tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 1, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
and perhaps what's actually going to be in that final piece of legislation, anderson. >> phil mattingly, thank you so much. thanks for watching "360." time to hand things over to jake tapper. the le"lead" starts now. good evening and welcome to the special prime time edition of the lead. i'm jake tapper. tonight a source close to the white house tells cnn that the president and the white house are in a bubble when they should be in a state of red alert. this after a bombshell, michael flynn, the president's fired national security adviser and influential official in both the trump white house and the trump campaign today pleaded guilty in federal court for lying to the fbi about conversations he had with russia's ambassador during the presidential transition. flynn is also cooperating with
the special counsel investigation. he is talking. he has flipped in a move widely interpreted as his only play in order to guarantee he and his son, michael flynn jr. avoid jail time for a series of questionable illegal activities. this also means this is just the beginning and likely to go only higher. not long after this news brokers sources told cnn a very senior member of president trump 2k3w4r50ir7b8g9 the person who directed flynn, that official is the president's son-in-law, kushnjared kushner. the charge against flynn is the first against someone in the trump white house for a crime that occurred while he was employed in the white house as national security adviser. flynn is now the fourth member connected to the trump campaign
to be charged as part of the special counsel investigation, and these questions loom large today. why you did flynn lie to the fbi? what was the then-national security adviser so afraid of? our own investigators finding out about why. what was anyone flynn hiding? i want to bring in my panel to discuss. a source close to the white house, michael, described the president and his team in a state of denial telling our jim acosta that they're in a bubble, they should be taking this news seriously. you were a former trump campaign adviser. what's your take on how important today's news is and thousand white house should be handling it? >> i think the white house is taking this very seriously. but it's also, by the way, nothing we didn't know for already, what, 11 months ago. "the new york times," by the way, through a felony leak told us that at a general flynn lied
to the fbi. the other shoe on that was going to drop, and we've been expecting it for quite some time. i'm really happy, in fact, it dropped now instead of march, for example, because it drags it on more and more. in my opinion since this is a crime that's on michael flynn and only michael flynn, at this time i'm ghad we're going to be able to get to the bottom of this now so we're not dragging this on a lot more. it appears mueller is moving through this resolutely. >> the administration saying this is all on flynn, but now cnn is being told if sources that anyone was directed from jared kushner, by jared kushner. so how is it just flynn if we're also being told that kushner is the one who told him to have these conversations during the transition? >> right. but what flynn pled guilty to was lying to the fbi about meetings or discussions he had with the russian ambassador,
which were camille in line with the duties of his job description in the transition. what we didn't find out here was anything at all about russian collusion. in fact, they're not talking about anything that happened before haeelection day. help me tell you something. if you put% kt mcfarland out there, she's as hoyle as anyone else. >> what might this mean for kushner or is michael right the crime here is just lying to the fbi? others speculate and they're trying to get flynn to flip for a bigger fish? >> this is the a lot of
republicans saying -- donald trump called on russia to hack into hillary's e-mail. made a big deal about wikileaks. jared kushner tried to set up a back channel. this is the a huge time hein. we have to get out of the pos and revisit what the big question is here, and it's -- the stakes are really high. did a u.s. president compromise national security interests to get assistance from a russian foreign agent to get help. if that's true, what will he be willing to do to stay president? this is where we have to hook at congress and start asking congress if this is the any attempt to impede this investigation, will they resist that. and if there is, would that in itself be grounds for impeachment? these are questions i have and thinking about huge forward to the spring when the manafort
trial begins. >> that is a question the people are asking, what might president trump do. we know he's thought about firing the attorney general jeff sessions for recusing himself from the investigation. it is possible that given this mueller news, which i'm sure the president doesn't like and given the fact that he blames -- >> even on mr. mueller. held have to jump through hoops and get a bunch of people at the squus department fired before they would be handgwilling in r to fire flynn. it is not in his interest politically politically legally to do so. northbound but the presidehan
think of the timeline. we know on january 24th, general flynn four days into his job hi lied to the fbi about contacts with russia. two days later, sally yates tells the white house flynn is compromised by the russians. and the white house doesn't do anything at first, but the next day the president has a private dinner with james comey, the head of the fbi right after comey's men and women have interviewed general flynn. he reaches out to the fbi, why? after that ding he says, i want your loyalty. then he tells mr. comey i hope you'll go easy on flynn, he's a good guy. >> this is all according to comey.
>> sworn testimony by mr. comey. he keeps coming back to it each time. and we're going to find out because general flynn is cooperating. he's not cooperating for nothing. he's gotten a sweet plea deal if you ask me. he's going to have to roll big time. >> michael, let me ask you the question which is why would flynn lie? what is worth lying to the fbi about worth to conceal? if these conversations were no big deal, which some speculated are not, the logan act, this theoretically might be, this is not a seriously prosecutable charge, why would he lie about it? >> i don't know. let me tell you straight off the bat, i'm extremely disappointed in general flynn. i gave him the benefit of the
doubt because he's a flag officer who earned have a horva battle. normal actions that happen in transitions from president to party to president to party for many, many years, it doesn't make sense to me. now he's put ostensibly, i'm glad he's going to get what he's going to get, i got to believe right now that the president is concerned. but not because he's implicated for anything. flynn anyone is his friend and doesn't want to see this happen to him. >> the president was asked in february about the conversations michael flynn had with the russian ambassador after the "washington post" reported on it.
take a look at his response [ inaudible question ] >> no, i didn't. >> for anybody who had trouble hearing that, did you tell flynn anyone to discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador and the president said no, i didn't. but jared kushner or kt mcfarland did tell him to or knew about it. >> conversations that started he's the with the trump tower meeting, adoptions, which was code for sanctions. the russians didn't like when obama imposed more sanctions for cyber warfare. here's the smoking gun for me. donald trump doesn't accept the findings from the intelligence community that the russians meddled in the election. why not? why has this been no action taken to prevent further meddling in 2018? the fact that he doesn't accept it again and again and again,
that to me is damning in itself. >> in court today, paul, prosecutors detailed calls made when i flynn in december 2016 to the senior trump transition team at mar-a-lago to discuss conversations with sergey kislyak. reince priebus, steve miller, kellyanne conway, and kt mcfarland. what does that tell you? >> mueller's going to know everything. this is the problem. i have been in the white house that was under fall investigation. here's the big thing. northbound asymmetrical information. the investigative team knows more than you do. he doesn't know what mueller has. he does now because he's cooperating. each one of these people is going to be called, and i've said this before and i'll say it get up.
don't hilie. think abo he knew when he was on the phone with chak clarke, the ambassador but also reported to be a soviet spy that the gouys were taking that. >> why did he high about the content? >> they always lie about russia. that's where all the roads go. >> everyone, stick around. coming up next the russia investigations on capitol hill. president trump reportedly asking republican senators to bring an end to one of those investigations. is that obstruction? we'll ask a key senator. i saw the change in rich when we moved into the new house.
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we're back with a double shot of breaking news for you right now. any minute now the senate could vote on the plan for historic change to this nation's tax code. tonight republicans in the senate say they do have the votes. they say thg this will approximate mean more money in the pockets of the middle class. democrats are calling it a corporate sellout. senator, thanks for joining us. i want to get your reactions to today's news about michael flynn and his plea agreement. >> thanks, jake for the chance to be on this evening. it's been a very long day as we have fought against this tax bill in the senate. this morning's development was striking that michael flynn, the
former national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi and is fully cooperating with robert mueller's ongoing investigation. it's just a few days ago that many in trump world were saying this investigation ought to be wrapping up soon. i'll remind you just a few weeks ago paul manafort, the former campaign manager for president trump was indicted on a dozen counts and campaign aide, mr. papadopoulos pled guilty as well. my hunch is that this is the latest signal that robert mueller's ongoing investigation is picking up steam and getting each other to the white house. my concern today more than ever is that we need to work in a bipartisan way in the senate to make sure that the special counsel is protected and is able to carry this investigation through to its conclusion no matter what conclusion he reaches. >> what happened to the legislation that was being offered by i believe you and the senator from north carolina to have some measure of protection from the special counsel in case
president trump tries to fire him or tries to fire the attorney general to put somebody else in there that would wield more control over the special counsel? >> jakes, we had a hearing on the judiciary committee a month ago and a competing bill that's only shilightly different. we've met to resolve the slight differences. it's my hope we will get a markup of the judiciary committee. i think it's more important than ever we move forward on these bills. >> where do you see the investigation going from here and for mueller and where do you see the senate investigation going? >> i think it's critical now that the senate intelligence committee and the senate judiciary committee continue their important work to make sure that we're doing our job of oversight of the department of justice and continuing to look into obstruction of justice.
i also the investigation will continue to get closer to the core team on the trump campaign. the documents that were released today, the plea agreement in which much general flynn pled guilty, he made a reference to a senior transition official having directed him to have contact with the russians. i keep this is the more details to be work out, more investigation to be done, and i think it's important that robert mueller be able to make that progress without interference. >> senior transition official we have reported is according to our sources, jared kushner. in addition to all this, of course, "the new york times" reporting today that president trump has been for months hobbying officials to either stop or wrap up their russia probes or trying to announce that he and his team are clear. you get this list of people who the president has pressed to varying degrees on this. you have senator richard burr,
mitch mcconnell, roy blunt, the director of national intelligence, dan coates, james comey who the president fired, mike pompeo, this is just a partial list. do you think the president doesn't know any better or is there something more sinister going on? >> jake, it certainly is part of a long pattern in which the president has engaged in really disturbing behavior, when it was many months ago now, calling the fbi director into his office to try to extract a pledge of loyalty, or reaching out to republican senators. but to try and inappropriately pressure him to wrap up the investigation. i think you might have been able to say months and months ago that the president new to this role, someone who hasn't served before might not understand the
contras of the job, but after lots of criticism and pushback for his inappropriate behavior, it's clear that he knows that he should not be trying to endear in this investigation. this is exactly why robert mueller's ongoing investigation can and should and must be looking at obstruction of justice because this sort of ongoing behavior by the president to try and pressure folks to step back or to lighten up is completely inappropriate. >> it appears republicans are going to be able to pass this bill, unlike the effort that killed obamacare. who come democrats were able to stop the previous effort, the health care effort to repeal obamacare and you weren't able to do so this time? we didn't see a ground swell of opposition to this that we saw during the health care fight. >> jake, i think that's for two simple reasons. one is that republican leadership learned some lessons from why they were unsuccessful
in repealing the affordable care act. and they have rushed this bill through. we still don't have a final version of this bill. this were markups being made on it by hand just in the last couple of hours. so the time from introduction to markup to final vote on the floor of the senate is very tight. so there wasn't a lot of opportunity to mobilize groups nationally. i'll also suggest that taxes and tax policy are very complex. the language that we're using is all about jct scores and cbo scores and pass-throughs and expatriot or repatriation of profits. it is harder for folks, i think, to grasp. in the health care conversation, it was about what americans currently have that might be taken away from them. this is mostly discussion about you might get a tax break and it might be too big for some other guy but maybe it's good for you. in the end the consequences of
this enormous bill will certainly be adding a $1.5 trillion in america's debt and that results in things being taken away, martial from middle class americans because there will be cuts to medicare and medicaid if this plays out the way it's expected to. there are temporary middle class tax cuts, but permanent and big corporate tax cuts. this isn't is balance i think we should have pursued. >> chris coons of delaware. a source saying the president expects to be exonerated soon, but what about everyone around him? who might be the next domino to fall? stay with us. northbound
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we that's why at xfinityic. we've been working hard to simplify your experiences with us. now with instant text and email updates 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. welcome back to the special edition of the le"the lead". will michael flynn help the
mueller investigation take others down with him as he cooperates with the special counsel? let's bring in the team that's been digging into this story. pamela brown, jim sciutto, evan perez, and gloria borger. >> court documents reveal that robert mueller's team are using a logan act as a stepping-stone to perhaps a broader investigation here, the hawaii means you can't interfere with a sitting president's foreign policy conduct. and so it does raise the question of whether they may use that as part of the broader investigation and what will happen to the other people they're looking at. we know this is the a obstruction of justice probe that's ongoing, and then we learned today that jared kushner was one of the people who talked to flynn and, according to the court documents, told him to call russia and other countries about the israeli settlement
u.n. security council resolution. flynn anyone the cooperating and providing information to special counsel. >> jim, let me ask you because as pam had a just referenced, jared kushner is one of the sources, one of the people, senior officials named as directing mike flynn what to say and who to call. kt mcfarland, another senior official also having conversations with anyoflynn ab reaching out to the russians. the charge is lying to the fbi, not a charge of the logan act or interfering with president obama's foreign policy. might kt mcfarland and jared kushner find themselves in trouble or is the question whether they tell the truth to the fbi? >> it's trouble for the administration because the administration defense we saw in a statement today is that flynn was a liar, everybody knew he was a hire, acting on his own. the information contained in the
statement of defense behighs that defense because flynn was not only keeping members of the small trump transition team aware of his conversations, that's kt mcfarland, it's right there in the statement. he called them multiple times. but also he was being directed by a very senior member of that team which we reported earlier was jared kushner. the idea anyone was freelancing, it's there in the statement of offense. he was keeping them informed and following directions from them. so this undermines the argument that the white house, or the transition had no knowledge of this. the trump campaign team and transition team was not very big. this weren't many layers in that team. so if jared kushner knew and kt mcfarland knew and michael flynn knew, what are the chances that the president was kept entirely in the dark about these
conversations. >> ghopublicly the white house putting on this face. this all has to do with michael flynn, people in washington, d.c., high, this is not that new, saying michael flynn was an obama administration official o admitting the part about obama firing him. how rattled is president trump's inner circle. >> rattled. i spoke with someone today who was called by thee people in the trump inner circle who said that were worried and then were asking how worried should we be? what they're all doing right now since anyone is now somebody who reports to mueller for all intents and purposes, they're all wondering what did i say to flynn, what's my liability here, what did we as you can see, what did i do wrong, what does he know? and i am sure, by the way, that the president's probably asking himself the same questions.
when you talk to people who are talking about the president, one said he's calm, not anxious, went to his christmas party today for the media, et cetera, and his head was not exploding. but i guarantee you over the weekend as the president makes phone calls and starts talking to his friends and outside advisers he's going to get much more anxious about flynn. and so you saw in their statement today, we wish flynn well, we're concerned for him and his family. we don't want to alienate flynn. and the president quite frankly liked the guy very much and wanted to keep him. >> evan, he's been very focused, the president, behind the scenes in trying to get people to drop the investigation into flynn. >> right. not only with james comey but according to "the new york times," talking to gop members on the hill.
looking at what gloria was just talking about, the anxiety, one of the things that i think that he should be anxious about is reading this document, these three pages, it's clear robert mueller has set forth a version of events that occurred in that period in december that he believes to be the truth. based on what we heard from people around the white house, they also have presented their version of the truth which is that jared kushner did not direct flynn. and so the question is when jared kushner testified or gave an interview to the special counsel last month in november, did he say he did not direct flynn because if he did that is in contradiction to the papers. >> we reported a couple days ago mueller's team sat down with jared kushner, and finding out what we know today that he was making a role in the december
22nd call, that mueller's team also wanted to get kushner's version of events before this information came out today. >> they knew that when they brought him in. >> exactly. they wanted to see what he would say. >> we should underline the special counsel/fbi version of what happened is also partially based on intercepts, transcripts of the conversations. >> the special counsel left a lot of years on the table here. one count of lying for four cases of lying, right? up to five years, but he's brought that down. based on flynn's cooperation. there are other misleading statements by michael flynn including regarding his foreign agent filing, whatever. each lie to the fbi carries up to five years' penalty. as it stands now he's charged with one count. robert mueller had the goods to give many more counts. we know he was not fully forthcoming on his security clearance form. there are other things he could
have had the goods to. it shows you the value of the kind of cooperation that flynn is offering here based on the number of years that mueller is not thrown on him right from the start. to take those years off the table, flynn would have to be offering something significant. >> what does mueller know that he's not saying and we don't know from these documents. >> and what is flynn giving up? who has he given up. >> and why was it worth it to mueller. >> they would have to tell him exactly what they're prepared to have flynn say. >> what special counsels do is they look for the biggest pelt they can get, the biggest trophy they can mount on their wall. flynn would theoretically be a huge one, right? but he's not taking it. >> and so the question we all
are asking, obviously, is, you know, did the president know and what did he know it? during iran-contra, reagan was disengaged, didn't know. you cannot make that case with donald trump. donald trump, particularly during this period, knew a lot. >> thanks all for the great reporting. join pam had a and jim later for a cnn special report, the russia investigation. that's coming up tonight at 11:00 p.m. eastern. stay with us. coming up next, insight on the investigation from someone who has worked with robert mueller. former chief of staff when he was fbi director. stay with us. paying less for my medicare? i'm open to that. lower premiums? extra benefits?
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i am a first responder tor and i'emergencies 24 hours a day,. everyday of the year. my children and my family are on my mind when i'm working all the time. my neighbors are here, my friends and family live here, so it's important for me to respond as quickly as possible and get the power back on. it's an amazing feeling turning those lights back on. be informed about outages in your area. sign up for outage alerts at pge.com/outagealerts. together, we're building a better california. we're back with more breaking news coverage of anyone flynn's plea deal with special counsel robert mueller. let's get to cnn national
security analyst. she was also a former assistant to president obama for homeland security and counterterrorism. that's, thanks for being here. let me start with one of the claims from the white house today, specifically that the obama white house authorized anyone flynn to have these conversations with the russian ambassador, that we know now are completely contrary to obama foreign policy, principles and goals. is that true? >> no, and i tell you, makes no sense. and it goes against the long-standing principle of having one president at a time. so you don't have an incoming transition official trying to undermine the existing and sitting president's foreign policy. so it defies logic to think the obama administration would ask anyone to undermine the punitive actions that at the time the obama administration was trying to levee against the russian
government. >> specifically these documents because the special counsel say that anyone was reaching out to the russian ambassador to tell him don't overreact to the obama administration's sanctions for interfering in the 2016 election, don't overreact because we're coming in. and then also reaching out as directed by jared kushner, we're told, to the russian ambassador to try to get him to either delay or vote against a u.n. security council resolution that the obama administration abstained from having to do with punishing or penalizing or condemning israel for its settlements. whether or not you agree with the individual policies, does that bother you? >> look, it is contrary to hong-standing principles, that you have one president at a time. this is the a hawaii in the books that says private
citizens, which transition officials would still be, don't undertake negotiates as private citizen with foreign governments. >> the logan act? >> exactly. you don't want to send mixed signals, particularly hostile governments like russia. >> let me turn o your previous job working with robert mueller when he was fbi director, working with, ian, wei andrew w. people hook at a big fish like michael flynn and they think it's only one charge for lying to the fbi, that's not a big deal. what's your insight to that? what might this be? >> that's right. i'm going off the public documents that were filed today.
what's going on here is you've got an individual who's near or almost to the top of the type of pyramid that prosecutors work their way up when they're looking at a complex investigation like this one is. prosecutors also have a phrase which is, you don't cooperate people down. you only go up. here you've got flynn who is clearly cooperating with the special counsel, and the other thing that prosecutors do is they will only take this type of plea and make this type of cooperation deal if they are very confident that this individual, the defendant, can actually offer something quite substantial up the chain. >> because if not, they would just throw the book at him? >> that's exactly right. and here you've got insight from somebody who is a critical figure in the campaign, in the transition, and in the beginning days of the white house of the trump administration. so he can provide insight to a
whole host of discussions and events going from the campaign to the early days of the white house, and he can be that tutor and that guide for the prosecutors as they're working their way up the pyramid. >> i talked to a republican former prosecutor earlier today. and this person told me that he thinks this plea deal means in exchange for flynn's son not being charged and for him not being charged with more serious crimes, flynn is expected to help mueller with even bigger fish. and he said if i were kushner or bannon, i wouldn't be able to sleep tonight. >> well, i think it's a fair statement. the papers filed today are quite narrow and they're quite limited, but they give us a few clues to what mueller and his team were looking at. there's references to senior transition officials and very senior transition officials that flynn had discussions with as he was conducting these calls with ambassador kislyak.
and that is going to help the prosecutors fomake their next s of moves. >> lisa monaco, thank you so much. james clapper will join me next and it says rule of law prevails in this country now. he's assured by what happened today. stay with us. 's ok to crave. and with panera catering, there's more to go around. panera. food as it should be. ♪ ♪
we that's why at xfinityic. we've been working hard to simplify your experiences with us. now with instant text and email updates 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're back with the breaking news. the president's former national security adviser michael flynn pleading guilty to lying to the fbi saying he's cooperating with the russian investigation. the trump white house responded by saying "thanks, obama," claiming michael flynn had the
obama administration's blessing. earlier, i spoke to james clapper. this was his response. >> that is absurd. there was great concern at the time, not with just this particular contact, but with the violation of the principle that's normally been followed of one president, one administration at a time. and that was what gave rise, because of all these contacts, that mike was having and others in the transition with the russians and other foreign enemies, as what was this all about? so to say that we blessed it or acquiesced in it is a stretch. what is is your reaction to today's news that flynn has pleaded guilty, specifically to lying to the fbi about conversations he was having with the russian ambassador? >> well, it's dramatic, but not surprising. it was kind of my take.
it is, in a sense with respect kind of a tragedy, given the service, long and distinguished service that he rendered in the army, over 30 years. lots of deployed time in iraq and afghanistan. you have to acknowledge that. i think the overall arching implication for me, the first thing that came to mind is that, at least right now the rule of law does prevail in this country. that to me is very important. and i do think the larger interest here is served is to try to understand exactly what was going on with the transition campaign and the russians. we need to get to the bottom of what today remains still a mystery to me is this singular indifference is this threat posed by russia. >> does today's news make you more suspicious of collusion? what do you think? >> well, it does circumstantially, but again, we haven't seen any smoking gun
evidence of that. now, if anyone would know about that, it would be mike flynn. so hopefully, given the terms of his plea bargain, his agreement, that the truth on this will come out. because to me, what's even more important whether or not there was collusion, which is hugely important, is the threat posed by the russians, and the administration's singular indifference to that threat. that to me is what -- in terms of long-term safety for the country is that. >> general james clapper, thank you so much. coming up next, we'll take a look at how deep flynn's ties to russia might run. stay with us. t says i do, all right says i dare. all right is how you feel... because all right flows here. only in jamaica. the home of all right.
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he spent decades fighting to give families a second chance. but to help others, they first had to protect themselves. i have afib. even for a nurse, it's complicated... and it puts me at higher risk of stroke. that would be devastating. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. once i got the facts, my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®... to help keep me protected. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner... ...significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. it has similar effectiveness to warfarin. xarelto® works differently. warfarin interferes with at least 6 blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective, targeting just one critical factor interacting with less of your body's natural blood-clotting function. for afib patients well-managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® compares in reducing the risk of stroke. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor, as this may increase risk of stroke. while taking, you may bruise more easily, or take longer for bleeding to stop. it may increase your risk of bleeding if you take certain medicines. xarelto® can cause serious, and in rare cases, fatal bleeding.
get help right away for unexpected bleeding, unusual bruising, or tingling. if you've had spinal anesthesia, watch for back pain or any nerve or muscle-related signs or symptoms. do not take xarelto® if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. tell your doctor before all planned medical or dental procedures... ...and before starting xarelto®-about any conditions, such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. it's important to learn all you can... ...to help protect yourself from a stroke. talk to your doctor about xarelto®. there's more to know™. we're back with the breaking news in the russia investigation. we know lieutenant general michael flynn has flipped and is giving up what he knows to the special counsel robert mueller. but well before flynn's firing by president trump in february, there were questions about how close flynn was with russian officials. let's bring in tom foreman. help untangle how deep these connections go. >> we know how much he's tied to president trump, their relationship goes back almost two years now, their working relationship. but this is the part the white house is concerned about here.
and here's some of the things we know. we know that michael flynn spoke to an airline group in russia at one point. he was paid more than $11,000 for that, something he didn't explain early on in the process when he should have. we also know that he got another payment of more than $11,000 for an engagement with this russian cyber security firm, an american subsidiary of that. we know that he met with serge kislyak, the russian ambassador to the united states, and he was in regular communication with him during the communication, even on the very day that barack obama was putting sanctions against russia. and we also know that he attended a gala dinner for r.t., that russian television network, which -- at which he was paid more than $30,000 for participating. and by the way, where he sat at the same table with vladamir putin. >> could what extent he said they are contact with russians but not necessarily meaningful
ones with the russian government in terms of the probe? >> that gets trickier, because kislyak, look, he works directly for the ministry of foreign affairs, tied to the cekremlin. those are linked to vladamir putin himself. the airline up here, we know did business with the russian government over the years, and even though this cyber security lab says it has nothing to do with the government, there are intelligence agents who told the senate they would not be comfortable with government -- this becomes harder to explain he had nothing to do with the russian government. >> tom foreman, thank you so much. join me this sunday for what this means for the trump administration. also, coverage of the tax bill that the republicans are getting on. my guest will be senator mark
warner. also, republican senator tim scott of south carolina. that's sunday at 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern. that's it for this special edition of "the lead." "cnn tonight with don lemon" is next. thanks for watching. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump has told you over and over and over again that nobody in his campaign had anything to do with russia. and we learned today that's simply not true. michael flynn, former national security adviser and a key member of the trump campaign, pleading guilty to lying to the fbi about his conversations with russia's then ambassador to the united states. you can't call him peripheral. you can't call him a coffee boy. you can't even say he was only part of the administration for a short time. even though white house lawyer ty cobb said exactly that today, to no