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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  February 14, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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and that's it for us. time to hand over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. break news here on cnn, high level advisers close to then presidential nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. inintelligence, multiple officials telling cnn.
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president-elect donald trump and president barack obama briefed on this associated with the campaign and trump business. according to officials familiar with the matter. pamela brown, what more can you tell us about the breaking news? >> we're learning that high level advisers close to then nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. intelligence, former and current officials, talking to myself and colleague jim sciutto. and the frequency of the communications and proximity to mr. trump during the campaign raised a red flag with u.s. intelligence and law enforcement according to individuals and communications intercepted in routine intelligence collection targeting russians known to u.s.
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intelligence. among them trump -- regularly communicating with russians. caught the attention. emphasized that the communications between the campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual but these particular communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency, volume and level of the trump advisers involved. as we have been told by sources, investigators have not reached judgment on the intent of those conversations, adding to concerns were intercepted communications between russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief they had special access to mr. trump. according to officials we've been speaking with. all of this during a time when
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u.s. intelligence officials believe that russia was trying to sway the election in favor of donald trump and against hillary clinton. this added to the concern. >> dig deeper. did president trump know about these contacts? was he briefed? >> my colleague evan perez and i were told through sources that both president obama and then president-elect donald trump were briefed on the details of the extensive communications between russian operatives and those associated with the trump campaign. this is according to officials familiar with the matter. extensive contacts drew concern in part because came at time of russian cyberactivities targeting mostly democratic party political organizations, and briefs about russian
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meddling in the u.s. election included those communications and including people involved in trump's businesses and gathered not because people close to trump being targeted but routine collection. continue to try to determine the motive for the communications. one concern is whether trump associates were coordinating with the russian operatives and release of the troubling material, e-mails from the dnc, that's really of concern and what intelligence officials and law enforcement been focused on. if that were the case would escalate things. so far the findings inconclusive. as we know don, just recently in late december, michael flynn, now former national security adviser to donald trump was speaking to russian ambassador talking about sanctions.
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doj alerted the white house on january 26th that flynn was not forth kming about the conversations and now asked for resignation. this is another huge development and idea of the investigation now ongoing of trump's associates in the campaign and russians on the u.s. radar. >> that's what it meant for election, trying to figure out whether or not they were coordinating and so far no evident for that. ongoing? >> certainly. broader probe of the fbi trying to figure out russian activities the united states. what it means, what was the motive, any collusion going on? it's inconclusive but officials looking at bigger picture and context during a time when the
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russians were boasting to one another about having access to trump. all taken into account and fbi is looking at this. sources talking to jim sciutto and evan perez, brought to the attention of the fbi and they continue to look at this and also brought to the attention of donald trump during the briefing before he even took office, before he became officially president of the united states. >> pamela stay with me. may need your help on this. sara murray, mark preston and michelle kosinski. another turn of events. any reaction from the white house? >> we've not heard but sean spicer asked earlier today about what we have learned about michael flynn's communications with the ambassador has led them to believe any additional communications during the campaign. sean spicer took opportunity to say there were no updates on
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that front. white house is hoping to turn the page and focus on the visit of the israeli prime minister tomorrow but still going to face questions about the contact between trump advisers and russian operatives during the campaign. >> reaction? >> we don't know full story. clearly not good news and narrative that trump white house would prefer to steer away from. but find out who the advisers were, what were the conversations and were they related back to the tight inner circle that donald trump relied on to help him win the presidency? i do think in these campaigns, saw it in trump campaign a lot, people say they were advisers to donald trump when they weren't really, never met him or had discussion, literally trying to
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play off his name. we'll know in the next 24 hours or so, who these people were and what they said. give us more context but not a good narrative tonight. >> pamela is reporting that russians believed they had special access to mr. trump. will be lots of further questions about that correct? >> yeah. and remember how this started bubbling up, russian official said his team knew most of the trump team because they had had contact before the election. that caused a lot of denials within the trump camp at the time this contact was going on. but a lot of question marks here. could have been contact with certain people associated with the campaign that others did not know about. some of these trump advisers or as mark points out, so-called advisers or contacts or whatever they were, had business dealings
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in russia and ukraine for a long time. and also they were talking to intelligence agents which seems unbelievable and important and weighty on its face, but some of these people may not have been known bit trump team people to be intelligence agents. it's not like we're saying it's not important or stunning to read about, just a lot of questions out there. i find it interesting that there's detail coming out about the investigation, the technical side of the investigation. but there's not a lot of detail right now about what was discussed in those conversations. so my question is, why are the sources giving details about how the investigation is being conducted but not much of an inkling on what those conversations were about? question on everybody's mind was, was there some kind of collusion.
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and you want to go back to see what certain members of the trump team said, what trump himself said, maybe russia intelligence should look into hillary clinton's e-mails, looking for connections. but wondering why the sources not giving anyone a push in that direction. when the question is ask, was this collusion, were conversations about knowledge of hacking? seems to be lesilence at leas at this point. >> and -- >> and these are current and former officials in law enforcement and intelligence, current officials we've been speaking to, myself, evan perez and jim sciutto. and there's different forms of communication. there's encryption, we're trying to figure out content and specific intent to the communications but not as though
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that information is readily available. what is concerning to intelligence and law enforcement officials is the frequency, the fact there was constant communication between top people in the trump campaign, not people who claimed to be part of the campaign but top people in the trump campaign, and russians on the u.s. intelligence radar. >> that raised the red flag right? >> that raised the red flag. not that there were communications. as michelle pointed out, happens sometimes in campaigns and could be discussions about business dealings and so forth. but the fact it was so frequent and involved people high up within the campaign, the trump campaign, all of this put together, when you also have the context of the belief that russia was trying to sway the election by releasing laekd e-mails from the dnc and
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campaign chairman john podesta, all the pieces of the puzzle was painting a picture that was concerning to the law enforcement and u.s. intelligence officials. >> we have not named but do know who the people are and what they said but awaiting comment before we name them correct? >> that's right. we're awaiting comment before we name these people. >> but one concern is whether they were coordinating with russian operatives to hurt the clinton campaign. talk to us about that. not established yet but investigating. >> absolutely right. intent or overarching goal is inconclusive at this point. one source told me it's not provable, no official judgment made. some people have made
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suppositions given the context of the difference and given that the u.s. and different agencies believe russia was trying to tilt the election to donald trump and something was going on but nothing is conclusive. we have to be careful about the conclusions we draw. >> this is what candidate trump said about the russian hacking of the election. >> get involved with putin? nothing to do with him, never spoken to him. know nothing about him other than he will respect me. he doesn't respect our president. if it is russia -- it's probably not. nobody knows who it is. if it's russia, probably bad for another reason, shows how little respect they have for our country to hack into a major party and get everything. but would be interesting to see -- tell you this.
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russia if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are listening. i think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press. >> that comment was striking at the time and in retrospect even more so given the new reporting. >> right. and make clear we have no indication at this stage that donald trump as candidate trump had any interaction with the russians or knew what was going on. important distinction to make. and as i pointed out earlier, were intercepted communications of russian officials speaking to one another boasting of having access to donald trump and believing they could influence him because of the contacts around him but could be inflating the access they had. no corroboration they had the access and influence they believe they had.
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still active investigation. when it was briefed to donald trump just before he took office as president still in the early stages. we're told within the fbi there was question if it should be presented because didn't know exactly what they were working with but fbi director felt it was important to be transparent and provide all the information that they had about russia hacking and russia's intention to try to sway the election in favor of donald trump. >> pamela brown, sara murray, mark preston, michelle kosinski. stick around. high level advisers close to then nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians. more after this break. ♪
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we're back with breaking news. high level advisers close to then presidential nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians known by u.s. intelligence according to multiple current and former u.s. intelligence and law enforcement officials. back with my panel and moscow chief. what is the biggest question moving forward having gotten this information?
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>> biggest question is the why. the motive. why were there constant communications between top advisers in donald trump's campaign during the election and russian governmental officials at a time when the u.s. intelligence communities believe that russia was trying to sway the election. lingering question and what the fbi is trying to figure out. putting pieces of the puzzle together and russian activities in the u.s. white house didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. we're still waiting for that. but this is certainly something that intelligence and law enforcement officials have been looking at for some months now. over the summer they were aware of these communications. as i pointed out earlier and as you know in october they released a statement saying that they believed that russia was involved in trying to influence the outcome of the election. there was thinking very early on
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they were trying to sow chaos. and as more communications came in, intercepted communications between russian officials about communications with donald trump's orbit and belief they had access and other intelligence gathered became clear there was intent on the part of the russian to try to tilt the election in favor of donald trump. and donald trump, it's worth noting again, he was briefed on this by -- as you'll recall, the leaders in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies -- in january just before he took office as president. he was looped in at that time. what he knew before that, still unclear. no evidence he was directly in touch with russians during the campaign but a lot to still know and unanswered questions.
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>> and highest is what is the motive. first line you have here, president barack obama and president-elect trump were both briefed on the details of this extensive communication between suspected russian operatives and people associated with the trump campaign and trump businesses which is concerning because he's still part of that business, not completely divested, sons running that. and all from pamela brown, evan perez and jim sciutto, sources from the officials. said the information would raise a red flag, the frequency of the communications between people who were associated with donald trump and russians. having covered russians for so long, what do you -- what is your reaction to this? >> well i think that raises red flag for me too. if you had sporadic
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communications, let's say for instance in russia, spy agencies work much the same around the world. can have people planted in think tankz, business delegations, you name it. could have a friendly cocktail conversation and maybe never know talking to somebody who is intelligence agent. but if you have repeated contact, does raise questions. what were the contacts about? that's as everyone has been saying, the context. what were they talking about? campaign, business ventures, political consulting in russia or ukraine, something like that? it's murky. problem here is that you can have a variety of interpretations from very benign -- maybe not very benign but more benign to more
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worrisome. until you know more information it's hard to really place it on that spectrum. >> mark preston listen to what sean spicer said in the briefing about the context between the trump campaign and russia. >> back in january the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians, now today, can you still say definitively, nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding what general flynn has now expressed -- we were clear that during the transition period he spoke with the ambassador. >> talking about during the campaign. >> nothing occurs to me that changed during that time period. >> we discussed they make comments and sometimes have to amend them, sometimes a nufb times on the same day.
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have to follow up on that as well i would imagine. >> and all the reporting we have tonight as well as we learn more about the context, who talked, what did they talk about. there's great line by mike mccrory, former under clinton, certainly during the monica lewinski, scandal, don't tell me anything you don't want to have to repeat. -- so briefed and what could have been discussed. we have to take a breath and look at situation we're involved in. bizar bizarrero world. talking about communications back and forth, top adviser on foreign affairs having to step down because of covert
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communications with the ambassador of russia. can't make this up don. as we get into the nitty-gritty of the reporting and flesh it out, take a step back from 50,000 feet and see how surreal this moment in time is. >> michelle, to that point, head of special -- command says government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil and hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation at war. tommy thomas. how big of a concern is that and are we able to respond to crisis if one were to hit us? >> i think america with the resources it has would rise to the occasion. the timing though is awful. we have a big transition going on. always changes things and relationships and gives bad acters a reason to test the waters. you have a lot of threats from
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outside that we knew of before, some of them growing threats. and we see evidence of that now almost on a daily basis. for people on the outside too to see the obvious turmoil at highest levels of american government, you have to ask the question does that open doors for people to try to take opportunities, to seize the day and -- you know -- think that america is in a weaker position now. to look at this from all angles. i think what is interesting too is the way these leaks have happened. first regarding michael flynn. it was -- came out he had contact with russia before he was in the position. and white house denied that. he denied that. then it was, well he discussed sanctions prior -- just after he denied that was discussed in those calls, it leaked out he
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did discuss sanctions. and questions arose, did the white house know about this, did anybody else know about this? came out the white house was warned weeks ago. the people who are doing the leaking, and they feel they have reason to do so, it's coming out incrementally, and it's putting the white house in a worse and worse position. especially as they make denials and it sheds even more light on the lack of communication at times. so it's kind of -- the way this is all transpiring is making the situation much worse. almost on a daily basis. i think that's what is stunning people not only here in america but around the world. >> almost in moment by moment basis. we come on the air expecting to cover one thing and end up covering another. something breaking at 10:00 in the evening. last night sara murray and gloria borger broke the story
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about general flynn, still trying to get answers from that. still so many questions to be answered from that and this particular story as well which is connected but separate if you understand what i'm saying. >> and michelle keeps bringing up leaks, but if you think about it, had "the washington post" not broken the story last night that doj did warn its white house that michael flynn was not being forthcoming and withholding the truth about conversations with the russian ambassador about sanctions, makes you wonder if any action would have been taken when hear that doj warned top officials including the president and three weeks later that "washington post" broke the story that president trump asked for his resignation. it's interesting to see this dynamic at play. i know the white house has been very focused today on the laekz coming out, but at the same
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time, our job in the media is to -- >> leaks are a good thing. >> hold the administration and government officials accountable. >> nobody is saying they're not. >> but interesting that the white house is focusing on leaks today. you wobder -- the media has important responsibility to shed light on what is going on here. >> truth will out. >> as colleague from another network said, when you're blaming leaks you really know there's trouble happening. michelle? >> i think this is brilliant. you also want to look at the way this is planned out by the sources who are putting out the truth. it emerges gradually and then finally learn through the reporting this is captured on wire taps. what could be harder evidence than that. >> which they should know about, especially general flynn.
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or in the midst of presidential campaign would think you have the knowledge these things are tracked and traced. >> and these things are happening, it's wonderful that people are taking that chance and getting the story out there to the press. it's interesting the way it's flown. >> jill, i've got to run but quickly, anything like this with administration so close to russia, one of our main adversaries? have you in your reporting on russia for decades, remember anything like that? >> never, never. and you have to say, look at way the russians are dealing with this. they're winning no matter which way you play it. can say the elite, people who control the american government, the media, are trying to bring down donald trump. and then can say, look at america, chaotic, doesn't work, democrat democracy is a sham.
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and mr. trump to preserve himself politically will go hard against them. this is dynamic for them too. >> thank you all very much. pamela great reporting. appreciate it. coming back, more breaking news. high level advisers close to then presidential nominee donald trump in communication with russian intelligence. did you know 90% of couples disagree on
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our breaking news, high level advisers close to then presidential nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. intelligence. according to multiple current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials. president-elect trump and president obama were briefed on what was known. bring in fareed zakaria, learned from advisers that both were briefed on this. does this in any way raise pressure on this administration to reveal its contacts with russia or why he appears to be so soft on russia? >> it raises the pressure to help us understand the story because in a sense the pieces of this puzzle seem to keep fitting in one direction, pointing in
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one direction. let's go back to the campaign, during the campaign, donald trump, otherwise seeming to be a hardline republican on foreign policy, accusing the world of always getting the better of the united states, accusing allies of outfoxing us, chinese of raping us, every country is bad except russia and has only nice things to say about russia and how he wants to get on. then the puzzle where people allege business ties with russia and won't reveal and release the taxes. we know he doesn't pay much, that's known. doesn't give much money to charity. wouldn't be revelations. what is going on? campaign chairman paul manafort works for pro-russian puppel ukrainian president, now in exile in russia. leaks come out saying manafort given cash money by the russian
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intelligence service. then learn that flynn makes five phone calls to the russian ambassador to talk about the sanctions the obama administration put on them. now learning the story you just learned -- >> which they denied at first, the first part about flynn. denied at first. media trying to take them down. now flynn forced to resign. >> called russian ambassador five times. chance he would be freelancing, doing this without some communication with the president-elect seems highly unlikely in that circumstance. all the pieces seem to point in one direction that donald trump for some reason took a very soft line on russia and maintained it consistently during the campaign and seems to have been some contact between his campaign add the russians.
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>> so ask you the question that people ask me. what does russia have on donald trump and the administration? people think must be is something for him to have the reaction he has with russia. isn't that the question? >> i always thought the real puzzle to start with is why is donald trump so soft on russia, he's tough on everybody else? >> does he owe them money? do the tax returns reveal that? >> it's interesting he won't release them. people said it's because he doesn't pay taxes. that already leaked. we know he doesn't. prove he doesn't give much to charity. we know that. went to every charity he claimed to have given money to, "the washington post" did, no, no, no. we know that. what is left? >> line from the administration,
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sounding like talking point or diversion or pivot, to say a better relationship with russia would be better for the united states. but russia doesn't have our best interest at heart. >> could be said of china as well but donald trump never said that about china. or better relationship with saudi arabia stabilize the middle east. >> stop saying that, doesn't make sense. >> it's anomaly. tough on everybody except the russians. secondly, vladimir putin has been trying systematically to undermine nato, european union, u.s. foreign policy in the middle east. of course would be nice to have a good relationship with russia but this is a country systematically trying to in some way or another upend the western project that the united states has been upholding the last 75 years. so you don't want to be on their side on that divide.
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>> can we get the sean spicer sound bite we ran last segment? i want fareed's response. it's not illegal to be in contact with people in russia. we know that to be true. concern is frequency of it and because you don't know what the business ties are between donald trump's businesses and russia if there are any at all. >> seems like political story more than the legal one. logan act not invoked as i can tell. >> but multiple people. didn't have people working on behalf of the u.s. government when not authorized and not in the position yet. >> there are cases that 68 people allege the nixon campaign was involved in communicating during the vietnam war to the other side but it was scandalous allegation at the time. in general that's been true.
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but the crux of the issue is, if they have been communicating to great britain, we look forward to having good communications with london over the next four years, nobody would really care. point is communicating with government that's been trying to syst systematically undermine for years. >> sean spicer. >> said nobody in campaign had been in touch with the russians. can you still say definitively that nobody on the trump kmain campaign not even general flynn had contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is during the transition period, we were clear he did speak with the ambassador. >> talking about during the campaign. >> there's nothing that would conclude me that anything has changed with respect to that time period. >> you weren't there but if you were, how would you respond?
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what is your response to sean spicer? >> given what we now know on the basis of the new reporting, seems difficult to square that with new reports. what i wonder about is paul manafort who was chairman of the campaign, who we now know in "new york times" reporting is one of the people who seems to have had some contact. he said who knows who are russian intelligence officials? if you're working for victor yan oaf itch, the ukrainian president installed by the russian, to the extent when he was deposed he ran to russia and fortunes protected by the russian government, strikes me you're working for the russians. >> republicans, very few say it on the air, but behind the
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scenes. if this were democrat in office with this sort of relationship with russia and this many questions raised, all hell would be breaking loose from the republican side. we should hold investigations. >> they -- it would be called treason if that happened. think about benghazi where if you think about the rhetoric and language used about benghazi and compare to -- which was case of basically mistake or negligence, things like that, as opposed to -- >> wasn't intentional. >> here what appears to be intentional communication with the russian government and intelligence services. but look the pieces of the puzzle all seem to be pointing in one direction. one should recognize that trump administration could clear all this up. there are a series of things they need to do.
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release trump's tax returns, explain whether or not there were communications, what were the nature of the communications. >> be more transparent about his businesses or digest completely instead of having it be a family-run operation. >> questions that people are v about trump's russian policy and ties there, could be cleared up with less stonualing from the white house. more on break news, high level officials of donald trump when he was nominee in communication with russian intelligence, according to multiple sources. flush the same company who designed, engineered, and built the cars. they've got the parts, tools, and know-how to help keep your ford running strong. 35,000 specialists all across america. no one knows your ford better than ford. and ford service.
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this is our breaking news, high level advisers close tho then presidential nominee donald trump were in frequent communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. intelligence. that's according to multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials. discuss with former congressman jack kingston and brian fallon.
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good evening gentlemen. thanks for coming on. brian to us, trump aides in constant touch with russian officials during the campaign. give me your reaction. >> i think it's nothing short of a bombshell and corroborates what many of us working on the campaign suspected when we had trouble getting people to pay attention to it because seemed surreal but more and more of it being confirmed as true. contradicts what donald trump himself said, denied that officials had contact and now know it's untrue. saw that sean spicer denied it as recently as today. there's two high level investigations going on into the trump/russia connections, one
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mounted by the fbi but who sits atop the department of justice, jeff sessions, himself adviser to the trump campaign. he needs to recuse himself. we need a special counsel appointed for this investigation. and on capitol hill this investigation bottled up in the senate intelligence committee. what mitch mcconnell wanted to happen, even though mccain and graham said should be a special committee convening in public to look into it. i think they're right, needs to be moved out and open hearings on capitol hill. had a two year house select committee on benghazi even though eight previous investigations, two year long open public investigation into that that turned up nothing new. shouldn't have different standard for this explosive investigation with regard to donald trump. >> and some of the people
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leading the charge saying this shouldn't be investigated. but background before i get your response, you've done business in russia, do all the questions swirlg around cloud what you have called the president's fresh start on russia? >> i think they do. frankly the left is not helping our national security picture right now. i understand the left is still very mad about losing this election. i understand the left is probably furious with president obama having known that the russians were spying on america and actually interfering in the election and didn't do enough about it. but the left seems to be so gleeful they're forgetting this one nation and they're doing what they can i think to help enemies and weaken america abroad. i think they're overplaying their hand here. serious questions here. one -- >> you are mentioning -- the people that brian mentioned,
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asking for independent investigation are both republicans and very well-respected and highly regarded republicans. and i don't see people taking glee in this. i think people just want to get the information. so to that point, why would people in the trump campaign, people who have contact with the campaign, be in contact so many times, so frequently with russians known to u.s. tlens? what would be the purpose of that. >> i don't know that they were and frankly i don't know how anyone else knows that they were, unless within our own noonl national security, members of the intel group are so against donald trump they're break the law -- >> they have intercepted communications. and had people come on this show last night around this same time saying the same thing. then five minutes later flynn had to resign. go on.
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>> they're running to the media rather than running to the department of justice or running to donald trump and saying hey we've got issues out here. when mike flynn was being spied on, he was private citizen. there's nothing under the raw that allows american intelligence agencies to spy on -- without a warrant. >> if he didn't have authority to handle u.s. intelligence or business, speak for the u.s. government, that's a violation of the logan act is it not? >> we don't know exactly what he said, if he did violate the logan act. but know he was spies on by american security agencies and that's against the law. say this to brian and don, you know, today we had republicans speak up about this, some very measured. peter king, roy blunt, lindsey graham, i don't see republicans
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running from it at all but still serious questions on how does american intelligence agency spy on private citizen. >> this is what you have wrong about that jack. these were routine interception surveillance, not on private citizen but people in contact with russian, ambassador to russia. all the ambassadors to russia's calls have the possibility of being intercepted. routine, not looking for anything that the general was doing. they were monitoring a russian ambassador. this wasn't -- were they were trying to catch general flynn. i think you have that part of it wrong but get brian in here. do you believe that the investigation should have been revealed before the election? >> certainly. especially since you had director comey take
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unprecedented step of sending letter ten days out from the election about something that turned out to be nothing with respect to hillary clinton. i don't know why stay silent regarding egregious details here. to congressman's point. two reasons to not give donald trump and his administration the benefit of the doubt. first of all the high level contacts happening at the same time that you had donald trump making a series of strange, peculiar pro-putin statements with respect to his position on nato, almost apologizing or defending unlawful annexation of crimea, had donald trump consistently hold open the possibility of rolling back sanctions impoeszed after that. and removing sanctions impoeszs after the hack. why making all these statements.
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>> remember it was hillary clinton who did the famous reset. president obama was the president when putin invaded crimea and ukraine and did little about it. president obama allowed russia and -- to fund against syria and against innocent citizens and cause the largest refugee crisis in the history of the world. i think donald trump as candidate was saying i hope have better relationship to russia, hope to work with them to take on isis, another thing that happened under president obama's watch. i don't think the statements were strange. but president obama knew that russians were potentially interfering at election and at g 20 or g 7, not sure which, called them to the side and his
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exact words, you guys need to cut it out. >> you don't think if said something at the time they wouldn't have accused him of trying to put his thumb on the scale? i think he was damned if he did and if he didn't. >> and why did they lie? if innocent communications, donald trump just interested in trying to foster better relations with russia, why say in january never in touch with them. sean spicer say that tonight. why lie about the mature of flynn's communications. >> but who was in touch and what were they in touch about? >> the "new york times," paul manafort and other high level campaign officials. >> he was fired. and i have got to -- >> as soon as all the issues started to be raised. >> good thing that he was fired after the issues were raised. >> michael flynn was fired too.
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after all this came to life. >> jack, i do have to tell you, we don't know what the end result will be. but when it's come to these things, russia, where there's been smoke there has been fire. asking if you're comfortable in the end if it turns out that something nefarious happened, are you comfortable looking back on this having defended something that was wrong? >> i want to know all the facts just like you do don. that's the great thing about your show, always in search of the facts and why brian and i are on this together. >> if it turns out to be nothing, brian, are you comfortable saying what you said? >> that's why need independent investigation, can't be led by jeff sessions and need select committee in congress. >> at end of the day, that's the real question here, when you actually think about it, are you comfortable with the position
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you've taken on this if it turns out it's not in your favor. >> let me say -- >> going to continue on. take a couple minutes here. >> i am comfortable there were not back room communications that were nefarious. if there was something, emphasize this brian, daily phone call six days a week, hourly getting talking points, never ever discussed relations with russia as big issue. talking about the wall, taxes, trade policies. russia was out there but not as anything that we were -- reacting but not discussing russian policy. >> at republican convention of all places, remember there was huge controversy that week over the fact that mysteriously antirussia language was withdrawn from the platform. another example of strange behavior on the part of the
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trump campaign out of step with his own party's position on russia. speaker of the house ryan supported the sanctions and criticized president obama for not implementing them more speedily, why is donald trump not willing to commit with keeping them in place. out of alignment with his own party. >> like any good negotiator, he's dangling all possibilities out there. maybe get russia to help us defeat isis. would be a good thing. doesn't necessarily mean roll back sanctions but got to let options sit on the table. >> had fareed zakaria saying why didn't he take that stance with china, would be better to have good relationship with them, not said glowing things about china but just about russia. argument doesn't make sense. it's talking point. >> but remember

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