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Parts of White House Tell-All Book Under Scrutiny; New Revelations from Book on the Trump White House; NYT: Trump Ordered White House Lawyer to Talk Sessions Out of Recusal. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired January 5, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HABERMAN: But as a journalist --
CAMEROTA: Maybe they want to get the story out? I mean, maybe it's not...
[07:00:04] HABERMAN: Some of them do and some of them don't. But, I mean, I guess the point is -- and look, and there's -- they would certainly not be the first person in history to tell someone something on the record and then say, "I was taken out of context."
HABERMAN: Which is, like, the easiest way to deal with that on the planet. I can't speak to his specific conversations with people. All I know is I'm hearing it from their end. I wasn't hearing there for him. We do know that he does that previously.
But, you know, look, I guess my thing about the book is, books do something different than news stories can. Books tie things together in a different way. There is -- there is not -- people who are acting as if they are learning something new about Donald Trump, this is the same Donald Trump we have all been writing about and talking about on TV for two and a half years. There is nothing different. It has been very clear how his aides feel about him for quite some time. I don't know how many times people need to hear he watches a lot of TV, and he doesn't like briefings to get that he doesn't like to read.
HABERMAN: And then when he hears people say that he doesn't like to read, he gets very, very angry.
CUOMO: And look, I mean, for a president to have a lawyer write a cease and desist letter to stop publication of media is very unprecedented and completely unfounded. You are the most public of public officials.
CUOMO: You are totally open to exposure of criticism, and the book is going to come out.
HABERMAN: It's what citizen Trump does all the time.
CUOMO: All the time.
HABERMAN: And if he wanted to keep doing that kind of thing, he should have stayed as citizen Trump. You can't -- as president, what they have done is managed to turn this book into a bestseller, because all they have done is talk about it.
HABERMAN: Constantly. And they have used it as a way to win a war with Steve Bannon, which we can talk about later, too.
CUOMO: How about at the top of the hour?
CAMEROTA: How about it?
HABERMAN: I'll be here.
CAMEROTA: Stick around. You're not going anywhere.
HABERMAN: You're right.
CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you "CNN TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
CUOMO: A stunning new report raising more questions about President Trump and potential obstruction of justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He instructed the White House counsel to instruct the attorney general, or encourage him, not to recuse himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't understand the independence that the attorney general needs to have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "The New York Times" says the attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's real trouble for the White House staff here, and it's not clear if they are actually recognizing that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There wasn't been one shred of evidence in there was collusion between the campaign and some foreign entity.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is people posting and screaming that he is unfit.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The people of this country probably could care less about a book full of lies.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We've never had a president accused of this kind of stuff.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We have a lot of news.
There's a "New York Times" report out this morning. It, again, brings the to light this case for potential obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation that goes all the way up to the president.
"The Times" reports that President Trump ordered a White House lawyer to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Justice Department's Russia probe. "The Times" says Special Counsel Robert Mueller is aware of the president's unsuccessful attempt to lobby Jeff Sessions, and there may even be written notes from Reince Priebus about this.
CUOMO: Meanwhile, a new excerpt from journalist Michael Wolff's bombshell book reveals the president's involvement in crafting a misleading statement about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and members of the Trump team, including his son, Don Jr.; and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law.
The book also paints a picture of chaos in the West Wing, the president portrayed as erratic, easily distracted, uninterested and unsure about the basics of his job. The White House says it's complete fantasy. But we're expecting to hear from the author himself later this hour, so we will have it all covered.
Let's start with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. This "New York Times" report, this book, that's a lot on their plate.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A lot of new information this morning, Chris. New allegations raising questions about the president trying to exert control over the Russia investigation. That new book, "Fire and Fury," going on sale four days early, despite attempts by the president's lawyers to block publication. And the president himself stepping up his attacks on the book.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump attacking the new tell-all book that's claiming chaos inside his White House, calling the expose phony and full of lies, before lashing out at his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, nicknaming him Sloppy Steve.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Steve Bannon betray you, Mr. President? Any words about Steve Bannon?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. He called me a great man last night. So you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick.
JOHNS: The Trump administration attempting to discredit the book, which contains stunning new allegations about the president's firsthand involvement in crafting a misleading statement about the now-infamous June 2016 meeting between top Trump staffers and Russians.
Wolff writes that "The president insisted the meeting in Trump Tower was purely and simply about Russian adoption policy. That's what was discussed, period. Period. Even though it was likely, if not certain, that 'The Times' had the incriminating e-mail chain. In fact, it was quite possible that Jared and Ivanka and the lawyers knew 'The Times' had this e-mail chain. The president ordered that no one should let on to the more problematic discussion about Hillary Clinton."
[07:05:24] Wolff goes on to write that the president's lawyers thought the statement was "an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation's gears" and that one of the president's spokesmen quit afterwards, because he thought it was obstruction of justice.
According to "The New York Times," Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now examining the statement.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president weighed in, as any father would, based on the limited information that he had.
JOHNS: "The Times" reports that Mueller is also aware of an unsuccessful attempt by the president to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself.
TRUMP: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself.
JOHNS: According to "The Times," Mr. Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn in March to lobby Sessions against recusing. When McGahn was unsuccessful, Mr. Trump erupted in anger, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him.
The president lashing out at Sessions after then-FBI director James Comey's May 3 congressional testimony.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Is there an investigation of any leaks of classified information relating to Mr. Trump or his associates?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I don't want to -- don't want to answer that question.
JOHNS: Two days after Comey's testimony, "The New York Times" reports that an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member, asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the FBI director. The Justice Department denies this account.
According to "Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff, the president referred to Comey as "a rat."
Another name Wolff allegedly overheard in the White House, "Jarvanka," a nickname coined by Bannon to describe the president's daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner. The first family and Bannon shared a contentious relationship, described by Wolff as a death match, due in part to the "conviction that Bannon had played a part in many of the reports of Kushner's interactions with the Russians."
Wolff writes that Jared and Ivanka exhibited an increasingly panicked sense that the FBI and DOJ were moving beyond Russia election interference and into family finances. "'Ivanka is terrified,' said a satisfied Bannon."
JOHNS: No on-camera event scheduled for the president so far today. The only time we do expect to see him is when he leaves for Camp David. He's expected to spend today and tomorrow huddling with the vice president and the leaders of the House and Senate.
Back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much.
Joining us again is CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman.
So Maggie, it's great to have you here, because you and your colleagues have this article out this morning about the next piece in the puzzle to a possible obstruction of justice case involving the president.
So let me just read again the full excerpt from this to get everybody situated. "President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House top lawyer," Don McGahn, "Stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department's investigation into whether Mr. Trump's associates had helped the Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election."
So this just adds to the time line, right? So we know that he had asked James Comey to back off, and James Comey to say publicly certain things. And that he was very upset...
CAMEROTA: -- about Jeff Sessions's recusal. That this is new, that he had lobbied through Don McGahn for Jeff Sessions not to recuse.
HABERMAN: Yes, it's different -- this is a lot different. I mean, the thing is, is that, you know, that's where you assume it is going next when he says, "I was very upset. It was very unfair." The president was careful not to go past that line when he was speaking to my colleagues and me in the Oval Office in July, and then when he was speaking publicly in the Rose Garden, just to say that he was frustrated with Sessions. But he didn't say, "Because I hoped it -- he would help me."
This is very different. This goes further. And remember, the other piece of the report -- two pieces. And this is primarily my colleague, Mike Schmidt, who was -- just a few days ago was accused of being a sycophant to Trump. I would argue this shows that is not the case. He -- what he found was that there was a lawyer in the White House
counsel's office who actually told Trump that he couldn't fire Comey without cause, knowing that wasn't true. He could fire him without cause. But he was afraid Trump would not make the right decision on his own.
The other piece, and this is really important and I think is actually getting lost a bit, is that Sessions, an aide to Sessions went to Capitol Hill four days before Comey was fired, talked to a congressional staffer about a desire to see negative stories out about Comey, possibly once a day. That is really straight out of the Roy Cohn playbook that Trump came up with.
CUOMO: And you know, just to remind people, Roy Cohn, McCarthy's counsel, was close to Trump, passed away many years ago.
[07:10:06] Another excerpt from "The New York Times" here that goes to what Maggie is talking about right now. "The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump's former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he wasn't under investigation. The president's determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him."
And obviously, you just reported that here, as well. The piece is careful, and rightly so, to distinguish between this is what we know happened.
CUOMO: And this is proof of a crime. Because all of this timeline and all these things we lay out, they could show poor judgment. Attempt to influence, you know, maybe undue influence. But a crime, much different bar.
HABERMAN: Look, I think that -- I would say that this is the most complete and damning, potentially, piece of information we have learned about what the president was doing in the weeks leading up to the Comey firing and the weeks leading up to the recusal from Jeff Sessions, which has just -- you know, existed as a fury point with the president, ever since March of last year.
It's not up to us as reporters to say that he committed a crime. That is not -- I mean, there is, I think, a desire to see reporters going further than reporters are capable of doing. It is is the role of Bob Mueller and Congress to look at this and make their assessment. But I'm -- I'm confident this will be a subject that Mueller will be looking at going forward, is looking at going forward.
And one piece that relates back to the book that we were talking about in the last hour. You know, Bannon, I saw it on Twitter last night, reminding me that Bannon has not actually appeared before Mueller in these congressional committees yet.
HABERMAN: He seems to have a lot to say, based on this book, on the record about what he believes is the case about the Don Jr. meeting, what he believes about Jared Kushner.
CAMEROTA: Oh, yes.
HABERMAN: Now, we know that Steve Bannon has an axe to grind in the case of Jared Kushner. And so we will see -- and we know that he has limited firsthand knowledge of a lot of this stuff.
HABERMAN: But it will be very interesting to see.
CUOMO: I think it's actually kind of impressive that he hasn't been called before Mueller. Because it shows a pretty discerning investigation that is making a distinction perhaps, between a guy who's running his mouth and a person who they think may have material information.
CAMEROTA: That's a good point. But the treasonous comment from Steve Bannon that's in the book, that's interesting. Of course, it grabbed a lot of headlines. But he wasn't in the White House...
CAMEROTA: -- during this. So this is his opinion.
CAMEROTA: So we have to see what Mueller values, how much Mueller values that.
HABERMAN: Correct. He has zero firsthand knowledge of that Don Jr. meeting, which happened before he joined the campaign.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, there's also, in the book, in Michael Wolff's book, a little bit more information about the Air Force One meeting that happened once the president, I guess, found out or got worried about the Don Jr. meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer. They were trying to figure out how to spin it once they figured out "The New York Times" knew more about it.
Here's the excerpt. "The president insisted that the meeting in Trump Tower was purely and simply about Russian adoption policy. That's what was discussed, period. Period. Even though it was likely, if not certain, that 'The Times' had the incriminating e-mail chain -- in fact, it was quite possible that Jared and Ivanka and the lawyers knew 'The Times' had this e-mail chain" -- the one about offering up dirt on Hillary Clinton -- "the president ordered that no one should let on to the more problematic discussion about Hillary Clinton."
HABERMAN: I mean, that's actually, with all due respect to Michael Wolff, that was largely reported by the "Washington Post." And we had actually been the first ones to report that there was this, you know, sort of furtive Air Force One meeting.
CAMEROTA: For sure. We knew there was that confab. But I don't know. Did we know that the president was saying, "This is all that we will ever say publicly"?
HABERMAN: According to the "Washington Post," and again, this is their reporting, the president, quote unquote, "dictated" that statement that was not fully explaining what the meeting was about. So I don't actually think this is very different.
CUOMO: Right. And they've always tried to play a hedge on this, which is the e-mail chain shows that there was an intent to want information that was bad about Hillary Clinton.
CAMEROTA: "I love it," Don Jr. said.
CUOMO: But there's also -- there's a companion piece to it, which is at the meeting, but all accounts, everyone was very disappointed, because that information wasn't relayed. And it became about adoption. So you could play it either way. Having the president weigh in at that level is a little different.
HABERMAN: Right. Right. Right, look, their argument has always been privately, "Look, it's not a crime to lie to 'The New York Times'."
It is a crime to lie to investigators.
The flip side of that argument, and Chris would know more about this than I do, I think, is that if you were ordering lots of people to lie, in your opinion trying to cover up the true meaning of something or the true intent behind something, that that could constitute obstruction. But I'm not an investigator or a lawyer, and I don't know.
CUOMO: It's not easy. I mean, I keep saying this. I know it's a bucket of cold water for people who love the political discussion. But there is a really fundamental question about whether or not a sitting president can even be indicted. And then, even if you think you can, you've got to feel that, as a prosecutor, you'd win the case.
CAMEROTA: That's a high bar.
CUOMO: Which is a bar that is here. And on television we're playing right down here about the belt line. You know?
HABERMAN: That is very true. That is very true.
[07:15:07] CAMEROTA: I understand. But to your point about what the public wants...
CAMEROTA: they want some of these dots connected. And I know that you're right, that journalists can't always connect the dots. But sometimes we can. Sometimes some of these stories help connect the dots. HABERMAN: Sure.
CAMEROTA: But they haven't -- I mean, that's what Robert Mueller is doing.
CAMEROTA: So slowly, incrementally, these dots come out.
CUOMO: We haven't decided whether you can connect the dots and punish for the correction.
HABERMAN: Correct. There's two -- there's two things that Trump critics, primarily on the left but also some on the right, want to see. They want -- they feel very frustrated with what they're seeing in the country. They feel whipsawed by this presidency, and they are looking for some end that doesn't exist. And they are looking for there to be some strategy or larger meaning behind what Trump does and waiting for all of us to -- to force him on that, to admit that that's all some deep strategy, as opposed to that you're looking into a pretty dark void.
CUOMO: And then look, that is something that's become real. You talk about connecting the dots. It is in disputable.
CUOMO: The way the White House is functioning is inimical to its own cause. Anthony Scaramucci is the farthest thing from an enemy to the president that I think that you could make, and even he acknowledged in our interview yesterday the first year there were some bumps.
HABERMAN: Grand Canyon style. Like "Thelma and Louise" style.
CUOMO: That's exactly right. Like you fall into it. You don't get out again. I was only joking with him when I said, "Boy, if you made it a full year in this administration, you have a white beard at the end of it." We've never seen turnover like this.
CUOMO: And it is not a function of his efficiency as a CEO, and if you're not great, you're out. They've had big problems, and it's scaring the people down there, because they're not used to playing the game this way.
HABERMAN: I think that's correct. I would actually make one other point. I think that Reince Priebus has been, you know, pilloried for how -- how he handled things. He was chosen for the reason that Jared Kushner could still basically be the de factor chief of staff.
What John Kelly has done is John Kelly has made the staff feel safer from one another. Because what you saw was this gun slinging going on when Bannon was there, in particular, between him and Kushner. And he has made the staff feel safer from the president. What he has not done is do anything to more tightly control the
president. And so you are seeing the president be more expressive about himself. This is not a different version of Donald Trump. This is a more visible.
CAMEROTA: But very quickly, because there are so many questions today about competence and fitness. So there is some suggestion that something has changed over the course of, I don't know, two years, five years, and that he's more volatile, perhaps more impulsive. But that's not your impression.
HABERMAN: My impression is that he's five years -- six years older than he was when he first started running for president in 2011, in a public way. I don't know about first started. It first started in this century. But -- but I don't -- I don't think that there is some massive change.
I do think that he has certain ticks that he falls into during times of extreme stress.
HABERMAN: And those tend to exacerbate irrationality and those tend to exacerbate obsessiveness about certain things. And I think that's a lot of what you're seeing.
CUOMO: That's actually perfect. I agree with that 100 percent. You have context. You have known the man a long time before he was into this stuff.
HABERMAN: We all have.
CUOMO: So have I. But you can't judge somebody until they're in a circumstance. So is he different? No. But he is in a very different situation.
HABERMAN: I think that's right.
CUOMO: This man has never had to run anything like what he is dealing with right now. He's never had this kind of pressure on him. He's always been a showman. And now he's being hit in a way that he has never dealt with.
HABERMAN: He's never had this kind of criticism.
CUOMO: That's right.
HABERMAN: That's the problem. Is that he -- on a fundamental -- what I think what the Wolff book gets correct, although I don't think it's particularly deep insight -- if you just look at Trump, you know this, and all of his aides know this. He wants to be liked. He is a whipsaw of wanting to punch people and then wanting love.
It reminds me of that line from "The Office," Michael Scott saying, "I want them to fear how much they love me." I mean, that is -- that is a lot of what this is like with him. And he has just a fundamental misunderstanding of what the White House press corps does and what it's supposed to do. So this has been jarring for him.
CAMEROTA: Maggie Haberman, always great to get your perspective. Thank you very much.
HABERMAN: My pleasure.
CAMEROTA: All right. So we'll have much more on the "New York Times" report saying that President Trump tried to stop Attorney General Sessions in the Russia investigation or get him to recuse. Does that rise to obstruction of justice? We debate the legality next.
[07:23:31] CAMEROTA: "The New York Times" is reporting this morning that President Trump ordered his top White House counsel to stop -- to try to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Is that obstruction of justice?
Let's discuss with CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and CNN senior political commentator Rick Santorum.
Rick, are you concerned when you read this "New York Times" reporting that goes farther than we had heard before, that the president ordered Don McGahn, White House counsel, to go to Jeff Sessions to say, "Do not recuse. Even though you're involved in the Russia investigation, do not recuse." That is another piece of the puzzle in terms of whether that's obstruction. What do you think?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I actually think Jeff Sessions shouldn't have recused himself, and I think the president has every right to tell his attorney general to stay on the case. That was a judgment call on the part of Jeff Sessions. I think it was a bad judgment call. And I think the president has every right to try to influence that judgment call decision.
CAMEROTA: How do you see it, Ana?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, none of this is surprising. Right? How many times have we heard now about -- about Donald Trump telling Comey, "Lay off Michael Flynn."
And we've seen Donald Trump for months now treat Jeff Sessions like a human pinata. Whack him, and whack him and whack him, and do it publicly. So none of this, I think, should be surprising.
The only surprising part here is, to me, where you've got a White House deputy counsel keeping facts from Donald Trump because they are afraid of the kind of decisions he may make. The fact that the president of the United States gets treated as a child who needs to be protected from himself, and protect the country from this president, should be very concerning.
CAMEROTA: It was. The counsel told that he didn't have the authority to get rid of Sessions or to get rid of Comey. I guess, Comey. And it turns out they were just telling him that, because they didn't want to see what -- the cascade of events that unfolded after that. [07:25:18] NAVARRO: And if you remember back then there was -- you
know, there was this building pressure. There was this revelation that Jeff Sessions had met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, despite the fact that in the hearing, his confirmation hearing, he had categorically denied any meeting with Russians. And so the pressure had built up.
You remember there was all of this talk about Comey getting fired, how upsetting it was to people like John Kelly...
CAMEROTA: Well, there was a lot of public pressure, yes, about Jeff Sessions.
NAVARRO: -- and how upsetting it was to people close to Trump. What we're seeing is written in black and white. This chaos, this intrigue, this very upset staff by what they thought the repercussions could be for his presidency which in fact, turned out to be true, none of this is new.
CAMEROTA: Well, "The New York Times" does have some new details. And Rick, I'll read them to both of you -- about the president's desire for undying loyalty.
"Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy as attorney general had done for his brother, John F. Kennedy, and Eric Holder had done for Barack Obama. Mr. Trump then asked, 'Where's my Roy Cohn?'" who was his friend and fixer in the 80s. Is that the attorney general's job, to protect the president?
SANTORUM: Well, first off, again, this is -- we don't know how much of this is actually true.
CAMEROTA: This is the "New York Times." So we trust the "New York Times" reporting. Maggie Haberman contributed...
SANTORUM: OK. You do.
CAMEROTA: I do. I would take it to the bank, Rick. We just had Maggie Haberman. She, as you know, has sterling credentials. I mean, I see that you're joking and that you have -- that you have sort of a sardonic take on this.
SANTORUM: I have a lot of respect for Maggie Haberman. Don't get me wrong.
CAMEROTA: I hope so.
SANTORUM: But "The New York Times" is not infallible.
NAVARRO: But Rick, why would you doubt the veracity when we've heard him say this publicly, when we've heard him make the argument for absolute blind loyalty publicly?
SANTORUM: I -- I will accept the premise that the president is very much -- loyalty is a very important thing for him. As far as the actual quote, I don't know.
But the premise is correct. I mean, the president values loyalty maybe above anything else. And I think he was greatly disappointed on Jeff Sessions. And it's because Jeff Sessions made a judgment call. This was not something contradictory to what Ana is saying and what you were intimating. This was not a lay down hand that he had to turn over...
CAMEROTA: I get it, but that's not my question, Rick. My question is, is it the attorney general's job to protect the president?
SANTORUM: I think it's the attorney general's job to do his job.
SANTORUM: And he wasn't -- in my opinion, he wasn't doing his job. I think he should have taken control of this investigation.
CAMEROTA: Right. But when the investigation involves the president, does the attorney general have to protect the president?
SANTORUM: Well, no, I don't think that's the principle role of the attorney general to protect the president, but I think..
CAMEROTA: Is it any role?
SANTORUM: But well, yes. In this respect, I think appointing a special prosecutor doesn't protect the president, as in Donald Trump, and doesn't protect the presidency. And I think that is important.
I think that allowing a special prosecutor, as you're seeing now. All the reports coming out saying it doesn't look like there's much collusion here, but there could be obstruction of justice. What does that mean? Had this investigation not taken place and to the scale it was, we'd have no crime.
So this is the kind of things that you get into when you turn over responsibility to someone who is dedicated to finding a -- to finding someone. To going out there and convicting someone. Not finding the truth. They're not interested -- I believe special prosecutors aren't interested in finding the truth. They're interested in getting convictions. And that's the problem that Donald Trump saw, and I think it was the right -- the right concern.
CAMEROTA: So you wouldn't have had any problem with Jeff Sessions not allowing a Russian investigation to go any farther because he was protecting the president?
SANTORUM: I would have -- Jeff Sessions should have taken this responsibility and conducted the investigation. He should have moved forward with an investigation. I don't think there's any question there should have been an investigation. Turn it over to a special prosecutor and recusing himself is what Donald Trump was upset about, and I think he has every right to be upset.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Ana. NAVARRO: I think the only way for Jeff Sessions to have done it is the way he's done it. Look, it's a very difficult spot to be in. Right? You are appointed by the president. You technically work for the president --
CAMEROTA: A huge supporter of the president. Nobody was a bigger supporter than Jeff Sessions. The most vocal.
NAVARRO: He was a huge supporter of the president when nobody else was.
And you also take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. Your country should be your top interest. That is why -- precisely, that is why we have these statutes and we have this check and balance of the special counsel.
People like Janet Reno saw themselves in this very difficult spot where your boss, technically your boss, the president who appointed you, who you should have some loyalty to, is also being investigated. You need some distance. That is why we have the special counsel statutes, and that's why they're meant to work.
I think Jeff Sessions did the right thing here. But we've known for months that it drives Donald Trump crazy. Because here's the thing. When something drives Donald Trump crazy, he talks about it like a broken record over and over and over again. I mean, for God's sakes, he's been president for a year.