the tax returns. That seems to be the underlying issue.
ROMANS: Maybe. All right, Laura, nice to see you. Come back in a few minutes, thanks.
All right, it's 10 minutes past the hour. Tech stocks have kept Wall Street's bulls running, but a recent plunge is fueling concerns that maybe a collapse is overdue. Five of the biggest names fell about 4 percent, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet, that's the parent company of Google.
And analysts noted their high values parallel the tech bubble of the early 2000s. For example, Amazon and Alphabet recently hit $1,000 per share, and the five have added $600 billion to the market this year, which is another concern.
Just like tech leaders in 2000 these companies have an outsize impact on stocks accounting for more than a third of the gains for the S&P 500 this year. However, today's tech stocks have a few advantages over companies in 2000.
Prices are cheaper, they have a lot more cash, in fact, Apple alone holds about $250 billion overseas. One of the problems in 2000 was that you have these very richly valued tech companies that didn't have any earnings. These companies we're talking about here, they've got earnings. They earn a lot of money.
BRIGGS: There are assets there. It's not all fictional wealth.
ROMANS: Whenever you start hearing people say tech bubble that starts to make people nervous.
BRIGGS: Absolutely. Ahead, British Prime Minister Theresa May also nervous. Clinging to power despite calls for her to resign. What does this mean for Brexit and for her future? We go live to London next.
BRIGGS: Critics are calling her dead woman walking. British Prime Minister Theresa May barely clinging to power after losing her majority in parliament during last week's stunning snap election in agreement to unite her conservative party with the minority party would keep her in power, but the deal has not yet materialized.
Let's go live to London and bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann. Oren, the prime minister facing calls to resign, any chance that happens?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, she's striking a defiant tone right now insisting that she won't resign. It looks like she'll manage to stay here in Downing Street for at least a few more weeks, but to do so she has had to make concessions.
She's gotten rid of two of her closest advisers. She hasn't had a major reshuffle in her cabinet, which means that many of her political rivals from within her party are staying right there very close to her.
They have so far said they will support her, but that is a sign of just how disastrous this snap election was. Had she had a better result, she'd have more room to maneuver. It seems rivals within her party realize that introducing more instability, more questions, more insecurity, would only damage the Conservative Party more.
They're supporting her now and that's because of what happens in one week. Brexit negotiations loom for Prime Minister Theresa May. She wanted to be in strong position of power in relevance to the E.U., more leverage, and more negotiating room.
Instead she finds herself in the exact opposite position, weaker in regards to the E.U. and less able to wiggle on the specific points. She's favored a hard Brexit, leaving the European single market.
And now it seems she may have to make even more concessions if she wants to move forward on Brexit, all of that is a sign of weakness. Dave, think about this, in two successive votes here, Brexit a year ago, now the snap election.
Now, two successive votes designed to introduce stability, the results have been the exact opposite. Introduced more instability, more questions, about what exactly the future of the U.K. is. That's not where Theresa May wants to be standing right now.
BRIGGS: The polls there, impossible to read as is the electorate. Oren Liebermann, thank you.
ROMANS: All right, today marks one year since the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Memorial services are scheduled across the country in what's being called Orlando United Day. The city is urging churches to ring their bells 49 times at noon in honor of the 49 people killed in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
BRIGGS: Lord Stanley's Cup staying in Pittsburgh. The Penguins wrapping up their second straight title in dramatic fashion. And who else is the MVP once again? Coy Wire, more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
BRIGGS: Lord Stanley Cup's staying in Pittsburgh. The Penguins back- to-back champs after a thriller in Nashville.
ROMANS: Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, there.
BRIGGS: A thriller by some standards, Coy, I don't know.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys. There are road games in pro sports and there are games that is just extend out into the road. Look at this. A sea of humanity in Nashville. An estimated 50,000 Predators fans shoulder to shoulder, packing Broadway.
Look at country star, Luke Bryan, on the rooftop concert, that's a party. Inside there was a party too. Faith Hill singing the national anthem. Her husband, Tim McGraw, waving the towels, getting the crowd hyped, almost as awesome as Brad Paisley waving the catfish, that thing's big as his head.
Former Nashville fan, a favorite spoiling the party, Patrick Borne Quist, traded to Pittsburgh just three years ago, broke the scoreless tie with just 95 seconds to go in regulation.
Penguins win 2-0, Sid Crosby hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup for Pittsburgh, the NHL's first back-to-back champs in 19 years. Crosby named the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP for the second straight year. A victory parade and a rally are in the works. We'll have our eye on that for you.
Team USA and Mexico go toe to toe in World Cup qualifying action last night. You want to find out how you fly 80,000 fans in Mexico City? Captain America, Michael Bradley, look at this. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Both of these teams battle to a 1-1 draw. It's only the third time in history that Team USA has ever earned a point at Azteca in World Cup qualifying. Dave, I know you want to talk Pittsburgh. How about those Penguins?
BRIGGS: Sidney Crosby. What can you say about this guy? Three Cups, two Conn Smythes, two gold medals, a world championship, a world junior. Is there anything he hasn't done, Coy?
WIRE: I heard he won a couple of senior citizen bingo matches. He's challenges kids to twister and dominating that. There's nothing this guy can't do. He's the Lebron James, he's the Tom Brady, unbelievable accomplishment for Crosby in the city of Pittsburgh. Absolutely fascinating. One interesting point, they have never won at home on a game seven, or won to secure the championship at home. Five Stanley Cup titles all on the road.
BRIGGS: That's right. Well, I was there last year for their cup win. That's a deserving city and a deserving superstar. Thank you, Coy.
ROMANS: Thanks, Coy.
All right, will Jeff Sessions testify in public tomorrow? That's the big question this morning. We're going to discuss what's at stake for the attorney general next.
BRIGGS: Attorney General Jeff Sessions facing mounting pressure from the left to testify publicly tomorrow before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
ROMANS: President Trump fighting back against James Comey again on Twitter. Will the Russia probe threaten to wreck another for the White House?
BRIGGS: And --