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tv   New Day  CNN  February 15, 2017 5:00am-6:01am PST

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there aren't any nefarious connections between this administration and russian officials. >> congressman adam schiff, please keep us posted on what you learn when you can. thank you for being on "new day." >> thank you. >> following a lot of o news this morning. let's get right to it. >> this is cnn breaking news. good morning. welcome to your "new day." we begin with breaking news, another crisis for the trump white house. multiple sources tell cnn several high-level advisers to the president constantly made contact with senior russian intelligence officials during the presidential campaign, something the white house press secretary denied just yesterday. among the names captured in intercepted calls are mr. trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort and now ousted national security adviser michael flynn. what is the connection between russia and the trump administration? it's day 27 of the trump presidency. let's begin with cnn's jim sciutto live in washington. what have you learned, jim?
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>> reporter: alisyn, two things sparked alarm. one, the repeated contact between trump campaign advisers and russian officials, described as constant contacts. but also the level of officials, senior most advisers very close to the president who were in this communication. these communications considered significant enough that then president-elect trump and president obama were briefed on it by the nation's senior most spy leaders. multiple sources tell cnn senior advisers to donald trump were in constant communication with russian officials during the 2016 campaign. u.s. intelligence intercepting repeated calls since last summer raising red flags due to the frequency of communications and the high level campaign advisers involved. those advisers include former campaign chairman paul manafort and recently resigned national security adviser michael flynn.
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president-elect trump and then president barack obama were briefed on details of these extensive communications according to u.s. officials familiar with the matter. manafort who has business ties with russia and the ukraine told cnn he was not in contact with russian officials during the campaign calling the allegations, quote, boggling. asked about possible contacts between trump advisers and russia, white house spokesman sean spicer gave this somewhat confusing answer on tuesday. >> there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> reporter: u.s. officials say the timing of the communications was alarming, the calls taking place while russian hackers were targeting u.s. political organizations with cyberattacks meant to undermine the election. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> reporter: paul manafort addressed those concerns in
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july. >> it's just absurd. i don't know anything about what you said. you may know it. if you do, you ought to expose it. to say you know, i don't even know what you're talking about. it's crazy. the fact we're having this conversation is the wrong conversation. >> reporter: today the kremlin says reports of contact between them and the trump organization before the election are not based on facts. those july comments by the president or the nominee at the time, donald trump, calling on russia to hack hillary clinton's e-mails happening during the time period when these constant communications were taking place between senior advisers and russia. you'll have a meeting between new secretary of state ray tillerson and russian kournt part sergey lavrov, lots for them to discuss. >> thank you for that reporting. fallout from michael flynn's resignation. we learned the president knew for weeks that michael flynn had misled his administration. so why was vice president mike pence kept in the dark?
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cnn senior washington correspondent joe johns is live at the white house with more. good morning, joe. >> reporter: good morning, alisyn. the timeline on michael flynn's departure is really just raising even more questions about who knew what in this administration and when. >> the evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> reporter: some key republicans now joining democrats demanding investigations into michael flynn and the administration's ties to russia. >> we have no idea why flynn was doing all of this and why he was trying desperately to help russia. he's not going to get off that easy. we need some answers to a whole lot of questions. >> the intelligence committee is already looking at russian involvement in our election. it's highly likely they want to take a look at this. >> reporter: as the white house reveals that the president knew for weeks about flynn's calls with russia.
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on january 26, the justice department first warning the white house council that shows intercepted calls showing flynn misled them, lying about discussions sanctions with the russian ambassador, making him vulnerable to blackmail. that same day the president was briefed. >> the president from day one, was unbelievably decisive for asking for and demanding the white house council and their team review the situation. >> reporter: the president waited 18 days to demand flynn's resignation, the entire time the white house was investigating flynn's account. flynn's call to the russian ambassador happened on the same day president obama announced new sanctions against russia for their cyberattacks, attempting to influence the u.s. election. weeks later vice president-elect pence went on national tv defending flynn and denying he discussed sanctions with the russian ambassador. >> the conversations that took
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place at that time were not in any way related to new u.s. sanctions against russia. >> reporter: the vice president only finding out that flynn misled him last week after an explosive "washington post" report uncovered the truth. two weeks after president trump first learned of it. before resigning, flynn spoke to the conservative website the daily caller, insisting he crossed no lines in his dealings with russia and raising questions about who may have leaked details of his calls. president trump's only public comments on the firestorm this week, a tweet. the real story here is why there are so many illegal leaks coming out of washington. will these leaks be happening as i deal with north korea, et cetera. the president was back on social media a little while ago tweeting the russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up many of the mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing
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campaign, chris. >> maybe a little distraction. it is no small irony that the only guy who apparently has come clean in this situation is mike flynn. joining us is republican congressman kevin brady of texas, the chairman of the house ways and means committee. congressman, good to have you on with us this morning. >> thanks, chris. good to be here. >> you have senator bob corker who came out this morning pretty full-throated concern he needs to know more and understand who knew what and when and what's going on with this parent russian connection with the white house. senator lindsey graham then said this. >> there are real members of congress up here, republicans and democrats, who love our country and going to make sure checks and balances that have been in place for 200 years work even when the president is in your own party. it's okay for trump to disagree with lindsey graham and other republicans on how to handle russia. it would not be okay to have the trump campaign receiving assistance from the russians.
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that would be a game-changer. >> yes, they're senators and you're in the house. you are a respected leader within your party. do you share their concern? >> we ought to get to the facts on this. we ought to know what happened. i want to know why michael flynn misled the vice president. i want to know if there were any untoward conversations he had that led to this loss and erosion of trust with president trump. i want to get to the facts. i'm actually confident our intelligence committees, which have always worked in a very bipartisan way, can dig into those facts. i'm not so entinterested in the concept, rumors, anonymous leaks. i want to know the truth of what happened. >> what do you make of the criticism that the intelligence committees aren't enough, that you need this to be a broader investigation that is truly bipartisan, maybe even some have suggested with a special prosecutor so you don't have any
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political overlays? >> before you start a forest fire, maybe you ought to see what the smoke is all about, maybe you ought to see exactly what this is and then temper that investigation, make sure it applies appropriately to what's going on. let's start, let's let the intelligence committees do their work in a bipartisan way, a fair, objective way. once we know those facts, we can act appropriately. >> you know you have republican dominance in the committees. you just had senator rand paul who prizes himself as an independent spirit saying republicans shouldn't investigate republicans. we've seen out of the white house fake answers to real questions. they can't get on the same page -- >> i don't know about that, chris. i'm not sure i agree with the fake answers. >> let's look at them. >> sometimes it's the other way around. >> let's look at them case by case. >> i do think congress should exercise its oversight role regardless of who is in the white house. i look at our intelligence committees. these are very solid bipartisan
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people. they know the seriousness of our intelligence networks and breaches of them. so i do have confidence they can identify the facts. then we can act appropriately. >> i'm just saying if you don't do it right at its inception, it's hard to get it right afterwards. you do the investigation so you do get those early facts right, so you do understand the implications. if that's compromised by politics early on, you'll never get anywhere else. that's the concern. >> i agree. if i weren't, that would be a challenge. i don't think that's the case. let them do their work. let's get to the bottom of this and then, again, if there's something there, some path we need to follow, we need more facts. then we'll go after them, regardless of who is in the white house. congress will have the oversight role, but do it based on facts, not the political womens. >> on this notion of fakeness,ing no, sir reported by us has been rebutted by the white house as a point of fact.
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they are the runs who can't get on the same page with their answers from something small like whether flynn resigned or was told to resign. sean spicer saying there's nothing he knows that would conclude that they had any contacts with russia. we now have multiple sources that there was constant contact. they said they didn't know about flynn. then we know they knew for weeks about flynn. does this not concern you? >> well, it does. i don't necessarily buy into the media perfection statement that you made. i think the media makes plenty of mistakes. in this case i think we should focus on the facts. let's find out exactly what occurred. look, i think this is a serious issue. republican or democrat i think agree there. before we light the forest fire, let's find out what happened in those conversations, why michael flynn misled the vice president and work through that timetable.
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i think that's a fair approach. >> by the way, we don't even know michael flynn did anything wrong, even if he did talk about sanctions there. i don't know if it would even trigger the logan act, let alone a political play of making him resign. you're right. the facts are important, the transcripts are important and i know the american people would love to see them. you talk about doing this the right way early on. transparency is the issue at the root of all of this. it always has been when it comes to donald trump and what seems to be a curious relationship with russian sympathies. you had people come to you and say, hey, we could get his taxes, we have this 1924 law we can use and maybe there will be some transparency, maybe it will help the president by showing what is or is not in his taxes. you said no. why? >> here is why. that would be an abuse of power of the chairman of the ways and means committee. that law directs us to look attacks administration, only look at private tax returns in
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the case of the tax administration. that is clearly not the case here. let me just say this, if you let congress begin rummaging around for political purposes in the tax returns of the president, what stops them from doing it to everyday americans? that would be an abuse of power. let me just tell you, privacy and civil liberties which is at the heart of that law, by the way, would be weakened if we took this approach. so i said absolutely not. we're not going back to the bad old days when congress or elected officials could use private tax returns to harass and intimidate and punish their political enemies. we're not going to do that, regardless of where you stand on whether those tax returns should be public, that's your position. but we're not going to abuse our power, i'm not goings to abuse our power to do that. >> i never said anything about making them public. the law would allow internal review. you said for political purposes.
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why do you discount the connections to russia? >> start at the beginning of this law. what in tax administration do his returns have to deal with? >> what in tax administration? you mean like the goings-on of how we look at taxes in this country? >> it's how taxes are administered. >> i would say nothing. >> i know. i would agree with that. >> but congressman purcell said something different. he said the committee does have the ability to access tax records in order to do review. >> i disagree completely. this provision is about how the tax code is administered and specifically protects the civil liberties and privacy of american citizens from prying politicians. so this law is exactly the opposite of what's been presented. let me just tell you, look, you do not want congress and elected officials to be able to abuse their power to rummage around in your tax returns because they
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think you're a political opponent or enemy. so that's the bigger principle. >> i got you. you're not going to get anybody disagreeing with you about not wanting the government digging around in their taxes. i'm saying the assumption that it's all about politics may be something that can be argued. you made your case. something of more concern to you, tax policy. our president is named donald trump. people want to see tax relief. all of this as real as it may be does distract from his ability to get stuff like that done, the work of government. where are you on a tax proposal plan? when do you think we'll see something? >> moving forward very quickly, i think it's exciting the president is going to talk about his tax plan here in the next two weeks and tells us he's absolutely committed to get this economy going, leapfrog america, as republicans have proposed, lead america as the best place
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on earth for new jobs and investment. i'm excited about the work that's done. we're going bold. this only happens once every 30 years. we've got to get this right, and not just getting the economy and wages going, but simplifying the tax code so much so nine out of ten americans with file using the postcard style system and busting up the irs, redesigning them. these are critical proponents of tax reform. we're on the right track forgetting this done this year. >> this year. you're saying we'll see something when? >> 2017. >> all right. giving me a little range. i'll take it. >> let's put this in perspective. 30 years nothing has occurred. first time in a generation. let's seize this opportunity. >> case by case analysis. let's see what happens. kevin brady, thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thanks, chris. >> alisyn. >> as if it's not complicated enough, officials say a russian spy ship is positioned off the
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u.s. coast. how will president trump resp d respond? our national security and counterterrorism experts weigh in next. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ pain from chest congestion whecan make this...d, feel like this. all-in-one cold symptom relief from tylenol®, the #1 doctor recommended pain relief brand. tylenol®
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and always working to be better. russian military moves causing concern this morning. u.s. officials say russia has a spy ship off america's east coast in international waters. a senior military official also telling cnn russia secretly deployed a cruise missile, apparently violating a decades-old treaty. we have former cia
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counterterrorism official phil mudd and former house intelligence chairman and former fbi special agent mike rogers and cnn chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. mike, the plot thickens. just as we've been talking about mike flynn all morning and what his relationship and his contact with russia is, now this. is this a provocation have russia? how do you see this? >> this is over -- actually a couple of years you've seen this ramp-up of provocation from russia. we've seen a small piece between poland and lithuania on the baltic sea that nato believes could be capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. that was certainly provocation on behalf of the russians. we've seen this pushout of their military toward u.s. international borders on the west coast, they were flying their bombers, nuclear capable
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bombers, we've seen them do this in europe as well chgt as a matter of fact, one country, a scandinavian country last year already exceeded its defense budget for responding to incursions into its airspace by russians. this is not a new activity but certainly something we should all be concerned about, how we move forward and continue to push back russian, at least aggression. >> phil mudd. mike flynn, career intel man, smart. everybody saying the same thing. the idea that he wouldn't think that communications with a russian counterpart wouldn't be the subject of some type of monitoring seems naive. how does that inform us in terms of whether or not flynn should immediately be assumed to have been doing something that he knew was wrong, that was illegal or nefarious? >> we shouldn't assume he knew he was doing something -- let's be clear. when i was at the fbi and cia, i
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met russians. if had been in the trump campaign last year, i would have met russians. the best way to know your adversary is to talk to them. the questions that come out of this -- let's be clear about the difference between insinuation, communication simultaneous with the e-mail issues and the russian attacks on the election, the difference between simulation and fact. what was the content of those conversations and, of course, did he mislead the vice president. i think what happened afterwards in the post election period, in the post inauguration period was more significant than the actual meetings. i would have met the russians if i were him. to back your original point, if you're an intelligence officer and you don't know going in and talking to the president and vice president about what you said to the russians is knowable in the government, i don't understand that one. somebody intercepted that communication and he had to know that. i think he just got in over his head. >> jim, that leads us to your reporting. that's interesting context that phil just gave us, he would have
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met with the russians. so what is unusual about what you've lrnd about trump advisers constant? >> two things. one, the frequency. constant communications, not just an introduction here or there. two, the level. we're talking about the senior most advisers to trump, close proximity to the president having these communications. i was speaking to somebody from the obama administration last night who said during '08, the transition then, that she met with foreign officials, but maybe once or twice, to talk about logistics, perhaps, of a trip, but not repeated communications. this is what intelligence officials have told me. having those contacts by themselves is not unusual, the preetd nature of the contacts, the frequency and the level of people doing them much more senior than would normally have these contacts. it's one thing to introduce yourself to your counterpart on the other side. it's another thing to have these regular communications. that's what raised the red flags
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for u.s. intelligence and law enforcement. >> mike, you don't have to be an intelligence expect to say something that makes things more powerful is a denial of it. sean spicer saying i don't know anything that would make me believe anybody here was talking to russia. all this coming out fans the fire. the who knew, it's not about flynn doing something illegal or the arcane logan act. it's the notion that mike flynn is being explained by the administration as some type of rogue agent and nobody knew, nobody directed him, nobody was aware. does that make sense to you? >> here is where i think we can get -- everybody can get in a bit of trouble. speculation i have seen even this morning on folks pulling it into the political arena can be really dangerous they're making some very serious allegations. i think we all ought to stop for a minute, let the senate do its investigation. they said they're going to have an investigation.
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i think they should do that. i think they should get the facts assembled as we would know them. again, to phil mudd's point, it is not a crime to talk to adversaries or allies, and that happens more than people realize. >> then why was flynn forced out? why did he have to resign? if it's not a big deal -- >> i think what's a big deal is if you misrepresent yourself to the vice president of the united states. i do think that's a big deal. >> that takes us to the central question, do you believe he could have been doing this -- your answer may be yes -- that he was doing this all along, never directed, nobody knew, nobody monitored any of mike flynn's conversations? >> clearly in the reports you had, he made conversations away from everyone else. there's a report he did one on the beach when he was on vacation. clearly that wasn't going to be monitored by anyone else other than the intelligence community that is very interested, let's say, in what our russian
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counterparts are doing here in the united states. so that activity is clearly going to be watched, hopefully with a sharp eye. i will tell you, though, mike flynn had this kind of position going back several years. it wouldn't be out of the range of possibility that he was eager to do this on his own and wasn't directed. i think we shouldn't make that speculation until the investigation is done, because that's a serious consequence. think about all the things we have to deal with. kim jong-un is firing a missile, iran fired a missile in violation of regulations. we have some huge and significant national security challenges. and what i'm worried about is this is an opportunity for them to realign the national security council. i think it was completely distracted by all of this for some period of time in a time when we have all these very serious issues. this would be an opportunity for
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the president to say i'm going to realign the national security council. i'm not going to have four or five people in charge making decisions with different statuses and different ranks. we're going to have a national security council that functions to get the information to the president and other decision makers to make a good decision. that to me is really important. >> we'll see if he takes your advice. mike, jim, phil, thank you very much. >> thank you. everybody seems to be on the same page of saying we need to get the facts straight. the question is how do we do that except for our efforts as reporters. there are calls for a bipartisan congressional committee. that's being pushed back by republicans. they're saying we have the intelligence committee, let them do their work then we get to the white house, what are they saying is the right way to deal with this situation? we get "the bottom line" next. yl be there. giving you more time for what matters most. (team sing) safelite repair, safelite replace.
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multiple sources tell cnn that intercepted phone calls repeal associates of the president had repeated contacts with russian operatives during the presidential campaign, the latest in what has been a wild first four weeks of the trump administration. let's get "the bottom line" with
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cnn political director david chalian. case in point, is that fef farious? is that wrong? is that illegal? we don't know the box to check on all three of those. the way the white house has handled it makes it a bigger deal, sloppy answers, not on the same page, fake answers. what's the take? >> you're exactly right, chris. we should stress there's been no evidence put forward in any of these stories about these communications between trump associates and russian officials suggesting it was coordination about the dnc hack or russia's clear desire to impact the american election. but then that begs the question that the white house and the president has to answer is why? why were trump associates in constant communication with russian officials during the campaign? if it's not the worst case scenario, then answer the question to explain to the american people why that was the case. we know from our own reporting, you had jim sciutto on, that
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president trump was briefed on these communications. so answer the question as to why, but they've refused to do so thus far. >> you heard phil mudd. he said with his fbi background and his background in the intelligence agency, if he were in a political campaign, he, too, would have met with his counterparts in russia, he, too, would have made overtures to them. he felt that we were, i think, more of a tempest in a teapot to him, that is sort of standard operating practice. we don't know how often they met. he was saying we would have done that, too. >> yet it led to his resignation. >> they keep saying he lied -- >> he didn't say he lied. he says he misled some people with what he says. i don't know that that's a lie. >> we don't know all the answers. >> alisyn, even if phil mudd's explanation is the explanation, shouldn't the white house and
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the president deliver that explanation? that's what's confounding to me. i can understand during the campaign you might have associates preparing for potential government should you win the election and making contact. but if you are in constant communication with russian officials -- as far as i know, there are no electoral votes available to a presidential candidate in russia. there needs to be some stated explanati explanation. >> again, in defense of the unknown, once again, we don't even know, except from investigators that, yes, we were tracking these communications, yes it was a red flag to us. why? because of what was being discussed and how often there were discussions. so they went to the white house about it, but no connection to the hacking of the election. yet, the white house paralyzed with what to say about this. it seems to go to white house function as much as it does the substance of the allegation. >> chris, i couldn't agree more. step back for a moment. look at the last four weeks.
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other than the one day when they rolled out judge gorsuch which was a pretty flawless supreme court nominee rollout, this white house has been consumed by these stories that are distracting from their core mission. it is confounding to see just how ill prepared this white house is to be able to drive through its own message. it is besieged by controversy, by turmoil, both inside the west wing and then in terms of the world events sort of placing itself on the president's desk. they can't seem to get out from under themselves. >> i don't know, david. i'm heading off in about one minute to go to ohio to interview a panel of trump supporters. we've had many of them here, dozens in our studio. so i can channel them somewhat. and they told me -- here is a quote. it's like christmas every day, since he came into office. they feel the things he's doing, the executive orders, the wall,
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talking about immigration, all that stuff, they feel like it's working for them. where you see chaos, they see he's changing up the system. >> there's no doubt. people voted for disruption, they voted for an outsider, and i think there are two sides to that coin. but alisyn, the white house and president trump as he said on election not is not supposed to be president for those who supported him, he's supposed to be president for the entire country. >> true. and also i'm sure they didn't vote for the national security adviser to get thrown under the bus or resign in a few weeks. this is not helpful to anybody's reckoning of what progress was supposed to be here. that leads us to the next big event. you have netanyahu coming, the relationship with israel is paramount. now word out of the white house that they may be moving away from two-state solution. that's been the line for america for decades.
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what's your take? >> both parties, as you said for decades, republican and democratic administrations, again, this is one of those things, disrupt. try something different. it hasn't been working putting an outsider in there. i can get the appeal to that. let's note how astonishing it is that we are talking about netanyahu at the very end of this. that would normally be a lead story. again, this white house is clearly distracted by other headlines. if you are now leaning into -- leaning away from, i should say, a two-state solution, you are throwing out years and years of american policy as it relates to the mid east. donald trump said jared kushner is the one that can get a mid east peace deal if anybody can. if it's no longer about a two-state solution, they're basically going to have to start over about how to create peace in the middle east if that is no longer the policy. >> very interesting to see what happens at noon today during the press conference. david chalian, thank you very much for "the bottom line."
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president trump is tweeting, that's no surprise. he's saying something interesting, reports aboutadvisn with russian operatives is simply a coverup for hillary clinton's campaign mistakes. does that have any basis in fact or reason? we'll put the questions to one of her top campaign aides. is this all about her and the hangover, next. wow! and the year before that... in fact, chevy's received more j.d. power initial quality awards than any other car brand, four years in a row. impressive! current qualified lessees can sign and drive this chevy equinox for around $232 a month. plus, find your tag and get an additional $750 lease cash on select equinox vehicles in stock. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
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time now for the five things you need to know for your new day. multiple sources saying top advisers tore the president repeatedly contacted russian operatives during the campaign. sources say the aides included campaign chairman paul manafort and ousted security adviser michael flynn. the question of why is still unanswered. president trump will meet with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu today at the white house. the trump administration saying it will no longer insist on a two-state solution for mid east peace. a man thought he was protected by the dream act arrested near seattle by
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immigration officials. the man brought to america when he was 7 is threatened for deportation. authorities accuse him of being in a gang. his lawyers deny that. the faa investigating actor harrison ford's near miss at an airport in southern california. his small plane cleared to land on a runway monday, but he landed on a parallel taxiway flying dangerously over a passenger jet. a german shepherd winning best in show at the westminster dog show. rumor finished runner up last year and defeated nearly 3,000 other dogs last night to take home top honors. i believe it's only the second time the popular breed has won. for more on the five things to know, go to newdaycnn.com for the latest. president trump calling russia ties, quote, nonsense, slamming hillary clinton's campaign on twitter. is that just a distraction, or is there a connection? a clinton top aide responds
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ oh, how waso good!en house? did you apply? oh, i'll do it later today. your credit score must be amazing. my credit score? credit karma. it's free. that's great! um hm. just whip bam boom, it's done. that apartment is mine! credit karma. give yourself some credit. new details emerging about north korea's ballistic launch over the weekend. cnn's will ripley is in north korea. he filed this report. >> reporter: here in north korea people are celebrating this country's latest successful missile launch, this new kind of missile that north korea says will dramatically improve their
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ability to launch a surprise attack as opposed to previous missiles that were able to be detected from spy satellites. the key difference here is that this missile uses solid fuel, so it can be hidden under ground, loaded onto a mobile missile launcher and launched relatively quickly without detection. the missile itself is actually similar in design to a submarine launched ballistic missile north korea successfully tested about six months ago. at that time we're told north korean leader kim jong-un ordered scientists to take that missile and convert it to something they can use on land, and that is what we have now seen happen. apparently, according to government officials who i met with here, technicians and scientists have been working around the clock pour the last six months to make this happen. when i asked him about the threat from the united nations of heightened sanctions and continued international condemnation as a result of this
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with even china weighing in condemning this launch along with japan, the united states, south korea and many other countries, the response is this is country that has lived under heavy sanctions for many years, especially since 1986, the first nuclear test. there have been five tests, three ordered by kim jong un and 20 missile launches. when i asked people if they feel the isolation of their country is worth it, the fact that there is no access to outside internet, no way to make phone calls outside the country. most people can't travel outside north korea unless they are the privileged individuals in this so society, they say the sacrifices are worth it, they'd rather go hungry than risk what they feel is an invasion, the imminent threat of invasion from the united states. that's what the government tells them. that's why their government justifies spending a tremendous amount of its limited resources
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on continuing to develop these references. will ripley, cnn, pyongyang. >> president trump has been tweeting this morning, that's not unusual, but making an interesting connection. the russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up many of the mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing campaign. joining us, former press secretary for democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton, brian fallon. a slap to the nose is what you get from the president of the united states. the implication is clear that friendlies from the left are going after him because they're sore he whooped your butt. what do you make of that allegation? >> it's nonsense, an attempt to distract from very serious allegations that are the latest shoe to drop in what is becoming an unraveling narrative of the trump campaign that threatens the legitimacy of his election. back during the fall when we
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were trying to raise the alarm bells about this, we were constantly scoffed at. initially we said when the dnc was hacked and john podesta was haktd, we said this looked to be the work of the russians. people suggested that was probably an exaggeration. 17 u.s. intelligence agencies came out and said it was the russians. you heard trump partisans say this was an attempt to sew confusion, probably trying to tip the scales for donald trump. then it came out after the election that it was to help trump. they said, well, that us didn't prove there was any coordination because there's no contacts between the trump campaign and russia. donald trump himself in january said no one from his campaign ever spoke to him. now we learn that, yes, there was steady contacts between the trump campaign and russia. so now they're trying to say, well, we don't know they were actually talking about the hacks. maybe that will be the next shoe to drop. >> you are not wrong to dangle what's going on with the trump
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administration and russia. in fact, point of fact, we do not know. those are some of the big questions that are fueling curiosity about mike flynn's resignation, or was it a political move on him. there's no question on him. one, the intelligence communities thus far have been consistent in saying we've drawn no connection between anything that the trump people were doing or saying and those hacks. they make b it intentional to let us know that, that they don't have any connection yet. second, does trump have a political point where you guys are concerned, that you couldn't be a strong voice against him when it came to the integrity and this kind of stuff because you were compromised by the server and your own miss slelea statements and broad money and foreign donations into the foundation and all that other stuff? >> look, i think you raised a lot of issues that got a lot of attention in the campaign. there wasn't equal attention on
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these far more serious allegations. i'm not interested in relitigating the campaign. donald trump is the president and we're living with the consequences of that. there are two high-profile investigations into the trump connections with russia. one is being mounted by the fbi. that's where this information is coming out of. who sits atop the justice department? jeff sessions, a partisan in favor of donald trump, an adviser to his campaign. he needs to recuse himself for us to have any confidence for us to believe that investigation will be independent. secondly on capitol hill, we need a select committee that will hold open hearings, bring michael flynn in and let him testify before the american people. >> doesn't look like that's going to happen. >> we need it to. >> an interesting point made by robby mook. he said i'd like the fbi to explain why they sent a letter about clinton but not this. the simple answer to that question is that comey had been brought before the congress and
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had promised that he would update them on it, and that was his cover for doing so. what is the larger point that robby mook is making? >> i think he's trying to make the point that you had democrats speaking out and asking about these allegations starting to trickle out. they were stonewalled. harry reid wrote to jim comey saying, i've been briefed, i know you have explosive information linking donald trump to russia, please come forward. jim comey didn't do that. the reason we can't give donald trump the benefit of the doubt with all this is because all these contacts between representatives of his campaign and the russian government were happening while trump was displaying a troubling pattern of speaking out on putin's behalf on any number of issues that are completely out of alignment with u.s. foreign policy. and also, if there was nothing to these interactions, if they were completely innocent and benign, why did the trump campaign lie about them?
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donald trump was briefed about these contacts apparently by the fbi several weeks ago, and yet he came out and said there weren't any contacts between his campaign and the russians. sean spicer reiterated that yesterday, just like they lied about the nature of michael flynn's conversations in late december with the russian ambassador. if these are all benign and can be easily explained, why are they covering them up? >> it's no small irony that donald trump is being haunlted by the same types of suggestions he made about hillary clinton and your campaign. we'll follow the facts as always and see where they lead. brian fallon, thank you for racing into the chair this morning to do this interview. appreciate it. >> appreciate it. cnn "newsroom" with poppy harlow and john berman begins right after this short break. stay with cnn.
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moms know their kids need love, encouragement and milk. with 8 grams of natural protein, and 8 other nutrients to provide balanced nutrition. moms know kids grow strong when they milk life. good morning everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poply harlow. thank you for joining us. we certainly have a lot of news this morning, including new revelations involving president trump and his inner circle and ties with russia. cnn learning the president's high level advisers during the campaign were in constant contact with officials in russia before the election. u.s. intelligence officials became alarmed because of the frequency of the contacts, the timing and how close those people were to president trump. >> this all unfolded as

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