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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 1, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PST

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holtzman. >> how do we paint our political leaders as survivalists? >> you said it. it's kind of weird. thanks, everyone. that's it for us. andrea mitchell is here with the breaking news we've been following on mike flynn. >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell with that breaking news. former national security adviser michael flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the fbi. t during the transition and while flynn was in office as national security adviser to president trump. this is the biggest bomb since robert mueller's investigation landing inside the trump white house. let's bring in our team across washington. nbc's kristen welker at the white house. chief correspondent pete williams will be joining us momentarily, "washington post"
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columnist david ignatius, political analyst carol lee and chuck todd. pete, let's go to you first. from what we know about the documents filed in court, because there were several unnamed transition officials, and i want to go to chuck todd and follow up on that. >> okay, so this is basically about two separate occasions on which michael flynn had contacts with the russian ambassador before the president became the president in late december, and according to the fbi, when the fbi asked him about these conversations january 24th, four days after donald trump became president, he lied and denied having these conversations. but here's what he now has said, according to court documents and told robert mueller's investigators it happened. the first is december 22nd. a very senior member of the presidential transition -- it
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doesn't identify this person, just very senior member of the transition directed flynn to call foreign officials to talk to them about delaying or voting against a u.n. resolution that egypt had introduced about israeli settlements. flynn contacted the russian ambassador to the u.s. and asked russia to delay or one against. mr. flynn was told they would not be voting against it. thernl he was held for his meddling in the election. the next day flynn called someone in the presidential transition operation down in mar-a-lago, florida at the trump resort. someone identified in the court documents as a senior official of the trump team, so we have to assume it's someone different than the one he talked to a peek
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and a half before. flynn and this official agreed that he should reach out and try to persuade the russians not to escalate the situation because they thought it would be bad for the trump policy trying to have friendly relations with russia. so flynn said he called the ambassador and asked him not to ramp things up, that russia agreed to do this, and flynn then talked to senior members of the transition team and said that the russians had agreed not to escalate the situation, and indeed, a short time later, president putin announced russia would only have what they call a proportionate response. there's one thing that aside from these conversations with the russians, in march of this year, mibl flynn filled out a report of his contacts, and said
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he was not in contact with turkey that flynn associates were doing and involved turkey. what does that mean? it means the mueller prosecutors could have charged him with that and decided not to, a further sign of a deal. one thing, andrea. the fact of all these details in this document could mean only one thing, that they except from michael flynn. the fact that it's a serious charge. lying to the fbi carries a potentiali positive e-mail. it could be sentenced later. that means the prosecutor has this over his head, that if he doesn't continue to cooperate, they could face concessions or simply charge an additional file on him. >> chuck todd, there is a very
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small universe on who would be an official. we can check very quickly who was in mar-a-lago, because we're following that, but you're talking about some very top officials close to the senator. one of the things he was pushing was mike flynn should not be in the administration, okay? christie gone, mike pence is put in charge. when you go through your list of senior transition officials, you have the official transition head, which is mike pence. you have the appointed chief of staff in reince priebus. you have the shadow transition official on all things national security and foreign affairs, unofficially with jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, and then u tyou have the president. no one else.
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that's it. as national sdurt adviser r. it kushner, it pence, and it the president. i don't think he would have believed that reince priebus is someone who could have directed him. >> let me ask one more question. what rome -- >> i think sessions wasn't that involved because he was concentrating on the job that he wanted. there was talk of dhs and then the justice department. but let's not forget why we're here. i said this earlier. bob mueller has a job because the president of the united states was so concerned about
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protecting mike flynn. so this is -- when he went to james comey asking comey to see if he could see his way clear of this flynn investigation. this is why this is such a bad day for the white house, why they themselves are admitting that, because there's not many dots left to connect once you got flynn to flip. we're looking at kushner, you're looking at the president, and i guess you technically would have to say the vice president is in there since he was a senior transition official, but i'll be honest with you, pence was more focused on the domestic side of things. so to me we're looking at kushner and the president. they're your dots. >> i just want to share with all of you, our viewers, that james comey has just tweeted something, and what he has tweeted is, but justice roll down like waters and rice usness like an ever-flowing stream.
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aim ols -- i also want to ask you about the fact that the white house is suggesting that flynn was fired for lying to the vice president from what they've been saying, but from our timeline, we now know that mike flynn testified to the fbi falsely by his own acknowledgment on the 24th of december -- excuse me, the 24th of january. he was already in the white house. sally yates went to the don mcgann to tell him her hair was on fire. she testified how urgent it was that there was a problem. she was basically telling the counsel that the city security adviser had lied to the fbi skpeen and even to the president of the united states, but they're to this day not explaining why 17 days later he was fired.
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ken? >> you have it right. these documents lay out actions by the trump team to lay out discussions with russia. it's a 1799 law, but there is a long tradition of having one administration at a time in this country, and it's very clear now that mike flynn is saying he was in touch with and coordinating his actions with senior members of the presidential transition. then the question becomes, why did he lie about it to the fbi? then the other question to your point is, well, they're saying they were fired because he lied to mike pence. why wasn't he fired because he lied to the fbi? it's really a remarkable series of questions. i will tell you that in the courtroom today, it's a very legalistic setting and mike flynn didn't say slevery much. i do have a statement from mike flynn, and i'll read it to you. after over 33 years of military
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service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the united states, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts. such false accusations are contrary to everything i've done and stood for, but i recognize the actions that i acknowledge in court today were wrong. and through my faith in god, i am working to set things right. my guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel's office reflect the decision i made in the best interests of our hobby and our skpuchblt i expect -- i expect full negotiations. >> president trump's son has not been charged today, important to note that. kristen welker, a lot of questions about this response because they're not
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acknowledging what the world knows that sally yates warned them about mike flynn and that he had lied to the fbi as early as january 26, and he was not immediately fired. and the fact is that president obama had warned incoming president trump on that one day when they met at the white house about mike flynn. because there had been so many warnings. how does the fbi know, how does the government know about these conversations with kcan i sa ki downplayed them. >> in fact, president trump warning mike flynn. the white house at the time said it wasn't that surprising, because after all the two were political rivals. let's read the reaction from ty
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cob co cobb. ty cobb said, today, michael flynn, a former national security adviser at the white house for 25 days during the trump administration, and a former obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the fbi. the false statements involved mirror the false statements to white house officials which resulted in his resignation in february of this year. nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than mr. flynn. the conclusion of this phase of the special counsel's work demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears wait for a prompt and reasonable conclusion. there has been some disagreement whether that's the best way to handle this, but the bottom line is that's how he has proceeded, so the spin today.
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however, i spoke with someone who is very close to the president. this is a very, very, very bad development. my concern is mr. flynn will say something that will harm mr. trump in some way. the white house says that's not possible. reporters were just gathered to go into what's called ail pool spr spray. that means they were going to go in, watch some video, have the opportunity to ask the president some questions. that has been delayed. all of a sudden that group of reporters known as the pool today was pulled back. so we're still waiting to see if it actually happens or if it's been canceled altogether, but it indicates that there has been some deep concerns here about these revelations and they're trying to enact them in re.
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>> i think that may have been canceled, i'm not sure, but not surprising at that. i want to bring in candidate robert schiff, the top democrat in the house ways and means committee. congressman, your reaction to this plea agreement, the guilty plea, and the cooperation from michael flynn. >> well, first that it's honestly pretty shocking when the national security adviser to the country is pleading guilty to lying to federal authorities. of course, this is a broader pattern of the administration and campaign people dissem bl g bling. if this is the universe of the charges he is pleading to, he had far been getting cooperation
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from michael flynn. you can see that they are able to allege in court that senior transition officials or official both instructed him in this contact and was debriefed about this contact. that is also very significant because it means this is clearly not the last shoe to fall. we serchl were given the impression all of this was happening in real timt. now we learned there is at least one other key member that was sle knowing as to what mike flynn did and lying about it. there is more to come. the fact that the sentencing has been put off three months will show bob mueller just what kind of cooperation he can get from
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mike flynn. as investigator in the house, i have to hope that that agreement extends to us, that we ought to get his cooperation also. >> there are a couple things that are confuse ing in this timeline. we know that sally yates, two days after his testimony, after he acknowledges he lied to the fbi, two days later sally yates, the acting attorney general, goes to the white house, tells the white house counsel about this serious problem with michael flynn. presumably he would have to tell his boss, the president of the united states, that mike flynn had lied to the fbi. and yet he still stayed on. he wasn't fired, and when he was fired, they claimed. and to this day, ty cob is putting out a statement saying
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why. the president, when he was in the protsz of firing mike flynn, was at the same time very defensive of mike flynn. that's the kind of conduct you would expect if the president was forced to fire mike flynn not because he lied but because the lie was exposed. and if the president is one of those senior transition officials who is knowing of the contact and perhaps even supporting this contact with the russian ambassador, that would explain both his reluctance to fire flynn, but also why he would be intervening with james comey and urging comey to drop the flynn case. >> congressman, you were a former prosecutor out in california, and so you know this world very well about plea agreements and about holding a sentencing over him. mike flynn is not been indicted for failure to fire as a foreign agent, he's not been indicted for lying about his
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representation to turkey, or anything else relalt. what do you think is going on here behind the scenes in terms of what else -- what his cooperation really represents and is this, in fact, a sweet idea as what chuck is suggesting? it's a very light charge and we don't know yet what the sentencing will be and nothing else is mentioned. >> i think you're right. when you look at the range of potential exposure that we know about that's in the public realm, we have the moneys he received from russian entities, the money he received for the russia speech, the money he received from turkey, the failure to report these things. you saw in the gates of manafort indictments that bob mueller is not averse to indicting people on the basis of failure to disclose their acting as agent of a foreign power, and then you have all those issues related to
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consensual intention in pennsylvania, another set of very serious allegations. if this plea agreement means bob mueller is only charging him on these two lies, or four lies i guess it is in combination, that means that bob mueller must think he is getting very substantial and important cooperation that affects the liability of others. and what you often look for in these informations, just as we did with the papadopoulos information, is what bob mueller is willing to disclose. he hasn't disclosed transition officials in the papadopoulos plea. there was also a lot of information left out. that tells me that there is further investigation of those other individuals going on, and in the case of both papadopoulos and now flynn, they are providing real value in terms of information to bob mueller. >> i know you've got to go, but one quick question to motive. why would he lie about the
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contacts with russia, which could arguably be a violation of the logan act. it's never been prosecuted. what was so sensitive about those contacts with russia that could cause mike flynn to risk perjury? >> well, it's a very good question. i don't think it would be, frankly, a violation of the logan act alone. and we also need to look at this in the context of this being one of now almost innumerable lies by both campaign transition and administration officials about contacts with the russians. if this were in isolation, it would be more perplexing. but as part of this broader pattern, you have to say clearly they're trying to hide their contacts with russia. what does that mean, what conclusions will that lead us to? i think the fact that we will now get his cooperation, at least bob mueller will, will help us answer some of those
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questions. >> and you've been carrying the democrats because of a lot of politics over there. thank you very much. carol lee is with me, our national political reporter and national security expert. you covered this white house for a long time. this is stunning information about the national security adviser both during the transition, during the campaign, the transition and in the white house. >> yes, absolutely. and one thing that sticks out to me is that michael flynn was not freelansi freelancing in his discussions with the ambassador. in discussions about u.s. sanctions, during the transition and even in the white house, it wasn't just mike pence, there were other senior officials who said publicly that mike flynn did not discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador. what we now know sthal at least one other senior official knew
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that was false. baumz mike flynn discussed the content of what fwos u.s. sanctions with russian ambassador with somebody in the transition team, someone senior. the question that raises is why? why did they knowingly go to mike pence and why did they publicly not let that snap. >> and when asked in a press conference, the president said he did not direct mike flynn to talk to the russian ambassador about sanctions. david of the "washington post" has been listening to all of this. you cover intelligence, national security, foreign policy as well as the political dynamic of this
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preside president's adviser lying about what he told the fbi. we also have tenderhooks being shamed and pushed out and having shortly, unless that's canceled, lunch with the press secretary and the united states. how do we conduct foreign policy in this environment? >> it's a washington obviously in disarray. foreign capitals have been watching with increasing concern the uncertainty in u.s. foreign policy. i think tillerson's departure, which is coming, in a sense will stead steadty. mike pompeo to replace rex
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tillerson certainly has the president's acceptance. they are cooperating with bob mueller's investigation. the threads for me are really beginning to unravel. this began in january for me when i published a column when mike flynn, on december 29, had spoken with the russian ambassador, sergio kislyak, and did they discuss sanctions and did they do that the very day when president trump dismissed 37 hacking fz. flynn said today in his guilty plea pe lied about. he told the fbi on january 24, no, he had not discussed
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sanctions with kislyak, he now says that was false. from there we move to flynn's resignation. the next day the president speaks to comey and says, i want you to let this investigation of mike flynn go. the president was deeply concerned about it. this whole story begins to accelerate. we're now at the point where we have this crucial, in effect, plea agreement, and i think we've been focusing on the right question. who did mike flynn talk to about the conversations he was having with kislyak in the trump transition team? >> david, you wrote that column. we all followed up on it. we've been chasing your initial thread all these months as the prosecutors, clearly. who among this circle -- i mean, the person we know was talking to these ump an many. >> we know that jared kushner
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was himself involved in backchannel investigations with the russians, clurgs kislyak, in trying to set up a back channel. he wanted to talk about syria issues, he even suggested that they have these private conversations in the russian embassy, something that was astonishing to people. the president's key special adviser on foreign policy maerl maerlts. that's not to say he is the person referred to in these court documents; we don't know. that is a set of intense vulnerability. >> do you think the sentencing will be today or over the holiday break? >> i don't think it will be today. my sources tell me it's a done deal, the new team is set. it's just a question of when. >> and it's going to be pompeo?
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>> yes, pompeo as secretary of state and tom cotton as his successor in the cia. >> thank you very much. we're taking a sharp turn on wall street as news continues to develop on the flynn deal. domin dominic, what can you tell us? >> you know that they act as a realtime kind of handicapping system, a barometer. we have a dow that was down at its worst levels, 250, 300 points. this was on the heels of the reporting and whatnot. what we've seen in the last half hour or hour or so is a redistribution of those markets. we're now down about 128 points. the veernl in the business world sprks what are the prospects of the tax getting passed f. mitch
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mcconnell feels confident that the gop has the votes they need in the senate to move ahead with tax legislation. we also heard 20 minute ago. that looeflz susan collins of may, saying she might be okay given part of the tax deduction shepd as part of this deal, and fblg bob corker of tennessee. all these people in place has been this tug, this push. flynn arguably still having a negative effect on the market, but we are well off those lows because of possible progress with tax legislation. >> they say they have the votes, that they're going to the floor on the tax bill. my bet now is if they don't have any votes in this universe, it
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would be corker and plaik who say they're leaving. we have voted on something we haven't even seen. nothing but treasury and certainly nothing from the congressional budget office. as you point out, the market reacting to those. there was reference now to an abc report. we have not reported that because we have not confirmed there is an abc report linking the president directly to some of flynn's exec tiflz. with all of this volatility, let's turn to a few more experts, former u.s. attorney bob mcquaid and chuck rosenthal.
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bash, barb, you've been watching this unfold today. this very minimal plea, shall we say, plea of one count of perjury from michael flynn as well as a lot of other things hanging over his head that are now acknowledged in court. what is your read looking at these documents? >> i think the story there is that he is pleading to a really very minor change considering the scope of all the exposure that has been reported. if you look at one of the court documents, even there he admits to making false statements in his foreign agency registration documents, yet he's not charged with that. what does that tell you? >> in exchange, he agreed not to charge him the maximum of what he could be charged with. it could take some significant
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amount of time to bring all those other charges to fruition. what he really wants to do with flynn is to use him to get to others who are higher up in criminal activity. >> there are only a couple people higher up than mike. . we understand that flynn has been placed on a personal recognizance bond. he's free to move around. >> he is. they assessed that he's not the risk of thought that they thought mr. manafort might be. >> obviously, we were planning on former boss and friend, jim comey, has tweeted -- i don't know if you've seen hiptz, down. like an ever flowing form of righteousness, amos 23, a
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biblical verse. >> jim is a thoughtful tweerter. >> what value does flynn bring? to ask you an open-ended question, who are the higher ups? there's kushner, the president of the united states, potentially, i guess, jeff sessions. who else is in that universe that could the senior. we don't know specifically but typically prosecutors want to start as low as they can and go as high as they can. we're going to find tout. weeks, months, years which way it goes. barbara is exactly right, it's a relatively minor charge. there is five years of jail time hanging over his head so there is incentive to cooperate. by wathe way, if he perjures
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himself, they can pull the agreement and charge him for a lot of things. >> so they didn't touch any positive role his son might have had. >> that's right. >> in his statement he said he did this. i'm surrounded by lawyers, i only play one on television, he lied, by his own admission, about contacts with russia on sanctions. these contacts were initially before he went into the white house talking about what happened on december 22nd and december 29th, 2016 before the inauguration. what would be his motive to lie
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about that other than that they were trying to hide contacts with russia because of the collusion reporting? >> that's why i think that document so-called statement of offense is so interesting. that is not a document that is required to be fired, yet robert mueller has made that a public document. in that it details the chronology that as michael flynn is having these conversations with a russian ambassador, he is checking back with a senior campaign official and then a very senior cam point official. i guess at this point they call them transition officials. when it comes time to answer questions about it. then later when he asked jim comey to let it go i think potentially much more necessary
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f far. does it conduct further investigation of those higher individuals? >> if he had acknowledged that he talked about sanctions, had talked about the u.n. resolution, was trying to undercut u.s. foreign policy before they took office. logan act, 1700s act that's never been prosecuted, could he fear that? would that have been a motive to perjure himself, which was a more serious charge? >> it's hard to say. before this whole scandal unfolded, i didn't know about the logan act. i don't know if mike flynn did at the time, either. he was probably aware he had done something wrong by undermining the obama administration. we're supposed to have only wunl motivation in protecting others in the transition team. >> joining us now is nbc's
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nicolle wallace. nicolle, just the drama of this, and the personal drama of seeing mike flynn rush out of that courthouse and into a van, not taking questions with a protester shouting, "lock him up" which is a phrase he made so popular repeating it and egging it on. >> there is two groups, one inside the white house, one as president trump's adviser. they sort of, in background conversations, wrapped up their belief that the president ultimately would be innocent of. what are the odds he recruited with russia. today all of the people who have told me that story for over a
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year. the period of time they have pointed my to is this period of time we now know michael flynn pled guilty to when he was asked about his conversations with the russians. all the way through whatever contact the president or anyone on the transition team had with vladimir putin when the obama administration sanctioned them for russian meddling, they say look closely at what the president was saying, what the russians were saying, at the fact that putin proceeded to invite diplomats' kids to holiday celebrations right around -- ichk it was-- i thinks a few diplomats who shuttered a home that was being used for, we suspect, counterintelligence on this country.
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they now feel it's a sea change, and what the people around the president think the president's ex pour could be. loose way with information and facts was his best defense now think the president is in danger and exexposed. >> how does that affect a white house operation that was dysfunctioning on a good day? >> it's the perfect question, right? this is hardly a well-oiled machine humming along with people that were rowing in the same direction or trusted or liked each other. this is a team of people that does not trust one another. it's a team of people that did not like each other. it's a team of people that is more walled off than any white house staff i have ever heard of. the people who were some of my former colleagues in the bush administration are still viewed with suspicion and distrust by the trump campaign dead-enders. i'm told that distrust is only
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likely to increase now. but to underscore what a huge figure michael flynn was, michael flynn was someone that chris christie was somewhat removed apart from the transition team because of a disagreement with the president himself about whether or not michael flynn should go into the white house. chris christie had run the transition. jared kushner had been involved in that process. chris christie had not put mike flynn's name on any top national security post. he didn't suggest him as national security adviser, he didn't recommend him for the secretary of defense. i pressed him, i pressed him on my show and i pressed him in subsequent conversations about what he knew about mike flynn. he maintains he didn't know anything specific, but he just had a feeling that there was something off about mike flynn. he shared that assessment with donald trump.
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donald trump resisted that, refused to hear that and put him in the single-most sensitive post in the american government and made him the national white house security adviser. >> chris christie, also a former prosecutor with a nose for people that are a little bit off. we've been watching deadline white house today. former white house security advi advise. ment we'll rely on that. reports on msnbc. l. shhhhh... sorry... at st. jude, no family ever pays for treatment, travel, housing or food... because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. you think they'll find us? not a chance.
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did you direct mike flynn to discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador -- >> no, i didn't. >> -- prior to your inauguration? >> no, i didn't. >> would you ever fired him if it had leaked out? >> no, i fired him because of his relationship with mike pence. he was dealing with our counterparts. i would have directed him if i thought he wasn't doing it. i didn't direct him but i would have directed him because that was his job. it came out that way, and in all fairness, i watched dr. charles krauthammer the other night say he was doing his job.
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and i agreed with him. since then i've watched many other people say that. i didn't direct him, but i would have directed him if he didn't do it, okay? jim? >> that was the president telling kristen welker on february 16 that he was doing his job but he didn't tedirect m to direct the russians about sanctions. joining me, foreign adviser. what his plea could contend given the documents had a senior official in his call to the russians. >> this admission of guilt by the former national security adviser is a shattering moment for the trump presidency. for the first time the special counsel is penetrating the white house gates coming very close to the oval office itself, and the
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stark simplicity of the charges against michael flynn. he's admitted guilt to them. send a very profound signal. it's about the u.s. illusion involving the russians and the simplicity of this indictment is a signal that there's a lot more to come. the information that was filed is a message to the white house that mike flynn faces exposure oe on a lot more charges with this white house. >> do you think he was fearful of violating the logan act and being prosecuted for that, or do you think he was trying to cover up contact with the russians because that was the heart of the conspiracy accusations? >> to put it more simply, andrea, he knew it was wrong.
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he knew that it was either legally wrong or unethical or wrong as a matter of policy for him to be, in effect, seeking to conduct the diplomacy of the united states before the president-elect became president, and that violation of the logan act is more than just a technical breach of statute. it goes to the core principle, as you well know, of our national security and our diplomatic integrity. >> just before i let you go, let's say there is a transition at the state department with rex tillerson and mike pompeo replacing him. what would you want to know at that confirmation hearing about how mike pompeo would conduct foreign policy? >> i would want to make sure mike pompeo would continue to rely on diplomacy as a vibrant and valid means of conducting our relations with the north
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koreans, for example, avoiding miscalculation or unnecessary use of military force, because there has been speculation that he might be more inclined to rely on robust military force. but i would also want to ask some questions going back to his relationship with michael flynn. there is no underestimating the importance of michael flynn as the potential hub on a wheel of a conspiracy that extends throughout the administration to others. i've written, as a matter of fact, to the vice president wanting to know what the transition team knew about michael flynn's actions, what he knew and others. so there is now a need also to protect the special counsel from political interference, whether it is from mike pompeo or anyone else because this investigation must be perceived without political interference and there is a real danger of it. >> thank you so much.
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and chuck rosenberg, to that point, the reporting overnight that the president was trying to persuade the intelligence chair, the senate intelligence chair, richard burke, and others who named and acknowledged on the record that he was trying to persuade them to back off of the russian investigation. >> problematic. that's similar -- >> personally problematic or politically or both? >> i'm not much on the politically problematic, but legally it could be a justice type charge. we know he also wanted jim comey to go easy on mike flynn because mike flynn was a good guy. those are problems legally. i think it's important for folks to know that merely because you might have conduct that meets the elements of the obstruction of justice statute doesn't necessarily mean that you bring an obstruction of justice charge. prosecutors also need to know that they have a reasonable
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probability of conviction, which is more than meeting the bare elements of a statute. are we there? don't know. will they be asking mike flynn about this? you bet they will. >> chuck rosenberg, thank you so much. joining me now, julia and everything flynn disclosed to them. not just one charge to present to the judge. and, in fact, have to present everything they know to the judge before sentencing. >> yeah, that's right. the judge has a a great deal of discretion in terms of sentencing with the charge that mike flynn has agreed to plead guilty to that can carry a sentence of up to five years. of course, it can carry a sentence as low as probation.
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the judge will usually -- not always. usually they will weigh the recommendation that the prosecutor makes in the case. bob mueller will be looking how flynn cooperates, how will he is to cooperate, and also importantly, how valuable that cooperation is before he makes a recommendation. we won't see that recommendation for sentencing until months for now when we're at the end of this process and other indictments have been brought, maybe other guilty pleas have been returned before we see that recommendation and the ultimate sentence from the judge. >> when we look at what mike flynn has acknowledged in these documents and what bob mueller has put out is there, we're seeing something in complete
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contradiction with the white house, that mike flynn was fired for lying about mike pence. they knew from sally yates two days after he lied to the fbi they were told by sally yates at the white house what he had done and how dangerous it was done and they didn't fire him immediately. >> that's why it's such a scary day at the white house, when it's talking about senior and very senior transition officials. the fact that these people knew about the calls that michael flynn had. one, it means it couldn't have been a lie to mike pence, the reason for his firing, because they would have known about this already. they were telling him to go ahead and have these calls. it also shows this white house really threw michael flynn under the bus. of course, the president came forward later and said, michael flynn's a good guy but we had to let him go. no, from looking at this
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document, they directed him to make these calls and fired him to distance themselves from all of this. >> ari melber, when we look at this narrative coming out of this white house, how do you splaish also the president's -- according to senator richard simpur othe burr and others, the president trying to -- >> here's the problem, andrea. the president's desire for the congressional investigation to end may be personally understandable and may be legal, at inadvisable. but if he is acting that way towards the senate, as "the new york times" put on the front page today, it resick lates the question whether he's acting that way in any way behind the scenes of the flynn investigation, as james comey or bob mueller. what's simply a bad idea towards the senate would be a crime if proven to be criminal
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obstruction in the felonious context of enter fearing with an open fbi investigation. we in our news room have now obtained the cooperating agreement, as you know, andrea. i would make a couple observations. number one, i'm holding it. it has mike flynn's signature on it. it's a signature from yesterday. we now know mike flynn signed this cooperating agreement yesterday and, obviously, they went to court this morning. yet again we see these things are moving pretty fast. that comes days after the white house said they couldn't be in a joint defense agreement that they would be legally required to do. it undercuts part of the white house defense today on a factual level. on the facts, this thing happening with flynn doesn't implicate anyone else. that is not true, according to what we're looking at here, what flynn is signing. that's not what flynn is saying under court, that he is
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cooperating and third and final point, reading from the cooperating agreement that came out within the last hour or so, mike flynn is saying he will turn over any and all crimes that he knows of. he has that affirmative obligation. s you and our guests and analysts have explained earlier in the hour, that's a commitment he's making to the court and also a commitment that will basically determine the kind of punishment he ultimately faces because there is still a d damaclease hanging over him. >> the president has the power to pardon anyone before indictments, during and after. there's no legal -- no precedent for indicting a sitting president. how much jeopardy is the president really in? >> i think the suspect in a great deal of jeopardy. look, one of the questions we've always been asking n some way
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the million dollar question with the obstruction of justice investigation, why did the president take the steps he did to urge jim comey to back off the mike flynn investigation? is it because he thought there was nothing there and mike flynn was a good guy or trying to obstruct justice with a corrupt purpose? if he violated the logan act, which appears that flynn did and other senior transition officials knew about, that shows he may have had a corrupt purpose and criminal intent when he made those requests to jim comey. that could be a clear obstruction of justice violation. >> matt miller, ari melber, julia ainsley, thank you. much more ahead on michael flynn's guilty plea. you're watching breaking news on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc.
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thanks for being with us. our craig melvin takes over right now at msnbc. what an hour. >> indeed, what an hour. good afternoon to you. craig melvin from msnbc headquarters in new york. it is a day you will likely remember, president trump's former national security adviser pleading guilty in a courtroom to giving false reports to the fbi. michael flynn has reached a deal with the man investigating russian interference for the 2016 election. now the only