tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN January 13, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
hear from someone who's gone through it, i'm sure. so important. >> witness history every day. sara ganim, thank very much. tune in tonight as cnn explores the life of michelle obama. that's going to be a special. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett out front" starts right now. up next, new details about the top donald trump adviser and a russian official, a phone call on the same day the u.s. punished russia for cyberattacks. was it coincidence? a fight breaks out between democrats and the fbi director. the congressman inside that room my guest tonight. and the spy who wrote the report about russian claims of having compromising information on trump. who is chris steele? let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett. the senate intelligence
committee announcing an investigation into possible contacts between donald trump's campaign and russia. the committee will issue subpoenas if necessary to force members of trump's team to testify. at the same time, new information tonight on a phone call between donald trump's national security advisor and a top russian official. we have learned that michael flynn spoke with russia's ambassador to the united states on the exact same day that president obama was announcing new sanctions in retaliation for russian hacking. flynn's close ties to russia have been controversial from the moment trump brought him on board. russia one area where trump's views appear to clearly contradict those of his cabinet nominees as they testify before congress this week. today trump telling reporters he's not worried about that at all. >> that will all get straightened out. we want them to be themselves. i told them be yourselves and say what you want to say. don't worry about me. and i'm going to do the right thing, whatever it is, i may be
right, and they may be right, but i said be yourselves. >> phil mattingly begins our coverage tonight out front on capitol hill. this investigation from the senate obviously a very big development. what are they going to focus on, specifically? >> exactly right, erin. it's a reversal of sorts for this committee. 24 hours ago, at least publicly, there were no plans for them to delve into this. the chairman at the time richard burris said he doesn't want to get involved in political firestorms. well, he's in one now and this committee investigation is a very big deal. here's why. they will be reviewing as you noted with subpoena power the intelligence assessment about russian meddling in the u.s. election. we've seen the declassified version. the classified version has a lot more detail in it. the committee will be looking into that, talking to the intelligence officials that were behind that. but perhaps more importantly they will be delving directly
into whether or not there were contacts between russian intelligence, russian middlemen, and the political campaigns. while it's kind of vaguely worded according to the committee, that is cheerily directed at the president-elect's campaign team. they also said they will be doing interviews and hearings. those interviews will be both with the outgoing administration, the obama administration, but also according to the committee, the incoming administration. those interviews, if they are not complied with, that's where the subpoena power comes in to to compel those interviews. a very big deal as we've been trying to get more firm and cheer answers about what all happened here. clearly when you've talked to democrats and republicans who have been involved in this process, been involved with the assessment we've all heard about, they believe there's more there, there need to be more answers, this investigation, this inquiry should lead to just that. >> all right. thank you very much, phil. one thing that this panel is going to be looking at, the newly discovered phone call between trump's national security advisor and the russian ambassador. jim sciutto is out front.
>> reporter: tonight confirmation that michael flynn was in contact with the russian ambassador to the u.s. the very same day the obama administration announced retaliation for russia's unprecedented cyberattack of the 2016 election. in late december the trump transition team says that flynn and russithe russian ambassador exchanged a series of text messages and a phone call. on christmas day, december 25th, flynn texted the russian ambassador, i want to wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year. i look forward to touching base with you and working with you and i wish you all the best. the ambassador texted him back, wishing him a merry christmas in return. then on december 28th, the russian ambassador texted flynn again and said i'd like to give you a call. may i? that phone call happened on december 29th, the same day the white house announced sanctions on russia and ordered some 35
russian diplomats to leave the country immediately. trump's transition team says the men did not discuss sanctions on russia. instead, their conversation was focused on arranging a call between russian president vladimir putin and president-elect trump after the inauguration. today the white house says its reaction depends. >> could imagine why these kinds of interactions may take place. why the incoming national security advisor may have the need to contact the representative of a foreign government based in washington, d.c. depends on what they discussed, depends on what he said in terms of whether or not we would have significant objections about those conversations. >> reporter: flynn's ties to russia have been scrutinized since the moment trump tapped him to be his closest adviser on national security. flynn was seated right next to president putin at a russian media gala in december of 2015 and had a paid speaking gig with "russia today," the kremlin's temperature network, before
taking on a campaign role. today trump denied claims russia has compromising information on him and continued to accuse the intelligence chiefs of leaking the allegations. he tweeted it was probably released by intelligence in quotes, even knowing there is no proof and never will be. a transition official tells cnn there is not frequent contact between flynn and the russian ambassador to the u.s. and his key detail. they say on that december 29th phone call they did not, according to the transition, discuss those new sanctions but on the very same day the obama administration was imposing on russia. >> jim sciutto, thank you very much. democrat senator chris coons. good to have you with me. the trump team says the sanctions weren't discussed even though that phone call happened on the same day they were getting intense coverage.
do you believe that? >> it does strain credibility that general mike flynn needed to place a call to russia's ambassador to the united nations more than three weeks before president-elect trump inauguration. after january toth, once trump becomes president, general flynn is free to have any contacts he chooses with foreign governments and their ambassadors. seems very suspicious three weeks in advance he needed to have a call in order to schedule a call that wouldn't happen for weeks hence. i'll also say the development of the senate intelligence committee agreeing to begin an investigation into contacts between the trump campaign and russia's government following the briefing all senators received thursday afternoon is a stig development. >> extremely significant. i want to ask you what the repercussions could be here. when we take just this phone call between michael flynn and the ambassador, between general flynn and the ambassador, if it turns out that russian policy was discussed on that call, the
"washington post," which first broke this story, says that would violate the logan act, which bars u.s. citizens from correspondence, quoting on what it does, intending to influence a foreign government about disputes with the united states. right? only the president and the administration is supposed to be making policy. would you enforce that act if you determined they had talked about policy on that call? >> erin, this is just the latest in the whole series of developments that raise real questions about the gentleman that president-elect trump has nominated to be secretary of state, rex tillerson, who's received a medal of friendship from vladimir putin. as you just heard, general mike kelly, who was on the payroll of r.t., which is the moscow propaganda tool. i think it raises real questions. the low fwan act has been rarely invoked in our history but it lays down a clear line that we only have one president at a time and american leaders and
citizens shouldn't be engaging in their own foreign policy. it would be a serious matter. we would be compelled to investigate further. >> you mentioned rex tillerson and you have been involved in the confirmation hearings for rex tillerson and jeff sessions. i want to ask you a couple questions about rex tillerson. there are areas where he differs very greatly from what donald trump said during the campaign. let me play some of them. >> if putin likes donald trump, i consider that an asset. >> we're not likely to ever be friends. >> we will also immediately stop the job killing trans-pacific partnership. >> i do not oppose tpp. >> the people of crimea, from what i've heard, would rather be with russia than where they were. >> taking of crimea was an act of force. they didn't just voluntary tear themselves. >> when you hear those differences, do you feel good
because rex tillerson may be more agreeable with things you agree with or are you concerned that they are not on the same page? >> well, i had an hour and a half meeting with rex tillerson two weeks ago, and i came in with a whole series of tough questions for him about his views of putin, putin's aggression in ukraine, his responsibility for war crimes in syria, the importance of nato, a whole series of different issues. and in that private meeting rex tillerson was very forceful, very forthcoming about areas where he differs from president-elect donald trump. at the end of our meeting i said to him, i would repeat those same questions in an open hearing. and on many of them he gave similarly important and distinct answers from what trump said in the course of his campaign. there were other lines of questioning from senator rubio, senator menendez and myself on human rights and sanctions where rex tillerson really didn't acquit himself very well, where he didn't give clear or strong apps answers. i think his confirmation at this point is in some doubt. >> in some doubt, are you going
to vote for him? are you really leaning no when you use the words "in some doubt"? >> this was a nine-hour confirmation hearing and it happened the same day as the sessions hearing, the second day of the sessions hearing. i've got the entire transcript. i'm going over it closely this weekend. i'm going to consult with some of my colleagues, both democrat and republican, before making up my mind next week on how to vote for rex tillerson. >> senator, i very much appreciate your time tonight. obviously a very big decision on your hands and those of your colleagues. thank you. >> thank you, erin. next, not legitimate. that is what one top congressman is saying tonight about the president-elect donald trump. that's a big thing to say. why? plus house democrats fuming after a confidential briefing with fbi director james comey. there was a major incident. we'll hear from one congressman who was there. joe biden calls michelle obama the finest first lady in history.
a look tonight at how she changed the game. >> i specifically did not read other first lady's books because i didn't want to be influenced by how they defined the role. as a control enthusiast, i'm all-business when i travel... even when i travel... for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges. what can i say? control suits me. go national. go like a pro.
anyone ever have occasional constipation,diarrhea, gas or bloating? she does. she does. help defend against those digestive issues. take phillips' colon health probiotic caps daily with three types of good bacteria. 400 likes? wow! try phillips' colon health. ever tryou get hungry good, just thinking about it? at red lobster's big festival of shrimp, get your perfect pair for just $15.99. choose 2 of 6 new and classic shrimp creations, like bold new firecracker red shrimp. exploding with flavor? yeah they are. or try new creamy shrimp linguini, and new sweet bourbon-brown sugar grilled shrimp. flavors like these are big. and for just $15.99, they can't last. so hurry in.
mom,on my car insurance of money by switching to geico. i should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico can help you save money on your homeowners insurance too? great! geico can help insure our mountain chalet! how long have we been sawing this log? um, one hundred and fourteen years. man i thought my arm would be a lot more jacked by now. i'm not even sure this is real wood. there's no butter in this churn. do my tris look okay? take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more. yet up 90% fall short in getting key nutrients from food alone. let's do more. add one a day 50+ a complete multi-vitamin with 100% daily value of more than 15 key nutrients. one a day 50+.
>> i think the russians participated in having this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of hillary clinton. >> jeffrey lord and chris boykin. jeffrey, congressman lewis wants to make a point, wants to say president-elect trump not legitimate. i think the russians participated helping him win the white house. what do you say? >> it makes me simultaneously sad and amused. sad because as you mentioned he is a genuine icon. he's a hero. the irony can't be escaped. when john lewis was protesting for civil rights and marching and being beaten bloody, he was being beaten bloody because there were people in this country that department consider either he or civil rights or ledge malt. for him to take that side of the argument and bring it to trump is unfortunate. amusing because to be candid
whether it's the russians -- some of these folks are blaming the russians, hillary clinton apparently herself believes it's director comey. i understand some democrats walked out of a house briefing by director comey today. >> today. the fact of the matter is people in this country were unhappy. we have elections to get the sentiment of the people. it had nothing to do with the russians or director comey. >> congressman lewis is not the only democrat to question the legitimacy or skipping the inauguration. hillary clinton will be there but brian fallon, her former press secretary, said this earlier today. >> every day there are new developments, new shoe dropping, so to speak, that call into question the legitimacy of his win. i think donald trump is just trying to cling to whatever legitimacy still is in effect here. >> so, keith, are democrats crossing the line? this is just a week before the united states of america has a new president take an oath of office in a peaceful transition
of power from one to the other. you have someone from the clinton campaign, off civil rights icon and a very notable congressman saying he's not legitimate. is this crossing a line? >> i don't think so. brian fallon's comments were probably in response to donald trump this morning getting on twitter and deciding to relitigate the presidential election by attacking hillary clinton two months after the election. as far as john lewis, he is a civil rights hero who has paid his dues in blood, sweat, and tears. when he was protesting, when he was beaten bloody at the selma march in alabama in 1965 it was because he was protesting against the bullies who were leading -- using the color of law in order to violate the civil rights of americans, african-americans in particular. i don't think that's inconsistent with what he's standing for right now. he's standing for voting rights, equality, and donald trump is not a legitimately elected president if russia intervened in the election and we won't
know until there's a full investigation. >> we ale never know if that moved the election results. you're never going to know that, keith. >> we may never know if it moved the results but what donald trump can do if he wants to remove cloud over his potential presidency, he could release his tax returns so we know if there's any sort of kebs to russia. two, this is important, he could apologize for undermining and delegitimizing president obama for five years. and three, it would be nice if donald trump would finally stand up and be presidential for a change and not just be on twitter and attack everybody all the time. >> you brought up the birther issue. if you listen to trump advisers in the past week and trump himself on twitter, they are obsessed with this issue of people trying to delegitimize him. he's obsessed with it. let me give you a few in the past couple days. >> i really believe there are those out there that are trying
to just -- trying to delegitimize his presidency. >> such a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election. >> the reality of all of this and all these players that are spinning these reports are doing it for a political purpose, which is to delegitimize the outcome of the election. >> is there something ironic in the fact they are saying this when it was donald trump who led the effort to delegitimize barack obama's presidency by saying he was not born in the united states and doing this for years and years? >> a feeling of payback here from democrats. but i should point out the obvious here. whatever donald trump said about president obama didn't affect the fact that the president was elected twice. and the second time he did
fairly well against mitt romney. so, you know, this had absolutely no effect. and i think that what's going to happen if they keep going down this road -- and i have no reason to believe they won't, is is that this will eventually backfire and help president trump. >> jeffrey, donald trump has the lowest transition approval ratings of any president in recorded history right now. he lost the popular election by 2.8 million votes, and he has personally delegitimize the election himself. he got on twitter and said there were millions that cast illegal ballots in the election he won. how is this a valid election that he himself is questioning the validity of? no consistency with this guy. >> i think they were saying they were voting against him, not for him. >> people voting against him were illegitimate but not those for him. >> a lot of sore losing on both sides. thank you very much. next, a fight breaks out between democrats and the fbi
director james comey during a confidential briefing. i'll talk to a congress who says his confidence in comey is shaken. and the former spy said to be behind the report of russian claims about compromising information on trump. who is chris steele? ot food, be? thankfully at panera, 100% of our food is 100% clean. no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors. panera. food as it should be. is caringing because covering heals faster. for a bandage that moves with you and stays on all day, cover with a band-aid brand flexible fabric adhesive bandage.
breaking news, a showdown between house democrats and fbi director james comey erupting today. it took place during a confidential briefing about russia's interference in the u.s. election. democrats left the meeting furious after debby wasserman schultz confronted comey. pamela brown is in washington. amazing what happened today. what are you learning? it was confidential but you have sources who are telling you what happened there. >> reporter: apparently this happened toward the end of this classified briefing. we've learn from a lawmaker inside that room that wasserman shultsz continue fronted the fbi director about the fbi not reaching out to her directly or the committee senior leadership when it became aware of the hacks into the dnc that led to her resignation.
director comey apparently pushed back in an exchange that lasted nearly ten minutes and defended the fbi's response. wasserman schultz released a statement tonight saying the fbi director must clarify for the american people the agency's policies for investigating and alerting hacking from foreign governments. amid growing pressure for director comey to step down. fbi director james comey is facing renewed scrutiny on both side of the aisle. today house democrats left a confidential briefing with comey on russia hacking fuming. >> it's classified and we can't tell you anything. all i can tell you is the fbi director has no credibility. >> reporter: also today the republican leaning "wall street journal" editorial board says, "the best service mr. comey could render his country now is to resign," calling him too political for a position that's supposed to be apolitical. this while the department of justice inspector general investigates comey's actions before the election.
his decision to hold an unprecedented press conference last july closing the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails and then breaking with doj policy by sending a letter just before the election alerting congress he was renewing a probe into her private server. democrats mad about his decision not to sign onto an october letter from the intelligence community saying russia was behind the election hacks and refusal to speak publicly about ongoing investigations and to people formerly connected to the trump campaign and russia. >> didn't say one way or another if there's an investigation under way. >> correct. especially in a public forum we never confirm or deny pend an investigation. i'm not saying -- >> the irony of your making that statement here i cannot avoid but i'll move on. >> reporter: other democrats who recently had a briefing with comey a registered republican appointed by president obama, are coming to his defense. >> jim comey is an honorable person who i think made a bad
decision. >> reporter: tonight comey is at the center of another political firestorm for briefing the president-elect on unsubstantiated allegations with him last week. he had a one-on-one with trump to brief him on the allegations. in a november interview with 60 minute, trump left his future in the balance. >> fbi director james comey, are you going to ask for his resignation? >> i think that i would rather not comment on that yet. i haven't made up my mind. >> reporter: as of now, comey is only 3 1/2 years into the ten-year fbi director tenure and people familiar with the matter says he has no regrets about the decisions he's made surrounding the recent investigations and no plans to step down. he released a statement saying he's grateful for the inspect general investigation and hopes the results will be shared with
the public. >> pamela, thank you very much. democratic congressman tim wallace of minnesota was in that room with the briefing. congressman, we've learned congressman debby wasserman schultz had this exchange with comey and lost her job as a result of that. what happened in that room today? >> first of all, this briefing's incredibly important that the intelligence community, all the directors are there in addition to director comey and our number-one job as members of congress is the safety and security of the american public. so with that setting being there, i think the frustrations many of us had was making sure this is not a political issue, this was not the outcome of the election per se, it was about the attack by a foreign entity on our system of governance and trying to undermine our democracy. with that being the context of it, the questions we're being asked, was there a consistency on how these things were done? and i think it would be
disingenuous for me not to say as a democrat we saw how it was handled with hillary clinton's e-mails, clearly not the same way this was handled. i think the frustration started to brew when very pointed, very direct, and should have been in my opinion very simple questions to answer keeping with accepted protocol weren't happening. >> you thought he wasn't answering. you heard congressman waters say he has no credibility. would you go that far? no credibility? what was your feeling today? >> it shook me. the american public has to believe they're doing everything in the best interest to protect the american people in a nonpartisan manner. i did not leave feeling that's what happened in this case. i think more questions need to be answered. i and other democrats have asked for the house to convene an investigation. i'm encouraged there will be an i.g. investigation. it appears in the senate they'll bring some things up. this is critical.
this goes at the heart of our democracy and when the director of the fbi can't answer those questions it does shake our confidence. >> so i understand that, but when you say it was handled differently, i have to ask you this, because it does seem from some people's perspective to depend on which foot the shoe is on. back in july, 18 days before the dnc, democrats were defending jim comey because he said no charges should happen in the case against hillary clinton and her private e-mail server. he was clear. he said a prosecutor wouldn't per press charges. here's what some of your colleagues said about james comey at that time. >> this is a great man. we are very privileged in our country to have him be the director of the fbi. >> no one can question the integrity, the competence. >> a wonderful and tough clear public servant, jim comey. >> i don't know whether your family's watching this, but i hope that they are as proud of
you as i am. because you are the epitome of what a public servant is all about. >> so why are they all now totally wrong? >> i can't speak for them, but i can tell you that's part of what shakes me on this, that i think that's what i'm asking for, that we're seeing now, i did not know about this investigation into russian hacking because we were not told, we were not notified. the director of the dnc was not notified so i had no idea. none of us did on how this was happening. we did know on hillary clinton because it was all public. >> when you hear them say that, and i understand, i'm not asking you to speak for them, but democrats were thrilled, james comey was the best guy in the world, a great man, nancy pelosi says. all of a sudden he's not looking into the russian hacking, right before the election, he says i'm checking more e-mails from hillary clinton and he's the worst guy in the world. it seems very political.
>> it's possible people change and their actions change and you change your opinion on them. i would be standing here asking the same questions if it were reversed, if there were an e-mail scandal with the other side. the issue the impartiality of it. everybody will be happy when it turns out their way. i don't think it's mutually exclusive for your listeners hugely supportive of donald trump to be outraged the russians attacked us and expect the fbi to hand that will in a professional manner. you can do both. >> "the wall street journal" says comey should resign or donald trump should fire him. should comey leave his jobs three years in a ten-year term? >> i haven't gone that far, but i think more information needs to come out. i'm a fan of appointing critical positions that cross across administrations because it does take some of the politics out of it. so i think it's a little premature for that. that's why for me this is an unusual position for me to be in but i will tell you it did shake me, it doesn't look like it's the same.
i would expect those comments were made about director comey is what i want to believe and should be about all people in that position. and today just because of the answers given and it was a short amount of time, that is at least in question and we can -- we need to find out. >> congressman, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thanks. next, new details about the former spy behind the trump dossier. who is he? we have more information tonight. plus for every successful president there's been a great first lady, because, yes, they have all been men and the first ladies have all been ladies. how michelle obama made the office and even turnips cool. >> turnip? for what? ♪ we live in a pick and choose world. choose. choose. choose. but at bedtime...
...why settle for this? enter sleep number and the lowest prices of the season. sleepiq technology tells you how you slept and what adjustments you can make. she likes the bed soft. he's more hardcore. so your sleep goes from good to great to wow! only at a sleep number store, right now save $600 on our best selling i8 mattress, plus 36 month special financing. learn more at sleepnumber.com. know better sleep with sleep number. you found the perfect car foi'm a robot!s.com yeti
rawr ♪ jingle bells tents up guys. and used cars.com to find a place to service it at a fair price, too. signal, signal hey guys, how's it going? that's not even music. ♪ now when you're ready, you can sell your old car and find your new one all on cars.com you know us for shopping, and now we're there for every turn. cars.com
tonight new details emerging about the former british spy who wrote the intel memos with substantiated claims that russia may have compromising information on the president-elect. he's been identified as chris steele. nic robertson is out front. what's the latest we've been able to learn about chris
steele? >> he hasn't been seen since the middle of this week. the british ambassador or the man who was british ambassador to moscow at the time or part of the time that chris steele was there, sir andrew wood, has told british broadcasters here that he found him to be a very competent professional, that he was diligent, that his work was of a good professional standard, that he said that his work perhaps sometimes, you know, his work -- his assessments weren't always the right assessments but that doesn't mean his assessments here are wrong or the information that he's got is wrong. what we have learned from sir andrew wood, former british ambassador to moscow, is he says perhaps the reason we haven't seen chris steele, his
whereabouts are unknown right now, is because chris steele may have gone to ground because, to quote the former british ambassador, he said the knowledge that he has, it is potentially dangerous knowledge for him. >> what are his former collea e colleagues saying about him tonight? >> several who have worked with him over the past 20 years working at mi6, graduated from cambridge university 1986, he was the chairman of the -- president of the debating society there, which is a very prestigious position, cambridge often a place that intelligence operatives are recruited from by the british establishment, shortly after 1986 he joined mi6 and those colleagues dwr s desc him as somebody whose work ethics, professionalism, work style is beyond reproach, that
they describe him in very strong, clear, glowing terms. what we do know about him is that the british football association approached him in 2010 to help them investigate the world cup bidding process. there were concerns about russia's bid for the world cup, the bid for 2022. that would later bring him into contact with fbi officials who were investigating corruption within fifa. our evan perez has told law enforcement officials that he has -- it was that work that steele did with the british football association with fifa that gave an investigating into fifa, gave them confidence through their work with him as well into the fifa investigation, gave confidence into steele. >> all right. thank you very much. nic robertson. next, commander in chief. we hear from the woman who wrote the book on michelle obama's
(burke) and we covered it, february third, twenty-sixteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ what makesheart healthysalad the becalifornia walnuts.r? the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts. so simple. get the recipes at walnuts.org. it's straight talk. if you love your phone... ...but hate your bill. do something about it! no, not that. straight talk wireless let's you keep your phone, number and 4g lte network... ...for half the cost... ...with the bring your own phone activation kit. it's time to ask yourself...
...why haven't i switched? unlimited talk, text and data for forty-five dollars a month, no contract. straight talk wireless. only at walmart. i'm all-business when i, travel... even when i travel... for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges.
what can i say? control suits me. go national. go like a pro. one week br the obamas move out of the white house and for michelle obama there have been so many changes since she moved in. michelle kosinski is out front. >> reporter: michelle obama's first steps onto that enormous, exhilarating, terrifying national political stage were reluctant, cautious. remember the family back then? >> barack is home at least once a week and we're really doing
family stuff. >> reporter: on the campaign trail, young malia and sasha talk about the weirdness of seeing their people in magazines. >> pretty cool because you see people like angelina jolie. >> real important people. >> real important. no offense. >> mommy is important. >> and the beginning was not so easy, moving into the white house where the bulletproof windows can't be opened, the secret service always there. she recently described that fist day. >> i will never forget that winter morning watching our girls, 7 and 10, pile too into those black suvs with all those big men with guns. and i saw their little faces pressed up against the window. and the only thing i could think was, what have we done? >> reporter: and she did face criticism, even before the election. >> for the first time in my adult lifetime i'm really proud of my country. >> reporter: soon after that,
portrayed on this new yorker cover. today, how far she's come. on the cover of "vogue" three times. she's long since vowed her footing, her causes. by her huh's second term she emerged much more comfortable in public, polished, but loosening up. in more ways than one. >> turnip, for what? roses are red, violets are blue, you are the president, and i am your boo. >> reporter: if the first lady seemed to not only accept the public eye and the constraints of the white house -- >> there are president elements to it. but it's a really nice prison. >> reporter: to embrace the opportunity to let her voice be heard. including her fashion voice. taking some rickss, competing with the best of them. and making headlines. remember the bangs. >> we borrowed one of michelle's tricks. >> reporter: america has seen
michelle obama, harvard-educated lawyer and mother use her humor, her star power, even her viral meme power, occasionally shedding light on what it's like to raise now teenagers in these circumstances. >> we have one who generally stays here and one we call our grumpy cat. >> right. >> our salty biscuit. >> reporter: as her time in office drew down, once reluctant, now determined first lady drew upon her sweeping popularity to enter the campaign trail as one of the most powerful voices for her party, earning her nickname "the closer." >> i wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. and i've watched my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the white house lawn. >> reporter: she took on donald trump's "access hollywood" tapes. >> it has shaken me to my core
in a payway i couldn't have predicted. it is cruel. it's frightening. and the truth is it hurts. >> reporter: speaking her mind, even after the election. >> we're feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. >> reporter: in her final speech as first lady, her emotion raw. she once again urged americans not to give up, to celebrate diversity, and to use education and talent to better their nation. >> thank you. thank you for everything you do for our kids and for our country. being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life. and i hope i've made you proud. >> thank you. >> reporter: so, does this mean the first lady has come to embrace the public eye and she just loves hanging out with and getting to know the press? no. she doesn't do interviews all that often. her staff is extremely protect tiffi of her and what she does and when.
post white house, we expect there will first be a vacation often, badly needed. they'll settle into their rented house where they'll stay a couple years while sasha finishes high school. we expect the first lady to keep working on issues she believes in, but she has insisted several times she will not run for public office. >> maybe a break will change that although people think she's set on that. mikki taylor wrote a book about the first lady called "commander in chief." it's amazing to watch her change in terms of her -- the way she speaks, the confidence with which she carries herself and of course the elegance with which she dresses and her demeanor. what will people remember most about her? i think people will remember her authenticity, her clear-cut self-assurance, and her desire to serve others. she's always been about service and not status. and i think that that really
showed itself so well during the white house years. >> so you of course worked for her several times including one of the iconic -- the cover photo for "essence." right before the election. that first family picture. how have you seen her change? i think i've seen her footing become surer. she certainly had a voice entering the white house and i think that during the white house years she really was quite deliberate in that. she had her say. i remember once she told the white house press that, you know, if we're not doing it, don't put it in the press. that's also what i mean about that authenticity. she really, really used her voice. she wasn't in anyone's shadow. she went wiin with the agenda t empower others, empower our children, tack it will health problem in obesity, support military families.
she really knew where she wanted to make her contribution. and watching her evolve in her soul's purpose has been fascinating. >> your eyes glisten as you talk about her. >> oh, gosh. >> i know it matters deeply to you. what has she meant to women of color? >> women like myself never thought we'd see a michelle obama in the white house as first lady in our might have time. that was a dream i held for my children's future. and so when i worked with her in june of 2008 in preparing this first family cover, i knew that someday that i thought that wistful thinking that that was at hand. you could feel it. >> all right. thank you so much. i appreciate your time. thank you for being with us tonight. don't miss "the legacy of michelle obama" tonight at 9:00 on cnn. next on "out front," the bush daughters sharing words of women with the obama daughters about life after the white house.
hey, ready foyeah. big meeting? >>uh, hello!? a meeting? it's a big one. too bad. we are double booked: diarrhea and abdominal pain. why don't you start without me? oh. yeah. if you're living with frequent, unpredictable diarrhea and abdominal pain, you may have irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or ibs-d. a condition that can be really frustrating. talk to your doctor about viberzi, a different way to treat ibs-d. viberzi is a prescription medication you take every day that helps proactively manage both diarrhea and abdominal pain at the same time. so you stay ahead of your symptoms. viberzi can cause new or worsening abdominal pain. do not take viberzi if you have or may have had: pancreas or severe liver problems, problems with alcohol abuse, long-lasting or severe constipation, or a blockage of your bowel or gallbladder. if you are taking viberzi,
tadirectv now. stream all your entertainment! anywhere! anytime! can we lose the 'all'. there's no cbs and we don't have a ton of sports. anywhere, any... let's lose the 'anywhere, anytime' too. you can't download on-the-go, there's no dvr, yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen.
tonight a message from fist daughters to first daughters. jean casarez is out front. >> reporter: in a gesture of solidarity, jenna and barbara bush write to the sister who is followed them into the white house eight years ago. >> malia and sasha, eight years ago on a cold november day we greeted you on the steps at the white house. we saw both the light and weariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home. >> reporter: they were 10 and 7 years old when their father was elected president. >> the bush daughters with so nice to malia and sasha and showed them where their rooms might be and told them all the secrets of how life at the white house can be fun. >> reporter: they even taught them how to slide down the banister in the white house solarium. it is not the first emotional
letter they have written to the obama sisters. sasha and malia, here is some advice to you from two sisters who have stood where you will stand and who have lived where you will live. that was january 20th, 2009, inauguration day. the relationship between the four girls continued as malia and sasha embraced their roles of first daughters, growing up in the white house while going on official trips with their parents all over the world. and it was jenna bush who quickly came to the defense of the obama sisters when a republican staffer on capitol hill criticized them for their attire and expressions during the 2014 annual white house turkey pardon. >> i'm fiercely protective. they're great girls. i think social media sort of exploded. >> nightmare. >> but, you know, they've done an incredible job. >> reporter: a job as first daughters that may now be ending but headed toward a new chapter of young adulthood. explore your passions, learn who
you are, make mistakes. you are allowed to. >> of all that i have done in my life, i am most proud to be your dad. >> reporter: in 2009 barbara and jenna's letter spoke of love and family. "here is our most important piece of advice -- remember who your dad really is." and in 2016 -- >> you've listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who have never even met them. as always, they will be rooting for you as you begin this next chapter. and so will we. >> now the question is will the tradition continue? 10-year-old barron is going to stay in new york until he finishes the school year but then he will be going to the white house. and will malia and sasha write him a note? it will be a brand-new world for that little boy too. >> it will. and same as malia obama was. similarities there. amazing to see so many young children grow up in the white house.
thank you, jean casarez. and thanks to all of you for watching us. have a great weekend and of course watch "out front" anytime anywhere on cnn go. "ac 360 with anderson cooper" begins right now. good evening. thanks for join us. we begin with breaking news involving multiple facets of the russian hacking story and fallout from it. a closed door briefing by fbi director james comey where debbdebby wasserman schultz reportedly tore into him about the stolen e-mails that led to her ouster. the bigger development comes from the senate intelligence committee and bipartisan plans to not just investigate the hacking but contact between the trump campaign and the russian government. phil matingly, what are you learning about the scope of this investigation? >> broad and has potentially reel teeth. this is a powerful committee. this is a bipar