tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 1, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PST
thanks very much. that's it for me jim sciutto sitting in for wolf blitzer today. we can assure you this is a story as well as tax plan we'll be covering throughout the day. our special coverage of these stories continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. all right. jim sciutto, we'll take it from here. happy friday to all of you. i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn on what is shaping up to be extraordinarily news. we have come up with this news. michael flynn just pleaded guilty of lying to fbi about his interactions with russian ambassador. while he didn't say a whole heck of a lot his plea agreement does
acknowledge flynn is now cooperating with robert mueller's team. >> general flynn, do you feel you have betrayed your country? >> will your son be indicted? >> will trump pardon you? >> flynn issued this statement, quote, after over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the united states, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts. such false accusations are contrary to everything i have ever done, and stood for. he goes on, but i recognize that the actions i acknowledged in court today were wrong, and through my faith in god i am working to set things right. my guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special
counsel's office reflect a decision i made in the best interests of my family and our country. i accept full responsibility for my actions. we begin, jim acosta at the white house for us for their response to this news. but shimon, you first, sir, in washington, on some of the details of this. and what do we know? what did general flynn lie about specifically? >> so in principle the lie sen ter centered around the conversation he had with kislyak. they confronted him at the white house and asked the former security adviser about his conversation about the russian ambassador. and quite frankly and just plainly he lied about it. he lied to fbi investigators about the nature of the conversation, some of the details of that conversation, and there were two specific
conversations or two topics, i should say, that he lied about. one had to do with russian sanctions, u.s. sanctions against russia. and the second we found out today in court papers had to do with a united nations security council vote against israel settlements. he, flynn, was calling various countries including russia. fbi asked him questions about some of that conversation. those conversations. and he lied about those as well to the fbi. so essentially it was lying to the fbi about the nature of these conversations. but what we don't know, and what's not clear, and perhaps his cooperation may help investigators figure this out, is why did he lie about those conversations? why wasn't he truthful to the fbi about the nature of those conversations? >> jim acosta, shimon set it up perfectly. how is the white house saying about this? >> that's interesting how we
move forward. he was saying why did flynn lie about this to fbi and federal investigators? keep in mind during the transition, sean spicer incoming press secretary and jason mill ser communications director who didn't take the job, told reporters on conference call that michael flynn did have a phone conversation with the russian ambassador around that december 28th, 29th time frame. and during that statement that sean spicer and jason miller gave to reporters, there was no talk of michael flynn and the russian ambassador talking about sanctions. this was described as something of a courtesy call trying to st up a phone call or meet tg at some point between president trump and russian president vladimir putin. so it may be, and this is just me guessing here, that michael flynn did not initially tell the truth about this because he perhaps was trying to stay consistent with what the transition told the american people as to what was going on during the transition. i only put that out there because that is what we were told in late december before
president trump was sworn into office. i'll tell you that i tried to ask president trump a couple of hours ago about michael flynn's pleading guilty here at the white house. and here's what happened. president had no comment. >> mr. president, any comment on michael flynn being indicted, sir? can you comment on michael flynn being indicted? mr. president, anything to say about michael flynn, former national security adviser? >> and there you have it, he did not want to answer that question. he was welcoming libyan prime minister here to the white house. brooke, shortly after that, there was supposed to be media availability in the oval office, one of the pool sprays where the president could have been asked about that and they scrapped that. that got canceled. now the white house did put out a statement from ty cobb white house lawyer. i can read that to you and point out a couple of things to you if
there is time. it says today michael flynn former security adviser for the white house for 25 days during the trump administration and former obama administration official ended a guilty plea to single count of making false statement to the fbi. false statement mirrors the false statements to white house officials which resulted in his resignation in february of thisser yoo. nothing about the guilty plea or charge immr. kate's anyone other than mr. flynn. the counsel work demonstrates that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for prompt and reasonable conclusion. that's wishful thinking about the prompt and reasonable conclusion. but, brooke, i should tell you this description there in the statement about michael flynn being a former obama straks official. we have to point out barack obama whether he was still president had triend to warn president trump on november 9th or 10th in the oval office, to stay away from michael flynn.
president trump elect trump did not take that advice. and it appears he is now paying the price for that. former obama administration official reached out to me earlier today to say listen, michael flynn worked in multiple administrations and was fired by barack obama who tried to warn president elect trump to stay away from michael flynn. he didn't take that advice. >> thanks very much. so of the multitude of questions that all of us have, one is who was michael flynn actually getting this direction from. a court document called the statement of offense indicates the chain of events that led to one of flynn's calls to the ambassador, involved this, quote, on or about december 22, 2016, very senior member of the presidential transition team directed flynn to contact firms from foreign governments including russia to learn where each government stood and to
influence those governments to delay or defeat the resolution. was that very senior member the same person who influenced this tweet on the same day from the then president elect? quote, the resolution being considered at the united nations security counsel regarding israel should be vetoed. here's ts answer we don't know. we have a panel to walk through all of this. there is a lot to do this. good to see you on tv all day. chief legal analyst is back with us, who was chief white house ethics under president obama. seth, business attorney is also with you, and also with us as well. so welcome to all of you. and jeff tu bin to you to kick this off, we talked about how the news had been tightening around michael flynn's neck, noup we know and seen the news. and fact that he is cooperating with this ongoing federal probe,
what does that piece of it tell you? >> well, it tells that the mueller team believes that flynn has useful testimony to give. and useful information about the rest of his investigation. and if i could just call your attention to one meeting that i think is takes on a new significance. when james comey testified after he was fired and talked about the series of meetings with the president while the president was putting pressure about the russian investigation. think about the meeting on february 14. february 14 was the day that there was a meeting with very senior officials in the white house. the vice president. the attorney general. and the fbi director. but the president excluded everyone except the fbi director, except comey. and when he had comey, just the
two of them, he said, i want you to let flynn go. mike flynn is a good guy. let him go. why? why did donald trump want mike flynn to be let go? >> let me add to that the fact that the "new york times" today is reporting sometime this summer president trump tried to get the chairman of the senate intel richard burr to kill this investigation. throughout the full screen, let's do this, because we did some digging. you add that to this list of seven other people that trump reportedly asked to shut this thing down. so the thing is question. mr. ambassador to you, with all of these people that the president reportedly tried to talk to to say end this, why would he be trying to kill the russian investigation? >> brooke, thanks for having me back l the reason that the
president is trying to kill the investigation has been answered by the president himself. because he's feeling, he said, he's given a variety of answers, including feeling the pressure of the russia investigation. what is that pressure? i think jeff is right to point to the comey conversations. because if the pressure is something corrupt, if he was afraid, as seems to have happened today, in inwas going to testify against others close to him or maybe even against the president himself, that's obstruction of justice. and we here at brookings have written a long report laying out all the elements of it. i think the president, the answer tour question s the president was afraid that if he didn't shut down the investigation, this day would come. and if you look at the statement of the offense, the chips are just starting to fall.
there are a lot of people that flynn fingers in the court documents that were filed today. >> let me go back to some of the details and we'll come back to how the white house is responding to this. here's my question, you have the retired three star general, this is a military man, in his statement he reminded us 33 years to this country, to do this without any instruction, isn't the question whether we hear he was directed by the senior transition officials, isn't the question who would have directed him to do this? not only who would have directed but who else he might have shared the information with? >> absolutely. and the thing that's so fascinating about the information that was provided to the court today demonstrates that the answer is somewhere within a remarkably short list. you can probably count on less than one hand the fingers on one hand, the people who are in that inner circle that would be the senior transition official. and, you know, the hint is that
their last name is either trump or kushner. there are people that you can probably take out of that circle, you can take chris christie out of that circle, because he left that group a little bit on the early side. mike pence who was the chair on the transition was dealing a lot with trying to get the appointments together for the heads of the agencies. so there is no question that the statement from the white house lawyer that this doesn't touch the white house, that's completely inaccurate. and in fact i would also point to what the plea agreement is. he's going to deal with only one violation of the false statements act. that is a great deal for michael flynn. >> because he faced multiple charges. this is just one. >> he's facing a vast multitude of charges. just a long menu. granted this is a five year felony. however, one charge. this is a great deal for michael flynn. serious charge. there would not be this kind of deal if flynn did not have great
leverage to it be able to demonstrate to mueller. so this shows this is a historic day of damage for the white house. >> well, isn't the phrase the better the deal the bigger the fish, seth? >> absolutely. >> we don't know who the fish is. >> you are right. >> i have never heard that. >> i can tell you. >> but it's a good thing. >> the menu of fish is pretty short list because there aren't many fish that are senior officials that would constitute this list that are above the national security adviser to the president of the united states. so contrary to the statements of the white house counsel, this is absolutely historic day, very damaging to the president. >> all right. so on the president, here's my question to you, talking to jim acosta over at the white house, we know they canceled this photo op, would have been an opportunity for press to shut out questions. white house has been saying for a while now, low level investigation, going to wrap up really soon.
we know that president has a liepd this as a shcharade. michael flynn is no coffee boy, correct? >> correct. the fact that it's flynn compared to a few weeks ago it was papadopoulos. they can say that's some low level person in the transition team. but the fact it's somebody like flynn, close to inner circle, went to the mat to defend. really by his side in various capacities throughout this whole run that he made to get to the white house. then beyond serving as national security adviser. that is not somebody you can lightly dismiss, especially when you have attested to the level on which you rely on him. so the president is probably thinking very carefully about what's he's going to say. because as much as flynn's lawyers has said, otherwise there wouldn't have been a deal. so clearly must be something
that these very senior white house advisers, by definition, could be the president or his relatives themselves. so in that regard he has to be careful now about how he reacts and dis miss it would be disingenuous, i don't think anybody would believe that. so they are probably scrambling at this point to try to figure out how to respond and probably not going to be letting him do that off the cuff. although this president we'll see, we may see him tweet about something. but i'm sure his lawyers are counseling had imto be very quiet about this until they figure out what the response will be. >> and that works so well with donald trump. it's like don't tweet, don't tweet, and he immediately follows that advice always. >> i have so much more for all of you. please just stick around. we'll hold you over to a quick commercial break. more from retcapitol hill.
and will he try to distance himself from this and the white house. and how is the story actually playing in russia with the kremlin. cnn is there. we'll have a live report. also how fired james comey is reacting to this. speaking of twitter, oh, yeah, he's tweeting as well. you are watching cnn special coverage on friday. do not move.
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redefining what that meant from one era to the next. over 90 years later, we continue to build as america's 3rd largest investor in infrastructure. we don't just help power the american dream... we're part of it. back with the breaking news. we wanted to pull up a tweet for you. this is speaking of the president not tweeting today or bomb shell news with national security adviser. this is a tweet from march of this year. michael flynn should ask for
immunity in that this sa witch hunt. excuse for big election loss for dems of historic proportion. just to jog our memories back to what the president had mentioned back in march. i have my panel back with me. jeffrey tubin, let me go back to you. it raises this question special counsel is looking at the logan act as potential avenue for investigators. so each of these incidents discussed in court today revolve around actions taken by flynn for the trump transition team that interfered with the obama administration which was still in power. logan act, remind us what that is and the significance of this piece of information. >> the logan act is a law that says people who are not in the government cannot do foreign policy. and it's a crime. but one thing i would be willing to bet you is that no one is going to be prosecuted for the logan act. you know why? because no one has ever been
prosecuted under the low gan ac. this is 200 year old law. very obscure. every time the foreign policy comes up they talk about. this is bread and butter. look at what they charged so far, lying to the fbi. violating the lobbying rules in the montapaul manafort case. they are not going to be prosecuting in the logan act. >> that's why i'm asking the question. >> i get it. >> i hear you. >> but i know a lot of people talk about the logan act and count me as a skeptic. but i've been wrong. it's happened once, that's true. >> once. mr. ambassador, back to you on this. we talked about this initially when we found out about a week ago the flynn legal team wasn't going to communicate anymore with the white house. that was our first sort of thought, okay, maybe there is a
cooperation or a deal in the works. my question still is, how do investigators know -- if they know he is now admitted to lying to the fbi -- how do they know that they are getting this cooperating witness to reveal everything that he knows? tell me the truth. >> well, whenever you get a cooperateor with a guilty plea there is always a little bit of a block on the institution. you have somebody committed a crime lied or done other things. first they bring in the lawyer, rob kelner, and kelner makes an attorney profer, this is what he says. the prosecutors they have audiotapes and other corroborating evidence. so they then, flynn himself comes in, and they get to kick
the tires, look him in the eye and decide if he's being truthful or not. so they are not taking a pig in a poke here. they have done their due diligence. >> not taking a pig in a poke here. these are all new phrases. >> it's an institution. >> what is anstoougs is a guy wt he was wearing the last guy logan act in the 19th century. >> that's okay where we are going on friday. we'll roll with it and i appreciate all the bright minds here. here's my next question. seth this is to you, because interesting to note, after general flynn left the federal courthouse, he went to his son's
house, michael flynn junior, and there was some concern in recent weeks that the father here who has now pleaded guilty lying to the fbi and his son would get in trouble as well. how much do you think potentially the son factored into his cooperation? >> oh, i think the son was a major point of leverage in the negotiations with the special counsel. >> you do? >> absolutely. and remember his son was the chief of staff of a company that was an unregistered foreign agent, and that was engaged in a number of these different activities over a period of time. so the son has significant criminal exposure. that's why early on mr. flynn senior, his lawyers said a couple of months ago, he said, look my client has a story to tell. this was something that they wanted to have happen. and now it looks like that deal is closed. so when you talk about leaving the courthouse today, you'll probably see michael flynn senior with his lawyer walking back into the same courthouse in
a couple of weeks. because i believe they are going to put him in front of the grand jury and there i can assure you he will have a story to tell. so the prosecutor is going to be putting the pedal to the medal next couple of weeks and a lot of developments around the corner. >> here's where i want to end the conversation. we begin with listening to jeff tubin and referenced the meeting with comey saying you need to stop poking around, paraphrasing the president with regard to this russian investigation. now we have the fired fbi director james comey tweeting. let me show this with everyone. here's the quote, but justice rolled down like waters and righteous news like an ever flowing stream. if you look at instagram stream tan rocks, amo 5524.
>> i think he doesn't tweet a lot, but look he was pushed ot of his job and connected to the people involved in the events of today. so clearly watching all this and clearly has thoughts and feelings and expressing it in a tweet that is using somebody else's words it's how he treats when he seldom tweets. so that's kind of the narrative voice off to the side of james comey remarking on this whole proceeding. and certainly his firing is what touched off much of this. you can't take that out of the equation. had the president not gotten rid of comey there never would have been a special counsel, the special counsel would then not be looking at michael flynn and senior members of the trump transition team that he apparently was speaking with when it came to doing what he now he admits he lied about to the fbi. so comey is kind of weirdly the catalyst in that and now taking
his moment to kind of say i can see what's happening here. >> brooke, it's the biblical version of i told you so. >> yeah. >> nanny, nanny, is what that was. >> even better than that. because the thing that the president was asking comey to let go of was the investigation of the lies that flynn pled guilty to today. so boy was comey righteous in refusing the president's request. >> got the last word. it has been enlightening conversation with all of you. thank you very much for that. we'll stay on this breaking news through the next two hours. straight ahead reaction coming in from russia how kremlin is responding to the news of michael flynn guilty plea. and he is the man in the center
you'll always be up to date. you can easily add premium channels so you don't miss your favorite show. and with just a single word, find all the answers you're looking for. because getting what you need should be simple, fast, and easy. download the xfinity my account app or go online today. we are back with breaking news on this friday afternoon. president trump fired national security adviser michael flynn has apparently cut a deal. flynn pleading guilty to lying to the fbi admitting he misled the vet ors about his interaction ws the former russian ambassador kislyak. he now faces up to five years in prison. with me now tony, cnn analyst, and former deputy of state and matthew chance there for us in
moscow. cnn international correspondent. to matthew beginning with you, the news has fallen here hard and fast here in the united states. you are in russia. i know you have been chasing down a number of russians involved in this, including the man at the center of all this, kislyak, what's been the reaction where you are? >> reporter: well, there has been sort of a horrified silence in the past couple of hours as these events dramatic events unfold in the united states. we have approached the usual figures, the kremlin has not got back to me on any response to. russian foreign ministry, one of my colleagues got a response back from the foreign ministry spokesman saying what has this do with us. so at the moment they haven't formulated what they'll say about these staggering developments in the united states. because everybody looks like a
liar following this confession, essentially from michael flynn. kislyak you mentioned him there. i tracked him down in the summer. and tried to ask him what he discussed with members of the trump transition team, the presidential transition team, all the trump campaign. and he simply wouldn't answer me. take a listen. >> hi, mr. ambassador, quick question, did you discuss sanctions with any members of the trump team when you were in the united states? >> with your respect i'm here to talk to russian people. >> i understand that. you say you've got no secrets. >> i said everything i wanted prior to this. >> reporter: did you discuss opening secret channels with the kremlin with jared kushner, for instance? >> i've said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our discussions with our american people. out of respect to our people. >> reporter: well, kislyak told state media here in russia that sanctions were not one of the subjects he discussed with u.s.
counterparts. but of course we now know from this flynn confession that in fact michael flynn did speak to kislyak about him moderating the response to the u.s. sanctions that were imposed by president obama and then reporting back to the presidential transition team about that, the substance of that conversation. and so everybody over here in russia now, as i expect struggling to decide what their response will be. >> horrified silence in russia. tony, over to you, you know as deputy adviser, former job, you no he that flynn would have had all kinds of access. how worried should the white house be about what could come of this? >> well, brooke, i think she should be worried because clearly mr. flynn has struck a deal to cooperate. and that means he has something of value to mr. mueller. and the big question now of course is what is that something
of value. and i suspect we'll find that out in the coming days or weeks. and the fact that some very small group of people were in this loop about the contacts with the russians, someone who apparently instructed mr. flynn to contact him about one of the issues at hand, and others that were kept involved after he had these contacts, they should be concerned too. what we have is an exclamation point today on a long litany of lies by the administration about contacts with the russians during the campaign, and then during the transition. and the substance of those contacts. now, whether any of that amounts to a crime by anyone else, it's too soon to say. whether this goes back to collusion, we don't know. whether there is a violation of the logan act, which is your previous panel said has never been prosecuted, that's a whole other matter. but we do know at the very least and we have seen this play out over the last few weeks, time and again unfortunately starting with the president, senior administration officials have
denied contacts that turned out to have happened, and denied the substance of those contacts, which now we know were in fact true. >> can you talk to me a little bit about, we have made the point at the top of the show, i think some people forget michael flynn was someone who president obama had warned trump about about not hiring, the acting ag had warmed trump about this guy sally yates. and it raises questions about why ignore those warnings and what sort of process would one have to go through to get this kind of job. >> look, i don't know the substance of the warnings that president obama apparently made and sally yates obviously in the context of finding out that mr. flynn had lied to vice president pence also issued. but clearly the fact that mr. flynn left the obama administration early because he was compelled to do so was an indication that there was a real
problem. look, i don't know what motivated president trump. it may simply have been, to be fair, may have been loyalty. mr. flynn was with him from the start. he was a very vocal advocate for his candidacy. so maybe he felt a sense of loyalty. but it's also possible that there is something else there. we don't know. i suspect based on the investigation that mr. mueller is conducting we'll find out. >> 12 hours ago was entirely different story dominating the headlines, right, this whole reports indicate, secretary of state rex tillerson future, how long might he be there, that kind of thing, the fact that maybe he was on his way out, reporting indicates to those those were more or less smoke signals trying to send to him, we are done with you, essentially. do you think that this bombshell reporting now with regard to flynn maybe buys tillerson more time? would the white house want to avoid rocking that kind of cabinet vote? >> look, brooke, it's possible.
one of the good news in washington these days if you are in the cross hairs, if you just wait five or six or seven hours, something else will come out of the story. another set of cross hairs. so i think secretary tillerson may benefit from that. at the end of the day i don't think so. i think there is a larger dysfunction at play. and it's unfortunate. because substantially tillerson has given sound advice on whole set of issues, telling him to iran nuclear deal, to hang tight with russians with ukraine, et cetera. and time again not only hags the president not listened to his advice, he's publicly contradicted and undermine tillerson effective nils. at the same time while tillerson i think has been giving good vice on public policy, we have seen a mass exodus of senior officers going to be the detriment of the department, no the just today and tomorrow, but for entire generation. and that unfortunately is not
only on his watch, it's something he helped preip tate. >> madeline albright referring to it as an open wound. tony always a pleasure thanks so much. >> thanks. >> on capitol hill today the talk about taxes. but on the senate floor flynn's guilty plea what the chair is telling republican colleagues when it comes to any kind of public comment on today's russia investigation bombshell. remember how the economic crash
was supposed to be a wake up call for our government? people all across the country lost their savings, their pensions and their jobs. i'm tom steyer and it turned out that the system that had benefited people like me who are well off, was, in fact, stacked against everyone else. it's why i left my investment firm and resolved to use my savings for the public good. but here we are nine years later and this president and the republican congress are making a bad situation even worse. they won't tell you that their so called "tax reform" plan is really for the wealthy and big corporations, while hurting the middle class. it blows up the deficit and that means fewer investments in education, health care and job creation. it's up to all of us to stand up to this president. not just for impeachable offenses, but also to demand a country where everyone has a real chance to succeed. join us. your voice matters.
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developments on matt lauer. lindsey graham telling senior correspondent manu raju that he is urging him not to. and quoting senator not surprised but called the words disturbing. so let's bring in manu raju on the hill. but manu first to you, i saw the senate intel chair, patton your shoulder, as he was trying to get in that elevator as in i'm not talking to press. tell me about that and what other republicans are saying? >> yeah, that's right. in fact, senator richard burr intelligence committee went behind closed doors talking about the flynn news. and i am told from a source in the room that in fact he urged and suggested to his members not to comment publicly about the flynn news. now, when i tried to ask him
about that as well as "new york times" report that the president himself called richard burr and asked him to end the senate russia investigation, burr did not want to comment. take a listen. >> no comment. >> reporter: has the president called you? >> i don't have anything to say with you today, thanks for your interest. but i have no comments. >> reporter: do you feel pressure to end the investigation because of the president's concerns? >> you guys are learning to walk backwards pretty good. how is your investigation going. >> >> thanks guys. >> reporter: this is pretty significant charges. >> thanks for your interest. i don't have anything to say to you today. but appreciate it. >> tomorrow? >> thanks. >> now, brooke that's republican side. most staying client.
but democrats on the other hand are not. mark warner top democrat senate intelligence committee raising significant concerns about the flynn plea, the fact that he pled guilty and also saying it raises deeper questions about anyone else involved in some of these conversations with the russian ambassador and who else knew about it. here's what mark warner said about the reports that president trump himself called richard burr and asked him to ends the russia probe. >> did senator burr previously tell you about the conversation he had with trump? >> the focus is are we going to be able to do the investigation we will have access to you will a the witnesses. we are going to do that. i was proud of what the chairman said "new york times" in the story, that he acknowledged that he need today stay away from the
white house. but what's the real issue here is you have this repeated pattern of the president of the united states trying to stop this investigation. cost jim comey the job because he wouldn't stop the investigation. he intervened with senators. intervened with other senior intelligence officials. i think the american people and a lot of us ask why is he so desperate to have this investigation stopped particularly as we see more people either plead guilty or come forward under indictment. >> and, brooke, mark warner also said he wants to bring back to the senate intelligence committee jared kushner, the president son-in-law, michael cohen, president attorney, and also donald trump junior who has yet to meet with his committee. so still some major witnesses and people who may be knowledgeable about what happened here with michael flynn as well. brooke. >> manu, great reporting. thank you so much.
renaldo pivoting over to you and legal piece with flynn today. the fact is he lied to the fbi and admitted to it pled guilty in federal courthouse. he's gotten a pretty sweet deal. what does that infer? >> well, that tells me that mr. mueller got something very valuable in exchange. there is that old saying that nothing is in life is free. well, that's certainly the case when dealing with federal prosecutor. they don't giveaway deals that are very favorable to you unless they are getting something favorable back in exchange. and this deal is very good for michael flynn. he's pleading guilty to one count of making a false statement to a fbi agent. that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison which in itself is upper limit on the cap what the judge can do. but also the gouideline range that the prosecutors are saying would be guideline for sentence is 0 to six months which considering all we've heard over
flynn's potential liability relating to the lobbying work he was doing on behalf of turkey and failure to register as foreign agent, the fact that none of that is part of the deal and all he's looking at a recommended sentence of 0 to six months tells me mr. mueller believes he's getting substantial assistance in exchange. and that would mean testimony that would lead to the prosecution of somebody significant. somebody who mueller believes is not like a step down from michael flynn. not somebody who is an associate or assistant, but somebody who is more significant than flynn is. >> let's be more specific than that. i mean, from all these smart minds i've talked to, you know, the people on that list of senior administration officials, their last names would either have to be, you tell me, either kushner or trump. >> well, those are certainly people that come to mind when talking about who would be
important enough for bob mueller to give this sort of deal to. there may be people that we have not focused on right now. maybe sam clovis who is cochair of the campaign. i know papadopoulos had conversations with him. >> pence transition. >> right. exactly right. he was cochair of the campaign. but very significant figure as well. but what we've heard in terms of connection to flynn would be kushner. and look michael flynn somebody who the president of the united states has a very close relationship with. allegedly told the fbi director to let the investigation go against flynn because he's a good guy. so the president is himself communicated a lot with flynn. if i was inside the white house, i would be very interested in exactly what flynn knew about what the president said and did. and i would be considering, i know, they said democrats are concerned about a pardon, if i was on the flynn team i would
have already tried to reach out to get that pardon. so this suggests that none is forth coming. but for the president's team that's the sort of thing i want to talk about if flynn could potentially hurt the president. >> we've at least heard from republican friend of the president lindsey graham saying he hopes the president doesn't issue the pardon to michael flynn. but we wait to see who that bigger fish might be. renaldo, thank you so much. and of course thanks to manu up on the hill. i appreciate that. coming up next though, other breaking news on capitol hill. we have the votes. that is the word from the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. this is huge, huge news for republicans today. we'll tell you where the republican tax bill stands right now.
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senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says he now has the 50 votes he needs to pass the sweeping tax reform legislation. some hold outs like senator flake anthem say they will now pass the bill. let's go to manu raju up on the hill. this is huge, huge news for republicans. when will the vote happen? >> look, if you had an answer to that, you probably get a lot of money as analyst, brooke. here's the reality. look, i think the senate majority leader doesn't talk
about whip counts. so saying he has the votes means he has the vote. every aide confirms that. and one of the primary reasons is senator flake coming on board. aides told me senator flame was still a no on this bill. now he's a yes. i want to read two of the primary reasons why. put out a statement saying during the debate over the crrent billy focused on two objectives. first was to eliminate $85 billion expensing budget in the bill the second was to obtain affirm commitment from administration to work with me on growth oriented legislative solutions to enact a fair and permanent protections for daca recipients. having secured both of those objectives i'm pleased to announce i'll support the bill. when it came to tax bill flake, he's one he repeatedly talked about. as the senate bill was yesterday, was going to sunset after five years, now it's more a gradual phase out and lasts
longer. that was important on the tax piece. but the daca piece is very important, senator flame from arizona has been a big pro up proponent. part of the gang of 8. he will now be in the room. and senator flake is retiring, that was important component of this. the deal is now there brooke they need to actually have the votes. >> great for republicans. phil mattingly the man who talks taxes in his sleep. i'll say it before you've done a fantastic job. thanks so much. we'll be watching for the vote. let's continue on talk about this breaking news on friday afternoon. this is cnn breaking news. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. let's begin with the fact that the president is on possibly on the cusp of this landmark tax, but the first member of the trump administration has pleaded guilty in