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President pick for new FBI director; Democrats calls for special prosecutor; Twenty attorney general call for independent counsel; Trump administration to defend revised travel ban in Appeals Court; Impact of the firing of James Comey; Newt Gingrich wife's job; Putin's unexpected performance in China summit; Americans trust in FBI's Russia probe; Sexism in Silicon Valley. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 14, 2017 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Back at you, Fredricka. It's 5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon out west on this Mother's Day. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and you are live in the "CNN Newsroom." Thanks for being here.

President Trump's pick for a new FBI director could be announced within days. The president says he hopes to make a fast decision and may even choose a replacement for James Comey before leaving Washington Thursday for his first international trip since taking office. At least eight candidates -- you see them there -- are being interviewed for the job.

Before his ouster James Comey was leading the investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The president suggests he did not anticipate this uproar over his decision to fire Comey. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess I was a little bit surprised because all of the Democrats, I mean they hated Jim Comey. They didn't like him. They wanted him fired or whatever. And then all of a sudden they come out with these glowing reports.

Look, I thought that this would be a very popular thing that I did when I terminated Comey because all of the Democrats couldn't stand him. But because I terminated him, they said, ah, we get some political points, we'll go against Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Democrats are now calling for a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation. President Trump says leave the probe to Congress and the FBI. Meantime, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows in a highly divided America, nearly 80 percent of those polled would prefer an independent commission or a special prosecutor to oversee this probe. I want to bring in White House correspondent Athena Jones. Athena, tell us the latest now in the search for a new FBI director. ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, as you

had mentioned, several candidates have been interviewed. We saw several of them paraded in and out of the FBI headquarters just yesterday. And we also know from the White House that the president is going to meet with just the finalists.

Now, is that one finalist? Two finalists? Three finalists? That is yet to be determined. But he is going to read the reports and the recommendations from the Justice Department interviews, the interviews that Attorney General Sessions is having with these FBI candidates. And then he will interview a few of the leading candidates.

Now, you mentioned that this could happen within days. We heard that from the president himself on Air Force One when he was flying down to deliver that commencement address yesterday at Liberty University. But I should say that a White House official said that naming an FBI director before the president departs at the end of the week could be a challenge. It certainly is possible, but it doesn't look as though the White House is worried about rushing or wants to rush this decision.

And we've also heard the president in the past promise that things would happen in a brief period of time that ended up taking several weeks. One example is the first travel ban and the second travel ban he promised would be coming in days. It took several weeks. Ana?

CABRERA: We know that second travel ban will be taken up by a panel of judges in the Ninth Circuit Court in fact tomorrow. But Athena, a lot of Trump's opponents are looking to capitalize on the rough week we've just experienced. What are you hearing from top Democrats?

JONES: This is interesting and you've mentioned this. Several Democrats have been talking about the need for a special prosecutor in their view for some time. Now even more are saying so, including Mark Warner who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee that is one of the congressional committees that is looking -- that's carrying out its own Russia investigation.

And Senator Warner said late in the week that if a special prosecutor isn't appointed, that they could have Democrats standing in the way of any ultimate choice for FBI director. This is something that our own Jake Tapper spoke with minority leader Chuck Schumer about this morning on "State of the Union." Take a listen to how Senator Schumer responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way. We'll have to discuss it as a caucus. But I would support that move because who the FBI director is is related to who the special prosecutor is. Remember, the criteria for a special prosecutor, independent and making day to day decisions from the hierarchy in the Justice Department and the White House, can only be fired for cause, has to report to Congress, and, very importantly, can look into any attempts to thwart the investigation. Are all really important criteria? And to have that special

prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director. So I think the two are related. I think Mark Warner's idea is a good idea, and I think it will get some broad support in our caucus. The key here of course is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So there you heard Senator Schumer acknowledging it would be difficult for Democrats alone to stand in the way on this. But we should make clear that as of right now,

[17:05:00] the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, has said that he doesn't see a need at this point to appoint a special prosecutor. So that's where things stand right now. But I believe that the pressure is going to continue from Democrats. Ana

CABRERA: Certainly it sounds like it. Athena Jones, thank you.

Five days since James Comey's firing and here's everything we've been able to piece together. It's moving fast and furious. Hard to keep up for a lot of us. First, the most obvious conflict. Comey was fired while overseeing the investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign. Comey is also the third person the president has fired who's been involved in investigations linked to either the president or his campaign.

Now, the original story from the White House was that President Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. The president stated as much in his letter to Comey. Press Secretary Sean Spicer also said it in a formal statement. And Vice President Mike Pence repeated the line no fewer than seven times during a visit to Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump made the right decision at the right time and to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Twenty four hours later, the president contradicted all of that, revealing in an interview that he was going to fire Comey regardless, and admitting that the ongoing Russia probe did play a role in his decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know? This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Well, then we learned details about what Comey was doing just prior to his dismissal shortly before he was let go. Comey asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who recommended his firing, for more resources so he could accelerate the Russia investigation. And then there's the dinner Mr. Trump and Comey had back on January 27th. That's the day after Sally Yates told the White House that Michael Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI and had lied to the vice president about his conversations with a Russian diplomat.

During their meal, sources say President Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, a request Comey declined. In the same conversation, the president also discussed Comey's future as head of the FBI and asked whether he himself was under investigation. Joining me to talk more about what we can expect with both the House and the Senate are back in session this week, Republican congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: My pleasure. Good afternoon.

CABRERA: Good afternoon. Congressman, does anything concern you about what we just learned this week?

BROOKS: Well, there are a number of disconcerting things. I'll share with you my overall reaction. In my judgment, Mr. Comey did not act properly as director of the FBI back in July or in October. And in my judgment, he probably was the most important factor in the outcome of the election, more so than whatever Russia may or may not have done. And so I was mildly surprised that Barack Obama did not terminate Mr. Comey during the six months after the July events in which Barack Obama was still in the White House. I'm not at all surprised that President Trump --

CABRERA: So do you defend President Trump's firing of Comey and what went into that decision?

BROOKS: Well, I know Jeff Sessions fairly well. I've known him for about a quarter of a century and I think Jeff Sessions is a good man and I think the recommendation that he made to the president was appropriate. Whether there were additional factors that may have come into play over and above what I believe is just cause for a termination, we're going to have to see how all that plays out.

Certainly we've got little snippets but I don't think we have the whole story and hopefully we'll have the whole story should Mr. Comey testify publicly, as he requests, either before a House or Senate hearing.

CABRERA: Both Republicans and Democrats would like to hear him testify publicly and many Americans as well. Questions have been raised though as to why the attorney general who recused himself from the Russia probe and President Trump whose campaign of course is part of the Russia probe are the ones selecting the next person who will oversee the Russia investigation.

Your colleague, Congressman Charlie Crist, told me he essentially in his mind, this is the investigated picking the investigator. Will you push for a special prosecutor to ensure there are no questions about impartiality?

BROOKS: Well, let's be clear here. It's going to be incumbent upon the president at this point in time to propose, nominate, a director of the FBI that both Republicans and Democrats are comfortable with. And I pray that the president will heed my remarks and those of others who say that that is a critical factor in whoever is going to be the next director of the FBI.

We saw what happened during last year's elections. We cannot have an FBI director going rogue, going on his own, making the kind of public statements that Mr. Comey

[17:10:00] made that had a direct impact on the election of the president of the United States. So hopefully either within the ranks of the FBI or without the ranks of the FBI, we will come up with a person who will do his due diligence, both with respect to the Russia investigation and all of the other thousands of investigations that the FBI's doing on a regular basis. Once we have seen who is been proposed to what the public's reaction is --

CABRERA: Sure. But going back to my original question about a special --

BROOKS: -- then we can decide -- well, let's see what the FBI is going to do. The FBI is a much better investigative agency than any kind of special prosecutor may or may not be. If we're not comfortable with the FBI director, if for some reason there is evidence that comes forth that suggests that the FBI agents are not doing their due diligence with respect to the investigation of Russia, then we can start addressing the special prosecutor.

At that point in time, we have to start looking at the scope of that special prosecution or investigation. What's the time frame going to be? What is the subject matter going to be? Primarily, I think I'm like a lot of other American citizens. I want this matter taken care off --

CABRERA: I hear you, but last July when --

BROOKS: -- taken care of quickly because we've got a lot of other major issues that we need to deal with.

CABRERA: I think a lot of Americans agree with you on all of that, but it was last July when, remember, Hillary Clinton was under investigation and you did call for a special prosecutor in that case. You co-signed a letter to then Attorney General Loretta Lynch that read, in part, "we share the concerns of the American people that an investigation as important as this ought not to be subject to political pressures." why support a special prosecutor then but not now?

BROOKS: Well, I had no faith that the Obama administration and the then attorney general was going to do the proper thing, and I say that based on what I saw with the IRS investigating and also intimidating conservative groups and denying -- properly exercising their first amendment rights. I saw the fast and furious investigation and what happened there. We saw what happened with Hillary Clinton approving the sale of an American uranium company to the Russians in approximate time that Bill Clinton is receiving a half million dollars from Russian interests.

So I had no faith and confidence in the attorney general at that point in time. Now, let's see what happens with this new attorney general. And if we as the American people do not have faith and confidence in the independent nature of that attorney general, then, yes, we need to start looking at other alternatives of whether the special counselor or special prosecutor, that is something that we can look at.

CABRERA: Let's be clear, the American people -- the American people want to have a special prosecutor. We have this new poll out just today. NBC News and "Wall Street Journal" that say 78 percent of those polled believe a special prosecutor or an independent panel would be the way to go in this investigation to remove any question about whether the White House could have some kind of influence over the investigation in picking a new FBI director.

BROOKS: Well, I think that's somewhat premature until we know who the new director of the FBI is. It might be someone that the American people are very comfortable with. But if not, then it looks like a special investigator or prosecutor is the direction that we probably ought to take.

CABRERA: I want you to listen to what James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, told our Jake Tapper today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR,NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think in many ways our institutions are under assault, both externally and that's the big news here, is Russian interference in our election system. And I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Internally from the president?

CLAPPER: Exactly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: He also said he hopes congressmen like yourself will follow your conscience and speak up. Your response?

BROOKS: Well, I have been speaking up. Personally, I prefer that we have not just an investigation either by the FBI or otherwise, but also public hearings. I'm not comfortable with the secrecy surrounding these kinds of investigations in the intelligence community. Granted, there are some things like sources and methods that are classified information, and I understand that.

But to the extent there is other information that does not need to be in a classified setting, then we ought to have public hearings and get to the bottom of Russia's involvement in the American election and see exactly where that takes us, and then act accordingly. But the American people, I believe, are as much deserving of that kind of information as you are and as I am.

CABRERA: Absolutely, Congressman Mo Brooks, we really appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

BROOKS: My pleasure. Have a good afternoon.

CABRERA: You, too. Ahead in the "Newsroom," firing fallout, 20 attorneys general are now calling for an independent special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation and one of them will join me live, next.

And later, you won't believe who performed an impromptu piano recital at a gathering of world leaders in China. Here's a hint. He's Russian. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."

[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: The fallout from President Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey continues amid a growing chorus of voices calling for an independent counsel to take over the Russian investigation. And tomorrow, the administration will be back in court defending its proposed travel ban. Joining me now to discuss both, the man involved in both of these issues, Douglas Chin, he is the attorney general for the state of Hawaii. Thanks so much for being with us.

I want to start by asking you about the firing of James Comey and the Russia investigation. You were 1 of the 20 attorneys general now calling for the appointment of an independent special counsel. Why is this so important?

DOUGLAS CHIN, HAWAII ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well this past Thursday 20 state attorneys general including myself in Hawaii, all the way to the state of Maine, we put out a letter that was calling upon the deputy attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor. And look, I've been a prosecutor for most of my legal career and I can tell you that the one thing that people care about is

[17:20:00] they just want to know that an investigation was done fairly and impartially. And when I look at this, everything that's happened in the last several days, it really seems like what's the downside? It really seems like the most important thing is that we really get to the bottom of what has happened. Clearly there is a lot of questions. There really doesn't seem to be any downside to appointing a special prosecutor, just as many previous administrations had done in many other circumstances.

CABRERA: Now this person would normally be appointed by the U.S. Attorney General, in this case the Deputy Attorney General because of Sessions' recusal from the Russia investigation. How would this move change the Russia investigation moving forward?

CHIN: Well, what would happen then is that you would expect that a special prosecutor would have more independence, that they certainly wouldn't be someone who was required to take a pledge of loyalty to the administration such as what we're hearing. But really they would be taking a pledge of loyalty to uphold the constitution and the laws of the United States, as well as a loyalty to the truth.

And I think really ultimately at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what side of this issue you're on. What we really care about in the United States is just getting to the truth and having a special prosecutor would really help us to get there.

CABRERA: There are already those multiple investigations in Congress happening. Why aren't those good enough?

CHIN: Well, a special prosecutor really has that independence to be able to either call in witnesses or to be able to conduct an investigation. And then to be able to put out something that isn't as much tainted by politics. You know, I think so many etimes, especially these days in 2017, the biggest accusation that we'll all hear, whether we're attorneys general, whether we're the press, even whether we're judges, is this feeling that people have been tainted by political bias.

Well, the hope is that by appointing a special prosecutor that is not part of the attorney general's chain of command, that special prosecutor would be able to come up with something that is independent and fair.

CABRERA: OK, we have another big story to discuss. The president's proposed travel ban and your fight to stop it from being implemented. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will take up this case tomorrow in Seattle. You have to prove this revised executive order is unconstitutional. The president, we know, removed any mention of religion. He removed Iraq from the list of countries that are part of this proposed ban. Why are you confident have you a strong case?

CHIN: Well, right now I am in Seattle because we're preparing to make our arguments tomorrow to the Ninth Circuit in the Hawaii versus Trump case. And the reason why we're confident is because just like the Hawaii federal judge decided, there were also other judges throughout the United States that have made the determination that the context behind this travel ban order matters.

In other words, what we cannot erase is all of the statements that have been made by the president, but his surrogates, by the people in his administration either during his campaign or up until now that really point to the fact that this really is a Muslim ban.

In other words -- and the reason why a Muslim ban is something that's important for us to care about is that the constitution doesn't allow the levels of government to denigrate or put into a second class anyone just because of their religion or because of their nation of origin. And that's exactly what this travel ban does. And so that's why we're here fighting this in court.

CABRERA: The comment about the Muslim ban was brought up earlier this week when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals took up a similar issue. It was the second travel ban by a Maryland judge that was fighting it as well. We heard arguments on both sides of this case. One of the arguments the Appeals Court kept bringing up there was that, as President Trump, he has not used the words "Muslim ban," and again, removed any religion from this order. Let's listen to some of the back and forth real quick.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DENNIS SHEDD, JUDGE, UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOURTH CIRCUIT: What if the president repudiated his statements in the campaign and post-election about the Muslim ban? What if he repudiated them all?

OMAR JADWAT, DIRECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS PROJECT: I think that'd be significant, your honor. It'd be a significant fact. I don't know whether --

SHEDD: Change the result at all? Does it change the result in your mind?

JADWAT: If the president --

SHEDD: He said he has repudiated it. Does that change the result?

JADWAT: I think a simple

[17:25:00] repudiation might not -- no, it would not change the result.

SHEDD: Let me follow up then. What if he says he's sorry every day for a year? Will that do it for you?

JADWAT: No, your honor.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CABRERA: Does this judge make a valid point?

CHIN: Well, you know, I mean I think that's exactly the types of questions that we could be facing in front of the Ninth Circuit panel of judges as well. But I think the important thing to take away from this is that ultimately what judges have to look at is this legal standard which is what would an objective person looking at all of the statements that have been made think about this travel ban order.

Would they think of this as a Muslim ban or would they think of it as a perfectly neutral document? And so what the judge was engaging the counsel in, you know, with a little bit of humor was, what is it going to take? Well, I'll tell you what it really needs to take is, it needs to take a large amount of statements that would come from the administration to be able to take away the two dozen or so that were made by the president either in the campaign or when he was president.

And I'll just tell you one statement that he made on March 15th, which was right after our TRO came out from the Hawaii federal judge where what President Trump said in Nashville at a rally was that his second executive order was a watered down version of the first order, and if he had his way, he would go back to the words of the first order because that is what he wanted in the first place. And you can bet that statement is going to come up tomorrow when we're arguing with the judges. CABRERA: All right. Hawaii Attorney General, Douglas Chin, we really

appreciate you spending some time with us as you prepare for that big day tomorrow. Thank you.

CHIN: Thank you, Aa.

CABRERA: Coming up, I sat down with former senior advisor to president Obama, David Axelrod, to ask his advice for the Trump White House in the wake of Comey's firing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR BARACK OBAMA: If I were Sean Spicer, I would have -- I know he's in the naval reserves. I probably would have put in for one of those cruisers heading to North Korea. Right around now probably the waters would be less choppy than the ones that he faces in the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: President Trump's firing of former FBI director James Comey begs the question what's going to happen to the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia? I spoke with David Axelrod. He was a former senior advisor to President Obama and I asked him about where things go from here and if President Obama should have done more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: In terms of the integrity of American institutions moving forward, in your opinion, how might Comey's removal now affect the Russia investigation and the ability for all of us to get answers to the questions surrounding the election?

AXELROD: Well, look, I'm sure that the men and women of the FBI are going to continue to do that work, but the problem is when you have a president whose fired the director who is leading that investigation, now is going to personally hire his replacement, there is going to be a cloud hanging over the agency and I think that's inevitable.

You also have the added complication of the fact that General Sessions was supposed to have recused himself from this matter but was obviously involved in these discussions about Comey's status, which the president now acknowledges had very much to do with the Russian case. So, all of this has created a big cloud over the Justice Department. It's one of the reasons why a lot of people have called for a special counsel or a commission to study this matter and take it out of the realm of the Justice Department and out of the realm of partisanship.

But it is a blow to the institution. One of my concerns, Ana, about the president is that he seems to have little regard for institutions. Maybe that was part of why some people found him appealing. But he goes after the intelligence community, the FBI, the media, judges, fundamental pillars of our democracy. And he is supposed to be a trustee of that democracy. But he seems to be willing to take a hammer blow to them to suit his own political purposes, and that's bad for the country.

CABRERA: When we talk about the Russia investigation and the questions surrounding where it goes, what they're uncovering, remember, this investigation began during President Obama's service and his administration. Could he or should he have done more regarding the Russia investigation before he left office and taken this even more out of the hands of this current administration?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, I think some of the information that has unfolded -- or at least what I read is some of the information unfolded after the election, and he was concerned -- he said that he was concerned about looking like he was politicizing the investigation in a way to tilt the election one way or another. So, you know, he had to make those judgments.

One thing I would note though, the president said in his interview with Lester Holt, President Trump, that this was merely a phony story that was concocted by Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton's defeat. The fact is, the intelligence community disclosed this Russian hacking in October and that was well before the election. So that's another claim that he made that just doesn't hold up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Our thanks to David Axelrod there.

[17:35:00] But here's another blast from the past. Newt Gingrich was an early supporter, of course, of Donald Trump and a contender to be his running mate but it's his wife who's now getting a key job serving the current president overseas.

And later, can Americans trust the next leader of the FBI to lead a fair and impartial investigation into Russia's election meddling? We'll discuss with a former top ethics lawyer for the White House here in the "CNN Newsroom."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Her husband is a well-known name in politics, but Calista Gingrich could soon be taking her own place in the Trump administration. The White House hopes to formally announce her nomination to be the next ambassador to the Vatican within just a few days. Gingrich is the third wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close advisor to President Trump during the campaign who was considered for a cabinet position. Calista Gingrich is a devout Catholic who said in 2011 she has always been a very spiritual person.

A new poll out today reveals

[17:40:00] how Americans feel now about the FBI's performance and whether the agency can adequately investigate Russia's influence in the 2016 election without James Comey at the helm. Twenty-five percent of those polled by NBC and the Wall Street Journal say they have a great deal of confidence the FBI can conduct a fair and impartial investigation, 40 percent register some confidence in the agency while only 12 percent have no confidence the FBI can get the job done right.

Joining us now, CNN contributor, former White House ethics lawyer, Norman Eisen. He's also a former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. Ambassador, thanks for being with us. Whoever President Trump picks as the next FBI chief in your opinion, can Americans trust that person to lead an impartial investigation free of any White House pressure and influence?

NORMAN EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Ana, thanks for having me. And whether or not Americans will be able to trust the president's FBI pick depends on who he chooses. He needs to go in the direction of a career professional, somebody with ties to the FBI or to law enforcement. There is some highly political names on the list. That would be the wrong choice, say to choose a sitting senator -- too political. But if he makes a solid choice, the American people will get behind his choice.

CABRERA: Let's remind everybody what the acting FBI director told the Senate Intelligence Committee after Comey's firing. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW MCCABE, ACTING DIRECTOR, FBI: There's been no effort to impede our investigation to date. Quite simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Is it fair to question the integrity of their investigation?

EISEN: Ana, I think we can have confidence in the men and women of the FBI. It is fair, however, to question whether the president has or has not attempted to obstruct that investigation of the FBI. After all, we now have evidence that he demanded the FBI director's loyalty. There's an implicit suggestion there that if you're loyal, you won't investigate me. When the FBI director wouldn't comply, he fired him.

And then we even had a tweet seeming to threaten the FBI director that the president may have tapes. So we can question the president. We need an independent FBI director now, and we should have an independent special counsel appointed. Not the attorney general, not the deputy attorney general to compliment that FBI director so we can all have confidence in this investigation.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the upcoming foreign trip that the president will be embarking on later this week. I want to read something from the outgoing ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith. She tweeted this after the president fired the FBI director, "Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions." Ambassador Eisen, does Trump need to address the Comey situation during this first overseas trip or is it going to become the elephant in the room? EISEN: Well, there's no question that the turmoil of his first 100

days-plus capped off by the Comey firing is going to linger. Those foreign leaders, I had the privilege, Ana, of traveling on one of these trips with President Obama, of course, of serving abroad, representing our country. Those foreign leaders recognize the chaos in this country, and it undermines America's position as the leader of the free world.

That said, I don't think the president should aim to address it on his foreign trip. He needs to be controlled, confined. This is a time for singles or even bunts, none of those spontaneous tweeting or in person comments that he's famous for.

CABRERA: I want you to take a look at this brand new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 78 percent of those polled say they want an independent commission or a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and while just 15 percent believe Congress should conduct the investigation. I know you talked about a special prosecutor. Why is a special prosecutor not the choice, do you think, for some of the Republicans in Congress right now who aren't necessarily pushing for that?

EISEN: Well, Ana, unfortunately, some of our Republican leaders so far have been holding the red line of party loyalty with President Trump. They've provided that loyalty pledge that Jim Comey denied the president at that infamous dinner. But I think you're starting to see some loosening. It was telling for me that bipartisan, the leadership of the Senate

[17:45:00] Intelligence Committee, following the Comey firing the next day, they issued subpoenas. The Republican chair, Senator Burr, the ranking Democratic member, Senator Warner, they subpoenaed Flynn. So I think that I'm hopeful.

CABRERA: They subpoenaed Flynn on the same day that the president let the FBI director go, we know, and there have been new calls for all the evidence to also be turned over if there should be tapes inside the White House. Ambassador Norman Eisen, I don't mean to cut you off but we do have to get in a quick break. Thank you for your time, we really appreciate it.

EISEN: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Coming up, you've seen him on horseback, on a Harley- Davidson and on the hunt, but the Russian strongman reveals another side in Beijing this weekend. We'll tell you what Vladimir Putin was doing at the piano here in China.

[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Your eyes and ears are not deceiving you. This is Russian president Vladimir Putin playing a grand piano at a Chinese state guest house as he's waiting for a meeting with the Chinese president. Putin is in Beijing to attend an economic forum (inaudible) the city's answer to the G20 Summit. Just take a look at where Putin positioned himself in their class picture, right next to President Xi. Some 28 leaders from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America were

invited to attend this two-day summit and China is hoping this will usher in a new world order. David McKenzie joins me live now from Beijing. David, North Korea even sent a small delegation to China's summit. Is that surprising considering we were just reporting on their ballistic missile launch here last night?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's surprising that they went ahead with this launch, Ann, given the fact that they were given this invite to this very important meeting. So, it really was a slap in the face in a way to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping that they went ahead with this and it certainly raised eyebrows amongst those in attendance.

It was certainly slammed by the Russians and the Chinese. But it shows again that they don't appear to really care or at least publicly care what the Chinese think about their missile program, Ana.

CABRERA: Now, some of the leaders attending the summit are notorious for using strong man tactics in their county. President Putin, Duterte, Erdogan. Does participating in a summit like this give them credibility?

MCKENZIE: Well what I think it does is gives them a place where they won't be judged and certainly will be brought into the fold of this massive investment plan that Xi Jinping, the Chinese president is pushing. And you really had those leaders getting up at the podium and putting digs at the U.S. both the president of Russia, Putin saying, well, the world's global headquarters as it were has shifted east.

He was criticizing illegal sanctions towards the Russians. The president of Turkey saying in fact that China is now the center of global trade. So it's both the place where they won't be judge for their policies and the place where they can kind of say that the new big kid on the block is China, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. David McKenzie reporting, thank you. We'll be right back.

[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: As one of the top tech executives in the country, she's used to dealing with stress and difficult work situations but there's one simple thing that really drives the YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki nute. Poppy Harlow talked to her about fighting sexism in Silicon Valley and why you should never interrupt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Susan, is there a sexism problem in Silicon Valley today?

SUSAN WOJCICKI, CEO, YOUTUBE: Well, I think Silicon Valley is a diverse place and there are many different opinions. But whenever you have a majority and a minority, it's going to be harder for that minority. You know, even in a culture where people are really well- meaning and I think there are many, many well-meaning, working hard trying to provide so that (INAUDIBLE) a diverse place. There are some times micro aggressions, right, like people who will just cut you off and you'll be talking and then someone will interrupt you, and so that's actually become a big pet peeve of mine.

So, whenever like somebody interrupts me, I'll be like wait, I was talking. Do not interrupt me. But I enjoy it even more actually when I see them interrupting someone else and I'm like wait, she was talking. Don't interrupt her. And I think like when I've done that like people have been like, oh, thank you. Like, I didn't realize I was doing that. And so I think just making people more aware of it is really important.

HARLOW: So would you say overall yes there is a problem in the Valley and when you're hopeful is being fixed?

WOJCICKI: Well, I think that -- I mean I think there is a problem just in the numbers and being under represented like we need more women across the board. And until those numbers get fixed, it's going to be a less -- it's going to be a harder place for women to work.

HARLOW: So what's the solution?

WOJCICKI: I mean, this is a solvable problem. And so, I outlined three different steps which sounds straightforward but I don't think are happening in most companies. And so the first one is that it really needs to come from the top. You need the CEO of the company to say it matters. I think the second thing is that we need to make sure that you're funding the groups to be able to -- the different diverse groups to be able to have their own support.

So, whether it's like their own employee resource groups enabling them to be able to meet to do their off-sites, but then not expecting them to plan everything. So you need to have the budget and the people and not assume that the -- you know, if there's one woman in the group, she's going to be the one that is going to organize the women's organization, right? It's just not fair.

And then the last one, I have seen is just providing mentorship. And I feel like I've been really -- I've benefitted from that. There's no question. I've worked incredibly hard in my career. I've been really lucky to be in the right place. I've made a lot of great business decisions but I've also had people at the top of the company who saw potential and invested in me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:00:06] CABRERA: Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom." Happy Mother's Day.