Return to Transcripts main page
Malcolm Turnbull Out as Australian Prime Minister; Hurricane Lane; WSJ: Tabloid Boss Gets Immunity in Hush Money Probe; Sessions Hits Back at Trump's Public Criticism; Trump Docks Question on Manafort Pardon; Trump Claims Cohen's Crimes Aren't Crimes; Trump is Getting the Word Out. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired August 24, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and thank you for joining us. I am Natalie Allen live from World Headquarters in Atlanta.
Australia's Liberal Party has sacked its leader, Malcolm Turnbull, and chosen a new prime minister. That man is treasurer Scott Morrison, he was elected a short time ago as leader of the Liberal Party by a vote, kind of close here, 45-40, defeating another challenger, home affairs minister Peter Dutton.
The upheaval began Tuesday, when Dutton launched a failed bid to take over from Turnbull. The prime minister survived that challenge but the party demanded a meeting to resolve the leadership.
Turnbull lost a no confidence vote and resigned, paving the way for the vote. The outgoing prime minister is to speak shortly. We will bring that to you live when it does. He has said he will now not only leave the prime minister's post but will leave parliament.
Let's talk more about these stunning developments. Joining us from Melbourne, Daniel Flitton, managing editor for "The Interpreter."
Daniel, thanks so much because this has been fast and furious and a little bit challenging to follow.
ALLEN: We want to make sure we understand what just happened. It's a stunning development, a move started this week in the Liberal Party to oust Turnbull. Now he's out; Morrison is in.
How did this play out?
DANIEL FLITTON, "THE INTERPRETER": It has been extraordinary political bomb throwing in the last few days and there's a lot of pain that is going to need to wash through in the Liberal Party. For U.S. viewers, the Liberal Party in Australia is the conservative side of politics. But there are two wings within it. One is a small L, liberal, versus a more conservative arm of the party.
And that schism or split between the two is really what has brought all of this to a head. And it's come to a head in a real rush, with a heady mix of personalities as well.
ALLEN: There were three prospects that were being considered to step in for Turnbull: Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison, who prevailed, and Julie Bishop.
Why do you think Morrison did prevail here?
FLITTON: Well, Morrison is himself from the more conservative side of the party. But he fell out of favor with the conservatives over the toppling of another prime minister. We have made a real habit of this in Australia --
ALLEN: Got to interrupt. Malcolm Turnbull is speaking now.
MALCOLM TURNBULL, OUTGOING AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: ... I am very optimistic and positive about our nation's future and I want to thank the Australian people for the support they've given me and my government over the last nearly three years.
We've been able to achieve, as a progressive government, as a progressive Liberal coalition government, enormous reforms and very, very substantial achievements.
You know, the foundation of everything you do in government is a strong economy. And we have delivered, as we promised, jobs and growth. You may have heard that before. We've got record jobs growth in Australia last year.
We have strong economic growth, 3.1 percent, as you know, higher than any of the G7 economies. And that has enabled us to do so much more.
Despite the minority position in the senate and the one-seat majority in the house of representatives, we've been able to deliver substantial taxation reforms, much more than many of you, probably any of you, thought possible, substantial personal income tax reforms, the biggest in more than 20 years; tax reductions for small and medium businesses, overwhelmingly Australian, family-owned businesses.
We have also been able to get on with the job of important historic infrastructure. I'm very proud that we are underway with Snowy Hydro 2.0. I know sometimes my opponents in the Labor Party say that I'm not committed to renewables.
Well, I tell you we're building and we're going to build the biggest single renewable project in Australia since Snowy Hydro 1.0. So that is a substantial commitment. Plus we're getting on and building the Western Sydney Airport, the inland rail. And we'll build a railway from Melbourne out to Tullamarine. So many other big infrastructure projects and we've been able to do it because of strong economic growth.
We've also taken a different approach. I have been a reforming Liberal --
TURNBULL: -- prime minister. Of course, you know, one of the many difficult political challenges that we face, particularly in the coalition, has been the issue of marriage equality.
Now we have delivered that. Same-sex marriage is legal. We went through a postal vote, as you know, which was hugely successful, again, much more successful than many thought, and we have delivered that historic reform, a very substantial one.
We have also established a national redress scheme for the victims of child sexual abuse. We have provided record support for mental health services and, indeed, for health services right across the board, whether it is hospitals, Medicare, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
None of those things could have been done without the strong economy that we've delivered. Childcare reforms also have been once in a generation reforms.
But I have taken a different approach as a federal leader, as a federal government, to the way we engage with cities. As you know, historically, federal governments played a limited role, sort of an ad hoc role, with cities.
And very often you had federal government, state government and local government often moving in roughly the same direction but being a bit like ships in the night. The city deals program has been a real innovation, a very, very welcome reform and working very well, enabling for the first time to see federal government money systematically going in to work in partnership with communities so that you agree on what your vision is and then get on and do it.
I want to say also that keeping Australians safe is obviously the single most important priority of government. I have had outstanding ministers in that area, particularly Marise Payne, the defense minister, and the defense industry minister, Christopher Pyne.
And we have embarked on the largest investment in our defense capabilities ever in peacetime. And of course, it's not simply a matter of ensuring that our men and women in the ADF have the capabilities, both to give them the force they need and to ensure that they are safe in all of the circumstances they're engaging in.
But it also is part of an agenda to ensure that defense industry, these advanced industries, provide the lead, the opportunities, to build the Australian economy. It is all part of our economic plan. Clearly, as prime minister, I've had a great deal to do in terms of
our international agenda. We've been able to secure again a reform or an achievement that many people thought was impossible, which was the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When Donald Trump pulled out of that, everyone thought it was dead. I was mocked, as you know, by some for keeping at it.
But we managed to secure the TPP-11, Trans-Pacific Partnership continued. And the fact that it has continued not only creates export opportunities for Australians but it also provides a foundation for a trade deal for the U.S. to re-enter at some point in the future and for others to do as well.
We have also, of course, I was able to secure and then maintain the resettlement deal with the United States for refugees on Manus and Nauru. That was a challenging exercise, to maintain that.
But, of course, hundreds of refugees are now being resettled without providing the incentive for the people smugglers to get back into business again. And maintaining that strong border protection has been critically important.
I was also able to ensure that when the U.S. put tariffs on steel and aluminum, on countries right around the world, Australia was exempted from that. Again, a great example of the way in which I have sought always to stand up for Australian jobs, Australian workers and our industries.
We have been able to ensure that we could bring back the rule of law in the building sector with the Australian Building and Construction Commission. That was obviously one of the double dissolution triggers. But, again, many thought that was impossible but we were able to achieve it.
So I think it has been a challenging time to be prime minister. But I'm very proud of our record. I'm very proud of our government and my minister's record in achievement.
I want to thank them. I want to thank all my colleagues, I want to thank my staff. But above all I want to thank my wife, Lucy, for her love and support.
TURNBULL: I want to thank our children, Alex and his wife, Yvonne, and our daughter, Daisy, and her husband, James.
It isn't easy being either married to or the child of a politician, let alone a prime minister. And often children get attention from the media and others that they, frankly, don't deserve, in terms of, you know, people wanting to have a crack at their father by going after them. So it's been tough on them at times.
But I want to thank them for their solidarity and loyalty and love. Our grandchildren, of course, are a great joy. I look forward to spending some more time with them and with Lucy. But finally, I want to thank the Australian people for everything they
have done for me.
It has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation. I love Australia. I love Australians.
We are the most successful multicultural society in the world and I have always defended that and advanced that as one of our greatest assets.
We must never allow the politics of race or division or of setting Australians against each other to become part of our political culture. We have so much going for us in this country. We have to be proud of it and cherish it.
Now I suppose I should say something about the events of the last week or so. Look, I think you all know what's happened.
There was a determined insurgency from a number of people, both in the party room and backed by voices, powerful voices, in the media, really to bring -- no, not bring down the government, certainly bring down my prime ministership.
It was extraordinary. It was described as madness by many and I think it's difficult to describe it in any other way.
In the party room meeting today, I was impressed by how many of my colleagues spoke or voted for loyalty above disloyalty, how the insurgents were not rewarded by electing Mr. Dutton, for example, but instead the -- my successor, who I wish the very best, of course, Scott Morrison, a very loyal and effective treasurer.
I want to thank him for his great work, but above all I want to thank Julie Bishop. She is a very dear friend. We've been friends for over 30 years, which we sometimes wonder whether we should remind people of that, but nonetheless she's a very dear friend.
She's been an extraordinary foreign minister, I would say our finest foreign minister. And she has been a loyal deputy and just a great colleague and friend. So I thank Julie very much. As you know, she's stood down as the deputy and she's succeeded by Josh Frydenberg.
Again, I wish Josh all the best. He's been a very loyal and capable minister.
So, that is what I have to say to you today. I'm happy to take some questions. No, no, hang on. One minute. You can't all talk at once and I'm going to -- given that I'm about to no longer be the prime minister, I'm going to ask Laura Tingle to ask me a question.
LAURA TINGLE, ABC NEWS: You talked about bullies yesterday and you talked about the insurgency today. One of the frustrations that voters have had with your prime ministership is the sense that you conceded too regularly to the conservatives and to the Right.
Do you regret doing that, given that they came for you anyway? And what is your view of what is going to happen to climate policy and energy policy now?
TURNBULL: OK. Well, Laura, what I have done always is to try to keep the party together. And that has meant that, from time to time, I have had to compromise and make concessions. It's a really -- it's something I learnt from my first time as leader, that you have to work so hard to keep the show together.
There are -- and that's the bottom line. But, you know if you look at what we've achieved, it's a very long list. In terms of energy policy and climate policy, I think the truth is that the coalition finds it very hard to get agreement on anything to do with emissions.
TURNBULL: In truth, the National Energy Guarantee was, or is, a vitally important piece of economic reform. It remains the government's policy, of course. But with a one-seat majority in the house, unless you can command all or almost all your votes you can't get it passed. I want to thank Josh for the work that he's done on that.
But it is -- if I can say this, the emissions policy, emissions issues and climate policy issues have the same problem within the coalition of, you know, bitterly entrenched views that are actually sort of more ideological views than views based, as I say, in engineering and economics.
It's a bit like same-sex marriage used to be, almost an, you know, an insoluble problem. Now we were able to sort that out. That is a very a significant achievement in my time as prime minister. I'm actually, I think, the first prime minister to actually support legalizing same- sex marriage but, most importantly, was able to get it done.
Now as for what the future holds in terms of energy policy, again, you'll have to talk to Scott about that. But clearly there's a great foundation in the announcements we have already made, currently rising out of the ACCC report.
Now the next person I'm going to invite to ask me a question is Mr. Coorey.
PHIL COOREY, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW: The party is (INAUDIBLE) over this and it's exposed a strong fissure down the middle.
What's your message on unity, do you think the party can unify?
TURNBULL: Well, Phil, it's obvious. If you just -- Australians will be just dumbstruck and so appalled by the conduct of the last week.
You know, to imagine that a government would be rocked by this sort of disloyalty and deliberate, you know, insurgency, is the best way to describe it, deliberate destructive action, at a time when -- you know, there are differences on policy but, frankly, all of them were sort of able to be resolved with a little bit of goodwill. And, of course, a month ago, as you know, as I said yesterday, we were
a little bit behind in the national polls and a little bit ahead on our own polls. So it's -- it will be, I think, many Australians will just be shaking their head in disbelief at what's been done.
So I'll just go to Murpharoo there.
COOREY: Unity, Prime Minister?
TURNBULL: Well, unity, Phil, is, if you're not -- you know, the -- you know, disunity is death in Australian politics, as everyone says and it's perfectly obvious. But the people who chose, Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others, who chose to deliberately attack the government from within, they did so because they wanted to bring the government down.
They wanted to bring my prime ministership down. And they -- while, you know, the consequence is that I'm no longer PM, of course, instead of Mr. Dutton being prime minister, we'll no doubt -- in due course we'll have Mr. Morrison.
ALLEN: All right. You have been listening to a live news conference, extraordinary comments by the now ousted prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, referring to what he called the determined insurgency in his party that brought him down.
He called it part extraordinary, part madness and as you just heard, he said unity within his party seems to be death.
Let's go back to our guest, Daniel Flitten, managing editor for "The Interpreter."
Daniel, interesting that he also addressed what happened this week by saying that Australians were dumbstruck and appalled by what has happened. It was a deliberate, destructive action.
What are your thoughts to his final comments as prime minister?
FLITTEN: Well, on the dumbstruck Australian population, I think that was absolutely true. I thought it was really noticeable that in his remarks that he emphasized the strong economy that Australia has.
And that's one of the things that's probably -- makes this political instability seem so perplexing for the rest of the world. Australia's had strong economic growth now for well over two decades and hasn't had a recession since the early 1990s through the global final crisis.
Australia basically sailed through because of the strong relationship it has with China. So it's usually at times of great economic upheaval that you see these big political changes. But that isn't what brought it here and what Turnbull was talking about there is some of the ideological schisms within his own party.
ALLEN: Daniel Flitten, we thank you as we see the last pictures of the outgoing prime minister, with his family there.
ALLEN: Thank you so much for helping us understand this extraordinary development.
And we want to let our viewers know, we may be hearing from the incoming prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.
FLITTEN: No problem.
ALLEN: Thank you, Daniel.
Much ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Please stay with us because parts of Hawaii are already under water. But the worst may be yet to come. We will have a live report from the islands as day breaks for Hurricane Lane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): You are looking at live video out of Diamond Head, Hawaii, where people are being told to take shelter before it is too late. Hurricane Lane is now a category 3 with winds of 200 kph. It's already triggered flash floods and landslides.
Storms like this are rare in Hawaii. The last major cyclone to hit the islands was more than 26 years ago. For how the state is now preparing, let's go to CNN's Natasha Chen, joining us live from Kona on the big island.
Natasha, they're used to storms just skirting by. Now they are getting hit.
And what are the preparations?
And what the conditions there right now?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, for Kona, people have gotten pretty lucky today so far. You can see a lot of the residents and tourists kind of hanging out there on the shore, watching very dramatic waves crashing on the side there.
This is a very unusual surf that they have been able to enjoy the last few hours because of the hurricane weather system.
Now the real brunt of this has hit the east side of the big island. Near Hilo, they have had serious heavy rains, flash flooding, some roads have been blocked due to landslide threats. So that has been a serious problem on the east side of the island. Now we learned that the systems have shifted westward, creating a
problem for islands like Oahu and Maui. On Maui, the airport there had a power outage earlier today and they had to start using their backup system.
United Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of Maui for tomorrow.
Now on Oahu, in Honolulu, earlier this afternoon, they used their siren system to alert people to take shelter tonight the because of heavy flooding and heavy winds tonight.
Now one of the residents there who took video of the sirens and posted it on social media said he only had experienced these sirens as tests throughout his life. This is the first time he has heard it used for a real event -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Natasha Chen, following it for us, we'll stay in close contact with you as this storm bears down.
ALLEN: Coming up here, another one-time ally appears to be turning on President Donald Trump. We will tell you who he is and what secrets he might be keeping. That's next as CNN NEWSROOM pushes on.
ALLEN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.
ALLEN: Now let's turn to our top story from Washington. We could soon learn a lot more about the hush money paid to two women who claimed they had affairs with Donald Trump, now that the publisher of the "National Enquirer" has been granted immunity by federal prosecutor.
David Pecker is a long-time friend of Mr. Trump with a reputation for burying negative stories about the future president. Sources say he has provided investigators with details about how the hush payments from former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, were made. This week's torrent of bad publicity for the President has left him in a feisty mood. For more on that, our Jim Acosta is at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In this latest round of President Trump and his favorite cabinet punching bag, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, punched back. It all started after the President attacked Sessions once again, for recusing himself in the Russia investigation.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn't have done, or should've told me. He took the job and then he said, I'm going to recuse myself, I said, what kind of a man is this? And by the way, he was on the campaign. You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty.
ACOSTA: But hours later, this time, Sessions surprisingly jabbed back. Saying in a statement, while I'm attorney general, the action of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. No nation has a more talented more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.
TRUMP: This is a little bit of a celebration meeting.
ACOSTA: Earlier in the day, the President tried to turn away from the Russia probe to celebrate his record. That is until he could hear the questions about the criminal records of his former advisors. The President didn't say whether he would pardon his now convicted former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
Instead, Mr. Trump focused his fury on his former attorney, Michael Cohen. President tried to say Cohen's crimes weren't actually crimes.
TRUMP: He pled to two counts that aren't a crime, which nobody understands. I watched a number of shows. Sometimes you get some pretty good information by watching shows. Those two counts aren't even a crime. They weren't campaign finance.
ACOSTA: But here's the reality, in Cohen's plead deal, he admitted to making an excessive campaign contribution when he paid off a porn star, alleging an affair with Mr. Trump. The President told more whoppers, insisting he wasn't really that close to Cohen, his long- time personal fixer.
TRUMP: He's been a lawyer for me, didn't do big deals, just small deals. Not somebody that was with me that much.
ACOSTA: And perhaps the most surreal moment of the interview, Mr. Trump condemned the fixer for flipping.
TRUMP: This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping for 30, 40 years. I have been watching flippers. Everything is wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go. It almost, sort of, the (INAUDIBLE)
ACOSTA: Up late into the wee hours and tweeting about the Russia investigation. The President appears to be fixated on his fate as well, issuing dire warnings about impeachment. TRUMP: I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor.
ACOSTA: As his outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, talks about rebellion.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY OF THE U.S. PRESIDENT: You'll only impeach him for political reasons. And the American people would revolt against that.
ACOSTA: As for Jeff Sessions official attorney general, was at the White House for a meeting on present reform and sources tell us, the attorney general's job status did not come up at that meeting.
So for now, it seems Jeff Sessions still has a job. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about these developments. Joining me from Los Angeles, talk radio host, Ethan Bearman, and Joe Messina, guys, thanks so much for talking with us.
We are going get to the attorney general story in just a moment. But let's talk about the other developments, first. Joe, first to you, two of the President's close friends, now talking with prosecutors, his fixer, Michael Cohen, his friend from the National Enquirer, David Pecker, what concern should this bring to the presidency?
JOE MESSINA, POLITICAL RADIO HOST: I don't know if any -- look, I've been listening to this for a long time and we're talking about Pecker, he's been -- he's been keeping, what, files on the President and others for quite some time.
I heard that immunity was offered to him back in April, sounds like a back-up plan to me in case they couldn't get Cohen or anybody else to break on this. But, come back to Cohen, we're talking about taking -- these guys are looking at what, 30 or 80 years in prison.
Are you telling me that they are going to give you an honest answer? They're going to give you honest information to stay out of prison? I find that hard to believe.
ALLEN: Well, the bottom line is, going back to the National Enquirer story, Joe, we're talking about campaign finance reform violations, how could that not be a concern to this president?
MESSINA: Well, all right, but where did the money come from? Who gave the money? Who ordered the money? Did the President -- do we have a note? Do we have a memo? Do we have an e-mail that -- where the President said, take this money out of this account and pay these people off? Go ahead.
ALLEN: It sounds like we are going to hear that from David Cohen, you may or may not believe what David Cohen has to bring to the party there. Let's get Ethan's take on what you just said.
[00:35:05] ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST: Yes. Well, it's interesting how evidence works, does not require a note, it requires testimony. And now, if you were going to impeach Michael Cohen on his testimony, saying he's not trustworthy.
You're telling me David Pecker, the chairman of AMI, who owns National Enquirer, who's been close friends with President Trump for decades, who doesn't have a criminal record, but now, is going to take this immunity deal to avoid what clearly would have been a campaign finance violation, which is a felony, by the way, which means, if there was a conspiracy involving the President --
We now have Pecker, we now have Cohen, and Trump is the third guy in all of this. That forms a conspiracy that means he would be guilty of a conspiracy, as well. This is very serious. When it was just Michael Cohen, it was one thing, but now, you have David Pecker, and who would be bigger than David Pecker? Donald Trump. This is going to be something that is going to be deeply troubling for Donald Trump.
MESSINA: What I -- yes -- what I said was, I want to see proof. I think it's interesting --
BEARMAN: You don't have to. It's not how the law works, that's not how the law works, Joe.
MESSINA: OK, so we can go these on allegations, right, because it didn't work for the Obama administration, it didn't work for Mrs. Clinton. You know, whether it was an allegation against them, we were told to hold back, as radio show host and commentators, you have no proof. You have no proof.
BEARMAN: You have no idea what you are talking about then, Joe, if you are going to say that.
MESSINA: Of course, I do.
BEARMAN: Proof is when two people go take the stand and they testify, this guy told us to do these things and we have financial records of paying off Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. And we have that information. That's what the feds already have in the southern district of New York.
And then you have testimonies, you say, and Donald Trump told us to do this. That's how crime bosses which Donald Trump is so familiar with, which is why he is so concerned about flipping. That is why he is worried about his testimony, is what counts. That is evidence.
ALLEN: All right. Let's move on. Joe, I want to move on to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The President berated his bee leaguered attorney general, once again, but this time, Mr. Sessions pushed back, defending his job as just and one that should stay away from politics.
It's highly unusual for the President and the cabinet member to be sparring in public and they just keep going on and on. Why does the President do this to poor, I guess you could say, Jeff Sessions. That's to you, Joe.
MESSINA: Oh, all right. Look, don't call him poor Jeff Sessions, the man with the job he took, when he took it, he knew who he was dealing with. And I agree with President Trump from his standpoint of, here's the deal, you took the job and you knew you're going to recuse yourself because you're a part of the -- part of the campaign.
And again, I find it rich, that they said they don't want to politicize this. And look at what's going on right now. You've got Rosenstein who approved the dossier, who put the dossier up in front of the FISA court and that seems to be OK.
Seriously, are you telling me that that hold -- Mueller team with Rosenstein and others are all clean? That they're not bringing politics into it? Pretty much every one of them is a Clinton supporter. You can't tell me there's no bias.
ALLEN: Why do you always go back to Clinton instead of sticking with the issues that the country is facing?
MESSINA: OK. Well, OK. Here's -- you guys asked me that question all the time. Here's the deal, if you are -- if you are upset about the rules being broken with Trump, then you are disingenuous. If you weren't upset about them being broke under Obama or Clinton, is this -- is this --
ALLEN: We're not saying that. No one's saying that.
ALLEN: It seems like a cop out -- it seems like a cop out when we're discussing --
MESSINA: it's not a cop out.
ALLEN: these critical issues and you go back (INAUDIBLE)
MESSINA: Not a cop out. I want to know -- I want to know --
BEARMAN: In every argument you just mad, Joe, you actually ignored, again, the facts. Robert Mueller is a lifetime Republican. He's a decorated war veteran.
MESSINA: That doesn't mean anything.
BEARMAN: He is a highly respected. He's a highly respected member of the community -- of the intelligence community. He was appointed by Rod Rosenstein, who was appointed by Donald Trump. They are actually Republicans.
You want to spin it a total different way. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because -- Joe -- because he lied to the Senate committee. He forgot. Oh, how odd was that that he met with the Russians and therefore, as any good attorney would do, you recuse yourself. That's what Jeff Sessions did after the fact.
And by the way, Donald Trump, if he hates Jeff Sessions so much, fire him, that's actually President Trump 's prerogative.
BEARMAN: The attorney general serves at the pleasure of the President.
ALLEN: And he's not doing that. We'll have to discuss why does he keep him on, if he loathes the attorney general so much. We always appreciate your robust debate, Joe Messina, Ethan Bearman, thank you both. Please come back. We'll do it again. Thanks.
BEARMAN: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: When the lights go out at the White House, the commander-in- chief is hard at work, the post-midnight twitter thoughts of Donald Trump, who just fired off another one. We'll look at that, next, much more ahead.
[00:40:00] ALLEN: The President, Donald Trump, is indulging his post- midnight twitter habit. Moments ago, he was replaying the 2016 election. He re-tweeted himself saying, according to the polls, this is what he wrote, and according to the polls, would do even better today.
Last night, it was this, when the President tweeted, no collusion. The U.S. President is seemed to be losing sleep here to get the word out. For more about these late night tweets, here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The White House went dark, except a few lights were still on after 1:00 a.m. like a Motel 6.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll leave the light on for you.
MOOS: It's 1:10 a.m. Do you know where your President is? He is tweeting with the cap locks key, on. No collusion. Rigged witch hunt. Something President Trumps says all the time.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A witch-hunt.
MOOS: At a recent rally, he coughed up five no collusions in 10 seconds.
TRUMP: Where is the collusion? You know, they're still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion.
MOOS: But when critics found no collusion at 1:10 a.m. in a tweet, they colluded to mock the commander, in tweets.
It's 1:00 a.m. and our hemmed-in President is talking to the walls via an all caps tweets screen.
Wrote journalist Howard Feynman, tweeted someone else. Nothing says innocent like a random 1:00 a.m. all caps tweet, screaming the same nonsense you spout every day.
Another comment saw shades of Nixon. This is the equivalent of Nixon walking through the White House, talking to the portraits.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Donald.
TRUMP: Richard Nixon.
NIXON: You don't want to end up like me.
MOOS: But what better time to hunt witches than after midnight.
TRUMP: No collusion. The rigged witch hunt.
MOOS: The President is making witches great again. The last time an after midnight tweet got this much attention, the theory was the President dozed with his fingers on a keyboard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is a covfefe?
MOOS: That time, he might have had trouble staying awake. But this time, well, Mr. President, if you are having trouble sleeping, ask your doctor if covfefe is right for you. Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: The phony witch hunt. A total witch hunt. This is a witch hunt like nobody's ever seen before.
MOOS: New York.
ALLEN: All right. I will be back at the top of the hour with another hour of all of this, on CNN NEWSROOM. Hope you'll join us in. Next is "WORLD SPORTS."
[00:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)