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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Trump: "No Politician In History Has Been Treated Worse"; Lawmaker Calls For Trump's Impeachment On House Floor; Analysts: Comey Memo May Show Destruction Of Justice; Putin Offers Trump-Lavrov Transcript To Congress; Israel: Relationship With U.S. Will Remain Strong; Iranians Vote In Presidential Election Friday; Washington Reels from a Wild Week; Former CIA Director on Comey Memo Controversy; All Eyes on Republicans Amid Trump Controversies; Venezuela in Grips of Major Crisis; Japanese Princess Set to Marry a Commoner. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 17, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Clarissa Ward standing in for Hala Garani live from CNN London. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Show me the evidence, that's what many U.S. lawmakers are saying today, about the news that fired FBI director, James Comey, may have left a paper
trail behind. Sources say Comey documented a request by President Donald Trump to drop an investigation into former National Security adviser,
A House committee has now asked Comey to testify next Wednesday. In another extraordinary twist, Vladmir Putin is now inserting himself into
the crisis at the White House. The Russian present is offering to provide a transcript of the controversial oval office meeting between Mr. Trump and
President Trump made a public appearance today, but did not address any of this head on. Instead he told Coast Guard Academy graduates that he is the
victim of unfair news coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more
unfairly. You can't let them get you down. You can't let the critics and the nay sayers get in the way of your dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: The word has been floating around the halls of Capitol Hill. But today, a House Democrat became the first member of Congress to officially
call for Mr. Trump's impeachment. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is now under pressure to support an independent investigation, but he says he
won't rush to judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We need the facts. It is obvious, there are some people out there who want to harm the president,
but we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House. I'm sure we are wanting to hear from Mr.
Comey about why if this happened as he allegedly describes, why didn't he take action at the time? Our job is to be responsible, sober and focus
only on gathering the facts.
REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Of course, Speaker Ryan has shown he has zero, zero, zero appetite for any investigation of President
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Just minutes ago, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave an audio gaggle aboard Air Force One. He says the account of Mr. Trump's
meeting with Comey is, quote, "not an accurate representation." But he didn't give any new details.
With me now to discuss this is CNN's Jeremy Diamond. He joins us from the White House. Jeremy, what is the latest you are hearing and what's the
mood in the White House, and when might we hear from Comey?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. Well, you know, the mood is pretty gloomy here at the White House. You know, this
has been one crisis after the next in this last week. Last week, you had the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
On Monday, you had the revelation that President Trump allegedly shared classified information with the Russians and then just yesterday, we had
this latest bombshell.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying the White House and the president have nothing to add beyond the statement they put out yesterday
denying Comey's accounting of this in his memo.
And Spicer also saying that President Trump is going to be meeting with four candidates for FBI director today. That coming amid this whole storm
of controversy that is clouding over this White House right now.
As you've mentioned, FBI Director James Comey, now, ex FBI Director James Comey has been invited to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
That will be next Wednesday if Comey agrees to it.
[15:05:10]We understand from people close to Comey that that is something that he likely would do. So that's probably the next opportunity that we
will have to get a little bit more clarity on this beyond the experts from that memo that Comey allegedly wrote after this February meeting with
WARD: And of course, all of this, Jeremy, apparently completely overshadowing the president's first trip overseas.
DIAMOND: Yes, that's right. The president leaves on Friday for this very important trip where he is going to be hitting five different cities in a
matter of eight days. So Comey would be testifying right in the middle of all of this.
Already, though, in the first days of this trip, this is going to be hanging over the president's trip. You know, some White House staff do see
this as an opportunity to try and reset things, move the narrative, and shift the conversation a little bit towards the things that the president
and his team have been preparing to discuss.
He is going to be hitting some major countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, followed by some powerHouse diplomacy in
Brussels for the NATO summit and then in Sicily for the G7.
But again, as FBI Director James Comey testifies next Wednesday that could really send things into a much more turbulent direction.
WARD: OK, Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you.
Well, since this story has broken, the term obstruction of justice keeps getting thrown around. According to the Department of Justice, the legal
definition is, number one that the defendant acted with corrupt intent. Number two, the defendant knew that judicial proceedings were pending and
wanted to interfere and number three, that the defendant's actions were likely to affect the judicial proceedings.
One of our next guests says that Donald Trump is facing the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president. That's strong words there
from Alan Dershowitz, who is a professor at Harvard Law School.
I'm joined also by CNN contributor, John Dean, who served as White House counsel for former President Richard Nixon. A lot to unpack here. But
Alan, let me start with you.
This term obstruction of justice, a lot of people saying potentially this could apply to President Donald Trump's actions if indeed he did ask Comey
to back away from this investigation. Just explain to us what that means and how realistic a prospect this really is.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: First, you quoted me as saying this is the most serious charge against the president. I was
referring to the leaking of the city in which the information was gathered about the laptops.
We now have a report from Israeli press quoting an American source saying that there is an Israeli spy whose life is in danger and that Israel
managed to get a spy inside of ISIS.
If President Trump's inadvertent slip results in the death or somehow the disappearance of an Israeli spy who might save the lives of thousands of
flyers, people all over the world in England, the United States, anywhere.
That's why this is the most serious charge against the sitting president. As to the obstruction of justice, I don't think that it is going anywhere.
The president is head of the executive branch. Historically and constitutionally, he has the right to tell the FBI who to investigate and
who not to.
When he is the potential subject of the investigation that creates a conflict of interest, but it does not create legal liability. So I think
he is safe from obstruction of justice either for firing Comey or for asking him to not prosecute Flynn in the White House. So I think his
problems are more from the political impeachment area than they are in the legal obstruction of justice realm.
WARD: Which leads me to, John. Tell us we heard today a Democrat from the House coming out and calling for President Trump's impeachment. Walk us
through, especially for an international audience, how the impeachment process works and how is it possible that one can continue to be president
after being impeached?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNCEL: Impeachment is a two-phase process, a multiple phase. It starts with a bill of impeachment being
introduced in the House of Representatives. That's referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which typically will hold hearings, do some
investigation and then either vote it out or keep it in the committee.
If they vote it to the House, the House of Representatives, a simple majority can then impeach the president. After that impeachment is
completed, it is sent to the Senate where it is comparable to an indictment in the House.
It is sent to the Senate where it is tried. The Senate takes a two-thirds vote to convict.
[15:10:03]So it is a long, arduous process. It is rarely used and it is the exception to the rule. We're not there yet. It is not likely to
WARD: Alan, do you agree with that?
DERSHOWITZ: I do completely. And I think the way the president can stop this and what the president ought to do if he is not guilty about anything
and I think the presumption has to be that he is not.
What the president ought to do is get behind the bipartisan proposals to create an independent commission of people who are nonpartisan, not
bipartisan, nonpartisan, former judges, former career prosecutors.
Their job wouldn't be to point fingers or prosecute or indict anybody just to get to the truth to find out what happened, to find out what the
relationship, if any, was between the Trump campaign and Russia, and between the Trump administration. Why was this information leaked? Why
did he fire Comey?
All of is this can be done. If that were to happen, I think we would get off the issue of who is getting prosecuted and who is getting impeached
because what the American public really wants is the truth.
And this is a win-win. It would be a win for Trump. It would be a win for the Republicans. It would be a win for the Democrats and most important a
win for the American people. So let's move forward in a non-prosecutorial way and find out the facts, the truth and then we can decide what to do.
WARD: John, let me ask you to respond to Alan's earlier assertion about a reported sharing of classified intelligence between President Donald Trump
and the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. You heard Alan say that he viewed this as one of the most serious charges
against a sitting president. Do you agree?
DEAN: I do agree.
WARD: Should that alone bring about some kind of serious consequence?
DEAN: Actually, there are no legal consequences for that. The president has complete authority to do exactly what he did. Classification starts
with the president, under his inherent powers as a separate branch of government. He is the one who creates the classification system.
Congress does have laws that protect classified information. Congress has nothing to say about what the president does or does not classify. That's
strictly an executive function.
So there are, while it is serious and may have compromised a partner, there are really no consequences other than the political impact of it and
discrediting the president and showing lack of confidence in what he is doing.
DERSHOWITZ: I agree with that --
WARD: But what about that political -- I'm sorry, forgive me, Alan but, quickly, John, you know, what about the political -- because OK, maybe on
the legalities, you know, it doesn't make sense. But on the political consequences, at what point does it become clear that someone is simply not
up to the job?
DERSHOWITZ: My sound has been turned off. I will just say that I think just because something is not illegal or not impeachable doesn't make it
right. We have to make sure there is damage control. We have to make sure that this never happens again.
The president should never have been told the name of the city from which this information emanated. That is something he doesn't have to know.
Also much of the blame goes to the officials, one former and one current, who leaked this to "The Washington Post."
If hadn't been leaked to "The Washington Post," ISIS would have never learned about it. So you have to point the finger of responsibility also
at the leakers. They are the only ones in this that actually committed crimes, serious felonies, by leaking classified information to "The
The president can't be prosecuted. The "Washington Post" can't be prosecuted under the First Amendment, but these two leakers have caused
enormous damage and have compounded whatever damage the president caused in private by disclosing information to the Russians.
WARD: Alan raises a good point there. We just had a slight audio snafu. But John, I wonder if you could respond to that, but also respond to this
idea that even if legalities are not the issue. At what stage does it simply become politically unfeasible for the Republicans to continue to
support President Trump?
DEAN: Well, there are multiple political consequences. As far as our partner sharing intelligence, there may be a reluctance to do so if this
White House can't handle classified information properly.
Republicans at some point are going to start losing faith. Particularly if the ratings of the president are dragging them down and have the prospect,
particularly as we come up to midterm elections and they lose faith and they are actually being hurt by him.
That's a real possibility the way things are going if he doesn't get that turned around. So there are consequences and they are real. The political
consequences right now are more serious than the legal consequences.
[15:15:01]DERSHOWITZ: I agree. Look, I predicted as soon as this story broke that it was Israel that was the country whose sources were
compromised. Why? Because I had read a report back in February that U.S. intelligence sources were telling Israeli Musad, be careful what you tell
us, the Americans, because we have doubts about whether or not this president can keep material classified.
So those doubts had already existed in the early part of the Trump administration. Now, they have only been redoubled. I think the president
has a job to do to repair this. He is going to try to do that when he gets to Israel. He will probably try to do that with Jordan, who is also a
major source of intelligence information. He has work to do on his trip abroad.
WARD: OK, Alan Dershowitz and John Dean, thank you so much for helping us to unpack it all.
The White House turmoil is now spilling over into the financial markets. Take a look at the Dow right now, it is down more than 318 points after a
day in the red. Elsewhere, a key measure of volatility on the markets has spiked.
Bear in mind this is just two days after both the S&P and Nasdaq closed at record highs. Of course, we will be keeping our eyes on the markets before
they close at the end of this hour.
Still to come tonight, how the Russian president is offering to help in the White House's latest crisis?
And later, conservative voters in Iran may be feeling a Trump effect. Could they elect a president who will take a harder line against the U.S.?
All that and much more when THE WORLD RIGHT NOW continues.
WARD: For all the controversy engulfing the White House right now, Donald Trump does have someone standing up for him, Vladimir Putin. As we told
you earlier, the Russian president says he is willing to provide evidence that Mr. Trump did not share classified information with Russian diplomats
last week. Matthew Chance has more from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Clarissa, perhaps the last thing President Trump needs right now is words from the
kremlin. That's what Vladimir Putin has been offering. The Russian president denying that any secrets were divulged by Trump during that now
infamous meeting in the oval office with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
I think if you don't believe it, Putin added, we have a transcript of what was said and we can send it to the U.S. Congress. It is the first time we
have heard anything about any kind of transcript that was discussed during what was meant to be a closed door meeting.
And frankly, it is still unclear whether one really exists. The comment was made as part of a tongue and cheek answer in which jokingly reprimanded
is foreign minister for not passing on any secret information.
[15:20:03]Well, Putin also took the opportunity to defend Trump by launching a scathing attack those trying to destabilize U.S. politics under
what he called anti-Russian slogans. Either they don't understand the harm they are doing their own country, which makes them dumb, he says, or they
do understand, which makes them dangerous. Back to you, Clarissa.
WARD: CNN's Matthew Chance, thank you.
Officials say some of the information Mr. Trump allegedly shared with Russia came from Israel. Lawmakers there insist the U.S./Israel
relationship is too strong to be undone by controversy.
But Israel's defense minister tweeted, "This relationship with the U.S. is unprecedented in its contribution to our strength. This is how it has been
and how it will continue to be."
This all comes as the U.S. president prepares to travel to Jerusalem next week. For more on that, let's go now to Oren Liebermann who joins us from
Oren, clearly publicly, the Israelis sang, this is no big deal and doesn't affect the relationship. Do you have any sense of what's being said
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you pointed out, it is not just defense minister, the transportation minister and other politicians
have stuck to that line, the line that the Israel/U.S. alliance especially in the intelligence community is too strong to be shaken this, by the
possible revelation of a classified source.
Intelligence officials that is current intelligence officials aren't saying anything. The Israeli intelligence community is very secretive and this is
not it seems the time to pop their head up. But we are hearing a very different message from former intelligence heads who say anything from,
this is a small problem to this could be a possible catastrophe, especially if a source within ISIS was revealed to the Russians.
We spoke to the former head of Mosad, that's Israel's spy agency, essentially the Israeli version of the CIA. He says it is critical to find
out first exactly what was said and in what context and what sensitivity.
And second if it was that serious as he say it appears to be that it may very well be worth considering limiting the information especially the
sense of information that the Israelis give to the Americans.
Especially coming from someone in the know, like a former head of Mosad, that's an incredibly big statement because of how close the alliance is
between the U.S. and Israel. The gravity of that, the fact that he says, this is (inaudible), the former head of Mosad. He says that is worth
considering, gives you an idea of how seriously they view this breach of trust -- Clarissa.
WARD: And let me ask you, is this expected to impact the president's visit at all?
LIEBERMANN: It is worth noting that no current Israeli official has made any comment on this. It seems they want to keep it as far away as
possible, keep it in Washington, because of President Trump's visit in a couple of days on Monday and Tuesday.
Nobody here wants it to influence that meeting. Both of these sides, both the Israelis and the Americans, want this meeting to go as well as
possible. Yet, certainly, the controversy around the revelation here and other misunderstandings or worse about the western wall and the embassy,
cast a giant shadow over this meeting.
And that's where we will be looking to see if there is any clarification on any of these issues. But so far it seems the Israelis are just as happy to
avoid this one as the Americans.
WARD: Let me just ask you quickly, what is expected to be the focal issue or the main issue of focus for the Israeli side going into this meeting?
LIEBERMANN: There is increasing pressure from the current Israeli government, that is Netanyahu's government to move the embassy and yet
there is a growing expectation that that's not happening. Part of the question here is, there is no good sense of the answer, what is Trump's
Middle East policy and could a meeting with the Arab states including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just before Trump comes to Israel
affect what he says here.
As of right now, I think this meeting would be called a success if it goes out without any surprises, that is to say both on the Israeli and the
Palestinian side. Trump was planning a big statement for Masad. That would have been a dramatic background to make a statement on top of a
mountain in the middle of the desert. That's been canceled.
But it looks like it will be a message at the Israel Museum, but there is really a great sense of what that message could be and if he is trying to
make some big announcement either on the peace process or the embassy or something else.
WARD: All right, Oren Lieberman with President Trump. You never know if there will be any surprises. Thank you for joining us.
Israel's regional nemesis, Iran, is having a presidential election on Friday and the Trump effect is having an impact on the contest between
incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and his main rival, hardliner, Ibrahim Rahici (ph).
As Frederik Pleitgen reports the decision of Iranian voters could radically change the course of relations with the U.S.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iranian conservatives mobilizing days before the presidential election.
Their candidate, Ibrahim Rahici looking to unseat the moderate, incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, and make Iran more assertive his supporters say.
[11:25:06]UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Rahici has morals. He's a good manager. He's knowledgeable and he does what he says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Mr. Rahici being a president, our relation with the United States will be worse.
PLEITGEN: Conservatives say the nuclear agreement reached between the Iran and world powers two years ago weakened Iran and hasn't brought the
economic benefits many hoped for. Despite the removal of sanctions, unemployment remains high, especially among those with university degrees.
(on camera): Of course, relations with America and the west play a major role in Iran's upcoming elections. Many people in this country feel that
the U.S. has not kept up its end of the bargain in the nuclear agreement. They want a future president to take a harder line.
(voice-over): Sort of Detante, the Trump administration has been talking and acting tough on Iran, slapping Iran with new sanctions after its
military conducted ballistic missile test earlier this year.
(on camera): So there is a Trump Factor then (inaudible)?
HAMAD MOUSSAM, TEHRAN UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think in the last few days, when issues (inaudible) overseas were discussed, the
conservatives were criticizing Rouhani for not being tough on the Americans.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Rouhani continues to defend the new deal and accused Iranian hard liners of undermining efforts to ease tensions with
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): When they wanted to jeopardize the deal, we witnessed what they did. They've broadcast the
underground bankers with rockets to destroy the deal. They wrote on the missiles to destroy the deal so we could not benefit from it.
PLEITGEN: Rouhani's comments are drowned out by a wall of noise at the conservative rally where they hope their efforts will be enough to give
Iran a new conservative government. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.
WARD: President Rouhani's conservative challenger is supported by the powerful Revolutionary Guards and today the incumbent warned that guards
and the militia called the (inaudible) to stay out of the election process. The warning came during a campaign speech according to the Iranian labor
Still ahead, one wild week in Washington, firings, leaks, sharing classified information. Coming up, I will speak to a former CIA director
for his take on Donald Trump's approach. That's next.
WARD: Welcome back. Let's take a look at some of the top headlines this hour.
[15:30:00] U.S. President Donald Trump isn't publicly addressing the allegations that he asked former FBI Director James Comey to end an
investigation into a former White House official. In his first speech since the memos released, Trump did talk about how badly he's been treated.
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has invited Comey to testify.
Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks in 2013 is now free. Her 35-year prison sentence
was commuted by President Barack Obama, one of his last acts in office. Manning tweeted this photo on Wednesday, taking what she called her first
steps of freedom.
In the U.S., police are combing through video of a brawl outside the Turkish Ambassador's residence in Washington. Witnesses say Turkish
security forces attacked pro-Kurdish protesters on Tuesday. A State Department official says it appears a mix of embassy and security from the
Turkish President's team were involved.
Well, if you've been finding it hard to keep up with all the headlines coming out of Washington, you are not alone. The U.S. capital is reeling
from a wild week. Let's take a look back.
On May 9th, Donald Trump fired his FBI Director, James Comey. The next day, Trump met with the Russian Foreign Minister in the Oval Office. Then,
on May 11th, Trump contradicted his own staff's messaging, telling NBC News that he had planned to fire Comey.
On Monday, claims emerged that Trump passed classified intelligence to the Russians during that Oval Office meeting. And just Tuesday, a memo
suggested Trump asked Comey to stop investigating former NSA Director Michael Flynn.
Well, joining us now is Greg Miller from "The Washington Post." He, indeed, was the first to report that Trump had discussed classified
information during that White House meeting with the Russians.
Greg, thank you so much for joining us. Let me start out by asking you about President Putin, who is now volunteering to share a transcript of
that meeting between Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak with President Trump, saying that nothing untoward or classified was discussed. Your
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I'm sure that the White House doesn't regard that as a particularly helpful
offer at this point, although who knows really? I mean that, to me, sort of seems to be a kind of classic case of Russian trolling of maybe the U.S.
media, maybe the administration, but absolutely not an offer I expect the Trump administration to want to take them up on.
WARD: And we did also see NSA Director H.R. McMaster also coming out, strenuously denying that anything untoward had been said in the meeting,
that anything classified have been shared. He described it as wholly appropriate, I believe. What was your reaction to that given your
MILLER: Well, I mean, you just pulled back there for a second from saying that he absolutely did not say that classified information was not shared.
In fact, he would not address whether classified information was shared.
And I think, if you look across the scrutiny of McMaster's press appearance across multiple news organizations and other sources, you'll find that he
largely confirmed or refused to address any of the fundamental points in the article. I mean, I came away from that press briefing thinking that
our article was absolutely spot on.
WARD: And have you found in the interim that there has been any development in terms of, obviously, there are concerns that, potentially,
lives could be put in jeopardy by President Trump making a faux pas, if you can even call it that, or an egregious breach of security? What is your
subsequent reporting telling you?
MILLER: Well, I don't know that there is any catastrophic fallout in this particular relationship. It was subsequently reported. We withheld some
details from our first story, but we're talking about an important intelligence ally in Israel here. And Israel has previously expressed a
lot of frustration with U.S. inability to keep sensitive information secret, and I'm quite sure that this has compounded that.
But I think, across the U.S. intelligence committee, I know from many, many officials that I have talked to, there's real concern about Trump's ability
to distinguish classified from unclassified information, secrets that he needs to protect from, and that many officials now wonder whether he is
capable of doing that.
[15:35:00] WARD: OK. Greg Miller from "The Washington Post." Thank you for joining us.
MILLER: Sure. Thank you.
WARD: Well, my next guest has an insider's view, both on American intelligence and on the workings of the Trump team. I'm joined now by
Ambassador James Woolsey. He is a former CIA Director. He was also a senior adviser to the Trump campaign.
And, I mean, there's a lot to discuss and a lot to get through, but I guess the place we need to start is with the Comey memo or the reports that
former FBI Director James Comey wrote memos following his meetings with President Trump.
In your experience, would it be normal or routine to write these kinds of memos? Did you ever write these kind of memos when you were the head of
the CIA in meeting with the sitting president?
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I don't think it has anything to do with the CIA. It has to do with your style of
keeping notes, and some people keep detailed notes about meetings that they've been in. Maybe it's because they want to write a book someday.
Sometimes, it's just to keep track of things. I did that a little bit but not nearly as much as some of my friends, but I don't think it has anything
to do with being in the CIA or not.
WARD: So let me ask you this. What was your reaction when you heard about this memo that, reportedly, President Trump had essentially asked then FBI
Director James Comey to step off the gas a little bit on this investigation?
WOOLSEY: Well, what President Trump asked, I think, to be done in the investigation of General Flynn is really rather similar to what President
Obama ask be done in public about not prosecuting Hillary Clinton. In both cases, we had extremely important public figures in circumstances in which
some type of tough punishment might have been likely were they not public figures.
But I think all the attention these days is, of course, on President Trump in the press. But one needs to go back to the past and look at what
happened and draw some parallels or lack thereafter, however you see it.
WARD: So you don't see this necessarily as a breach of conduct on behalf of the President?
WOOLSEY: Well, violation of the principle of -- let me put this this way. Being in all involved in interfering with the path of justice is a very
serious matter, whether it's done by a president or a regular civilian or anybody. But that's not the only kind of investigation the FBI does.
It's not the federal bureau of informing the public. It's the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and it really does mainly two kinds. One is
criminal investigations, say smuggling of heroin or something like that.
The other is investigations of counter intelligence, trying to understand who, let's say, the Russians or the Chinese or anybody who's trying to get
inside American government and understand what's going on and steal secrets. That does not carry with it any obstruction of justice issues.
The obstruction of justice would be with respect to one of the criminal investigations.
And part of the problem with covering this for you all, I imagine, and part of the problem the rest of us out here have is that people bounce back and
forth with some frequency between the two kinds of investigations, and they're not the same thing at all.
Saying that there is an obstruction of justice in a counter intelligence investigation is like saying that someone just dropped a ball that was
coming down on the playground and saying that means you're out because of the infield fly rule. And the other kid says, but wait a minute, we're
playing football. The infield fly rule doesn't apply to football.
And the violation of these principles of not hindering investigations and so forth are a matter for criminal investigation issues --
WARD: OK, yes.
WOOLSEY: -- not counter intelligence.
WARD: All right. We have to live it there, very sadly. Ambassador James Woolsey, thank you for your insights.
WOOLSEY: Good to be with you.
WARD: Well, all eyes are now on the Republicans in Congress as questions swirl about whether they will continue to stand by the President. And some
are already calling for a full investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: It's time that we look at the idea of whether it's an independent commission or a special prosecutor. People are
making determinations on whether something did or didn't happen by their political stripes, not by the rule of law. And so I think we're at a
position now where it's time for an independent commission or a special prosecutor or whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:40:12] WARD: CNN's Congressional Correspondent Sunlen Serfaty joins us now live.
Sunlen, what are you hearing on Capitol Hill?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Clarissa, from Democrats up here on Capitol Hill, it is an all-out, of course, shock and
concern about this story, and they want either a special prosecutor or an independent commission appointed to investigate these matters. And they
want, certainly, former FBI Director James Comey to not only release the memos but to come up here on Capitol Hill and testify.
But as you alluded to, certainly, the real story of the moment right here on Capitol Hill is the increasing number of Republicans who are now
speaking out and calling essentially for the same thing. We heard from a few Republicans today, Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, Congressman
Kinzinger, who indicated that they're open to the potential of appointing a special prosecutor or independent commission, something that we haven't
heard from many Republicans leading to this point.
So it certainly indicates that this latest part of the story really has reached a tipping point for some Republicans. But I should note that it's
still by far the minority of Republicans up here on Capitol Hill.
WARD: And just quickly, Sunlen, should we read anything into Paul Ryan's somewhat muted defense of the President?
SERFATY: It was a somewhat muted defense. As he was leaving his press conference today, a reporter asked him, do you have confidence in President
Trump? And he said, I do. But it was an interesting comment. He called for his caucus, essentially, to be sober, was the word he used and
essentially to show restraint here.
He said, look, we've got to gather all the facts and then push forward toward a conclusion. And certainly, he has been in support of the House
Oversight Committee's investigation into this. They have, of course, asked for Comey to testify. So for all intents and purposes, he is saying let's
wait and see, but for the moment, let's have restraint as a caucus.
WARD: OK. Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill, thank you. You are watching THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Digging through the trash to find food. A daily duty for this mother of five in Venezuela. CNN goes inside the economic and political crisis that
is tearing the country apart. That's next.
WARD: Venezuela is a country on the brink of collapse, torn apart by violent protests as opposition leaders face off with President Nicolas
Maduro and his supporters. The government is cracking down on dissent and intimidating journalists, even taking CNN's sister network, CNN en Espanol,
off the air.
Well, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh went into the country under cover. Much of the filming was done covertly to avoid the risk of being arrested. Watch
[15:45:04] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Venezuela's dark lurch into poverty and chaos is on display as you drive into the capital. This food truck breaking down for mere seconds
before it was looted. Basic food is scarce. No shortage of bleach but long lines for bread.
This crisis all created by the mad policies of a government that now wants to hide the collapse, cracking down on and intimidating journalists. We
had to go under cover and much of our filming was done covertly to avoid arrest.
With some poor nearing starvation, the people demand change in violent clashes. Tens of lives lost as desperation meet tear gas and police
birdshot. You've heard of the Molotov cocktail? Well, that would be too simple for a once suave, gas rich state. So this is the Puputov, a sewage
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Mixed with gas and ammonia, prepared directly for the police that throw tear gas bombs at us worth $60
each. My country doesn't food and we can't even protest peacefully.
PATON WALSH (on camera): This is the daily standoff. The crowd sometimes attacked by pro-government folks on motorcycles who open fire
PATON WALSH (voice-over): Gunfire takes at least one this day, that of 27- year-old Miguel Castillo. But it doesn't stop the daily battle to eat. Virginia has been doing this for 18 months to feed her five kids. She
can't find work since she had this little one, but here sometimes what she calls meat.
VIRGINIA, VENEZUELAN (through translator): Sometimes I find stuffed bread, rice, meat, beans, pasta. Some people are conscientious and put it in
clean bags, leaving it out.
PATON WALSH (on camera): So how has oil-rich Venezuela got so bad? In most countries, it's the market that sets the price of, let's say, for
example, rice. But here in Venezuela, the government decides how much you should pay for most goods stuff but also what many people's wages actually
And since the oil price has crashed globally, they have not been able to keep one up with the other. They're basically flat out of money. And now,
for rice like this, you need to find three times as many as many notes as these, and that's about a month's minimum wage.
PATON WALSH (voice-over): Wherever you look, repression and hunger haunts this once proud city. Jesus is a juggler, a magician for kids' parties,
beaten heavily, he says, in the day before's protests, now begging for food him when we find him.
JESUS, VENEZUELAN (through translator): I spent two days on the street and two days at home. And when I go home, it's because I have food. Before, I
get calls to do magic at birthday parties, but now, no. Now, with the country the way it is, magic doesn't help.
PATON WALSH (voice-over): They mourn the dead. The anger, quiet, indignant, not belligerent. South America is looking to see if Venezuela
can fix its self-made crisis without major bloodshed. But they are falling so far, so fast, and the ground is getting nearer.
WARD: Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from New York. Nick, let me start out by asking you, what is the Venezuelan government saying about
PATON WALSH: Well, despite their bid to practically keep a lid on what's happening inside that country, it's hard to work there as a journalist,
even if you're actually based there with official accreditation. They say that much of the depiction of their country is from a hostile foreign media
with their agenda, that we exaggerate some of the problems.
And they also point out that they are facing an opposition that often has its fingers in business there that are involved in sort of manipulating or
complicating the economic problems facing Venezuela. And then also, too, they're servicing their foreign debt with a lot of the state funds that
remain. And, of course, since the oil price has crashed, those state funds are significantly reduced, Clarissa.
WARD: And give us a sense of what daily life is like there.
PATON WALSH: It is a very, very strange place to be. I mean, this crisis is ostensibly entirely man-made. It's about the command economy in which
the people running it have sort of lost command and control. It is strange to go with a bundle of dollars to try and pay for things, realize you can't
pay in dollars. You have to pay in local currency.
If you pay using your credit card, well, the exchange rate you get is oddly about four or five times the black market rate. So you try and change
dollars into local currency, that then has rarely ever worked because there isn't actually enough physical currency around to be able to convert a
hundred bucks, for example. So you end up asking a local if they wouldn't mind paying using their banking card, which they can do because they get
better rate of you with your dollars. It's a very, very strange place to simply try, as you saw there, just buy a bag of rice.
[15:49:56] And that's for us with resources available. You know, we spoke to one family who, basically, the man works all week long, the husband of
the couple, with a number of children, for enough money to buy 13 coconuts, roughly, on the black market exchange rate.
Life is basically on limbo for most people there. And that's the reason you see the anger on the street because, frankly, that situation has been
created by the governments, in want of a better word, mismanagement -- Clarissa.
WARD: Such an important story and so under reported. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.
And don't miss it tomorrow. Nick Paton Walsh gives us a rare glimpse into a Venezuelan hospital where the economic crisis is taking its toll on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATON WALSH (voice-over): Danielle is 14 and elsewhere, would probably have kept her leg. But in Venezuela, vital medicine for chemotherapy is
short and so were the odds the bone tumor in her leg wouldn't spread. Just a little cold water, the doctor says.
PATON WALSH (on camera): Does it make you feel angry as a doctor, that a procedure like this is necessary --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PATON WALSH (on camera): -- where you could prevent it if you had the right medicine?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That is very sad for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Danielle's case is not an isolated one. More from Nick Paton Walsh in Venezuela tomorrow on CNN.
WARD: Let's get a reminder of how the Dow Jones is doing just minutes before the closing bell. And you can see there it's down more than 350
points after a day in the red. The turmoil at the White House is being blamed for much of the selloff. And, of course, Richard Quest will have
more on this in "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" in the next hour.
Well, as we near the end of the show, we want to bring you a couple of stories that show that love can conquer all. First, to Japan, which is
preparing for a wedding that, on the surface, reads like something out of a fairy tale. A beautiful princess marrying the love of her life after five
years together. But as Will Ripley, happily ever after will come at a price for this bride.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Springtime in Tokyo, the cherry blossoms have fallen but something else is blooming. Royal love.
Well, sort of.
Princess Mako, first grandchild of Japan's Emperor Akihito, is getting engaged. This is the world's first look at her soon to be fiancee, Kei
Komuro. He's 25 just like the Princess. They met at university. And he works at a Tokyo law firm, a resume any mother or father of the bride would
love. With one exception.
JEFF KINGSTON, PROFESSOR, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: He is what they call a commoner.
RIPLEY: Komuro's only royal title was "Prince of the Sea" when he starred in a beach tourism campaign for the Japanese city of Fujisawa.
People say he loves the ocean, almost as much as he loves the Princess. And she obviously loves him too because, once they get married, she gives
up her royal status and becomes a commoner.
[15:55:03] Their nonroyal royal romance rekindles an old debate here in Japan. Why can't women who marry commoners just keep their royal titles
like the men do? After all, her grandfather, the Emperor, married Michiko Shoda, the first commoner to marry into the Japanese royal family. She is
now the empress.
KINGSTON: Absolutely. The marriage did help the image of the imperial household. Imperial household law is outdated and needs to be thoroughly
RIPLEY: Japanese lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow the aging emperor to retire. He's already scaled back public duties.
Under centuries old imperial law, Princess Mako could never take his place. Only men can ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
On the streets of Tokyo, opposing views on gender roles in the modern monarchy. "It's Japanese tradition, you cannot change it," says this
businessman in his 70s. "I would vote for female succession, the British royals have it," says this accounting company employee in her 40s.
We also found plenty of people excited about the upcoming royal wedding, even if that wedding means Japan's imperial family continues to shrink.
Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.
WARD: And finally, with all the drama at the White House right now, love is probably the last thing you would expect to be in the air but it was for
For Ashley Harvey, seeing the sights around Washington with her boyfriend, Tommy Schultz, began as an ordinary day out. She did not expect what was
to come when they got to the White House. That was where, out of the blue, Tommy popped the question.
He says Tuesday's proposal tool months to plan. But get this, Tommy was so nervous, he didn't turn on the news all day. He had no idea his
declaration of love was made just a few feet away from a political firestorm. But then, as we said, love conquers all. Aww.
This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thank you so much for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.