Nunes talks McCabe IG report, efforts to get Comey memos

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," April 13, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Thank you, Bret. As you said, it is a busy night. There's a lot going on at 7:00 p.m. on the East Coast and there is a late Friday evening meeting that is still going on at this hour at the White House. All of the senior members of the president's team involved in national security are present. They are currently discussing the options for an attack on Syria and there are reports that General Mattis has urged a more measured approach and that the president and John Bolton may be looking for an option that is "more ruinous" according to The Wall Street Journal to the Assad regime. So, we are watching this situation closely and we will be on it throughout the evening with more as we get it.

Also breaking tonight, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, the lawyer for the president, Michael Cohen, all making news this evening and we expect that we are going to hear more tonight. Rosenstein's job appears safe for now, but the man who fired James Comey, remember that? Says the truth will all come out eventually. He also says he is ready to be fired if that is where this is going. Ed Henry and Catherine Herridge with the breaking news this evening. And also, Chairman Devin Nunes with his first reaction to all of this tonight. We begin with Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry on what the judge has ruled on the president's lawyer for starters. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Martha, you put it all together. Another day of intense legal and political drama for President Trump as he balances the possibility of U.S. air strikes against Syria. On top of that, he lashes out at James Comey over his book calling him a "untruthful slimeball", also going after Andrew McCabe, as you noted, over that long-awaited inspector general report, and the president still having time today to reach out to Michael Cohen -- his longtime personal attorney -- to check in.

The New York Times noting, this is cause new problems for the president, though, since defense attorneys usually tell their clients not to talk to one another during criminal investigations. That call came on today when lawyers representing Cohen and the president were in a Manhattan court room trying to stop the Justice Department from going through the documents and, possibly, audio files seized during a series of FBI raids at Cohen's office and hotel room while his apartment goes through renovations.

Prosecutors also revealed they had already gotten secret search warrants before the raids to go through several of Cohen's e-mail accounts. The prosecutors adding in court papers today "the searches are the result of a months-long investigation into Cohen, and seek evidence of crimes, many of which have nothing to do with his work as an attorney, but rather related to Cohen's own business dealings. That, a suggestion that at least some of these materials might not be protected by any attorney-client privilege between the president and Cohen.

Another lawyer for the president asked the federal judge today to temporarily stop the Justice Department from going through these sensitive materials until it's all gone through carefully and privilege material is held back. Now, it's still unclear what else the FBI obtained in the raids beyond documents tide to the Stormy Daniels matter. So, her lawyer was at this hearing and demanded that as much material as possible be made public, as advisors to the president in charge, this is an overreach, and that all of this shows there are elements within the FBI and Justice Department out to get the president and it proves his point. It's a witch hunt.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY TO STORMY DANIELS: Clearly, Michael Cohen was his longtime attorney and effectively probably knows where all the bodies are buried, as they say. And I think that in the event that Michael Cohen is ultimately charged, that that could pose significant and very, very serious for the problems for the president of the United States.

DAVID BOSSIE, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: There's a lot of confusion within the DOJ and within that investigation. I think they better get their act together because it is -- the American people are starting to wake up to the ridiculousness of this investigation.


HENRY: The man in the crosshairs to the president for not only naming Robert Mueller as Special Counsel but also approving those raids of Michael Cohen's materials is Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General. As source close to him, as you noted, telling Fox News tonight, he does not believe he'll be fired tonight despite all of the speculation. Meanwhile, we've learned that some House Republicans have already drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein which may explains why he has told some of his associates in recent days he's expecting that almost anything can happen in the days to come. Martha.

MACCALLUM: That's always true pretty much every day. Thank you very much, Ed. Other big story that is unfolding tonight, the scathing DOJ inspector general report lays out in great detail why the Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge has been digging through the fine print in all of this; she's live tonight in Washington. Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, key footnote in this report says McCabe argued his account was more credible than his old boss, Director James Comey, because Comey wanted to distance himself from media leaks. McCabe said, he believes the inspector general is also investigating Comey as a leaker. Report also shows text messages continue to be a gold mine for investigators. Texts between McCabe and FBI Lawyer Lisa Page nail down the timeline. Page was reassigned from the Russia probe for political bias.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz concluded, McCabe was angered by a Wall Street Journal report, three weeks before the presidential election, suggesting McCabe had a conflict because his wife received $675,000 from Democrats for a failed 2015 Virginia State Senate race. McCabe authorized FBI Lawyer Lisa Page and the FBI's Public Affairs Chief Michael Kortan to discuss issues relating to the Clinton foundation investigation, including a dramatic phone call between McCabe and the senior Justice Department official.

McCabe's seniority at the bureau gave him the authority to release information if certain conditions were met, but the inspector general found McCabe lied four times, three times under oath and acted for a personal rather than professional reasons. Tweeting this afternoon, President Trump said, McCabe lied multiple times, that McCabe was controlled by his boss, Director Comey, and he claimed there was no daylight between the two men. The White House press secretary put it this way.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I haven't seen the full report, but it sounds like two peas in the pod with McCabe and Comey.
McCabe was fired in disgrace for misconduct and lying about it.


HERRIDGE: In a statement of McCabe's attorney said that "the termination of Mr. McCabe was complete the unjustified and the rush to fire him at the goading of the president was unworthy of the great traditions of the Department of Justice." Martha?

MACCALLUM: Joining me now exclusively, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. Chairman, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for being here. So, there's a lot obviously this evening to tackle, but first to Catherine's report from the inspector general, Mr. McCabe, who was fired. We now know a little bit more about the nature of the leaks here. What did you learn from this report tonight?

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIFORNIA, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I have to congratulate Michael Horowitz for finally finding one of the leakers. We've known for a long time that too much information has been getting out from the FBI and the Department Of justice. So, I congratulate the DOJ and the FBI Mike Horowitz tonight because finally one of the leakers were found, it just happens to be somebody who was right at the top, and there's many more leakers to find.

MACCALLUM: It's very interesting when you go through this report and you read a number of the subject lines are reports in The Wall Street Journal, and then it breaks down exactly what was leaked to The Wall Street Journal and what the inspector general found. It says, "According to a person familiar with the probes, on August 12th, a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton foundation probe during the election season." Now, it turns out that McCabe is basically talking about himself; he's the person who was familiar with the story who calls to talk about himself, right?

NUNES: Yes. That's what it appears like. And it's really scary when you actually put together the texts that we're going back and forth between Page and Strzok, and all of the people that were involved in this. So, Page makes another appearance in this I.G. report. She's also at front and center of some of the abuses that we're looking at in the investigation of the Trump campaign.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Lisa Page is the person, as you point out, whose name has surfaced in these texts which were very derogatory about the president. Now, it turns out, according to this report, she's also the one who was empowered by Andrew McCabe to leak these stories on his behalf to The Wall Street Journal, correct?

NUNES: That's right. And when you look at the text messages, it almost looks like The Wall Street Journal reporter and many of those people are friends. So, maybe not. It's hard to read. You know, you don't want to read too much of the text, but it looks like they were pretty close.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I want to go to James Comey's book and a letter that you wrote today to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. You are asking, and you've been pressing him for a lot of things, a lot of more, you know, fuller disclosure throughout the entire process here. But you were asking him for the memos that James Comey wrote after his meetings with the president and in other parts of this investigation. Do you expect that you're going to receive those? And Rod Rosenstein, as we all know, is in a tenuous position as attorney deputy general at the moment. What response have you gotten, if any, so far?

NUNES: The letter just went out this evening and it's from Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Gowdy, and myself. We have some access to them on the House Intelligence Committee on limited form. However, now that at least the excerpts of the book are out, and it appears like there is much in the book that comes from the memos. So, they were already leaked to The New York Times. They should be made available, not just to all the key congressional committees, but they also should be made available to the public, and that's what the letter that the three of us sent tonight is asking for and they have until Monday to get those to us. I think they will get them to us.

MACCALLUM: In terms of Rod Rosenstein, I'm just curious what your thoughts are. The reporting at the White House tonight is that the president is not going to fire him imminently. There's also reports that he says that he's ready to be fired if that's what's coming his way. What do you think should happen to Rod Rosenstein?

NUNES: Well, look, I like Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray, the new director of the FBI. They inherited a mess. They inherited a big mess. They inherited something that happened in the campaign where they use the counterintelligence capabilities of our country to target the Trump campaign. They came into this, you have Director Comey who was fired, rightfully fired. I think we're finding out now by just this behavior that he's exhibiting recently with his newfound book to her. So, I give them some credit and some leeway that they need to find their way. However, I think it is of the utmost importance that Mr. Rosenstein and Director Wray provide everything the Congress as soon as possible. That is the best possible thing that they can do. And I think I can set us on the path for the legislative branch of government, our branch can actually let us do our jobs to try to put this all together. Secondly, I would say, I just think it's going to be impossible for the investigators to investigate themselves. And I've been saying this for many, many months. So, you know, I don't know that there has to be a special counsel, I know they have a couple of U.S. attorneys looking at some of this, but at the end of the day, there's going to be some process put in place because there's a lot of cleanup that has to be done.

MACCALLUM: You know, in terms of the news that also is breaking tonight with regards to Michael Cohen that the warrant that was served at his offices, his hotel, we now know it was his safety deposit boxes. There's also information that they got some recordings as a result of this. Rod Rosenstein had to sign off on that. Do you think that was a bridge too far for his jurisdiction overseeing the Russia investigation?

NUNES: Well, you're now asking me to do some major speculation, which I'll gladly do, but I want to caveat it with that. This is a major, major deal. I think a lot of people don't understand how big this is to allow someone to be searched like that. So, I will only say this: whatever they have on Mr. Cohen, it better be something really, really big to take this unusual circumstance. If it ends up being something minor like what we've seen so far, something not even related to Russia collusion, as you've seen on some of the indictments so far and the Mueller investigation -- they're saying that it's criminal, I don't know what it possibly could be, but it's a bad precedent to set. So, it better be something big.

MACCALLUM: I mean, they're also indicating, at least, you know, I mean, as you say, we're just kind of reading tea leaves at this point, but they're also indicating that this is really connected to his personal finances. So, you know, the separation between these two things, it may be larger than it first appeared. And then, as you point out, it does become a question of why there was any connection whatsoever with Rod Rosenstein and the signing off on this warrant.

NUNES: Well, I've always said this, you know, when they open the special counsel, I first supported it because I thought, OK, well, there's some felony leaks that occurred. We knew that the leaking of General Flynn's phone call with the Russian ambassador was a felony leak at the highest level of our government. So, I thought, OK, there's definitely a crime there that they can go and look at. And then, look, I didn't think they're going to find any collusion. I still don't think they found any collusion. We haven't found any evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians. We did find evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with the Russians. So, I thought, OK, look, we'll get to these felonies, they'll quickly clear the Trump campaign, and we'll be passed that. But what you're seeing now is it just looks like it's an investigation in search of a crime. So, the Mueller team has now thrown us off to another jurisdiction. And like I said, it better be something big or else I think this is going to be a bad time in our country's history.

MACCALLUM: Chairman Nunes, thank you very much, sir. Good to see you tonight as always. Coming up tonight, the celebrity version of James Comey getting some tough reviews from former agents -- one of them is with us next. Plus.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It is Russia alone that has stop at nothing to defend the Syrian regime's multiple uses of chemical weapons.


MACCALLUM: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slamming Russia for their part in the Syrian chemical attack. Tonight, decisions are being made at the White House. The president also today pardoning Scooter Libby. Reporter Judith Miller was central to the Libby story, she joins me with her reaction. And what that might mean, if anything, for Michael Flynn?


JUDITH MILLER, JOURNALIST AND COMMENTATOR: This was the beginning of the criminalization of our politics and our political differences over the war in Iraq, Bill. What happened was basically the government was looking for a scapegoat for why the war was going badly. The decision on the war --



SANDERS: We're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the White House, so when we have any further developments, we'll let you know.


MACCALLUM: So, the worlds on high alert tonight. A national security meeting is still underway -- it's been going on for about three hours at this point at the White House. As they talk about all the options that are on the table with regard to Syria, they are insisting at the White House that they have proof that Syria did carry out -- that the leadership in Syria carried out this deadly chemical attack. The horrific pictures of which you see on the right hand of your screen. And those pictures have had a major impact on the president's thinking on all of this. Dozens of civilians were killed in this attack. We see children shaking from the byproduct of these horrific chemical weapons -- and the pictures are horrible. So, Russians has denied that they have anything to do with us. They point the finger interestingly today, their latest reason for it, or the person that they believe is responsible is Britain, saying that they staged a fake incident. Here's the U.N. Ambassador today, Nikki Haley, having none of that. Watch.


HALEY: If Russia had lived up to its commitment, there would be no chemical weapons in Syria and we would not be here today. Russia can complain all at once about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and its coverups.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Michael Waltz, Former Counterterrorism Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; and Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata, experienced planning multi-national combat operations, and they join me right now. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.


MACCALLUM: General, you know, we understand that the meeting is going on -- it's been going on for several hours now. What is our best to take on what might be happening there and the back-and-forth? We understand that there were reports anyway that that president and John Bolton wants something more comprehensive, and that General Mattis is pushing back on that a bit.

ANTHONY TATA, RETIRED U.S. ARMY BRIGADIER GENERAL: Well, Martha, I think the first step was to confirm that the Syrian government actually did those. And at sounds like both the U.K., and France, and us all agree that the Syrian government was in charge of those chemical attacks. So, that box one checked, and now, is what type of response do we, you know, fulfill our national security strategies, which the two underpinnings are -- prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and international order base on the rule of law. So, President Trump is right to respond here because this is our guiding document for national security.

And as opposed to what Obama did back in 2013, turning the other cheek and letting the Russians handle it, President Trump is building a coalition, and it's more complicated when you have the U.K., the France, maybe king of Saudi Arabia, some of the others involved. You got to deconflict all that air space. You got to -- you know, we're going to have jets in this thing. We're going to have bombers, there's going to be cruise missiles, and it's going to be, I think, a more prolonged campaign than what happened last time.

And I think that's, you know, we're going to destroy his means to deliver chemical weapons. And because he didn't get the message the first time, this needs to be a stronger message. And for all those who are arguing against it, they just need to look at our national security strategy that says we do not accept weapons of mass destruction as something that should be allowed in this world and that is one thing, I think, that most nations can agree upon where there is a redline that we should respond.

MACCALLUM: Colonel Michael Waltz, let me bring you in to the discussion here. You know, the reports are that General Mattis is concerned, as anyone would be, when they weigh the outcome here potentially about what the Russian reaction might be. I mean, it's one thing to go in and knock out airbases, and knockout things that are fundamental to their ability to protect themselves but what comes after that?

WALTZ: Well, there's some operational concerns that I'm sure General Mattis and the joint chiefs are putting before the president. You know, number one, we need to parse out Syrian assets and taking out those assets from Russian assets. You know, again, as the general pointed out, you know, President Obama essentially turned his back to the situation and Russia moved in in force with a major naval base and a major air base now. And we've been seeing reports that the Syrians are actually moving their aircraft and their assets to intermingle and comingled with Russian assets to make that harder for us to do and to raise the risks of some type of escalation.

The other thing that General Mattis will be putting before the president is we do have boots on the ground -- we have around 2000 American soldiers and with the Kurds and the Arabs, and we need to be sure that they are postured and protected against any type of retribution and attack. And then, finally, the Russians have put about 11 ships out of their naval base in Syria and (INAUDIBLE), out into the Eastern Mediterranean, and we have to take those ships into account as removing our assets in. So, there's a lot of moving pieces.

MACCALLUM: Russia obviously maneuvering, as you see in watching all these very closely. Sergey Lavrov basically blaming the United Kingdom without saying as much. What do you make of that, General Tata? They say, oh, it's another staged thing by the United Kingdom.

TATA: You know, we need to remember that Russia is the master of disinformation and misinformation. They have an entire information operations military unit, whose job it is to confuse people, and you know, that happened in our election and it goes back to the Soviet Union days. They are masters at this. The big lie. I mean, the Soviet Union, now Russia when they invented the idea of the big lie. And so, they're going to try to confuse the issue, they're going to try to fracture the coalition. They're going to do everything they can to protect that geo- political interest they have on a one more report in the Mediterranean -- that's the real key for Russia here. And we can't forget that they have surface air missile I can shoot 80,000 feet into the sky -- the SA-2. So, it's a challenge that we face, but one that we must face.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Sobering conversation and we'll see what we hear out of the White House. We're watching all of this very closely and we could get information any minute, really. So, thank you for being here. So, still to come tonight, he is being held hero by the left, but several former FBI agents say that James Comey's newfound fame is really not that great for the bureau. We're going to speak to one of those people who feels that way -- a longtime agent in the FBI about Comey, the celebrity. Plus, President Trump clearing the name of Scooter Libby; pardoning the Cheney Chief of Staff. Judith Miller played essential role in his trial; her reaction to this huge story today coming up next.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process in a fair trial.



BUSH: Today, I accepted the resignation of Scooter Libby. Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service of this country.


MACCALLUM: That was a tough moment for President Bush, and it was a tough day that happened 13 years ago for Scooter Libby. But today, redemption for Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, as President Trump has issued him a pardon. His 2007 conviction for lying about events surrounding the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame has been the source of great controversy over the years. Many have argued that Libby was the victim of a politically motivated special counsel run amok.

And that special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who, incidentally, was appointed by then Deputy Attorney General James Comey, made the probe more about catching Libby in a lie than identifying a leaker. Today, the president cited former New York Times reporter Judith Miller as a key part of Libby's pardon. Quote, in 2015, one of the key witnesses against Mr. Libby, Judith Miller, recanted her testimony stating publicly that she believed the prosecutor withheld relevant information that would have altered significantly what she said. You may remember Miller went through a reveal of her own.

She certainly remembered that she spent 85 days in jail for refusing to reveal Libby as her source and she joins me now. Wow. Judith, talk about full circle.


MACCALLUM: Here you are tonight, and Scooter Libby has now been pardon, your thoughts on the president's choice?

MILLER: Well, I think that I'm very pleased for Mr. Libby. I'm really very, very delighted that even though President Bush commuted his sentence, he wouldn't go -- take that next step and pardon him. And I think a pardon is very important for Scooter Libby who really became the kind of target of all of the fury and anger over the war in Iraq, and the way in which we have gotten into it. I think that's really what the prosecution and persecution of Scooter Libby was all about.

MACCALLUM: This is Valerie Plame who was at the center of all of it because the investigation was to figure out who outed her as an agent at the CIA. Here's what she said today.


VALERIE PLAME, CIA OFFICER: This is definitely not about me. It's absolutely not about Scooter Libby. It's about Donald Trump and his future. It's very clear that this is a message he's sending, that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned. So, I think he's got an audience of three right now, that would be Manafort, Flynn, and Kushner, and perhaps others.



MILLER: Well, I think that Valerie Plame must be a kind of soothsayer if she knows what's going on inside Donald Trump's head. I certainly don't. And I don't know why he decided to pardon Scooter Libby, I really don't know because I had no conversations with the White House about this. But, I hope that wasn't the message, because I think there's a big difference between the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame's name and the Robert Mueller investigation. I think that the Mueller probe is about something real, an effort, whether or not it succeed to meddle in our democracy, that's a pillar of our democracy, the presidential election. We have to get to the bottom of that.

And you need to have an independent prosecutor working on that given everything that happened with James Comey, no matter what you think about him. Whereas, the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame was named was really pointless because Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, knew from the very beginning that no harm had been done to national security. That was the CIA's own findings when it did an internal investigation about the damage that the leak of her name had done. He said no damage to national security, no damage to any agents in the field, and no damage to Valerie Plame herself. He also told me that it was John Rizzo, who for 30 years, who is at the agency, is a key lawyer. He said Valerie could have stayed as long as she liked, she chose to leave.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating. Judith, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

MILLER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up at 10 o'clock on "The Ingraham Angle," Laura speaks exclusively with Scooter Libby tonight. What he says about the presidential pardon tonight at 10 o'clock here on Fox News, stick around for that. And, coming up right here.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Was there any choice there? Why -- if this was salacious, and this particular part of the dossier unverified, still unverified, by the way?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Yes. So far -- when I got fired, it was unverified.


MACCALLUM: Fired FBI Director James Comey finally speaking out about what he calls a tumultuous time in the Trump administration, and his former agent, not happy about some aspects of this. We're going to speak with one of them ahead. Plus, new questions about Russia's role in 2016 election, a woman who was a big focus of the investigation speaking out exclusively to "The Circus," executive producer Mark McKinnon here with a sneak peek.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the worst it's ever been. That's what everybody feels in Russia.




CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: The other thing that surprises me, frankly, is how bitchy the book is. Comey goes out of his way to say the president isn't as tall as he thought he was. He checked out the sides of his hands the first time they shook hands. One can argue that by getting into the kind of political food fight that James Comey has done more damage to his own reputation than he has to President Trump's.


MACCALLUM: Chris Wallace, earlier today, saying what, perhaps, some are thinking as they listen to the early stages of what's in James Comey's book, and some are wondering if it may end up doing him more harm than good.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Did you tell him that the Steele dossier had been financed by his political opponents?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: No. I didn't think I used the term Steele dossier. I just talked about additional material.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: But did he have a right to know that?

COMEY: That it had been financed by his political opponents? I don't know the answer to that.


MACCALLUM: Interesting. That's just one of the many things that fired FBI Director James Comey said in his first interview about his time with President Trump. Now, in a new National Review column by Jim Geraghty, titled, Comey the celebrity, several former agents speak out who were once defenders of the now ousted FBI director, saying that his new high profile persona is not necessarily what is expected of an FBI director. My next guest is one of those, Michael German, former FBI special agent and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. Michael, good to see you.


MACCALLUM: Thanks for coming in tonight. Interesting piece. You and several other former agents spoke out by name, and said that some of this is very uncomfortable and turns you off now about James Comey.

GERMAN: Sure. And, I was never really had a great proponent of James Comey. I was highly critical.


GERMAN: I look at the FBI's authorities and how they have expanded since 9/11, and how they're used against the most vulnerable populations who don't have access to high priced attorneys. So, it's interesting to see how -- now that these authorities are being used against the powerful, how they're taking a second look, and I'm hoping this will lead to, eventually, a broader look at the FBI's authority and how we can ensure that they're only targeting people who they actually have reason to believe were engaged in criminal activity.

MACCALLUM: So, the president, obviously, is not happy with James Comey. Here's a tweet that he put out there today. James Comey is a proven leaker and liar. Virtually, everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job that he did, until, he was, in fact, fired. He leaked classified information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to congress under oath. He's weak and untruthful slime ball, the president called him. Who was, as time has proven, a terrible director of the FBI. His handling of the crooked Hillary Clinton case and the events surrounding it will go down as one of the worst botched jobs in history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey, says the president. What do you make of that?

GERMAN: Well, I think, neither one of them are doing themselves any favors with their public comments about something that's under criminal investigation with Comey as a witness and Trump as the potential subject. So, it's really interesting -- the FBI prides itself on being objective finders of facts. We don't have opinions, we find the facts and we present them in an objective manner. So, anything that tends to undermine that, and, particularly, there are strong rules against FBI officials talking about information that the FBI collects.

MACCALLUM: Just to stop you for a second, what do you think about the fact that James Comey sat in front of congress and said, well, I took notes on my meetings that I had with President Trump where he claimed that he asked him for a loyalty pledge. I wrote all that down on my computer, which I assume was an FBI computer. But then, I leaked it to a friend of mine, who I wanted to send it out to the press because I wanted there to be a special counsel to investigate.

GERMAN: It's certainly highly problematic, his behavior both during the election in regard to Hillary Clinton and afterwards. And I don't think there has been an explanation for why he did what he did. If, indeed, he thought there was something criminal in these meetings, he should have written that memo to the file, but he never should have been meeting with the president alone anyway. One of the first things you learn as an FBI agent is you never have a meeting with anyone alone, witness, subject, target, you know. You always want to make sure that there's at least one other person who can verify your interpretation of what happened. So, there's certainly a lot to explain here. Fortunately, there are two investigations going, not just the Mueller investigation, but the I.G. investigation, which also made some news this evening. So, there's an opportunity to learn more, but I think it was a missed opportunity with the book to look into how was it the FBI missed the fact that the Russian government was meddling in our election during the election.

MACCALLUM: Good question. Michael German, thank you very much, good to see you.

GERMAN: Great to see you.

MACCALLUM: Hope you come back. You too. So, coming up next, an unbelievable new you look at how Russia views the current relationship between the United States and Russia, and the meddling in the 2016 election. The creator of Showtime, "The Circus," Mark McKinnon has an eye- opening interview, next.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think the Americans believe that Russians interfered in the 2016 elections?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I understand why the Americans believe so, because all the American media are saying so.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that not possible at all that Russia engaged in the American election?



MACCALLUM: So, with the Russian investigation so central in everybody's political minds these days, Showtime, "The Circus," got a rare and, somewhat, chilling look, actually, from the other side. Sitting down with the editor in chief of Russia's TV network, R.T., a woman referenced 27 times in the United States intel report on Russian election interference. Here's a sneak peek at Sunday's season three premiere.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of people talking about the notion that we're in a new cold war. I'm curious about whether you think that's hyperbole or if you feel like tensions between the United States and Russia are, in fact, at a kind of boiling point.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the worst it's ever been. That's what everybody feels in Russia.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: What brought us to this point? What triggered this?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't really know. It's not us who are imposing sanctions. It's not us who are expelling diplomats. We're only answering. There hasn't been a single move that Russia did to the U.S. first.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think the Americans believe that Russians interfered in the 2016 election?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I understand why the Americans believe so, because all the American media are saying so.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that's not possible at all that Russia engaged in the American election?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: We read the CIA reports. Well, my name was mentioned 27 times. I know I didn't interfere in the American elections.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's just laughable to think that I, myself, we at R.T., could have, in any way, affected the American elections. Like, what do we have? Was there any different from what America media has been doing in all of the countries of the world for decades now?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: There's an accusation that Russian was responsible for attempted murder on British soil.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: He in Russia nobody believes it was Russia.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Because Putin has never been responsible for political violence. Reports.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's not 1937. We don't do things like that. We're normal country.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It's not the first allegation of political violence that's been waiting at Vladimir Putin's door.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's crazy. We don't want to be a country like that, you know. We are no North Korea. We are normal. If I find out that's true, I'll quit right now and become an oppositional leader in Russia.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Your view that the Russian election was a free and fair election.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the fairest ever in all the election that Russia has had. I think it was no less fan fair than your election.


MACCALLUM: Fascinating. Mark McKinnon, creator and executive producer and cohost of Showtime, "The Circus." Mark, that is really interesting stuff.

MARK MCKINNON, "THE CIRCUS" COHOST: Yeah, it was such a fascinating time to be there. Do you remember Baghdad Bob, that's Moscow margarita?

MACCALLUM: Yes. My first question, do you believe her?

MCKINNON: No, but -- she -- really good propaganda to believes what their saying. And I think she believes what she's saying despite all the evidence to the contrary. It was such a fascinating time to be there because think about it this week, all the big stories go back to Russia, right? You've got the expelling of all the diplomats because of the poisoning of the former Russian spy. You have the chemical attacks in Syria tied to Russia. You have the Facebook hearings tied to Russia and using that data. And then, you have the Mueller investigation which all started with the Russia investigation. So, it's an incredible time to be there. And I was with Ambassador Huntsman the night all those diplomats were thrown out. And it was chilling. I mean, he talked about the, sort of, historical framework for all this. And, as she said -- she said it's never been this bad. It's bad and it's tense.

MACCALLUM: Did you talk to her about what is happening in Syria, and ask her about Russia's involvement with Assad?

MCKINNON: When we talk to her, it was a day before the Syrian thing. But, my colleague, John Heilemann, stayed over. And, yesterday, talked to the foreign ministers spokespeople, and they completely deny it. They just say-- you know, they deny that, they deny the poisoning, they deny the hacking, they deny it all. They say no way. In fact, they say that 99 percent of the people in Russia believe that these incidents -- people are just trying to make Russia look bad, that's all it is.

MACCALLUM: I mean, there were 13, I believe, arrests of individuals who were in this country trying to promote rallies and, you know, get involved in the election, you know, none of that registers with her?

MCKINNON: No, she denies it across the board. And draws equivalent (INAUDIBLE) you tried to affect our elections. But they've also -- they're pretty -- I think the government, not her specifically, but they're largely-- you know, they say we do this kind of stuff really well, and we've always done it and we're going to keep doing it. And, by the way, to say it's an arms race, which is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg said, and so we better get on it. This is an information arms race. It is a hybrid war. And if it's not bombs and bullets, it's bits and bytes, and that's how they affected the American election or tried too.

MACCALLUM: Let's take a look at one more soundbite that we have of your discussion with Margarita Simonyan.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: So, what happens now?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: It depends on your country. We want to be friends.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to expel more diplomats, to impose more sanctions, if you do all of that, it's going to escalate. If you don't, it's not. That's it. We're not doing anything.


MACCALLUM: You know, what was your -- what was it like for you to be there and to be pressing them and asking these questions? Were you -- did you feel intimidated at all?

MCKINNON: Not intimidated, but the whole time just seems chilling. It just felt like things have -- I mean, everybody said, she said, the ambassadors said, everybody said this is worst that it's ever been, and it's been pretty bad in the past, right? I mean, while our relationship with Russia to say the worst it's ever been is really significant. Interestingly, while we're shooting her there in the room, I think this will be on the show, Russian television was filming us filming her. So, right behind us is a camera crew filming us to make sure they've got a record of what we're saying. So, the propaganda machine.

MACCALLUM: What about discussions about President Trump or connection.


MCKINNON: You know, couple of things on Trump. First of all, they've kind of dig him. They think he's a tough guy, kind of like Putin, and he's a strong man, and kind of authoritative -- they like that equivalency. At the same time, they say you guys have gone mad with all the sanctions and with, you know, everything they're accusing Russia of. But, I also believe, as does Ambassador Huntsman, that this diplomatic unified response, including the President of the United States, is good and it may prove effective. I mean, these 29 United Nations responds, including America to the Russians activity, they believe -- he believes is having a big impact, and a lot of people are saying that Russia now believe they overplayed their hand.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating. You know, one last question about President Trump, because, you know, people say, you know, he's sort of talking about, out of both sides -- he says, you know, it would be good if they had a good relationship with Russia. On the other side, he's saying, look, you know, missiles are coming because of your involvement with Assad and this chemical weapon attack. Did you sense a confusion on their part about where he stands?

MCKINNON: Yes, and I think that's part of what's effective, really, because, you know, it's good cop, bad cop, and it's bad cop, bad cop, and they don't know what to expect. And, I think, that's why they're on their heels is that -- they, sort of -- they don't know what to expect. It's not standard protocol. And, in a weird way, that maybe works.

MACCALLUM: That's exactly what he's doing. All right, very interesting, Mark, thank you. Look forward to it.

MCKINNON: Thanks for having us.


MACCALLUM: Quick break. We'll be right back with more story after this.


MACCALLUM: Sunday night at 9 o'clock, Steve Hilton has a special, and former FBI Director James Comey is on trial. In the "Next Revolution Special," Hilton welcomes expert legal panel to break down James Comey actions as the bureau director. The trial of James Comey coming up. That's our story for tonight. Have a great weekend everybody.


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