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Family: Barbara Bush In Failing Health, Under Care At Home; President Tweets Slippery Comey Not Smart; Trump Unleases On Comey Ahead Of Media Blitz; French President: We Convinced Trump To Keep Troops In Syria; Trump Defends Mission Accomplished, Tweets Use Often; Trump Unleashes On Comey In Name-Calling Tirade; Arrests Of Two Black Men At Philly Starbucks Spark Outrage. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 15, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, you are in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Hello on this Sunday, thanks for spending part of your weekend with us.
Right now, the family of former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush is thanking the nation for prayers and well wishes for Mrs. Bush with what they're calling, her failing health. Bush family sources say the former first lady is at home in Houston, being cared for there, following her wishes to stay home, instead of going to a hospital.
I want to talk more about Barbara Bush with CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel. So, Jamie, Mrs. Bush is 92-year-old. She has been battling a number of health issues, what's your understanding of her condition right now?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Ana, the family has told us that she is in failing health. She has been suffering for the last year or two from COPD, and from congestive heart failure. If you have seen her in person, she's frequently on oxygen almost all the time.
And I think what a lot of people don't know is people have been very aware that her husband, former President Bush suffers from Parkinson's, and we have seen him in a wheelchair for quite some time.
But what people don't know is that her health has been so frail, she's been in and out of hospitals quite a few times in the last year, most recently on Good Friday, she went in, she was having some trouble breathing.
So I think that what we're seeing now is the family really wanting to let everybody know the state of her health. There's one thing, Ana, Barbara Bush doesn't like people to make a fuss about her.
She likes her privacy. If she was here right now, she would be saying, Jamie, why are you talking about this on T.V. But they wanted to let everybody know, and really to say thank you to everyone for all their prayers, and their support, Ana.
CABRERA: I know you have spent quite a lot of time with Mrs. Bush. She has spoken to it at length. How do you think this decision of here in near the end of her life to stay home instead of the hospital speaks to the kind of woman she is?
GANGEL: So, I think it's classic Barbara Bush. You know, her family has a nickname for her. They call her the enforcer. And I'm told that after her last hospital stay, which was about 10 days, she was very anxious to get home, in fact she got all dressed, and was ready to go, and the doctor said not yet.
And she was not happy about that. So I think that she has been dealing with these health issues for quite some time. And this is the way she wants to handle it at this time. And no one's going to say no to Barbara Bush, Ana.
CABRERA: Tell me a little bit about your experiences with the larger Bush family, how they handle adversity, how they handle loss, how they are likely handling this period when their matriarch is not at her strongest.
GANGEL: Right. So, they are a remarkable family in handling this. I will say this, three of her children, Doro, Marvin, and neil are with her now, her two other sons, former President George W. Bush, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have been visiting this past week, and have been in and out.
So they're all around her, and of course her husband, former President Bush is there with her. And I am told it is a very challenging time.
You know, they have been married for 73 years. And he wrote in his book, we are two people, but we are one. They are very, very close. But I can't imagine, it is not an easy time for them.
CABRERA: Well, we know you will continue to keep us updated on former first lady Barbara Bush's health. Thank you so much, Jamie Gangel.
GANGEL: Thank you.
CABRERA: We'll continue to keep Mrs. Bush in our thoughts and prayers. Now let's head to Washington, where President Trump spent some time this morning, again, fuming over the FBI director he fired last year taking to Twitter, and referring to James Comey by a new nickname, slippery.
He writes that Comey, quote, always ends up badly, and out of whack, and that the former head of the nation's top law enforcement agency is in the President's words, not smart.
Let's go to CNN's White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez now. Boris, the President's hammering of James Comey seemed to go into overdrive with this upcoming release of Comey's book, and all of its criticisms, and unflattering personal observations to say the least, the President clearly not taking those criticisms lightly.
[17:05:06] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Well, the White House likely, rather be talking about other stories, whether the healthy economy, or these successful airstrikes in Syria over the weekend, the President is on the defensive, going after the former FBI director, on the eve of the release of James Comey's new book.
One of which he refers to the President of the United States as being untethered from truth, the President using his preferred method, Twitter, to launch an array of attacks on Comey.
At one point, suggesting that Comey should be imprisoned for a different number of acts. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about that suggestion this morning on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, she wouldn't go so far as President Trump did in one of those tweets.
Though she did say that she believe that the Department of Justice should investigate any wrong doing if they feel that James Comey acted inappropriately.
I do want to single out another of the President's tweets, because it is drawing increase scrutiny, and one of them he writes in part, that Comey, quote, was making decisions based on the fact that he though, she was going to win, referring to Hillary Clinton. And that he, Comey, wanted a job, slime ball.
Now, that tweet is questionable to say the least, when you consider that what's talking about is the announcement from James Comey that Hillary Clinton's emails were being investigated, yet again, on -- just a few days away from the 2016 election.
Something that Clinton has acknowledged hurt her chances of winning the presidency. So it's unclear how Comey announcing something that ultimately heard Clinton politically, might help him carry something favor with her for, in the President's words, a job -- a job in which he already had.
He was in his fourth year of a tenured term as FBI director. Plenty of questions for the White House, specifically about that tweet, also I did ask a number of White House officials on a completely unrelated note, if they were monitoring the health of former first lady Barbara Bush. But I have yet to hear back, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, thank you, Boris Sanchez at the White House. Let's get straight to our panel of legal experts now joining us, White House ethics czar under President Obama, Norm Eisen who also served as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. So, Ambassador Eisen, I counted a total of at least five tweets about Comey this morning from the President. Do you see any legal issues that could stand from the President's Twitter attack against Comey today?
NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Ana, thanks for having me back. I do. One of the core questions that is being investigated by Robert Mueller is whether the President obstructed justice, that is corruptly tried to shut down an investigation to protect himself from Michael Flynn, or others.
Comey is the main witness, and he keeps attacking the witness publicly. So I think that it is at a minimum unseemly for the President to do this, and it does create more of this miasma, the smell that he wants to interfere with the investigation. If I were his lawyer, and if Allan Dershowitz were his lawyer, we would tell him, Mr. President, please don't tweet.
CABRERA: Professor Dershowitz, we have heard from the president, and we have also heard a little bit from the President today that we're also hearing more, and more from James Comey, and I want to read an excerpt from his new book, set to come out in just a couple of day.
And I quote, I have one perspective on the behavior I saw, which while disturbing and violating basic norms of ethical leadership may fall short of being illegal, Comey said. So how significant is it for the Mueller probe going forward that Comey himself here is saying he saw nothing illegal.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, he has said this before, when he was fired, he said that the President had complete authority to fire him, which is why if the President is really, really lucky, they will focus on obstruction of justice or collusion, not with standing my former student -- the ambassador's statements.
He has no real risk of being successfully towards with either of those constitutionally protected activist is real risks come from New York -- in the Southern District of New York, and from the State Attorney General of New York.
State Attorney General particularly because he wouldn't have the pardon power in terms of state charges, and the Southern District of New York, because there's very little he could do to stop that investigation from going forward.
I have said for months now that he has raised vulnerability for acts that he appears to doing before he became President, because he has no constitutional protection for those acts.
And more or less vulnerable for acts that he committed under the authorization of Article II of the constitution. So he ought to be focusing his attention -- I agree with the Ambassador, that it would be better off if he didn't tweet.
[17:10:00] But surely as a matter of law, he has the right to defend himself against charges, against leaks of information confidential communications he had in the FBI.
He's entitled to defend himself without running afoul of the law, but it would probably be better from a discretionary point of view if he didn't do it.
CABRERA: As far as we know, this new probe or what we've just realized is a probe here in the Southern District of New York against Cohen, isn't against President Trump himself, and it is connected, or disconnected, I should say, from the Mueller investigation, so why do you see that as a bigger threat, or the President being more vulnerable in that probe? DERSHOWITZ: Well, there are two possibilities. One, they could try
to flip Cohen, and turn him into a witness against his own client, that's been done before by prosecutors, or second, nobody knows what's in Cohen's files.
Now, I believe that there ought to be a judge looking through that. Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District ought to be looking at the files to see if there's confidential material that the government is not entitled and keep the government from getting that, keep the team from getting that.
But if there is material that's not covered by the privilege, and the government has the right to see, nobody one knows what's in that material.
Cohen's been his attorney for a long, long time, and it's unclear what his vulnerability might be. But he wouldn't have any constitutional protections against activities that he may have engaged in or may not have engaged in before he became president.
CABRERA: I want to ask you, Eisen, about Rod Rosenstein, because his name has come up, he's come under fire more and more, especially since this FBI raid, because he had to sign off on allowing those search warrants to go forward.
CNN has exclusive reporting now that Rosenstein consulted with an ethics advisor at the DOJ, regarding whether he should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. And Ambassador, apparently he has taken their advice, and he's still on the job, what does that tell you?
EISEN: Ana, I wrote with the Bush ethics czar in USA Today this week, that the ethics rules do not require recusal under these circumstances.
So I think it's a correct ethics judgment that they have made, it's proper for Rosenstein to remain where he is, to keep the supervision in tact.
And since my professor and friend, Alan, was kind enough to agree with me on the tweeting, I'll agree with him on the jeopardy in New York. That's part of the reason though we need Rosenstein. Of course, he authorized the New York searches to get the Cohen information.
There's an established procedure, Alan, in New York of having a filter team, they're following it under court supervision, we need to let that play out, and it is connected, Ana, because we have just seen media reports.
They may or may not be true, for example, that Michael Cohen was in Prague. As you know, one of the big issues, and the question of whether the Trump campaign through Cohen and Russia colluded was a supposed Prague meeting. Cohen's always denied it.
CABRERA: He hasn't confirmed that either at this point. I just want to make the clear. (CROSSTALK)
DERSHOWITZ: Look, if he was a in...
EISEN: If there are possible connections -- possible connections that we need to investigate.
DERSHOWITZ: Look, if he was in Prague, the one thing that's clear is that the Russians have photographs of him in Prague, and they can use that as blackmail or leverage, and we'll find out.
Now, I, again, agree with my distinguished former student, I don't think that he should -- that Rosenstein should stay on the case. Two reasons, one, I think he is required -- I disagree with the ethic expert on the other side.
I think he is required to recuse himself because he will definitely be a witness. But if he wasn't require to do, the better discretion would be that where you're going after the President of the United States, you have to be Caesar's (ph) wife.
You can't get the other side ammunition. And the idea that he would eventually turn out to be a witness in the case, after having supervised for the prosecution of the case, would raise very, very serious problems, not only of justice, but the appearance of justice. So I think if he was smart, he would have recused himself early on, and he should still recuse himself now.
CABRERA: Professor, a final quick question to you, because I know you met with the President recently, did he want legal advice from you?
DERSHOWITZ: The President can't get legal advice from me. I only give legal advice to my clients, so I'm not going to become his lawyer. So if he wants to listen to what I say to the general American public on television, he is like any other American citizen has a right to do that.
But I want to be clear, I'm not on lawyer, I'm not on his side, I'm on the side of the due process clause, and the constitution, I am doing what the ACLU should be doing. I have never heard -- I have been on the national board of issuing new and active member 53 years.
I have never heard the ACLU issuing a statement praising the raid of a lawyer's office, defending it, without even raising problems about what happens if clients' confidences are being reviewed by taint teams that consist of FBI agents and government agency.
[17:15:11] CABRERA: Right.
DERSHOWITZ: Believe me if this were Hillary Clinton whose office had been raided, the ACLU would be up in arms. But they raised money from anti-Trump people. And so they will not defend our civil liberties if it means not being against Donald Trump, shame on the ACLU. CABRERA: OK. But just circling back to defend, the President does
reference you often in his own defense. So he seems to feel like you're on his team. Do you ever feel like you're being used to his political benefit in some way? Or that your words have been mischaracterized?
DERSHOWITZ: No. If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, and they were trying to lock her up, I would be doing the same thing, I would be on television as I was for Bill Clinton, and Bill Clinton quoted me, and Hillary Clinton might have quoted me.
I am on the side of civil liberties, I am not a partisan, I have defended right of Democrats, Republicans, nonpartisan people. I'm against the investigation of Senator Sanders, I'm against the investigation of Senator Bob Menendez, I will be against politization -- the criminalization of political differences no matter who the target is.
CABRERA: And I see one last thing to add, Norm. Go ahead, and then I got to wrap it up.
EISEN: Ana, two things very quickly, the first is, I totally disagree with the position that Alan is taking here, he should be talking about how terrible it is that the White House is considering firing Rosenstein, which would be the final nail in the coffin on obstruction.
But I will tell you -- But I will tell you that these are the same positions he has taken for the past 25 years, the whole time I have known him, he's often been wrong, but he's consistent, and he's not schilling for anyone other than his mistaken view of the law.
CABRERA: All right, I have to end it there, guys.
CABRERA: Thank you both for joining me. Professor Alan Dershowitz and Ambassador Norm Eisen, I appreciate it, guys. Just ahead, less than two weeks after the saying the U.S. was ready to get out of Syria, President Trump is firmly back in, and today, one U.S. ally is taking credit for convincing him to stay in Syria. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: President Trump has repeatedly declared he will not be telegraphing military moves. After a while they reported desire to leave Syria in six months, the President has apparently been convinced to keep U.S. troops in the war torn country.
CNN Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott is joining us now. Elise, you have reported President Trump was irritated when his top military brass told him withdrawing too quickly from Syria would be unwise. So, who's claiming to have convinced him?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, that's right, President Trump wanted a much larger military action against Syria to, you know, kind of be a little bit more decisive, his military advisors were saying stay very focused, very limited in terms of the chemical weapons, so as not to escalate things with Russia.
And now we understand that French President Emmanuel Macron told him the same this. We know the two men spoke Monday, and have spoken throughout the week before that strike. Take a listen to President Macron of France just speaking t a French television network about his conversations with the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through a translator): President Trump said he would like to withdraw from Syria, but we have convinced him that it's necessary to stay there, diplomatically speaking, three strikes, which is not the most important thing, we convinced him through that that he has to stay, and we also convinced him that these strikes had to be limited to the chemical weapons capabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And we know that, you know, President Trump doesn't like to be told is that he's convinced of anything. And just last week, President Trump was talking about getting out of Syria. But, you now, President Macron has been one of the few leaders, Ana, that he has formed a really close relationship with.
And I think the message there is that France will step up with you as other nations will to make sure that the U.S. isn't carrying the burden alone.
And as we know, the French President is coming in less than two weeks for the first official state visit of the Trump administration, and the French think that this, you know, joint coalition is really going to solidify their bromance, if you will, before the President's arrival.
CABRERA: My, oh my, how their relationship has evolved since that first...
LABOTT: Very much.
CABRERA: ... you know, gripping hand shake that we all witnessed.
CABRERA: Thank you, Elise, good to see you. Just ahead, President Trump today standing by his declaration of mission accomplished in Syria, telling critics the phrase should be used often, smart move? Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent joins us live next.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: President Trump today is defending his use of the phrase mission accomplished following the military strikes in Syria. That same phrase as you know haunted President George W. Bush during the Iraq war. Here's what Trump tweeted this morning.
The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out with such precision, that the only way the fake news media could demean was by my use of the term mission accomplished. I knew they would seize on this, but feels like it's such a great military term it should be brought back, use often.
Let's talk this over with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. He is retiring when his term ends later this year. Congressman, always good to have you with us. Thanks for spending some time on you weekend. We know this phrase mission accomplished comes with that Bush-Iraq reference, is it a mistake for President Trump to use those words?
CONG. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, Ana, that's not a term that I would have used, I think it's fair to say that this was a successful operation, and I do give the administration the President credit for a measured proportional response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria.
So I think it was appropriate. The President also used some other terms, he uses America first, that has a historical context as well, I wouldn't use that either, but again success operation.
CABRERA: Let's take a look at a tweet from your fellow GOP Congressman Justin Amash. And he points out there's a big discrepancy when it comes to not supporting military action in Syria under then President Obama compared to now under President Trump.
[17:30:00] And as you can see there, 119 Republicans were on record, they signed a letter against military action in 2013, and now in 2018, just 15 Republicans, it's been flipped between the Rs and the Ds there, as you can see. What do you see as the difference now besides the President and the party he represents?
DENT: I will tell you, Ana, what was different between 2013 and today is this, in 2013, had we struck, there was some concern that the Assad regime would have toppled, and it would have created a vacuum.
As much as we abhor the way the Assad regime has ruled, creating a vacuum at that time would have further toward Sunni radical or the unleash for front in ISIS, and so I think that a was really the big difference. Now the regime is much more firmly in place. And while this is still a bad situation, it wouldn't have led to that type of maybe a radical Sunni element seizing control.
CABRERA: In terms of strategy in Syria, what do you think the path forward should be for the U.S.?
DENT: The path forward is obviously very complex, but clearly we're supporting our Kurdish friends, you have a situation where the regime has much more control than it did, the Turks are involved.
And I suspect at the end of the day there will be a political resolution, the political resolution would lead to a fractured Syria, where a regime controlled elements obviously Iran, Russia, all aligned, Turkish areas, Kurdish areas, supported by us.
And I suspect some opposition areas were also be supported by us. So I think we're going to a fracture in Syria in long-term. We are in a great bargaining position.
Let's be honest. The Russians are there. The regime is much more ensconced, and strengthened now than it had been a few years ago. So we're not bargaining from a great position here.
CABRERA: But do you think the U.S., then, will be in Syria for the long-term as well?
DENT: Well, I think we're going to be there for the foreseeable future. I don't think we'll ever be there in big numbers, and certainly not in a direct combat role, but I do think we're going to be there supporting our friends and allies, you know, protecting them from these hostile regime elements who are quite vicious.
CABRERA: On the same day the President decided to launch those missiles in Syria, he also pardoned Scooter Libby, convicted in 2007 of perjury, and obstruction of just related to the leaking of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Take a listen to former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT, NEW YORK: There's not much other explanation for out of the blue in that time frame to decide to pardon scooter Libby, to people who are currently in the hot seat with respect to the Mueller investigation, I find it very difficult to come to any other conclusion that he's sending a message.
And it's true that the pardon power is something that the President can exercise in any way, shape or form, pretty much, if he wants, but it's kind of abusive I think for using it to some political message to people, who maybe in a position to testify against you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Congressman, what's your take, is President Trump sending a signal to other players with this pardon, especially those caught up in the Mueller web?
DENT: I believe the President made the right decision for the wrong reason. I do agree with what Mr. Bharara said, I think that the President is probably sending a message.
But if you look at the facts, the substance of the Scooter Libby case, in retrospect, we all know who the leaker was in that particular case of Valerie Plame, it was -- it was Richard Armitage who worked for Colin Powell.
And he was prosecuted, and so we spent a lot of time on an investigation where we actually knew who the leaker was, and Scooter Libby, you know, took one for the team so to speak. So I think he made the correct decision, but clearly the President is
sending a message I think to those who were involved in this Mueller investigation, again, the right decision, but the wrong reason.
CABRERA: This upcoming interview with James Comey that is set to air tonight with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, the President has been tweeting a lot about this, this morning, clearly it is on his mind.
Just Friday, you introduced a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the President again seems to be fired up. Do you have any concerns about him acting impulsively perhaps after this interview airs?
DENT: Well, there's always that. Yes, I do worry about it. I did introduce this legislation to protect this special prosecutor. It's a companion legislation to the one that Senators Coons, Graham, and Booker have introduced, (Inaudible) have introduced.
We believe it's appropriate. We think -- we're sending a message clearly to the President that it would be a terrible mistake to fire Director Mueller.
If the President were to do that, that would set off a -- I believe a political crisis that in like which we haven't seen since Watergate, it would be a Saturday Night Massacre, an Archibald Cox moment, I don't see any good coming of it.
It would be terrible for the President himself, it would be terrible for the Republican Party, and the commerce in the midterms, and it would be terrible for the country, so we're trying to send that message to the President. I don't know what the President's going to do after this interview tonight.
[17:35:00] I suspect we will see some more tweets. I hope he doesn't take an impulsive action, however.
CABRERA: Congressman Charlie Dent, thank you so much, good to see you.
DENT: Thank you, Ana. Good to be with you.
CABRERA: Coming up -- thank you. Slippery, slime ball, worst FBI director in history, the President is in full attack mode ahead of this interview tonight with James Comey, but a new poll reveals Americans find Comey more believable than President Trump. You're live in the CNN newsroom.
CABRERA: The President is reportedly furious over James Comey's new tell-all book and upcoming media blitz, at least according to his Twitter feed.
For more than an hour this morning, the President assaulted Comey's character in a Twitter tirade, calling him a slime ball, slippery, and predicting that he will go down as the worst FBI director in history. [17:40:09] All of these comes just hours before a major sit down in
interview with Comey, set to air an interview that at least one outlet claims will shock the President, and his team.
I want to bring in my panel ahead of tonight's big interview with James Comey, joining us, CNN Political Commentator, and former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes, CNN Political Analyst, and Senior Political Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, David Drucker, and National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics, Caitlin Huey- Burns.
So, Caitlin, you're here with me in New York, I'll start with you. It's safe to say that the President is angry, nervous, anxious about this interview tonight?
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Certainly, and we have seen that in the tweets over the weekend, of course.
And even before these interview were coming out, the President was tweeting about this, really denigrating James Comey, and what's interesting to me is that I think he could employ a strategy, which is to kind of let this book play out.
This book has come under criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. And so you have kind of both sides of the political aisle sparring about certain details in the book, Democrats, of course, still upset about the decision that Comey made to come out just 11 days before the election about the Clinton information.
And some Republicans are saying that look, Comey is taking some personal shots at President that undermine the whole entire premise of the book. And so President could just let that all play out, and move forward talking about the decision that he made on Syria, kind of going through the next week.
But remember, he stayed home this weekend from South America, to focus on Syria. This is certainly top of mind, of course, also the Cohen raid earlier this week.
CABRERA: There's been huge focus of name calling of liar really on both sides. What we read in these pages from the excerpts from the book, we see reference to the President being untruthful, and the loyalty pledge, operating acting like a mob boss of sort.
David, a new ABC news, Washington Post poll though finds more Americans find Comey to be more believable than President Trump. What does that mean for the President?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think that's what the President's job approval ratings that James Comey is going to be less trust worthy with Republicans, and more trust worthy with independents, and Democrats.
And I think that breaks along line according to how you feel about the President personally. Look, I think that it's understandable of the President, if he feels like he's been unfairly attacked, if he's thinks that James Comey is making claims that aren't true, that he would want to fight back. It's a natural human reaction to have.
And when you are President of the United States, you are better off doing your day job, people are going to respond to that better, and let a war room that you create to defend you, farm it out to them.
That worked very well for Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky investigation, with Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, and I think it would work so much better for President Trump in this case, if they saw him doing things that presidents do.
Whether it's from a national security perspective, as we saw within the past 48 hours or so, working on the economy, and just doing everything else, they would then be able to sort of separate, and think about the claims that Comey's making, and the way that the President is acting.
But as the President is won't to do, because he feels in some ways, justifiably that it has worked for him, after all, he did get himself away for the President, and he is going to be -- the White House Communications Director, he's going to be his own war room, and he's going to leave it all out on the field.
I think at the end of the day, what we're all going to find out is that he's really great at selling books, but the politics surrounding how people feel at the Russia investigation, and Comey, and Trump are not going to be materially changed at all based on what they're hearing from Trump on the one hand, and Comey on the other.
CABRERA: That's correct, we still don't have a communications director in this White House, (Inaudible). Steve, we do have a press secretary, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Friday, one of the President's greatest achievement will go down as firing Director Comey. Do you think that would be the case? Because an argument could be made that firing Comey is exactly what led to the Mueller probe.
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Well, listen, I -- yes and no, and I am not usually -- you know me, Ana, I usually come down very hard in defense of the President. He should have fired him on January 21.
And if he had done so, I think it wouldn't have been a very big deal. So I think it was a big miscalculation to delay firing Comey. By the way, this was a few things in Washington, D.C., and there's not many things, whether it's bipartisan agreement.
The Democrats, Leader Pelosi, Leader Schumer, agreed with President Trump, that Comey was totally discredited, was totally not believable, did not deserved the leadership of the FBI. I wish he'd fired him immediately.
Now, that said -- you know, that's spilled milk, right? We can't cry over spilled milk. It's still good that he's gone. I think Director Comey, by the way, really in his book tour, which I think he thought would somehow be his shining moment.
[17:45:02] I think if anything is the opposite, I will see this tonight, and in coming days. He comes across as a whiney, complaining, disgruntled employee who was fired for a very good reason.
And talk about majoring in the minors, the kinds of things he talks about President Trump, his tie is too long, his height is too short, his tan is too intense. You know, these are the kinds of whining again of someone who really never deserve to have the leadership of the FBI, of that incredible agency, which has so many brave people working for it, and thank goodness he is gone.
CABRERA: Caitlin, something that is getting a lot of attention is this confession, of sorts, that polls apparently influence Comey's decision to announce, again that that they were looking into some newly found e-mails involving Hillary Clinton.
This is 11 days before the election, and Comey writes this. It is entirely possible that because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president.
My concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation for a greater weight, than it would have if the election appeared closer, or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls, but I don't know. What impact could this have on Comey's credibility?
HUEY-BURN: It is really startling, especially when the protocol had been to not intervene with information that close to the election. This is something that still continues to really rattle Democrats, who really denigrated Comey after the election.
And what's interesting about the Trump presidency, is it tends to scramble different alliances, the firing led to Democrats to take Comey's side in terms of the principle of the firing.
But that kind of information I think does raise some questions about partisanship, about the way in which he was engaging or monitoring the political atmosphere at the time, which again, I think that, you know, Trump could just let the criticisms of this book stand out there without himself having to engage.
CABRERA: Because that is adding more fuel to the fire?
HUEY-BURN: It's adding more fuel to the fire certainly. I mean, this is a remarkable situation where you have a fired FBI director, coming out with this tell-all memoir, which has pretty -- had some pretty salacious information in there.
And details, you know, sparring with the President who fires him, which of course as you mentioned, raised all sorts of other questions, and could have led to the Mueller probe. So this is a very, you know, unique situation, a very strange situation to have these two sparring so openly at the time.
CABRERA: Caitlin, thank you. Gentlemen, I owe you extra questions next time. Thank you all for joining us.
DRUCKER: Thank you.
CORTES: Thank you.
CABRERA: Still ahead, Starbucks under fire, accusations of racial profiling calls for a boycott, after black men -- a couple of black men were arrested for apparently waiting at a table at the coffee shop. Details next live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Video of a controversial arrest at a Starbucks in Philadelphia is now sparking outrage and protest. Here's a look at what happened.
This cell phone video captures the moment police officers handcuffed two black men apparently because they refused to leave the Starbucks. The men said they were simply waiting for friends, and doing nothing wrong.
This incident has now led to accusations of racial profiling by Starbucks and the police. And now people are protesting. This was the scene earlier today at that same Starbucks.
These protesters are part of the group Black Lives Matter. I want to bring in CNN Correspondent Polo Sandoval joining us now. So, Polo, tell us more about what happened.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a point to point out to, Ana, that even before some of these protests happened today, Starbucks has certainly been apologizing, almost repeatedly. According to them, it was the actions of some of their employees that eventually led to these arrests.
SANDOVAL: Employees at this Philadelphia Starbucks had asked two men to leave their location before this viral video was shot according to police. The men refused to do so. The employees called officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they get called for? Because they're two black guys sitting here meeting? But what did they do? What did they do? Someone tell me they did.
SANDOVAL: The men were arrested and taken away without incident. Melissa DePino, who originally tweeted the footage wrote, the police were called because these men hadn't ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.
The men were eventually released after Starbucks chose not to file trespassing charges against them. The coffee company later tweeted, we regret that our practices, and training led to the reprehensible outcome at our Philadelphia store. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also wrote to customers promising a face-
to-face apology with the two men, and also a review of the company's practices. In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney says the apology, quote, is not enough.
Saying the incident appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018. Police Commissioner Richard Ross is standing by his officers' response, posting this message on Facebook.
RICHARD ROSS, COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: The police did not just happen upon this event, they did not just walk into Starbucks to get a coffee. They were called there, for a service, and that service had to do with quelling a disturbance, a disturbance that had to do with trespassing.
SANDOVAL: Commissioner Ross maintaining his officers followed policy and had legal standing to make the arrests.
[17:55:04] SANDOVAL: So at this point, the Philadelphia Police Department, Ana, is definitely standing behind their officers. Starbucks, obviously, going to be a big key here -- key focal point here. What will they do next?
Not only what we just discussed in the meeting with these two -- these two individuals between the CEO, and these two gentlemen, but also they will be further training some of their partners, some of their employees, so that they can more carefully decide when police assistance is needed in these kind of situations.
CABRERA: Yes, there are so many questions I have about what led up to the police being called, what was the interaction between the employees and the individuals?
We will hear from them eventually.
CABRERA: Right, and those individuals you mentioned have an attorney now. Polo Sandoval, thank you for bringing us this story. Stay with us, we're back in a moment.