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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 335  Al Jazeera  December 3, 2017 3:32am-4:01am +03

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an eighteen and comma president. is widely expected to seek another term. but francis has defended his silence in me and maher over the plight of refugees saying he spoke the truth in private he's been facing international criticism for not directly addressing the crisis the pontiff says public denunciation would have prevented his message from being heard. and our time curfew is in place in honduras following days of protests security forces have been given extra powers to stop the violence that's followed last sunday's presidential election one person died with dozens more injured after six days a clear winner is yet to emerge from the vote as of now president waterland hernandez has nearly had an opposition candidate salvador. dali. all of these acts of vandalism these incidents the settings of fires are not reasonable for hundred of us therefore at the request of many sectors of society the council of ministers has declared a curfew to safeguard the security of the country seventeen people have been killed
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in northeastern nigeria after two female suicide bombers attacked a market that happened in the town of bew in borno state one of the women is said to detonate explosives at a food distribution center run by a local group there are the headlines news continues right here on al-jazeera after inside story keep it or. has flipped donald trump's former national security advisor michael flynn has fitted fealty to law into the f.b.i. with flynn planning to cooperate with the name in this game of political russian roulette this is inside story.
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alone welcome to the program i'm peter dopy now the president of the united states has been dragged into the investigation looking for answers about suspected russian meddling in last year's u.s. election his former national security adviser michael flynn is guilty he's admitted it he lied but the main question now is how far up the political food chain will robert muller's inquiry reach so much to talk about here but first as fintan monaghan explains this may yet be a turning point. was general michael flynn was a very visible part of trump's campaign for president one of its earliest and closest advisors his job was often to go after hillary clinton. was by her that's right. that chant came back to haunt him on friday.
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was his guilty plea will make it that much harder for the white house to downplay the investigation the f.b.i. now admits is looking into potential coup luzhin between russia and the trump campaign which the president has called a witch hunt and i think most of us believe it's not a witch on her hoax and that the f.b.i. director and all others believe this is a legitimate concern for their part democrats dismissed the white house assertion that lynn was a minor figure in the administration part of this is yourself from one of the most visible of your campaign surrogates and your national security adviser after the news broke on friday reporters were kept out of a planned photo shoot in the oval office of president to comment on michael would being indicted serve the president who seems to love to talk and tweet stayed silent. flynn is the fourth person close to president trump caught up in the investigation now that we know he's cooperating it seems almost
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a guarantee he won't be the last. al-jazeera. ok let's get an idea of who's been wrapped up in this russia investigation so far now as you can see here furthest from trump his former campaign chairman paul metaphor and his business associate rick gates they're suspected of acting as unregistered agents for the ukrainian government they deny the charges and they are currently under indictment neither were formally part of the administration closer to the president says george papadopoulos who was a foreign policy adviser now he pleaded guilty he wasn't forthcoming with the f.b.i. over contacts that he nurtured with people who were well connected in russia now we have mr flynn he's also guilty of lying to the f.b.i. here in relation to the russian ambassador kissel yak he was close to trump before during and after the campaign the thank you was his job as national security advisor right in the middle of mr trump's inner circle.
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ok there we are let's get going let's bring in our guests they're all joining us from washington today they are thomas pickering formally the u.s. ambassador to russia and a distinguished fellow at the brookings institution bruce fein a constitutional and international lawyer and formally the u.s. associate deputy attorney general we're also joined by joel rubin president of the washington strategy group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state welcome to you all can i ask you all basically the same question thomas pickering first let's just all put our cards on the table here in your mind are we talking about a conversation collusion or something criminal. let me say just at the beginning all the anti trumpeters hope that we're talking about something that is really i think seminal here. and they've reduced a number of reasons for that including the questions that are unknown why in fact
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was this material protected so much why are they hung on for so long in denying it why are the trump forces making it as clear as they possibly can that this is an isolated instance an instant a one time event i think it's beyond that clearly and here i put a lot of faith in the way muller is operating rooms will give you i think a much more clear insider view of the way in fact these legal questions work but we all have been inundated in the last eight to ten hours by the information in terms of how significant this is how much of a hold of a mother has over flynn and hopefully for everybody how much flynn will be singing at the right time before the right sort of people to move this ahead the second question is really the arrow pointed inclusionary and his role in it and in many ways that's the lead in to the president and all those who would hope that the
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president would be gone soon see that is sort of the the bright spot on the horizon beyond that there are a lot of unknowns and i'm not going to speculate on those understood bruce fein why do you think the hong oh i'm so long quote thomas pickering that i think they'll be hiding in on as long as they can just like richard nixon did when he was under assault because that they were have a complete sunshine and probably every zoltan more criminal convictions than we can anticipate today i remember if you have nothing to hide your government in the sunshine is what gives confidence the american people and the congress that there's nothing askew and they have done the opposite as being a government in the sunshine and remember we have not only the situation with the police here but that comes on the heels of mr trump. effort to get then the f.b.i. director mr call me to back away from investigating mr flynt at all and we have mr trump also approaching the congressional oversight committee and saying can't you bring this to an end early well what's there to be worried about if there's no
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collusion there's nothing to be embarrassed about if you're trying to shut down all these investigations or suggest you have something to hide and i would want to edit and strengthen what thomas said about the arrow being pointed at the president you notice that the plea was made to violation of the law that makes it a crime to lie to the f.b.i. even if you're not under oath well it's inconceivable to me that at some point in the investigation mr molder is not going to ask to inquire of mr trump what he knew and when did he know it there have been instances in the past where presidents have been asked questions in criminal investigations and it doesn't even need to be under oath and what this signal sends with regard to the plea agreement and if you lie even if it's not a material fact to the f.b.i. or the investigator you could be prosecuted i think that would place mr trump in a very very awkward position because at present he is the one person who has not been cross-examined he's been totally able to just speak his piece and then hide if
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you will bind this press secretary and i think this signal from the plea of mr flynn indicate that there's going to be further investigation of mr trump himself ok jill ruben i'm going to assume because we need shorthand short circuit through some of the debate here i'm going to assume here you think the arrow is also pointing. for his pivotal relationship with the russians and in part the israelis because that was parts of the story the back story going back to the beginning of the trump presidency but in your mind what's the count cumulation that robert muller has made because the potential terrorists that flynn may have been facing has gone from something like potentially sixty is to maybe even not six month. yes. peter yes i do agree with the tone of our discussion and we have a saying here in the united states where there's smoke there's fire and right now with the michael flynn police deal where he accepts that he is he's committed
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criminal acts and that he did those while he was about to become the american national security adviser he is essentially laying the first embers for that fire and the question now is how big will it get and mr moeller is strategic in clearly understands how to play this game there were no leaks at all about the deal with flynn and how he was going to admit guilt and muller is three steps ahead of everybody else on this investigation and could in the congress so right now congress asking questions keeping the pressure on finding misstatements by jerry cushion or where he seems to say that he did not have any connections to wiki leaks and to russia and then there are e-mails from him that he forwarded about wiki leaks to other campaign staffers so i think that the team in the white house has to be very concerned because they don't really know where muller is going but clearly
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he's laying the groundwork for escalating this ensue a very much of potentially an inferno for the white house thomas pickering who is michael steele and there have been rumors for a long long time i mean one remembers back in twenty fifteen he went to moscow it was a trip paid for we are told it's been reported by russia today the state run russian international english language news channel i mean that twenty fifteen as it is not within the scope of what mr mullen is investigating but why is it michael flynn never thought to himself this is wrong peter let me just say one thing is beginning because the smoke is fire pointed joe made i think is important there's another saying. on washington that people always make the mistake of lying about some particular action in government and it's the lying that gets them it's the lying that always catches you up it's the lying that's truly stupid flynn is a former u.s.
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military officer i knew him first and the only time i met him was in kabul when he was working for david petraeus as his intelligence chief and he was an excellent briefer and right on the point he later then morphed into the head of the defense intelligence agency where he ran afoul of the obama administration mainly because of quite wild views on middle east problems which they were not prepared to accept and he was fired he then went into some kinds of private business enterprises attached himself to the trump campaign got engaged as you said with our team in moscow said mr president putin excepted some money from the turks maybe from some other people failed to put that down on his disclosure forms for his clearance lied to the f.b.i. otherwise a perfectly splendid person ok let's throw that point to bruce fein i mean just picking up an idea that he was a bit wild when he was in afghanistan when he was in the middle east his p.r.
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people that were p.r. people one remembers as well the reports saying that they had a problem with him because he was a bit of a wild card and he would he would fold ideas into the speeches or the briefings that he was given that his p.r. people didn't like about the conversation that he had with kissel yet speculate forest crucifying what was the conversation that he had what did he want to get out of it and at what point did he take it into illegality. i think as you indicated at the outset and he's testified to he was not acting as a lone ranger here he was acting at the direction of higher ups in the white house and i think that's clearly means mr trump maybe through mr questioner otherwise remember mr questioner is thirty six years old a complete amateur he wouldn't do anything serious unless he got approval from the president in the united states mr trump his father in law and mr and mr flynn was trying to exhort the russians to display some kind of.
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i would say amicability in declining to retaliate against mr obama's expulsion of several russian probably spies and shutting down some of their campuses here to show that trump had some particular relationship to mr putin that was helpful to the united states and show that he really wasn't in a foreign policy amateur he knew the art of the deal so he had raised the issue with well you know you really can you hold off on an retaliating against what obama has done to some of your diplomats and then he also was lobbying for the soviet the russians here at the security council to veto a resolution that would been introduced by the egyptians that was hostile to israel because the obama administration was going to do i think abstain so those are the things that he lied about when he was asked by the f.b.i. whether that was the content of the conversations he had with the russian ambassador said no i didn't discuss any sanctions whatsoever and he discussed
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nothing with regard to the security council resolutions and i think thomas is actually right on when he says that it's met its anomaly the lying it's the obstruction of justice it's the cover up that regularly has proven the downfall of presidents even though they were implicated in the chief crime that was true with regard to nixon to some extent with clinton as well when they're trying to conceal facts and that's an easier case to prove than oftentimes the original crime culture we have a crime example to say that's what we're seeing in this. that is correct ok one more point still ruben joel is. being ferociously clever because he's kind of legally nibbling away at the edges manifold gates papadopoulos so he may the force twenty sixteen the russian ministry of foreign affairs has an email exchange with papadopoulos papadopoulos response to that poster to flee the russians respond to that positively and then papadopoulos in an email and this is establish facts this is not anything illegal that i'm saying sitting in doha papadopoulos then says oh
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i've got to refer that to a big that big e. is general yes or no well i think what muller is doing is building the ground for a case and he's in a sense is we see this in cases going after mob bosses where they'll go after the underlings first before they go to the top and get the kingpin and what we're watching here it is exposure of family members as well which is unique and it's important to mention that with michael flynn his son who's very much culpable in much of these efforts was excluded from the the the charges yesterday a his son was promoting here in washington what we called pizza gate back at the end of last year after the election during this to motorists transition period of conspiracy theories about hillary clinton and creating a foam and violent atmosphere where someone from north carolina in the united
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states drove up to washington d.c. with a gun and shot a pizza parlor that was targeted by these conspiracy theories so there's a lot going on here behind the scenes clearly flynt has protected his son and clearly muller's putting pressure on every base connection to the kingpin not wishing to put words into anyone's mouth during a debate that you and point peter peter yes kerry o'brien reported point on the way muller muller is operating. he quickly it was a wonderful sucker punch you produce man a fort the president got on the tube right away and said that's it nothing more there's nothing else in the involved here and there's no real stuff and then an hour later papadopoulos comes forward as a new cooperator now he's got flynn as a cooperator in the white house is saying it all ends this is it flynn is the man he's the one who made all the mistakes there's nothing there and we now see clearly they are already pointing to cushion or and so look i think particularly that
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cushion or is the next sucker punch particular question that i think mohler will pull as he moves up and joel's entirely right you start low and you work your way up and each one looks better than the other and each one knows more than the other and that's how in fact you'll get to the top ok this central investigation is about the russian influence all not of your recent election the list of people who may have been influenced and influencing is huge i had to write it done as pullman a for michael flynn cuts page jeff sessions general donald jr rex tillerson wilbur ross and roger stone and those are just the guys you're sitting there you're sitting there smiling joe but those are just the guys whose names of percolated into the international news arena if there was influence brackets allegedly what was put in trying to achieve because of the statements that had been made by mr trump during the campaign which were friendlier toward russia than certainly hillary clinton who is viewed as the prime enemy by mr putin and he had accused her
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of interfering with the russian elections herself that they were hoping at least to get a more favorable vote out for mr trump that seems quite clear and even if that wasn't true i think a secondary objective was through the media here in the united states or some kind of collusion to create a situation of chaos or conflict internally in the united states just like the united states intelligence agencies when we have enemy states we. tried to foment domestic controversy in acrimony themselves so those are the two angles i think that putin had probably the most important one was to see if he could get mr trump in the white house as opposed to hillary clinton because trump would be viewed as far more open to russian initiatives in their concerns with regard to nato expansion and otherwise joe and insisting on twitter that the twitter because one follows the original it's just so it just hold that thought for a second for us please thomas pickering it's going to put this point to joel rubin
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the twitter balts today have gone very quiet on top of which people are speculating well maybe the twit supports the the trumpet ministration has been cut loose by moscow do you think and we are going into the air of speculation here do you think trump himself the man today right now has been utterly blind signed it wireless. well the twitter bots i'm glad that you mention it the twitter bots would always seem to surge whenever trump had a dip in the polls and i think that as the the the analytics are investigated by the moeller team about the timing of the twitter bots and their invasion into our elections and the senate intelligence committee as well is it is going to be investigating in these areas will find that there was a linkage there it's quite possible they're cutting him loose and i think to add to what bruce said. the russians wanted to get out and still want to get out from under american sanctions that have been placed on them as
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a result of their invasion of ukraine as well as from the bag magnitsky act which focused on human rights violations so the russians had a very clear goal put someone in power who will relieve us from this economic pressure there are other angles to play as well but in that first meeting as it's reported between donald trump jr and jericho and a russian intermediary lawyer that was the discussion was about it was about magnitsky and about sanctions so the domestic havoc that this is created in our elections and in our democratic process the specter of removing sanctions these are very clear russian benefits now interesting i'll finish with this it's that the republican congress imposed more stringent sanctions on russia not long ago as a result of its election meddling and they essentially forced the hand of the chop ministrations hu and impose those yet to come for ministration is slow walked in
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nonetheless so it's not like europe has a lot of room to maneuver anyways in relieving sanctions from russia here in washington thomas pickering what do you think mr trump's future might be i mean you know impeachment itself is one of the grossest is not a legal process that could be applied to any civilian like you. won't be a legal process will it be impeachment or resignation because to me that he he's not surrounded by people who give him the advice that he needs to he's surrounded himself with people who given the advice that he wants to hear and if he does have political friends he throws them under a bus anyway. well the first question is whether the russians have compromised on mr trump and whether that results in some of the actions we've seen vance unknown unknown we'll have to wait and see the steel information pointed in a direction some suspected that's not true or all true we'll wait and see secondly for your question it's both a legal and a political question the legal issues with respect to president nixon were severe
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enough to swing the political balance of power in the republican party against him for mr trump i think there's a combination here will his politics be so devastating to republican chances in twenty eighteen that republicans will swing against him because in fact he's losing his base or will the legal questions that come out of where muller is or other things compromise whatever be so devastating to mr trump that the republicans are going to address who until twenty eighteen at least hold sway there move against him those are both questions that are important those are both questions and not answered today but they both bear on the the question of whether he'll be impeached or resign my sense is that he's a very proud man and very good to stickle and in some ways as a result moving him to resit nation would be something that he would have to choose in lieu of fighting an impeachment and i can't give you
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a judgment on that i don't know him personally we'll have to wait and see but many have said he will never resign and some have said in the pinch in the end he will it's a kind of fifty fifty question now bruce fine just boiled the legalities of this done for us is a calculation as far as mull is concerned he must have mullah must have inculpate saree information so he's thinking the equation is usually criminal he of the equation is usually i can go off to two middling guys or i can take that information and go off to somebody a lot further up the food chain yes and the latter is and my judgment clearly what's. happening i was live through watergate from day one and this what we had with regard to first the burglars and then it was to haul them in an early man and mitchell and the high level people and then the last one there was nixon and he resigned and was pardoned before he actually was criminally indicted which probably would have been forthcoming by leon jaworski and also having lived through then worked on the impeachment from day one the two critical factors for in my judgment
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to escape impeachment for mr trump a one he's got to keep his popularity ratings at least into the thirty's nixon really fail in the peach mint. stakes when he was down into the twenty's because you've got to remember you're dealing with members of congress who are very timid they're not courageous they're largely spineless so they're looking at the popular opinion polls the second thing that thomas referred to if the house of representatives flips from republican to democrat in two thousand and eighteen then i think impeachment is going to heat up and you will have much more vigorous congressional oversight investigations like the watergate committee which by and large have been dormant because you don't have republicans investigating republican presidents and watergate you had a democrat senate that watergate committee investigating the prez in the united states who are republican so if we get one house of congress to go democrat i think that's probably the beginning of the end of the shelf life for this administration . gentleman thank you so much for your contribution here today on inside story the
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clock as a house between us thank you very much thanks to all our guests ambassador thomas pickering bruce fein and joel reuben and thank you to you too for watching you can see the program again any time via the website al-jazeera dot com and full further discussion check out our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story can also join the conversation on twitter at a.j. inside story or at be to be one for me peter told me and everyone on the team here in doha thanks very much for watching we'll do it again tomorrow. on counting the cost the goatee locks oil prices is there such
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a thing as the perfect price of crude for consumers and producers financial bubbles and big point was the future of job creation in africa the only continent where the young outnumber the counting the cost at this time. december on al-jazeera we look back at twenty seventeen through the eyes of five families who've been affected by some of the big stories of the year in an increasingly polarized world people in power sheds light on the darkest abuses of authority ten days of comprehensive coverage about nuclear arsenals around the globe and the impact they have on the diplomatic stage a special program dedicated to this year's nobel peace prize laureates i can and their pursuit of a nuclear weapon free world and we look ahead to the big stories that could dominate the headlines in twenty eighteen. december on al-jazeera.
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was. on the show just about the. same it's over the year. defying my disability on al-jazeera well at this time. i'm richelle carey in doha on these are the top stories on al-jazeera donald trump has to.


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