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Trump Lawyer Repeatedly Denied He Was Involved in Son's Statement; Kelly Considered Resigning Over Comey Firing. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired August 1, 2017 - 06:00   ET



JAY SEKULOW, LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all. Nor was the president.

[05:57:30] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New reports find the president personally dictated the initial misleading statement about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (via phone): It could be evidence of a pattern of obstruction of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump's legal team is failing him. Donald Trump's staff is failing him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The special counsel is going to get to the bottom of this.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Kelly in and Scaramucci out is nothing but good for this White House and for the country.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: If Donald Trump thought Anthony Scaramucci was doing good for his image right now, Scaramucci would still be there.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I hope this is a sign that his chief of staff is going to try to bring a little more order to the White House.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 1, 6 a.m. here in New York. And here's the starting line.

The White House facing another bombshell revelation in the Russia investigation. White House officials and counsel for the president said the president had no role in developing a response to Don Jr.'s meeting with a group of Russians. But now the "Washington Post" reports that President Trump personally

dictated his son's initial and misleading statement on that meeting with a Russian lawyer, despite these repeated denials. Again, the president's attorney, the White House, all said he had nothing to do with it.

Is President Trump now putting himself in a position where the special counsel will have to review his actions?

The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, raising eyebrows by saying the Trump campaign was, quote, "too disorganized to collude with Russia." Kushner making the bizarre defense in a private meeting with congressional interns.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, all of this in just hours after President Trump said that there was no chaos in his White House. He ousted the Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, his new communications director. The president's new chief of staff, John Kelly, apparently reigning in the free-for-all inside the West Wing.

So all of this as a scathing op-ed was published by a Republican senator, who unleashed on fellow conservatives for giving President Trump a pass. This was Arizona -- Arizona's Jeff Flake. He describes an executive branch, quote, "in chaos" and a president who has, quote, "seeming affection for strong men and authoritarians," end quote.

So what impact will those words have? We have all of this covered for you this morning. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns, live at the White House. Another busy morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alisyn. The question here is whether there was concealment at the highest level at the White House, after the stunning revelation about the administration's response to the report in "The New York Times" that Don Jr. met with a Russian lawyer. It could have legal implications for the president himself as the White House continues to deal with the fallout from the latest shakeup.


JOHNS (voice-over): "The Washington Post" reporting that President Trump personally dictated his son's misleading initial statement about the reason for the June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer. It all happened on Air Force One while the president was returning from the G-20 summit last month.

"The Post" says President Trump overruled his advisers who were advocating for full transparency, directing the statement to describe the focus of the meeting being about adoption of Russian children. Trump Jr.'s own emails, released days later, show that the meeting was actually about providing the Trump campaign with incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. It remains unclear if President Trump knew this at the time.

"The Washington Post" reports that White House advisers now worry that the president's direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.

SEKULOW: I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all; nor was the president. I'm assuming that was between Mr. Donald Trump Jr., between Don Jr. and his lawyer.

JOHNS: After vehemently denying that President Trump was involved last month, one of the president's private attorneys refutes "The Washington Post" report in a statement saying, "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent."

These stunning revelations coming after the president vowed there was no chaos at the White House, tweeting that it was a great day, despite another major shakeup.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no doubt that he will be an absolutely superb chief of staff.

JOHNS: Communications director Anthony Scaramucci ousted by the new chief of staff, General John Kelly, after only days on the job. Scaramucci's brief tenure marred by a vulgar tirade about his White House colleagues and amplified in a bizarre interview on NEW DAY.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR (via phone): As you know from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down. But I can tell you two fish that don't stink, OK, and that's me and the president.

JOHNS: Negative media coverage of the attacks on Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon eroding the president's trust in Scaramucci.

SANDERS: The president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position.

JOHNS: Despite the president's own history of vulgar comments.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

JOHNS: Which led to a rare apology in the final stretch of the campaign.


JOHNS: Two sources close to the White House tell CNN that the president initially found Scaramucci's comments amusing, but soured after Scaramucci appeared to be overshadowing him.

The new White House chief of staff making it clear he is going to stop the free-for-all here at the White House. All staffers now report directly to him -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: Joe Johns, thank you.

Let's bring in the panel. CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza; CNN political commentator Ryan Lizza; and CNN political analyst Michael Shear. Michael, we needed you so that this isn't a panel completely comprised

of Italians. Camerota, Cuomo, Lizza, Cillizza. And now at least we have Michael Shear.


CUOMO: In fact, I'm going to start -- I'm going to start with you.

"The Washington Post" reporting, OK. Let's just play Jay Sekulow again, one of the team of attorneys supporting and speaking for the president. We talked to him specifically about the suggestion of the president's involvement. Let's be honest. It was odd to believe that the president had nothing to do with something of this level of importance, but here's what Jay Sekulow said.


CUOMO: So he didn't have anything to do with the statement that Don Jr. put out that was being worked on by his team?

SEKULOW: No, the statement that Don Jr. put out -- are you talking about yesterday's, Chris?

CUOMO: The one over the weekend, that the president's team was helping with.

SEKULOW: No, that was written -- no, that was written by Trump Jr., and I'm sure with -- in consultation with his lawyer.

CUOMO: Because "The New York Times" is reporting that the president OKed the statement.

SEKULOW: Well, they're incorrect.

CUOMO: "The New York Times" is wrong?

SEKULOW: Yes, I know. Is that shocking that sometimes they make a mistake?


CUOMO: Yes, it's shocking, because they didn't make a mistake, Michael Shear. And look, as we often do, we didn't have the reporting solid. So we asked him about it, and we probed about it. He said he had nothing to do with it. So how do you -- what is this? That just a lie, or do you think Sekulow didn't know? That seems unlikely, given "The Washington Post" reporting.

[06:05:05] SHEAR: Right. Look, I mean, "The Post" reporting essentially builds on what we had at "The Times" about the fact that there had been these discussions on Air Force One that we had had, that the president was involved and signed off on it.

Now "The Post" pushes the reporting further that, in fact, the president was a central player in drafting it. There are -- there are kind of two broad pieces to the Russia problem

for the president. The underlying substance of did the campaign collude and meet with Russians, and then what's the response been since then. And was there attempt -- have there been attempts to cover up and mislead investigators as they probe that?

This goes, you know, in a really bad way to the latter. Right? You don't put out the information that this was a meeting that was about something else when it was, when the documents, the emails clearly describe that it was about a meeting with Russians for the purpose of influencing the campaign.

And I think one last point is that this goes to also the other story that you've been talking about this morning, which is General Kelly. And the question of there's no discipline in this White House about what the message is. The lawyers are on one page. The staff is talking about another thing.

The question really going forward will be, can General Kelly bring the kind of discipline to this White House that would at least get them all on the same page so that -- so that these kinds of situations where they're providing information that's just flatly not true to the public. And that's what they've got to get a handle on.

CAMEROTA: So Chris Cillizza, let's rewind the clock. For people who are just waking up, lets remind them that this initial statement was that we now know, according to "The Washington Post," was actually dictated by the president. So here's what Don Jr. said on July 8 about that meeting.

"It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul Manafort to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago, and was since ended but the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time, and there was no follow-up. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand."

Now, that is misleading.


CAMEROTA: We now have learned that, actually, he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. That's why he took the meeting. It wasn't originally -- they may have talked about Russian adoption once they got in there, but that's not what the original meeting was about. Now...

CUOMO: And we know that, remember, this isn't a suggestion. In his own emails...

CAMEROTA: His own e-mails.

CUOMO: ... Don Jr. said, "I love it." That was the pretense for the invite.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Now, it is not a crime to mislead the American people or the press. So where does that leave us today?

CILLIZZA: Let me first say, Alisyn, that when people out in the world say that reporters parse the statements of public officials and those around them too closely, I would refer to that Don Jr. statement, because as you point out, it's misleading. It's not false. There's nothing in it that we know is absolutely totally a lie, but it's about -- it's the tail of the elephant as opposed to the entire elephant. Right? So that's point one.

Point two, it is not a crime to do what they're doing here, but this is -- this is more smoke. I feel like I'm on a couple times a week and we have this same conversation which is, no, there is not a fire yet. There is no proof of collusion, although Don Trump Jr.'s meeting certainly, that June meeting certainly doesn't look good, but everything here keeps pointing to the fact that Donald Trump was more involved than he said, that the entire thing was more than they let on in the beginning.

Don Trump Jr.'s statement, which apparently, according to "The Washington Post," was dictated by Donald Trump Sr. was -- had to be changed multiple times as that week went along, and that's what I always keep coming back to here.

If -- if you are the president of the United States, and you believe in your heart of hearts, as Donald Trump says that he does, you believe in your heart of hearts you have done nothing wrong here, that this is, in his words a total witch hunt, a hoax, then you should want to help Bob Mueller as much as possible get to the bottom of this, because it is the only possible way you could be exonerated in this, fully exonerated in the eyes of Democrats, independents and Republicans. That is not what he has done, and in fact, it's almost the opposite of what he's done.

CUOMO: So Ryan Lizza you have illegality, but that is a really high bar in judging propriety by leadership. You know, it doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong. This was a misleading statement. This is not what the meeting was about. We know that from Don Jr.'s own emails.

And now we know that, unless the president was unaware of the emails and what the actual context was, he was involved in an intentional deception about the meeting, not illegal but how is it not wrong?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, the statement said it was primarily about adoptions, right? So just to play devil's advocate, if indeed it comes out that, even though the meeting was set up to be about giving information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, they got in there and it really was mostly, most of the time about adoptions, you know, perhaps they had this sort of legalistic leg to stand on.

But your point about what did President Trump know precisely when he was, as "The Washington Post" says he was, dictating the statement, I think is really important. Did Trump know about the email chain from Don Jr. and his associate, who is setting him up with the Russians? Did he clearly know exactly what the details were about that meeting afterward? So when he was dictating the statement, did he know that he -- affirmatively that he was...

CUOMO: Imagine if he didn't know? Can you imagine...

CAMEROTA: If the president didn't know?

CUOMO: Yes, if the president wasn't told about the emails, which is almost inconceivable.

CAMEROTA: Why would the president know about his son's emails? I mean, I don't know that...

CILLIZZA: How could he are he release a statement -- how could he release a statement.

LIZZA: They're sitting on the plane doing the statement without knowing?

CILLIZZA: That seems to be equally...

CAMEROTA: This is what has to come out in the investigation. obviously, we're speculating, but I think that the president, based on his file, seems to be on a need to know basis.

CUOMO: Fair point. Fair point.

CAMEROTA: He doesn't know the nitty gritty.

CUOMO: If I'm your lawyer, and you're like, "Well, here's what I'm going to say." You don't think I offer up a "Hold on a second, Alisyn," because you know, these emails which Kushner's lawyers found, so that was starting his universe of discussion.

CAMEROTA: I can't tell if on Air Force One there was any legal mind weighing in on this or if the president was just dictating, "Here's what we're going to say."

CUOMO: Well, according to Jay Sekulow, Don Jr.'s lawyers were all over it. And you have to assume they knew what the kid had.

CAMEROTA: He's the liable narrator at this point about that. Guys, panel.

LIZZA: I think he had to know. If "The Post's" reporting is correct, it seems that the president did indeed know. Remember, the dispute, according to "The Post" -- correct me if I'm wrong -- was that Don Jr. and his lawyers wanted a more fulsome statement, because their assumption was that "The New York Times" knew even more about this and then the White House, led by the president, said, "Wait a second. We don't need to say all that. Let's just talk about the adoption part of that meeting."

CAMEROTA: All right. Guys, thank you very much.

Stick around. Because it is a very, very busy news morning. We have a lot to get to. OK? So now to the CNN exclusive. According to two sources, before becoming the new White House chief of staff, General John Kelly was upset with how President Trump handled the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and considered stepping down as secretary of homeland security.

CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with more. What have you learned?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alisyn. So we've learned that new White House chief of staff John Kelly was so upset with the way President Trump handled the firing of FBI director James Comey that he called Comey shortly after he was terminated to say how angry he was.

At the time, Kelly was secretary of homeland security. His sources say Kelly was particularly upset by the way Comey was treated by learning he had been fired on the news rather than by the president.

The call took place while Comey was traveling back from Los Angeles to Washington on May 9, after learning the news. Comey declined to comment to us about the story as well as others contacted for the story, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, so I understand you're told that General Kelly went even further in that phone call.

PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's right. So you know, it was a pretty lengthy conversation, and we're told that Kelly was so angry that he even told Comey he was contemplating resigning from his position as secretary of homeland security as a show of solidarity. You know, we're told Comey responded by telling him not to resign. You know, sources have cautioned us that it was unclear how serious Kelly was about resigning himself and, of course, that never happened, and now he's White House chief of staff, Alisyn and Chris.

CUOMO: Shimon, that's why this reporting is so significant. Because we're trying to figure out, well, how will General Kelly tame what's happening with the White House, tame the president's instincts, and this is a window into what he sees as too much, what he's willing to do about it, so helpful, if nothing else.

And all of this done in light of yet another shakeup at the White House, and maybe the biggest surprise to date. Anthony Scaramucci out as communications director. Supposedly the general didn't want him there, but why did they get rid of him, and what does this mean? Next.


[06:18:08] CAMEROTA: The now White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci out after only 11 days in the Trump administration. Sources say newly-minted chief of staff John Kelly delivered the news in a face-to-face meeting with Scaramucci right after being sworn in.

Let's bring back Chris Cillizza and Ryan Lizza and bring in CNN political analyst Karoun Demirjian.

Guys, I don't even know where to begin. OK, I'm going to begin with Ryan Lizza, because you, Ryan, were in the thick of all this with your reporting for "The New Yorker" on Scaramucci and his vulgar tirade against other senior staffers. But the swiftness of Scaramucci's rise and fall is, you know, epic.

LIZZA: Yes, ten days as communications director is not a very long tenure.

CUOMO: Understatement of the day, Ryan Lizza.

LIZZA: I think in the research that your staff put together, there's one other -- actually, one shorter tenure in the Reagan era, a communications director who had some -- some, you know, unsavory things in the past.

CAMEROTA: Nazi ties.

LIZZA: He was ousted a little sooner. Nazi ties, yes.


LIZZA: Nazi ties. So I think that, you know, Anthony had a plan for ousting Reince Priebus but didn't necessarily have a plan for what came next. Right? And didn't quite understand what the impact would be when someone like John Kelly was put into that position, someone who clearly understands, you know, how you gain control of an organization, and clearly as a condition of taking this job, convinced President Trump that he needs to be a real chief of staff, and that is, that everyone needs to report to the president through the chief of staff.

Scaramucci had negotiated this deal with Trump where he was reporting personally to Trump, not the chief of staff, in control of one of the biggest offices in the White House, the communications office, and Kelly rightly saw that that's an intolerable situation for a chief of staff to deal with.

[06:20:13] And on top of that, of course, you had the interview with me that, you know, even seemed to offend Trump. And I could -- I reported this last night in the piece I wrote, even before the interview with me, Scaramucci was on a little bit of thin ice with Trump. It was one of the reasons why he so strongly didn't want me to publish that interview.

So it wasn't just the interview. He was already sort of sliding into a bad place with the president.

CUOMO: Yes, I mean, look, you're going to hear lots of different accounts. I mean, after Scaramucci came on that morning, after he deleted the tweets...

CAMEROTA: One hour from that.

CUOMO: ... he had gotten himself in trouble, he was a hero. Again, the Thunder Dome analogy has to hold. One day you are the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster. That's what Tina Turner said in the movie, and this is exactly what she was talking about.

Now, in terms of what this means and what it tells us about the White House, let's hear from Sarah Huckabee Sanders in terms of what they felt about what the word from the White House was about what Scaramucci had said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is not a stranger to salty language. Can you specify exactly what he found inappropriate or disturbing about that?

SANDERS: I said he found it inappropriate for a person in that position.


SANDERS: I believe the comments that he made, he found those comments inappropriate. I'm not sure. It's unclear.


CUOMO: All right. Well, it's all unclear. You know, just because you deliver it with a straight face doesn't mean that it makes sense. Karoun, the idea that even Scaramucci, somebody who is of unqualified loyalty who does and says exactly what the president was the same way the president does, even he gets tossed. What does this tell us about the dynamic inside the White House?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It tells you General Kelly is asserting control. He does not want to be the next Reince Priebus at the end of the next Scaramucci tirade the next time he decides to call a reporter. And that would -- he did let that situation transpire where that was a possibility that would severely compromise his authority.

And the one thing General Kelly has is pretty much untouched authority. He has not been -- the president respects the job he did at DHS. He put him into bring the gravitas of a military leader. If you have Scaramucci in a position where he is able to poke at that because he doesn't report to him because -- and his track record is to poke pretty brazenly at the press. That's not a good situation going in.

I don't know this for sure, but it almost tells you that the fact that Scaramucci did not -- did not go immediately after that, that he survived for, I think, half his tenure after that article was published is maybe a sign of the fact that, you know, the president was not ready to make that call to pull it himself.

But it certainly -- I mean, the fact that this was one of the first moves that Kelly made after he was installed as chief of staff tells you that he doesn't want a repeat of this situation and he sees Scaramucci as a potential liability that could, you know -- that could go back into this mode if he thinks it behooves him.

CAMEROTA: Look, also we've heard that the president doesn't take kindly to people whose sort of stars start to flame brighter. And Scaramucci was the news, I mean, for that brief 48 hours.

CUOMO: He was brought in to do it. The president was celebrating his success. Makes you wonder what the definition of loyalty is in that place if even Anthony Scaramucci can get off this way.

CAMEROTA: Look, you keep using the analogy of Thunder Dome.

CUOMO: Because it's perfect.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. But there's also the "Survivor" analogy, and that is what "The New York Post" is running with, in terms of who's out and who's in on the island. So you see, Reince is gone and now Scaramucci.

CUOMO: You've got Kushner hiding in the bushes. That's accurate. That's Bannon smiling. I don't know why he's smiling.

CAMEROTA: Because he survives.

CUOMO: I know, but we don't know what's going to happen. I think he's in a good position.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Go ahead, Chris Cillizza. You think that...

CILLIZZA: I was going to say, my favorite part of that photo is the head band on Bannon.

Here's the thing. What Karoun said is exactly 100 percent right about John Kelly. He does have relative full authority at the moment.

The issue is that the one person who's his boss, the one person that he reports to is named Donald Trump, and if past is prologue, Donald Trump will go along. He will listen to his advice, might be a week, might be a month, might be six months. But Donald Trump will return to being Donald Trump. He's a 71-year-old man. He's had a lot of success in his life. He is into chaos. He is into the infighting. He is into managing his own message and his own brand.

If someone exists, if John Kelly can manage Donald Trump, that would make the first person in Donald Trump's entire life, who's been able to do that. It is possible.

[06:25:06] CUOMO: Now, look, 25 minutes into the show, no tweets from the president; and maybe that's an early indication that the general has made a suggestion and it's being upheld thus far.

CILLIZZA: Chris, I remember when the president was on his European trip that this last one, and he was relatively calm Twitter-wise. You know, but basically tweeting out, like, "Hey, I gave the speech today. I talked to this person." When he came back, came the Mika Brzezinski tweet. So I just -- again, I say this virtually every time I'm on the show.

But today is not predictive of tomorrow. And yesterday doesn't tell us that much about today. This is the Trump presidency. There is no arc. There is no necessary narrative. It is him saying stuff and making moves day-to-day. We, I think we try to cob -- we try to draw that line in between all the dots, and I'm not sure there's a line to be drawn.

CAMEROTA: Karoun...

DEMIRJIAN: But here's. Sorry...

CILLIZZA: One quick story, can I tell, one quick story on Kelly's relationship with Trump, I reported last night. Kelly was out in Aspen, Colorado, at a conference recently. And he told a group of national security experts who are highly skeptical of Trump and were wondering how Kelly was serving in the Trump administration, what it was like. And Kelly explained to this group in a private meeting that he thinks he, that the president listens to him.

And he used it as an example that he thinks he has changed Trump's mind about the nature of border security and the border wall. And he said he sort of brought Trump through all the different ways you can protect the border short of a full physical wall, and he was encouraging Trump to start calling it a barrier, rather than a wall. And he was, I wouldn't say bragging, but the way it was told to me is he was very proud of the fact that he had sort of, you know, got Trump to this place where he sort of thought in a more nuanced way about border security. But then, of course, he added as an aside, but of course he have one -- you know, he could do one tweet, and that could all -- you know, that could change everything.

CAMEROTA: Yes. That is instructive.

LIZZA: He has a relationship with the president, but he understands the volatility.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's instructive. I mean, the people that I know who are still working in the White House say they also believe that they are doing good, that they can somehow manage the president's message or him at times. I mean, you have to believe that, obviously, if you are working in the White House. Otherwise, it's futile.

One last thing Karoun, that I want to get to. And that is, Jeff Flake, OK. So he, you know, the question is where have Republicans been? Why aren't they speaking out more vociferously about things that they object to with this administration?

So Jeff Flake just wrote this for "Politico": "Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process. With hindsight it is clear that we conservatives all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump."

The senator basically goes on to say that it's time to speak out. DEMIRJIAN: Right. I mean, they entered this marriage. They helped

propel him. His base certainly, as Flake identified, you know, came from a position of being dissatisfied with both of the parties. They helped propel him to the White House, and now they are having to own that, as Jeff Flake is saying, and having to manage that in a way. And that is clearly the issue right now for the GOP on Capitol Hill, across the country. Where is their center? Where is their core? Where is their identity? Is it Trump or is what they -- you know, the establishment GOP as we like to call it used to be? Or can they find some sort of middle ground that actually is sustainable for more than, you know, a day's worth of tweets to the next one?

And we'll see, basically, if after this health care bill, if the members of the GOP on Capitol Hill decide to change tack, we'll also see if Trump decides to listen to Kelly more because he's a general and Trump likes to listen to generals more than other people. And maybe this is a way forward, or maybe these are just statements this week that sound nice, and we'll be in the exact same boat next week.

CUOMO: And if the Comey reporting holds true, Karoun, you know that you have a general who may be willing to quit if things don't go the way they're supposed to. That could be motivation, too. I don't know if the president wants that on his tab.

CAMEROTA: All right. Panel, thank you very much for all the reporting and analysis there.

CUOMO: The White House is a mess, there's no question about it, but here's the good news; it ain't Venezuela. That situation is worsening by the hour. You had a violent and deadly election there. And now the latest word: two opposition leaders taken into custody. The U.S. moving swiftly against the president there, Maduro, his regime. We have a live report from Venezuela next.