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NEW DAY SATURDAY
House Intel Committee to White House: Hand Over Tapes By June 23; Trump: Comey's Testimony Vindicates Me; Two Senate Panels Request Trump Tapes, Comey Memos; AG Sessions Set for Grilling on Russia, Comey Firing; House Votes on Other Crucial Bill While All Eyes on Comey Testimony; Russia Skeptical of Comey's Testimony. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired June 10, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:00:11] PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that. And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Controversies, Comey, one of them is lying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?
TRUMP: One hundred percent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a he said/he said situation. Both guys say the other one is lying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you tell us about the --
TRUMP: Over a short period of time. Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The House Intelligence Committee says, enough is enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Demanding to know whether or not these tapes exists and that deadline is due 23rd.
TRUMP: No collusion. No obstruction. He's a leaker. We want to get back to running our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's always good to be sitting here and knowing that you are right there with us. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: So, this morning, President Trump is spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf club. The war of words, however, that is in full swing. Let's say, the President firing back at former FBI Director James Comey after his blockbuster testimony on Capitol Hill. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No collusion. No obstruction. He's a leaker. But, we want to get back to running our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Now lawmakers are demanding those memos, the tapes, if there are any and any other records of President Trump's conversations with Comey. And they want them by June 23rd and that is not all. Senator Dianne Feinstein is now asking the Judiciary Committee to investigate potential obstruction of justice.
PAUL: All right. Let's bring in Ryan Nobles, CNN Washington correspondent. Also, Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter. Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy managing editor for The Weekly Standard. Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. And Tom Fuentes, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director.
Thank you everybody for being with us. Ryan, I want to start with you first because the President is taking on that defiant tone we heard, accusing Comey now of perjury. Help us look ahead. What is next in this investigation?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems that though both Intelligence Committees on the House and the Senate side want to get clarification about this ultimate game of he said/he said between the President and FBI Director James Comey. The crux of this disagreement between these two men about the version of events that took place in their conversations is whether or not the President directed James Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. James Comey of course said in his testimony on Thursday that he felt that that is exactly what the President was asking him to do. But yesterday, in his press conference, the President said the exact opposite. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?
TRUMP: One hundred percent. And did you say under oath? I hardly know the man, I'm not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it, I hardly know the man, it doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say that and I didn't say the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that, you would be --
TRUMP: I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: So, their version of events couldn't be more different. And so now, the big question is, do these tapes exist? The President alluding to that fact in a tweet a couple of weeks ago. He still won't say whether or not those tapes exist. So now, the House Intelligence Committee is demanding an answer to that. They have sent a letter to the White House Council, asking for those tapes by June 23rd, which is now less than two weeks away. The question is, will they get a response from the White House on this? Obviously, the President has been pressed on this a number of times and refuses to provide any insight. Obviously Christi, if those tapes were revealed, James Comey wants to hear them. It would put this matter to arrest.
PAUL: Uh-hm. All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
NOBLES: There is so much to talk about now that Ryan has just brought up. So, let's get to our panel. And let me start with Kelly. President Trump says that he will give more information on the tapes, shortly. But what really happens if there are no tapes? It seems like then you just got two men with two different stories.
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Exactly. You know, I think President Trump, if there are no tapes, he will claim, and he's right, in his tweet that he said, Comey better hope there aren't any tapes. So, he can probably claim, I did not state, you know, authoritatively there are tapes. And you know, it's a pretty simple question. And as, you know, Ryan pointed out, he has not been able to answer it, despite being asked multiple times. So, I'm a little skeptical that there are any. I mean, if there were --
SAVIDGE: Is it that he can't answer it or that he's sort of playing this tease with us?
[07:05:01] TORRANCE: Well, and you know that President Trump loves to do that. He loves to tease the media, and you know, which he alluded to in the clip saying, you know, you guys are going to be disappointed with the answer saying to the media which, you know, I don't think that we have or will be disappointed or not, the American people want to know, are there tapes or aren't there. Can we get to the bottom of this or can't we?
PAUL: Can there base and qualification? And on that note, Joey, I wanted to ask you, are these contemporaneous notes that Comey says he, that we know he has, are those evidence enough to override a he said/he said situation? Does he automatically win if he has those notes or no?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. Good morning, panel. The answer is no. There are no automatics at all. Now, let's talk about what the contemporaneous notes mean. Certainly, they are compelling. And why do I say that? Whenever you have a document that's prepared close in time to the event that took place, it brings about more credibility. Right? In fact, if you look at the seven-page memo that he produced in advance of his testimony, he mentioned that literally he was writing notes in the jeep right after, right in the truck, right after he left the meeting with Trump. And so, if they are close in time, they are compelling. Having said
that, there is nothing like a recording. The recording brings us there. And even in contemporaneous notes, Christi, you are relying upon your version of the events. Right? We all can be at an encounter, we could describe things in a different way. And so, while those notes are important, they seem to otherwise memorialize and capture the essence and significant of the exchange. I certainly, if there were any recordings would love to see them. But I am a skeptic. I doubt such recordings exist.
SAVIDGE: Eugene, do you think -- we've heard the President say as he did boldly yesterday, that he is willing 100 percent under oath to give some sort of testimony. Do you think that ever is really going to happen? Do you think that he would truly agree to be deposed by Special Council, Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I would be very surprised that if he follows through with that, for a couple of reasons. One, we just know that this is a president who has said he will do some things and does not always follow through. And so, he will likely change his mind perhaps or at least has the right to change his mind. I also believe his personal council could discourage him from doing something like that. Because testifying before a panel will open him up to questions that he may not want to really answer. And he can find himself saying some things and sharing some information that can lead to further questions that he wasn't prepared to answer.
PAUL: Tom, I mean, you have -- you're an assistant director for the FBI. How does the FBI feel about James Comey right now?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I don't know. And the aftermath of this, the few people that I have talked to at FBI headquarters and retired agents are very upset with this testimony, feel that he's brought political shame on the bureau and that --
PAUL: What specifically did they feel brought that shame?
FUENTES: Well, his emotional responses. When he testified at the hearing, that he felt nauseous and now, when he talks about his encounters with Loretta Lynch and Donald Trump, you know, he talks about himself as being cowardly. If he had been stronger and all of that. And, you know, for most of us career agents, especially for the agents that, you know, on occasion have faced death and bodily harm, they don't want to hear their director saying, I'm not that strong, I should have stood up, I should have done a number of things differently. So, there's a lot of consternation about those comments that he made.
SAVIDGE: Kelly, Paul Ryan has pointed out and other conservatives have come to the President's side as well saying that, you know, Trump is just new to all of this. And that he wasn't really trying to interfere with any kind of investigation by Comey, but that, you know, he was just sort of saying, hey, you know, is there a way you could see that maybe dropping this investigation? In other words, that was Trump the businessman, and not necessarily Trump, the politician and President whose experienced that no, you don't talk to the FBI that way.
TORRANCE: Well, that's a very interesting question. Because isn't Paul Ryan sort of saying, when he says that, admitting that Donald Trump might have talked about Michael Flynn and maybe have asked James Comey to think about letting that matter go. I think that's the one interesting thing here that we have from Trump's lawyer's statement after Comey's testimony. He disputes the fact that he told Comey, I hope you can let this go.
But he admits that Trump didn't bring up Michael Flynn and said he's a good guy. How is Michael Flynn doing? I mean, it kind of looks bad if you are bringing up a man who is under investigation, even if he didn't say, I hope you can let this go. The fact that he is talking alone with the FBI director and bringing up a man under investigation by the FBI. I mean, just the hint alone is there. And so, I think it's, you know, again, the credibility issue here it's damming. Trump is really going to say, I brought up Michael Flynn, but I didn't mean anything by it. It's a tough argument I think to make.
[07:10:18] SAVIDGE: Yes. You can't have it both ways. That's for sure. All right. Everybody, stick around. We have a lot more to discuss after the break.
PAUL: Uh-hm. President Trump of course claiming James Comey's testimony vindicated him in fact. Presidential pasturing here. Risky rush to judgment? We are going to talk about that, next.
[07:14:38] SAVIDGE: President Trump unloads both barrels on this fired FBI director and his testimony before Congress.
PAUL: The President says, not only is James Comey lying, but that his foreign statements actually vindicate him in the Russian probe. I want to bring back our panel Eugene Scott. The President said that he wants to get back to business of running the country. That's what he was -- that's what he was trying to do. That's what he was elected to do. That was his whole point. Okay. I'm just getting word that Eugene lost ISP. So, meaning that he cannot hear what I'm saying right now.
So, Joey, let me send this to you. What is -- actually, Tom. I want to send this to you. When we talk about getting back to business, getting back to policy, how much of this investigation is going to thwart whatever policy the President tried to promise to his constituents, to the people that voted for him. I mean, how distracting, at the end of the day, is this going to be to getting things done?
FUENTES: Well, I think Christie, as we have seen since he took office in January, that's been very distracting. And I think that is why the President has been so frustrated. And I took it that much of the communication with Comey wasn't just, you know, take care of my friends, make sure they don't get charged. It was to me, it was along the lines of all this is hanging over my head, it's a cloud over the administration. You are telling me I'm not under investigation. You have told me that multiple times. What is taking so long and why can't you say that publicly and help remove the crowd?
You have members of Congress calling for his impeachment that there must be something. There is so much smoke, there must be fire somewhere. You had the media, you know, all over this for so long now for months. And I think that, if the President wants, you know, the FBI to just expedite this thing, whether you charge somebody or you don't or whatever, you have already said, I'm not under investigation. Get this done so that we can move on. So, I think that it has been a distraction and if you see the attention in the media and on The Hill that's been devoted to this issue, of course it's preventing other things from being discussed and contemplated.
SAVIDGE: Kelly Jane Torrance, let me ask you this. You know, so is this the time, perhaps, when Republicans, someone else, needs to sort of step up here, whether it be, you know, Paul Ryan speaker or maybe somebody like Mitch McConnell here to sort of come, yes, sort of bring this party forward at the same time the President is on suspicion.
TORRANCE: You know, that's an interesting question. There is a bit of a leadership vacuum, in a way. President Trump is not talking very much about policies and, yes, this investigation it has been distracting. But let's face it. President Trump is his own worst enemy. If he, himself has, you know, brought a lot of this on himself by tweeting about it. I mean, when we have had this hearing, would this be the only thing or almost the only thing Washington has been talking about for the last week if he hadn't fired James Comey, and then said he was firing him because of the Russian investigation?
You know, he really has brought this upon himself. And I'm sure, you know, Republicans in Congress are frustrated. They would love to be, you know, spending their time trying to get work done. And some of them are, of course. But it is difficult when all eyes on Washington are on the Intelligence Committees and they have to prepare statements and deal with this problem. And you know, President Trump is saying something seems new about it. You know, every few days. So, they have to keep up with that. And that is distracting from other policy work.
PAUL: It's distracting, but Eugene, I understand you can hear us now?
PAUL: Okay. Excellent. I wanted to read you one of the headlines in L.A. Times this morning. While you watched Comey, Senate GOP moved to cripple health care. The story was asserting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the Senate rule 14 which allows to build the bypass, the committee consideration and to be brought to the floor. You know, they are going to bypass hearings and debates. What is being done? Help us understand what policy is being addressed behind the scenes as all of this investigative information is coming to life?
SCOTT: Well, one thing that is being addressed as a policy is that the meeting that Donald Trump had with Republican lawmakers earlier this week, just the day before the hearing involving James Comey, he proposed another idea in terms of how to build a border wall. We are also seeing, as you just mentioned, Republican lawmakers make strides in ways to help the Senate actually pass the bill that everyone thought would die in the House.
[07:19:26] And there are always concerns and people looking at ways to revisit versions of the travel ban that could be more receptive in courts. And so, one thing that I think a lot of Democratic lawmakers have been concerned and frustrated about is that these investigations would occupy so much of the American public's attention that those that they counted on to advocate for more left leaning policies would not be able to pay attention to what is actually happening in Congress.
PAUL: So, in other words, there are people who believe this distraction of the investigation is actually serving Republicans in some way?
SCOTT: Very much so. And I think what's very interesting, when we talk about whether or not the White House can advocate for that, the reality is, that's kind of their responsibility. We know they are short of a communications director. We know that their main Press Secretary Sean Spicer is just frequently embattled, it seems. But the reality is, if you want your people to know what you are doing, we have so many devices and ways to communicate that to them such as social media and quite frankly some very Trump friendly media as well.
SAVIDGE: You know, this is all part of what we have been talking about here, whether it is a distraction or whether it can actually work to some benefit Republicans. All right. Eugene, Kelly, Tom, Joy, stick around, we'll continue our conversation after the break.
PAUL: The Attorney General we understand could be on deny for the White House. He is about to be on the hot seat in Capitol Hill. Why Jeff Sessions could be emerging as a key figure in the Russia investigation.
[07:25:09] PAUL: All right. The President Trump and Russia probe moving full speed ahead right now. The House and Senate investigators firing of a litany of requests from former FBI Director James Comey's memos after his sworn testimony against President Trump. The President's response, Comey is a liar and a leaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Flynn investigation, you could like --
TRUMP: I didn't say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he lied about that?
TRUMP: Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that. No collusion, no obstruction. He's a leaker. But we want to get back to running our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE: Independent special prosecutor Bob Mueller appears to be paying very close attention, no surprise there. According to the National Law Journal, Mueller has now recruited Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben from the Justice Department. Dreeben is a top criminal law expert who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. His edition to Mueller's team signals that the probe might be looking at the obstruction of justice caused by the President.
PAUL: And Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the way is set to testify next week before the Senate about the Justice Department's budget. One topic almost certain to come up is the latest revelation about his relationship with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
SAVIDGE: That revelation reportedly came from James Comey when he met with senators behind closed doors on Thursday. Sources tells CNN Comey told them that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed meeting with Sergey Kislyak. All of this as the Attorney General's relationship with the President appears to be on pretty shaky ground.
CNN's Jessica Schneider has details on that.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The embattled Attorney General facing new scrutiny as he's about to be grilled on Capitol Hill about his interactions with Russians. CNN has told James Comey revealed to senators Thursday in a closed door briefing, that Jeff Sessions may have had a third undisclosed meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It's an encounter Comey alluded to earlier in his public testimony.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: We also are aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia related investigation, problematic.
SCHNEIDER: The possible meeting took place April 27th, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Where then candidate Donald Trump was delivering his first major foreign policy address. Investigators cautioned the encounter learned about through Russian intercepts may have been exaggerated, sources say. A Department of Justice spokesperson has said the meeting never happened. If it did, Senator Richard Blumenthal told Erin Burnett it could put Sessions in serious legal jeopardy.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Denied, possibly in violation of the law. That denial as former Director Comey --
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Could be perjury?
BLUMENTHAL: Could be perjury.
SCHNEIDER: The allegations arrived as a source close to Sessions says, President Trump and the Attorney General have been at odds in recent weeks engaging in a series of heated exchanges. The tension sparked after Sessions stepped aside from the Russia investigation in March.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign.
SCHNEIDER: That came after the Attorney General admitted that he failed to disclose at its confirmation hearing two meetings with Ambassador Kislyak during the election. But the Justice Department and Sessions maintained the recusal was solely because of his relationship with the Trump campaign. That recusal left the President livid, according to a source. At one point, Sessions offered to resign. But a source says, the President knows accepting that resignation would ignite another fire storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to resign, Mr. Attorney General?
SAVIDGE: That was CNN's Jessica Schneider reporting. So, let's bring back our panel. Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter. Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy managing editor of The Weekly Standard. Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense Attorney. Tom Fuentes, CNN's senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Assistant Director.
Eugene, to you. If AG Sessions did have a third meeting, what does that really mean for him, the Attorney General politically?
SCOTT: Well, this means that this would be another example of the Attorney General engaging in some type of interaction with Russia that he did not reveal. And it certainly brings questions about his integrity just up and resurfaces them for people who trusted what he said and that hearing was actually true. He's been found to have left out some information, already, from that time before lawmakers. And this would just raise another red flag.
I think what's much more interesting to pay attention too is what this is say about the relationship between Sessions and Donald Trump. The President, I think, as Jessica just reported is very aware that he really does not have a lot of room on his plate for another controversy. And so, if this ends up being one of those, the future of Attorney General Sessions I think is up for question.
[07:30:06] PAUL: Kelly, I want to listen to Senator Blumenthal here. He says, Sessions is emerging as a key figure in the Russian probe. Let's listen to what he said to Erin Burnett.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: What we have here is a pattern. And I can't confirm what may have been provided in a classified setting, but with a third meeting and even without it, what we have is a pattern of contacts with the Russians by Flynn, by Sessions, by Kushner, secret, and then concealed.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Attorney General Sessions is -- he's going to stay in that job? BLUMENTHAL: He's emerging more and more as a key figure here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So how key, Kelly, not just to the independent investigation, but to this congressional investigation?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, he was smart, by the way, to recuse himself, you know, relatively early on. And it's strange that the president -- that's why he's angry with the attorney general because he really had no choice. And if he hadn't, he would be in much more trouble than he is now. Now what's interesting is, you know, Comey gave this information in a closed door hearing. But of course we know what he said, it wasn't very closed door. And apparently they don't have evidence, they don't have proof that Attorney General Sessions had this third meeting. They think he did, but they don't have definitive proof.
So it's again going to come down to a he said-he said kind of thing, perhaps. But the main point is, it looks bad if you have Trump officials who have met with the Russian ambassador and other Russian officials and somehow forgot about them and didn't mention them. I mean, you know, this is the ambassador to, you know, perhaps America's biggest rival in the world. How would you possibly forget such a meeting? And it kind of blows the mind to think it's possible.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Tom, you know, I listened to Comey as he talked about the attorney general and the way he spoke, obviously, made you feel like there is a whole lot more to this. But of course, then he said, you know, I can't talk about it. This, again, seems to go to Comey and the way he is speaking publicly about things that maybe should remain semi under investigation before you speak about them because it's very damming against the attorney general, even the implication.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Just appears that Comey is trying to get even with everybody. He takes revenge out on the president and Attorney General Sessions and, you know, drop these innuendos that get blown, you know, way out. Now it's just they referred to as a meeting. Did they actually speak to each other at this meeting? Was it at a public event, you know?
And I can tell you, when I went through every five years, my reinvestigation to maintain my top secret and everything about that set of clearances, you know, questions like that would come up. Well, how many foreign -- adversarial officials, how many communists did you meet with? I don't know, a couple of thousand at various events. Eight trips to China. How many trips to Moscow? How many trips, you know, on bureau business, on executive order.
You can't remember every little one. And they're not necessarily nefarious that you're having, you know, they're off in the corner discussing how they are going to sabotage the presidency or collude with the Russians and all of that. I just think that Comey did a tremendous disservice in a closed-hearing dropping that hint that Sessions somehow met with the ambassador when we don't even know if that was -- if it even qualifies as a meeting. Did they actually rub elbows in the entry line or how did this actually work? We don't know.
PAUL: OK. So, Joey, let me throw another name at you here. Jared Kushner, we understand he's going to meet with Senate Intel Committee this month. What kind of questions do you think he's going to -- he will answer?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first, Christi, if I can just address something briefly. I didn't get the impression from Comey that he was trying to get even with anyone. I got the impression that he was testifying under oath to the best of his recollection. And as it relates to a closed-door session, if you are asked a question under oath, you have to answer that question. And if you have some knowledge and your agency is investigating a potential third meeting to leave that out, it subjects yourself to some issue. And so I don't know that this is an axe to grind as much as it's a guy trying to be as truthful as possible who's put in, in an impossible position.
Now in terms of Jared Kushner, and just in terms of the whole Russian investigation, just to be clear, there's nothing wrong. There's nothing inappropriate, there's nothing improper about meeting with anybody or Russian officials. But not disclosing that is the improper thing. Why not say something about it? And, you know, Jared Kushner, you're asking about, Christi, is, you know, indications that you're asked on a form. Right? You're asked on a form about who you met with, who you spoke to. And you omit that.
Now it could clearly be an innocent thing that you just decided that, you know, you just didn't recollect it at the time or it could be something more significant. And so I think Jared Kushner, along with everyone else who is questioned here, the committees are going to want to know.
[07:35:09] What was the extent of your involvement? What was the nature of any communication you had? What did you discuss? Was it purposes for governmental? Was it private purposes or anything else? Because at the end of the day, Christi, it's about getting to the issue of whether or not there was any collusion between the two. And they will ask each and every question to get to that bottom line.
PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, Tom Fuentes, thank you so much for sticking around with us.
Eugene Scott, Kelly Jane Torrance, thank you as well. I know you are going to stay for just a little bit longer. So we appreciate your voices in all of this. Thank you, guys.
SAVIDGE: And with the eyes of the political world on James Comey this week, the House and Senate took major steps on financial regulations and health care.
Next, what you may have missed.
PAUL: Mortgage rates kicked up this week. Here is your look.
[07:40:13] SAVIDGE: With all eyes on James Comey and the hearing of this week, several political moves may have kind of flown under the radar.
PAUL: Yes. The House actually voted to kill the Dodd-Frank financial regulation. The Senate moved to fast track their version of the Obamacare appeal. So could this Comey hearing and the reaction to it be providing a distraction, perhaps perfectly timed?
Let's bring back Eugene Scott and Kelly Jane Torrance.
Eugene, what do you know about some of the policy discussions that are happening that seemed to be getting overshadowed by what we've seen this week?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, what I know regarding health care in particular is that the Senate has been in conversations for weeks behind the scenes trying to figure out if they could reach a compromise that would please the American people and address many of the criticisms that Republicans received related to the bill that the House passed. Coming out of meetings that some of our reporters attended, Republican lawmakers have been very tightlipped on issues related to tax credits and Medicaid.
But it's very possible they said that both could come before the Senate as soon as July 4th. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen. And I imagine that some of these other factors happening in the news, such as Russia, could impact that.
SAVIDGE: And the other thing, Kelly, that is being worked on, again it seems quietly but probably because we're just all being distracted are changes to the banking. This goes back to the recession and who is responsible and things are changes to the banking regulations here and this is something that, you know, goes back to the whole recession and who is responsible and yet things are changing and people may not be fully aware of it.
TORRANCE: Yes. The House passed the bill on Thursday, the same day that Comey was testifying and who was doing anything in D.C. on Thursday? We in the media and pretty much everyone in the city was watching Comey. But, you know, the thing is, it's unlikely to go forward in the Senate in its form in the House. I mean, it's a mixed bill. You know, there is some good to it, some bad.
I think the biggest thing, though, is that they want to let banks make the kind of risky investments, risky moves that did lead to the recession. Now it's fine if you want to let banks do that. The problem is, taxpayers had to bail them out. And nobody wants to have to, you know, give more taxpayer money to these too-big-to-fail banks. And we're not going to see this pass in that form in the Senate.
And it's actually interesting, you know, Senator Mike Crapo wants to work with his Democratic colleagues on a financial reform bill. So it would be a very different bill. And, you know, it makes sense to want to work with your Democratic colleagues because the Republicans have a very, very narrow majority in the House. Then, you know, given all the infighting within the Republican Party itself, their majority is barely a majority.
PAUL: Eugene, we have been hearing reports during former Director Comey's testimony that the president wasn't really listening to it. That he was, indeed, behind closed doors in meetings, at round tables, talking about, we assume, something like this. In terms of the policy that is going on. Is there something to be said for the president -- the president not using this as a distraction, maybe the whole investigation is a distraction and the president really is engrained behind closed doors working with people on policy and we just aren't seeing it?
SCOTT: That's certainly what his team wants to communicate and that's certainly I imagine what his voters desire. There was some concern and fear, allegedly, that if the president had been watching the hearing, that he would have been very much tempted to respond to Twitter as he did before sunrise Friday when I guess he got his iPhone back. But the reality is, while he may have not been paying close attention, not only did we see the RNC paying attention, we saw Donald Trump Jr. paying attention.
So perhaps I think what could be communicated to the president is, if you focus on putting forward the policies that you told your voters that you would move forward, there are other people who would take care of the social media wars for you in a way that you probably would find sufficient.
SAVIDGE: Yes, but the problem is, I mean, you know, this was his week, the president, I mean, to focus on infrastructure who weren't focusing on infrastructure at all despite the fact that almost every day the president was out there talking about -- Kelly.
TORRANCE: Yes, it's, you know, great. President Trump even had the #InfrastructureWeek on his Twitter account. And he was constantly talking about he went to Cincinnati, he -- but, yes, it was certainly the most exciting infrastructure week we have seen here in Washington. Nobody was talking about it. And again, infrastructure, that was one of the issues that there could have been a lot of bipartisan support for. Democrats --
[07:45:04] SAVIDGE: And it's huge a problem in this country. You're right. Yes.
TORRANCE: Yes. Exactly. It's a huge problem in the country. Voters on both sides want to see aging infrastructure bridges replaced. Democrats, you know, they're always open to more spending on something. This could have been an issue on which the Democrats and Republicans work together. But they're not going to because Trump is so controversial and so under fire for all of the stuff that's happened with Russia and Comey that Democrats don't want to give him any sort of win at all.
PAUL: So, Eugene, let me ask you this, if some of this policy, whether it's health care or infrastructure, is any of it seems to be taken care of, there's a vote, something happens that is big and, I guess people weren't paying attention and all of a sudden, hey, guess what, this vote just happened and this is the new policy? Who might be credited with that? Who might take some heat for it? How will the president be seen politically, if that happens?
SCOTT: Well, I think the Democrats, quite frankly, will take some heat if the reality is that Republican lawmakers were allowed to put forward policy that they found problematic and that they weren't able to bring before the American people and keep it in the media, and keep it before the eyes of people who need to be aware of it.
There are a lot of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. There has to be a system in place that equips people to focus on multiple things and multiple times because the American people care about many of these things.
SAVIDGE: He's right.
PAUL: Good point, yes.
Eugene Scott, Kelly Jane Torrance, appreciate you both being here.
SCOTT: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: The ears in the Kremlin had to be burning during Comey's testimony. So here's the question. How is Moscow reacting to these bombshell revelations? Well, you know we've got that coming up next.
[07:51:02] PAUL: Some breaking new details this morning about the London terror attack. Police now say the ringleader Khuram Butt was free on bail at the time.
SAVIDGE: He had been arrested last October on fraud charge or a fraud charge. British counterterrorism officials tells CNN that his arrest was part of a wider effort to crack down on known Islamist extremist for minor non-terror related crimes just to essentially get them off the streets. London police are also revealing that Butt tried to rent a seven and a half ton truck for that attack instead of that light van, suggesting that he wanted to inflict even more damage.
Then the attackers also or the authorities released photos, I should say, of 12-inch pink knives that the attackers used and they have leather straps attached to them so apparently the attackers would not drop them. Six men still in custody linked in that attack, one has been released on bail.
PAUL: So there is still fallout resonating from the James Comey hearing. President Trump says he's been vindicated, Comey's testimony he says showed there was no obstruction, no collusion with Russia. Well, what does Russia have to say about that?
SAVIDGE: That's right. Yes. Russia probably has -- maybe a lot or maybe nothing to really say about all of this. After all, Comey did say that there was no doubt that Russia meddled in this election and is trying to undermine everything that America stands for.
So let's talk about this more. Let's bring in now CNN contributor Jill Dougherty. She is also CNN's former Moscow bureau chief, which is how I was going to introduce you. I've known you that way for so long. It's good to have you with us.
Jill, let me ask you this. The accusations that were made by Comey were sort of overshadowed by the he said-he said thing with the president. Russia deliberately interfered with the core of democracy in America.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Russia has been saying all along that that is not true. And so the immediate reaction coming from Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the president, was he looks upon that statement, quote, "with distrust." So, you know, no surprise there, Martin. But essentially, you know, if you look at Russian media and the kind of coverage here, a lot of it is really downplaying it, saying it's not a big deal. One tweet said it was a soap bubble and it's not going to have much effect.
SAVIDGE: Well, I mean, that's downplaying it quite a bit. The United States is clearly taking this very, very seriously. Who is Putin and the rest of his administration, who are they talking to? Are they trying to convince the world of this or are they speaking to folks back there in Russia?
DOUGHERTY: You know, it plays on a lot of different bases. I mean, essentially if you look at the approach, what they're saying is the enemies of Donald Trump are trying to bring him down and the enemies of Donald Trump would be the, you know, elite media, in cahoots with the elite people who run the United States. Yes, and of course Hillary supporters and others and Democrats, et cetera. So that's a lot of it. But I think what they're trying to do also is show the dysfunctionality of American democracy, and that's kind of a broader picture but it's a big message.
SAVIDGE: Right. Yes, well, it definitely is looking a bit disorganized these days, but we do go on.
All right. Jill Dougherty, thank you very much.
PAUL: Jill, thank you.
Still ahead, is President Trump secretly recording conversations in the Oval Office? That's the question so many people are asking. And if there are tapes, guess what, there are some people who want them and they put a deadline on it for those to be released.
SAVIDGE: Not to mention the American people. Plus a look at where or whether there's an investigation yet into the whole issue of obstruction of justice, that's coming at the top of the hour.
[07:59:06] PAUL: Let's talk about staying well. Did you know? Are you really full on with the benefits of dancing? Because there's a new study that finds dancing to be good for our brains. And there's a Colorado couple who says hey, we are living proof.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dance because I love it. I love everything from the motion and the music to the feeling of dancing with others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly I had a place where I could fit in with people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that dancing has slowed deterioration of my memory.
AGA BURZYNSKA, NEUROSCIENTIST, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: Dancing is so special because it's a physical activity that connects us to other people. Over 200 people took part in our study. And some of them, there's brisk walking. One group did stretching and toning. And one group did dancing. And all of them participated for six months. In all other groups, we saw this typical age-related deterioration of the brain. In the dancing group we observed some improvements in one of the brain region. That involves the memory.