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President Trump Reacts to James Comey's Testimony before Congress; Possible Actions of Special Counsel in Russia Investigation Examined; Prosecution Rests in Bill Cosby Criminal Case. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 10, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning everyone. I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington. And this morning President Trump is spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf club after a very chaotic week here in Washington. It is not over yet though. The president hitting back with a zinger after former FBI director James Comey's explosive testimony. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. But we want to get back to running our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And now lawmakers are demanding the memos, tapes if there are any, and any other records of President Trump's conversations with Comey, and they want them by June 23. That is not all. You have Senator Dianne Feinstein who is asking the Judiciary Committee to investigate potential obstruction of justice. We have CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles who is on the story for us. Ryan, give us an update here.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, it's become a high stakes game of who do you believe in Washington. And President Trump is taking the risk that Bob Mueller, the special counsel, the former FBI director who has been tasked with investigating Russia's interference into the U.S. election, he's betting that he will believe the president. He in a very defiant press conference on Friday pushed back against James Comey's testimony on Thursday, saying that his version of that conversation is dramatically different than James Comey's. And even though James Comey gave his account under oath, that the president himself is willing do the same. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?
TRUMP: One-hundred percent. I didn't way under oath. I hardly know the man, I'm not going to say I want to you pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? Think of it, I hardly know the man. It doesn't make since. No, I didn't say that and I didn't say the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that --
TRUMP: I would glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Essentially what the president is saying here is that he never pressured James Comey into ending the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. That is something that Comey said pretty emphatically during the hearing that he felt as though he was being directed by the president to bring that investigation to a conclusion.
Of course a lot of this said/he said would be put to an end if those tapes that the president hinted at a few weeks ago in a tweet were ever revealed. James Comey says he knows of no recordings of their conversations, but the president refuses to say whether or not they exist. He is being be compelled now by a House Intelligence Committee to bring forward those tapes. They sent a letter to the White House counsel demanding the revelation of those tapes in two weeks on June 23. Whether or not they will come forward, we still don't know. But Brianna, that of course is the big question that many here in Washington have been asking for some time. Do these tapes exist and if they do, what is on them.
KEILAR: Ryan Bobles, thank you. And we have some folks here who maybe can help us get to the bottom of this. Laura Jarrett is a CNN justice reporter, A. Scott Bolden is a former chairman of the Washington D.C. Democratic Party, and Ron Brownstein back with us, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor with "The Atlantic." So presumably, Laura, we're going to find out if there are tapes you would think, right? There's this history of if there are tapes Congress come compel the president, we know this from Nixon, to reveal them. So you think we'll know by June 23rd whether they exist or not?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Not necessarily. But there is one person who is definitely going to find out, and that is Robert Mueller, the special counsel. There is no question that if there are tapes, and we don't know that they exist, he is going to need them. They've going to an essentially part of his investigation and he can certainly subpoena them.
KEILAR: OK, but a lot of people think, Ron, that there is probably not tapes.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Then is part of this thinking carefully legally when he is not -- when President Trump is not answering this. or is this just on the next episode, stay tuned?
BROWNSTEIN: The whole episode has been so unusual in the sense that it began, as so many things do in the Trump presidency, with a tweet. It goes back to the original tweet which some people have now interpreted as a threat to James Comey and have argued that is an attempt to tamper with a witness by saying initially he had better hope there are not tapes. That is where this all goes back to.
[10:05:01] Eventually we will know one way or the other whether the House, Republican-led House which has shown very little inclination to confront the president is willing to push this to the max, if they resist, I agree, I think that may not be the venue in which we ultimately find out whether there are tapes. More likely the president kind of signaled yesterday when he said you're going to be disappointed in the answer, he seemed to be laying the grounds work to say there aren't tapes, which makes you wonder what was he doing in the initial tweet? The whole thing, you cannot make the pieces of this fit together.
KEILAR: And tapes, we should say, tapes in quotations. So recordings I guess we could say. What he said, Scott, no collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. I mean, that was the sort of President Trump bumper sticker of his reaction to Jim Comey. Was this a leak, having a friend release memos that he had written to the press?
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Absolutely not. His personal notes are his personal notes. One, he was former director when he leaked them. And remember, he leaked them because of the public statements Donald Trump was making.
KEILAR: You just said he leaked them.
BOLDEN: Of course he did. It's not illegal to leak anything --
KEILAR: But is it a leak?
BOLDEN: It is not a leak because it wasn't classified information. It was his personal notes. And I'll be honest with you, if they didn't want him to leak anything or to do memos or to submit any of these memos, they would have exercised their executive privilege. They didn't because it's inapplicable here. I think Trump and his team and his lawyers, they may be throwing punches, but they are hitting the air, if you will.
KEILAR: What kind of defense is this when he's saying he is a leaker? Because we see over and over that a story comes out that they don't like, and then they attack the way the information came out. But is this, in your estimation Laura Jarrett, is it a leak, or is it just a revelation?
JARRETT: I think it's a way to try to discredit him. I think that term has so much power behind it now in this administration, it's loaded. And so they are using it for a reason. But as these guys said, he didn't commit a crime by doing this. This wasn't classified. Certainly if he was still within the FBI and if he was just any old FBI agent, I think there would be some questions about disclosing work product like that. But he's a private citizen and these were with private conversations that were not classified. And so I think using that term has a lot of connotation but really not applicable. KEILAR: He seems, Ron, though, he and others around him as they attack the idea of leaks, they seem to be constructing a narrative where they are telling the American people actually you shouldn't know what is going on behind the scenes.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I think, as in many things in the Trump administration, this is not really aimed at the American people broadly defined. This is aimed at providing an argument to reinforce and stoke their base. I think what they are trying to do, there is a political and a legal dimension here. Politically it is basically to say yes, Jim Comey is part of this deep state that is trying to undermine the presidency that you voted for, that are trying to impede the will of you, the people who voted for me, to kind of make it really about his supporters rather than about him.
And then legally, I'm not a lawyer, but I think certainly what they are try doing is create doubts about the presence of mind of Comey, basically impute an animus to him that would allow them to kind of question his accounts of the meetings and basically think he's trying to make the president look bad.
JARRETT: I don't know about you, but I think it gave him so much more credibility to own up to that. I mean that couldn't have been an easy thing for him to say. You don't see that happen every so often that someone actually admits, yes, I gave that to my friend at the Columbia Law School. I actually think it made seem even more credible.
BROWNSTEIN: It was pretty startling.
JARRETT: Yes, everyone was so surprised. I think he actually added credibility to his whole story.
BOLDEN: That's something for everybody, Republicans and Democrats.
KEILAR: You told me, the good, bad, and the ugly, right?
Laura, you have a great piece that just went up on CNN.com that our viewers should check out, and this is about the special counsel Robert Mueller adding to his team. And in particular, tell us who he has added that has a lot of people thinking, whoa, that really tells us something.
JARRETT: So this is really a story of contrasts. And this is with my colleague Evan Perez. And you look at earlier this week, Jim Acosta reports that Marc Kasowitz, Trump's personal attorney, was down at Trump Tower buying cigars, saying we won, Trump is in the clear. Meanwhile across town, the special be counsel is staffing up with the best and brightest within the legal community, including now Michael Dreeben, according to the "National Law Journal," who is the foremost criminal law expert. This is a person who has argued over 100 cases before the Supreme Court. So it's just a signaling that this is being taken really seriously by Bob Mueller.
BROWNSTEIN: And the designated political hack on the panel, I wonder if the end of this at least as it relates to President Trump is ultimately going to be in the legal court arena or ultimately back in the political arena in this sense -- you have Republicans all over Capitol Hill now basically saying look, this is off our plate.
[10:10:05] We don't think the president did anything wrong. As the president said, even if I did say it, it was OK. That's the argument we're making. But we're going to let the special counsel handle it. It is entirely possible that you get to the end of this road, and the special counsel decides that rather than challenging the president back to Watergate that you can't indict a sitting president, that he simply turns the information that he's produced back over to Congress, putting it potentially in their plate about what to do about questions about perjury, obstruction of justice, what four, five months before a midterm election in which you already see the kind of wavering created by something like Georgia sixth. So it is entirely possible he sends it back in the lap of government next year.
KEILAR: Sure, but what does that do -- you're talking about a Republican Congress. I guess then the effect is just more the midterms.
BOLDEN: Absolutely. They are going to play a significant part in all of this. But the hiring of Dreeben also tells you that not only Mueller is taking his situation seriously, that he expects some of these issues given the fight in Donald Trump and his team to perhaps go to the Supreme Court, and you've got an expert in the criminal justice system and someone was who has argued over 100 cases. That is significant. He is not thinking report and recommend and put it in about the political process, but he probably will get there because you can't indict the president. But he is also thinking along the way if he gets challenged, he wants the best team in place.
BROWNSTEIN: Do you think he accepts the idea that you can't indict the president, or we don't know that yet?
BOLDEN: I think he is looking at it which is why he brought on this expert. But ultimately would it take too much time, money, and resources to challenge that? And what does that do to the country, the political process, and whether ultimately he wants to indict Donald Trump or not? He is looking at obstruction of justice which is another specialty of Dreeben's.
KEILAR: Scott, thank you so much. Ron, Laura, thank you guys. We're going to continue this discussion right after a quick break.
KEILAR: Back with me now, Laura Jarrett. We have A. Scott Bolden and Ron Brownstein with us. Let's talk about the letter from Dianne Feinstein. So she has sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it reads in part, "As a member of both the judiciary and intelligence committees, I see firsthand the distinction between the legal and counterintelligence aspects presented by Director Comey's testimony this week. It is my strong recommendation that the Judiciary Committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice. These issues should be developed by your legal staff, presented to us, and be subject to full committee hearings." So she's raising this issue of obstruction of justice.
JARRETT: Yes, absolutely, and it makes sense, right, because the Judiciary Committee oversees the FBI. And so I think initially both Chuck Grassley, the top chairman of the Judiciary Committee, along with Feinstein felt like, well, wait a minute, we oversee the body that is at issue here. So how come the intelligence committee gets to go first? And obviously Comey has now provided a lot of details, but there are still a lot of questions. And even if he can't reach a legal conclusion on the obstruction, he can provide a lot of facts that they want to know.
BROWNSTEIN: The intelligence committee isn't a perfect vehicle for this broader investigation --
KEILAR: It is not a perfect vehicle?
BROWNSTEIN: It is not a perfect vehicle. It is an imperfect vehicle for the broader investigation. Their expertise is the underlying question of Russian meddling in the election, counterintelligence. Even the financial issues, people in the intelligence committee have told me even on the questions of whether there are financial links between figures of the Trump orbit broadly speaking and Russia, that is not their expertise, much less a subversion of a law enforcement investigation. It does kind of make the argument that would it make sense to have a select committee looking at all aspects of this.
But short of that, certainly this would seem to be belong more to the judiciary committee. But it goes to also the broader question of whether Republicans on the Hill truly want to be the ones with their hands in the muck going through this or whether their preference is to step back and say, all right, we have a special counsel. Let him handle it, at least until he puts it again in their lap, which I think he will eventually.
BOLDEN: I think what Dianne Feinstein's letter does is ask the Judiciary Committee to focus solely on the obstruction of justice. Every other investigation on the Senate and House side as well as Mueller's investigation is focusing on counterintelligence, Russia, and now maybe obstruction of justice. You put it in just one committee and that's all they will focus on. You are going to be effective, you're going to be efficient with it, you have a legal team to support it. And then it laser-like focuses on whether Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice or not.
KEILAR: I want to play something that Donald Trump said, if I can actually just find what it is specifically that I do want to play, where he's talking about loyalty and what he -- well, he is responding to Comey saying that he asked for loyalty and then there was the exchange where Comey said "honest loyalty" and he basically let it hang out there and created this picture of it all being uncomfortable. Here was President Trump's response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events? TRUMP: One-hundred percent. I didn't say under oath. I hardly know
the man. I'm not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it, I hardly know the man. It doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say that. And I didn't say the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: He also said, though, in addition to his not asking for loyalty, he said if I did, though, from everything that I read, there wouldn't have been anything the matter with it.
JARRETT: He was like this bizarre O.J., like if I did it.
BROWNSTEIN: He was not referring to the asking for loyalty, he was referring to if I said let it go, there would be nothing wrong.
[10:20:00] And that I think is a very -- that is really where we've been over the last week, where you have a debate among legal scholars. You have a number of former prosecutors and a number of legal scholars saying if he did say that, that is evidence of obstruction justice, and then you have others saying no, it's fine, which is the position that most Congressional Republicans have said. Even if he said it, it's OK.
KEILAR: We'll go back to the loyalty in a moment. But this idea of let it go and that that would have been fine, that is his representation.
BOLDEN: That means it's subject to interpretation, at least in Donald Trump's world, if you will. But if you just take that statement by itself, maybe you can have a debate about it. But if you take that statement and put it with all the other building blocks, all the other meetings and things that were said and all the other things that Comey did subsequently, it's pretty clear that if I'm an employer and I have an employee, no matter how much I don't know that person, I have the power to hire and fire you, James Comey. And of course in my first 100 days I want to know whether you're going to be loyal to me or not. Comey said I'll be honest, and he went back to loyalty. Of course. He's a political appointee. It borders on the nonsensical that Donald Trump would say I don't know the guy so why would I ask for his loyalty? I just gave your three or four reasons why you would if you were president of the United States.
KEILAR: Jim Comey was on the Hill and he was asked by senators different things. This language that he describes President Trump using, the "I hope you can," and the defense clearly of President Trump is he wasn't directing him. Comey said he felt -- maybe he said the language wasn't directing him, but he certainly felt that it was an ask. In that consideration legally, do they consider mitigating factors or other factors that add to the context? They are alone, so strange, in the Oval Office together, and he is the president and this is the FBI director. Does that factor in?
JARRETT: Absolutely. And also it was sort of interesting watching this thing develop in real time because on Twitter, numerous legal scholars came out and said, actually, here is a case where hope on was just enough. So this idea that a hope isn't even sufficient for obstruction was swatted down easily.
But the other point is I think sometimes we lose sight of it's not the just the fact that the boss said can you let this go. It's that Comey was fired. And the fact that he was fired, at least from every federal prosecutor I've talked to, is the thing that caps it. It's what makes all of this more problematic.
BROWNSTEIN: And there may be an intermediary step if Dan Coats is forced to acknowledge in closed session that the president asked him to ask Comey to lay off. But I still think the threshold question here, not being lawyer, is ultimately this will be decided by legal standards in a court of law whether what the president did met a legal standard of obstruction justice or whether it is more likely that in the end it is still back in the lap of Congress that says here are the facts, here are disturbing facts, and you ultimately have to decide what the sanction is, because the other option is the president -- the special counsel will have to choose to indict and try a sitting president, and it's very unclear that he can do that or that he would want to enter into that thicket.
BOLDEN: But the second most important fact in this whole scenario is the fact that he asked the other people who were in the meeting, Comey's boss, to step out of that meeting. So that shows intentionality, that shows some corruptible intent, if you will. By the way, you play a lawyer on TV.
BROWNSTEIN: I do.
KEILAR: Thank you so much. I hope you will stick around, right? You know what I did there. Laura, Ron, Scott, thank you so much.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, we should mention, we talked about that letter that she sent. She's going to be a guest on "State of the Union" tomorrow with Jake Tapper at 9:00 a.m. eastern. Senator Susan Collins is also going to be on the show. You don't want to miss this episode of "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, Sunday 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.
The president and his fired FBI director each accusing the other of lying. So which one does Republican Congressman Francis Rooney believe? We're going to ask him coming up. [
[10:28:17] KEILAR: Welcome back. I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington. And it's a story of lies, leaks, and possible audiotapes. James Comey's blockbuster appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee might be over, but now the Russia investigation is picking up steam and the fired FBI director's testimony could give the special counsel a lot to consider.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR: The president's declaration that he is willing to testify under oath.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One-hundred percent.
KEILAR: Suggests the special counsel probe into Russian election hacking could now include Mr. Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
SEN. JACK REED, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Since part of this as was indicated yesterday, goes to the rationale behind the firing of Mr. Comey and the rationale of trying to deflect if not stop the investigation of General Flynn, it involves to some degree the president, so I would expect at some point, not right away, but at some point that Mr. Mueller would feel that he has to depose the president.
KEILAR: Comey's memos, which he says he wrote immediately after meetings and phone calls with President Trump, are now in Mueller's possession. Those memos could form the basis of expanding the investigation to include the president's alleged asking of Comey to back off his investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, something Comey hinted at on Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe this will rise to the obstruction of justice?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I don't know. That is Bob Mueller's job to sort that out.
KEILAR: It appears Mueller may also be looking into others around the president. Sources tell CNN Comey told senators behind closed doors Thursday that the FBI has investigated the possibility of an undisclosed third encounter at the Mayflower Hotel between Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
[10:30:00] Sources tell CNN the meeting was discussed in an intercept of a call between Russian officials, though investigators have not concluded if it occurred. The Justice Department insists there was no encounter, but Democrats are pouncing.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What we have is a pattern of contacts with the Russians by Flynn, by Sessions, by Kushner, secret and then concealed. In fact denied, possibly in violation of the law, that denial as former director Comey said --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could be perjury?
BLUMENTHAL: Could be perjury are.
KEILAR: Next Tuesday, Attorney General Sessions will appear before the Senate appropriations committee, a hearing likely to turn into a grilling of Sessions on the Russia answer.
CHARLES SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We need to know the answer to a number of questions regarding the attorney general.
KEILAR: The drip, drip, drip on the Russia story shows no sign of abating.
TRUMP: So Jared, maybe I'll let you take over for a little while.
KEILAR: CNN is told the Senate intelligence committee will soon interview Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law and senior adviser. And Flynn has now turned over 600 pages of subpoenaed documents to the House intelligence committee, but is still refusing to testify without immunity.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I'm glad that Michael Flynn has turned them over. I hope that other witnesses will do the same and that in due course he will come in front of the witnesses and that the other witnesses that we've identified will come over also.
KEILAR: And joining me now is Republican Congressman Francis Rooney of Florida. He was part of a small group who actually had dinner with the president earlier this week before the Comey testimony. We'll talk about that in a moment Congressman, because I know that that had to do with foreign affairs, and that is certainly a very important issue right now, and the president made comments on that yesterday.
I do want to ask you, though, as we see all of the committees weighing investigations, going through them, there is this special counsel Robert Mueller who has his own investigation. If this rises to a level when it comes to whether Donald Trump, whether the president fired Jim Comey in an attempt to stop, to obstruct the Russia investigation, who takes that up? Do you think it would be Congress or do you think it is going to be the special counsel that would run with something?
REP. FRANCIS ROONEY, (R) FLORIDA: I think that is going to depend on what kind of facts that are adduced. What we have right now is we have McCabe saying there was no hindrance or obstruction, and then we have this hope and feelings testimony yesterday of Director Comey making some other allegations. So if the --
KEILAR: So we're talking about so far. This is an ongoing investigation. So McCabe was talking about this is where things are.
ROONEY: Right. And we'll just have to see what facts come up. These things tend to take a life of their own, which is one of my problems with having a special investigator in the first place is you don't know how much time it is going to go or how much mission creep will endure until we get back to work on solving problems.
KEILAR: "Hope and feelings testimony" you said about Jim Comey. You are not a fan of Jim Comey, clearly.
ROONEY: Not at all. If I had been President Trump, I would have fired him January 20th for what he did during the campaign. KEILAR: That's what Trump said he did fire him for. You mean for how
he handled the Clinton case?
ROONEY: I don't know why he waited.
KEILAR: But Trump championed sort of the highlighting of Clinton's e- mails.
ROONEY: Are well, yes, that is kind of strange --
KEILAR: So why where would he fire him for something he was a fan of?
ROONEY: Because of what happened in the first round where he hid Hillary Clinton's wrongdoing which to me is unconscionable.
KEILAR: When did he hid Hillary Clinton's wrongdoing, you mean the summer?
ROONEY: When he said he was going to back off the investigation.
ROONEY: And then he changed his mind later. The whole thing was a total mess. But you'd expect the FBI director to manage his affairs better than that.
KEILAR: But that was something that worked politically for Donald Trump. He didn't seem to mind much.
ROONEY: He might not have minded it then, but I think he minds it now.
KEILAR: OK, so on the issue of foreign policy, because you did have this dinner, this was just several senators and members of Congress, this was not a lot of folks there with President Trump the other night. I want you to listen to something, a very pertinent issue right now when it comes to foreign policy, and that is the issue over Qatar and four nations in that region really shutting the door, cutting off ties with Qatar. Let's listen to delivering accounts of this or descriptions of this, points of view of this from the secretary of state and the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The blockade is also impairing U.S. and other international business activities in the region. It has created a hardship on the people Qatar and the people whose livelihoods depend on the commerce with Qatar. The blockade is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and campaign against ISIS.
TRUMP: The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding. They have to end that funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding. I want to call on all of the nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:35:04] KEILAR: They are at odds. Who is right?
ROONEY: Well, you know, this is a very interesting foreign policy situation because Qatar is kind of the fault line of the realignment of our allies and hegemony in the Middle East from Iran back to our Sunni allies. And Qatar is a Sunni state, but they have been a little off the reservation quite frankly in getting close Iran and supporting Hezbollah and Hamas.
KEILAR: But is President Trump favoring Saudi Arabia in too much of a degree? And I think as a lot of people might look at this and maybe they aren't familiar with all of the intricacies of the region, the concern is that by taking a pro Saudi stance, he could destabilize the region.
ROONEY: Historically our allies in Middle East have been the Sunni Arabs, and basically led by Egypt and to a lesser extent Turkey. And now President Trump has brought our alliance back to the Sunnis. But he's focused a little more on Saudi Arabia. Egypt has got a lot of problems right now.
KEILAR: You don't have any concerns about this kind of realignment?
ROONEY: No. I think it's very important that we realign behind the Sunnis and move around from Iran. I think that was a mistaken police of the Obama administration.
KEILAR: Could you go too far the other way, though?
ROONEY: You can always go too far.
KEILAR: Are you concerned about that?
ROONEY: I think this needs to settle out a little bit. It's pretty fresh now. Trump's trip was just two weeks ago.
KEILAR: Does that settle it out, though? You're saying it needs to settle out and the president at odds.
ROONEY: I think what the secretary of state and the president said both have elements of veracity here. Saudi Arabia and the emirates might have overstepped a tad bit in a complete blockade, but they definitely want to get Qatar's attention and get them to stop supporting Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
KEILAR: Do you worry, though, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when you hear mixed messages coming from the State Department and the White House?
ROONEY: Not really. This is a new administration. They are still finding their way. What is really important is that the Trump administration staff up the State Department with assistant secretaries and deputy assistant secretaries so they can get their diplomacy put in place.
KEILAR: That "Hiring" sign in the window, right?
KEILAR: All right, Congressman Rooney, thank you so much for joining us on this Saturday. We really appreciate it.
And President Trump is facing deadlines, battle lines, investigation. We're going to break this down with our panel.
[10:41:25] KEILAR: All right, Rebecca Berg is back with us, she's a CNN political analyst, and Paris Dennard is a CNN political commentator, and A. Scott Bolden, the former Chairman of the Washington D.C. Democratic Party.
There were a number of bombshells that came out of this Comey testimony this week. And after Donald Trump fired Comey, we learned in the letter, it was kind of odd that in the letter that he wrote to Comey, he said you've assured me three times I'm not under investigation. Then there was some question as to whether that was true, and we learned, Rebecca, actually it was true, and Jim Comey made this clear.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So obviously Mueller now has the memos. He might be investigating the president at this point in that context. But no, the president was told on multiple occasions Comey made clear that he was not under investigation for the Russia collusion investigation.
But what was significant also about Comey's testimony was that he laid out why he did not make this public at the time as well. And one of the main reasons that concerned him was that that could change at any point as the investigation broadened. So we don't know the current status of that.
KEILAR: Because he's been gone a month, Paris, he's been gone from the FBI for a month.
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. And I think the other important that is point to raise about this is that everyone is talking as if the firing of Jim Comey which the president had the right do, which Jim Comey accepted and said for whatever grounds the president wants to fire me, you can do that. I work for the president of United States, so at his pleasure you can leave. So everyone knows that going in there.
But Jim Comey also said that the president did not do on anything that was in his mind that was -- what President Trump was saying was that Comey was going to be fired, and when you fire cmey, all of a sudden the investigation is going to stop. That's not true. The investigation continues. And so the notion that somehow that Comey's firing was going to end the investigation and that that was obstruction of justice, there is nothing to obstruct if the investigation continues, which President Trump knew, which the Department of Justice knows. KEILAR: But President Trump said that that was on his mind as he did
it. He himself gave it as a reason.
DENNARD: On his mind, fine. But the investigation was going to continue. The question is did Comey have credibility, did Comey have the trust and faith of the department, of the agency, and of the American people? The president felt that he didn't. Rosenstein's memo laid out that he didn't, and thus he was fired. But the investigation continues, and that is the point, the investigation continues, and nothing was obstructed.
BOLDEN: There's so much to object to there. I question the relevance ever those comments because under the corruption statute, or the statute that we're talking about right now, obstruction of justice, you don't have to stop the investigation. You can attempt with corruptible intent to stop that investigation or attempt to and you have got an obstruction of justice charge. That's the first thing.
Second of all, Donald Trump drove this narrative. He may have had the power to fire Comey, but it certainly wouldn't be advisable because his intent here while he's being investigated, or better yet, while his campaign team is being investigated and he's the titular head of that campaign team, the Trump team, and given what we know about the conversations between him and Comey, it would simply not be visible to terminate Comey for the reasons that Trump gave publicly and privately.
[10:45:00] KEILAR: Legal experts are saying, Rebecca, that that is the very heart of this, looking into whether Donald Trump fired Comey for a corrupt reason to get in the way of this investigation. That is a very real thing they are talking about.
BERG: Absolutely, Brianna, and what Comey said during his testimony, one of the most riveting things that he said in my opinion was when he noted that his personal belief is that he was fired because of the Russia investigation, because of the Michael Flynn component of that investigation. That is a piece of evidence in this case. As Mueller moves forward, Comey's sworn system that he was under the impression and he said he took this was something of a dagger, he said he takes the president at his word that he was fired because of the Russia investigation. The president sat down with Lester Holt just days after firing James Comey and made that very plain, and that could come back to haunt him now.
DENNARD: It could be very well that the president did not have any faith that Comey could lead this investigation and get to the bottom of it, because what I believe the president wants, the reason why Mueller is such a fantastic pick is because he wants this to be settled, he wants to be proven.
KEILAR: Do you think the president is thrill that had there is special counsel?
DENNARD: I think the president is thrilling that at the end of the day when you saw that Comey testimony --
KEILAR: But Paris, I don't hear anyone saying that the president is happy that there is special counsel. That is like a worst nightmare.
DENNARD: The president I believe is happy that at the end of the day, Comey's testimony proved that he was not under investigation. It showed to the American people that Comey was overtly political in his actions.
And the last thing is when you put in Muller, and hopefully everything that will come out, if it goes the way it did with that testimony a few days ago, it will show that there was no collusion between President Trump, or candidate Trump and the Russians. And when you put somebody like Mueller in there do that, it will be final and we'll be able to move on because since he came in, there has been cloud over this presidency and to try to delegitimize him and to get in the way of the things he's trying to do for the American people to make us great again, like the infrastructure bill that he is trying to pass that nobody is talking about.
SCOTT: How can you say there was no collusion? Comey said that Donald Trump wasn't under investigation. That is a big, big difference.
DENNARD: If there was collusion, he would be under investigation. Don't mince words.
SCOTT: I'm not mincing words.
DENNARD: The president was not under investigation.
SCOTT: Do you know that? I'm sorry when did you talk to --
DENNARD: He confirmed that he is not under investigation
SCOTT: His notes were turned over to Mueller, and the only reason they were turned over was because now because of the president's own words and Comey's memos, those are under investigation right now. And remember, the reason that Comey was hesitant to even tell Donald Trump that he wasn't under investigation is because this is a time in space. He could eventually become under investigation.
KEILAR: But he told him three times even though he discussed with some associates that it might not be appropriate.
SCOTT: Exactly. I don't contend that he didn't tell him that, that he personally was not under investigation. He certainly told him that if you will. But the irony is that he is now under investigation because of his conduct with Comey and because of his desire to have Comey put out a statement that said that he wasn't personally under investigation.
KEILAR: Quick, final word.
DENNARD: Breaking new, we have found the special prosecutor. They replaced Mueller. They have replaced him with -- listen, you don't know that he is under investigation. You cannot confirm that. That is not fact.
SCOTT: I promise you he is based on those memos being turned over to Mueller.
KEILAR: He is looking at the memos, so we know that this is of particular interest to Bob Mueller. But that's right, we are not privy --
SCOTT: That is called an investigation of Donald Trump 's conduct and possible obstruction of justice charges. Those are facts.
KEILAR: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Rebecca, appreciate you being here. A. Scott Bolden, Paris Dennard, and Rebecca Berg for us.
The prosecution in the Cosby trial, the Bill Cosby trial, has rested. And now the defense is preparing to make its case. We're going to have a live report next.
[10:53:16] KEILAR: Bill Cosby's defense team is expected to present its case Monday in his assault trial. The prosecution rested yesterday after calling 12 witnesses over five days, and that included some really intense testimony from the key witness, Andrea Constand. She claims that the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted her back in 2004 and CNN's Jean Casarez has been covering this for us from Norristown, Pennsylvania. You actually have a CNN special that is airing tonight on the Cosby trial. Tell us about that, Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do, Brianna. It is one hour tonight at 9:00 and it is all about the case against Cosby. You know what makes this so significant is that there are other cases against Bill Cosby in this country, civil actions. But this is the only criminal case because there was only one woman who went forward to police and went public back in 2005, Andrea Constand. She is the one. We look at her of life, you learn a little about the person of Andrea Constand in the hour tonight. And it's all about this criminal case against Bill Cosby, Brianna.
KEILAR: Do you get a sense that he is going to testify, that Bill Cosby will testify, because it sounds like there is a big possibility he is not going to defend himself personally.
CASAREZ: He publicly said in a radio interview he was not going to testify. I've been in the courtroom, I listened to everything. The devil is in the details. And right at the end of the day yesterday, I heard the judge say to the jury the defense if they choose to present a case it will be on Monday, and then I will give you instructions.
Well, if Bill Cosby would take the stand, that would be days. Now, saying that, you never know what a defense is going to do until they say, your honor, the defense rests. Then you know for sure what witnesses they put on and what witnesses they have not put on. But my guess is with what the judge has said, the defense case may last that one day on Monday. [10:55:12] KEILAR: And even if he doesn't testify, what is their
defense, we will see. Jean Casarez paying attention to all of this for us in Norristown, Pennsylvania, thank you. And check this out, you can watch Jean's CNN special report, "The Case against Cosby," that's going to be tonight at 9:00 eastern and pacific only here on CNN.
I am Brianna Keilar in Washington. Thank you so much for watching. There is so much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield after a short break.