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May's Conservative Party Loses Majority; Comey: Trump Admin 'Chose To Defame Me' & The FBI; Clapper Speaks Out About Comey Testimony. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired June 9, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:32:22] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A shocking result the U.K.'s election. British Prime Minister Theresa May took a gamble, said, let's have the elections early. She thought that she would roll and have even more control. It didn't go in her favor, the Conservative Party, her party losing its majority. Now, her main rival is celebrating victory and calling on May to resign.
CNN's Phil Black, live in London. This was called the snap election. She was supposed to be playing to strength. But now what?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. This has not gone to plan at all. Prime Minister Theresa May was hoping to expand her majority in the country's parliament. Instead she has lost her majority in the country's parliament. She no longer has more than 50 percent of the available seats. And no longer has the ability to control the laws and legislations that will go through there in an out right way.
But it appears that Theresa May is confident at holding on at least for the short-term. We've been told by Number 10 Downing Street the prime minister's office, that in just two hours she will visit the queen and ask for the queen's permission to form the next government. This is the usual formal process that follows an election in this country.
Normally it's very straightforward. It is the party that has that majority of seats within the parliament. In this case she has smaller than the majority. But it's believed that she is receiving support from a minor party that will just get her over that 50 percent plus one line and allow her to continue governing. Continue governing, but there is no doubt in a much diminished way. A diminished way personally with her as prime minister having lost a great deal of the eminence as she previously carried.
There are now real questions today about her future politically. The possibility of a challenge coming within her own party to replace her, but also crucially diminished as a government heading into the Brexit negotiations. The whole argument for calling this election Theresa May said was to strengthen her hand leading into what will be the most challenging foreign policy situation for Britain since the Second World War.
These negotiations to exit the European Union is now completely failed and gone the other way. That will proceed it's just a question of how it's going to proceed, so much uncertainty in the days and weeks ahead. Chris, Alisyn back to you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my gosh, Phil. I mean just another example that we are in an era of repeated election surprises.
CUOMO: And Corbyn, the man who heads the Labor Party which now has all this more authority he does say that he is ready to begin the Brexit negotiations on behalf of the U.K. The question is, well, what is he see the goal of those negotiations? Is it going to be a true exit? Is going to be something else? We don't know now.
[05:35:04] CAMEROTA: A lot of tumult abroad and at home. Jim Comey actually called President Trump a liar with the whole world watching.
CUOMO: More than once.
CAMEROTA: More than once. And so now that the former FBI director's moment in the spotlight is over, what's the fall out of Capitol Hill? Of all this, we take a closer look when NEW DAY continues.
CUOMO: All right. So, what did yesterday mean? There was a lot out there and all of it I would suggest is going to be filtered through a political lens. So let's bring back Ron Brownstein and David Sanger, obviously CNN senior political analyst, senior editor for the Atlantic. And Brownstein and Sanger are political and national security analysts for the New York Times.
All right. So, let's deal with Comey first David Sanger. And he helped himself in some ways and arguably he hurt himself in some ways. He admitted to leaking, and he said he leaked because he wanted a special council. How do you think he comes out of this in terms of how much his word will be weighed and valued?
[05:40:05] DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all, he have to say, whose version of events were people more likely to believe, the one that Mr. Comey put out or the one that the President has put out.
Mr. Comey certainly was organized, took clear notes, I -- I'm guessing that his version of events is probably going to hold up longer than the president's would.
I think you're right on the issue of what we've been calling here a leak. It certainly does look like he was seeking to force the hand of the Justice Department for which he used to work to go appoint a special council and he succeed at that.
I would dispute the characterization of this as a leak. There was nothing classified about this document. In fact he went out of his way to say early on he tried to write it in unclassified way. It's a conversation between him and the president, perhaps when he was serving in government that would fall under some kind of sense of privilege. But frankly, there is in conversations with the president. There's no equivalent of attorney-client privilege or patient-doctor privilege.
CUOMO: But it have to be confidential or privileged for it to be a leak or --
SANGER: I don't think so. I think that it, you know, if I come to you, Chris, and I say, "So, tell me what you heard at that dinner party the other day." And you recount to me an interesting conversation you were in. Is that just sharing your knowledge and experience or --
CAMEROTA: But if the other person never wanted it to be public, then I think that it gets construed as sharing of something that you weren't authorized to share or you weren't supposed to share.
SANGER: Well maybe, Alisyn, the way I might put it is something the president didn't expect him to share.
SANGER: May be something the president should have thought about before --
CUOMO: And he didn't want to come out with it himself. He did leak it using it just as a verb through somebody else and getting it out into the media instead of owning it directly. And now, that he says he had a motive in wanting to do that to be a special council, I'm just saying I don't think that that was something that won him a lot of friends on the GOP side.
SANGER: I think that's right. I mean it certainly has no question on that issue.
CAMEROTA: So Ron, one of the fascinating things about James Comey's testimony is just how plain spoken he was. You don't often hear people not use euphemisms. He said the word lie repeatedly. Let me play a portion for people who may have missed it.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: The administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What did you think, Ron?
BROWNSTEIN: No. I thought it was, you know, he used a word cinematic to describe it. And it was very straightforward. And there was one other characteristic about it that I thought was very important here. It was under oath. It was, you know, James Comey not speaking anonymously through associates leaking a memo or revealing a memo or whatever you want to say about it. It was him making his case under oath and they begin correctly here.
But I am pretty sure I remember that in that famous deposition, Ken Starr ultimately put Bill Clinton under oath in the late 1990's. And it is entirely possible that President Trump will ultimately face not a press conference where he will undoubtedly repeat his, you know, disavowal of anything that James Comey said that he said. But ultimately he may have to present his case of the facts under oath. And face the kind of legal jeopardy that ultimately Bill Clinton did if his version of events does not accord with all of the other evidence.
So this is the beginning of a process. And the fact that Former Director Comey made these allegations in public and especially under oath and I think in a way that is convincing about the overall pattern of behavior is very significant.
CUOMO: All right. Now, David Sanger, let's put your better mind to a proposition that hopefully you'll say I'm wrong about because it's too scary if I'm right.
So, the GOP comes out after this. The lined up behind Trump. We now know that the party is going to be loyal to him. From the RNC level to the big t shots on the elected, they're going to say there's nothing to see here. They're not going to move on anything that seen as inappropriate. That seems plain. Paul Ryan gave a very, you know, reaching statement about this being about the president's 90th day. I don't know how that could be believable to people but that's what they're doing.
And, yet, Loretta Lynch, wanting to call this a matter instead of an investigation, which by the way was a determination that demands context. It wasn't as simple as what we're seeing with the president and Comey where it seemed to be self-serving. But still, the Republicans saying, "Oh, that, that we have to look at" that could have been obstruction what she did, while at the same time saying everything Comey says about the president is nonsense. How can you believe those two things at once?
[05:45:00] SANGER: I don't think you can. And frankly, I don't think that Loretta Lynch discussion here is going to have a whole lot of legs. I would defer to my friend Ron who has got a lot more political sensibility and experience on this than I do. But as I look at this, I don't think that as legs.
CUOMO: But it's got big rock like legs in terms of showing you their recalcitrants to want to own any errors by the president of the United States, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, Chris. Yes. And in fact, look, I said yesterday it was a very clarifying day both because former Director Comey made his allegations under oath and because of the way the Republicans reacted. But, there was a third thing that happened yesterday that I thought was important and revealing which is that while all of this was going on, the House Republicans pass legislation to essentially repeal a big chunk of the financial regulations that were imposed after the crash. And in the Senate, you saw movement among breaking down the resistance among some moderate Republicans who states that expand the Medicaid and thus the -- the repeal of the ACA is moving forward. They're betting, they are better off holding together and passing their agenda than turning on Trump. And that's a big gamble because in polling this week, 85 percent of people disapprove of Trump, and say they want a Democratic House.
CAMEROTA: OK. Fascinating. Thank you for all the political analysis gentlemen, great to talk to you.
So, the former director of National Intelligence tells CNN that the Trump-Russia probe is bigger than Watergate. Wait until you hear what James Clapper told Anderson Cooper about the president's impact on democracy. Stay with us.
[05:50:47] CUOMO: So this was an eye popper. James Clapper, the former of National Intelligence is down in Australia, talking to reporters. And he says the Russia probe involving President Trump and a lot of other issues exceeds the reach of Watergate. And people were like how? Why would he say that and demanded clarification. Anderson Cooper got Clapper on the show to test why he thinks that. Here's the answer.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Earlier this week you said that the Watergate hails compared to what we are confronting now. I wonder from what you saw today and heard today did it disabuse you of that notion at all?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: No, on the contrary of reinforced it. And just so to understand the context of my comment, what the big difference in my mind between Watergate which I lived through and this is the backdrop of the Russian interference in our political process as opposed to a burglary, a break in.
To me, that's hugely different and I thought Jim Comey's testimony was riveting, compelling and to me reinforced the comparison at least in my mind between Watergate and what we confront now.
COOPER: In what way does it reinforce the seriousness of what the U.S. is confronting right now?
CLAPPER: Well, I think the Director -- Former Director Comey's testimony about his interactions with the president and what the president appeared to be trying to get him to do, I thought was quite damning and very disturbing.
COOPER: Have you ever seen or experience a president acting in this way, talking in this way, interacting with a director of the FBI or other intelligence officials this way?
CLAPPER: No, I have not. Not my experience of 50 plus years in the intelligence community.
COOPER: How much concern do you have about the integrity of U.S. institutions, institutions that are the foundations of any solid democracy? I talked to Michael Hayden several weeks ago who talked about the thin veneer of civilization and having real concerns about that?
CLAPPER: My concerns about the assaults that our institutions are under going both from external source meaning Russia and an internal source. I thought Jim's impassioned discourse on the real deal here. The big story is the Russian interference in our process. And they exceeded their wildest dreams and expectations I am sure by the discord, doubt, and the disruption they have caused in our political process.
COOPER: You talk about for external, you said external source or obviously Russia and you said internal source. What is the internal source?
CLAPPER: Well, as I indicated I think the president himself has undertaken whether intentionally or not assaults on our institutions.
COOPER: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that you believe the president of the United States is a threat to democracy?
CLAPPER: Well, to our system, you know, the assaults on the institution starting with my own, the intelligence community and his characterization of us as Nazi's. The commentary he has made about the judiciary and individual judges, the assault on the bureau as examples which are not constructive for our country.
CUOMO: So the two big takeaways here, and good for Anderson Cooper for getting Clapper on to clarify this. One, all of that talk yesterday and all the outcome of politicians, how many did you hear say, "Wow, this Russian interference is really a big deal."
[05:55:11] They got in deeper than anyone I had ever seen before. We have consensus among the Intel community about something where that's pretty rare. What are we going to do about it? Not once. And his other point which is he hasn't seen anything like this before. And think about that especially in the perspective of the GOP reaction to all that Comey had to say, which is, nothing to see here.
All right. We're going to take a break here right now. We're going to start off to of the hour with a lot of new coverage. What the Comey testimony means to you and your democracy, ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO LIP)
COMEY: The administration chose to defame me. Those were lies plain and simple. [06:00:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is not a liar. It's insulting that question would be asked.
CLAPPER: Jim Comey's testimony reinforced the comparison from Watergate and what we confront now.
UNDIENTIFIED MALE: We've waited all day for some big shoe to drop and it just wasn't anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt he was fired --