tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 13, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
this is cnn breaking news. our breaking news on cnn, the national security adviser, michael flynn, has resigned. this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. flynn's resignation coming in the wake of news that the justice department warned the trump administration last month that flynn misled the
administration about his communications with the russian ambassador to the united states and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. that's our breaking news here on cnn. i want to get right to all of our correspondents here, our team here at cnn working on this story, michelle kosinski, mark preston, and major general spider marks, jim acosta will join us in moments as well. jim, do i have you? >> i'm here. >> jim, let me get to you first. you read this letter on air when this news was breaking. this is from michael flynn. he said, in the course of my duties as the incoming national security adviser, i held numerous phone calls from foreign counterparts. he said he did this with the russian ambassador to ensure a smooth transition. he said, unfortunately because of the fast pace of events, i briefed the vice president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the russian ambassador. i sincerely apologize to the president and vice president,
and they have accepted my apology. that's where the rubber met the road, giving vice president pence information that was not accurate. >> yeah, don, i think that's the straw that broke the camel's back, if folks will pardon the late-night cliches. essentially what happened here, the incoming national security adviser before this administration came into office, the incoming national security adviser gave bad information to the vice president elect, who went on national television and vouched for the national security adviser about this phone call between michael flynn and the russian ambassador about whether or not, you know, they had talked about sanctions, sanctions against russia. that is just not something that's going to fly with any administration, and it is rather surprising that it took this long for all of this to play out. don, one has to assume that part of this is because, at the onset of any administration, you just can't have the president
throwing people overboard. you can't have top officials stepping aside. it just doesn't look like a stable situation, if you have officials leaving as soon as they come in. but i am told by a senior administration official that president trump tried to hang in there, he tried to stand by mike flynn as long as possible and that this was not a firing, it was a resignation. and in the words of one senior administration official outside of "the apprentice," this person said, trump does not relish firing people. but it seems, don, that this did reach critical mass, and that flynn had reached a point where he could not stay on as the national security adviser. i think the moment where everything changed was this afternoon when kellyanne conway went on television and said that flynn had the full confidence of the president. that statement right there bounced around the walls of the west wing, and within about an hour, reporters were called into
white house press secretary sean spicer's office, who did a 180 and said, no, mike flynn is being evaluated. and would not answer the question whether or not he had the full confidence of the president. as we were saying earlier, when a top official at the white house gets to that point, it's really hard to put the tooth paste back in the tube. >> what's interesting, we saw the president leaving the oval office this evening, being asked by reporters a number of times, do you -- are you confident in michael flynn? the president smiled and would not answer questions to that effect. mark preston, what's interesting, as jim is reporting here and as we read the letter, is this more about misleading the vice president, than about the actual phone calls and what transpired in the phone calls? >> well, we don't really know the answer to that. we know from reporting from dana bash and her sources within the white house, that in fact, this had to do with more, telling
something to vice president pen pence. while they don't think it was willfully, it was just that they thought, we had to see the general get dismissed, that in fact, perhaps he did forget what he said in that conversation, and in a position that he was in, you can't be forgetful. to me, that says that they're trying to let him off easy. so it doesn't look like he willfully lied to the vice president of the united states. that being general flynn. this is one of those stories, i think, when we look at from a political perspective, and i know that our viewers get frustrated when you put this into the strategic political sphere, is that, if they can get past the next 24 hours, with mike flynn kind of fading away and they're able to put in somebody else like petraeus, perhaps, or somebody else, that will be a good thing for the white house. it will be seen by his supporters as donald trump taking decisive action and moving on for the good of the
country. however, if there is this investigation as we're told on capitol hill, to look into what russia was doing with our election and what other things they may have been doing, could we see as david gergen had said earlier this evening, have general flynn come up and testify about what his conversations were? that could keep the story alive and could continue to cause headache and heart ache for the trump administration. >> general marks, what does this mean for national security at this very moment? >> well, it puts us in certainly a period of turmoil. we don't have a national security adviser. we have an interim. and what it goes back to, what has taken place over the course of the last three weeks within this administration, does any of that activity now move off to the side and be rendered irrelevant? and do we move forward with a new agenda? my suggestion is, what needs to take place right now is the establishment of what we think
this administration's key priorities are. they need to come forward in a calming voice. doesn't really matter who that is right now and say, these are the three things, these are the five things that we're going to work on. this is the direction we need to take. so national security is ongoing. it's 24/7, it continues to evolve. the challenges, we don't have a voice for it, we don't have a face for it, but if we can establish what the priorities are, that's a good first stem to calm these very choppy white waters. >> mark said this may be a reset, but it certainly does bring into question and highlight potential conflicts of interest, and this administration's relationship with vladimir putin and russia? >> to have your national security adviser have to resign in this way, such a short time into the administration, it's a big deal. >> and issues over russia. >> exactly. and the timing of that, because russia tried to hack the
american election. it's just such a big problem on so many levels. sure, having somebody come in, who's going to tackle this the right way, and for things to be more responsible, on a number of levels, you know, that could put things on a better path, sure. but that doesn't mean that this issue goes away. there's still major questions surrounding this. where did this problem begin? did it begin with the president? why was he having this conversation? and for what purpose? and where does this problem end? if the white house was warned about this directly weeks ago, where did that end up? why didn't that information spread far and wide? or at least to the vice president. and then you have michael flynn saying that he inadvertently gave incomplete information to the vice president and others, that's what he wrote in his
resignation letter. you only have a couple options here. he didn't just give this incomplete information to the vice president and others, it was also to the american public. he repeatedly denied that he had this conversation. so your options are, you're lying about it, you forgot about it, that's another major problem, or you're trying to cover something up. if you're trying to cover something up that you know you did wrong, how many other tentacles does that have? that's why there's so many eyeballs on this, and so many reporters digging around and you also have plenty of leaks happening. this isn't just a containable problem. at least not right now. and possibly for a long time. >> yeah. jim acosta, i want to get back to you and see if there's anything else you would like to report here, considering you're at the white house every day, in the press briefings. i know you don't have a crystal ball, but what happens tomorrow? >> what happens tomorrow, there's going to be a briefing
at the white house. sean spicer will hold a press briefing and he is going to be peppered with all the questions that you're asking. i think one of the most important questions that is going to be asked in the coming days and we noticed that it wasn't asked at that news conference today with the canadian prime minister, in part because the white house put together a news conference where perhaps that kind of question wouldn't be asked, but what did the president know and when did he know it? that age-old question is going to be asked, because what we have here is a conversation about michael flynn, the national security adviser and the phone call that he had with the russian ambassador in late december. were they talking about sanctions and so on. that really is kind of irrelevant now. we could get to the bottom of that, i suppose at some point in time. i think the real question is, to the president of the united states, and he's going to have to answer this question at some point in time. he can delay answering this question for as long as he'd
like. eventually he'll have to this questio -- answer this question, did he know flynn was having conversations with the russian ambassador about russian sanctions? did michael flynn report back to the president of the united states about his conversations with the russian ambassador about these sanctions? these are questions that people will say, there they go again, asking these sorts of questions of the president. well, don, you and i both know, these questions have to be asked and they have to be answered. i think that is going to be the tough task that sean spicer is going to have tomorrow. i will say that we are getting, you know, some more information about highway all of this went down tonight and who was in the running. there's going to be a conversation about david petraeus that we're going to have this week, the retired general who shared classified information with a mistress. and that basically resulted in
him leaving government service. you know, people are going to be asking the question, how can david petraeus come into this job after michael flynn just left, when they were giving hillary clinton such a hard time during the campaign? >> jim, stand by. gloria borger joins us, do you have any new information that you need to report here? >> just that one source said that general petraeus is going to go to the white house tomorrow and that he is, quote, making a run for the job, but this source also indicates that petraeus has what this source calls a lot of baggage, and we all know what that is, that he shared classified information with his mistress, and we talked about the people who are in the running for the job. obviously petraeus is in the running for the job. general kellogg, who is now acting head of the national security agency, is also solid, i'm told, with k.t. mcfarland,
who is the number two. and just to say that i think this took so long because, you know, general flynn was hanging out there for quite some time. and i think it took longer because of the president himself, and i think both jim acosta and i have been talking about it tonight, because the president doesn't like to fire people. and in the end, i was told that there was a flood of information, that made it clear that flynn had to resign. what that was remains unclear. was it related to the stories that broke tonight in "the post" and "the new york times," was it related to transcripts of his conversations with the russians? or was it simply related in a large sense, to the fact that, in his conversations with the vice president, he did not tell him what actually occurred in
his conversations with the russians, and whether that was an oversight or whether he just didn't tell the truth about it, we really haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet. but in the eppnd, i think the president and the staff finally decided that general flynn had to go, and so he resigned. >> it's interesting that the person who is known for firing people doesn't like to fire people. everything is not always what it seems, gloria borger. i also want to ask you about, i'm not sure if you've gotten this information from john conyers, the ranking member of the house judiciary committee, and elijah cummings, issuing the following joint statement. basically what they're asking is for some sort of investigation. >> right. >> they're calling for an immediate briefing on the alarming new information on michael flynn and possible
blackmail by russia. >> right. and i think it's one of these statements that was probably issued a little bit after the fact here. but it says that they're, you know, they're concerned about reports that the justice department believes that he was -- could be subject to blackmail by the russians. and they state that they believe he was unfit to be national security adviser in the first place and should have been dismissed a while ago. but in the end, i think at this point, that's going to be kind of a moot point because he's gone. and i think they'll probably try and focus on who is going to be the next national security adviser and what the issues that national security adviser might have. for example, if it were to be general petraeus, who does have this controversy that still
haunts him about sharing classified information. and i'm sure that while many democrats like, admire and respect general petraeus, i think it would clearly become an issue, both for him and for the president himself who, you know, who used that issue against hillary clinton during the campaign, the sharing of classified information on her e-mail. so they may be barking up the wrong tree here, or at least just a little late. >> stand by, gloria. want to bring in cnn's senior political commentator, david axelrod. david, what are we learning about how the trump white house works, considering today's events? how this white house functions? >> well, i mean, there are a lot of questions here. one is that they were informed of this problem weeks ago, and it's taken weeks for them to deal with it. that is one question that arises
here. kellyanne conway went out and gave him -- gave the world an assurance that the president of the united states had full confidence in general flynn, and then within the hour, was contradicted. so it raises questions about what her role is, and how well she was read into this. so, you know, i will say this. just on the day that this -- of all of these events, there was a story about the disarray in the national security council and as i noted earlier, general flynn was kind of famously controversial administrator, it cost him one job in the intelligence community, and there apparently were big problems within national security council. if by making this move they can clear up that problem and bring some sense of order to the
national security operation, that would be a step forward for the administration. >> david, not to cut you off, i want to ask you, because it has been mentioned tonight that he did lose his job with the obama administration. can you take us into detail. what happened there, for allegedly sharing classified information? >> no, that wasn't really -- my understanding, i wasn't there, don, when that happened. my understanding was that he lost it primarily because of concerns about his administrative style, and there was a chaotic administrative style that apparently translated into this particular assignment. so there's a pattern in that regard, that has plagued general flynn. but you know a name that we haven't heard mentioned tonight in all of these discussions, the name of steve bannon, who has taken a role on national security that is highly unusual for a person in his position,
essentially a senior adviser to the president, chief strategist to the president, a seat on the national security council. he obviously leverages great influence on issues of national security, and one wonders if he'll leverage even greater influence now with this turmoil within the national security council. but one thing and jim's mentioned it a couple of minutes ago, i don't think the story ends tonight with general flynn. because i don't think the question is only what happened in his conversations with the vice president. there is the question of what the president knew and when he knew it. and the point that "the post" raised in its reporting tonight, that there were intelligence reports of other conversations between general flynn and
ambassador kizly iac of russia throughout the campaign when the intelligence commrunt concluded that the russians were trying to interfere and were interfering in the -- mettling in the american campaign on behalf of mr. trump to harm the candidacy of hillary clinton. so what were those conversations? i think these questions are going to persist. i don't think the story's going to die tonight with the resignation of general flynn. so i do think that it tamps down the problem for now. but i think interest will be piqued now in what general flynn's relationship was with the russians, what was he telling them, not just on the 28th of december or the 29th of december, but throughout the campaign. >> david, i need you to stand by. i'm glad you mentioned "washington post," because one of the three reporters who wrote the story that broke earlier
this evening in "the washington post" is adam intes and he joins me now by phone. so adam, you heard david axelrod mentioning the story, the warning from the acting attorney general, that michael flynn could be vulnerable to russian blackmail. did you expect such a quick reaction from general flynn and from the white house? >> yeah, i mean, certainly no, absolutely not. i do agree completely with david that, you know, this is not going to go away. we have additional questions here that have not been addressed, such as who might have known about flynn's communications that were misdescribed, mischaracterized to pence and some others in the white house. those are questions that i think senate investigators will be looking at closely, having flynn outside the white house now that he's resigned, raises questions
also about, you know, what is the status of that fbi investigation, which was looking into these communications. is that investigation continuing? these are all things that obviously we don't know the answers to at this point, but hopefully in the coming days, we'll get some clarity on. >> i found your report fascinating. had to read it several times. the amount of information in it, it's just staggering. but i want you to tell me specifically about the blackmail concerns. you report that the ag sally yates felt flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because he misled senior administration officials. talk to me about that. >> what you have to understand is basically kizlyiac, the fbi is listening to him, they get flynn, incidental collection.
kislyiac writes a cable, basically tells moscow what he just spoke to flynn about. the nsa picks that up too, or the fbi picks that up too. and so moscow knows that flynn and kislyiac spoke about the sanctions. yet pence says he spoke to flynn and there was -- he had received assurances from flynn that there was no discussion of the sanctions. the idea here, and what sally yates was thinking, along with, by the way, james clapper, who at the time was the dni, the director of national intelligence, john brennan, the cia director, the concern here was that the russians at some point had this information on flynn, or at least they thought they did, that they could use as leverage. and by telling the white house counsel, sally yates thought and
so did clapper and brennan, that you would take away that leverage that the russians would have, that they might try at one point down the road to try to exercise. so that's really what this was. in addition to obviously sally yates and again these other officials feeling like there had been a mischaracterization of a discussion and pence not knowing the truth was something that would in the end, he would probably hold against the intelligence community for not sharing with him. >> it's just fascinating. and all of this came about because of vladimir putin's, at least the record of the phone call, is because of how vladimir putin reacted to the sanctions that the obama administration placed on them. it was an irregular reaction, and so members of, i would imagine the intelligence community or investigative unit of the fbi and so on, went back to look for a record of any phone calls with this particular ambassador, this russian
ambassador, and came across this. am i correct in that? >> yeah, well, anytime basically putin makes a decision, especially one that was unexpected, analysts in the intelligence community are basically trying to figure out what happened. they pull on all kinds of intelligence, signals intelligence, intercepted communications, reports from diplomats around the world, and spies that might also provide tips. you know, when it comes to intercepted communication, the fbi does the wire taps on ambassadors in the united states, the nsa is listening overseas. and so that's where they go. a good portion of our intelligence, anywhere between 65%, 75%, comes from so-called signals intelligence, which would be like what we're talking about here, the wire tap.
what we call a fisa warrant which is constantly being renewed on kizlyiac's phone and he knows this, and flynn knows this too, or he should know it. that by accident basically they get flynn in that conversation. >> interesting. adam entous, "washington post," thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you. when we come back, much more on our breaking news, national security adviser michael flynn resigns in the wake of the national justice department's warning to the white house about his contacts with the russian ambassador. we'll be right back. can i keep the walnuts? yes. but i get to pick your movie. can i pick the genre? nope. with the blue cash everyday card you get cash back on purchases with no annual fee. backed by the service and security of american express. you get cash back on purchases with no annual fee. i realize that ah, that $100k is notwell, a 103fortune. yeah, 103. well, let me ask you guys. how long did it take you two to save that?
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our breaking news tonight on cnn, national security adviser michael flynn has resigned, in the wake of news that the justice department warned the trump administration last month that flynn misled the administration about his communications with the russian ambassador and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. i want to bring in cnn's senior international correspondent matthew chance, who joins us live from moscow. matthew, what is the reaction there in moscow tonight, especially in a place where flynn has close relationships? >> well, don, there hasn't been reaction yet. we're going to be speaking to the kremlin with this issue in the hours ahead. it's still quite early in the morning here, but obviously this
resignation leaves the kremlin with egg on its face, not least because throughout this whole scandal, the russians have categorically denied that any conversations took place between flynn and their ambassador to washington about the issue of sanctions. they're saying it just didn't happen. they've also denied the idea that vladimir putin's reaction to the last round of obama government sanctions over u.s. hacking, in which he expelled 35 diplomats. remember vladimir putin infamously made no reaction to that. he didn't expel in a tit for tat way 35 u.s. diplomats. kret l the kremlin denying that had anything to do with the conversations between michael flynn and the russian ambassador to washington. and so, from a russian perspective, what turned out, what started out, perhaps, as an attempt to support the white
house denials, that the issue with sanctions had been raised in these discussions, as i say, it's become very embarrassing indeed. and we're looking forward to speaking to the kremlin to get their explanation as to why they told us that sanctions were not discussed between these two figures. >> so the question, you're going to be speaking with the kremlin. but can you tell us how this story is being reported there tonight? >> you know, i don't think there's a lot of coverage on it at the moment. but obviously the travails of the trump administration are being widely covered in the russian media. i think this latest incident underlines just how, from a russian perspective, just how dangerous this relationship with the trump administration has become. it's dangerous for all sides. obviously the democrats and the republicans in the united states are using the sympathies of trump and the people around trump towards russia in a bid to discredit his administration.
but from a russian point of view, the big concern is that there's so much opposition to that detent that trump proposed during his campaign with russia, so much opposition in the congress, that they fear that trump could opportunistically do a u-turn and adopt a much tougher stance with russia in order to placate the congress and ensure his political survival. so the big concern amongst russian officials now is that trump will do an about-face and instead of being the kremlin's man, which is what critics have dubbed him in the united states and elsewhere, when it comes to his relationship with russia, to become an anti-russian hawk. that's the big concern people are talking about now. >> matthew, appreciate that. looking forward to speaking with the kremlin and we'll report that as soon as he does. want to get back to jim acosta, mark preston, and major general
spider marks and jill doherty. general marks, i have to ask you this, i don't know if you heard my reporting with "the washington post" reporter, adam entous, who reported on this, talked to us about how the nsa were listening to phone calls for the russian ambassador. it's fascinating information. general marks, they should have known this russian ambassador was being monitored. that's standard operating procedure. what did you get out of that? >> general flynn was aware that any communications he makes, he's vulnerable, it's going to be picked up. he's intimate with that, both metadata and the internal. the thing that you need to realize on mike flynn and i know him exceptionally well. he's a very bright guy and a very savvy guy and an organizational man. he understands where his right and left limits are. so he had to get permission from somebody before he started to engage in these communications
with the russian ambassador. now, clearly, i don't know that that was the president himself to gave him that authorization. it certainly wasn't the vice president, during the period when they were in the elected position, they had not assumed office yet. so within the white house, there clearly is someone else or a group of folks who gave mike the clearance to conduct these communications. that's the question that all of your journalists have been uncovering tonight. who is that, and what does that look like as we move forward? the fact that mike raised his hand and said, look, i've gotta get off the objective here, i'm drawing a bunch of fire here and distracting from the effort of this administration to move forward. so he did the honorable thing and got out of the way. but who remains back in the white house, within that administration, who knew what mike was up to, and now needs to come forward and say, this is how we addressed this, these were our thoughts and our initiatives moving forward. >> jim acosta?
>> i think that's right, what spider marks said. i think, don, that one question that is going to be asked, why is it that all of the lines from all these different officials, they all get drawn back to russia. president trump will criticize just about anybody on planet earth, besides vladimir putin. general flynn was at that rt dinner, the video that we played over and over again. he's having phone conversations with the russian ambassador during the transition period just as the obama administration is slapping sanctions on russia for their involve ment in the 2016 election. you have the secretary of state, rex tillerson, who received a friendship award from vladimir putin, had done multiple oil deals as part of his job at exxonmobil in russia. why is it that time and again, there's this line drawn from people in trump world to russia?
i think that's just a question that's going to be asked over and over again. one other thing i wanted to point out, don, a bit of color about michael flynn today. apparently he was still involved in doing his job as the national security adviser today. we're told he was involved in the president's daily intelligence briefing earlier this morning, that he was involved in those meetings with primary trudeau when he was in town over at the white house. right up until everything started unraveling this afternoon. >> his resignation came late. >> it seemed general flynn was hanging in there. and so it appears that the reports about the justice department warning the trump administration a month ago, did that start to bring weight to bear on all of this? i think that is an interesting question. >> jill, jim draws a picture there, as he's raising his hand. i don't know if you can see him, with the lines going back to russia. and it does raise questions about the relationship of this
white house with russia. >> it always has. and i think this is at least a major chapter, but it's not the end, in trying to come to the end of the story. you know, why is it? nobody can really answer that at this point. so i think it's a major problem for this administration. i think it's a major problem for russia. because right now, this is kind of blowing up in their faces. i think the way that they will probably finesse is, this is the kremlin, would be to say that the powers that be, the elite ruling class, is now really trying to bring down trump and here was a guy who was just out trying to do his job, and talking with the ambassador and what's wrong with that? and you know, this is just trying to damage trump. and then also getting back to what matthew was saying, dmitri
pesk of, spokesperson for president putin did deny there were conversations about sanctions, but he doesn't say, as far as i know, between flynn and the ambassador, he said between the united states and russia. so knowing that the -- vladimir putin's administration is very legalistic, they can probably say, well, there were no official conversations between russia and the united states about sanctions. and we know that. that they haven't brought it up in official discussions. so i think they can finesse that. but right now, it's pretty much a mess for them. >> the lay person at home is wondering what does russia have on president trump, or this administration? that's really the question that people are asking. >> and it's certainly going to be a question that we'll hear in the coming days. you know, there's a couple ways of looking at this. we were talking earlier and i do
think, as far as the position of national security adviser, if they're able to get somebody in there, if they're able to keep that boat steady, that will be a good thing for the trump administration. but this really is going to put an incredible amount of pressure on congress and republicans in congress. they're the ones who have the power to investigate. they're the ones that have the power to subpoena people to go to capitol hill. they're the ones and we've heard from a couple of them now already that have already said they will start looking into these russian connections. specifically, how it relates to the election, but as jim points out, and jill points out, that there are these connections with russia right now, that really go unexplained. i think it really goes back to the campaign, and one of the strangest things that i will take away from this campaign, don, one of the most surprising things, was that a republican could win their party's presidential nomination by embracing russia. that, in itself, was a very
bizarre turn of events, but donald trump did so. but having said that, if we see an investigation by congressional republicans, a robust investigation, we could overturn some rocks and that could cause some to think otherwise. >> and i guess the line under that, in large print now, is "at your own risk, embrace russia." thank you very much. we'll be right back. to me. that's why i use e*trade mobile. it's on all my mobile devices, so it suits my mobile lifestyle. and it keeps my investments fully mobile... even when i'm on the move. sign up at etrade.com and get up to six hundred dollars. the search for relief often leads... here... here... or here. today, there's another option. drug-free aleve direct therapy. a tens device with high intensity power that uses technology once only available in doctors' offices. its wireless remote lets you control the intensity, and helps you get back to things like this... this... or this.
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breaking news on cnn. national security adviser michael flynn has resigned in the wake of the news that the justice department warned the trump administration last month that flynn misled the administration about his communications with the russian ambassador, and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. let's discuss now with cnn political commentators, a republican commentator and new york city councilman. as i was speaking to you on the 10:00 hour, this news broke of michael flynn resigning. i understand, alice, you have some sources and i imagine they're watching us closely at
the white house right now. >> that's the impression, and that's what they're saying. this is breaking news. and cnn is doing a great job staying on top of it. look, the key is, over the last 48 hours or the last two or three days, this has been a drip, drip, drip of negative headlines for the administration. and when a member of the administration is distracting or as mark preston said, a side show from the actual news of the administration, that's not good. and this was flynn's decision to step down. as we've said earlier today, 4:00, kellyanne conway said that he had the full confidence of the president. an hour later we heard it's still under review and under investigation. they're looking at it. and it wasn't much longer than that, where we understood, as i was hearing throughout the evening, is that the president still had trust in him, and was holding on and standing by him. but it was flynn himself who made the decision that it was too much of a distraction and
made the decision to step down. this is not so much that phone call, but it was as he said, his inadvertent leaving out information to the vice president, that was the big crux of this, and as we've said, the straw that broke the camel's back, the inadvertent mishandling of relaying on information to the vice president that really did him in. >> and joseph, did he really have a choice, the president? i know he may have wanted to stick by michael flynn at this point, but considering as alice said, the drip, drip, drip of information, the unanswered questions, did the president really it was not about the legality, about really any of the blackmail rumor or what have you, it was about the credibility of mike pence, and we saw mike pence sort of develop into to
explainer-in-chief throughout the campaign. and if we can all be objective he does a very good job for the administration. that is part and parcel of what he wants to have. look, he knows the business, i think he did the right thing by resigning and i think the administration now needs to weather the storm that is going to come for the next couple of days. i think sean spicer needs to do the performance of his life in the next couple of days and answer some questions and then they have to move on. >> hillary, i'm getting some information, that elijah cummings, they want to investigate. they want to know, it is concerning about the potential of being blackmailed by the russians. >> well, and i talked tonight to some of the folks in the senate democratic leadership and they are not going to let this go. and i think their hope is some of the republicans, we heard
marco rubio say today that he thought that the flynn contacts with russia should be part of their overall investigation into russia. so really the questions are going to go further and they're really going to reach the president. did the president hold on to loyalty to mike flynn because he himself was the one who encouraged him to talk to the russian ambassador? did -- you know, what other information has transpired between the two of them, and so will mike flynn now have to testify without you know, so-called executive privilege before a congressional committee? so i think that this is not the end of this story. i think you know -- jim acosta was smart before the way he talked about multiple ties to russia and the mystery of the trump you know, connection to russia. this doesn't help the white house you know, get more jobs at the table.
it doesn't help with health care, it does not help get their supreme court nominee through. none of this is good for the white house agenda. but now they have created their own mess, and one final point that a senate democratic leader said to me tonight was remember, now that president trump knew before he was sworn in and before he let his national security adviser get the highest security clearance you know, permitted, he knew that he was lying. and so what do you do with that? >> don, i think one thing that is important to stress is that as acting national security adviser he should be speaking with foreign leaders. he should have had this conversation as part of the transition process. whether or not they talked about sanctions still -- was up for questions. but given the fact the conversation was had the same day the obama administration
issued sanctions with regard to russian hacking it certainly would be something that would come up. but that conversation is not out of the ordinary for an acting national security adviser. >> well, allison i have to get to the break, but we shall see. sean spicer will have a lot of questions to answer tomorrow. it will be a very tough day for sean spicer. i have to get to the break, before we come back, national security adviser michael flynn resigns in the wake of questions about his contact with the russian ambassador. y28cny ywty if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis isn't it time to let the real you shine through? introducing otezla, apremilast.
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>> well, it's another bit of wild news from an administration that has wild news, we have information from after dark that faces consequences about its judgment and personnel decisions that leaks like crazy, that seems to have knives out for you know just about everyone going back and forth at each other. so this is like nothing we've seen in recent times. >> uh-huh. daniel, listen, there is a lot of talk today about the fact that the president, president trump was not asked directly about the controversy surrounding michael flynn because he was only taking questions from friendly media outlets. what do you think -- is that a way of trying to control the media? >> i don't know if it's trying to control the media but it's certainly a way to avoid questions. the trump administration knew that if they avoided the news media, with joint leaders and give questions to the daily caller that they would not have
the question ask about michael flynn, and they gave a question to the daily caller and got to softball they were looking for. >> when you see the president's advisers going on television making untrue statements, statements that have no basis in reality at all. and is that because they think they have an audience of one man, the president, and they know they need to impress him on television? >> i think to some extent, yes, when sean spicer comes out and claims this is one of the biggest inauguration crowds in history, sean spicer knows that is not true, kellyanne conway knows some of the statements are not true, but their boss either subscribes to unreality, or asks the people to join him and push the unreality, and so if they want to stay in their boss's good graces they often have to join him in this kind of nonsense peddling. >> is that frustrating that he
only called on conservative outlets, or organizations that he would deem would be friendly to the trump administration. how frustrating is that to a reporter who is tasked to ask about tough questions, and reince priebus, and kellyanne conway, none of that was discussed during this press briefing. >> it is frustrating. and i don't think we need to demand that every question go to "the new york times" or "the washington post" or cnn, but the public should expect you know that some questions some of the time go to outlets that are going to be tough and be critical, fair, smart, but also tough and critical on the president. and there seems to be a deliberate effort on many occasions to simply avoid that type of scrutiny. >> uh-huh, and this story certainly is indeed an example of the importance of a free and independent press, i would say. i have to ask you, daniel, president trump met with the
canadian president today, justin trudeau, and they held a brief conference, there has been so much controversy over the recent incident with mexico. but what would you say are the most recent issues between our most northern border, canada? >> from a lot of our people and our government, it's trade, the economic relationship for canada. it's trade with the united states, and what they're looking for today was some sort of reassurance from donald trump that he did not want to blow up the trade relationship with canada like he seems to want to blow up the trade with mexico. we heard him rant about nafta, canada is a part of nafta, but he certainly never mentioned canada as part of the nafta issue. but what we see is, he sees canada as a different perspective from mexico. he said we need to tweak the canada relationship where we
need more fundamental relationship on the canada side. this was greeted with huge sighs of relief from the canada officials. >> i appreciate it, thank you so much sir. >> thank you. our live coverage of the international national security adviser michael flynn continues now, i'm don lemon, thank you for joining us. hello, and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm michael holmes, and it's just 10:00 on monday night. and i'm hannah jones here in london where it's 6 a.m. on tuesday morning. thank you for joining us. well, breaking news from washington, where they have been