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Interview with Kellyanne Conway; Comey: Trump "Morally Unfit To Be President"; Comey: Possible Russians Have Something On Trump. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired April 16, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Can you assure them that Rosenstein is safe in this job so there's less turnover and less tumult on something as sensitive as this investigation? Is he safe or not?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Oh, stop it. The president makes the decisions around here. The president met with him, Mr. Rosenstein --
CUOMO: So you're saying there -- is there a chance that he will get rid of Rosenstein?
CONWAY: No, no. I'm saying that you want to say, Kellyanne struggles to answer the question. She will not deny X --
CUOMO: You are struggling to answer the question.
CONWAY: She will not deny Y. Is your job safe at CNN? How do you know that?
CUOMO: It's very safe.
CONWAY: Because you showed up this morning? How do you know that?
CUOMO: I have a contract. Very safe.
CONWAY: How do you know they have confidence in you at CNN?
CUOMO: Very safe. My boss says he has confidence. Very safe. He says I am.
CONWAY: Yes. Everybody in the media is safe.
CUOMO: Hold on, he's talking to me right now.
CONWAY: Because everybody is talking about (INAUDIBLE) together.
CUOMO: He says I'm very safe.
CONWAY: And nobody wanted to go first and get fired.
CUOMO: The president -- CONWAY: But let me say something.
CUOMO: The president has control, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: You want to talk about Rosenstein?
CUOMO: Wait. Hold on. I don't want you to duck this question if you don't mean to.
CONWAY: I'm not ducking any question.
CUOMO: Do you believe there is a chance that the president --
CONWAY: But you seem a little hot about the Comey?
CUOMO: Do you think there is a chance that the president will remove Rod Rosenstein and/or Bob Mueller?
CONWAY: The president has done everything that he and his team have been asked to do to comply with this investigation and you know it. He made the personnel decisions around here.
CUOMO: Why aren't you answering this question?
CONWAY: By the way, in cases of any doubt, too, he has confidence in me. So don't ask me why I'm still here. Ask the people who got fired why they're not here.
CUOMO: I haven't asked you anything about that. It's like you're having a different conversation. All I want to hear is an answer to whether or not the president is considering moving on the man that you were just telling --
CONWAY: Sarah Sanders has answered that. I just answered that. The president alone makes the personnel decisions.
CUOMO: I know who makes it.
CONWAY: There are no plans to do that at the moment.
CUOMO: Is he safe? Yes or no?
CONWAY: And you want this to be -- and you want this to be about something other than what the whole day is about here, which is whether or not this president has complied with an investigation that your network and others promised would lead to evidence of collusion between the campaign. You've added to it all --
CUOMO: We've never promised anything like that, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: Now come on.
CUOMO: Don't try to poison people's minds like that.
CONWAY: Excuse me.
CUOMO: That's not helpful.
CONWAY: You put more --
CUOMO: We need common ground, not division.
CONWAY: No, you put more emphasis --
CUOMO: Don't poison people.
CONWAY: No kidding. So let's be honest. How much air time did your network give to Russia collusion last year compared to Obama's --
CUOMO: I don't know but I hope it's a lot.
CONWAY: I know.
CUOMO: I hope it's a real lot.
CONWAY: You hope it's a lot? Why? You hope it's a lot?
CUOMO: Because it really matters because they are trying to tear us asunder --
CONWAY: It matters if you're trying to see something that's not there?
CUOMO: -- and they're being effective at it and they're still doing it and the president has been slow to respond, you guys don't even have a real plan on how to combat it.
CONWAY: The president is not slow to respond.
CUOMO: Because the president conflates it with his own personal process.
CONWAY: So if it's really on the mind -- if this is really on the mind of FBI director Jim Comey why --
CUOMO: You wouldn't even tell me that he won't make a move on the special counsel.
CONWAY: No. No, no. I didn't say that.
CUOMO: You won't say -- but you won't say anything. That's the point.
CONWAY: Excuse me.
CONWAY: And I told you that he makes the personnel decisions around here. And you know it.
CUOMO: I know. CONWAY: So I'm not playing that game. What I am telling you is that
if it really was burning in the brain of FBI director Jim Comey about Russian interference, why the hell did he wait two months to take a trip up to New York and go to Trump Tower?
CUOMO: You come when called.
CONWAY: And talk to the -- oh, you come when called. Give me a break. The whole world was going into Trump Tower every day for interviews, for meetings.
CUOMO: He is the head of the FBI. He's not some guy looking for a job.
CONWAY: Right. But shouldn't he come? Right. What were they doing here? What was going on in Washington, D.C. at the time?
CUOMO: And then when he does brief the president his suspicions are confirmed because the president doesn't even ask any questions about what Russia did.
CONWAY: No, no, no. Sorry.
CUOMO: What can we do to stop it?
CONWAY: Sorry. That's the job of the FBI director to say hey, I want to tell you the next couple of things about alleged Russian interference. Why is it the job of the people sitting in that meeting to say, I'd like to ask you a question, Mr. Director?
CUOMO: Not the people. The president of the United States.
CONWAY: The president should be in there. You had the DNI director, the CIA director, the FBI director, and we know they supported a different candidate and they were working for a different president, but country first.
CUOMO: We don't know any of them.
CONWAY: Why didn't they go in there and say --
CUOMO: We don't know any of that, by the way. This is like --
CONWAY: You don't know they were working for --
CUOMO: This is like secret club stuff that you guys were front- running for about a week and a half.
CONWAY: Come on. Come on. And James Comey decides --
CUOMO: There is a secret agency that meets on the outside.
CONWAY: And what did Jim Comey decide?
CUOMO: Not helpful. Not helpful.
CONWAY: He decided the president's tie was too long.
CUOMO: Well, look, that's tawdry.
CUOMO: I don't know -- he put that stuff in there to sell books.
CUOMO: I'm not asking you about those things.
CUOMO: I'm not asking you about those things. You noticed that? I'm not asking you about the power of the president's visit.
CONWAY: You think they're embarrassing, of course you want to ask about these things.
CUOMO: Or what size his sunglasses are that he puts on. I don't care about any of that.
CONWAY: It's just silly.
CUOMO: But I do case about whether or not he is going to move on the special counsel. I listened to Trey Gowdy --
CONWAY: Well, you should care about --
CUOMO: -- who's another champion for you guys when he said better not move on Mueller. If you're innocent act like it. Stay away from this. Let the probe finish. That's the only way the questions go away. Sound like sound advice?
CONWAY: And the probe has been going on for almost a year.
CUOMO: Sound like sound advice?
CONWAY: It sounds like you keep -- you all keep repeating the same question every single day.
CUOMO: It's Trey Gowdy.
CONWAY: Does he have confidence in this one? Does he have confidence in that one?
CUOMO: Yes. Why can he just say yes?
CONWAY: This has been going on --
CUOMO: I'll let the probe finished. I'm innocent.
CONWAY: It's implicitly yes if the probe is still going on. If the guy is still there. CUOMO: How is it implicitly yes?
CONWAY: Because he's there.
CUOMO: He keeps saying these people are all criminals and that it's deep state.
CONWAY: Does it bother you --
CUOMO: And dirty. How is that implicitly that he's going to let it finish? It seems like the opposite is implicit.
CONWAY: Does it bother you -- I know you're a member of the media, but does it bother you, Christopher, that the FBI director admitted to purposefully leaking FBI documents to a friend and private citizen --
CUOMO: How is it a leak when it's his own memos?
CONWAY: Excuse me. With the intent that it would go to the "New York Times" and by extension CNN?
[09:05:03] CUOMO: Did he leak? Yes.
CONWAY: And in the hope that it would trigger a special counsel?
CUOMO: But they were his own memos. They weren't FBI classified documents. Not yet. They didn't have a chance to be classified. He leaked them too fast.
CONWAY: No. I agree with Attorney General Lynch on this, on Jim Comey. And by the way, there are parts of the book that haven't been covered, where he goes after Condoleezza Rice, Loretta Lynch. What's his problem with powerful women?
CUOMO: He's airing his aggressions of what happened.
CONWAY: I wonder --
CUOMO: A lot of it is bad for Clinton, a lot of it is bad for Clinton people.
CONWAY: Was that addressed to Women's March?
CUOMO: A lot of it's bad for Loretta Lynch. Now let me ask you --
CONWAY: No, it's bad for Loretta Lynch because he is trying to settle scores. He's going against -- but remember, Rod Rosenstein, May 9th, 2017 says that the deputy -- that the FBI director, quote, "should not have usurped the power of the attorney general," at the time Loretta Lynch, and that he certainly shouldn't have gone in front of the cameras. That (INAUDIBLE) with every protocol (INAUDIBLE) not to do.
CUOMO: So Rosenstein, you seem to be very proud of his work in the past so I'm taking that as an indication that he is in good standing in the White House right now if you're going to keep referring to him as a form of strength -- CONWAY: What I'm saying is that you all just ignored -- you just
ignored the three-page memo that President Trump --
CUOMO: I don't ignore it. I reported on it extensively at the time. The president is going out of his way to connect Comey to illegal activity.
CONWAY: Well, it's relevant again because Comey -- if you're going to cover Comey, you have to cover this. You have to cover why he got removed.
CUOMO: Absolutely. I have no problem with that.
CONWAY: It was the recommendation of the deputy attorney general who was an Obama appointee as U.S. attorney and had been confirmed with over 90 votes in the United States Senate.
CUOMO: Right. I understand that. What I'm trying to find out is if the guy is safe when it comes to Rosenstein. Whether Mueller is safe. And you say well, the president makes those decisions. I know. But --
CONWAY: And what I'm trying to find out is if you're comfortable giving such a platform to somebody who had three or four limited engagements to the president of the United States.
CUOMO: Jim Comey, yes.
CONWAY: Over a year ago.
CUOMO: To make his relevance a function of how many times he was face-to-face with the president if you were right about the number --
CONWAY: No, no. Excuse me.
CUOMO: -- is absurd.
CONWAY: He is talking about his impressions in being with the president. And he's using that --
CUOMO: That's only in terms of like, whether his hair is well quaffed.
CONWAY: No. No, that's not true.
CUOMO: I'm talking about what he knows about his connections to any efforts by Russians to infiltrate his campaign and whether or not he really felt there was a case that he was trying to be stopped, AKA obstructed from pursuing justice in this. That doesn't require a face-to-face.
CONWAY: Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a question. This will be for the benefit of those watching.
CONWAY: Christopher, who do you think had a responsibility on January 6th in Trump Tower to give further information about any type of alleged Russian interference? Would it be the president-elect who hasn't been part of that information in a big way, the incoming chief of staff, the incoming press secretary, or is it the head of the DNI, the head of the CIA, the head of the FBI?
CONWAY: Who do you think had a responsibility to speak most --
CUOMO: Is your point that the reason the president has been running down the existence of Russian interference is because nobody told him?
CONWAY: No. It flies in the face of what Comey said last night, which I was just shocked that they would do PR spins instead of asking further questions. Why didn't you just give the information? Why is he waiting for them to ask the question?
CUOMO: You come when you're called.
CONWAY: No, no, no. He was there on January 6th. Why not just give the information?
CUOMO: He did give a briefing. He gave him a briefing.
CONWAY: I can't believe the incoming press secretary did not --
CUOMO: He said that the president talked the whole time and asked no questions. That it wasn't a conversation. He wasn't curious about what they did or what would happen next. He only wanted to know about how to spin it to keep his election victory intact.
CONWAY: Are you comfortable -- no, that's not true. That's his recollection. That's just not true. And let me just say now.
CUOMO: How do you know it's not true?
CONWAY: Speaking of spin, this guy went from being a public servant to a public relations spin artist. He went from being an investigator to an instigator. Why did he not tell President-elect Trump when he did the hang back with him about the unverified salacious dossier? Why wouldn't you tell him that it was funded to the tune of millions by your political opponents?
CUOMO: Republicans and Democrats.
CONWAY: That is --
CUOMO: Why would -- how is that relevant in terms of what his agenda was.
CONWAY: That is no -- no, no. Don't go there. CUOMO: That's what he says. He says it wasn't relevant.
CONWAY: The DNC and the Clinton campaign spent millions of dollars. Spent millions of dollars.
CUOMO: Yes. There's no question that they did. There's no question that that's the reporting that's out there.
CUOMO: But how did that affect what Comey wanted to do?
CONWAY: That's amazing. What?
CUOMO: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. What does that have to do with what Comey was in the room to discuss? If this information is out there you need to know that.
CONWAY: Whoa, whoa. You think it's not relevant? I think that CNN has said it's relevant. You revealed many times --
CUOMO: I'm saying in that conversation -- context matters.
CONWAY: Relevant. Relevant where the job came from.
CUOMO: Is it relevant that Clinton and her campaign or the DNC or however you want to organize it paid for it? Yes.
CUOMO: Was it relevant --
CONWAY: It's just not what he made that point last night. He's right.
CUOMO: Was it relevant to the --
CONWAY: He said he did have the right to know.
CUOMO: Was it relevant to the conversation with Jim Comey in the room in that moment with the president?
CONWAY: Yes. It's relevant.
CUOMO: Comey says no because he was just letting him know the information is out there mildly.
CONWAY: I don't know. No, Comey's exact quote was, I don't know how to answer that. I didn't know the answer to that question. It wasn't relevant to my goals. What exactly was his goal?
CUOMO: Right. That's his answer. I'm not Jim Comey. CONWAY: What exactly were his goals? He was -- look, the president
hardly knows him. They had very limited contact.
[09:10:03] He is trying to avenge his firing and termination which was recommended by the deputy attorney general, his boss.
CUOMO: The president keeps connecting him to illegality saying he should be prosecuted. Has the president asked the DOJ to look at Jim Comey and investigate whether there is any criminality there?
CONWAY: I'm not aware of that but I think that America sees somebody and was struggling to realize why this is so relevant to them, why they are about to see Jim Comey nonstop for the next month or two everywhere they turn.
I can't blame them for wanting to know how this is relevant since he was there in the span of six weeks with the president, a very limited fashion, is a confirmed leaker, and struggled to answer questions truthfully under oath and the FBI had a quick cleanup his testimony right after giving it.
CUOMO: Right. But that doesn't --
CONWAY: Well, he's wrong by hundreds of thousands --
CUOMO: The president says --
CONWAY: Hold on.
CUOMO: -- Comey drafted the crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her. It wasn't long but it was before. And investigators and prosecutors make decisions about cases all the time before talking.
CONWAY: He shouldn't have a press conference in an election, though.
CONWAY: In fact, the president's lawyers right now are asking for Mueller to wrap up his investigation before speaking to the president. So which way do you want to have it? You then say he is a liar because of what he said to Grassley. He corrected testimony and he corrected it in a way that was favorable to the Clintons.
CONWAY: You're conflating two different things.
CUOMO: How are they different? Your lawyers for the president are saying end this, don't talk to him. How is that any different?
CONWAY: No. You're conflating two very different.
CUOMO: How so?
CONWAY: First of all, you're talking about somebody who wrote a book and went on TV. None of that is under oath. None of that is -- that is one man's account.
CUOMO: No, I'm saying the president --
CONWAY: It's his opinion. Very few facts.
CUOMO: The president says that Comey drafted the crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her as if that's something that's done wrong. And that's exactly what his lawyers are asking for right now from Bob Mueller. End this before you talk to the president.
CONWAY: July 5th of last year.
CONWAY: All Jim Comey had to do was keep his mouth shut. He's incapable of it as we see. He's incapable of -- all he had to do was put out a line. We decline to prosecute.
CONWAY: That's more the FBI and DOJ protocol. Ask anybody who worked with him. Works there now, worked before. Lots of people would tell you that he as Howard Dean actually said Jim Comey has disgraced the FBI forever more and now he's on the side --
CUOMO: There is a lot of critics. A lot of critics.
CONWAY: Yes. Lots of critics.
CUOMO: The president could do the same thing right now. He's going down to Florida to push his tax cuts. He could that. He could ignore all of this. But he couldn't --
CUOMO: He could do what?
CUOMO: He could just ignore all the Jim Comey stuff.
CONWAY: No. No, no, no. Comey can just say what he wants unresponded to and there were two people --
CUOMO: No, that's why you're here. That's why Sarah Sanders exists.
CONWAY: Absolutely. And I'm happy to be here.
CUOMO: The president of the United States could be involved -- he's tweeted almost a dozen times about this, you know, in the midst of a military campaign in Syria. He doesn't have to give this guy his attention.
CONWAY: Oh come on, Christopher. So you can't have it three different ways. I'm constantly on your network. I'm one of the few willing to go on. You're welcome. CUOMO: We appreciate it.
CONWAY: But, Christopher, I come on and I tell you every single time that you want to talk about everything except the issues. So you can't have it both ways. You and I have hardly even talked about Syria if at all. We've hardly even talked about --
CUOMO: No. This is the preponderance of the news of the day. Let's be honest.
CONWAY: OK. Did you make it a preponderance --
CUOMO: I am happy to talk about that. I'm happy to talk about a lot of that stuff.
CONWAY: But if Comey is going to be the news of the day, as you just said, he's going to be preponderance and the news of the day, then we have every right beginning with the president of the United States to respond. Why should it just go --
CUOMO: You have every right to respond. Who responds and how response I think is legitimate. One more question. I'm getting told I have to wrap and I think I probably owe John Berman a couple of meals for going this far into his show.
But let me ask you something. This idea that inside the White House there is more concern about the Cohen investigation than the Mueller investigation. Does that square with your understanding?
CONWAY: No. I see the chyrons out there. I see that the chyrons, I guess gets the ratings and the revenues by and large, that there is just no evidence to that whatsoever. The president -- he made his views on both of those, on the raid and investigation very clear. You saw him say it publicly last week in the Cabinet room, and he has stood by that the entire week. But we're very busy here.
CUOMO: You should be.
CONWAY: Working on the issues -- excuse me, working on the issues, though, that this president was elected to do. Cutting people's taxes and talking about that. This is the last tax day that people will have to live under the yoke of the tax increases that they had over many different years especially after the last president. It will be simplified, they'll be paying less, the corporate tax rate is way down. Look at the five-million-plus Americans, Christopher, who are getting bonuses, raises or both. We haven't even begun to talk about the trillions of dollars in repatriated wealth coming from overseas.
CUOMO: Well, we need to talk about it because you need to offset that big fat deficit that we have now because of the tax cuts and all the other spending it was putting. CONWAY: Oh, give me a break. What was the deficit when Donald Trump
got here? Give me a break. That just exploded. That was doubled in the last eight years --
CUOMO: This is an unprecedented amount of additions to the deficit. And you know that. You know it's a problem within your party.
CONWAY: I'm sorry, you disagree with the $4 million for school safety? $4 billion for school safety?
CUOMO: It's not about cherry picking things. It's about just overall fiscal landscape.
CONWAY: The $700 billion for our military? It's a good idea to fund the military. The military --
CUOMO: Look, all I'm saying is your party was always about cutting the deficit, now you're ballooning it.
CONWAY: And more respect.
CUOMO: You know, that is all it is. That is the fact. We'll see if the moves offset that and create more revenue, the repatriation and otherwise, we'll have to see. All right, we have done enough for today.
CONWAY: Until next time. Thank you. God bless you. Berman, sorry to cut into your time but not sorry the Eagles beat the Patriots.
CUOMO: That's right. I'm sure you boosted his ratings. Thank you for being on the show. Appreciate it.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's Ana Cabrera. So, you're going to have a do a whole lot of apologizing to Ana Cabrera.
CUOMO: Oh, for calling her John Berman is insulting enough.
CAMEROTA: But I can't imagine any show having more varied perspectives on the James Comey thing than we have presented to the viewers this morning.
CUOMO: And it's a very good look because this is going to be a war of words. They are going to go after Jim Comey and you saw how. They will say he is a liar and he can't be trusted, and he doesn't know the president. Will it stick? We'll see.
CUOMO: It is time now for "CNN NEWSROOM" with Ana Cabrera.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you Chris and Alisyn. Good morning to you. I'm Ana Cabrera in for John and Poppy. John is running the Boston marathon today. Good luck to him. Fireworks this morning as you have just been listening. The president's team is in full attack mode.
Counselor Kellyanne Conway fighting back here on CNN after fired FBI Director James Comey's explosive interview. Just minutes ago, the president weighed in, as well. Let me read the tweet he fired off.
"Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her, lied in Congress to senator then based his decisions on poll numbers. Disgruntled he, McCabe and the others committed many crimes."
Minutes from now the president may speak on camera as he leaves the White House for an event in Florida.
Let's bring in our panel, Laura Coates, CNN legal analyst, Caitlin Huey-Burns, national political reporter for "Real Clear Politics" and Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today."
Caitlin, your reaction to what we just heard there with Kellyanne Conway.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "REALCLEARPOLITICS": Really striking in so far as it kind of shows that the White House is in full on attack mode after this Comey interview and it kind of shows the vulnerabilities perhaps that they sense coming from what is to be lots and lots of coverage of this.
Remember, the book doesn't come out until tomorrow. Yesterday was the very first interview and of course, Susan Page had another interview with Comey, and the next couple of weeks actually you are going to be hearing these one-on-one interviews with Comey responding to each kind of iteration of this. We know that the president responds in real time as he just did this morning.
CABRERA: In fact, you mentioned, Susan Page, who is with us. You also spoke with Comey last week on Friday, Susan. Comey seemed to go a bit further when you talked to him about the possibility that Russia may have compromising information on the president. Tell us what he told you.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Well, he said we couldn't rule out the possibility that Russia is holding compromising information over the head of the president of the United States. This is an extraordinary charge.
He said he didn't have hard evidence of that. He said it is based both on things that we have seen in public that have been widely discussed about the president's reluctance to criticize Vladimir Putin.
But he said that what struck him in private conversations with the president when he was FBI director was that even in the private conversations he was unwilling to say critical things about Vladimir Putin and he found that quite extraordinary.
CABRERA: You also talked to him about Putin specifically and, in fact, he never said anything bad about Putin in private. That seems significant.
PAGE: Yes, I think so because he made the point in his interview with my colleague, Kevin Johnson, and myself that you can understand the president perhaps wanting to say positive things about a foreign leader in public to try to forge a positive relationship. He can understand that.
But the idea that he would be talking to the director of the nation's leading law enforcement agency who deals with issues involving Russia all the time, Russia as our adversary, the idea that he would not be willing to engage in critical comments about him in those settings he thought was notable and contributed to his conclusion that it is possible there is something more there to be found.
CABRERA: Guys, do we have sound with James Comey talking about the possibility of having dirt on Trump. We do, let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the Russians have something on Donald Trump?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I think it is possible. I don't know. I think these are more words I never thought I'd utter about a president of the United States, but it's possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's stunning. You can't say for certain that the president of the United States is not compromised by the Russians.
COMEY: It is stunning, and I wish I wasn't saying it, but it is the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Laura, when it comes to Russia possibly having dirt there on Trump you heard him say it's possible. He later says it is unlikely, but look, he offers no hard evidence, no proof. This is just a cheap shot or how do you read that?
[09:20:12] LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is extremely important to think about the context here. James Comey is in many ways the beginning of even the obstruction inquiry in the case. And so, what he knows for a lot of us is based on what we have all learned over the past year.
Why he is in a unique position, Ana, in this case to talk about that or make the assessment. It's prior to that he was heading an investigation to figure out if there was information that was worthwhile about the president maybe being subject to blackmail because that he is in a unique position to be informative.
Now there's been talk about him being certainly a flawed messenger and that he is based on his decision making especially in the Clinton press conference, but the fact that he hold that unique perspective, was in the room to hold discussions about Russia and about what the president's impression about possible meddling into the election was about.
For him to be in the room when there were conversations about whether or not there was interference I think you have to give that a great deal of weight about what he really knows.
CABRERA: Comey says the president is morally unfit to be president. He goes on to say he will stain everyone around him. We heard from Kellyanne Conway, one of those around him. In case you are just joining us here is a clip of what she had had to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: The president thinks that Jim Comey is engaging in revisionist history. If he objected to anything that he had witnessed when he was in his very limited, very few meetings with President Trump in a six-week period, he should have said so.
Jim Comey loves to be in the center of power. He loves to divert the spotlight to himself and be in the center of power. This man had no political instincts whatsoever. He was wrong about the election as were many people. His side went from being a public servant to a public relations spin artist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, we have to sideline Comey, that's been up for days. Trump's dub Comey slippery Comey and his tweet storm over the weekend, the president will be on camera as we mentioned in just a few minutes.
Later this afternoon, opportunities for him to comment again on this interview. We know Comey is not going away, Caitlin, as you just mentioned. He is about to embark on kind of a book tour and go on all kinds of different media shows and outlets. How ugly could this get?
HUEY-BURNS: Well, let's take a step back and just recall how wild this whole entire thing is. You have the former FBI director, who, of course, was fired by the president openly -- and the president openly kind of feuding with one another.
This book, there are a lot of salacious details, reference. But the interesting thing is that Comey doesn't really bring anything new in terms of the Russia probe or any kind of criminal activity.
So, the president could just let this kind of play out because you also have lots of Democrats going after Comey because they are recalling his behavior in the 2016 election coming out with the few press conferences, the key one being days before the election.
You heard from a lot of Democrats really kind of really upset about the way in which Comey was referencing his decision during the process during the interview. So, you could let these two sides spar it out while continuing to focus on your agenda.
Remember, the president is going to be in Florida today talking about taxes. He is supposed to be focused on that. Instead this is very much top of mind and it shows kind of how defensive the White House is going by the fact that they are issuing kind of a full-court press on this.
Not only Kellyanne Conway's interview, the president talking about it and the RNC has the whole Web site dedicated to "Lion Comey."
CABRERA: Susan, ABC described Comey as disciplined, almost dispassionate, during most of the interview, but then he kind of let loose they say in the end. Comey has also been described by critics as a show boater. What was your experience or your impression?
PAGE: Well, he is enormously this -- I mean, in contrast to the White House, which I think with that extraordinary interview we just saw between Chris Cuomo and Kellyanne Conway. James Comey is a dismal guy.
There was one point where he became emotional during our interview and that's when we asked him about the death of his infant son to a preventable infection two decades. It's not something he's ever talked about before.
He writes about it in his book. We ask him why he included this very personal story in his book. He said it is because it forms his sense of what the obligations of a leader are that when something bad happens to you a tragedy like the death of his son or even a setback like being fired by the president, you have an obligation to turn it around and make something positive about it. That was a moment in our interview that was different in tone from the rest of it.
CABRERA: I want to play another clip from James Comey's interview with ABC where he talked about whether the president has committed crimes. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was President Trump obstructing justice?
COMEY: Possibly. I mean, it certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.
[09:25:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will it mean if President Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller?
COMEY: It would I hope set-off alarm bells that this is his most serious attack yet on the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Laura Coates, the fact that James Comey is making a statement about obstruction of justice, talking about the Russia investigation period, and it is not completed yet, is he potentially jeopardizing Robert Mueller's investigation?
COATES: I found it very odd that he was so forthcoming about that point. So, you actually hear what he really had to say. He hedged a great deal on it by saying possibly it could be evidence of that. The reason he had is just probably two-fold.
Number one, his entire book and his entire conversation I'm sure was already vetted by the FBI. They already know everything he wanted to say, did say, and is going to say according to department guidelines. I'm sure that Mueller's team has seen the breath of all of this and probably takes very little issue with what is being exposed now given his past hearing. The second part about this is that obstruction of justice cases are only easy to prove if you can presume very hard, which is their mental state and intention.
So, it is but one of the indications that a prosecutor will look at when they say did this person have intent. Where they are trying to have some nefarious or corrupt intent here. It is what one of the instances that can show and develop a pattern of behavior that gives evidence of intent here.
The biggest thing, however, would be the Lester Holt interview where the president's own mouth is telling the world why he chose to fire James Comey. You combine those two things together and you have one heck of a case for obstruction.
However, it is still early in the game and premature mostly because Mueller's charge does not have an end game of obstruction. That's what the one of the things to consider, but the biggest context is the collusion.
CABRERA: All right. Ladies, thank you all for joining us, Laura Coates, Caitlin Huey-Burns, and Susan Page. We appreciate it.
Moments from now, the president leaves the White House. Will he respond to James Comey on camera? We are there. We'll bring it to you whatever he says.
Plus, days after those FBI raids, the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is set to appear in court today. This just hours after asking his own lawyers to have its first look at the seized records.