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A Smokey Hearing; Investigation Starts; Staying Consistent. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 20, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: ... my friend, Don Lemon on CNN Tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news. Breaking news, on the worst day so far of the Trump administration, the president hits the campaign trail.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Stunning revelations on Capitol Hill today. The FBI Director James Comey publicly confirms the bureau is investigating the Trump campaign and whether it coordinated with the Kremlin's efforts to influence the election. And Comey he has no evidence to support President Trump's infamous claim that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration.
President Trump's response? Nothing. Speaking to cheering crowd at Kentucky tonight he completely ignores the FBI investigation threatening his administration.
Let's get right to the biggest bombshell from James Comey's testimony to the House intelligence committee just today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counter intelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts. As with any counter intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: This is not politics as usual. We've said that before, and we're going to keep saying it, maybe it is not politics as usual for the FBI to investigate a presidential campaign for possible ties to a foreign government. It is not politics as usual for that investigation to go on for eight months with no end in sight.
And it's definitely not politics as usual for the FBI director to publicly state the bureau is investigating whether any crimes were committed by anyone associated with the Trump campaign. None of it is politics as usual.
Let's discuss now, let's bring in our chief political correspondent Dana Bash, senior political commentator, Rick Santorum, political commentator, Jason Miller, a former Trump senior communications adviser, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, counter terrorism analyst, Philip Mudd, and Robert Mook who was Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.
Good evening to all of you, thank you for coming on. Dana, you first. I want you to respond to what we heard from President Trump tonight. But also this is one more example of those things that we should not just pretend is business as usual. What happened today was extraordinary. What did we learn?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we learned that the FBI is and has been investigating the Trump -- the then Trump campaign, Trump associates. And whether or not there was any involvement with regard to Russian interference with the U.S. election. And that has been going on. And I'm sure Robby is going to do a big gulp right now since July.
That is, you know, incredible that the FBI director said this on the record in public testimony on Capitol Hill. What was -- I think even more incredible, that we learned today, definitively, from not just from the FBI director, but he said that he's also speaking for the Trump Justice Department. Is that the President of the United States, when he tweeted 16 days ago, that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower was not correct, that he was wrong.
And I mean, I don't remember certainly in modern times probably at all, that kind of testimony from the FBI director about a sitting president, just basically flat out saying that he is wrong.
LEMON: Yes. She brought you up, Robby, so let's go to you now. What's your reaction to hearing Comey saying this Trump/Russia investigation has been going on since July, knowing that he was willing to weigh-in on the Clinton investigation during the campaign, but not disclose this?
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think it underscores why the director throughout this process of all of these investigations should have just followed protocol, and it's not to talk about these things.
I'm glad that after having taken the unprecedented step of issuing that letter about Secretary Clinton, 10 days before the election, that finally months later, he's coming forth to reveal that they have been investigating Trump as well.
And look, these are very serious accusations, I mean, the idea that as you said, they have been looking at the question of whether Trump associates were potentially coordinating with Russia for so long, I think it raises a red flag, but I'll tell you what I was also concerned about today.
Was how I didn't see a single member, republican member of that committee raise up their hand and ask probing questions about what might have happened here, you know, this isn't a partisan issue, this is going to happen again, the Russians are going to hack other candidates.
[22:05:04] And it's going to be a republican, it's going to be a democrat, this is going to hit us all. And I'm just very concerned that the republicans continue to make this partisan and try to raise more questions rather than find any answers to make sure this never happens again.
LEMON: And Senator Santorum, I'm wondering if that's what you saw, because it was almost like two hearings today, one aide was saying, we should investigate the leaks. The leaks insinuating people, the leakers they should go to jail.
On the other side saying, hey, what about what the investigation is supposed to be about, and whether there was some sort of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Is that what you saw? Do you agree with what Robby said?
RICK SANTORUM, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: I would agree that it was partisan on both sides. I mean, clearly the democrats were trying to create this narrative, and knowing full well that Jim Comey wasn't going to respond to any of their questions about the details of what they're investigating.
They could have asked questions about, you know, what they were concerned about the Russians doing as opposed to, you know, trying to get somebody implicated in the crime, but that didn't seem to be of interest frankly to either side, which somewhat surprised me.
You know, the bottom line is, I mean, this was a bad day for Donald Trump, no question about it, on many fronts, but it also -- it's a day where we have a little bit more clarity, I mean, the fact that this investigation is underway is now out there, as you saw at the end of the testimony, both Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy were very insistent that, you know, it's time to move forward this investigation, let's get this investigation accelerated.
Now that we know it's out there they're now on the clock. And I think there's going to be a lot of pressure, number one, to finish the investigation, number two, very importantly, to announce that the investigation is completed.
SANTORUM: Something that the FBI doesn't always do.
LEMON: I'm just surprised, because as I'm looking at the screen, Jason, you're shaking your head no when your fellow republican Rick Santorum says, this is a bad day for the president. You don't think this was a bad day for the president?
The FBI director, the head of the NSA and the also the Justice Department came out saying, this president has basically lied about the Trump administration -- I mean, the Obama administration, or President Obama wiretapping him. This was -- do you think it was a good day for the president?
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this was a bad day for the FBI and I think it was probably a bad day for the state of politics in Washington. I think a lot of people are watching at home, probably take a look at what was happening today and said, both sides are screaming and all we have are these baseless allegations about Russian collusion.
I mean, here's the fact of the matter is, Vladimir Putin wasn't out walking precincts in Michigan, in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It was blue collar union workers who didn't want to go with the - democrat in this race, they wanted to go with President Trump. I mean, the fact to the matter and if we are going to go and say...
LEMON: Jason, Jason, Jason...
MILLER: Hold on. Hold on. For them to say that even investigating the same...
LEMON: Jason, let's take the politicians out of it. Let's look at the head of the NSA, the head of the FBI, who said, also the Justice Department said, I bring this to you from the Justice Department. And so you're talking about, of course, it's politics as usual in Washington. It's going to be partisan, that's what they do.
MILLER: They have zero evidence of collusion.
LEMON: The fact that Dana said, he laid out that there is an ongoing investigation, that has been happening since July, that the president has no proof to back up the claims that he has about Obama wiretapping him, you say that's all well and good, and that's a good day. I don't think anyone who is in the sound of our voice is understanding what you're saying.
MILELR: But I think, Don, that's not -- the point that I was making was that to go and have this hearing today, but to not have the list of the unmasked names from the NSA, and the FBI and the CIA I think was a travesty for this hearing. And also, to go and throw out this baseless allegation, saying that there was collusion between the campaign and foreign officials without putting out any evidence...
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Do you remember who called for this investigation?
BASH: He didn't say collusion.
LEMON: Do you remember who called for Congress to investigate this? It was the president.
MILER: Hold on, we don't get to the -- we don't get to the bottom. Yes, and we still didn't get the info, we still didn't get the info that they asked for.
LEMON: OK. All right.
MILLER: We need to find out who those -- but look, I feel bad for Robby in this. I mean, and I understand somewhat what it's like now to have an allegation thrown out and then for them to just kind of walk away and leave this cloud there, I think to say that there's an investigation, but not put some kind of cap stone on it, for where it is or what the timing is, I mean, this is just, it throws a cloud over everything that we're trying to do in Washington. And I think it's irresponsible.
LEMON: Phillip Mudd, did -- who's that laughing? That's Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, why are you laughing?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, yes, you know, he should announce today the results of the investigation, and how long it's going to take before he's done the investigation or knows how long it's going to take. I mean, come on. This is an investigation. It's very complicated to determine whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the...
MILLER: No, it's not. They haven't found anything in eight months. They haven't found anything.
TOOBIN: I mean, you have the FBI -- the attorney general just a couple weeks ago, lied about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
[22:10:02] You have this continuing pattern of Trump officials -- Mike Flynn was just fired as National Security Adviser for lying about his relationship with the Russians.
This is a developing investigation, where for some reason, people in the Trump administration keep lying about their contacts with the Russians. Now, maybe it's just a huge coincidence, but as Adam Schiff, the ranking democrat, pointed out at the beginning of this hearing, there are a heck of a lot of coincidences.
TOOBIN: Where Russia is helping the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign is helping Russia, but we don't know if there's any...
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Jeffrey, I'm glad you brought that up, Jeffrey.
MILLER: No, that's...
LEMON: Because we're going to hear from -- we're going to hear from Adam Schiff.
MILLER: There was nothing.
LEMON: But hold on, I want you to hold on. I've got to get Philip Mudd in here. Philip, even on top of that, you know, Jason is saying, it was nothing, it was a bad day for democrats and republicans but it's to a bad day for the president. The White House still refusing to back down on wiretapping claims. Which include creating a diplomatic incident with the U.K. the House is putting personal interest. Are they above national security?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: This is a bad day for the American people. Think about national security. The president's team has suggested that one of our allies participated in an illegal act.
The FBI director set up a series of months, maybe even a year, where he will conduct an investigation, where we have to as Americans, have to wonder whether there's somebody in the White House who participated in inappropriate contacts with the Russians.
Meanwhile, we have a president who suggested that the FBI participated in an illegal wiretap, illegally authorized by the former president of the United States into Trump Tower. I mean, this is not about democrats and republicans as someone who served both, this is about the service of someone in the Oval Office, who misrepresented whether his predecessor committed something that was worse than Watergate, and whether the Congress of the United States has said something today that's profound, they did.
They said two things. Number one, the president fraudulently claimed that his predecessor committed a felony or worse. Number two, he said that nothing significant happened today regarding allegations that members of his team contacted Russian's inappropriately. This is a tough day for Americans, it's not a partisan day.
LEMON: All right. Stand by, everyone. We have much more to talk about.
When we come back, it's an investigation that goes right to the heart of our democracy, we are going to take a closer look at the allegations made against the Trump campaign and Russia at today's hearing.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So I don't know if you were at work today or if you were busy, maybe you didn't see it. What we heard today at the House intelligence committee hearing was stunning and disturbing. So how did we get here? Why do U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia influenced our election? And why are they now investigating possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The ranking member of the committee, democratic Congressman Adam Schiff lays out his time line in his opening statement. Here it is, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: The months of July and august 2016 appear to have been pivotal, it was at this time the Russians began using the information they had stolen, to help Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. And so, the question is, why?
What was happening in July/August of last year and were U.S. persons involved?
Here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone since that is all we can discuss in the setting that concern us and we believe should concern all Americans.
In early July, Carter Page, someone candidate Trump identified as one of his national security advisers, travels to Moscow on a trip approved by the Trump campaign. While in Moscow he gives a speech critical of the United States and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption.
According to Christopher Steele, a British, a former British intelligence officer, who has reportedly held in high regard by U.S. intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, the CEO of the Russian gas giant Rosneft.
Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putins. According to Steele's Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal a 19 percent share of the company. According to Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent share of Rosneft later takes place, with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees.
Also according to Steele's Russian sources, the campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like WikiLeaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump policy that de- emphasizes Russia's invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share.
Policies, which, even as recently as the president's meeting last week with Angela Merkel have now presently come to pass.
In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager and someone who is long under payroll of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests attends the Russian -- the Republican Party convention.
Carter Page back from Moscow, also attends the convention. According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests.
Ambassador Kislyak who presides over a Russian embassy in which diplomatic personnel were likely be expelled as likely spies also the Republican Party convention and meets with Carter Page, and additional Trump advisers J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares.
It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page's trip to Moscow. Ambassador Kislyak also meets with Trump national campaign chair, national security campaign chair and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests.
Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign and altering the platform.
[22:20:01] But the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of proving defensive weapons to Ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign.
Later, J.D. Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at that times it was being debated and prior to its being removed.
Later in July, and after the convention, the first stolen e-mails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker Guccifer 2 claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the information to WikiLeaks.
The leading private cyber security including, CrowStrike, Mandiant, and ThreatConnect review the evidence of the hack, and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29 who are known to be Russian intelligence services.
The U.S. intelligence community also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence and Guccifer 2 acted as a front.
Also in late July, candidate Trump praises WikiLeaks, he says he loves them and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponent's e- mails, telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.
On August 8th, Roger Stone, a long time Trump political adviser and self-proclaimed political dirty trickster boasts in a speech that he's communicated with Assange, and that more documents would be coming, including an October surprise.
In the middle of August, he also communicates with the Russian cutout, Guccifer 2, and author of Breitbart piece denying Guccifer's links to Russian intelligence.
Then later in August, Stone does something truly remarkable when he predicts that John Podesta's personal e-mails will soon be published. Trust me, he says, it will soon be Podesta's time in the barrel. Hash tag crooked Hillary.
In the weeks that follow, Stone shows remarkable impressions. "I have total confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon," he says. Hash tag, lock her up.
Payload coming he predicts and two days later, it does. WikiLeaks releases its first batch of Podesta e-mails. The release of John Podesta's e-mails it would then continue on a daily basis up until the election.
On Election Day in November, Donald Trump wins. Donald Trump appoints one of his high profile surrogates Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser. Michael Flynn has been paid by the Kremlin's propaganda outfit RT in the past, as well as another Russian entity.
In December, Michael Flynn has a secret conversation with Ambassador Kislyak, about sanctions imposed by President Obama on Russia over its hacking designed to help the Trump campaign. Michael Flynn lies about the secret conversation.
The vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. The president is informed that Flynn has lied and Pence has misled the country. The president does nothing.
Two weeks later, the press reveals that Flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire Mr. Flynn. The president then praises the man who lied, Mr. Flynn and castigates the press for exposing the lie.
Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with the Russian ambassador, not only at the convention but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians?
Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke. The U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump?
Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British intelligence officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size?
Is it a coincidence that Steele's Russian sources also affirmed that Russia had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in the exchange for pro-Russian policies that it would later come to pass?
Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be the victim of a Russian hack and have his private e-mails published and did so been before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private e-mails would be exposed? Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely
unrelated. And nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence. Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated.
[22:24:59] And that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. Persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don't know. Not yet. And we owe it to the country to find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Today's hearing, just the first step in answering the questions posed by those contacts by those coincidences. When we got right back, when we come back, I'm going to ask my panel, how many of those questions we can answer and will we get the truth?
LEMON: We're back. And as you heard, some of the extraordinary testimony the House intelligence committee hearing today just before the break. FBI Director James Comey revealing the bureau is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the election, and saying there's no evidence of wiretapping at Trump Tower.
Back with me, my panel. And just to tell you something, we showed the incorrect photo of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the segment. This is a correct image of him.
So, Rick, you heard the House ranking member there, Adam Schiff laying it out today awful lot of smoke, when you are watching that, what are you thinking?
[22:29:59] SANTORUM: Well, I just take a couple of them. Others can take other ones, but I'll take the resolution that supposedly the Russians got out of the platform. The platform the Republican Party is much tougher on Russia than the democratic platform.
This was not in the platform. This was something that was proposed to go into the platform, and was taken out. Why? Donald Trump is probably not just on Russia, but on whole variety of national security issues much weaker than -- from my perspective, much less hawkish, much more dovish than we've had in a president -- on the republican president a long time.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: There was a change in the platform, though, correct?
SANTORUM: That was one of his appeals. But, no. The platform is still -- if you look at the platform, republican platform match up against the democratic platform, we are much tougher on the Russians than the democratic platform, so that provision was taken out.
But again, that's consistent with what Donald Trump ran on, which is not to be interventionist, not to be threatening, not just to Russia but a whole variety of other countries, that's number one.
SANTORUM: Number two, on the issue of Roger Stone and having information about John Podesta's e-mails, I work -- I shouldn't say I work -- I'm on the board of a cyber-security company, and I talked to some of our analysts there, and throughout the course of the fall campaign, I was getting information about what's out there on the dark web, that this is coming next, this is -- you know, this next dump is going to be this, this, and this.
That information was out there, it was available to a lot of people. If you're in this area of the world. So the fact that Roger Stone may have gotten some information out of the dark web that turned out to be true. Again, it doesn't show that...
LEMON: He is saying that he has -- but he did say his relationship with Guccifer and calls Assange his friend. I was thinking, you know, part of the time as I was watching that, Robby, I was thinking, I wonder what Robby Mook is thinking, because you lived that time line?
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes, Don. Honestly, I think what's a little frustrating about this entire situation, is that we're losing the forest through the trees here. There are two things that matter right now. One is, as you said, there's a lot of evidence that Trump aides could have been coordinating with the Russian government.
We could solve this very quickly, they should be brought in, they should testify, they should say who they talked to, what they talked about. I'm still waiting for Attorney General Sessions to come in and explain why he didn't tell the truth to the committee that conducted his hearing. And secondly...
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He did explain.
MOOK: ... we need to -- we need to take action to make sure this never happens again. What is really scary to me is that you consistently hear the Republican Party trying to obfuscate, trying to throw out more questions rather than get answers, they're next. They're next.
And any politician in American -- in national politics in the United States today, who thinks that they can -- that they can speak the truth about Russia, that they can speak up just like Hillary Clinton did, to defend human rights, to speak out against the dictatorial actions of Vladimir Putin and not suffer the same consequences is making a mistake.
And I think the entire Republican Party needs to take a deep breath and step back and ask themselves, is this the right thing? Not just for our country but for their own political futures to ignore this? Because it's coming for them soon, I can I tell you that.
LEMON: Jason, is that -- do you get anything out of that? Do you -- does that...
MILLER: Well, I think there's one thing that we can all agree on, and that is that hacking of any sort is absolutely horrible. Any attempts by any foreign government to meddle in U.S. elections in any way, shape or form is absolutely terrible.
But again, the fact of the matter is, is that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and between some foreign officials, that's just ridiculous, and I think Robby brought up the kind of losing sign, the forest through the trees here.
I think there's one other aspect to the forest that we should be paying attention to, and that's the fact of so many people turning a blind eye to the leaking of the confidential material. And this something that again, Chairman Nunes raise today...
MOK: Don, Don, Don, I got to jump in here.
LEMON: Go ahead.
MOOK: Not a single member of the House cared a lick about leaking, when last year -- when Congressman Gowdy led his Benghazi investigation; nobody said anything about the string of leaks that came out of that committee.
I'm sorry, I just don't buy this.
LEMON: So why -- so why, so Jason, to his point, why the come to Jesus now?
MILLER: Why, I'm sorry?
LEMON: Jason, so why the come to Jesus now then with leaking?
MILLER: The leaks -- I mean...
LEMON: You heard -- you heard the candidate on the campaign trail saying, I love WikiLeaks, go ahead and hack our e-mail and...
MILLER: No. But the president -- but, Don, the president also said on the campaign trail that he hopes that they catch whoever it was that did it, whether it's Russians or whether it was somebody else. And that they're -- that they should be prosecuted, and I believe that the president still stands by that, as he should. But again, but going to the -- I think Robby is playing a little bit
fast and loose with the leaking here. I mean, there's a very concerted intentional effort to leak confidential information to try to undermine this president. That is a crime, and if you're doing it and you're caught, then you should go to jail. This is very serious.
LEMON: And Dana.
MOOK: And I think -- and I think if the Congressman Gowdy cares that much about this issue. I think his staff should come forward about the leaking that happened out of his committee. I'm sorry, I just don't buy this.
[22:35:05] MILLER: Robby, let me ask you -- I mean, let me ask you this if we can agree on it, would you agree that anyone who is caught leaking confidential information should go to jail? Would you agree with me on that?
MOOK: I think that there are clear laws in place, and it is illegal to leak. What I'm pointing to, I find it incredibly rich that people like Trey Gowdy, in particular, are so outraged about leaks now, but when their own staff perpetrated the same thing, they had nothing to say.
And again, it gets back to this point. This is not a partisan issue, this is not about the last election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, this is about the Russian state trying to intervene in our elections and tear down our democracy. We should come together and resolve this.
We should stop raising questions and try to nitpick and pull up this detail or that detail. Something really rotten happened here. Let's get the people in who might have participated, get the facts and do something about it.
LEMON: Dana -- Dana Bash.
MILLER: That includes the leaks?
LEMON: There's nothing new about leaking, it's as old as Washington and politics. But the interesting thing, though, is that some of the people, and probably a number of them who were speaking out so harshly against leaking, same people should go to jail have leaked information themselves?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, the notion of leaking classified information is -- it happens, it has happened in republican administrations, in democratic administrations, by republicans, in and around Washington and democrats as well.
There's no question that it is problematic when it comes to sources and methods, I mean, that's the whole -- one of the main reasons why it is illegal to leak classified information. Is because the intelligence community wants to protect, and Phil can certainly talk more to this than I can, but to protect the sources of the information.
But let's just -- let's just focus here on what the hearing today should have been about, from the perspective of Congress. The hearing should have been about from democrats and republicans about how did this happen?
This being Russia getting involved in, as James Comey said really dramatically today, the most precious part of democracy, which is the electoral process, how did this happen and how do you stop it?
I definitely agree with Robby on that point. I do also think the democrats in the committee today missed an opportunity to focus on that. Also to ask the question of James Comey about why the Hillary Clinton campaign had to endure the public verification of investigation of her...
LEMON: And now the Trump voters.
BASH: ... whereas the Trump campaign did not. Even though we now know it's going back to July. That is not a partisan statement, that is just a fact where you definitely have apples and oranges.
LEMON: Hey, Jeffrey, I know you want to get in, and Philip, you guys are going to be in the box ahead, do you mind waiting? I have to get to a break. Thank you, gentlemen.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No problem.
LEMON: No problem.
TOOBIN: No, Don, you're the boss.
LEMON: You guys are the boss, I'm just the facilitator. Hey, thank you, all. Robby, thank you for coming on. I appreciate. I'll see you guys a little bit later. Jeffrey and Philip will be back just a little bit later on. Thank you.
Just ahead, did the committee get what it was looking for today? I'm going to ask one of the members, next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The head of the FBI confirming the bureau is investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government. And saying there's no evidence of wiretapping at Trump tower.
I want to bring a congressman now, and Eric Swalwell, he is a California democrat who is a member of the intelligence committee. Thank you, Congressman, I watched you today. My gosh, you guys had a busy day. We appreciate you coming on. Do you feel though, that you got the answers you were looking for today from Director Comey and Director Rogers? ERIC SWALWELL, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: We did, and we also
were able to tell the American people about the powerful evidence of the deep personal political and financial ties between Donald Trump and his team and Russia. And the lingering question for so many weeks now has been whether those ties extended to working with the Russians as they were attacking our democracy.
And Director Comey confirmed there is an investigation into the president's campaign team as to whether they were doing that.
LEMON: You said powerful evidence. What's the powerful evidence in your case. Because they're saying so far, they don't see -- there is no evidence so far of collusion that they're saying.
SWALWELL: Well, that's not what Director Comey said.
LEMON: Of course not.
SWALWELL: He said an investigation into coordination is taking place. So, it's the first in any investigation, he said with respect to counter intelligence investigations and criminal investigation of this kind is still very early, but the evidence that we put forward showed that these were not merely coincidences; these were a number of individuals on his team who had ties to Russia.
And when you put that in perspective, never in the history of American elections, have we ever seen a candidate with so many ties to a foreign adversary.
SWALWELL: So looked at in the best light, I think it's bad judgment to be so close to a country that's not our friend. And looked at in a more skeptical light, I think what we're finding is that these ties may have been converging with Russia as they were attacking.
LEMON: Hey, Congressman, I have to ask you, because my colleague Dana Bash pointed this out, as well, and I think a lot of people are thinking if even Robby Mook on who was wondering because he was the campaign, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.
Do you kneel that you missed an opportunity to ask the FBI director why he would let on or acknowledge that there was an investigation against Hillary Clinton's campaign or looking into her e-mails, I should say, and not acknowledge the Trump investigation which started in July?
SWALWELL: Don, we're living in the now, and we don't want to relitigate the past. Donald Trump is the president, there's no evidence that any vote tallies were changed. But as Robby Mook pointed out, the Russians are sharpening their knives and intend to do this again. That was in the public intelligence report.
And I think what has not been talked about enough, is other foreign adversaries with similar capabilities are looking at what the United States is going to do, and if we do nothing, and we see republicans wanting this investigation to go away, and it to be only about leaks, they're going to see this open season on U.S. elections, and we're going to see an erosion of the democracy that we all hold so sacred.
LEMON: Long time Trump associate Roger Stone and his connections to Russia were mentioned several times at today's hearings, he's been slamming you on Twitter. What do you think of his role, of his role is here? Would you like to see him and others connected to President Trump testify?
[22:45:10] SWALWELL: I'd rather talk to Roger Stone at a committee hearing than on Twitter. And so, I think any individuals like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, anyone on Donald Trump's personal security team who travelled to Moscow with the president, I think they would all be relevant witnesses and I hope that they come forward.
LEMON: I know it's been a very busy time for you, a long 24 hours. Congressman Swalwell, thank you for joining us here on CNN, we appreciate it.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
LEMON: Thank you.
Joining me now, CNN national analyst, Mike Rogers, a former chairman of the House intelligence committee. Mr. Rogers, thank you for coming on, it's good to see you.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to see you, Don.
LEMON: I want you to listen again to the FBI Director James Comey confirming for the first time the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counter intelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
And whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts. As with any counter intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, like you're the former chairman of the House intelligence committee, after hearing that from the FBI director, what would be your first question?
ROGERS: Well, first of all, I was a little astonished that they asked the Department of Justice if they could disclose an ongoing investigation that they concurred. If you recall, in the same committee hearing, one of the members asked, well, are you going to investigate the leaks? And he said, I just can't talk about that, because that is the standard fair for the FBI.
So I was a little taken aback that he actually confirmed that there was an investigation. You know, you have to let this thing play out. Obviously, at some point it went from a counter intelligence only investigation to an investigation of U.S. citizens, if they're looking to U.S. citizens for any possible criminal links or action, that's a very different investigation than something that would are intelligence related.
I would expect the FBI to be looking at what Russian activity, remember, the one thing we didn't do well, or didn't happen today on the committee, is we never flushed out Russian activity prior to this, they've been engaged in information operations for a very long time, before the Russian federation, part of the Soviet Union, they're still doing it, they're doing it in European elections, this is something that would have been great to expose.
This investigation changed from that kind of an intelligence operation to what appeared to me about what the director said today to have some criminal element, or at least, you know, thought that there might be a criminal. That's kind of a big change in this whole thing.
LEMON: Mike, where you said -- and you know, in the commercial break, Representative Swalwell told me that he thinks both sides were surprised, and I should have asked him on the air, that was my mistake.
Both sides were surprised that the FBI director would actually admit that there was an ongoing investigation, were you surprised by that?
ROGERS: I was. I candidly again, for that very reason.
ROGERS: I used to be an FBI agent. That was never done. And I'll tell you why you don't do it. Because just because the FBI is investigating doesn't mean there's a criminal activity that will come out at the other end of it. And what you don't want to do, and unfortunately, I did see one team on the field today in that committee trying to make a circumstantial case in the court of public opinion.
That's always a dangerous thing. And that's really why you don't want the FBI saying, I have an investigation on Don Lemon, may never come to anything, but that damage is already done. So, I was very surprised.
It tells me that if the Department of Justice agreed to it, and the FBI director talked about it, in an open hearing, that you know, boy -- I think this thing went from a C.I. or a counter intelligence investigation to something different. Don't know if they're going to find anything, but that to me is a big change.
LEMON: Yes, Mike Rogers, thank you. I always appreciate your insight.
ROGERS: Yes, thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come right back President Trump's refusing to back down on his claims that president Obama spied on him, even though the FBI director says he has no evidence.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump refusing to back down on his wiretapping accusations and saying absolutely nothing in his speech about the House intelligence committee hearing.
Back now with me my panel, and joining us now is Brian Fallon, the former press secretary for Hillary Clinton's campaign. We switched him out for Robby. Because he's just...
BRIAN FALLON, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: Just like the campaign does.
LEMON: Just as good, they're both just as good.
So, listen, and good evening, panel. Phil, no one ever wants to say the president lied. But he lied about wiretapping, he lied about mass voter fraud. He lied about his inaugural crowd size. he lied about birtherism. How can he be credible at all now?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think you asked the right question, I'm so pissed off, Don. We skipped over this in the past 30 minutes, let me give you three questions that we're not addressing in 60 seconds or less.
Number one, what is the federal government's responsibility in the next election cycle to protect the candidate? Who asked that today? Number two, as we go into the next 4, 6, 12 months, here's the question, not what happened with General Flynn, the question is, will the FBI indict somebody?
I think the president can recover from General Flynn, I think recovering from an indictment of somebody in his campaign will be difficult. Number three, and most significant, we will see a tragedy, a national security tragedy in the next 6, 12, 18 months whether you like it or not.
When the president tweets I know what happened here, we're going to escalate bombing in Syria. People like me are going to say I need to see evidence. I would have believed President Bush, I would have believe President Obama. Now that you speak, no credibility, I need evidence. That was the question we should ask.
LEMON: Jason, no credibility?
MILLER: I think we got to tone down a bit of the rhetoric here. I think this a little too fantastic, and it sounds like way too many of the democrats today are trying to hash out November 8th all over again. The fact of the matter is, they lost, and Donald Trump won. One thing
I just want to go back real quick, Don, as a couple minutes ago, when you had the Congressman Swalwell on. And he throws the allegation that the president has business ties somehow to Russia, that's actually a false factual assertion, not the case in any way, shape or form.
I know that was a couple segments back, I just, I didn't want to let an outlandish statement stand. But look, but going back to the point that we're on right now.
LEMON: But I got to ask you, how do we know that for sure?
MILLER: Because he said it, he said he doesn't have any of the business interests...
[22:55:00] LEMON: OK, but he also said that there was wiretapping, he also said there was mass voter fraud, he said his inaugural crowd sizes were bigger and he said the president was not born in the United States. Those statements were not true, so why should we believe him when he says he doesn't have ties to Russia? Wouldn't his tax, producing his tax returns show that?
MILLER: No. I mean, Don, you're trying to pull in the whole tax issue and you know, going back to...
LEMON: No, what you're telling me what the president says -- and we're talking about the credibility. That's the whole point of the segment. You're telling me what the president says, that we should believe it. We're talking about credibility.
And he has said a number of things that are not factually correct, in fact, they are lies, they're not credible. So why should we believe him? All I'm doing is asking you that. About his ties to Russia, that he has no business ties when he has produced no evidence of no business ties?
MILLER: Because he doesn't have any. And Don, you're throwing that charge out there, and you're trying to...
LEMON: I'm not saying he does. I'm saying why should we believe him?
MILELR: Because you're trying to set up a scenario where Trump people are then trying to punch it goes to try to disprove something. There's nothing that's ever going to be presented to democrats to go and convince them.
But look, I think right now that the president is doing a good job representing us on the international stage. MACDONALD: OK.
MILLER: And I think that at a certain point we got to tone it down, and I think some of this rhetoric is just getting a little too fantastic.
LEMON: Brian, is this too fantastic. Am I setting up a straw man here, I was just asking and why should we believe the president when he hasn't told us the truth all the time?
FALLON: Well, Don, this was unquestionably one of the worst days of Donald Trump's young presidency. But what I was struck by is how much of this problem is entirely of Donald Trump's own making.
It's by virtue of his credibility problems that we even have this hearing today. Most of the smoke that exists around the Russia situation, is by virtue of misstatements or outright lies in some cases that have been told by Donald Trump and his associates who have conveniently forgotten meetings that they've had, that they now when it's been reported that the meetings took place, they offer benign explanations for what was discussed in those meetings, but they have a habit of covering them up of outright forgetting them.
And then on top of that you have Donald Trump suggesting that President Obama directed wiretapping of him. That's -- and he himself called for a congressional investigation. That's why we have this hearing today.
Keep in mind, Don, this is a republican chaired committee, the intelligence committee in both the Senate and House is chaired by republicans. I can promise you on the week that they were bringing out Neil Gorsuch and rolling him out, and his nomination and also trying to pass health care later this week, the last thing these republicans in Congress wanted to do was have a hearing on this issue.
FALLON: They felt compelled to because...
LEMON: I got to -- I got to get Rick in. Because I got to get to the top of the hour. I'm sorry to cut you off.
Rick, I mean, he did call for this investigation, which now turns out that it's not credible. We're talking about wiretapping at Trump Tower, let's talk about his credibility. Do republicans behind the scenes have concerns about this president?
SANTORUM: Look, I mean, I...
LEMON: And quickly if you can. I'm sorry to rush you.
SANTORUM: Yes. Look, I'm not of the school that this was an obfuscation like the president said some things and tweeted out something that was wrong. And does it have an impact? Yes, it does. Just like when Barack Obama said you can, you know, if you have an insurance policy, you can keep it.
LEMON: Do you have another one?
SANTORUM: It's ponce on like over and over and over...
LEMON: You have three, four, five in a row.
MILER: One is a felony.
LEMON: I keep hearing one -- keep hearing one, like and everybody -- listen, I'm not making excuses, the former president did say that, and it turned out not to be true.
LEMON: But in the course of politics and you're a politician. You said some things that have turned out not to be true. But in back to back to back to back to back to back when there is no -- and when there's absolutely no proof.
SANTORUM: Well, it's one thing turned out not to be true. Hold on. I hear you.
LEMON: That's all I'm saying. And listen, so everyone keeps pointing to that one thing. Do you have 10 other ones that I can like put up against this current president in the first 45 days of a presidency? Just complete factual errors, lies? That you can point to.
SANTORUM: It's not a matter if it turned out not to be true. He knew at the time that it wasn't true.
LEMON: OK. So, that's one, I give you that. So give me -- do you have others?
SANTORUM: OK. I'm sure -- if you gave me a minute I'm sure I could think of others. But that's not the point. I'm actually going to agree with you, that the president are going out there and tweeting these things that are not really backed up by a lot of facts.
And when he says well, I read this, we expect more out of a president than just reporting to us that he read something, and then to repeat it out there and throw it out there for whatever reason he is it.
The President of United States hopefully is learning a lesson today, that that kind of activity is not going to be a good thing for him or his administration.
As you -- as someone was saying, I didn't see who, but this should be a great week for Donald Trump. Neil Gorsuch is going to knock it out of the park tomorrow. The House will pass a bill that moves health care along. This could be a great week for his administration, but it got off on the wrong foot because of tweets that frankly, should have been thought through before they were put out there.
LEMON: OK. Brian, I've got 10 seconds if you want to say something else? Do you want to respond to that?
FALLON: I agree with Senator Santorum, the thing that I think it's going to be interesting to watch now, Don, is at the conclusion of this hearing, Devin Nunes was very loathed to suggest that he would go along with calling any further witnesses.
[22:59:57] FALLON: He was asked by CNN's Manu Raju, will you bring Michael Flynn up? Will you bring Carter Page up? And he demurred. I think if democrats might start to call for an independent commission if he's going to back and holding any further hearings after today.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, all. I appreciate it.