Transcript

Conway: DC dropped everything for Comey, Trump kept working

Special counselor to the president urges people to read lawyer's statement, refuses to comment on possibility of taped White House meetings on 'The Story'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 8, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, the U.K. election polls are indicating a shocking development for British Prime Minister Theresa May, of Conservative Party. Her party could lose if the parliamentary majority is confirmed. It would be a huge blow for Prime Minister May who called the snap election in April, and the whole idea was that she would pick up an even greater majority heading into the Brexit future for the United Kingdom.

So, this vote could trigger, what's called a hung parliament, which could plunge the United Kingdom into political uncertainty during a time when they have too much of that already. The news of this exit poll information has sent the British town tumbling. We'll get you more on this as we get it throughout the show tonight. And good evening from Washington, D.C., the only place where you will ever see the particular brand of drama that we witnessed today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR: The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray. That it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.

SEN. RICHARD BURR, R-NORTH CAROLINA: Do you have any doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections?

COMEY: None.

BURR: Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?

COMEY: No.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLORIDA: Do you ever wonder why of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that's never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known for weeks?

COMEY: I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: James Comey and President Trump, who although not in the room, went mano-a-mano in a very fierce he said, he said kind of battle today. The president, so far, staying silent, letting his lawyer do most of the talking and the counterpunching. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARC KASOWITZ, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: The president never informed or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stops investigating anyone. The president also never told Mr. Comey I need loyalty, I expect loyalty. He never said it in form, and he never said it in substance. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Well, fascinating stuff today. Paul Ryan argued that the President's alleged request to lift the cloud, was basically a rookie error.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: The president's new at this. He's new to government. And so, he probably wasn't steeped in the long-running protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White House's. He's just new to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: Here to respond live from our bureau in Washington, D.C., is Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the president. Kellyanne, thank you for being here today.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

MACCALLUM: So, did the president watch this testimony live today?

CONWAY: So, today the White House is business as usual. The president hosted his usual array of meetings. He had the White House infrastructure summit and a couple of senior staffers accompanying him to the Faith and Freedom Conference where he received multiple standing ovations for standing up for religious liberty, for even talking about--

MACCALLUM: So, he did not watch at all?

CONWAY: He's aware of the testimony. He had a lot of meetings this morning with his team: Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson, General McMaster, also attended a couple of private policy meetings. So he, of course, every single day is doing something at that White House to move his agenda forward, and today was no different. I do want to make the case to everyone that whereas Washington said it was just going to shut down, literally, people took the day off from work to watch this.

The president did not. He worked for the American people, on infrastructure. He has committed at least $200 million, and probably upwards of a trillion dollars for this public-private partnership to restore our crumbling bridges and roads. And also, to make a more modern, better run, more accessible, less hassle, more hassle-free, I should say, airline system. That people will spend less time on the tarmac, we'll have a safer and a more sure system that affects all travelers. And in fact, that's a nonpartisan issue; it will be great to have some bipartisan support on things like infrastructure.

MACCALLUM: So, just to get back to his reaction to all of this, though. And I understand that business went ahead as usual. He had a lot of meetings today, and he wants, very much, to keep the agenda moving forward as doing everything they can to do that. Nonetheless, this testimony was significant today. What was his response to the things that he did hear from it or the pieces of it that he did see?

CONWAY: Well, at the White House we've been referring everyone, Martha, to his private lawyer: Marc Kasowitz. And today, I'm happy to report, and ask you, I can actually refer you to Marc Kasowitz, the president's private lawyer's statement. And you ran some of it then, I really would tell the public, if you want to see the full statement from Marc Kasowitz, go ahead and pull it up, it's on. I'm sure you can access it publicly, if not through the White House Web site. And it's an important statement because it reflects the president's opinion, it reflects his lawyer's characterization of this particular testimony. But I think it's important, because, you know, this were like a classic legal case: you'd have one side going than the other side. That's not how Congressional testimony works. The other side does not respond. So, it's very important that Marc Kasowitz responded and he said--

MACCALLUM: When he did respond, he responded to two very specific things. He said the president never said, you know, I hope we can get past this with regard to the Comey testimony. And he also said that the president never asked Jim Comey for a pledge of loyalty.

So, now, you have a situation where Jim Comey says he wrote the copious notes, he has declared what he says happened in the room. We heard Marc Kasowitz, the statement that you referred to, saying what the president's recollection of all of that was. So, you know, today, we heard Jim Comey say, Lordy, I hope that there are tapes. So, are there tapes of these discussions of the president and Jim Comey?

CONWAY: I can't comment on that. But I would really "everybody is going to look at Jim Comey send some issue, also look at Marc Kasowitz' statement. I think that's important in this case. The other thing that I would just mention is that--

MACCALLUM: Why can't you comment on whether or not there are tapes?

CONWAY: Because I can't comment. And I work in the White House.

MACCALLUM: But if there are no tapes, then, wouldn't you just say that there are no tapes?

CONWAY: I can't comment on that. And actually, the president, himself, has said he won't comment any further on that.

MACCALLUM: All right. In terms of the agenda, you know, given everything that's going on with this testimony that we say today, what's the White House's plan in terms of, you know, the next few weeks? Because, obviously, you'd love to head into the fourth of July with other things to point to, and say, you know, we're getting somewhere in health care, in the Senate, what's your plan for the next few weeks?

CONWAY: Sure. Thanks for asking, Martha, because, you know, my grievance is just not just bias media coverage. I think that's for Americans to see if you want to find it. We're seeing a lot it on the last couple days, in fact. My grievance is always incomplete coverage, so thanks for at least giving us a platform to talk about all of the other issues.

MACCALLUM: The American people do care about all of these things. And a lot of them are frustrated with the lack of, you know, things that they can actually look at as achievement so far from the White House, so what can they expect?

CONWAY: Pardon me. So, yesterday, the president went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and he had around him people who are actual victims of ObamaCare. Reminding us why it's so important to get rid of this plan that did not help all Americans as said it would help. And you see these ObamaCare victims; you realize the importance of having increased quality, increase access, lower prices.

Some people have the worst possible outcome, when they came to ObamaCare they had this health insurance card that they legally could not use because the premiums were so high; they couldn't afford to use it. And so, health care is moving apace in the Senate. Leader McConnell and his team feel very confident that they will be able to get a vote on sometime soon, and that packages moving forward.

MACCALLUM: Sometime soon, meaning? I know he met with leadership the other day at the White House, so sometime over the course of the summer you expected?

CONWAY: It'll be this summer, before the August recess. But you know, we've been living with ObamaCare for a really long time" seven years. And it takes a long time to turn, you know, a sinking battleship. But that aside, this is called infrastructure and jobs month, so the president will continue to go on the road and take his case directly to the people, continue to announce on special projects. Just today, he met with governors; municipal leaders like mayors, and also tribal leaders.

China instituted this public-private partnership for infrastructure, why? Because if they just move the money from the federal government to the state government, we're just moving the funding source. What he's trying to do is spur that innovation and that investment closer to home. So, that saying, just hypothetically, the federal government provides 20 percent of the funding. You're encouraging to get the other 80 percent through that private piece. And you're encouraging those mayors and the governors, and those tribal leaders, Martha, who are closer to those who will invest the money, who will create the jobs, so we'll execute and complete the projects. It is very exciting, actually.

This is called stimulus under President Obama, a fraction I've read ten percent of the money actually made it to infrastructure. At the rest just goes in these big black hole programs in Washington, D.C., that aren't "don't really fix those roads and bridges, don't build things "they don't build things anymore. He and Secretary Elaine Chao tomorrow, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chow, tomorrow, will have roads and rails recovering infrastructure announcement, after Department of Transportation. People should really tune into and listen to that because it affects every single person in this country as they try to move from point A to point B in a more seamless safer way.

MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, the president said today he's under siege. What does he tell all of you at the White House in terms of how to deal with what is simply not going away anytime soon?

CONWAY: Well, we're dealing with the agenda. I mean, I'm just one person there. And I was in six different policy meetings today including a few with him and a few with the Vice President. So, we're just plotting forward, and in addition, the other items are the budget, a spending, and certainly tax reform. You've heard Secretary Mnuchin, DeVos, and Director Cohn, they put the principals out there. By law, the Senate has to score through the CBO, you know, its plan before you go forward with the health care plan; before you go forward with the tax plan. This calendar year, possibly after the August recess. I don't think the calendar is as important as the principles that are laid out. And we as a nation.

MACCALLUM: So, so much an inspirational message from him to you guys. But just keep on your work.

CONWAY: But you know, we don't need inspiration because nobody there is what the reports say we are, which staff shakeup, where is that? We've been hearing this for four and a half, we've been hearing this for four and half months, it's completely ridiculous. The president continues to move forward with his team every single da. On behalf of the American people, I know are watching. And more importantly, everybody who is supposed to be, allegedly in the doghouse, still works in the White House. And I want everybody to really focus on that.

MACCALLUM: Including Jeff Sessions, he's not going anywhere anytime soon, right?

CONWAY: Well, and the president has confidence in people who work with for him. And it's very simple. Just as everybody around here assumes that their bosses have confidence in them because they're working here. But I also just wanted to mention that we as a country, every year, we spent about 7 billion hours and $250 billion complying with the tax code. That just has to stop. We have to simplify, and modernize, and make it fair for small business owners and unleash that investment. He's also doing a lot on energy, so it's just a very exciting time. If people would focus beyond the silly, unsoundly gossip and who's testifying on which day, and really focus on the real people impact.

MACCALLUM: Kellyanne Conway, thank you for stopping by with us. Have a good night.

CONWAY: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: That was a few minutes earlier up here on the roof. Joining me now with more: Marc Thiessen, who served as Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush and is a Fox News Contributor; and Zac Petkanas, former Senior DNC Advisor. Zac, let me start with you. You watch the testimony today, obviously, the White House wants to get back to the agenda, but obviously what happened today was an important, big deal.

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR DNC ADVISOR: It was a huge deal. And I think it was a really bad day for the White House for a couple of reasons. The first is that James Comey came out and said that he believes that the reason that he was fired was because Donald Trump wanted to change the trajectory, change the direction of the Russian investigation. That is a huge admission and a big, big problem for this White House.

And the second thing that's going to be a problem for this White House in the long term is that people are saying right now that, well, he said that Donald Trump wasn't under investigation when he was asked, and that's true. But what he did, suggest very strongly, and some are saying that it's actually a confirmation that he is currently under investigation because of obstruction of justice. In fact, he did, and actually, does corroborate--

MACCALLUM: But what he said was, but what he said was, because I'm no longer there, I can't talk. I can't speak to now because I don't work there anymore. But I can confirm that he was never under any investigation.

PETKANAS: What he actually said is that "that's a conclusion, I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense. He was talking about obstruction of justice, and that's corroborated by the fact that of what
McCabe said yesterday in the testimony that said, that is either part of a criminal investigation or likely to become part of a criminal investigation, the conversation between the president of the United States and Mr. Comey. So, this is not good news for the White House today.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SPEECHWRITER: Good grief. I mean, it's just, the whole point of this exercise was that Donald Trump somehow colluded with Vladimir Putin to steal our election from the American people. And that's been, Comey blew that out of the water today. He has, he said, Donald Trump said, several times. If I could, CNN headline, yesterday and Brit Hume tweeted out in testimony, Comey will dispute President Trump's blanket claim that he was told that he wasn't under investigation. _

In fact, the headline if anybody is honest is going to be: Comey confirms that Donald Trump is not under investigation and that he did not interfere with the Russian probe, at all. All these discussions about Flynn investigation which Comey testified today, is completely separate from the Russia investigation. And you just move seamlessly from one thing to the next, why do you do that?

PETKANAS: I mean, one: that's absolutely not true. What he did confirm is that there is an investigation into the campaign. The campaign then is led by Donald Trump.

THIESSEN: No. Donald Trump is not under investigation. Will you say it with me? Donald Trump is not under investigation.

PETKANAS: What he said is that Donald Trump was not under investigation at the time. No. I mean, but that is, point me to the place where he said that Donald Trump is currently not under investigation? Point me to that place in the testimony?

THIESSEN: At the point "

PETKANAS: No.

MACCALLUM: It's several times.

THIESSEN: He pleads.

PETKANAS: He did not say that he is not currently under investigation; he said he was not under investigation at the time he was at.

MACCALLUM: Well, he said, I got fired. I don't have the job anymore, so I can't speak to the period that happened after I left. That's just a logical conclusion to me. But let me ask you this, politically, you know, you look at, there are two ways to look at this; very clearly laid out by both of you. Do you think that this I going to " are Democrats going to continue to, sort of, make this the focus of every living, breathing a breath that they have? Or are they willing to get involved in the kind of things that Kellyanne was just talking about like infrastructure, and tax reform, and to try to get something else done?

PETKANAS: Look, our candidates are going out there and they're talking about health care, and the disastrous Republican plan to take away health care from 24 million Americans. However, the Russia investigation remains even a very important piece about what we need to do to protect our republic and to protect our democracy from foreign interference. And that is going to be, that is going to continue.

MACCALLUM: That's a little time they spent discussing the larger picture of what you just said.

THIESSEN: That's exactly right. So, this is what's so destructive about what Zac and some of the Democrats are doing with this is that we didn't fact, that the Russians didn't try to interfere our investigation. They want to sow chaos and confusion and undermine the legitimacy of our government, and all the people who are trying to use this investigation to undermine Donald Trump are, in fact, inadvertently colluding with the Russians to help them do that. So, they should stop.

MACCALLUM: All right. I got to leave it there. Thank you, guys. Zac and Marc, good to see you both. So, breaking tonight, we are watching what is turning out to be a shocking election in the United Kingdom tonight. Exit polls show British Prime Minister, Theresa May, could lose the parliamentary majority that she has; a live report coming up on that. But first, one of the most talked about moments from today: the revelation that the former FBI Director leaked information, personally, to the press. So, did he break the law given that those were federal documents? Senator James Risch, and Constitutional Law Attorney: Jonathan Turley, up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROY BLUNT, R-MISSOURI: You said after you were dismissed, you gave information to a friend, so that friend could get the information into the public media?

COMEY: Correct.

BLUNT: What kind of information was that? What kind of information did you give to a friend?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So the question is did he, or didn't he commit obstruction of justice? It's the million-dollar question that seems to remain unanswered tonight about President Trump after hours of detailed testimony from fired FBI Director, James Comey. Our next guest drilled down hard for an answer to that question today and is now one of the most talked about exchanges that happen this morning. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES RISCH, R-IDAHO: He did not direct you to let it go?

COMEY: Not in his words, no.

RISCH: He did not order you to let it go?

COMEY: Again, those words are not in order.

RISCH: He said, I hope. _ Now, like me you probably did hundreds of cases, may be thousands of cases charging people with criminal offenses, and of course, you have knowledge of the thousands of cases out there where people have been charged. Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, or for that matter, any other criminal offense where they said or thought that they hoped for an outcome?

COMEY: I don't know well enough to answer. And the reason I keep saying his words is: I took it as a direction. This is the president of the United States with me alone saying, I hope this. I took this as this is what he wants me to do. I didn't obey that, but that's the way I took it.

RISCH: You may have taken this a direction, but that's not what he said.

COMEY: Correct. That's right.

RISCH: He said, I hope.

COMEY: Those were the words, correct.

RISCH: You don't know of anyone that's ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?

COMEY: I don't, as I sit here.

MACCALLUM: Here now, Idaho Republican, Senator James Risch, good to see you tonight, sir.

RISCH: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: He is saying that the way that he interpreted it was that he was getting a lot of pressure put on him in that moment. And you're saying that what really matters, only are the words themselves.

RISCH: Well, look, the president said words; words matter. Jim Comey sitting there, Jim is a lawyer. He's a good wordsmith. If you look at the documents that he put out for us, the seven pages, he was very explicit. He was exacting in his language. The president said he hoped for an outcome. Now, Mr. Comey said, and Mr. Comey's a good lawyer, that he took it a different way. Look, this is a big leak, this is not, this can't mushy. If he thought the president meant something different than what he actually said, he should have said, well, Mr. President, exactly what you mean? Or Mr. President, are you telling me I should do this? You can't just sit and let this mush up. I mean, this is a, this is very specific--

MACCALLUM: And when he went home that night, you know, he perhaps would have made this choice to go talk to someone about it. He talked to, I don't understand why, why were Jeff Sessions left out of the loop on all of this, do you think, his boss?

RISCH: Well, Jim Comey had to do more than what he did if indeed he believed that the president was giving him some direction that was different than what his words were.

MACCALLUM: Do you believe that he is under an ongoing obstruction of justice investigation as our last guest just said was established today is that what hear?

RISCH: Well, I sure, didn't hear that. I mean, you've got an expert next to talk about obstruction of justice. I'm a prosecutor. I've prosecuted lots and lots of cases. You can't prosecute somebody for hoping something. It just does not work. I've never heard of a case like that.

MACCALLUM: What about the fact that James Comey today admitted to leaking information which was his notes, which as I understand it became federal documents because they're written as an account between the FBI Director and the president of the United States?

RISCH: Well, it should've been done that way. If Mr. Comey wanted to put those out, he should've put out a press release and put them out. Kudos to him for admitting that he did it but should've been done in a different way and there's no question about that.

MACCALLUM: Does it raise questions in your mind about whether or not he was behind other leaks?

RISCH: No, not really. I can't go that far with it. And Martha, look, what's lost here on a lot of this is, this is just a slice of what our Intelligence Committee is doing. We have a bipartisan committee, Republicans and Democrats who understand how serious this matter is of the Russian attempts to influence our election. There's a number of us that our prosecutors on there, we've done hundreds of investigations.

This is not unfamiliar ground with us. We're going to take this to where ever the facts lead. And we're going to write a report. We are going to tell the American people what the Russians did. And we're going to talk about how we can do something about this and fix it, and make sure that it does not happen again.

MACCALLUM: Senator Risch, thank you very much and happy anniversary. Happy 49th anniversary to the Rischs. Thank you very much, sir.

RISCH: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

MACCALLUM: All right. Here with more: Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law Attorney and Law Professor at George Washington University, joins us as well up here on the rooftop. Thanks for being here tonight, Jonathan. I want to play a little bit of sound as we dig in here. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLUNT: Do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way, for Mike Flynn to save face given he had already been fired?

COMEY: I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I have the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing. Very concerning, but that is a conclusion that I'm sure the special counsel will work towards.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What do you think?

JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: It's not obstruction of justice. It's not even particularly close. Obstruction of justice is a crime, it has elements. The Senator is absolutely correct. There isn't any case that was ever prosecuted on these types of facts. And so, the question is: how significant is it that the president allegedly said these things? It isn't in my view inappropriate for some of these things to have been said if they were said. But we have to distinguish between what is a crime or what's impeachable, and what is bad form? You know, you do not get indicted or impeached because you're, you know, clueless or because you are rude, or because you say unguarded ill-advised things. And so people are"

MACCALLUM: As an American, you have a right to be rude and say unguarded things, right?

TURLEY: Well, so, the problem with the obstruction argument is that it does not fit the code. There's no evidence that there was an attempt to obstruct an actual pending proceeding. There's no evidence of this conduct that would constitute what's called corruptly influencing a proceeding. And so, when you hear these types of issues of "you know, as the Senator said, what were his precise words? Words do matter because words are what constitute the elements of crimes. Those elements aren't here.

MACCALLUM: What about the dinner description of, you know, I need your loyalty, I would like your loyalty. He describes it almost as a sort of, you know, Tony Soprano, as mentioned before kind of moment, where he says, you know, it's very clear to me what he was trying to do. He's trying to put the screws to me on this.

TURLEY: Even if that is true, sounding like Tony Soprano does not make you Tony Soprano. And I'm sure that the president will say that he was meaning something different. As a criminal defense attorney, it seems to me rather obvious what he might've been talking about. I mean, the president at that point, was being pummeled by leaks. There were people in the administration that still are, who are leaking information against this administration, is having a big impact.

MACCALLUM: Were you concerned about the leak, by the way, that James Comey admitted today?

TURLEY: I'm very concerned about it. The thing is, I'm not too sure why this has gone to the wayside. There's a strong argument to be made that those memos are government documents. He wrote the memo on an FBI computer in the course of his service as FBI Director about a matter under his jurisdiction. To say that that is somehow like a diary entry.

MACCALLUM: The irony of this is when you look back at the Hillary Clinton investigation is very rich. I mean, to say that everything that transpired on that server which was outside of her domain is government property because she did it as, you know, Secretary of State, and was removing these government documents to this exposed place. Which was something he was deeply involved in, and then argues that these notes don't fall under that seems odd.

TURLEY: Well, that's the question I think for James Comey. Is the rule that you would apply to all FBI agents? If they simply write something on a government computer to themselves, it becomes their property? And even if it were, why would you have to then give it to a professor to get to the media? I think it raises very significant ethical problems. I think it violates department regulations. It can even be a federal offense.

MACCALLUM: Jonathan Turley, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight. So, when we come back, Democratic Congressman, Eric Swalwell; and former Assistant Director to the FBI, Ron Hosko are here on what is next for this Russia investigation when we come back on the rooftop in D.C., with more with "The Story."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIFORNIA: Why do you believe that you were fired?

COMEY: I don't know for sure. I believe, I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, the leaks are one of the main headlines that came out today's testimony by former FBI director James Comey. President Trump denounced leaks left and right. But tonight, there are some new questions swirling about what info was not leaked, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you ever wonder why of all the things in this investigation the only thing that's never been leak is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of congress knew that and have known that for weeks?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I don't know. I find matters that are brief to the gang of eight are pretty tightly held in my experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Here now, Democratic congressman, Eric Swalwell, who sits on the house intelligence committee, and he joins me here. Good to see you this evening. I thought that was a pretty interesting moment because you looked back on the leaks that happened in the New York Times, one of which was that James Comey had been asked to make a loyalty pledge, and then right after that you have the president saying, well, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes, and that was followed up by the memo's. And yet, the one thing that the president kept wanting to get out there, which was can you please let them know that I'm not under investigation, is the only thing that never got leaked.

ERIC SWALWELL, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Maybe he was following Director Comey's advice, which was not to talk about an investigation otherwise the director would have to prove a negative. And so, I think the most damaging thing was that he sought the director's loyalty that.

MACCALLUM: But James Comey was leaking things about the investigation.

SWALWELL: I don't think he was leaking anything.

MACCALLUM: He admitted it today. He said he put his memos out there because I wanted to make sure that people knew my side of the story.

SWALWELL: James Comey was a private citizen when that was disclosed, so as long as he disclosed something that was unclassified I don't think is a problem. He said today after the hearing, as I understand, that he hopes the memos become public, which they should.

MACCALLUM: Interestingly, he said I wanted them to be leaked because I wanted there to be a special prosecutor.

SWALWELL: Well, we certainly should have a special prosecutor and now we do. But, you know, this investigation now is in the hands of Bob Mueller. On the house investigation, we just hope that we can conduct an honest one that makes progress and that is independent, and the president stay out of the way. He has caused more trouble by getting in the way of the FBI's investigation and the house intelligence committee investigation. I hope he learns his lesson and lets us proceed.

MACCALLUM: Why do you think it's unusual that he would want them to speak about the fact that he was not under investigation given the fact that there was, as he said, this cloud hanging over. He wanted to be able to get out of his agenda. Doesn't that seem like a fairly reasonable thing to want? You know, he's been told that three times directly by the FBI director, which he confirmed today, and yet that was the one thing that the FBI director was not willing to help get off of him.

SWALWELL: And the reason Director Comey gave I think was a valid one. And so, the president's team was under investigation, and that's what I think is important here is the timeline. The president learns his team is under investigation at the very latest on March 20, when Director Comey tells Congress that. And then you follow the timeline, Director Comey is called by the president and asked to lift the cloud around the Russia investigation, and then shortly, fired thereafter. I think that dots here connect to Director Comey wouldn't do what the president wanted, and so he was fired.

MACCALLUM: Interesting. You know, he said, I couldn't do it because there then there would be a duty to correct if we reopened or at least open for the first time rather in an investigation to the president.

SWALWELL: We've never done that before, right?

MACCALLUM: Exactly. I mean, you look back at last summer, so you have to ask yourself, why in the one hand is the Clinton investigation, he wanted to protect them from having to get a special prosecutor, and in this case he wanted to turn over information that he hope would lead to that. Doesn't that seem like a double standard?

SWALWELL: Well, maybe the director also evolved and understood what that did to the country, right or wrong. So I wouldn't look too deeply into that.

MACCALLUM: Eric Swalwell, thank you very much.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you here today. So joining me now on my left on the rooftop here is Ron Hosko, former assistant director to the FBI. Ron, you're listening to the conversation, you watched the testimony today, what stands out to you?

RON HOSKO, FBI FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, first, the director's opening commentary, which I thought was very powerful, and talking to the FBI employees, I communicated with a friend who's still, you know, been there for a number of years on the way over here tonight, and she said it moved her to tears. That connected with me, too. The way he was terminated in his ability now to talk to the workforce before this committee. And I think too, that he was preserved. I think he -- this to me was not an over the top presentation. He was very thoughtful and of the senator's questions, and answered them narrowly. He confined his answers in a way that tried to avoid speculation about -- you know, he doesn't know what was in the president's head. He was telling us how he interpreted those comments. So I thought he was subdued, he was somber.

MACCALLUM: When you listen to him take you through those moments where he feels that he's being pressured to see his way clear, to drop an investigation, and yet he doesn't tell anyone that. He doesn't go to Jeff Sessions. He doesn't say to the president in that moment, you know, Mr. President, as Paul Ryan says, I know you're new here to a lot of relationships and how this work in Washington, but you simply cannot even suggest that to me. Why would Jim Comey -- you know, he's a big guy and is been around a long time. Why would he not have the backbone to do that?

HOSKO: Well, you know, he's, today, struggled with that answer. That may be a stronger person or a better person would be able to do it just that way. Again, I'm trying to put myself in Jim Comey's shoes, imagine yourself in that moment in the oval office or sitting in the green room with the president of the United States, and this suddenly comes up, and you're trying to process what is he asking me for here? So I guess I have to give James Comey, having worked for him, my bias is of course with Jim Comey who I have great respect for. I have to give him that space to try and process that in the moment, and we now know what happened in his version.

MACCALLUM: Do you think it's interesting that he wanted -- he said that he wanted to trigger a special prosecutor? What do you make of that?

HOSKO: Well, first, and I'll differ from what your colleague here -- my colleague here. I think on the face of it, was a leak of information by Jim Comey, whether it was a leak of classified, I don't think so. Was it impermissible leak of something that was privilege? I absolutely don't think so. And as a private citizen, I think he was in a position to leak it. But in its purest terms, it was a leak. Why he didn't leak it directly or do it directly? We do not know why he didn't go to a senate leadership person and give it to them, we don't know. But by his understanding of events and his decision, he wanted to trigger a special prosecutor. Frankly, people across this town have been calling for that for weeks before, myself included.

MACCALLUM: Ron, thank you very much.

HOSKO: My pleasure.

MACCALLUM: Always good to have you here. So also breaking tonight, we are watching what's turning out to be a very interesting election in the United Kingdom. Exit polls are showing that British Prime Minister Theresa May could lose this parliamentary majority, a live report coming up. But first, more of the Comey testimony today, Karl Rove and Bill Bennett on the biggest moments as they saw them when we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Did the president ask you what you should be doing or what our government should be doing to protect America against Russian interference in our election?

COMEY: I do not recall a conversation like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you not stop and say, Mr. President, this is wrong? I cannot discuss this with you?

COMEY: It's a great question. Maybe if I was stronger, I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in. And the only thing I could think to say, because I was playing in my mind because I remember every word he said, it was playing in my mind what should my response be? And that's why I very carefully chose the words. And look, I've seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there're tapes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Lordy, I hope there're tapes, he says in the wake of this explosive day on Capitol Hill behind me, for the fired FBI director James Comey, speculation mounting tonight about one defining moment that could go down in history. From today's hearing, what will people be talking about in the years to come? Here now Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, and Bill Bennett, former education secretary, both are Fox News contributors. So we have that moment that we've just watch, Jim Comey sort of self-reflective in that moment thinking about why he did or didn't make a different choice there. And I want to play one other moment, then I will get Bill Bennett to react to both of them because this is the one that he said stood out for him, so let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: The president tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there's not tapes. I woke up in the middle of the night, on Monday night because it didn't dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation that might be a tape, and my judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, Bill Bennett, what do you think?

BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Knock me out of my chair. You know, the president sitting there, talking to him, we know on several occasions talking about leaks and what can we do about these leaks, and Comey is leaking. Comey gets out of the job and leaks. He wants to get in the public square, wakes up in the middle of the night, but he doesn't do it himself, he gets to this Columbia law professor because he's worried about Siegel's here in the press picking at him. It just knocked me out of my chair. Leaks, you know, maybe the only indictable, probably the only indictable offense in all of this. And it turns out that Comey is a leaker. This was an extraordinary moment to me. And I think this will be part of the history when it's written. By the way, can we get rid of this locution about Comey needs to find a space, and spaces, and they're crying at the FBI, what do they need at the FBI? Safe spaces, puppies, rap music, Play-Doh? I mean, come on, let's grow up here. All this self-reflection, all this psychobabble, let's get in the real world. John Turley, your professor is in the real world. And he thinks these leaks may well be a violation of law. I think he's right.

MACCALLUM: Karl, what do you think?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I agree. Frankly, look, the piece of tape that you ran of Comey, I can't make heads or tails of it. It sounds to me like he woke up in the middle of the night saying, how am I going to get my revenge on that SOB in the oval office and decided to leak accordingly. This was a petulant response. The best thing that he should have done, if he was the self-righteous, the only honest man in town that he claims to be, would been to left the president tweet responded to.

MACCALLUM: I thought it was so interesting, Karl -- just back to Karl for one moment, that he said, he was asked during the Bush administration, you wrote a letter of resignation because he felt so strongly about what transpired at the hospital with John Ashcroft, and I don't want to get into that story right now, so why didn't you do the same in this instance if you felt that it was so egregious and you're so concerned about while you were hearing from the president? To Karl and then to Bill.

ROVE: Again, it doesn't make sense. Comey -- I think the only legitimate answer is not that Comey was somehow frightened into inaction by sitting across the table from Donald J. Trump. I think it was -- it never crossed his mind that that was inappropriate. Look, the president is the head of the executed branch. If the president directed him to end a particular investigation, don't investigate Flynn, he would have to say, yes, and if he didn't like it, resigned. Now, create a political problem for the president if he did that, but would not create a legal problem. The director of the FBI is not a completely independent force unto himself. We had a guy like that, his name was J. Edgar Hoover, and he did a lot of things in retrospect because he thought he was completely independent of political control, we're not good.

MACCALLUM: Bill?

BENNETT: Karl is absolutely right, and I'm glad he brought it up. My old professor, Alan Dershowitz, has been writing about this for weeks. He's been going crazy. I heard him on Fox talking about it today. If he had directed -- you know, all these stuff about did he obstruct. Well, you know, the, I hope, language. I hope you'll see clear on Flynn, if he had said throughout the Flynn investigation, that would be perfectly constitutional, perfectly legal, not prudent. And politically, there'd be fallout. But he can do it. Here's the observation I would make. I'd be interested in Karl's reaction. We heard a lot of the I-word today coming up today. I didn't hear it much today at all. I think that the Democrats, and I've watched them on your show and others, are scrambling a little bit. I think they realized they've lost a lot of their case and some of it because of what Comey himself said today.

MACCALLUM: Let me mention just mention that we have John Roberts who's now reporting that Jared Kushner is in discussions to testify in front of the Senate intel committee. Karl, what's your read on why that would be? Why they're going forward with that? He's always said that he would be happy to do that. Interesting that it comes on the heels of what we saw today.

ROVE: Yeah, look, if there's nothing there, it's better for them to get out there and say there's nothing there. To explain what happened in this meeting with the ambassador, to explain what happened with his meeting with the representatives of the BEV, the state-controlled bank that he met with, it's under sanctions from the United States, and transparency in this would be better. As long as it is, A, guided by the lawyers and, B, is done in a fair environment. To pick up just a second on what Bill said. Look, there has to be an element of corruption in order for this to be involved in an obstruction of justice. And what's the corruption in saying, look, I've just fired the guy, he's been completely humiliated, driven out of government, there have to be some element of corruption involved in that. Flynn had money -- got money from the Russians for appearing at this speech in Moscow, and he shared them with Trump. That would have to be something like that.

MACCALLUM: Thank you guys. Bill Bennett, thank you so much. Good to see you tonight. Karl Rove, always a pleasure. Thank you, gentlemen. So coming up tonight at 10:00, Donald Trump, Jr., will join Sean Hannity, and hear what he has to say about Comey's testimony today. That is tonight at 10:00. Look forward with Sean Hannity and Donald Trump, Jr. In the meantime, breaking tonight, the British election is turning to be more of a cliffhanger than expected. We'll go live to London for this big story tonight, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: All right. We are back, and Americans are focused, of course, on the Comey testimony today, but there could be may be a major shift in power happening right now in the United Kingdom. We will go live to Mike Tobin who is in London with more on this tonight. Mike, what's going on?

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS: Well, Martha, if these exit polling numbers prove to be accurate, there's a couple of lessons that the Tories, the conservatives in the Torrie party keep learning the hard way. One is that this antiestablishment passion is not going away. Two, is that there's a downside to risk. They took a risk with the Brexit voting, didn't work out the way the conservative wants. Prime Minister Theresa May took a big gamble calling for this early election, and now according to the exit poll numbers, she has lost her majority. The Labour party, her opponents gained seats, but not enough for a majority either. As a result, The British pound is taking a big hit. It's bouncing back a little bit, but still down considerably.

And make no mistake about it, terrorism did play a role in this apparent outcome. Theresa May went into these thinking it would be a one issue election, it would be all about Brexit, but campaigning was stopped twice because of terrorist bloodshed. That open a door for her opponents, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party to criticize the conservatives for steer measures they say undercut police. Couple that with the fact that Theresa May lacks sizzles on the campaign. She refuses to take part in a debate.

So the way things are working out with 11 days to go before the Brexit negotiations were supposed to begin. Theresa May went in to these hoping to enhance her majority, consolidate her power, and if you believe the exit polls, the plan backfired on her. We expect to get official results sometimes in the wee small hours of the morning. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Huge, huge story. Mike, thank you very much. So joining us now, Mo Elleithee, executive director of the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Policy, he's a Fox News contributor, and is in London with students for the election. Mo, this was supposed to be a way for Theresa May to call an election very early to get a big vote of confidence as they headed into Brexit, and it has completely gone the other way, why do you think that is?

MO ELLEITHEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I mean, that's exactly right. She thought she was going to widen her majority, and the question now is if she can even hold on to it. And by extension, even hold onto her position as prime minister. I think it's a couple of things. I think there is a very much antiestablishment feelings still here on the ground and it shows, and this is a lesson I think we can learn back in the U.S. too. It's non-partisan. It's non-ideological, right? It swung for Brexit last time, now it's against the Tories this time. Anyone is susceptible to it.

She also made a lot of mistakes on the ground. Her whole message has been strong leadership. And she had a lot of missteps in this campaign, a lot of pretty high profile flip-flops on some key issues. She let off her campaign talking about an issue of foxhunting, which is not exactly a top of mind issue for a lot of these working-class voters that supported Brexit. And it turned out to vote tonight.

MACCALLUM: Sorry, let me jump in if I may because I'm just curious, so what happens now? Will she absolutely lose the prime ministership, or it's a hung parliament, just explain to everybody what happens now.

ELLEITHEE: Yeah. So when you've got a multiparty parliamentary system, if one party doesn't have an outright majority, you've got to form a coalition. So that's the first step, if the exit polls hold and the Torrie fall short of the majority. Now there's going to have to be some jockeying and some coalitions to see which party can control the prime ministership. Most people think it's still be the conservatives, but she took a huge hit personally within the conservative party for calling -- for taking this big risk for calling for this early election, that has backfired, or apparently will backfire, and just in the last few minutes, you're beginning to see some serious jockeying from some other leaders within the conservative party like Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary who used to be the mayor of London, very colorful figure, is already making some calls apparently.

MACCALLUM: I've got to leave it there. Thank you so much, Mo Elleithee in London. Thank's for watching, everybody tonight, from D.C. Tucker Carlson is up next with more on today's Comey's testimony. We'll see you tomorrow night.

END

Content and Programming Copyright 2017 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.