tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN December 8, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
even that debunked theory that hillary clinton and john podesta had a child sex ring at a pizza parlor here in d.c. so a lot of those trends got even worse in view of the people that knew him best. >> jim sciutto, thank you very much. that does it for "360." "cnn special report: the mystery of michael flynn" begins right now. >> the following is a cnn special report. general flynn! >> it was a precipitous fall. >> michael flynn charged with making false statements to the fbi. >> general michael flynn, a decorated military commander and close trump confidant, pleading guilty to a federal crime, and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. >> the charge reveels flynn wasn't acting alone in his talks to russians. >> how damaging could all this been for the president and those
closest to him? >> the russia investigation is creeping closer to the president. >> bringing special counsel robert mueller's investigation inside president trump's innermost circle. >> yes, that's right. lock her up! >> the man who taunted hillary clinton on the campaign trail with chants of "lock her up" -- >> lock her up! >> lock him up! >> now on the other side of those very same words. >> lock him up! >> the crushing downfall of president trump's former national security adviser raises many new questions. will flynn's testimony put others in legal jeopardy? and could the probe now extend all the way to the president? for flynn himself, it is one more dark day in a series of dark days since the election. fired after caught lying to the vice president. accused of failing to report his work for turkish and russian entities.
failing to report income from a kremlin tied russian propaganda network. and only now revealing his conversations with russia's ambassador about several key national security issues. and then, just days after pleading guilty, more potential scandal. >> so help me god. >> allegations that during trump's inaugural address, michael flynn was texting a business associate. the message, that his deal to join russia in building nuclear reactors in the middle east was "good to go." and according to a whistleblower, flynn suggested that sanctions on russia would be ripped up under trump. could a once proud three-star general have been colluding with russia? do you believe he was co-opted by the russians? >> i don't think he was during his time as dia director, no. >> since then? >> i can't say. >> tonight, the mystery of michael flynn.
>> definitely a guy who worked most of his life in the shadows, comes out of the shadows. he's only seen the light of the campaign. if you don't know him and you don't know his family, you're not going to know who he is. >> it sounds like you're saying the world just doesn't really know michael flynn. >> yeah. >> michael flynn's story begins 400 miles north of washington, d.c., in the small seaside community of middletown, rhode island. >> we met actually playing little league baseball. >> tom heeney first met flynn 50 years ago. he remembers flynn as an adventurous kid, who loved surfing off of rhode island's sometimes treacherous coast. >> we were always outside playing, at the beach swimming, surfing, outside playing. >> the flynn family lived just
steps from the beach. all 11 of them in this tiny house, with one bathroom. >> organized chaos. there is a lot of folks and not a lot of room. >> michael flynn, the sixth of nine children. >> if there was one thing i learned growing up in a family of nine was to argue. you know, for a pair of socks or underwear, but to argue. >> there was always a scramble at the end of the day for a bed. there would be sometimes two kids sleeping in one bed. they had fold-up cots. they used couches and soech sof. >> g. wayne miller, who authored a long profile of flynn, says at the edge of just 13, flynn became a local hero, honored by the town council after he rescued two children in the path of a runaway car. >> it starts rolling down the hill. michael observed at the bottom of this driveway, there were two other kids playing, and he ran to his friend and said, you get
one, i'll get the other. and they pulled both of those kids out of the path of the car. >> but there was another side to michael flynn, a daring side. a favorite pastime, cliff diving with his friend, tom heeney. >> there's half a dozen places that have between 15 to 30 foot drops. then there's a few bridges you're not allowed to jump off of anymore that we used to do when we were kids. >> if future army general admits this adrenaline addiction sometimes got him into trouble. >> you'll learn a little bit about me as a juvenile. some cases a juvenile delinquent. >> flynn, writing in his book "the field of fight shs" "some serious and unlawful activity by me and my co-hoodlum teenage friends would lead to my arrest." the charges warranted a very unpleasant night in the state boy's reformatory.
and a year of supervised probation. >> he came home to face the wrath of his parents, who did not appreciate what little michael had done. he never did such a thing again. >> flynn would come to believe his early reckless would come to serve him well in the military, writing "looking back, it was this turmoil and my own dangerous behavior as anned a less enlt, that led to my ability to get inside our enemy's heads. for now, the maturing michael flynn became quite a presence in the halls of middletown high school. >> he is a very popular young man. he was voted class president. he was a gifted natural athlete. he was respected by his teammates. he was considered a leader. >> we were captains of our high school football team. we won the state championship our senior year. >> but for flynn, the first year of college was a challenge.
at the university of rhode island, he nearly flunked out. his rescue would come in the form of an offer from the u.s. military, when a campus rotc instructor saw something special in him. >> this instructor drops by his house and offered him a three-year scholarship on condition that his grades come up, and he accepts. >> heeney joined flynn in rotc. >> the leaders that we had were all vietnam vets. they were teaching us how to become soldiers and more than that, become leaders. >> flynn and heeney graduated and immediately embarked on their lengthy military careers. and by 1997, flynn was commanding an army battalion at ft. bragg. so well liked that soldiers there dedicated a gazebo to him. >> michael flynn was one of the most respected and admired leaders i've seen.
>> sergeant major ron hils served under flynn at the time. >> he would get involved directly with what was happening. he liked to walk out and do things with the troops, road marches, training exercises, go to the classroom, stay in the barracks, spend time with the soldiers, get to know what they're doing, what they're thinking. >> next, michael flynn joins the battle in iraq. >> we're losing to guys that i facetiously described were wearing bathroom slippers and bathrobes.
that was just a'ight for me. yo, checi mean,t dawg. you got the walk. you got the stance.. but i wasn't really feeling it. you know what, i'm not buying this. you gotta come a little harder dawg. you gotta figure it out. eh, i don't know. shaky on the walk, carriage was off. randy jackson judging a dog show. i don't know dawg. surprising. what's not surprising? how much money lisa saved by switching to geico. wow! performance of the night. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. hey, it's me, your dry skin. i'm craving something we're missing. the ceramides in cerave. they help restore my natural barrier, so i can lock in moisture and keep us protected. we've got to have each other's backs and fronts. cerave. what your skin craves. theratears® uniquefer from the electrolyte formula, corrects the salt imbalance that causes dry eye. so your eyes will thank you. more than eye drops, dry eye therapy.
iraq, 2004. u.s. forces locked in deadly gun battles with insurgents on the streets of fallujah. >> we had stuck our head in a hornet's nest, and the hornets were biting. and that was an extremely scary place to be. >> see him? >> no, no. [ gunfire ] >> where is he! >> the u.s. military was under siege, and after a swift invasion, now faced with the stunning prospect of defeat. >> all of the best laid plans weren't working, and iraq was getting bad. >> general stanley mcchrystal was commander of jsoc, with a
lethal mission, to kill or capture the terrorists. >> al qaeda was becoming much more effective than we had realized. they were owning terrain, and yet as we looked at our organization internally and we looked at the larger u.s. military in intelligence effort -- >> it was as bad as it could get. and we desperately needed someone to figure a way out. >> mcchrystal tapped michael flynn to be that someone for the special forces. appointing him intelligence director at jsoc. >> we were losing to guys that i facetiously described were wearing bathroom slippers and bathrobes. >> together, with mcchrystal, flynn would help revolutionize the way the military hunted the enemy. describe the kind of leader that he is. >> he will stand in front of a white board and suddenly start writing. we used to laugh about it,
because he almost can't keep up with his thoughts, he would be writing real fast. one night it's about 3:00 in the morning and he's got six or eight people saying, stay with me. >> he was an innovator and maverick. mike flynn's great epiphany, this needs to be just as much an intelligence gathering as a gun shop. >> he wrote a book called "twi light warriors." >> they created a counterterrorism juggernaut. >> that juggernaut depended on team work, sharing intelligence across the military and jell agencies. >> you and he together revolutionized the way -- let's call a spade a spade -- killing bad guys there, going after the terror leadership in a fast pace. >> what we really did is we started to share information much more broadly. everybody saw the big picture.
started to make people who feel like part of the team. >> could you have done all that without mike flynn? >> i don't know. i would not have wanted to do it without mike flynn. >> u.s. special operations forces were now conducting missions one unplrecedented sped and lethality. >> they would launch three or four strikes a night. by the time it was hitting their stride, they were launching scores in a night sometimes. leadership started dropping like flies. >> no armchair general, flynn himself joined some of those raids. >> he would go when there were raids, suspected al qaeda and iraq headquarters, for example, he would go himself. it's very unusual. but he's very unusual guy. >> i sat this close to senior
members of al qaeda, trying to figure out what makes them tick. >> throughout one of their prime objectives was gaining information on the whereabouts of al qaeda in iraq leader abau al za kari. >> he captured 12 people on a mission. so we started to figure in this 12, we had much more potential intelligence than we thought. >> intelligence that would allow them to track and soon locate zarqawi. >> i was back in another part of the operation center and guys said you need to see this. i go, wow, that's zarqawi. it's getting late afternoon, the commander says, i'm going to bomb the house, because i don't think we can risk the time the raid force will take. and we did. >> zarqawi was killed. al qaeda in iraq's leader eliminated. coming up, mike flynn in
afghanistan. >> he was very much a renegade. >> and breaking the rules. >> his word to me was, i would do it again. hi. i'm the one clocking in when you're clocking out. sensing your every move and automatically adjusting to help you stay effortlessly comfortable. i can even help with a silent night. does your bed do that? i don't actually talk but i can tell you how you slept. i'm the new sleep number 360 smart bed. let's meet at a sleep number store.
already america's longest war since vietnam. and now u.s. forces were losing territory and suffering casualties at a record pace. many began to fear the u.s. could lose the war, prompting the secretary of defense to turn to the same commander who had helped rescue the war in iraq. >> i can't promise miracles, but i can promise what we committed. >> quickly, general mccrystal turned to general michael flynn. >> tell me about the relationship between him and mcchrystal. >> they were very, very close. it gets that way if you work with somebody a long time. they came to depend on each other. >> what do you think made him a good intel officer? >> well, he was particularly good because he had so much tactical time. and that was his forte, in my view. a great tactical intelligence
officer. >> tactical time means time on the battlefield. >> time on the battlefield and in tactical units. a lot of time in special operations world. >> flynn was on the ground quickly by june 2009. >> this is the last chance for afghanistan. in this century. >> afghanistan was a much different battlefield than iraq, and he believed he needed a better understanding of the situation to form a new and better strategy. >> he did a listening tour around the country, more than one, where he would just go to various villages and towns around afghanistan and talk to the local, political leaders, the local imma'am immams about world looked from their position. >> he also met with military leaders. they knew very little about the strength of the enemy.
where were the biggest changes to the strategy? >> i think it was about letting the afghan people know we were there partner, and getting the afghans in the lead. getting their security forces out front. >> what was general flynn's contribution to formulating that new vatstrategy? >> i think he was the voice of reality in the room. >> flynn, with two others, put their findness a report that was highly critical of the u.s. military and intelligence community. >> he wrote this famous report about fixing intel and expressed genuine reservations about how intel was gathered and amized. did you think he had a point when you saw that? >> absolutely. i had some of the same feelings he had. >> to make the biggest impact, flynn decided to go outside military channels and have the report published by a well-known think tank. but there was pushback to the pushback, right? >> somebody came back and said why didn't you put it in this
military publication? he said, well, i wrote an article in that military publication nine months ago, did you read it? the guy goes no. he says that's part of the point. >> doug has known mike flynn for 20 years, crossing paths in the army and cia. he and many others in the intel world saw real danger in flynn openly criticizing the u.s. intelligence community in public and outside the chain of command. >> he published that in a public domain. unhelpful to give our adversaries a sense that somehow, we were not committed to each other, and we were not part of a grander unity of effort, when the fact of the matter is, we were. >> he thought he might get fired for that, but apparently the secretary of defense said no, it's a good report.
carry on. >> flynn and mcchrystal did carry on, but things were about to get even rougher, after rolling stone magazine published an article about mcchrystal, titled "the runaway general." >> i think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appear showed a poor -- showed poor judgment. >> with the administration fuming in d.c., general mcchrystal offered his resignation the day after the article was released online. soon after, he retired. >> if you're looking for the source of some anger, i think we all detected in mike flynn, he said that really left a bad taste in his mouth and i know that to be true. >> michael flynn returned home at the end of 2010, to add further insult rather than receiving a hero's welcome, he found himself under investigation for inappropriately sharing classified information with u.s. allies.
>> he broke the rules and he shared that intelligence and he said he would do it again. >> the case was dropped. next, flynn trades the fight in afghanistan for the political battlefield of washington, d.c. >> people talked about flynn facts. you've heard this expression. >> that concerned me. run, jthe power of in to tempur-pedic sleep with our 90-day trial and being the highest ranked mattress in customer satisfaction by jd power, it's easy to love. find your exclusive retailer at tempurpedic.com
we35 mules,ur doors with 70 mega-watts, and an ice plant. but we brought power to the people- redefining what that meant from one era to the next. over 90 years later, we continue to build as america's 3rd largest investor in infrastructure. we don't just help power the american dream... we're part of it.
are the driven... the dedicated... the overachievers. we know our best investment is in ourselves. we don't take no for an answer. we fight for what we want. even for the things that were once a given. going to college... buying a home... and not being in debt for it for the rest of our lives. but we're only as strong as our community. who inspires and pushes us to go further than we could ever go alone. sofi. get there sooner.
♪ in 2012 -- >> by direction of the secretary of defense, lieutenant general michael t. flynn -- >> michael flynn, the battlefield intel officer and occasional rule breaker, made a remarkable move to the very top of the intelligence community. >> mr. secretary, i just want to say thanks to you for this terrific opportunity. it is an honor to stand here today. >> now a three-star general, flynn would lead the defense department's intelligence branch, with a mission to provide intel directly to troops and commanders on the battlefield, and to policymakers. >> there was no doubt in my mind that mike would exceed all expectations, and he did. >> james clapper, the director of national intelligence at the time, hired flynn despite perhaps even because of flynn's
past criticism of u.s. intelligence. >> i brought mike to odni to fix all the intelligence issues that he had been complaining about. >> did you have any reservations tapping him? >> mike had a reputation for being an innovator, somebody who questioned the system, perhaps resort to unconventional ways of getting things done. >> flynn moved immediately to shake up a sprawling agency with more than 16,000 employees. tell me about your experience with him there. >> he came in, ready to make changes. >> jason hauk who served with general flynn in afghanistan, was hired. but not everyone in the agency welcomed flynn's changes. >> he tried to instill a much
more of a wartime footing, sending analysis out into the field. he had gotten a lot of pushback from that. a lot of those people, the bureaucrats in washington didn't want to go serve overseas in war zones. >> flynn came into immediate contact with the white house. sounding the alarm in the war on terror, as the obama administration was trying to wind it down. >> the war in iraq is over. the war in afghanistan is winding down. al qaeda has been decimated. >> flynn vehemently disagreed with that assessment and grew concerned that u.s. intelligence on the terror group was being watered down. >> and he was very upset about that. he called that the big lie. >> it is a shortcoming, a major shortcoming. >> once again, flynn did not hesitate to share his criticisms in public, outside the chain of
command. >> is al qaeda on the run and on the path to defeat? >> they are not. >> the white house would black out whole passages of his testimony and he would go up there and give it any way. >> inside the intelligence agencies, some grew concerned that flynn's position sometimes contradicted the facts and the intelligence. flynn facts, they called them. people talked about flynn facts. you heard this expression. >> i was hearing from more than one source in dia about what became flynn facts. that concerned me. >> can you give me an xample? >> i think he was convinced the iranians were behind the benghazi attack. which they weren't. at least we had no evidence of that. but he insisted that we would find evidence to back up that proposition. >> the increasingly infamous
flynn facts became one symptom of broader concerns about flynn's leadership at dia. >> flynn started to manifest some of the more controversial behaviors that ultimately played out on the national stage. >> doug weiss came to work at the dia in 2014 as the agency's deputy director. inside the dia, flynn was becoming a divisive figure. >> it was a polarized agency. there was a loyal and hard core cadre of officers that were aligned behind mike flynn. and there was a larger and equally passionate group of leaders and followers who were not aligned 3w450i7b eed behind. >> when did you first begin to believe it wasn't working? >> it was a gradual thing. i began to hear things from people in dia and people whose
judgment i trusted and valued, that there were problems. >> what kind of problems? >> it had to do with mike's management style. i was concerned about the impact on the workforce. >> just two years into a three-year term, flynn was out. forced into an early retirement. >> we had a wonderful retirement ceremony for mike. >> many know that i like to surf, so the way i would like to put it is that life is like surfing a wave. you can't change the way the wave breaks, but you can change the way you ride it. >> for the soldier's soldier and self-proclaimed maverick, his 33-year military career was over. >> ladies and gentlemen, for the first time i introduce to you lieutenant general michael t. flynn, united states army, retired. [ applause ]
>> it was really a great ceremony. but i think you could see it in his eyes that he wasn't done. >> i don't think he left angry. i think he became angry, i'm just speculating, i think perhaps he thought about it and it ate at him. coming up, putin, politics -- >> lock her up, that's right. >> and some crazy conspiracies. >> all 12 democrats voted to impose sharia law at the local and state level. >> it didn't seem like the mike flynn i knew.
let's get the one with the candy canes. well, you know, the wrapping paper doesn't make the holidays. it's what's inside that counts. it's a phone for mom. okay, well, it's also what's inside the phone that counts, too. circuits? no, the network. so the network is inside the phone? well, no, the network's around the phone. and verizon is the most awarded network ever. that's why more people count on it. here you go. (announcer) a gift is only as good as the network it's on. so give any google pixel 2 and get $300 off with no trade-in required.
well, it'sonce again.eason >>yeah. lot of tech companies are reporting today. and, how's it looking? >>i don't know. there's so many opinions out there, it's hard to make sense of it all. well, victor, do you have something for him? >>check this out. td ameritrade aggregates thousands of earnings estimates into a single data point. that way you can keep your eyes on the big picture. >>huh. feel better? >>much better. yeah, me too. wow, you really did a number on this thing. >>sorry about that. that's alright. i got a box of 'em. thousands of opinions. one estimate. the earnings tool from td ameritrade.
(avo) if yand constipation,ling and you're overwhelmed by everything you've tried-- all those laxatives, daily probiotics, endless fiber-- it could be wearing on you. tell your doctor what you've tried, and how long you've been at it. linzess works differently from laxatives. linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. it can help relieve your belly pain and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements that are easier to pass. do not give linzess to children less than six
and it should not be given to children six to less than eighteen. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain, especially with bloody or black stools. the most common side effect is diarrhea, sometimes severe. if it's severe, stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away. other side effects include gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. ask your doctor if 90 days of linzess may be right for you. moscow. 2015. just one year removed from one of the senior most positions in
u.s. intelligence, michael flynn accepts an unusual invitation. >> thank you so much for inviting me and having me here. >> it is the 10th anniversary celebration for russia's r.t. television. a network that u.s. intelligence considers a propaganda tool of the kremlin. >> i'm going to be really provocative here today. >> r.t. pays flynn more than $33,000 to speak at the event. at dinner, seats him right next to the russian president. the appearance and the payment shocked many of his former colleagues. >> this was a senior american who cannot claim ignorance of the risks involved. it was shocking. >> perhaps more shocking, flynn at first failed to report the payment as required by law. and later, falsely claimed that he was not paid at all by the russian government. >> i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking me. >> that moscow visit, one of
several foreign trips flynn would take, crossed a line for many of those who know him. >> that struck me as being a little reckless. he was trying to build a business, but showed to me a certain lack of sophistication how that would be perceived. and i think it was a mistake. >> you know, i don't know what's inside of president obama's head. >> it was his move into politics, however, that attracted particular attention at the time. >> i don't feel like our leadership is on that field. >> some of it negative. >> we failed to lead. >> he was saying very negative things about the obama administration on fox news and a lot of places. >> and from republican candidates for president, some very positive. >> here's a recently retired head of the defense intelligence agency, a war hero, saying the administration has it all wrong. >> the people that were around the president advised him incorrectly. >> that's a very attractive
message if you're a republican presidential candidate. so five of them reached out nor advise and he gave advice to all five. >> by early 2016, flynn would become an informal foreign policy advisor to the donald trump campaign. and it was increasingly care that flynn shared many of trump's more controversial positions. >> islam is a political ideology. >> including on muslims. >> it definitely hides behind this notion of it being a religion. and i have a very, very tough time, because i don't see a lot of people screaming jesus christ with hatchets. >> flynn's radical views on islam became a center point. supporters say his public attacks on islam did not reflect the military officer they remembered. so you don't believe he think there is's something fundamentally wrong with islam or with muslims themselves? >> i don't interact with his
muslim partners inside and outside the government. he had soldiers underneath him that were muslim. never saw any bias in any way towards any of them. nothing but total respect for them as human beings. >> still, flynn would go further on social media, tweeting in february of 2016, fear of muslims is rational. please forward this to others. the truth fears no questions. and in july, the next 24 hours, i dare arab and persian world leaders to step up to the plate and declare their islamic ideology sick and must be healed. >> general mike flynn. >> flynn soon became a regular presence at trump rallies. >> the next president of the united states right here. [ applause ] >> i think a lot of people were asking why mike would lend his credibility to someone who had such controversial policies. >> usa, baby! >> but the people chose trump
was his point. >> michael flynn. >> touted as a featured speaker at the republican national convention, flynn took the stage espousing a fiery takedown of the democratic nominee. >> if i did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, i would be in jail today. leave this race now! [ applause ] >> i was taken aback at the republican convention. >> lock her up! >> lock her up, that's right. that's right, lock her up! >> cheer leading lock her up, lock her up, regardless of what you think, i thought that was over the line. i really did, for a retired flag officer, to behaive like that.
>> him shouting "lock her up" was jarring to me. we're not a country that locks up our political foes. i asked him about that. he said i know the vulnerability he created. his comment was, she's done real damage to the country, so i don't apologize for that. >> and like the president, michael flynn was a frequent sharer of bogus conspiracies. >> in florida, they have 12 democratic senators who voted to impose sharia law at the local and state level. >> it is ironic that all the skills and experiences that made mike flynn so successful as a military intelligence officer, those skills were clearly not applied, you know, to this information. it's unexplainable. >> in radical islamicist
countries -- >> flynn said that mexican cartels were helping radicalized muslims sneak into the united states. >> i have personally seen the photos of the signage, the signage along those paths that are in arabic. the one that i saw was in texas. it's like signs that they -- in arabic, this way, move to this point. >> in november, he shared this conspiracy theory about hillary clinton money laundering, and sex crimes with children. >> one of the things i would ask is how did that happen? because the conspiracy theorys were not anything like i had ever heard him talk about. it didn't seem like the mike flynn i knew. >> did that kind of stuff surprise you? >> it did. this is when -- you know, i thought mike was a different person. >> does it make you sad to see that? >> in some ways, yeah. coming up, flynn's dangerous
my name is cynthia haynes and i am a senior public safety specialist for pg&e. my job is to help educate our first responders on how to deal with natural gas and electric emergencies. everyday when we go to work we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community.
trump won the u.s. presidency. >> donald j. trump will become the 45th president of the united states. >> just days later, meeting in the oval office, then president obama warned then president-elect trump against bringing flynn into his administration. >> we discussed a lot of different situations. >> but mr. trump quickly selected flynn, one of his most loyal supporters during the campaign, as his national security adviser. >> willtrump makes him, arguabl the most important national security official in the administration. was that a good hire? >> i was concerned, because i wasn't sure mike had the skill set. he had great tactical intelligence, in a military setting, but i was concerned about whether that -- those attributes would serve him as national security adviser. >> good afternoon, everyone.
>> but flynn's time would be short. >> according to two sources, they're telling cnn that michael flynn has resigned. >> president trump forced flynn out less than a month into the job. the shortest tenure of any national security adviser. this, after it became public that flynn lied to vice president pence about conversations with the russian ambassador during the transition. were you surprised, then, when he washed out so quickly? >> i thought he would last longer than 24 days, yeah. >> at the center of flynn's downfall, multiple conversations with then russian ambassador to the u.s., sergey kislyak. including one on the same day that the obama administration expelled 35 russian diplomats from the country, shut down some of their diplomatic compounds and leveled new economic sanctions on moscow. retaliation for russia's meddling in the election.
flynn urged kislyak not to escalate the dispute. a request that russia appeared to grant when moscow did not respond in kind. trump praised the move in a tweet, quote, "great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very sma smart!" now, this week, we are learning that flynn may have gone even further in his conversations a whistleblowing telling a congressional oversight committee that flynn told a business colleague that sanctions against russia would be ripped up, as one of the administration's first acts. and that same whistleblower alleges that during the inauguration -- >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. >> -- flynn texted his colleagues that a plan to join russia in building nuclear reactors in the middle east was good to go. a lawyer for the person flynn allegedly communicated with denies that there were any texes or other contacts with flynn.
before and after entering the white house, the trump administration repeatedly insisted that flynn never discussed sanctions on russia. >> they did not discussion anything having to do with the united states decision to expel diplomats or impose -- >> one call talks about four subjects. two was christmas and holiday greetings. three was to talk about a conference in syria on isis. >> but investigators had evidence that those denials were false. and they were concerned that flynn's lies could leave him open to blackmail by the russians. >> if i could try to clarify -- >> the acting attorney general at the time delivering this stunning judgment. >> we believed that general flynn was compromised with respect to the russians. >> they're interested in coopting, not cooperating. >> do you believe he was coopted by the russians? >> i don't think he was during his time as d.i. director, no.
>> since then? >> i can't say. i honestly don't know. >> does it concern you? >> well, sure it would. but again, i don't -- i'm speculating here, i don't know. >> more than two weeks after yates warned the white house and one day after "the washington post" revealed the false statements in a story -- >> thank you very much. >> -- the president fired flynn. >> mike flynn is a fine person and i asked for his resignation. he respectfully gave it. >> still, his departure was not the end of his troubles. on december 1st, flynn pleaded g guilty to repeatedly lying to the fbi about his conversations with kislyak, as part of the special counsel's probe over possible cooperation between the trump campaign and the russian government. flynn is now cooperating with the investigation. sources interviewed by the special counsel tell cnn that flynn was also under scrutiny
for failing to report payments he had received from a kremlin-tied russian propaganda network. >> thank you for having me here. >> including during his trip to moscow in 2015 when he appeared alongside russian president vladimir putin at a lavish banquet. his questionable overseas business dealings did not end with russia. also of interest to investigators, flynn signed a contract to advocate for the turkish government. among his alleged projects, a plot to extradite a turkish dissident to turkey from the u.s., at the request of the turkish president. >> what i saw and heard was sort of the end of a conversation. it's not entirely clear what transpired. >> former cia director james woolsey says he was at a meeting at the 21 club in new york city where flynn and representatives of the turkish government discussed the idea. >> but it looks as if there was at least some strong suggestion
by the -- one or more of the americans present at the meeting, to the turks that we would be able, the united states would be able, through them, to get hold of gulan. >> "the wall street journal" reported that flynn's fee for his turkey work was as high at $15 million. flynn has denied any such plan. still, regarding russia, it is becoming clearer than flynn was not acting alone. >> might k.t. mcfarland and jared kushner find themselves in trouble? >> court documents reveal that flynn spoke with multiple senior transition officials, including then trump adviser k.t. mcfarland and trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, about his contacts with the russian ambassador. and what about president trump? what did he know? and when did he know it? from the beginning, he tried to shut down the investigation of flynn. this, according to former fbi director james comey. >> i took it as a very
disturbing thing, very concerning. >> and even after flynn pled guilty, trump was still supportive of him. >> i feel badly for general flynn. i feel very badly. he's led a very strong life and i feel very badly. >> this is a guy who was a detail man, right? do those entanglements -- can you explain them? >> i can't explain them. i say he's a different person after he left active duty. >> michael flynn, the lieutenant general who served three decades. the intelligence officer who played a key role in hunting down terrorists. now, a confessed felon. his future in legal limbo. >> this is a person who spent a lot of time defending this country in war zones. so, to see what's happened to him is sort of a tragedy. >> how could the mike flynn of yester year be the mike flynn of yester month? it is very much a mystery.
>> now, the mystery is, just how far up the campaign and the administration did flynn's russian outreach go? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump campaigning tonight for roy moore in alabama's special senate race, where voters go to the polls in just four days. >> we need somebody in that senate seat who will vote for our make america great again agenda. which involves -- which involves tough on crime, strong on borders, strong on immigration. and we want jobs, jobs, jobs, so, get out and