On Thursday’s edition of “The Situation Room,” CNN commentators discussed President Donald Trump’s attacks on former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his closed-door testimony to Congress that the president was unprepared for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And special correspondent Jamie Gangel noted how dramatically Trump’s characterization of Tillerson’s intelligence has changed since his initial appointment.
“He did not only attack Nancy Pelosi today,” said host Wolf Blitzer. “Rex Tillerson, his former Secretary of State, who appeared behind closed doors for several hours before the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke at length — there is one report he suggested the president wasn’t as well prepared for his conversation with Putin as Putin was.”
“Today the president tweeted, ‘Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!'” Blitzer continued.
“I have one question: who hired Rex Tillerson?” said Gangel. “How is that all of the ‘best people’ — they’re are always the ‘best people’ — turn out to be lousy or liars. And I went back and looked at a tweet from December 13th, 2016. Donald Trump, ‘I have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, Rex Tillerson.'”
She later added, “Rex Tillerson is not alone. We have heard from John Kelly, General Mattis, Gary Cohn, it goes on and on. You know, dozens of people who left the administration.”
Rudy Giuliani goes completely off the rails in bellowing interview with CNN’s Cuomo
On Thursday night, following reports that the whistleblower in the intelligence community was complaining about a call President Donald Trump made to the Ukraine, CNN's Chris Cuomo hosted Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who recently tried to recruit Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. And things went off the rails quickly.
"I don't know the answer as to why it was released but I find nothing wrong in what he did," said Giuliani.
"You don't even know what he did," said Cuomo.
"I find a lot wrong in what you are covering up and what you continue to cover up and what your network continues to cover up," said Giuliani. "Go look. Go look at Joe Biden January of 2018. Bribery 100 percent."
Jeffrey Toobin destroys GOP lobbyist for claiming whistleblower is waging a ‘political fight’ against Trump
On CNN Thursday night, GOP lobbyist and American Conservative Union director Matt Schlapp tried to explain away the whistleblower complaint against Trump's promises to Ukrainian officials as a "political fight" against Trump. CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was having none of it.
"Matt, do you agree that under the law or believe that under the law, the [Director of National Intelligence] is required to forward any complaint?" asked anchor Anderson Cooper.
"No, no," said Schlapp. "These whistleblower statutes are intended to empower employees of these IC agencies and other agencies in government. To be able to find a way to have legal protection when they see wrongdoing within the agency. It would be a bastardization of Article II of the Constitution if whistleblower statutes were somehow expanded so that people and agencies could make political fights against the president of the United States, especially in his role as commander-in-chief, Anderson. He has very wide authority, really, unchecked authority to talk to world leaders about anything he deems appropriate as he is representing the United States of America."
Anderson Cooper recounts devastating list of times Trump was ‘dumb enough’ to reveal secrets to foreign officials
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Cooper slammed President Donald Trump with a list of occasions on which the president shared sensitive intelligence information with foreign officials, in light of the growing whistleblower scandal centering partly on a phone call he had with a foreign leader.
"As for the president, he tweeted this: 'Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem! Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call,'" said Cooper. "Whether the president is in his own words, 'dumb enough,' that's unclear. But his larger denial would certainly be easier to swallow if it weren't for some of what we know he has done when he's not surrounded by witnesses."