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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Dems Furious after Showdown with FBI Director; Interview with Congressman Tim Walz; New Info About Ex-Spy Behind Controversial Trump Memos; Michelle Obama: From Reluctant Politician to Dems' Rock Star; Senate to Investigate Possible Trump-Russia Ties; Flynn Calls Russian Official Same Day Sanctions Announced; Rep. John Lewis: Trump is Not a Legitimate President; Dems Furious After Showdown with FBI Director; Source: Ex-DNC Chair Confronts Comey About DNC Hacking. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 13, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST OF ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: OutFront next, breaking news. New details tonight about contact between the top Donald Trump adviser and a Russian official, a phone call on the same day the U.S. punished Russia for cyber-attacks. Was it coincidence?
Plus a fight breaks out between democrats and the FBI director. The congressman inside that room my guest tonight. And the spy who wrote the report about Russian claims of having compromising information on Trump. Who is Chris Steele? Let's go OutFront.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, breaking news. The senate intelligence committee announcing an investigation into possible contacts between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. The committee says it will issue subpoenas if necessary to force members of Trump's team to testify. At the same time, new information tonight on a phone call between Donald Trump's national security advisor and a top Russian official.
We have learned that Michael Flynn spoke with Russia's ambassador to the United States on the exact same day that President Obama was announcing new sanctions in retaliation for Russian hacking. Flynn's close ties to Russia have been controversial from the moment Trump brought him on board. Russia of course just one area where Trump's views appear to clearly contradict those of his cabinet nominees as they testify before congress this week. Today though, Trump telling reporters he's not worried about that at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: That will all get straightened out. We want them to be themselves. And I told them, be yourselves and say what you want to say. Don't worry about me. And I'm going to do the right thing, whatever it is, I may be right, and they may be right, but I said be yourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Phil Mattingly begins our coverage tonight, he's OutFront on Capitol Hill. And Phil, this investigation from the senate obviously a very big development. What are they going to focus on, specifically?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right, Erin. And it's a reversal of sorts for this committee. 24 hours ago, at least publicly, there were no plans for them to delve into this. The chairman at the time Richard Burris said he doesn't want to get involved in political firestorms. Well, he's in one now and this committee investigation is a very big deal. And here's why. They will be reviewing as you noted with subpoena power the intelligence assessment about Russian meddling in the U.S. Election.
Obviously, we've all seen the declassified version. The classified version that CNN has reported on over and over again has a lot more detail in it. So, the committee will be looking into that, talking to the intelligence officials that were behind that. But perhaps more importantly they will be delving directly into whether or not there were contacts between Russian intelligence, Russian middlemen, and the political campaigns. So that -- well, it's kind of vaguely worded and according to the committee, that is clearly directed at the President- elect's campaign team.
They also said they will be doing interviews and hearings. Those interviews will be both with the outgoing administration, the Obama administration, but also according to the committee, the incoming administration. Those interviews, if they are not complied with, that's where the subpoena power comes in to compel those interviews. That's a very big deal, Erin as we've been trying to get more firm and cheer answers about what all happened here.
Clearly when you've talked to democrats and republicans who have been involved in this process, been involved with the assessment that we've all heard about, they believe there's more there, there need to be more answers, this investigation, this inquiry should lead to just that, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil. And one thing that this panel is going to be looking at, the newly discovered phone call between Trump's national security advisor and the Russian ambassador. Jim Sciutto is OutFront.
MICHAEL FLYNN, DONALD TRUMP'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Great transition.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, confirmation that President-elect Trump's national security adviser, General Michael Flynn was in contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The very same day the Obama administration announced retaliation for Russia's unprecedented cyber- attack of the 2016 election. In late December the Trump transition team says that Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak exchanged a series of text messages and a phone call.
On Christmas Day, December 25th, Flynn texted the Russian ambassador, "I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to touching base with you and working with you and I wish you all the best. The ambassador texted him back, wishing him a Merry Christmas in return. Then on December 28th, the Russian ambassador texted Flynn again and said, "I'd like to give you a call. May I?" That phone call happened on December 29th, the same day the White House announced sanctions on Russia and ordered some 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country immediately.
Trump's transition team says the men did not discuss sanctions on Russia. Instead, their conversation was focused on arranging a call between Russian president Vladimir Putin and President-elect Trump after the inauguration. Today the White House says its reaction depends.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You could imagine why these kinds of -- why these kinds of interactions may take place. Why the incoming national security advisor may have the need to contact the representative of a foreign government that's based here in Washington, D.C. it depends on what they discussed, it depends on what he said in terms of whether or not we would have significant objections about those conversations.
SCIUTTO: Flynn's ties to Russia have been scrutinized since the moment Trump tapped him to be his closest adviser on national security. Flynn was seated right next to President Putin at a Russian media gala in December of 2015 and previously had a paid speaking gig with Russia Today, the Kremlin's TV network, but before taking on a formal campaign role. Today Trump denied claims that Russia has compromising information on him and continued to accuse the intelligence chiefs of leaking the allegations.
He tweeted, "It was probably released by intelligence, in quotes, even knowing there is no proof and never will be." A transition official tells CNN that there is not frequent contact between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador the U.S. And his key detail as well. They say on that December 29th, phone call they did not, according to the transition, discuss those new sanctions but on the very same day the Obama administration was imposing on Russia. Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. OutFront now, democratic Senator Chris Coons, sits on both the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees. And Senator, good to have you with me tonight. You just heard Jim, the Trump team says the sanctions weren't discussed even though obviously this phone call happened on the same day they were getting intense covers. There significant news development. They have this call. Do you believe them?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, Erin, it does strain credibility that General Mike Flynn needed to place a call to Russia's ambassador to the United Nations more than three weeks before President-elect Trump's inauguration. After January 20th, once Trump becomes president, General Flynn is free to have any contacts he chooses with foreign governments and their ambassadors. But it seems very suspicious that three weeks in advance he needed to have a call in order to schedule a call that wouldn't happen for weeks hence.
I'll also say that the development of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the republican chairman and democratic ranking agreeing to begin an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia's government following the briefing that all senators received Thursday afternoon is a significant development.
BURNETT: I mean, extremely significant. And I want to ask you about what the repercussions could be here because when we take just this phone call between Michael Flynn and the ambassador, between General Flynn and the ambassador, if it turns out that Russian policy was discussed on that call, the Washington Post which first broke this story, says that would violate the Logan Act, which bars U.S. Citizens from correspondence, I'm quoting on exactly what it does, intending to influence a foreign government about disputes with the United States. Right?
Only the president and the administration is supposed to be making Russian policy. So was talking about that it would violate that, would you enforce that act if you determined that they had talked about policy on that call?
COONS: Well, Erin, this is just the latest in the whole series of developments that raise real questions about the gentleman that President-elect Trump has nominated to be Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who's received a medal of friendship from Vladimir Putin. As you just heard, General Mike Kelly, who was on the payroll of R.T., which is the Moscow Propaganda Tool. I do think this raises real questions. The Logan Act has been rarely invoked in our history but it lays down a clear line that we only have one president at a time and that American leaders and Americans citizens shouldn't be engaging in their own foreign policy. And this would be a very serious matter. We would be compel -- we would be compelled to investigate further.
BURNETT: OK. Now, you mentioned Rex Tillerson and you have been involved in the confirmation hearings for two of Trump's cabinet nominees, Rex Tillerson on of them, Jeff Sessions, his attorney general is the other. But I want to ask you a couple questions about Rex Tillerson because there are areas where Rex Tillerson differs very greatly from what Donald Trump said during the campaign. Let me play some of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: We're not likely to ever be friends.
TRUMP: We will also immediately stop the job killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.
TILLERSON: I do not oppose TPP.
TRUMP: The people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.
TILLERSON: Taking of Crimea was an act of force. They didn't just volunteer themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: When you hear those differences, do you feel good because Rex Tillerson may be more agreeable with things you agree with or are you concerned that they are not on the same page?
COONS: Well, Erin, I had an hour and a half meeting with Rex Tillerson two weeks ago, and I came in with a whole series of tough questions for him about his views of Putin -- Putin's aggression in Ukraine, his responsibility for war crimes in Syria, the importance of NATO, a whole series of different issues. And in that private meeting Rex Tillerson was very forceful, very forthcoming about areas where he differs from President-elect Donald Trump.
At the end of our meeting I said to him, I would repeat those same questions in an open hearing. And on many of them he gave similarly important and distinct answers from what Trump said in the course of his campaign. There were other lines of questioning from Senator Rubio, Senator Menendez and myself on human rights and sanctions where Rex Tillerson really didn't acquit himself very well, where he didn't give clear or strong answers. And so, I frankly think his confirmation at this point is in some doubt.
BURNETT: So, when you say in some doubt, I mean, are you going to vote for him? Are you -- are you really leaning no when you use the words "In some doubt?"
COONS: Um, Erin, this was a nine-hour confirmation hearing and it happened the same day as the Sessions hearing, the second day of the Sessions hearing. I've got the entire transcript. I'm going over it closely this weekend. I'm going to consult with some of my colleagues, both democrat and republican, before making up my mind next week on how to vote for Rex Tillerson.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator, I very much appreciate your time tonight. Obviously a very big decision on your hands and those of your colleagues. Thank you.
COONS: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, not legitimate. That is what one top congressman is saying tonight about the President-elect Donald Trump. That's a big thing to say. Why?
Plus house democrats fuming after a confidential briefing with FBI director James Comey. There was a major incident and we're going to hear from one congressman who was there.
And Joe Biden calls Michelle Obama the finest first lady in history. A look tonight at how she changed the game.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I specifically did not read other first lady's books because I didn't want to be influenced by how they defined the role.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Breaking news, a top democratic congress and civil rights icon says President-elect Donald Trump is not a legitimate president. Congressman John Lewis making the statement as he reveal he will skip next week's inauguration.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND: I don't see the President-elect Trump as a legitimate president.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: You do not consider him a legitimate president. Why is that?
CUMMINGS: I think the Russians participated in having this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
BURNETT: OutFront now, the former Reagan White House Political Director, Jeffrey Land and former Clinton White House Aide, Keith Boykin. Jeffrey, let me start with you. Congressman Lewis wants to make a point, he wants to say, President-elect not legitimate. I think the Russians participated helping him win the White House. What do you say?
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it makes me simultaneously sad and amused. Sad because as you mentioned he is a genuine icon. He's a hero. And the irony can't be escaped. When John Lewis was protesting for civil rights and marching and being beaten bloody, he was being beaten bloody because there were people in this country that didn't consider either he or civil rights legitimate.
And for him to take that side of the argument and bring it to Trump I think is unfortunate. Amusing because to be perfectly candid whether it's the Russians -- I mean, some of these folks are blaming the Russians, Hillary Clinton apparently herself it's Director Comey. I understand some democrats walked out of a house briefing by Director Comey today.
BURNETT: Yes. Today.
LORD: I mean, the fact of the matter is is because people in this country were unhappy. That's why we have elections is to get the sentiment of the people. It had nothing to do with the Russians, it had nothng to with Director Comey.
BURNETT: Well, so Keith, on this issue, Congressman Lewis is not the only democrat to question Trump's legitimacy, by the way, he's not the only one who's going to be skipping the inauguration. Hillary Clinton will be at that inauguration but her former Press Secretary Brian Fallon said this on CNN earlier today.
BRIAN FALLON, FORNER CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: Every day there are new developments, new shoe dropping, so to speak, that call into question the legitimacy of his win. I think Donald Trump is just trying to cling to whatever legitimacy still is in effect here.
BURNETT: So, Keith, are democrats crossing a line? I mean, this is just a week before the United States of America has a new president take an oath of office in a peaceful transition of power from one to the other. You have someone from the Clinton campaign, you have a civil rights icon and a very notable congressman saying it's -- he's not legitimate. Is this crossing a line?
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: No. I don't think so. I think Brian Fallon's comments were probably in response to Donald Trump this morning getting on Twitter and deciding to relitigate the presidential election by attacking Hillary Clinton two months after the election. As far as John Lewis, he is a civil rights hero who has already paid his dues in blood, sweat, and tears. And when he was protesting, when he was beaten bloody at the Selma march in Alabama in 1965, it was because he was protesting against the bullies and dictates who were leading -- using the color of law in order to violate the civil rights of Americans, African-Americans in particular.
I don't think that's inconsistent with what he's standing for right now. He's standing for voting rights, he's standing for equality, and Donald Trump is not a legitimate -- legitimately elected president if Russia intervened in the election and we won't know until there's a full investigation about that.
BURNETT: Well, they never going to know though if that moved the election results. You're never going to know that, Keith.
BOYKIN: Well, we will -- we may never know if it moved the results or what we -- what Donald Trump can do if he wants to remove the cloud that's over his president or potential presidency, one, he could release his tax returns so we know if there's any sort of connections to Russia. Two, and this is impoprant, two, he could apologize for undermining and delegitimizing President Obama for five years. And three, it would be nice if Donald Trump would finally just sort of stand up and be presidential for a change and not just -- not just be on Twitter and attack everybody all the time.
BURNETT: So let me -- let me just -- on this point though you brought up the birther issue, right? And Jeff, this is court away, I mean, so if you listen to Trump advisers over the past week and Trump himself on Twitter, as Keith points out. They are obsessed with this issue of people trying to delegitimize him. He's clearly obsessed with it. Let me just give you a few of them in the past couple days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: I really believe there are those out there that are trying to just -- there are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: There's been such a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election.
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The reality of all of this and all these players that are s-- that are spinning these reports are doing it for a political purpose, which is to delegitimize the outcome of the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is there something ironic in the fact that they are now saying this when it was Donald Trump who led the effort to delegitimize Barack Obama's presidency by saying he was not born in the United States and then doing this for years and years and years?
LORD: A feeling of payback here from democrats. But I should -- I should point out the obvious here.
BOYKIN: Wait, is that an answer to the question?
LORD: Whatever Donald Trump -- whatever Donald Trump said about President Obama didn't affect the fact that the president was elected twice. And the second time he did fairly well against Mitt Romney. So, you know, you know, this had absolutely no effect. And I -- and I think that what's going to happen if they keep going down this road and I have no reason to believe they won't, is that this will eventually backfire and help President Trump.
BOYKIN: Jeffrey, Donald Trump has the lowest transition approval ratings of any president in recorded history right now. He lost the popular election by 2.8 million votes, and he has personally delegitimized the election himself. He got on Twitter and said that there were millions of people who cast illegal ballots in the election that he won. How is this a valid election that he himself is questioning the validity of it? --
LORD: No. I this he is saying -
BOYKIN: There is no consistency with this guy.
LORD: I think they were saying they were voting against him, Keith, not for him.
BURNETT: We'll leave it there.
BOYKIN: So if people who voted against him were illegitimate but everybody else was legitimate, that's not -- that's not the profile of courage that you would expect from a President of the United States.
BURNETT: And had a lot of sore losing on both sides of this all the way through. Thank you both very much.
And next, breaking news, a fight breaks out between democrats and the FBI Director James Comey during a confidential briefing. I'm going to talk to a congressman in the room who says his confidence in Comey is shaken.
Plus, the former spy said to be behind the report about Russian claims of compromising information on Trump. So, who is Chris Steele?
BURNETT: Breaking news, a showdown between house democrats and FBI Director James Comey erupting today. It was a contentious back and forth and it took place during a confidential briefing about Russia's interference in the U.S. Election. CNN learning tonight, the Democrats actually left the meeting furious after Congresswoman Debby Wasserman Schultz confronted about the hacking that obviously forced her to resign as Chair of the DNC.
Pamela Brown is OutFront live in Washington. And I mean, Pamela, pretty amazing what happened today. What are you learning? It was confidential but you have sources who are telling you what happened there.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's tight. Apparently, this all happened toward the end of this classified briefing. We've learn from a lawmaker inside that room that Wasserman Schultz confronted the FBI Director about the FBI not reaching out to her directly or any of the committee senior leadership when it became aware of the hacks into the DNC that ultimately led to her resignation. And Director Comey apparently pushed back in an exchange that lasted nearly ten minutes and defended the FBI's response.
Wasserman Schultz released a statement tonight saying that the FBI Director must clarify for the American people, that the agency's policies for investigating and alerting those who are hacked by foreign governments. And in this tense exchange comes to be growing pressure on Director Comey to step down. FBI Director James Comey is facing renewed scrutiny on both side of the aisle. Today house democrats left a confidential briefing with Comey on Russia hacking fuming.
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: It's classified and we can't tell you anything. All I can tell you is the FBI director has no credibility.
BROWN: Also today the republican leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board says, "The best service Mr. Comey could render his country now is to resign," calling him too political for a position that's supposed to be apolitical. This while the Department of Justice Inspector General investigates Comey's actions before the election. His decision to hold an unprecedented press conference last July closing the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails and then breaking with DOJ policy by sending a letter just before the election alerting congress he was renewing a probe into her private server.
Democrats mad about his decision not to sign onto an October letter from the intelligence community saying Russia was behind the election hacks and refusal to speak publicly about ongoing investigations and to people formerly connected to the Trump campaign and Russia.
SEN. ANGUS KING, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MAINE: He didn't say one way or another whether even there's an investigation under way.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Correct. I don't -- especially in a public forum we never confirm or deny a pending investigation. I'm not saying --
KING: The irony of s--
COMEY: I'm not -- I'm not saying--
KING: "The irony of your making that statement here, I cannot avoid but I'll move on.
BROWN: Other democrats who recently had a briefing with Comey a registered republican appointed by President Obama, are coming to his defense.
SEN. TOM CARPER (D), DELAWARE: Jim Comey is an honorable person who I think made a bad decision.
BROWN: Tonight, Comey is at the center of another political firestorm for briefing the President-elect on unsubstantiated allegations against him last week. CNN has learned Comey had a one-on-one conversation with Trump after the Intel meeting to brief him on the allegations. And a November interview with 60 minutes, Trump left Comey's future hanging in the balance.
LESLEY STAHL, AMERICAN TELEVISION JOURNALIST: FBI Director James Comey, are you going to ask for his resignation?
TRUMP: I think that I would rather not comment on that yet. I don't -- I haven't made up my mind.
BROWN: As of now, Comey is only three and a half years into the tenure -- FBI director tenure and people familiar with the matter say he has no regrets about the decisions he has made surrounding the recent investigations and has no plans to step down as of now. He also released a statement saying he's grateful for the inspector general investigation and hopes the results will be shared with the public. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Pamela, thank you very much. OutFront now, Democratic Congressman Tim Wallace of Minnesota, he was there in that room at the briefing with the FBI Director Comey. Congressman, so, obviously, you know, we've learned Congressman Debby Wasserman Schultz had this exchange confronting Comey about the hacking scandal.
[19:30:03] Obviously, she lost her job as a result of that.
What happened in that room today?
REP. TIM WALZ (D), ATTENDED CLASSIFIED FBI BRIEFING TODAY: Well, first of all, this briefing's incredibly important that the intelligence community, all the directors are there, in addition to Director Comey and our number-one job as members of Congress is the safety and security of the American public. So, with that setting being there, I think the frustrations many of us had was making sure this is not a political issue, this was not the outcome of the election per se, it was about the attack by a foreign entity on our system of governance and trying to undermine our democracy.
So, with that being the context of it, the questions we're being asked, was there a consistency on how these things were done? And I think it would be disingenuous of me not to say as a Democrat, we saw how it was handled with Hillary Clinton's e-mails, and there was clearly not the same way this was handled. And I think the frustration started to brew when very pointed, very direct, and should have been in my opinion very simple questions to answer keeping with accepted protocol weren't happening.
BURNETT: And so, you thought he wasn't answering. When you heard Congressman Waters say, you know, he has no credibility. I mean, would you go that far? No credibility when you left that room today? What was your feeling today?
WALZ: I think it certainly shook me. I mean, the belief in these agencies has to -- and the American public has to believe that they're doing everything in the best interest to protect the American public. They're doing everything in the best interest and they're doing so in a nonpartisan, agnostic manner.
I did not leave feeling that's what happened in this case. And so, I think more questions need to be answered. I, along with my other fellow ranking Democrats have asked for the House to convene an investigation. I'm encouraged there will be an I.G. investigation. It appears like over in the Senate, they're going to bring some things up.
But this is critical. This goes at the heart of our democracy and when the director of the FBI can't answer those questions, it does shake our confidence.
BURNETT: So I understand that, but when you say it was handled differently, I have to ask you this, because it does seem from some people's perspective to depend on which foot the shoe is on.
Back in July, 18 days before the DNC, Democrats were defending Jim Comey, right, because he said no charges should happen in the case against Hillary Clinton and her private e-mail server. He was very clear. He said a prosecutor wouldn't press charges. He's not even a prosecutor. He went ahead and said that.
Here's what some of your colleagues said about James Comey at that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: This is a great man. We are very privileged in our country to have him be the director of the FBI.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), FORMER SENATE MINORITY LEADER: No one can question the integrity, the competence.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: A wonderful and tough clear public servant, Jim Comey.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I don't know whether your family's watching this, but I hope that they are as proud of you as I am. Because you are the epitome of what a public servant is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, why are they all now totally wrong?
WALZ: Well, I can't speak for them, but I can tell you that's part of what shakes me on this, that I think that's what I'm asking for, that we're seeing now, is I did not know about this investigation into Russian hacking because we were not told, we were not notified. The director of the DNC was not notified, so I had no idea. None of us did, on how this was happening. We did know on Hillary Clinton because it was all public. So, I think it's -- that's what's so troubling --
BURNETT: But I mean, do you think it's a case -- and when you hear them say this, and I understand, I'm not asking you to speak for them. But when you hear them say this, I mean, Democrats were thrilled, James Comey was the best guy in the world. This is a great man, Nancy Pelosi says. Then, all of a sudden, he's not looking into the Russian hacking, right before the election, he says, oh, I'm checking more e- mails from Hillary Clinton and he's the worst guy in the world.
It does make it seems very political.
WALZ: Well, it's possible people change and their actions change and you change your opinion on them.
What I would say on this is, I can tell you this, that I would be standing here asking the same questions if this had been exactly reversed, if there were an e-mail scandal with the other side. I think the issue here is the impartiality of it.
And, again, everybody is going to be happy when it turns out their way. I don't think it's mutually exclusive for your listeners hugely supportive of Donald Trump to be outraged that the Russians attacked us and expect the FBI to hand that in a professional manner. You can do both those things.
BURNETT: So, Congressman, "The Wall Street Journal" says Comey should resign or Donald Trump should fire him. Should Comey leave his jobs three years in a ten-year term?
WALZ: Well, I haven't gone that far, but I think more information needs to come out. I'm a fan of appointing critical positions that cross across administrations because it does take some of the politics out of it. So I think it's a little premature for that. That's why for me this is an unusual position for me to be in.
But I will tell you, it did shake me. It doesn't look like it's the same. I would expect those comments were made about Director Comey is what I want to believe and should be about all people in that position. And today, just because of the answers given and it was a short amount of time, that is at least in question and we can -- we need to find out.
[19:35:01] BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Walz, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
WALZ: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: And next, new details about the former spy behind the Trump dossier. Who is he? Well, we have more information tonight.
Plus, for every successful president, there's been a great first lady, because, yes, they have all been men and the first ladies have all been ladies. How Michelle Obama made the office and even turnips cool.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Turnip? For what?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, new details emerging about the former British spy who wrote the intel memos with an unsubstantiated claims that Russia may have compromising information on the president-elect. He's been identified now as Chris Steele, a former MI-6 officer who spent time in Moscow and Paris as an agent.
Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT.
And, Nic, what is the latest we've been able to learn about Chris Steele?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he hasn't been seen since the middle of this week.
The British ambassador or the man who was British ambassador to Moscow at the time that -- or part of the time that Chris Steele was there, Sir Andrew Wood, has told British broadcasters here that he found him to a very competent professional, that he was diligent, that his work was of a good professional standard, that he said that his work perhaps sometimes, you know, his work -- his assessments weren't always the right assessments but that doesn't mean his assessments here are wrong or the information that he's got is wrong.
[19:40:36] But what we have learned from Sir Andrew Wood, former British ambassador to Moscow, is he says perhaps the reason we haven't seen Chris Steele around and his whereabouts are unknown right now, is because Chris Steele may have gone to ground because, to quote the former British ambassador, he said the knowledge that he has, it is potentially dangerous knowledge for him.
BURNETT: And what are his former colleagues saying about him tonight?
ROBERTSON: Several who have worked with him over the past 20 years while he was working at MI6, he graduated from Cambridge University 1986. He was the chairman of the -- president of the debating society there, which is a very prestigious position. Cambridge often a place that intelligence operatives are recruited from by the British establishment. He went -- shortly after 1986, he went to join MI6, and those colleagues described him as somebody whose work ethics, his work style, his professionalism, is beyond reproach, that they described him in very strong, clear, glowing terms.
Now, what we do know about him is that the British Football Association approached him in 2010 to help them investigate the World Cup bidding process. There were concerns about Russia's bid for the 2018 World Cup, Qatar's bid for 2022. That would later bring him into contact with FBI officials who were investigating corruption within FIFA.
Our Evan Perez has told law enforcement officials that he has -- it was that work that Steele did with the British Football Association with FIFA that gave -- an investigating into FIFA, gave them confidence through their work with him as well into the FIFA investigation, gave confidence into Steele.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Nic Robertson.
And OUTFRONT next, commander in chic. We hear from the woman who wrote the book on Michelle Obama's iconic style.
Plus, life after the White House. We'll tell you what's in the letter the Bush daughters wrote to the Obama daughters.
[19:46:00] BURNETT: Tonight, the president and the first lady opening the doors of the White House to everyone. Yes, at this late time, but this is pretty amazing. It's a new virtual reality tour. They released it today. They talked about the White House history. Their own eight years there. You get a 160-degree of rooms like the Oval Office, the Situation Room.
It's pretty amazing, because it comes just one week before the Obamas will move out of the White House. And for Michelle Obama, there have been so many changes since she moved in.
Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michelle Obama's first steps onto that enormous, exhilarating, terrifying national political stage were reluctant, cautious.
Remember the family back then?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Barack is home at least once a week and we're really doing family stuff.
KOSINSKI: On the campaign trail, young Malia and Sasha talk about the weirdness of seeing their people in magazines.
MALIA OBAMA, FIRST DAUGHTER: Pretty cool because you see people like Angelina Jolie.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Real, important people.
MALIA OBAMA: Real, important -- no offense.
SASHA OBAMA, FIRST DAUGHTER: Mommy is important.
KOSINSKI: And the beginning was not so easy, moving into the White House where the bulletproof windows can't be opened, the Secret Service always there.
She recently described that fist day.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I will never forget that winter morning watching our girls, 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns. And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window. And the only thing I could think was, what have we done?
KOSINSKI: And she did face criticism, even before the election.
MICHELLE OBAMA: For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country.
KOSINSKI: Soon after that, portrayed on this "New Yorker" cover.
Today, how far she's come. On the cover of "Vogue" three times. She's long since vowed her footing, her causes.
By her husband's second term, Michelle emerged much more comfortable in public, polished, but loosening up -- in more ways than one.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Turnip, for what?
Roses are red, violets are blue, you are the president, and I am your boo.
KOSINSKI: The first lady seemed to not only accept the public eye and the constraints of the White House --
MICHELLE OBAMA: There are prison elements to it. But it's a really nice prison.
KOSINSKI: But to embrace the opportunity to let her voice be heard, including her fashion voice, taking some risks, competing with the best of them and making headlines. Remember the bangs.
BARACK OBAMA: We borrowed one of Michelle's tricks.
KOSINSKI: America has seen Michelle Obama, Harvard-educated lawyer and mother, use her humor, her star power, even her viral meme power, occasionally shedding light on what it's like to raise now teenagers in these circumstances.
MICHELLE OBAMA: But we have one who generally stays here and one we call our grumpy cat.
DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST: Right, the grumpy cat.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Our salty biscuit.
KOSINSKI: As her time in office drew down, once reluctant, now determined first lady drew upon her sweeping popularity to enter the campaign trail as one of the most powerful voices for her party, earning her nickname "The Closer."
MICHELLE OBAMA: I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.
And I've watched my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.
KOSINSKI: She took on Donald Trump's "Access Hollywood" tapes.
MICHELLE OBAMA: It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted. It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.
KOSINSKI: Speaking her mind, even after the election.
MICHELLE OBAMA: We're feeling what not having hope feels like, you know?
[19:50:00] KOSINSKI: In her final speech as first lady, her emotion raw. She once again urged Americans not to give up, to celebrate diversity, and to use education and talent to better their nation
MICHELLE OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you for everything you do for our kids and for our country. Being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life. And I hope I've made you proud.
CROWD: Thank you.
KOSINSKI: So, does this mean the first lady has come to embrace the public eye and she just loves hanging out with and getting to know the press? No. She doesn't do interviews all that often. Her staff is extremely protective of her and always selective about what she does and when.
Post-White House, we expect there will first be a vacation that they talk about often, badly needed. They'll settle into their rented house where they'll stay for at least a couple years while Sasha finishes high school.
And we expect the first lady to keep working on issues she believes in, but she has insisted several times now that she will not run for public office -- Erin.
BURNETT: Maybe a break will change that although people think she's set on that. OK. Michelle, thank you.
OUTFRONT now, Mikki Taylor, who wrote a book about the first lady called "Commander in Chic." And she's worked directly with Michelle Obama over her time at "Essence" magazine.
You know, it's amazing to watch her change and just watch her change in terms of her -- the way she speaks, the confidence with which she carries herself and, of course, the elegance with which she dresses and her demeanor. What do you think people remember most about her?
MIKKI TAYLOR, AUTHOR, "COMMANDER IN CHIC": I think people will remember her authenticity, her clear-cut self-assurance, and her desire to serve others. She's always been about service and not status. And I think that that really showed itself so well during the White House years.
BURNETT: So, you, of course, worked for her several times, including one of the iconic -- it was one of the first pictures, the cover photo for "Essence" right before the election. There it is, that first family picture.
How have you seen her change?
TAYLOR: I think I've seen her footing become surer. You know, she certainly had a voice entering the White House and I think that during the White House years, she really was quite deliberate in that. She had her say. I remember once she told the White House press that, you know, if we're not doing it, don't put it in the press.
And that's also what I me about that authenticity. You know, she really, really used her voice. She wasn't in anyone's shadow. She went in to -- with the agenda to empower others, certainly to empower our children, you know, to tackle the health problem in obesity, support military families.
You know, she really knew where she wanted to make her contribution. And watching her evolve in her soul's purpose has been fascinating.
BURNETT: And your eyes glisten as you talk about her.
TAYLOR: Oh, my gosh.
BURNETT: I know it matters deeply to you. What has she meant to women of color?
TAYLOR: Well, I -- women like myself never thought we'd see a Michelle Obama in the White House as first lady in our lifetime. That was a dream that I held for my children's future. And so when I worked with her in June of 2008, in preparing this first family cover, I knew that someday that I thought that wistful thinking that that was at hand. You could feel it.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you so much, Mikki.
TAYLOR: Thank you. BURNETT: I appreciate your time. Thank you for being with us tonight.
And don't miss "The Legacy of Michelle Obama" tonight at 9:00, right here on CNN.
And next on OUTFRONT, the Bush daughters sharing words of women with the Obama daughters about life after the White House.
[19:56:55] BURNETT: Tonight, a message from fist daughters to first daughters. Jena and Barbara Bush writing an emotional letter to Sasha and Malia Obama.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a gesture of solidarity, Jenna and Barbara Bush write to the sister who is followed them into the White House eight years ago.
BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST DAUGHTER: Malia and Sasha, eight years ago, on a cold November day, we greeted you on the steps at the White House. We saw both the light and weariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home.
CASAREZ: Malia and Sasha were 10 and 7 years old in 2008 when their father was elected president.
MICHELLE OBAMA: The Bush daughters with so nice to Malia and Sasha and showed them where their rooms might be and told them all the secrets of how life at the White House can be fun.
CASAREZ: They even taught them how to slide down the banister in the White House solarium. It is not the first emotional letter they have written to the Obama sisters, "Sasha and Malia, here is some advice to you from two sisters who have stood where you will stand and who have lived where you will live."
That was January 20th of 2009, Inauguration Day. The relationship between the four girls continued as Malia and Sasha embraced their roles of first daughters, growing up in the White House while going on official trips with their parents all over the world. And it was Jenna Bush who quickly came to the defense of the Obama sisters when a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill criticized them for their attire and expressions during the 2014 annual White House turkey pardon.
JENNA BUSH, FORMER FIRST DAUGHTER: I'm fiercely protective. They're great girls. I think social media sort of exploded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nightmare.
J. BUSH: But, you know, they've done an incredible job. CASAREZ: A job as first daughters that may now be ending but headed
toward a new chapter of young adulthood. "Explore your passions, learn who you are, make mistakes -- you are allowed to."
BARACK OBAMA: Of all that I have done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad.
CASAREZ: In 2009, Barbara and Jenna's letter spoke of love and family. "Here is our most important piece of advice -- remember who your dad really is."
And in 2016 --
J. BUSH: You've listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who have never even met them. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin this next chapter.
B. BUSH: And so will we.
CASAREZ: And now, the question is, will the tradition continue? Ten year old Baron is going to stay in New York until he finishes the school year, but then he will be going to the White House. And will Malia and Sasha write him a note? Because it will be a brand-new world for that little boy too.
BURNETT: It certainly will. And, of course, the same as Malia Obama was. A lot of similarities there.
Amazing to see so many young children grow up in the White House, as we all have.
Thank you so much, Jean Casarez.
And thanks to all of you for watching us. Have a great weekend. And don't forget, of course, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere on CNN Go.
We'll see you back here on Monday.
"AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.