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Trump: Search For New FBI Director "Moving Rapidly"; Calls For Comey To Address Trump's Allegations; Deputy Attorney General To Brief Full Senate Thursday; North Korea: Missile Can Carry Warhead, Reach U.S.; New French President Meets Germany's Merkel; "Wannacry" Infects 200,000 Computers In 150 Countries; Hong Kong Rejects Refugees Who Helped Snowden. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 15, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET





CLARISSA WARD, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: I'm Clarissa Ward sitting in for Hala Gorani. We are live from CNN London and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

A new week brings a new chance for the White House to try to reset the conversation after the shock firing of FBI Director James Comey, but the

questions just keep coming. President Donald Trump appeared a short time ago at the White House with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, how is the search for the new FBI director?



WARD: President Trump giving a few words there to reporters about the search for Comey's replacement. Critics accused Mr. Trump of abusing his

power by dismissing the man investigating his campaign's ties to Russia.

And now they are worried about a conflict of interests as the administration hand picks a new FBI chief. The White House Press Secretary

Sean Spicer addressed demands for a special prosecutor just moments ago.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a process that's running completely as it should as being headed by the deputy attorney general and

the attorney general. As we have noted in the past, the FBI director reports to the deputy attorney general.

They continue to move through a series of highly qualified candidates, and obviously, this is a huge priority for the president to make sure that we

have someone that has the ability to administer the proper leadership to the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) special prosecutor?

SPICER: I think there is frankly no need for a special prosecutor.


WARD: A former U.S. intelligence chief says Russia likely considers Comey's sacking as, quote, "another victory on the scoreboard for the

kremlin." James Clapper also had a grave warning about the future of American democracy under President Trump. CNN's Joe Johns has the details.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fallout over President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey isn't going away.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think that in many ways, our institutions are under assault both externally, and that

is the big news here is Russian interference in our election system. And I think that as well, our institutions are under assault internally.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Internally from the president?

CLAPPER: Exactly.

JOHNS: The nation's former Intelligence Chief James Clapper suggesting President Trump is undermining America's Democratic system.

CLAPPER: The founding fathers in their genius created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and

balances, and I feel as though that it is under assault and is eroding.

JOHNS: Clapper also rejecting the president's repeated use of a Senate testimony to dismiss the Russia investigation.

CLAPPER: The bottom line is that I don't know if there was a collusion or the conclusion and I don't know of any evidence to it so I can't refute it

and I can't confirm it.

JOHNS: United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley coming to the president's defense while White House aides avoided the Sunday shows.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whoever he wants.

[15:05:10]JOHNS: Lawmakers from both parties condemning the president's action and demanding an explanation of the president's threatening tweet

suggesting that recordings may exists of his conversations with Comey. The White House denies the tweet was a threat.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It was inappropriate. I would advise the president not to tweet or comment about the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If in fact there are such recordings, I think those recordings will be subpoenaed.

SENATOR MARK WARNER (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: We want to make sure those tapes were preserved because we are going to want to look at them in


JOHNS: The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asserting that Comey should have the opportunity to address the president's

allegations in public.

WARNER: I think Jim Comey deserves his chance to layout to the American public his side of the facts because how he was treated was pretty awful by

this president.

JOHNS: Some Democrats now saying they will refuse to confirm a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is appointed.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: 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 are saying, ah, we get some political points, we will go against Trump.

JOHNS: President Trump insisting that an independent investigation is not necessary.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There is no collusion. We have nothing to do with Russia and everything else.

JOHNS: The backlash coming as the president is scrambles to replace Comey.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think the process is going to go quickly.

JOHNS: A decision could come this week after eight candidates were interviewed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy over the

weekend. Lawmakers from both parties urging the president to look beyond Washington when selecting a new director.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I would strongly urge the administration to pick someone who is completely apolitical.

GRAHAM: The president has a chance to clean up the mess that he mostly created.


WARD: Well, lawmakers could learn a lot more about Comey's firing on Thursday. The deputy U.S. attorney general will brief the full Senate, and

you can bet he will face a lot of questions about the administration's shifting stories on Comey's dismissal.

Let's bring in now CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny and also we have CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick. He is an

assistant editor at "The Washington Post."

Jeff, let me go to you first, we just heard from Sean Spicer saying that the process is going completely normally and completely as it should be to

find a new director of the FBI. What are you seeing in terms of how the process is going and how it's being seen within Washington?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Clarissa, there's been nothing sort of by the book about this process from the very

beginning, so I am not sure that there will be a going forward here.

But look, there is an interview process underway with the Department of Justice going through some eight interviews with some folks over the

weekend on Saturday, long interviews.

And then I am told the president is going to be interviewing the finalists for this FBI director position. Now this is an unusual position in the

sense that the FBI director serves a 10-year term.

It is intended to stagger the administrations of various presidents which is why that Director Comey was still in place during this administration

here. So you are essentially picking someone who could outlast you here.

But I can tell you, Clarissa, regardless of who is picked, this is going to be a confirmation battle royale, and it is going to be going on throughout

the summer occupying much of the time here in Washington in the summer.

And this is a -- yes, Republicans control the Senate, but this is going to be a very difficult confirmation process. Now one -- there is kind of a

two schools of thought, do you want to pick someone who is a political person or do you want to pick someone with more of a law enforcement


The FBI, itself, the rank and file hope that it is more of the latter, someone with a law enforcement background and above reproach here, not

political. Most of the FBI directors have not been political actually.

But in this climate it is hard to say who will get the nod. It could come this week, but more than likely after that -- Clarissa.

WARD: And David, it is a political -- tumultuous week for President Trump. We've seen Republicans coming out as well and publicly condemning the

president's decision to fire Director Comey. Is the worm turning here? I mean, is President Trump really at risk at alienating large swaths of his

own party?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is a mixed bag, because on the one hand, Clarissa, he has had Republicans come out

condemning the way that the situation was handled with Director Comey. There are fewer Republicans criticizing the firing itself and I think that

is reflected in part because of what you see in poll numbers.

President Trump's approval rating in the Gallup daily tracking is 39 percent, which is not great, but it is really not that much lower or not

that much different from where it has been since inauguration day.

It's been between about 45 and 35. So there is clearly a floor underneath his level of support with his core supporters and Republicans in Congress

know that they need core Trump supporters for their own reelection.

[15:10:13]The other thing is that although only 29 percent of Americans approve of the -- according to the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll of the

way that the Comey firing was handled, 32 percent of people expressed no opinion.

So again, there is not this drastic move among the public opinion or among Republican constituencies to break from President Trump. He knows that and

members of Congress know that.

WARD: So David, has it hurt him do you think politically this or is it sort of Washington bubble storm in a teacup as far as most of his

supporters are concerned?

SWERDLICK: I think it has hurt him in this sense, Clarissa, number one, it has distracted from his preparation for his very important first overseas

trip. Last week was basically eaten up by the Comey scandal and a waste of time in terms of being able to prepare for the overseas trip which he

begins Friday.

This week, he is meeting with foreign leaders and now discussing the hiring of the replacement as well as some other legislative priorities. There is

the travel ban hearings in play, even though he is not in court with those of course.

And so the amount of time he has had to prepare for this overseas trip has been curtailed. It also to Jeff's point, you know, these hearings for

confirmation of the new FBI director are going to carry on into the summer.

Likely be contentious, and that is going to distract from the forward looking agenda that the administration really desperately wants to project

as they come out of the first 100 days and into the middle of their first year.

WARD: Indeed, distraction seems to be the word of the day. Jeff Zeleny, David Swerlick, thank you very much for your analysis.

Vladimir Putin is weighing in on North Korea's most recent missile launch, saying that Moscow considers its actions unacceptable, but also warning

that foreign powers must stop, quote, "intimidating" Pyongyang and instead engage in peaceful dialogue.

The Russian president made the comments at an investment summit in Beijing. North Korea's missile launch is highly embarrassing for China and could

affect relations with its most important ally. Our Will Ripley has more.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korean Leader Kim Jong- Un is testing the patience of two world powers, his strongest ally China and who he sees as his number one enemy, the United States.

New images show North Korea's supreme leader all smiles, supervising the test of what Pyongyang calls a new kind of nuclear capable ballistic


North Korea says it can hit the mainland U.S., and its Pacific operation, a claim most analysts say is exaggerated but still highly troubling.

Sunday's missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile says think tank 38 North. North Korean state

media says Sunday's missile reached an altitude of more than 2,100 kilometers or 1,300 miles, higher and further than other recent launches.

Traveling from a launch site near the Chinese border to the waters off of Vladivostock, Russia, home to the Russian Pacific fleet. The launch is

coming at a highly embarrassing time for China, North Korea's chief ally and economic partner.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosting a major global trade forum which includes a North Korean delegation.

ROBERT KELLY, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: If China were to cut off (inaudible) sort of a crisis in things like food and energy, external

resources. All of which that North Korea needs for the lifestyle they enjoy. China has a lot of leverage here. North Korea does not actually

want to become a colony of China.

RIPLEY: China under mounting pressure to do something it has resisted for more than a decade, put crippling economic pressure on North Korea, a

regime it had supported as (inaudible) buffer between U.S. ally, South Korea.

(on camera): It's interesting a lot of the can good items you see here come from China.

(voice-over): During my 12-month visit to Pyongyang last month, I saw plenty of evidence of Chinese trade pumping billions into the North Korean

economy even as North Korean officials say domestic production is increasing and insisting China will have zero influence over their nuclear

or missile development.

Whatever new sanctions we are likely to face or the trade restrictions, we are not afraid, said Sok Chol Wol, a North Korean official given rare

authorization to speak with CNN last month.

The latest launch coming as the Trump administration deals with massive fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey. North Korea's leader

choosing a time of political turmoil in the U.S. to advance his weapons program one step further, but holding off at least for now on a sixth

nuclear test.

[15:15:02]A test that could force the U.S. and China to stronger action against a regime racing to become a nuclear power. Will Ripley, CNN,



WARD: For more on President Putin's reaction to the North Korean missile launch, we are joined now by senior international correspondent, Matthew

Chance in Moscow. Matthew, what was President Putin's message here?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Putin is taking a two-pronged response, so attitude towards this. First

of all, he is criticizing the North Korean regime for their missile launches and for their nuclear ambitions.

He does not want to see that, he said in his words, Russia stands against expanding the nuclear powers club. But at the same time, he is laying the

blame for that increased belligerence on the part of Pyongyang at the feet of the United States.

The Russians have said that they believe that the annual military exercises that the U.S. carries out with its South Korean ally are provocative.

Also, Putin earlier today taking a sideswipe at the U.S. foreign policy in general saying that blatant violations of international law, incursions

into the territory of other countries and regime changes sparked this arms race.

What he says Russia wants is for a return for diplomacy and dialogue. Take a listen to what he told reporters in the Chinese capital earlier today.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and finding ways to

resolve these problems peacefully. Is that possible? I think it is.

If you recall, there was a time when North Korea announced it was suspending this kind of program, but unfortunately certain participants in

the negotiation process did not have enough patience. I think we need to return to this.

This missile launch presented no threat to us, but of course, it escalates this conflict, and there is nothing good about that.


CHANCE: So Putin wants dialogue, but of course, it would be dialogue in which Russia would be a central player. Putin relishes the idea of Russia

being an integral part of any solution to a big diplomatic crisis like that developing on the Korean Peninsula. He thinks it gives Russia increased

clout and he thinks it gives it more leverage with the west.

WARD: But I guess the question is, Matthew, what leverage does Russia actually have with North Korea?

CHANCE: Well, I don't it has a great deal, certainly not in comparison to China. North Korea has a majority of its trade and depends very heavily on

China, but historically, Russia was always an important supporter of North Korea during the Soviet era.

Moscow was the main supporter of the North Korean regime with the collapse of the Soviet Union that change and China took over, but there are

historical ties, they have embassies in each other's countries.

Putin has been on a state visit to Pyongyang and the father of Kim Jong-Un came to Russia on one occasion as well, and there is a burgeoning economic

contact between the two countries as well.

For instance, Russia, recently approved work permits for 50,000 North Koreans to work in Russia, which is an important source I think of foreign

currency for the regime in North Korea.

But the point I think that any influence that Russia has, it would want to leverage as being the kind of honest broker between the North Koreans on

one side, and the western palace, particularly the United States on the other.

WARD: OK, Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you so much.

Still to come tonight, day one for Emmanuel Macron, and on the new French president's agenda is a trip to Berlin to see Angela Merkel. We are live

in Paris and Berlin.



WARD: It is Emmanuel Macron's first day in office and the new French president has had a pretty full inbox. His first major action naming a new

prime minister, and it is this man, Edward Philippe. The 46-year-old is a member of the center right, Republican Party, and is the mayor of the

northern city of (inaudible).

Analysts say the appointment shows Mr. Macron is trying to politically balance his government and then it was off to Berlin, and a meeting with

the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while there, he spoke positively about the Franco-German relations.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): The Franco-German partnership I think needs more pragmatism, and more direction from above in

the short term for European citizens and for the Eurozone in general so that is the reason why we have to work together, and I'm aware of the fact,

of course, that Germany is a frank, direct and constructive partner. And I think that the destiny of the two countries is deeply linked and that has

to do with the overall success of Europe.


WARD: CNN is covering Mr. Macron's first day from across Europe. Atika Shubert is in Berlin, and Melissa Bell is in Paris. Atika, let me go to

you first. What did we hear from Chancellor Merkel during that press conference?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she greeted Macron very warmly, in fact, you could see the smile on her face when he

arrived at the Chancellery, and she basically said, look, this is setting the stage for those reforms that Macron has talked about, but you know, she

was very open and receptive to some of his comments on E.U. reform.

But she also made clear that any change, any reform in the E.U. really has to start with reforms at home in France. And we heard Macron specifically

talk about unemployment in his country, and the labor reforms are key.

But she was overall very receptive and supportive of Macron and really, she has a lot to thank for him, and the fact that he was able to stop Le Pen in

her tracks, that would have been a very difficult relationship between Merkel and Le Pen.

But also that he has really put an end to this idea that Brexit would somehow trigger a domino effect of other countries leaving the E.U. So

this does seemed to be a very positive start to their working relationship.

WARD: I am sure palpable sense of relief from Angela Merkel there. Melissa, to you, Edward Philippe, tell us the political strategy behind

this appointment.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was extremely interesting that he should choose a man from the Republican right, and a

man as you say, Clarissa, who has political experience and an important signal to the French electorate as we head into this parliamentary election


That he really meant what he said when he proposed to bring together people from the right and the left, and people with no political experience at all

to build a sort of the common projects that France has not seen for many decades, something new, something bold, and something that defies in a

sense the political elites that have been in power for too long, and driven by ideological concerns.

Now Edward Philippe is a man with an impressive CV. He is also a man who happens to speak fluent German and I think that is an important signal as

well because this visit to Angela Merkel tonight was absolutely key.

Emmanuel Macron has positioned himself as when you look through the presidential campaign, the most pro-European of the candidates facing,

presenting themselves to the French electorate.

He knows that listening to that press conference tonight, you understood that both leaders know that they are going to have to profoundly reform

Europe. Indeed they both accepted that the European treaties might have to be changed in order to plow ahead.

[15:25:07]But clearly more federalism they believe is what is needed to the challenges that have been posed over the last few years, and yet you also

heard Emmanuel Macron, these are both politicians, Clarissa, who are on the campaign trail.

He ahead of the parliamentary vote, and she ahead of those key parliamentary elections that will determine her own fate given the German

system. They both know that they need to speak to that populist electorate.

Those who are concerned about the fact that Europe has left many behind, and Emmanuel Macron took great pains to talk about the need to protect the

French, to deal with issues that have come about as a result of imbalances within the European structure.

The fact that European workers, for instance, can come to France and work more cheaply than French workers. So they are going about clearly stating

their desire to move ahead, but also going about it fairly cautiously -- Clarissa.

WARD: Certainly, certain challenges remain. Melissa Bell and Atika Shubert, thank you to you both.

Some new just in to CNN, the White House is neither denying nor confirming that the U.S. National Security Agency developed the underlying code that

hackers used to attack computers around the world.

The "Wannacry" cyberattack hit at least 150 countries over the weekend. We will have more with Samuel Burke in a moment, but first our Erin McLaughlin

reports on the fallout from the attack.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the most widespread ransomware attack ever. Thousands locked out of their computers unless

they pay up. The target is mainly corporate computers lacking a critical Windows security update.

(on camera): Here in the U.K. hospitals have been badly hit including this one in Central London since Friday has been struggling to get back online.

MARY WHITE, PATIENT: I have breast cancer two years ago. I have an annual mammogram just to make sure that everything is OK, that nothing is

happening because it can at any time recur, and so it is a little bit frustrating to come and I can't be reassured.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): The hospital told Ken Robbins that his cancer surgery was delayed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They phoned me up this morning and said it is too important to have my operation, coming straight and they are not going to

do it.

MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): What is your message to the hackers who created this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To put it bluntly (inaudible) and they need to go to prison for 20 years. They don't realize what impact they are having on


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Now in the midst of a general election previously focused on Brexit, new questions about the state of Britain's health care

system and the country's cyber security in general.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Cyber security is an issue that we need to address and that is why the government when we came into the

government in 2010 put money into cyber security, and why we are putting 2 billion pounds into the cyber security over the coming years.

MCLAUGHLIN: The victims spread across at least 150 countries and include FedEx, the Russian Interior Ministry, and a Spanish telecom company.

MIKKO HYPPONEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, F-SECURE: The common thing about (inaudible) that they are typically large organization with tens of

thousands or hundreds of thousands of workstations, and that is a typical environment where it is hard to the catch when you have so many different

systems in such a large geographical area, it is hard to issue the update in time.

MCLAUGHLIN: With hundreds of so-called ransomware gangs out there, fresh fear of more attacks and victims to come. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


WARD: I'm joined now by Samuel Burke who has the latest developments. So the U.S. government is not saying whether they are responsible, but

Microsoft is clearly pointing the finger at the NSA?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: It was quite incredible just a few minutes ago, you have Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert

saying, look, I can't say whether or not we developed this code, but the people who weaponized it, that is their issue.

And on the other hand, you have Microsoft so clearly pointing the finger at the NSA that you are rarely ever see this. There are always pleasantries

between these tech companies in the United States. They don't want to get involved in some type of war of words or have these things go to court.

So usually they will say a government but they won't say which one, but take a look at what Microsoft actually published on their blog yesterday as

all of this news was coming up. Clearly saying it is the NSA.

They say we have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on Wikileaks and now, we, pardon me, and now this vulnerability stolen from

the NSA has affected customers all over the world.

An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missile stolen, so they are clearly making that


As you have to ask yourself why? Well, with a lot of experts say why would Microsoft say it so blatantly? They believe that likely the NSA went to

Microsoft a few months ago and say, look, we have this code.

[15:30:00]. It's either been stolen or leaked, and so you guys need to do something to patch it. And that is when Microsoft started sending out this

patch, but that is why Microsoft is so blatantly, so clearly willing to point the finger at the NSA.

WARD: But has the patch been effective? Are we vulnerable to more attacks like this in the future?

BURKE: According to every expert, the patch has been very effective. You know those seemingly annoying updates you get in the lower right-hand

corner of Windows saying you need to download this update and restart the computer, if you've done that since March, you are fine.

If you haven't done that since March, drop what you're doing and go and do it right now. The problem is that so many companies don't update these

computers because it will affect old software they have, and that is why so many businesses were hit so hard.

WARD: Samuel Burke, thank you for breaking it down for us as always.

Still to come. Even some of his supporters say, this time, Donald Trump may have gone too far, but will there be any consequences? We will take a

look at the ongoing fallout from the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.


WARD: Welcome back to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Let's take a look at this hour's top headlines.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea's latest missile launch as dangerous but warned that foreign powers must stop

intimidating Pyongyang. Speaking in China, Mr. Putin said peaceful dialogue is needed to calm tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. State Department believes that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is using a crematorium to hide mass killings at Saydnaya prison complex

just outside of Damascus. U.S. officials say the prison could be killing as many as 50 detainees every day. The State Department official urged

Russia to use its influence to stop what it calls Assad's atrocities.

London's FTSE 100 hit an all-time high on Monday, closing the day up by just over a quarter of a percent. It was spurred on by a rally in oil

prices after Saudi Arabia and Russia said that a crude production cut would be extended.

Britain's snap election is just a few weeks away, and Prime Minister Theresa May took part in her first Facebook Live with members of the voting

public. Forty thousand comments were posted, and she was asked questions on a range of topics, including Brexit. Here is what she said about the

rights of E.U. citizens living in the U.K.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Well, I want to be able to guarantee those rights for E.U. citizens who are living here, and I

expect that I will be able to do that but --

[15:35:00] ROBERT PESTON, ITV NEWS HOST: Any idea how quickly?

MAY: Well, I think, as the U.K. Prime Minister, it's only right that I have a care for U.K. citizens who are living in other European countries.

So I want those to be reciprocal rights to be looked at reciprocally. And I put it in my Article 50 letter to the E.U., when I triggered the start of

these negotiations, I want it to be done early.

There's some sign through their own guidelines for negotiations that other countries want it to be done early as well. I'm afraid I'm going to be

honest with, I think it was Linda (ph), I can't put a date on it, but there is a goodwill there to do this as soon as possible.


WARD: U.S. President Donald Trump says the search for a new FBI chief is moving rapidly. The abrupt firing of James Comey was shock enough, but the

aftermath has only deepened the outrage. The White House story has shifted several times about why the FBI Director was dismissed, with Mr. Trump

eventually acknowledging he had the Russia investigation on his mind when he terminated him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.


WARD: A remarkable admission that was followed by a public threat. Mr. Trump warned Comey on Twitter that there could be recordings of their

conversations, suggesting tapes may surface if Comey leaks to the media.

Now, some lawmakers are demanding to see the evidence saying the Trump administration must turn over the tapes if they exist. Critics say that

Mr. Trump is clearly abusing his power, and they are keeping close watch on who he will appoint the fill Comey's shoes.

And let's talk about all of this with CNN Law Enforcement Analyst James Galliano. He has decades of experience with the FBI.

And I just want to start out by asking, we just heard from Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, who says that the process to find or appoint a

new FBI Director is going completely as it should. Your impression observing from the outside and as someone who spent many, many years on the


JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, it is great to join you, Clarissa.

Let me just give you a little bit of background perspective on the FBI and its history. It's been around since 1908. There have only been seven

total FBI directors. And I know if people go to the Wikipedia page for the FBI, there are a number of other names in there, but the rest of those

folks were interim directors.

And if I go back and look at some of the interim directors, meaning when an FBI director either was fired as in the case of Director Sessions during

the Bill Clinton administration or as recently as now with Director Comey's dismissal by President Trump, the average amount of time that someone

serves in an interim position -- the minimum time is usually two months, and the average time could be up to seven or eight months.

Except for the fact that President Trump is unconventional and reflexive, I would be shocked if we did hear something by the end of the week. I know

that that's been threatened and intimated, but I think the process should take the requisite amount of time to get it right. Don't worry about doing

something reflexively. Make sure we get the right man or woman for the job.

WARD: So given that there have been so few FBI directors, that usually their tenure would 10 years, I believe, what was your reaction, in all

candor? If you can tell us, what was your reaction last week learning that FBI Director James Comey had been fired by the President?

GAGLIANO: Sure. I certainly don't speak for the FBI as an organization because it is not a monolith. It is an agency that's made up of folks that

are, you know, vote to the left, and folks that vote to right, and folks that felt that Director Comey made some missteps from that July 5th press

conference regarding the Hillary Clinton e-mails forward.

And there are those that think that, really, the catalyst for all of this was the Attorney General Loretta Lynch's ill-fated meeting with former

president Bill Clinton on that Phoenix tarmac in late June. So people come down on both sides of that.

What I will tell you that we are united about was the mistreatment, was the -- really, I can't think of any less pejorative terms than the repugnant

and reprehensible means and methods with which our FBI Director was publicly flogged in the center square.

And to do it in manner that it was done, meaning he dispatched Keith Schiller, his long-time aide and former bodyguard, to FBI headquarters to

deliver a letter? And the FBI Director finds out about this while the folks that he is speaking to in the Los Angeles Bureau of the FBI are

watching it behind him on a television screen?

[15:40:00] I don't care what your feelings are about Director Comey, whether you agree with what he did or you don't. No one should have

treated a career public servant like that, the way that he was treated.

WARD: And, of course, this now puts the FBI right at the center of a political firestorm. Is this an uncomfortable position for the FBI to be

in, particularly as it is tries to push ahead with this Russian investigation?

GAGLIANO: Look, Clarissa, the FBI prides itself on the apolitical mien that we adhere to. We pride ourselves on that. But, look, again, if you

study the history of the FBI, take it back as far as 1948 when J. Edgar Hoover was basically accused of feeding information to Thomas Dewey, you

know, as a Republican running against Harry Truman in the '48 election. So there have been instances where people have said, hey, the FBI is not

totally apolitical.

Individual directors are appointments. And, yes, they're human. And, yes, they have political ideologies. But the institution itself, the men and

the women that actually do the investigations, the ones assigned to the Russian collusion case versus, you know, the ones that are assigned to a

violent gang case or a counter intelligence case, those folks are all going to do their job. And no matter what man or woman is put in charge at the

agency, I have complete trust and confidence in the men and the women that actually do the work.

WARD: And can I just get your thoughts, very quickly, as well on this idea of the tapes, that there could be tapes, that the president may have been

recording conversations between him and Director Comey. How unorthodox or frankly illegal would that be?

GAGLIANO: Well, I mean, it is not illegal. I mean, you know, Virginia or D.C., where this was purported to have taken place, it is not a two-party

consent state. There's only 11 of those. It's actually a one-party consent state.

So is it conceivable that the President or even the Director could have done that? Yes. But I think it is highly implausible that the FBI

Director would have done so. And for the President to intimate that in his 140-character tweet, that threat, again, I just find that so despicable.

Whether or not he did it or just wanted to give the illusion of it, I just think it's the right way to communicate with a beloved public servant like

Jim Comey.

WARD: James Gagliano, grateful, as always, for your analysis. Thank you.

GAGLIANO: Thank you, Clarissa.

WARD: President Trump's revised travel ban is back in the hands of a federal Appeals Court. Three judges from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of

Appeals heard arguments today as the administration appeals a Hawaiian judge's decision against the executive order.

In March, that judge blocked the President's order that would've affected travel from six Muslim majority countries. Those challenging the ban say

it is unconstitutional and likely motivated by a discriminatory purpose, but the Justice Department says the executive order is within the

President's power and that lower courts are wrong to second guess him on a matter of national security.

While Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified information about U.S. surveillance, was hiding out in Hong Kong four years

ago, he found shelter in the homes of three refugee families. But now, those families are struggling to find safe havens for themselves. Ivan

Watson reports.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rejected by Hong Kong and facing imminent detention or deportation, these families sheltered NSA

whistle-blower Edward Snowden when he was on the run from the U.S. government in 2013. They took Snowden into their cramped apartments, and

let him sleep in their beds, even though they did not know they were helping a wanted man.

VANESSA RODEL, ASYLUM SEEKER: I see he newspaper. It was him. I said, oh, my God. The most wanted man in the world is in my house.

WATSON: All Vanessa Rodale knew was that he needed her help. But now, after living in legal limbo in Hong Kong for years, their applications for

legal status have suddenly been rejected.

RODEL: I don't want this to happen to me and my brother. It's very hard for me. I'm very worried, I'm very scared.

WATSON: Hong Kong's decision comes eight months after the refugee's story was highlighted by the Oliver Stone film, "Snowden." In an exclusive video

message sent to CNN, Edward Snowden appealed for the world to help these families.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, U.S. WHISTLEBLOWER: They could be arrested any time. The children could be separated from their parents. And the families could be

returned to the very places where they face torture or worse.

WATSON: This Sri Lankan father of two children, born in Hong Kong, and now stateless, also hosted Edward Snowden.

SUPUN KELLAPATHA, ASYLUM SEEKER: Deportation mean they don't let us go alone. They hand over to an immigration department in Sri Lanka or maybe

some authority, so we don't know after that. Maybe we disappear.

[15:45:07] WATSON: The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry told CNN it cannot comment on individual cases but said, "We have an open policy. Sri Lankans

are free to come back." The family's lawyer claims the cases were deliberately expedited.

ROBERT TIBBO, LAWYER FOR THE FAMILIES: The Hong Kong government has intentionally targeted or singled out these three families for screening,

immediate screening.

WATSON: In a statement to CNN on this case, the Hong Kong government said there are no substantial grounds for believing that the claimants, if

returned to their country of origin, will be subject to real and substantial risk of danger. The government also denied accusations it

targeted individuals.

Campaigners have been raising money for the families who are now applying for asylum in Canada. Despite their uncertain future, the families all say

they would do the same again.

RODEL: If he asked me again once more for my help, I will say yes again.

WATSON: Families with almost nothing to begin with feel they are being punished for extending kindness to strangers. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


WARD: You are watching THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. As controversy around James Comey's firing continues, a group of Senate Republicans are distancing

themselves from the controversy and the President. Stay with us.


WARD: The fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey is showing signs of becoming a bipartisan issue. Some Republicans are now distancing

themselves from the President as questions around the timing of his decision remain unanswered and threaten their own political futures.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse expressed concern the decision could jeopardize public trust.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: People can think that Director Comey who is a fundamentally honorable man, but people can think that he executed his

job in all sorts of clunky and imperfect ways, that's a different question than whether or not he should have been fired the way he was last week.

And I have been critical of that decision. I think it exacerbates the erosion of trust in our institutions.


WARD: And Republican Senator John McCain warned it could affect the success of the party's broader agenda.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I regret that it has happened. We have a lot of issues and challenges, and this just diverts a lot of that



WARD: Former Reagan White House Political Director and CNN Political Commentator Jeffrey Lord joins me now from Pennsylvania.

Jeffrey, obviously, last week was something of a tumultuous week for the President. There have been questions raised by Republicans in the Senate

about the way this was carried out, the firing of Director Comey. How do you think it is playing with his supporters though, the President's


[15:50:08] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think they like it. You know, one of the things we have in America, an expression of blowback

or pushback. And when you listen to what we call over here the conservative media, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh and others, they are quite

staunch in their support of the President on this and believe, in my opinion, quite correctly that had Hillary Clinton been elected president,

she would have fired James Comey. And if --

WARD: Well, not Chris Wallace though. We heard Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." He came out and said there were some real questions about the

handling of this and the question of whether -- it's President Trump was saying that he was recording tapes of the conversations with Comey, et


LORD: Well, with all due respect to Chris, I mean -- and I have been down to Washington several times since this has happened -- that is the thinking

inside the Washington beltway. There is just no question about it. It contrasts exactly with what's out here in the rest of America. I was on a

talk show in Alabama today, and they were quite emphatic that they thought that Comey should be gone and he was playing politics, et cetera.

And in terms of the taping, if that's true, and there is no proof whatsoever that it is true, President Trump would be the fourth American

president to do this beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and of course, famously, Richard Nixon. So there's nothing

new about that either, if, in fact, that was done.

WARD: So you're saying that to most Trump supporters across the country, it is a non-story?

LORD: It is not so much that it's a non-story, but there is a lot of hypocrisy here. I mean, Democrats were very anxious to get Mr. Comey out,

fired or have him resigned or pushed out during the campaign because they thought that he was very unfair to Hillary Clinton.

Amusingly, Senator Reid, who was then the Senate Majority or Senate Democratic Leader, not only wanted him to resign, but he specifically said

that he wanted him to resign because he, Director Comey, was conducting a cover-up of Russian hackers to protect the Republican Party.

Now, of course, their line is that Director Comey was fired because he was investigating the Russian tie. So, you know, there is just a lot of

hypocrisy here. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing and who is in charge on any given day with these folks.

WARD: OK. Well, I don't want to get into the specifics of that with you. I would like you to listen to some sound from James Clapper, former

national security director, talking about the threats facing the U.S., both from Russia and also from the President himself. Take a listen.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault both externally -- and that is the

big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system. And I think, as well, our under assault internally.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Internally from the President?

CLAPPER: Exactly.


WARD: So I'm not sure if you were actually able to hear that, Jeffrey, but he said --

LORD: I did, Clarissa.

WARD: Oh, you did a hear that.

LORD: I did hear it, yes.

WARD: I mean what's your take on that? This is James Clapper. This is not a partisan person talking here.

LORD: Right. Right. Well, two things. The Russians have always been after our elections going back years. I mean, no matter who the candidates

are, they have been trying to meddle or interfere in American elections.

But secondly, in terms of his second point there, I actually would agree with him. I mean, there is great concern here -- let me rephrase that --

anger from a lot of Americans that think American institutions have failed them. That the FBI -- I'm sorry, that the IRS, for example, was used to

investigate President Obama's political appointments or political opponents.

They think that a lot of the institutions of government have utterly failed them. They are very angry. They do want change. They see President Trump

as a disruptor of this and somebody who is going to bring change and reform, so in that sense, I think that, in a way, Director Clapper is quite


WARD: OK. Jeffrey, that's a nice bit of sophistry there. I think what Clapper was actually saying is that these institutions are under threat

from President Trump, but we don't have time to discuss that any further. Thank you so much for joining us.

LORD: Thank you, Clarissa.

WARD: Well, here's a question that's sure to get people talking. Is health care a right or a privilege? With health care a raging debate in

the U.S., the new Miss USA's answer got quite a reaction on social media. Listen to this.


KARA MCCULLOUGH, MISS USA: I'm definitely going to say it is a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted health care. And I see firsthand

that for one to have health, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the

opportunities of health care as well as jobs for all of the American citizens worldwide.


WARD: Some viewers with outraged and took to Twitter. One wrote, "Do not take your political advice from this Miss USA. Health care is a right, not

a privilege."

[15:55:06] Another user tweeted, "I admonish you for saying to the world that health care is only for those who can afford every penny of it. You

should be ashamed."

And we'll be back right after the break. Stay with us.


WARD: It's been a whirlwind week in Washington, but it isn't just the news media that has been busy. The late night comedy shows had a wealth of

material to work on. And with actress Melissa McCarthy hosting "Saturday Night Live," there was only one character that was going to steal the show.


MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: Sarah, move. Move, move.


MCCARTHY: If you lie all the time, your pants get on fire. Liar, liar, pants on fire. That is why I put them out. That's right. Spicey is back,

Sarah is out.



WARD: This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.