tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN April 4, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
free with xfinity on demand. russia bomb shell. a member of the house intelligence committee warns somebody may go to jail. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. people will probably be charged and i think people will probably go to jail. >> that's as president obama's national security advisor that is she leaked the names of trump associates. rice insisting she never has and never would leak anything. is this another distraction from
the white house? we're spending an awful lot of time knocking down lies in this environment we have to. and today on twitter fox news bill o'reilly accused me of refusing to the susan rice story. he has a lot of followers and people are believing alternative facts now. that is 100% false. and if you were watching this show last night you know that is 100% false. and you saw i began by laying out the various ways the white house has attempted to stop us from the false wire tapping claims. the tweets he had. the most recent being that the national security advisor unmasked the names of trump associates. i turned to a panel of experts to bring us a thing called "facts." >> the unmasking by itself is not leaking, it's not legal -- >> when you have a need to know
and especially if you're a national security advisor, you have a right to ask the intelligence community for moreinismmore information and more context. >> we covered the susan rice story and tonight we're going to cover it again. another story later tonight in the show the sexual harassment allegations against you. so let's get started. let's bring in mark preston. political commentarieies and ho of cnn's "the messy truth." welcome jacen on the studio. good to have you. national security advisor susan rice pushing back that she mishandled classified information. >> the allegation is that somehow obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes.
that's absolutely false. there were occasions when i would receive a report in which a u.s. person was referred to. name not provided, just u.s. person and sometimes in that context to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out or request the informations to who that u.s. official was. >> did you leak the name mike flynn? >> i never leaked anything to anybody and i never would. >> a couple two things he one is if she did leak that information or she did at least put it out that inappropriately, we will find out. the way it's being described is it went far and wide in the intelligence surcircles in washington d.c. i spoke to someone who was involved back in the obama
administration. and from their understanding, it's not true, it was false and in many ways susan rice can only say so much given what her position was with the government. she can't go into a further explanati explanation. that is why perhaps we're not getting the full story we would want to get from her. >> when you understand the procedure and what it takes to unmask a name, might they be incriminating themselves. i want to bring in philip mud. might they be incriminating themselves further because of unmasking the name or getting unmasked. >> this is not that complicated. this is how you do this operation. when wrou see an intelligence product that says an american official is invaucholved to establish sanctions against russia, there's a standard question any national security
advisor would have. who is that american citizen who is undermining the president's initiative? this is not that difficult. it happens every day in the intelligence business. who was involved in talking to the russian s in a way that suggests they want to undermine the president's ability to establish sanctions. >> you theng this is a diversion from the russia story because we see no evidence she's done anything improper and seems like an effort to tar and feather her to make the truth the original tweet by the president. >> the first question which we continue to lose track of is what happened in the electoral process in which an adversary interfered with that process.
valid question until a few weeks ago for the house committee. and valid question for the fbi. there's a separate question that's been happening for the past 100 years in washington. who is leaking information in the midst of that investigation. i think thats rar significant question the fbi will investigate. if you ask me, compared to the question of russian intervention in election, who leaked information is about third tier. that happens all the time on issues related to national security. she should be investigated but we're losing track of the number one question. can they broke free and secure. >> and don't get me wrong. that is a separate story. if there is a problem -- hang on. if there's a problem with the way we collect information or listen to americans or phone calls, that is a legitimate thing to talk about but that is
a separate story and should not be put into the mix in this story. but first i want to get kevin and republican senator cotton weighed in. >> susan rice is the tifoid mary of the obama administration foreign policy. every time something wept wrong she seemed to turn up under it whether it was these allegations of improper unmasking and potential improper surveillance whether it was benghazi -- >> you know that it was a film or what have you. is that part of the reason why there's so much inclination to call for an investigation now that her name is coming up? >> i think typhoid mary reference was lost but there's a lot of skepticism about the vor asty of susan rice. i think the media has a right to
be skeptical of her given her role and senator cotton eluded to it in pointing to a youtube video as the sole source of the benghazi attacks. there is a lot of skepticism about that. and is some of that is warranted. if you couple that with the fact that prior to the msnbc interview that susan rice conducted today, she said she had no knowledge whatsoever of the unmasking allegations by congressman nunes. while today she did appear to have knowledge of unmasking. >> i do have to say kevin -- >> thatd is why we have a senate investigation and that congressional oversight to get to the bottom of it. >> she spoke in gen ralts about the unmasking process and in the other interview she didn't know. and maybe she has no idea
because it's not in the information that nunes has. that's up to her but i understood those two interviews to be different. go ahead. >> look, this is much ado about 98i nathing. not even nothing. you got to go to the hood with it. susan rice is being tarred, feathered and burned alive for doing her job in a good way. what is she supposed to do? she's a national security advisor. somebody puts information on her desk that says people are trying to undermine the president of the united states and they may be involved with russians or whatever. the only thing she's supposed to say is who's doing this? that's all she did and now you've got this entire thing and
people are talking about benghazi and doing back flips because that's what they do when they want to talk about what who was unmasked but what was unmasked. there are russian villains playing footsys with the president's team. >> possibly. >> let's talk about that. >> here's your chance. sgl i think today's interview with susan rice was a complete disaster. i can't believe how unprepared ms. rice was and the base of questions that she wouldn't answer like would she testify. a couple weeks ago she said she knew nothing about the unmasking of names and it wasn't in generalty. >> today was a generalty. and she doesn't -- listen -- she doesn't know the information that devin nunes has so how
would she know specifically what she's talking about. >> to nothing to sometimes it waus necessary. as if she found this unmasking document that would get pinned to her lapel before she left her house like mittens on a wintry morning. and when we talked about the unmasking, she was quick to say she wasn't doing any of the unmasking or the administration wasn't doing any of the unmasking for political purposes but she was involved not once, not twice as we know dozens of times. >> that's her job. >> even devin nunes original statement said there was nothing illegal done. do you think they understand how this information is collected? and the process of actually having things unmasked?
do you think they get it? >> i think it is a big deal -- >> the other jason. >> this has been confidential for a long time because this is how the process is supposed to work and the reason the trump administration is trying to open this up is because they've been conducting a misinformation campaign about the intelligence community. they know these investigations are going on, they know what they've done and they're very concerned what happens when the american people find out. so they want to make sure the intelligence community has no credibility when they do find it. i'm appalled by it. >> this is the ranking democrat of the house intelligence committee, what he says. here's what he told our wolf blitzer. >> i think there are a few things going on. there is, in the first instance,
a strong desire by the white house that we lose our focus, that we not pursue the investigation of russia, particularly as it might impact the trump campaign. i think that's priority number one for the president and the administration. >> if she did something wrong, she did and she should face the music for it. but how much do you think these rice accusations are going to -- >> investigate it all. let's not making it a diversion or a distraction. let's include it. and there are two separate things and they also have correlation. there's political issues and legal issues. the political issues, they were completely right. i would not have used typhoid mary but if you put five republicans in a room, you'll
get 10 opinions. the one thing that unifies us is this trust of susan rice. i think we think she lends herself to being too political above all things and this makes it a shoe bigger. if it had been anybody else in the white house, it would be a shoulder shrug. now the legal issue. if the person that she was asking questions about was michael flynn, for the love of god, give the woman a medal. i think whether you're republican, or democrat or anything else, if you are looking on a paper at the things that michael flynn did, which got him fire bide the trump administration because he even lied to the vice president of the united states. anybody in a national security role should have been alarmed p and what we're talking about is michael freaking flynn?
she should have no qualms about telling why she did what she did in front of a committee. i'm from the team of investigate it all. that is the one laser focus. russia, russia, russia. >> ana has spoken. can you do it quickly? >> i think whether republican or democrat, journalist or a security analyst t comes down to this. investigate, investigate, investigate. however, do not conflate. the investigation into a russian hacking is a lot different than the unmasking. >> predicting trump associates will end up in jail over the russia investigation. you know, the kind of driver who always buckles up... comes to a complete stop... and looks both ways, no matter what. because esurance believes that's the kind of driver who deserves to save money on car insurance. in fact, safe drivers who switch from geico
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as the house intelligence committee tries to get its russia investigation back on track a sunny prediction. so, democratic congressman dropped a bomb shell saying he wouldn't be surprised if people would end up in jail after this russia investigation. his colleague also spoke out about this. take a look. >> my impression is i wouldn't be surprised if after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail. >> really? and how high does that go in
your suspicion or that's all we can call it right now? >> that's yet to be determined. >> but you think some people are going to wind up in jail, people plural? >> that's my impression, yes. >> you want to give us a little bit more because that's obviously a very intriguing statement. >> i wish i could but i can't at this time. >> but at this point you're confident that at least some trump associates would wind up in jail. >> if i were betting, yes. >> i want to respectfully disagree. he said he would not be surprised if people ended up going to jail. i will be surprise fd people don't end up going to jail. >> so wolf is being generous saying intriguing. is this the first time we've heard a sitting congressman say something like this? >> this is unbelievable for a member of the house intel committee throwing out such
inflammatory rhetoric. if they're going with an honest and sincere investigation, let's make extra room in the jail for whoever they find out has been leaking all the confidential information and leaking the unmasked american names. this is ridiculous and i can't believe he would say that. i got to think when they got behind scloezed doors, they gave it to him. >> we don't know what congressman castro has seen. >> i don't care what he's seen. a week or two ago we have congressman saying it's inappropriate to go to the white house to get information we haven't seen. we call that bias. now before we get deep into the investigation, we have a democratic congressman saying people need to be jailed. that is inappropriate bias
before you go into a nonpartisan investigation and this is why people like me say listen on the senate, not the house. they're bias. >> do you agree with that, even as a democrat? >> i see it somewhat differently. i didn't hear him saying that someone should go to jail. if he said that, that is 100% bias. heicide step down. >> i think the second guy said that. >> i'm talking about castro. castro is usually very measured. he's not a bomb thrower in our party. so it made me sit up and notice when he said it. don't think he was saying it should happen. it's a distinction. if he's saying it should, that's different. >> should he have said that? >> i think it's an indication of prejudging.
people need confidence that this is not prejudged and there's go being full examination of the facts. i think when you make comments like that you start to put the partisan bias on display. and that is stheng that i theng is emblematic of how poisoned the house intelligence committee has been poisonpoisoned. i think they're starting to look more and more to the senate to find a bit more of a transparent and bipartisan process focussed on the facts. >> we don't know what we saw. take the politics otof this so there can be a clean investigation. go on because i had another question for you. >> i think when you look at how the senate are conducting their investigation and what the house is doing. the house looks like keystone cops.
devin nunes, a highly paid water boy for the trump administration bidding their wars. that is tainted with partisanship. and then you have these democrats that just can't shut up. loose lips sink ships and these guys need focus on the work at hand. they need to take partisanship out of it. the american people aric looing at the investigation on one side or the other think it's not credible because there's too much premature speculation i said speculation now. don't anybody start tweeting me. but premature speculation by the democrats is not a good thing and devin nunes being in bed with the white house is also not good thing. the entire thing stinks to holy hell, does not pass the smell test. dear senate, america has its eyes on you and is hoping that you can conduct a real --
>> we need an ana navarro reaction cam. >> i can just imagine all those guys getting uncomfortable. what can i tell you? >> there's a lot of smoke. so let's walk through this. trump donor, black water founder who held a secret meeting to establish putin back channel. this on top of jared kushner, carter page, michael flynn. who have all had meetings. it's just a couple people. >> at some foipoint you got to wonder whether they need huntsman to be ambassador to russia. >> there may be nothing there though but there's a lot of smoke. >> we're at the point where the
people arguing it's all a coincidence sound like conspiracy theorists. because you have to go through a whole bunch of hoops where you get to the point where it's just a coincidence. >> congressional source telling cnn that the proximity of the meetings between trump advisors and russian officials is raising questions and whether the loosening of u.s. sanctions were discussed. are we going to get those answers? >> we keep focusing on what the senate and house is doing. i think the critical investigation is the fbi. there's only one entity that can actually walk across the street on pennsylvania avenue on department of justice and say this is what we found. should we prosecute someone? i don't think the house should continue the investigation. they're tainted. the senate should. their question should be how do we secure elections in the future? there's only one entity that
will look at individuals and say should we prosecute? that's the fbi going to the department of justice. i think in the next few months we'll have the answer to the questions we have tonight. >> did you say anything? >> it was such a riveting conversation. i gaurt another question for you. you think the white house can continue to ignore and dismiss all of this as just suspicion as jason was saying. coincidence. and it could be. >> it could be bad alctors who have associated themselves with donald trump. but i think in many ways we have seen diversionary tactics to at least create a lot of white noise around issues they find problematic. we saw the trump administration
use a big legislative battle. >> i think the honeymoon is over but i'm an adventurest. >> the honeymoon ended about 7:00 a.m. on november 9th. >> i have said this to people around donald trump and to donald trump himself. it speaks to judgment. i don't know if you'll be able to connect the president to this but the people around him have definitely done some things that there a little bit suspicious. i want to get this john mccain thing in there. can i? listen to this. >> this is a cenepede, a shoe will drop every few days. this is a requirement in my view why we need a select committee in order to get through all this because there's lots more shoes that are going to drop.
>> what do you think? is it time for a select committee? >> let me speak to why i think john mccain is delivering re, mas like that. this is the last thing folks in the senate want to be talking about. they have a very ambeiges agenda related to the economy, energy, health care and every single day they're dealt with another distraction and having to talk about these investigations about russia. i think what john mccain is really focussed on is trying to get some level of finality when it comes to these investigations and almost sort of take it off the congressional plate and put it in a select committee so they can focus on the bigger problems we have. i think if anything it's emblematic of the frustrations of many folks on capitol hill. >> we're going to come back with this panel.
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so house republicans still trying to come up with a health care bill that repeals and replaces obamacare. vice president mike pence on capitol hill meeting with gop factions. house speaker paul ryan says the whole thing is a work in progress. >> so it's premature to say where we're are or what we're on because we're that conceptual stage right now. >> so we saw the vice president on the hill, the speaker of the house. today is tuesday. congress goes on recess what? >> friday. >> is there hope this could get on the table before? >> absolutely not. this is another strategic blunder by republicans to get health care passed. one is they ftry to do it too
fast. and instead of fix and move on. it's repeal and replace. that's now how you build coalitions on capitol hill. i think the trump administration needs help in diplomacy, not just overseas, quite frankly but on capitol hill. >> diplomacy? >> you need to work with several of your guests can tell you the same thing. you need to work hand in glove can congress, not try to look at them as adversaries and switch alliances. >> part of what i think what's bazar is trufmp could have take that loss as a victory. i don't have to own health care for the whole country. you've been fighting for this
for seven years, this is yours. burt instead. >> and actually moved on to things much more popular when weather you're talking about tax cuts, infrastructure, bury some of his lost populous credenti s credentials. he had a terrible budget. it was basically cat food for grandma. a dre conian budget and he couldn't get the health care thing done and instead of moving on, he goes right back into the play pen with this broken health care problem. when you look at his pole numbers, 35, 34. listen, i know he can survive very low pole numbers but nobody can survive the 20s and he's headed for the -- >> i think mark was on the panel when i said if he does not get this passed, it would be viewed as a loss for the gop in
congress. >> i don't think that's right. i think to make the kind of promises the president made and republicans made over the last seven 1/2 years about repealing and replacing obamacare and not to deliver on it would be a huge mistake. you can't just move to tax reform. so inside that health care bill was about a trillion dollars in savings they needed to lower the rate. >> let me ask you a question though. you can't get there. i mean, sure it would be great if you could. they're not going to be able to cross that river. don't you think politically, optically, it would be smart to at least spend a couple of weeks on something besides this. >> this is where i agree about mark preston. this is about the optics and pageantry -- they cannot wave the white flag because it's so important to so much of their
base but this is a mistake because if we continue to run up that hill, it does look like we have one failure after the next. >> go ahead. what do you think? is this pageantry? >> the president has to get this right but not right now. these things he take time. w we cannot afford another loss. i mean there are millions suffering and this fall we're going to have millions more kicked off of their insurance plans. this is something the president talked about on the campaign trail but to rush into it right now -- especially he's going to have a big meeting with neil gorsuch and the summit in mar-a-lago. it's going to take lot of time. get it right -- >> ana navarro, you're a republican strategist.
so who's behind this big push? >> frankly i think ritszer the white house. i don't know donald trump but i wouldn't be surprised if it was him. he's impulsive, not strategic. what do you do in real estate? you make an offer and then you make another offer and counter offers and you try to get to a deal. i think that's the kind of mindset that trump comes with to everything, including policy battles. i don't think he's realized what a big loss this dealt him and the entire republican party. i don't think he realize the effect of picking a fight with the freedom caucus. they are not going to budge and give in because he's tweeting at them. that's just not who these guys are. so the factions in the republican party are getting worse but donald trump is trying to be the art of the deal guy.
>> i was going to say real quick. this isn't real estate where it's one party across the table. there are 535 parties across the table. coalition building is much harder. >> he's never done it. >> but this isn't something -- >> he's got no experience and lot of the people round him don't either. >> this is where you say this is my final offer. eager you buy this or not. it's a final offer's on the table. it doesn't work that way in washington. 57% of americans disprove of the bill. i mean, even if they try to get something, the public is not on board. >> i think he should take the hint. you know what people -- >> let's move on. >> take the hint. like, it's over. i'm not going to continue the analogy but that's where you
should go. people don't like it because it's a bad idea and the only direction he can go to get the freedom caucus on board is to go further right. so he can make it so people like it a lot less. >> moderates and he alienates moderates. >> it's a bad idea. he should quit doing it. >> listen, i know when i have to read this, van jones i may be late coming to me tomorrow because here it is, the messy truth, a live town hall with former governor arnold schwarzenegger. and van decides when he wants to crash my show after that. we love van and we'll be watching him tomorrow. so we know how to cover almost anything. even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you.
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shock and outrage around the world in the wake of the suspected chemical attack in northwestern syria that killed scores of civilians. the video is disturbing but we're showing it without blurring so you can see the devastating effects of this attack on civilians. at least 70 people, including 10 people are dead. the syrian regime is responsible. president blaming syria and obama. all of them with heavy expertise. this is a horrific story. it's horrible, heart wrenching. the white house didn't immediately respond and then they did nine hours later. calling them reprehensible and saying these heinous as by the
assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution. president obama said he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons. >> it essentially gave assad license to carry on with his campaign of extermination as the u.n. called it. however, rex tillerson was asked about assad and his transition of power and said we don't have a quarrel with the regime. the syrian people will decide the fate of assad. that's been used of moscow, from the beginning of the crisis to essentially mean he ain't going anywhere. one could argue this administration has said to assad, carry on. i'm glad to see he's blamed the
regime and not left it as an open question. and maybe nine hours is what it took to give him the intelligence on what gas. according to the european union dropped from helicopters. the only entity with an air force in syria dropping searen gas is the russian and syrian regime. remember, saren gas is a chemical nerve age nnt that ass is no longer supposed to possess. this is the part of the decomitioning of the stock piles. how does he have the gas? >> as we have talked about this before, i think we've wondered openly whether this would be president obama's rue aundau. what clinton believes is one of
his greatest failures. >> the issue, don, is what michael said is absolutely correct from my perspective coming at this from a leadership challenge is that the president of the united states has to embrace this chaos. i mean, this is his. president obama's history. what was done, what wasn't done reflects on our nation but our ability to move forward is based on our president's desire to get his arms around this and the key issue is clearly putin wants assad to starks we would love assad to leave. president obama acknowledged we could not get our arms around that incongrewty, if you will and we have now acknowledged that assad is going to stick around. it is a reality. we have to have some relationship with russia that allows us to apply the appropriate pressure. it's in our national security
interest not because of the horrendous suffering. that is outrageous. it's because it become as breeding ground for more terrorism and until we help resolve this thing, we have our focus hatd will be there until this thing resolves. >> they have no coherent foreign policy strategy sfwlp . >> if you're talking about syria, saying assad goes or d s doesn't go is just one part of it and i think that's the easiest part to define, yes or no but when you get into the details of the policy and what should happen, this is where you get these head snapping statements by people -- let's say by secretary of state tillerson who said a couple of
days ago that his fate should be decided by the people and talking about reprehensible or nikki haley, kind of the same thing. it's not our job. and then also being very critical, as she should be of these attacks. in a broader sense president trump does not understand at all what motivated vladimir putin in syria. i mean the important thing for the trump administration is they really hate iran, want to get rid of iran, get them out of everything and vladimir putin sees utility in using iran in syria. they do other things. so there's a really important dynamic and for president trump not to understand that is surprising because it is a major, major factor.
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north korea fired a projectile into the sea of japan tonight, it was likely a ballistic missile. one of several countries that test fired in recent months. what about north korea, they have been flexing their muscle. tonight we saw another launch of a single ballistic missile. korea has been trying to insert themselves into these early months of the trump presidency. how worried are you about this? >> well, north korea has been flexing its muscles forever, it's a regime in place since the
early 40s, this is a troublesome problem that goes to the top of the lest of things our administration needs to be find mindful of and to to something about, not to discuss or have a conversation, but to galvanize energy around it. the only way to get north korea to do anything, we've never demonstrated an ability to modify the behavior in that regime, chosen has, over the course of time, to a certain degree, albeit over the course of recent years, it has backed away and pyongyang has essentially shot the bird at beijing. we need, we, washington, must be able to engage with beijing in a way that's really meaningful and can put real pressure. they buy their gas and oil and there are some economic benefits, but there will be a kinetic solution to the problem in north korea, over the course of the nerkt year-and-a-half, not because of this administration, but because there administration happens to be in place where there is decreasing time between when
north korea is an icbm, which is a probability in 2021. they should have 16 hundred of those. >> that's frightening. >> i want to give you a statement from rex tillerson, he said north korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. the united states has spoken enough about this and has no further comment. >> i think they're saying the same thing trump is saying, if china doesn't solve it, we will. i'm not quite sure where they're headed with this. i agree it will be conditionetic, there could be some type of conflict, because president trump is setting it up in such let's say a stark plaque and white scenario, where either this stops or we do something.
and that doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room. so i'm presuming they are prepared to do something militarily. if they're prepared to do something militarily, i would presume they know the consequences of some act like that. both with china and with south korea. so it is i think it's very worrisome. >> what's the position of russia when it comes to north korea developing a nuclear weapon? >> they don't like it. they have worked with the united states on trying to put some pressure on north korea. here, too, this idea and i think general marks was just talking about that. the idea that any one country can really, really change another, let's say china with north korea or let's say russia with assad, it's not as easy as that, it's not always predictable as that. so again the administration comes in i think with some pre conceived notions and a lot of
ignorance, quite frankly, on how diplomacy and tough diplomacy has been conducted. so we're in these sixes where they're pushing the envelope and then i'm not totally convinced knowing where they go, if it really comes down to it. >> all right. michael, we'll get you in next time. thank you, jill. i appreciate it. allegations of collusion between trump associates and russian officials casting a shadow over his presidency. can the white house get things back on track? ready to help if you need it. it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are. it's your trade. e*trade