tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN May 16, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
i'm an innocent man. i'm an innocent man, your honor and i've always been an innocent man, your honor. >> he was behind bars and stopped the attempted rape of a prison counselor and since started a literacy program for inmates. thank you so much for joining me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with breaking news from "the new york times" about the russia investigation. and president trump and his team, a remarkable new look at how the fbi handled the earliest days of the investigation into the trump campaign ties to russia. this revealing report coming as we're getting new concrete details into another key part of that investigation. of course that is the trump tower meeting between donald trump jr., paul manafort, jared kushner and russians connected to putin and russian oligarchs but the new details from "the
new york times" in which we learned the original investigation had a secret code name, cross fire hurricane. a nod to the rolling stones lyric from jumping jack flash and the agents were afraid of leaks so much so they kept details secret from the justice department, only five officials at doj knew the whole story. the facts had they surfaced might have devastated the trump campaign and his national security adviser was under investigation and his campaign chairman. one trump adviser appeared to have russian intelligence contacts, another was suspected of being a russian agent himself, unquote. this comes in stark contrast with the way that hillary clinton e-mail case was being handled with a public press conference from former fbi director james comey and a public announcement the case would be reopened a week and a half before election day. but when it came to the trump investigation, the fbi was more circumspect than has been previously known. agents considered and then
rejecting interviewing some but risked revealing the existence of the case. top officials quickly became convinced they would not solve the case before election day which made them only more hesitant to act, unquote. the fbi was investigating specifically lieutenant general michael flynn, paul manafort, carter page and george papadapoulos and each scrutinized because of the suspected russian ties. and joining me the reporter who broke the story. adam, what is the most surprising if not shocking thing you learned in the midst of reporting this. >> i think the most shocking thing i learned is that fbi agents after they opened the investigation actually traveled to london and got australian diplomat to sit down and do an interview with fbi agents. it was extraordinary. and they took that information and they memorialized it and used it as evidence in the investigation. something that -- something that
devin nunes has said doesn't exist -- evidence. >> and this is the australian diplomat who had drinks with george popadopoulos in which he allegedly said that he had been told about this dirt on hillary clinton. tell us more about this government informant who met with both papadapoulos and a different trump campaign adviser carter page. >> well, there was an individual who had ties to the fbi who was asked after the investigation opened to make contact with papadapoulos and who also had frequent contact with carter page repeatedly through the -- throughout 2017 in the virginia metro area. >> and the president constantly derides the mueller investigation as a witch hunt but we see in the early months of operation cross fire hurricane, people weren't eager to do this. the fbi officials were skeptical and very secretive and when
reporters ask the the investigation, the fbi threw them off the chase. >> yeah, that is true. and i think we were transparent in our reporting which said we had contacted fbi officials and they were reluctant to provide any information. and in every turn they could have leaked information that could have been devastating to the president of the united states, donald trump. but they didn't. >> great reporting. thank you so much for joining us. adam goldman. back to the details of the mysterious june 2016 trump tower meeting between russians and campaign insiders that has become a focal point of the russia investigation. the thousands of pages of testimony from donald trump jr. and others in the room were released by the senate judiciary committee revealing an eagerness by top trump campaign advisers to get their hands on potentially compromising information about the democratic presidential nominee hillary clinton. cnn chief national security correspondent jim sciutto walks us through the new details.
>> reporter: senate transcripts make clear that at the 2016 trump tower meeting with russians, trump's son, donald trump jr. was expecting the russians to supply dirt on hillary clinton. this is despite president trump, his son and others repeatedly claiming other wise. a russian lobbyist present for the meeting told senators that donald trump jr., quote, was definitely in charge. and after some small talk, began by saying something to the effect of -- so you have some information for us. in his own testimony, donald trump jr. admitted that he was, quote, interested in listening to information about hillary clinton. adding, quote, i had no way of assessing where it came from, but i was willing to listen. this is a direct contradiction of the story put out by the white house and donald trump jr. claiming the meeting was about adoptions. those interviewed say the russians did not deliver the promised dirt and instead focused on interest in removing
u.s. sanctions on some russians. rob goldstone in the room and helped arrange the meeting said the focus of the discussion began to, quote, infuriate jared kushner. after a few minutes of this labored presentation goldstone received, jared kushner who was sitting next to me appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, i really have no idea what you're talking about. don jr. testified the meeting lasted 20 to 30 minutes and at the conclusion goldstone apologized to him for what he believed was wasting our time. dond jr. believed there to be a pretty substantial delta between the meetings original purpose and what actually took place. asked if he informed his father about the meeting and the russians offer to supply dirt on clinton, don jr. said he did not. explaining that he, quote, wouldn't bring him anything that is unsubstantiated especially from a guy like rob before i knew what it was about before myself. and shortly after arranging the meeting, don jr. made an
11-minute phone call to a blocked number, asked if he remembers who the call was with, trump jr. said i don't. democrats note that former trump campaign aide cory lewandowski testified that candidate trump's prime minister residence has a blocked number. a full year later after "the new york times" first broke the existence of the meeting, the white house claimed the meeting was primarily about adoptions. and explanation disproved when e-mail surfaces showing that don jr. accepted the meeting on the premise the russians were bringing the expect dirt on clinton. in his testimony, don jr. said he did not know his father was involved in drafting the initial misleading statement. i never spoke to any father about it, he said, but the white house acknowledged the president himself took part in crafting the misleading response. >> now the trump tower meeting goes to two open lines of inquiry in robert mueller investigation, what was discussed at the meeting, and
does that constitute a conspiracy and not exclusion but conspiracy and the obstruction of justice and crafting that message, were they trying to mislead, not just the american public but investigators as to the true function of that meeting. >> thank you so much. let's talk it over with the panel. angela, let me start with you. those close to the president say there was nothing an attempt at opposition research and it didn't go anywhere. it was a giant waste of time. i suspect you disagree. >> i disagree just a little bit. but i think the bigger flag for me in this particular piece is the ways in which they were attempting to close out hillary clinton investigation, but james comey stepped forward saying there were damaging e-mails and they ended up being anthony wiener's and they are ramping up the investigation and before the election and there was no mention of it.
and so we heard this term kompromat and there was somebody in the campaign who would have known that it could have involved the fbi, or it could have involved the department of justice. so when we talk about compromising democracy, some of our key institutions were part of that and withheld critical information to the american people even if the investigation wasn't solved and it still isn't, there is key facts that should have been presented. they were afraid of donald trump bullying them. that is essentially what this piece says. so we allowed someone who bullied before and before the campaign to bully the department of justice an the fbi. that is why they withheld the information. >> david, i want to read you something -- donald trump jr. is asked about his response to the offer of damaging information about hillary clinton coming from the russian government sand in support of his dad, question, were you surprised when you read that offer. trump jr., as i said, i wasn't
sure what to make of it. did it alarm you in any way. >> i don't know that it alarmed me but all that focused on it at the time. and question. and what about the thing that says it is part of russia and government support for mr. trump. in a separate e-mail. did you love that? that is a reference to if what you say i love it. trump jr., i don't know. i don't recall. question, do you understand that would be problematic and trump jr., i didn't think listening to someone relevant of a fitness of a presidential candidate would be an issue. no. and were you surprised when you read that offer and trump jr., i wasn't sure what to make of it. did it alarm you, i don't know that alarmed me. so the question is -- -- do you think he's being forthcoming. >> sure. you do? >> look, we're all looking at this and viewing this through the lens of today versus the lens of june, or of that year. during that time period, i will tell you, i worked on the campaign, the campaign was worried about a floor flight at
convention and not worried or cog niz ants to have anything to do with the russians. i believe don jr. >> i think there is three big questions that come out of reading the don jr. transcript, put it on the table, he was seeking information about the clinton campaign and no one denies that. but there is three problems. he claimed he has no idea what the people he met with were trying to do. he didn't vet them and come to the meeting and no control. i don't know if i believe that. he needs to explain that more and he said they kept talking about the magnitsky act and he didn't know what that meant. and that means more explanation and he never said he never had conversations with his father about that and i don't find that believable. >> you don't buy it -- >> knowing what a micromanager donald trump is and how closely he monitors his staff is this believable there was a meeting with don jr. and jared kushner,
that needs to be aired out. >> and there are meetings all of the time in campaigns. >> with the russian government. >> and don jr. testified they were seeking a deal for trump tower in moscow in late 2015 and early 2016. so these are people that they have been talking to and when you look at timeline of how many contacts there were, it is clear the russians were trying to penetrate the campaign over and over again. >> donald trump jr. said he would not tell him -- his dad about this because the information was, quote, unsubstantiated and wouldn't bring that to his dad. i want to remind you one of the president's big top advisers since fired, steve bannon said in michael wolff's book, the chance that don jr. did not walk these g mo's up to the his father's office is zero. >> i disagree with steve. we part -- ways and i do agree
with the investigation botched since day one. >> that is not what i said. >> sure you did. >> no i said -- >> they underminded hillary. >> you said that -- >> and i said the fbi botched it since day one. >> i didn't say they botched the investigation i said they botched the election and i'm saying -- the reason that -- >> it is the same -- >> no, the reason they came out is to make sure that hands were clean about hillary clinton but then they withheld for 100 days from the american people that this investigation was ongoing. they forgot to tell us that there were four people critical to the president right in his inner circle being investigated. >> how is that not botched. >> because they didn't botch this investigation. they botched the election for us. they compromised our -- >> and i think where you are on solid ground is they were intimidated by trump. >> come on. >> and the information would boost his election --
>> nobody -- >> but amanda, it is a concept that it was rigged against them is -- at this point it is semantics because i'm saying, they botched a key component of the election. they created another pathway for russia to interfere. >> i'm not sure the fbi should come out and let everyone know every time an investigation is open. i do agree with james comey and said we'll let the people know once the investigation is closed and to go to the public and any candidate that agents are looking into him, that would mess up elections all over the plarks and that is the hillary clinton none-mails because they were anthony wiener's. >> and the confident one, the james comey press conference in july of 2016 where he said the investigation is closed and she's guilty of extreme carelessness and then you're talking about his announcement in -- two weeks before the election. and so i'm talking -- >> so that wasn't the point i was raising. the point i'm raising is there was an open investigation
against trump and his inner circle, 100 days before the election and that is when it was initiated, two weeks before the election they are talking about something with hillary and that was not hillary. >> and operation cross fire hurricane and looking into trump associates during the campaign. you were in pennsylvania a great deal. >> sure. >> no one has ever alleged anything about you. did you have any suspicion or wonder about the individuals, paul manafort or carter page. >> no. never heard of carter page ever. general flynn i think i met briefly at a rally in pennsylvania, the union league at a defense -- a speech. popadopoulos, never heard of him. and paul manafort, obviously, yes. but had zero suspicion whatsoever. again, we're running a campaign day in and day out and you've been on a campaign and you've been on campaigns -- >> but they have controls ant don't let people walk up to trump tower and tell about
information suspicious. >> and jake asked the question on the ground on a day to day basis. no. >> we want to keep this panel going in the next block. did republicans on the senate intelligence committee just throw in their house colleagues under the bus when it comes to the russia investigation. stay with us. touch shows how we really feel. but does psoriasis ever get in the way? embrace the chance of 100% clear skin with taltz. up to 90% of those with moderate to severe psoriasis had a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques. most people were still clearer after one year. with taltz, 4 out of 10 even achieved completely clear skin. don't use if you're allergic to taltz. before starting, you should be checked for tuberculosis. taltz may increase risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection, symptoms, or received a vaccine or plan to. inflammatory bowel disease can happen with taltz,
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this afternoon the leaders of the senate intelligence committee led by richard burr of north carolina said the russians wanted to interfere as ordered by vladimir putin. cnn correspondent manu raju joins us from capitol hill. manu, senator burr backing up the intelligence community and breaking with his house counterparts. >> no question about it. the house intelligence committee and republicans are increasingly
isolated in their view disputing central assertion of the intelligence community assessment that vladimir putin orchestrated a campaign in 2016 with the express intention of elected donald trump president. richard bur issued a statement with mark warner backing up the intelligence committee finding saying we see no reason to dispute the conclusions of the 2017 assessment. and i talked to a number of other top republicans on the senate intelligence committee, john cornyn and james langford and senator collins of maine all agreed with the intelligence committee assessment and at the same time, house republicans on that committee are still standing by their assertion to dispute the key premise but it seems they are alone in that view for now. >> and the senate judiciary committee released thousands of pages of transcripts about the trump tower meeting and apparently democrats are still not happy. why not? >> reporter: that is right.
they say not enough was investigated. five of the participants were interviewed and one of the people not interviewed was jared kushner, the president's son-in-law and as well as the -- donald trump jr. did not turn over key documents to the committee, including how the 2017 statement from the white house was put together disputing -- that misleading about what the meeting was about. now when i talked to democrats about it, they said there is more to look into. >> my impression from watching donald trump jr. in that meeting is that he abated and contradicted himself in many of his answers. i have no confidence that he has told the whole truth. >> i'm deeply disappointed that the judiciary committee on a bipartisan basis did not issue relevant subpoenas. i think we're retreating from the field and not asking obvious questions. >> reporter: and one of the obvious questions is whether there was communications between
president trump and donald trump jr. ahead of the 2016 meeting and there was one phone call and that number was blocked out and it is uncertain if that was president donald trump and donald trump junior didn't know if that conversation was with him. >> let's talk about the phone call with the panel. so trump jr. made a 11 minute phone call that was blocked after setting up the meeting with the russian government lawyer. trump jr. testified he didn't remember who he called during the 11-minute call and cory l u lewandowski said president trump's home number was a blocked number. a lot of people have blocked numbers. that doesn't mean anything. asked if his dad has a blocked number and trump jr. said he didn't know, which is interesting if you say about your dad's phone number. do you find this credible?
>> no. because i think this meeting had significance and i think donald trump is a micro manager and i think they were in close communication. in the transcript don jr. testified he called two other blocked numbers and revealed, those were paul manafort and jared kushner. so that leaves one more open. i believe investigators know who that number would be and gave him the chance to say who he spoke with. and that will be revealed, i believe that don jr. will have to go before a senate hearing at some point because there are so many contradictions, so many unanswered questions and this is going to have to get back to jared kushner at some point. he was in that meeting and the thing that was moat stunning about the transcripts was how don jr. revealed there is no fire wall between the campaign and the trump organization. everything was completely mixed together. and so this investigation is most certainly going into the trump organization and jared kushner was another person who had one foot in the campaign and one foot in the business. >> angela, do you think this is
a winning strategy for the democrats to focus on these hearings as opposed to other issues, the rust belt and jobs and health care. it doesn't seem clear to me that even if this -- it is important to investigative this when it comes to the midterms and 2020, this is going to bear democrats any fruit. >> jake, with what is so challenging is -- i don't think that i have personally even shaken the trauma associated with the 2016 election. so there is something about gaslighting that just makes you want to get to the bottom -- >> i could tell you more about that. >> she has a book about gaslighting. >> shameless plug and i'm glad you took that opportunity. it is a good one. my reality is from garnering more supports for an agenda, no, it does anything. but i think it is inherent for what has to happen from a historical standpoint from protect a democracy with still -- still a long way to go
to be representative of all people in this country. they have to get to the bottom of it. i hope that democrats will learn to walk and chew gum at the same time because it is imperative. not just for this election. >> and i want read more from the testimony because i do think there are credibility issues in terms of what you believe. here is an skperp. question. "the washington post" since reported that your farther was involved in drafting your -- the july 8th meeting and i don't know. i don't know. i never spoke to my father about it. question, to the best of your knowledge did the president provide other input -- he may have commented through hope hicks and do you know if his comments were incorporated into the final statement. trump jr., i believe some may have been but there was an effort through lots of people and counsel and did you ask him and i chose not to speak to him because i didn't want to bring him into something he had
nothing to do with. the idea he doesn't know if his dad was involved in drafting that statement and he never spoke to his father about it, i don't know that i find that credible. >> again, i believe don jr. in this case. there is a lot of lawyers and layers and people. hope was a fixture at the president's side and other folks were during the campaign. so what don said is a credible scenario. >> could we rewind just a second. because the -- that statement, the first statement drafted was a lie. >> a lie. that the trump tower meeting was -- >> because it was a lie. and don jr. was asked about that in the transcripts and the best explanation that he could come up with about why they lied is that he said, well i was asked if i ever met russian officials and so he tried to draw a distinction between russian people and -- and that is not credible and so there is questions why did you lie that aren't answered. >> and also an issue because this is an administration that coined the term alternative
facts and regularly calls real news fake news. donald trump jr. is a part of that and so that goes to credibility. >> i think he's trying to be technical and precise. it is a legal proceeding, he doesn't want to get in trouble. >> stick around. we have more to talk about. the white house is responding after north korea is back ago way from the upcoming nuclear summit with president trump and what is president trump's next move. stay with us. see that's funny, i thought you traded options. i'm not really a wall street guy. what's the hesitation? eh, it just feels too complicated, you know? well sure, at first, but jj can help you with that. jj, will you break it down for this gentleman? hey, ian. you know, at td ameritrade, we can walk you through your options trades step by step until you're comfortable. i could be up for that. that's taking options trading from wall st. to main st. hey guys, wanna play some pool? eh, i'm not really a pool guy.
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sarah huckabee-sanders said the white house fully expected a move like this from north korea. is that what you were being told behind the scenes, that this really was fragile and could fall apart at any moment. >> reporter: not exactly, jake. and last night white house officials were sent scrambling when north korea made this threat to pull out of the summit, trying to figure out if it was a real threat or empty one but -- but today the president offering two words. we'll see. the big summit between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un now a big question mark. [ inaudible ]. >> after the north korean's threatened to skap the meeting if the u.s. insisted on nuclear abandonment and the president offering a measured response today -- >> we'll have to see -- we haven't seen anything, we haven't heard anything. >> asked if he'll insist on the
zee nuclearization of the korean peninsula, trump said -- the white house insisting that they fully expected something like this from the unpredictable regime. >> we know this is kind of a -- a standard function that could often happen. and we're not surprised by it. but we're going to continue moving forward. >> reporter: the sources say the surprise announcement sent white house officials scrambling. >> it is not getting ahead of ourselves, this news just came out and we need to verify and get additional information. >> reporter: the anticipation for the summit has been building for weeks. >> i'll be meeting with kim jong-un to pursue a future of peace and security for the world, for the whole world. >> reporter: a top north korean official singling out trump's national security adviser john bolton writing, we shed light on the quality of bolton already in the past and we do not hide our feeling of repug nance toward him. after he said libya could serve as a role model for disarming
north korea. >> we have very much in mind the libya model from 2003 and 2004 and there are differences, the program was much smaller, but that is basically the agreement that we made. >> reporter: in that case, after agreeing to disarm, gadhafi was overthrown and killed several years later. the north koreans also protesting joint military exercises between south korea and the u.s. complaining they are ruining the diplomatic mood. >> if they want to meet, the president will be ready and the president will be prepared and if not, that is okay. >> she said if the meeting does get called off, the u.s. will continue the maximum pressure campaign but the bottom line is north korea does not like the u.s. insistence they have to denuclearize and the president said he's not budging. someone will have to give here. >> kaitlin collins at the white house. thank you. we've seen this playbook before. is north korea threat to cancel the summit with president trump
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in our world lead, after north korea threatened to withdraw from talks, president trump is saying of the potential summit, maybe it will happen and maybe it won't but north korea experts say based on prior actions, the white house should have seen this coming. barbara starr reports. >> i think we're looking at the libya model of 2003, 2004. >> reporter: that statement from john bolton sent alarm bells to north korean leader kim jong-un who the cia has long thought is only worried about his own survival. kim knowing full well the fate of libyan leader qadhafi killed by rebels after he gave up weapons of mass destruction for sanctions relief. pyongyang now quickly returning to the classic north korean style of provocation and demand,
threatening to walk away from the historic trump-kim summit. a top north korean official called bolton's comments a sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of libya or iraq. >> we shouldn't be surprised. this is not an uncommon tactic for north korea and something kim jong-un's father would do in the run-up to a major dialogue or event to all of a sudden to throw road blocks or obstacles or even just to try to renegotiate a better lot for himself at the table or at the event. >> reporter: the administration is playing a wait and see strategy. >> we haven't seen anything. we haven't heard anything. we will see what happens. >> reporter: some experts questioning if kim trying to exert leverage over trump may have overplayed his hand. >> i was a little bit surprised by it occurring this time. because it doesn't make sense from north korea's point of view -- they had created this euphoria in the south, this love
of the north and they turn around and i think they're going to lose a lot of support. >> reporter: so the question now is kim jong-un bluffing, is he playing donald trump at his own game in trying to make the best deal he can. jake. >> barbara starr at the pentagon. thanks so much. my panel back with me. you heard john bolton mention the libya model which apparently rubbed north korea the wrong way. to that, north korea responded -- it is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of libya and went on to say, the world knows too well our country is not libya or iraq that met a miserable fate. a mistake given that qadhafi was massacred and the country is ripped apart. >> he didn't get the memo -- >> where was zito when they need him. >> and obviously they are overly sensitive and john bolton was
there, the architect of the libya model and he admitted on the show there they weren't exactly an apples to apples comparison and i think the north koreans are over reacting on that. >> and listen to sarah sanders asked about this libya model from john bolton earlier today. >> i haven't seen that as part of any discussions. so i'm not aware that that -- that is a model that we're using. >> is that a administration policy currently, there will be a model. >> look, this is the president trump model. he'll run this the way he sees fit. >> trying to walk it back but is that enough? does the trump administration need to do more to make it clear, look, we weren't talking about we want to see your country look like libya when this is all over. >> this is a tough sell. because you say they're being overly sensitive, i don't know a human being on this planet wouldn't be compared to what happened in libya, it was disruptive and it was horrible. >> i think they're talking about
denuclearize is. >> but the realize is we know this is a sound bite kupture, not just here in the united states but globally they hear and the reality is you will get defensive when you know people were brutally killed. >> and one of the issues, amanda, is when you are kim jong-un and i know it is tough for us to identify with kim jong-un, but when you are kim jong-un and look at libya and qadhafi and think he gave away his arms and look at what happened. he got ripped apart by his own people and his country is a hell hole and then you look at iran, president trump walked away from a nuclear agreement. again, i'm not trying to identify from kim jong-un but from their perspective to try to be fair, maybe the united states, if they want the summit to happen, needs to be more careful. >> don't we as americans also need to know what we're getting into. >> sure. >> the north korean perspective is important and that is playing out. but i want to know what we're getting out of the deal. but what worries me i don't think the trump administration is in control of events. it seems the north koreans are dictating the terms of the agreement in this meeting right
now. i'm not sure what trump is asking for. i see that the north koreans have got a meeting. i see they may humiliate the americans by walking away from the meeting. i have yet to see what the greatest deal maker will get for the u.s. >> don't think anybody is getting humiliated if this doesn't take place. north korea has played lucy moving the football on numerous occasions. i don't think anybody is getting hume ill ated and i think he is looking out for the american best interest and the denuclearization and the chinese will be involved and a lot of parties involved and this president cut the deal and there is other moving parts with the zte comments so a lost things at play. >> angela, listen to president trump who is boastful about how he managed the north korean threat as opposed to obama, bush, clinton, et cetera. >> i started a process and when i did everybody thought i was doing it absolutely wrong. but in the meantime for 25 years
people have been dealing and nothing happened and a lot is happening right now. can i tell you that, jeff. a lot is happening. and think it is going it be very positive. >> so a couple of things. i think -- i remember during the campaign when he was asked about leaders, world leaders he admired and respeskted, kim jong-un was one of them. this is -- this is a problem. this is something that he admired for potential bullying behavior and he identified with this person. and it is also interesting to note he hasn't taken him at his word. he's constantly moved the ball -- >> who moved the ball. >> kim jong-un. and with other administrations. and so i'm saying why would you think it would be different. he's so trying to caught up to differentiate himself from president obama he doesn't believe that an apple is a apple and a fact is a fact. >> and if president trump doesn't get a summit but got the three hostages back. that is not such a horrible thing. >> without a -- without a doubt.
but we should root for president trump but let's not forget otto warmbier and i'm happy the hostages came home but i question the judgment when he jumps in the camera shot at 3:00 a.m. and is he looking out to the united states or his own personal legacy. >> listen, we have the north koreans that are talking and not lobbing missiles across the sea of japan across our allies. it is a huge win. >> we are all hoping for the best. and firing rex tillerson and sharing how he really feels about the current political environment, is he talking to anyone in particular. stay with us.
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rather pointed comments at a commencement ceremony by fired secretary of state rex tillerson who condemned leaders lying and a public starting to accept alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts. >> the responsibility of every american citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not. what a fact is, and is not. >> do you think he was specifically think being anybody in particular. >> i think he might have. i think that now the cnn commercial should just sub in that moment -- >> an apple is an apple. >> an apple is an apple. and i think what is frustrating to me is that it takes folks for them to leave to acknowledge the truth and i think real protectors of the democracy don't wait until they are free of the position or ties to the administration to tell the truth. if that was the truth then -- or it is the truth now and it is the truth then so you should
have spoke up. >> and here is the truth about rex tillerson. he took the finest diplomatic core in the korld and ground into obscurity as his 15 months as secretary of state. and mike pompeo, the first day on the job put swagger back into the diplomatic core. it will yield a lot of fruit here for the united states moving forward. i think in korea, on the korean peninsula and iran and secretary tillerson it sounds like sour grapes, as angela said, if you think it is the truth now, why didn't you speak then and it sounds like somebody got fired and is unhappy about it. >> but did you interpret this as a direct shot at president trump. >> yeah i am. but i'm upset. why did you pull the punch? what are you talking about. you are former secretary of state accusing the president of lying. >> i would like to know what you are lying about. is it north korea negotiations, iran or russia? what is it.
so i would like him to do a follow up interview because he's speaking to military graduates. >> this is at vmi. >> and these people will likely have a career minute military and may not have a chance to question their commander-in-chief in order to go out and perform a certain task and so rex -- if there is lives you felt compelled to speak about, come back and tell us what they were. >> it would be amazing for the judiciary committee to say we have enough for you to come back and testify before the committee. that would be great to see. >> but do you think he didn't call out president trump while he was in office and didn't call him out by name, this is not as powerful? >> of course it is not as powerful. the reality of it is it is another example of a presidential appointee lacking real courage and this is not something that -- that is a partisan witch hunt. there is a difference between a investigation and to amanda's
point, if there are things you need to know, and then we need to know. >> and i'm sitting on the set of the state of the union and you asked -- >> when he reportedly called president trump a moron and he couldn't confirm or deny it. >> and he asked him if somebody had reported he'd been castrated or something to those effects and he said, no, i checked this morning. he's pretty full of vigor and confidence back then and i'm wondering what happened. >> stick around. what were russians hoping to get out of the meeting at trump tower. that is ahead. stay with us. i feel a great deal of urgency...
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well that is all of the time we have. i would like to invite you to follow me on facebook or twitter at jake tapper. tweet the shough at "the lead," cnn and we read them. pick up a copy of the new book "the hellfire club" on amazon. that is it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. ethics disclosure. president trump acknowledges he paid back his lawyer and fixer who paid hush money to stormy daniels. why is his thdisclosure turned over to the justice department for further inquiry. no doubt. senate intelligence committee leaders say there is no doubt russia took unprecedented steps to interfere in the u.s. presidential election in a move to help donald trump as the fbi director said the russia investigation is not a witch hunt. looking for dirt. a senate committee releases stunning