Return to Transcripts main page


Sources: Deputy Ag Rosenstein Discussed 25th Amendment And Secretly Recording Trump After Comey Firing In 2017; Wapo: Trump Asked Advisors If He Should Fire Rosenstein; Trump Vows To Rid DoJ, FBI Of "Lingering Stench"; Trump On Kavanaugh Nomination: "It's Going to Happen"; Rosenstein, DOJ's Last Hope to Protect Russia Probe; Texas Host Number 17 TCU in Austin; Urban Meyer Returns After Suspension; Number 10 Penn State Put Away Illinois After a Close First Half; Tiger Woods Tied for Lead for the First Time on PGA Tour Since 2015; NBA Stars Team Up for Hurricane Florence Relief; Tornado Rips Through Canada's Capital; Parts Unknown Premieres on Cnn Tomorrow at 9 p.m. Eastern; Coding Classes Help Tackle Nigeria's Gender Gap in Tech. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 22, 2018 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump last year.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just look at what is now being exposed in our Department of Justice and the FBI. There's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Rod Rosenstein had a shocked reaction to something we all know to be true, which is that White House is a circus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeff Sessions needs to fire Rosenstein and if he won't, Donald Trump needs to fire both of them.

TRUMP: Brett Kavanaugh, fantastic man. He was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. He born for it and it's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the alleged attack was as bad as she says it was, Christine Blasey Ford would have filed charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought that the President's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Good morning to you. Good to have you this Saturday. I'm Victor Blackwell.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Dianne Gallagher, in this morning for Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein first said he will comment no further and then he commented further.


BLACKWELL: Well, that's after there was the reporting that he discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with President Donald Trump last year.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Now, look, CNN sources have confirmed the story that was first reported now by "The New York Times" that in the days after James Comey was fired as FBI director, Rosenstein also reportedly talked about recruiting cabinet members to help remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th amendment. Now, here is CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett with more.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN REPORTER: Well, Friday's stunning developments outline in a series of memos from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sent a shockwave through the Justice Department as officials tried to contain the blast radius and keep Rosenstein in his job. Rosenstein, the number two official at the Justice Department, issuing rare statements pushing back on the reporting and first one saying in part he believed there was no basis to invoke the 25th amendment to oust the President.

And in a second, more forceful statement after a meeting at the White House, Rosenstein said, "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I've ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

Now, other officials familiar with the encounters between McCabe and Rosenstein describe a chaotic scene after the firing of FBI director James Comey and the significant amount of mistrust on both sides that could be sort of coloring the interactions and also setting the groundwork for how McCabe described their interactions in his contemporaneous memos.

Now, no word from the White House or directly from the President, but he said at a rally in Missouri that he planned to get rid of the lingering stench at the FBI and the Justice Department, but no direct mention of Rosenstein at all. And while it's too early to tell exactly what Rosenstein's fate as the number two official here overseeing the Russia probe will hold, if for whatever reason Rosenstein either quits or is fired, there is a succession plan here at the Justice Department and Mueller's work will continue. Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington.

BLACKWELL: According to "The Washington Post", President Trump asked his advisers whether he should fire Rosenstein. They talked him out of making a decision last night.

GALLAGHER: And the President is now spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, after a rally last night in Missouri. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez joining us live from nearby Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Boris, Rosenstein on his mind?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Dianne and Victor. Yes, we're all anxiously refreshing our Twitter feeds to see if the Deputy Attorney General still has a job this morning. President Trump very liking -- he enjoys, I should say, firing people on Twitter and tweeting early on weekend mornings. So we'll see where he goes with that.

It's no secret that President Trump is unhappy with his Department of Justice. He's been very open about the fact that they don't prosecute his political enemies and that, in his eyes, they don't do enough to shield republicans who are now currently under investigation. Duncan Hunter comes to mind as one example.

But sources have indicated that President Trump has been unhappy with Rod Rosenstein in part because he's given free rein to Robert Mueller to run the Russia investigation, which, as you know, the President calls a witch hunt. And that was before this reporting came out about Rosenstein speculating about using the 25th amendment and wiretapping the President.

No direct response from the President just yet. He was asked about this on a tarmac yesterday as he arrived for an event in Springfield, Missouri, but while he was there, he did make a statement that may have some implications for the future of the Deputy Attorney General.

[06:05:05] I want you to watch this.


TRUMP: We have great people in the Department of Justice. We have great people. These are people -- I really believe, you take a poll, I got to be at 95 percent, but you got some real bad ones. You've seen what's happened at the FBI. They're all gone. They're all gone. They're all gone, but there's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that, too.

SANCHEZ: Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing there. A number of prominent conservatives have weighed in on Twitter, including the President's own son, Donald Trump JR., who sarcastically noted that he was shocked about this. Several conservatives are calling for Rosenstein to be fired. As you noted, "The Washington Post" sources speaking to them, told them that the President asked aides about whether he should fire Rosenstein or not. He was ultimately convinced to at least wait until after Friday night. We'll see what happens this weekend, Victor and Dianne.

GALLAGHER: Boris Sanchez, like you said, all of us refreshing that Twitter feed. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Just refreshed mine. No update yet. Joining me now to talk more about this, CNN political commentator Errol Louis, political anchor at "Spectrum News" and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, also a criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen, welcome back. Good to have you. Let me start with you, Errol. This time next week, will we be talking about potential nominees to replace Rod Rosenstein?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he is in a great deal of danger as far as his career and his longevity at the Justice Department. On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure. I don't know if it's going to happen today. I wouldn't be at all surprised if happened, for example, after election day, when presidents traditionally, especially if their party loses a lot of seats in the Congress, will sort of clean house and just do a normal reshuffle.

The President has made no secret of the fact that he's not enamored, to say the least, with his own Attorney General and so Jeff Sessions should be looking over his shoulder and maybe looking at his Twitter feed, as well. Will the house cleaning come before or after election day, I think, is the only question. I think it's not really a question of if, but of when.

BLACKWELL: Joey, listen to former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta here.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He's got to think very carefully about the implications of taking action here because if he -- if he does this, it raises concerns about the Mueller investigation, it raises concerns about the possibility of obstruction and more importantly, it creates even greater chaos at a time when he's trying to deal with the midterms, the Kavanaugh confirmation, and trying to fund the federal government.


BLACKWELL: So Joey, the President now has the number two at the Department of Justice mulling over, according to "The New York Times" reporting, which members of the cabinet would be willing to launch an effort to remove the President from office via the 25th amendment. Would this -- if the President were to fire Rod Rosenstein or order the Attorney General to do so, would this fit so neatly into an obstruction of justice case?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Victor, good morning to you. It would not fit neatly at all and here's why. What happens is is that we always talk about when you fire someone, if it fits into obstruction of justice, there's that element, that state of mind, right? The corrupt intention. What this report does, Victor, is it gives the President political cover to get rid of someone he's been looking to get rid of.

When you have a narrative out there of a person who is looking, that is Rod Rosenstein, to get rid of you because they don't trust your judgment, there are issues concerning your fitness to hold office, there are concerns as to whether a wire should be worn to otherwise unearth what you're doing, what you're saying and the fact that you are unfit, that gives the President the ability to say, look, this has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. It has to do with me putting people in place who are not biased against me so that if we do have the investigation moved forward, as it will no matter when's there, it could be an investigation that we all can trust.

And so this furthers, in my view, the Trump narrative. And Leon Panetta, an incredible public figure, an incredibly public servant, but I think in this instance, if the President wanted to do so, I don't think the blow back would be as vicious. The blow back would be as significant as it would be absent this report and so I think that's what this development does. I would expect it sooner than the election. I would expect it to be immediate, not that I'm a prognosticator, but I think it fits into the President's narrative of this being a witch hunt.

BLACKWELL: Errol, what's your take on Rod Rosenstein first saying that I will comment no further on this report, and then coming out and commenting further saying that he never pursued the recording or removing the President via the 25th?

[06:10:10] LOUIS: Sure. I think he tried to sort of tamp it down at first by saying, look, I have no comment on this. On the other hand, as I would have expected him to understand by now, the word of "The New York Times" is really taken very seriously and so they're reporting, although it doesn't amount to rock-solid proof that these things were said, the reality is, as it starts to filter out and as the White House starts to respond and as other sources start to chime in, there were conversations that other people heard and those people are talking and they are talking to "The New York Times".

So he was right, I think, to make absolutely clear that maybe it was in jest, maybe it was sarcastic, but that he never launched any kind of a serious plot to do some of what is really kind of suggested. Not outright alleged, but really suggested by the story.

BLACKWELL: Joey, quickly to you, the reporting that he was -- he suggested wearing this wire to record the President, the Department of Justice put out a statement from someone who heard the comment saying it was sarcastic. Another source to "The Times" says that he was serious about this. Record him to what end? I mean he was -- Rosenstein was saying the President wasn't taking the role of finding the new FBI director seriously, that there was chaos. A lot of this was public. I mean we all saw what happened in May of 2017. What would that recording have proved and how would that have risen to the level of impeachment?

JACKSON: Well, a great point. First, to the issue of whether it happened or not, contemporaneous notes in a court of law are solid, right? And they're solid because you record and otherwise memorialize something that happened close to the event in time. So I have to put a lot of credibility as to this being a factual case. We don't know, but when you record someone, you document how they sound, what they're doing, what they're thinking, whether or not their thinking is amiss in any way, whether they do have corrupt intentions.

Look, when I'm speaking to you, Victor, right, if I'm speaking to you off camera or Errol, right, my guard is down. I'm speaking about -- this is who I am. And I think recordings capture that and if you want to get state of mind, that's what those recordings go to and so that's the significance of it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol, Joey, thank you very much. Stay with us.

ERROL: Thanks. BLACKWELL: Of course we have a lot more to discuss.

GALLAGHER: A U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and Senator Mazie Hirono join Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION". That is tomorrow only on CNN at 9:00 A.M. Eastern.

Plus, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" and only on CNN, again, tomorrow. That's at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.

BLACKWELL: Another deadline set now for the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from when they were in high school. Coming up, when Senate republicans say they want an answer from Christine Blasey Ford on whether she will testify before Congress.

GALLAGHER: And a man captures the moment that a tornado hits his home on video. Now he's talking about it.

BLACKWELL: Huge day of college football is in store. Coy Wire is in Texas for us. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Things are about to heat up here, Victor. In Austin, a big match-up between Texas and TCU. They're 17th in the nation. We'll talk about that. We'll break down other sports stories and we'll get analysis from Dianne and fashion expert Victor Blackwell on a cowboy hat I found here in Austin. I'm a little bit nervous.




GALLAGHER: This morning, Senate republicans are demanding that the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault to agree by this afternoon to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, Christine Blasey Ford says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. That's according to "The New York Times." Committee chair, Senator Chuck Grassley, gave Ford until 2:30 P.M. today to decide to testify or to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. That's going to move to Monday afternoon. Ford's attorney called the deadline arbitrary.

Now, meanwhile, President Trump lashed out at Ford yesterday on Twitter, questioning her credibility, but last night at a rally in Missouri, he turned the focus to Kavanaugh and says that republicans have to get him confirmed.


TRUMP: Brett Kavanaugh, fantastic man. He was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. he was born for it and it's going to happen. We have to fight for him. Not worry about the other side. And by the way, women are for that more than anybody would understand.


GALLAGHER: OK. So about that, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for "Spectrum News", and CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson back with us again. So we do have the looming deadline set for 2:30 this afternoon. I want to get back to that in just a moment. First, I want to get your reaction, Errol, to what you just heard from the President. Is he just riffing here? Who are these women who are already ready to fight for Brett Kavanaugh before we'd even heard Ford testify in a potential hearing?

LOUIS: Right. The President and the republicans who are supporting him in Congress are in a very tough place because there aren't a whole lot of women who are out there. And so everyone that they can find, they get to sign a document or push them in front of the cameras. There was talk about having outside counsels, women attorneys to do the questioning because they know how awful all of this is going to look. That Christine Blasey Ford, the professor, is going to give her story to the nation, whether it's in testimony before Congress or on national television. One way or another, she is going to be heard and we know from history that it gets women voters, and those are the women who really count, it gets women voters very, very upset to hear men denigrate or dismiss these kind of accounts.

[06:20:04] GALLAGHER: Yes. Joey, President Trump openly attacked Ford saying that if the sexual assault happened, then why didn't she tell her parents or why didn't her parents report it for most of the day yesterday. The hash tag #whyidntreport was trending on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all over social media. Even the daughter of Ronald Reagan, Patti Davis, wrote an op-ed in the "The Washington Post" where she went public with a rape -- with her own rape. She said, quote, "Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever. It blacks out other parts that don't really matter much." Defending Ford for maybe not recalling all of the details.

There is already backlash and we don't know if there's going to be a hearing. Joey, Does this conversation help or hurt republicans?

JACKSON: You know, Dianne, here's the issue, right? I think the whole issue surrounding a hearing is a misnomer. A hearing, the intent is to get at the truth. The intent is to unearth facts. The intent is to get the witnesses, the information, the documentation, everything we need, right, the American people, so an informed decision can be made.

This, in my view, is not a hearing. It's a sham. If you want to determine whether something happened, you don't just call Dr. Ford to state her peace and the judge to deny it. You call anyone and everyone who might, right, be relevant to the information you're trying to get. And so from a political perspective, and Errol would know much better about this than me, I don't know how the republicans survive in this midterm election just cramming the nomination down the throat with a sham hearing.

If you want to get to the facts, call (ph) information, get information that can get you those facts. And the fact that you're just extending deadlines and you come and I'll give you options, you can do it in private, we'll come to you, you can testify. That does nothing to the issue of learning what occurred.

And so I think the whole thing is really window dressing and is designed to appear that the republicans are doing so much to learn what happened, when in essence they're not doing enough at all and that's problematic.

GALLAGHER: So Errol, if it is just window dressings here, it's the third deadline that Grassley has set in just the past 24 hours here. What are the chances that it passes by 2:30 this afternoon and there's another exchange of letters or e-mails and they extend it again?

LOUIS: Yes. There's a very good chance of that because it is a power play. It has nothing to do with what it would actually require to put together a decent hearing, just as Joey suggests. And it's all about trying to make sure that they don't get held accountable for the negative downside of pushing through this nomination, which is their number-one goal.

They want Brett Kavanaugh confirmed so that he can join the Court as it meets in the -- in the fall term in early October. So that's one deadline that they're pushing against. They also want to get it done before the midterms and be able to take it to their conservative base and say, look what we did.

So they're moving the deadline because the deadline is not real. It's political and it's artificial and it has nothing to do with actually getting the facts out. And until we acknowledge that, I think we're going to just be watching politics rather than procedure over the next few days.

GALLAGHER: Yes. I think the thing hanging over all of this is what's the rush here? Errol Louis, Joey Jackson, thank you both. And look, we have talked a lot about sexual assault allegations and the uneasy process that many people face as they decide if and how to report it and so we just want to remind you all, there is a number that you can call. It is 1-800-656-HOPE. That is to RAINN. You can get confidential support from a trained professional and there is someone there to help talk you through the next steps and to support you.

BLACKWELL: Here's the big question of the morning, is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's job at the Justice Department in real jeopardy?




BLACKWELL: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour. Good to have you with us. The top story this morning, allegations that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with the President and talked about recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to remove President Trump from office. Now, according to sources familiar with memos written by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe documenting those discussions, this allegedly happened in the days immediately after FBI director James Comey was fired.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Now, Rosenstein swiftly and forcefully denied those claims in two separate statements, calling the report inaccurate and factually incorrect. Two sources familiar with the matter spotted Rosenstein at the White House last night consulting with top aides about this report. Now, all of this, of course, raises questions about Rosenstein's future at the Justice Department.

BLACKWELL: Now, just after -- just hours after the report came out at a rally in Missouri, the President vowed to eradicate the, as he described it, lingering stench at the Justice Department and FBI. He did not call out Rod Rosenstein by name, but it would not be the first time the President has criticized the Deputy Attorney General.


GALLAGHER: Yes. Now, in part one, CNN's Gloria Borger takes a look back at the role of Rod Rosenstein and his relationship with the President while at the Justice Department.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the president is your boss, this is not what you want to hear when he's asked if he'll fire you.


BORGER: Trump was dissing his own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for whom every day can be a near-death experience, as a frustrated president lashes out at the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch-hunt, and there's no collision.

BORGER: Rosenstein became the man in charge once the Attorney General recused himself. So he's the one who hired the special counsel and now stands between Trump and any move to fire Robert Mueller. Which leaves him on the hot seat, under attack not only from the president, but also from some angry Republicans who blame him for keeping information from them and want this Russia investigation over.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA If you have evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people. Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.

BORGER: Oddly enough, Rosenstein started out as a teacher's pet.

TRUMP: He's highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This guy is a

man of -- obstinate in character and essentially the gold standard at the Department of Justice.

BORGER: Rosenstein's stock rose even higher when after just two weeks on the job he wrote a now-infamous memo at the request of the president, lambasting FBI director James Comey for mishandling the Clinton e-mail investigation.

ANDY WHITE, FRIEND OF ROD ROSENSTEIN & FORMER COLLEAGUE: If the president asked you to look at this and give me your thoughts, you can't say no.

BORGER: So he writes the memo --

WHITE: He writes the memo --

BORGER: And then?

WHITE: All hell breaks loose.

BORGER: The president loved it almost as much as he hated Comey. So much, in fact, that he received it, released it, and fired Comey all on the same day last May.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Cnn breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: All right, we have a major breaking news --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States has terminated the director of the FBI, James Comey.

BORGER: Josh Campbell, a close Comey aide was with him in Los Angeles when Comey learned watching Cnn that he had been fired.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They said, we have a letter from the president that was dropped off at the visitors center at FBI headquarters --

BORGER (on camera): Visitors center?

CAMPBELL: At the visitors center indicating you've been fired. They said, there's something else, there's something attached to this letter, there's a lengthy explanation from the deputy attorney general laying out a case against you.

BORGER: Was he surprised at Rosenstein?

CAMPBELL: He was very surprised at Rosenstein. And again, not that they were chummy --

BORGER: Right --

CAMPBELL: Or friends or --

BORGER: Right -- CAMPBELL: You would know what to expect because none of this was


BORGER: Do you think he knew that it was going to be used by the president as the rationale publicly for firing James Comey?

WHITE: Well, I think he had to know it was going to be used in some degree. I don't think that he realized that the president was going to put greyhound bus tracks on his back with that memo. I don't think that he realized it was going to be used in that way.

ROD ROSSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: My memo truthfully reflects my views. I'm not in position to comment on anybody else. So from my perspective, senator, that memo is about what it's about, I do not know what was in anybody else's mind.

BORGER: But in Comey world, Rosenstein is seen as the Trump collaborator, not an independent actor.

(on camera): So what's the motive?

CAMPBELL: I think the motive is to keep his job.

BORGER: What's Rosenstein's rep now?

CAMPBELL: There's conflict there. He's someone that people are suspicious of, but in these, you know, interesting times, people are looking at him and thinking he might be the last, best hope that we have to ensure that Bob Mueller is allowed to do his job, which is a strange place to be in.


GALLAGHER: So if President Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, will he be crossing a line? We're going to have more on that coming up next.


GALLAGHER: Now, some say Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the last hope to make sure that special counsel Bob Mueller can do his job.

[06:40:00] BLACKWELL: In part two of Cnn's Gloria Borger, her report, she looks into Rosenstein's compromising position.


BORGER (voice-over): Rosenstein is 53, married, with two teenage daughters.

WHITE: He's a dad, you know, his world has changed a lot because of this.

ROSENSTEIN: My younger daughter was 14 at the time when she heard I was going to be become deputy. She asked me a very important question, she said, dad, does this mean you'll get your picture in the paper?


And I said no!


BORGER: But he keeps his own counsel even with his friends.

WHITE: With Rod, you scratch the surface and you get more surface. But that's him. He is inscrutable publicly, professionally he is devastatingly effective. He's methodical, he's thorough.

BORGER: A career Justice Department official with a Harvard law pedigree. A former U.S. Attorney from Maryland for a dozen years. A Republican appointed by George W. Bush.

JAMES TRUSTY, FRIEND OF ROD ROSENSTEIN & FORMER COLLEAGUE: He's been presiding over a small district that was bringing every case you could imagine from material support of terrorism to public corruption to MS-13, to corrupt jails where almost all the guards get indicted.

I mean, he's been aggressive, and he has not shied away from the political spotlight when it comes to prosecutorial decisions.

BORGER: He was confirmed for his current job last April, 94 to 6, but the shine wore off quickly after the Mueller appointment. And then Rosenstein further enraged Trump by signing off on the Michael Cohen raid.

TRUMP: So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, good man, and it's a disgraceful situation.

BORGER: And an increasingly tenuous one Rosenstein.

SALLY YATES, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: No one is above the law, even the president.

BORGER: Obama appointee Sally Yates is a former Deputy Attorney General fired by Trump last year.

YATES: The President can't fire a prosecutor because he's mad that he authorized a search warrant of his lawyer's home and office.

BORGER: Right, he could be mad about it.

YATES: Sure, he can be mad about it as long as he's not trying to influence his conduct.

BORGER: At a meeting with the president, Rosenstein himself volunteered that the Cohen raid did not put Trump in any legal jeopardy, but the president remained furious.

TRUMP: No, I'm very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it's going on, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved. I may change my mind at some point because what's going on is a disgrace.

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: I believe that Attorney General Sessions, my good friend, and Rosenstein, who I don't know, I believe they should in the interest of Justice end this investigation.

WHITE: If he asks Rod to fire Mr. Mueller, Rod would resign. That's my guess. Because at that point it's untenable. You have a -- you have a president who's not respecting the process, not respecting the constitution. He won't do it.

BORGER (on camera): He won't?


YATES: It would be a red line for the president to fire Bob Mueller. But it should equally be crossing a red line if he were to fire Rod Rosenstein as well.

BORGER: And what red line is that?

YATES: Well, it's a red line in terms of totally turning the rule of law on its head.

BORGER (voice-over): Some Republicans would see it as a step in the right direction, charging Rosenstein with hiding information about the Hillary Clinton and Russia investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Rosenstein, why are you keeping information from Congress?

ROSENSTEIN: Your statement that I'm personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the boss, Mr. Rosenstein.

ROSENSTEIN: That's correct, and my job is to make sure that we respond to your concerns. We have, sir.

BORGER: The question now is whether Republicans have given the president an excuse to fire Rosenstein, something Trump himself hinted at in a May tweet. "At some point, I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the presidency and get involved."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you afraid of President Trump firing you?

ROSENSTEIN: No, I'm not, Congressman.

TRUSTY: Rod is -- he's like shockingly fatalistic.

ROSENSTEIN: Yes, there are people who have been making threats, privately and publicly against me, for quite some time. And I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.

WHITE: He is a career public servant. He's a career prosecutor. Whatever Mr. Trump wants to say, frankly, can only make his reputation go up.

BORGER (on camera): Even if he gets fired?

WHITE: Especially if he gets fired.


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Gloria Borger and we'll talk more about the fallout from the "New York Times" reporting throughout the morning. Now to Texas, a state that loves football, loves tailgating, and loves Coy Wire from what I hear. He's experiencing it all in Austin for us.

[06:45:00] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, and I'm loving Austin. It's a quirky, charming place, Victor, and it's big-time football down here. Texas Longhorns, they knocked USC out of the top 25 last week, and they have number 17, TCU this week.

Also I went toe-to-toe with the 1,700-pound mascot, wait until you see that. More sports as well coming up after the break.


GALLAGHER: All right, fans getting fired up for another Saturday of college football, right, Victor?

BLACKWELL: I love how much you love football. I do.

GALLAGHER: Well, I'm fired up because --


GALLAGHER: It is the start of our ultimate tailgate tour, you get down with that --

[06:50:00] BLACKWELL: Yes, I get down with the tailgating, Cnn is going to take you to the biggest and best tailgate parties across the country. Coy Wire starts us off in Austin, Texas, home of the Texas Longhorns. Coy, good morning to you.

WIRE: Good morning Victor and Dianne, two tailgating trucks just pulled up, the sun is not even out yet, they're about to fire it up. But even though it's a little early right here in Austin, it's going to be blazing hot by kickoff. It's 4:30 Eastern.

What a day it's going to be. This "BLEACHER REPORT" brought to you by Tums. Now, Texas, they are looking to keep a good thing going. Last week they knocked the USC straight out of the top 25, they're 2-in-1 heading into big-12 action.

And today they'll face in-state rival number 17 TCU who last week is looking to get back on their feet because they were knocked down by number four, Ohio state. Speaking of the Buckeyes, they get head coach Urban Meyer returning to the sidelines when they host Tulane.

Remember, he served a three-game suspension for his handling of the domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Next week, the Buckeyes face number 10 Penn State, and what a second half performance they put on last night at Illinois.

Trailing early in the first half, they blitzed the Illini with 42 unanswered points in the second half. Heisman candidate Trace McSorley, three touchdowns, Penn State wins big, 63 to 24, they host the Buckeyes in Happy Valley next Saturday.

Now, for the first time in more than three years, Tiger Woods has his share of the 36th hole lead in a PGA tour event. He drained this long birdie putt on 15, one of five birdies yesterday at the tour championship in Atlanta. Tiger's at seven under par, sharing the lead with Justin Rose, heading into the day's third round.

Listen to this, three of the NBA's best are teaming up to raise money for Hurricane Florence victims. Steph Curry, Chris Paul and John Wahl, all North Carolina natives, launching a crowd-sourcing site aimed at giving relief to those in need.

And they're off to a good start, their goal is $500,000, wishing them well. Now, college football towns are some of the best towns in the country. I've been immersing myself in this one here in Austin and its culture. Victor, Dianne, I went to Alan's Boots which has 18,000 pairs of boots from the classic to the quirky.

One pair, Victor, Dianne, listen to this, cost $13,000, made of American gator. There they are, Victor, maybe for your closet, now, I hope so. Got to meet college football's biggest mascot, UT's 1,700- pound Texas Longhorn, Bevo, 15, a celebrity, he attended George W. Bush's inauguration back in 2004, a philanthropist as well.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised through private appearances. What a beast he is. Speaking of beasts, I found myself this cowboy hat there, Dianne and Victor, I'm putting myself out there right now because you are the fashionado --

BLACKWELL: I am a fan --

GALLAGHER: Oh, I like that --

BLACKWELL: I am a fan, it looks great --

WIRE: Yes!

BLACKWELL: It looks great, yes --

GALLAGHER: You rocked the black hat --

BLACKWELL: You have made some --

WIRE: You made my day --

BLACKWELL: Questionable hat choices in the past. But this one, this one is --

WIRE: It's true --

BLACKWELL: A winner. WIRE: Yes, Derby got me last year --


WIRE: And you called me out for it. But I totally redeemed myself. Cowboy Coy it is.


GALLAGHER: Cowboy Coy --

BLACKWELL: It works. You know what? I love that Dianne can love football, and I can be the guy you come to for the fashion element.

WIRE: We have something for everyone here --


WIRE: At Saturday sports and Cnn's NEW DAY --

BLACKWELL: Gender world be damned --

WIRE: Have a good one, boy(ph) --

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire, thanks so much. Well, listen, it took just minutes for a Tornado in Canada to rip roofs off of homes and send cars flying. Watch this.




BLACKWELL: Wow, this was near Ottawa, and the man who took this video said that he got a warning, but just minutes later the tornado was right in front of him.

GALLAGHER: Yes, at least 30 people were injured -- almost surprised it was not more -- wow, many though were trapped in their homes and cars at the time.

BLACKWELL: Well, up next, we take you to Kenya for a look inside the season premiere of the final episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN" hosted by our late colleague Anthony Bourdain.


GALLAGHER: So, the city of Lagos is known as Nigeria's Silicon Valley.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and one successful computer programmer is helping disadvantaged girls fill its gender gap.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went to Makoko for the first time, I was

surprised to see the living conditions of human beings. Most girls are trapped in vicious cycle of poverty. Many of them are not thinking of education, a plan for the future.

I believe girls should be given opportunities. Working with HTML -- what you can't see, you can't aspire to. They need to be shown another life.


GALLAGHER: Right, it is time for one more ride around the world with Anthony Bourdain. This Sunday, Cnn brings you the final season of "PARTS UNKNOWN".

BLACKWELL: Here's a preview.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, LATE TELEVISION PERSONALITY: Nairobi means cool water in Maasai(ph). It's in the capital of Kenya with 6.5 million people living in the metro area. He grew up around a British railway depot during the colonial era, halfway between other British areas(ph) in Uganda and the coastal port of Mombasa.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump last --