tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 14, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
tom price's seats is one of four seats that will open up or are open because they're nominated to work in the white house. here's what is being said "we all have to acknowledge that those seats are held by republicans and they've been held by republicans for quite some time so, et, what are you going to do? things are moving. races are in motion. that district, tom price's district, trump won it by one and a half points. democratic party isn't going to contest that? really? democrats, if you're not moving forward at this point, you are losing ground. >> now it's time for "the last word." joy reid sitting in tonight. >> it's almost like you had an opposition party that knew how to do politics. i think the democratic party is going to find their base is their own opposition party. >> they're being driven, literally drged by their voters to do the right thing.
and they're going, oh, you want us to fight? we'll get on that. >> thank you, rachel. i am joy reid in for lawrence o'donnell. breaking news tonight that trump campaign official had repeated contact with russian officials. one of the reporters that broke that story joins me. donald trump had two weeks warning about michael flynn and the fact that he could have been compromised by russia. but donald trump was also warned by michael flynn last years, warned that he was not suited for the job and it was donald trump who ignored those warnings. so who should take the blame for the crisis in the white house? >> general flynn's resignation is not the end of the story. >> this is a fight for the soul of our democracy. >> the president was warned that flynn might be run valuable to blackmail by the russians. >> how can you not tell the vice president for two weeks?
>> it looks like he was deliberately kept in the dark. >> i have a hundred more questions. >> i'd like to know did he just do this as a rogue general flynn? >> was trump in cahoots with flynn? >> the whole environment is one of dysfunction in the trump administration. >> general flynn continued in that position and was in the presidential daily briefings. >> that makes no sense. >> trump spent the whole campaign freaking out that hillary used a private e-mail server. >> damn right. >> now he's holding national security meetings over shrimp cocktails surrounded by camera phones. >> breaking news tonight the "new york times" is reporting that, quote, phone records and intercepted calls show that members of donald j. trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other trump associates had
repeated contact with senior russian officials in the year before the election according to four american officials. it's already been reported that some trump campaign aides had contact with russian officials during the election. what's new about the report is they are saying trump aides had contact with russian intelligence officials during the election. the american officials quoted said one of the advisers picked up on intercepted calls was paul mann manafort. this comes nearly 24 hours after trump's national security adviser, michael flynn, resigned. but this morning donald trump didn't seem too concerned about the chaos and confusion surrounding michael flynn's
resignation tweeted this complaintinstead. "the real story here is why are there so many leaks coming out of washington in will these leaks be happening as i deal on north korea?" >> before damaging news is leaked, damaging events have to actually occur, and even a cursory examination about the leaks which trump is complaining reveals the real problem is the leaking, it donald trump. it should have been obvious long before trump won the presidency that general flynn was not the choice for national security
adviser. perhaps more troubling given recent developments, general flynn has repeatedly taken a sympathetic line toward russia. in december of 2015, he spoke at a gala in moscow for russia's state-sponsored propaganda arm "russia today." he was photographed sitting at putin's table and participated in giving him a standing ovation. and he became a leading activist and conspiracy theorist on the campaign. >> lock her up. lock her up. you guys are good. you're damn right! there's nothing wrong with that! >> nearly all of this information was public at the time of his nomination and none that dissuade him from hiring him as national security adviser. but the president was right in one sense, the real story isn't
general flynn, but it isn't government leaks either. the real story is the attempted coverup by the trump white house about general flynn and how complicit donald trump was in the underlying act. now, the white house would have you believe that when flynn discussed easing u.s. sanctions against russia with the russian ambassador, he was just a rogue operator who went freelance and then lied to the vice president. there are likely only two options here, one, donald trump either authorized trump to make those calls to the russian ambassador or, two, donald trump let a rogue, potentially compromised russian asset into the national security inner sai sanctum of the united states. mark, thank you for being here. what was remarkable to me in reading the story was just recalling the fact you have the former campaign chairman of the trump administration -- trump campaign, paul manafort, you have carter page, who is believed to have changed actual
rnc policy concerning russia and crimea during the campaign and michael flynn, national security all under fbi investigation. remarkable. tell us what else is remarkable anw in your story? >> well, what we've focused on in the story was these contacts that went on apparently during the past year between trump campaign aides and associates of donald trump and russian intelligence officials, american intelligence, law enforcement officials have identified people in russian intelligence. now, we have to be careful about what we know and we don't know, and we say that these contacts happened, there were phone logs and intercepted communications between the aides and people that the americans have identified as russian intelligence. but it does just show that the fbi investigation is still
ongoing. they are still trying to get information about exactly what these ties are all about and whether this was business, whether this was campaign business. that we still don't know. but i think that the connections, at least the contacts with russian intelligence is significant. >> well, one of the things that was pretty stored in a pretty extraordinary story is that paul manafort's reaction to your reporting was to say it absurd, he has no idea what you're referring to, he's never knowingly spoken to russian intelligence officers. and then he said it not like these people wear badges that say "i'm a russian intelligence officer." this is a guy who has done business in ukraine and russian aficionados in ukraine for years. >> it is hard to know. he's a person who knows the region very well. at the same time, as we say in our story, that the intelligence services in those countries are deeply embedded in the society.
sometimes you may or may not know who's in fact russian intelligence. some, he is right, don't actually wear badges or uniforms. however, i think the amount of the contacts that was going on during this period of time was enough to raise some alarms to think this did bear more investigation. so manafort is the only person in the story who we name as having been on these intercepted communications, but as you pointed out, this is part of a broader investigation going on that has included other individuals, page, stone, flynn, that is ongoing.
>>. thank you all for being here. >> we are 25 days into a new white house and the trump administration is under fbi investigation. just stop and think about that for a second. it is astonishing. 25 days in. and this began over the summer, of course. and now potentially it can implicate the now former nsa with being in contact with the russian intelligence or, you know, possibly other members of trump's team in contact with russian intelligence. that's amazing. >> and, david korn, because i've been talking to you about the trump campaign's affinity for russia for months and as the campaign was ongoing, from your view, explain to people who feel
they've been inundated what is different today? >> the key thing is gets to i think what the big issue is. we can talk about michael flynn's conversations with the russian ambassador during the transition period and whether they were improper, whether he lied to them. it's a big deal, it is a legitimate scandal, but to me the bigger possible scandal is the notion that trump associates were talking to the putin regime at the same time the putin regime was trying to subvert the u.s. election in order to help trump. now, we learned just a few days ago in the "washington post" piece that the conversations that flynn was having with the russian ambassador, sergei kislyak during the campaign.
now, what were they talking about? were they sending signals? tonight's story with the "new york times" shows there were a greater range of contacts between pop eople in trump's ca and the us russians. i have to say, and i hate to blow my own horn, that i reported them first in october. the main point was not the salacious stuff. it was that the trump team was communicating with russian officials during the campaign and there was an exchange of information, some degree of collusion. tonight we see more evidence of that. the trump people work -- putin is undermining american democracy. >> and in the "new york times" story, as part of the inquiry, the fbi is ting to assess the credibility. so that is still be run down. elistoples, meanwhile, tried to
turn the story into one of a rogue operator than general flynn who went off on his own. this is sean spicer trying to sort of make the white house account align with reality today at the press briefing. >> immediately after the department of justice notified the white house counsel of situation, the white house counsel briefed the president and a small group of senior advisers. the white house counsel reviewed and determined that there is not a legal issue but rather a trust issue. >> eli, they're trying to make it sound as if even though they were warned by the then acting attorney general, by intelligence officials week ago about flynn, that somehow a breakdown in trust happened in what, the last 24 hours? it doesn't really make a lot of sense. >> it only makes sense when you figure out what else happened in the last 24 hours and that was extensive reporting laying bare what they knew and that they knew it. if not for the reporting and the
leaks the trump administration is maligning, the general would sill be in this position in the nsa. they can turn this around and complain about the leaks, say this is some sort of conspiracy from people left over from the obama administrations running these agencies, but you can just look at donald trump's poll numbers and all of the things coming out now and know that is not going to pass muster with the public. >> and you had roger stone come out and defend and launch another story line, which is this is simply palace intrigue between the priebus pen swing a and the base of the trump world. he tweeted "reince's purge of flynn a "pearl harbor" for
trump. >> althouthough flynn and banno seemed on the same page, at the end it was all hands against flynn. it was not exactly a conspiracy of the establishment. >> one hand that was not against flynn were the lawmakers who were out defending michael flynn today. russian lawmakers rushed to his defense saying he was pushed out no because of his mistake but because of the unfolding campaign of aggression, one of the newspapers saying paranoia and a witch hunt. what do you have make of that? >> i don't think we can take any of that seriously. we have a long record now of trump talking positively about putin and russia. you have the expect call of sean spicer coming out at the press briefing saying no one's been tougher than donald trump. that's like a hallucinogenic of
alternative facts. russia has not played straight except after the election, the deputy prime minister said of course we had contacts, of corse we had contacts with the trump campaign. trump spokeswoman said no true, trump has said no true, pence said no true. they've all been proven false. >> the fbi has been much maligned. you had democrats screaming bloody murder that they came out and dropped that bomb on the election 11 days before and hillary clinton. and robbie mook the campaign manager for hillary clinton coming out today saying they would like them to explain why they isn't a letter about hillary clinton but not about this. there was explosive information that wasn't coming out. is it possible it was this? >> and the fbi director will have to answer for this. that's a matter for history. right now we have a new administration and the administration is losing
credibility faster than we can even keep up with. they've lied about everything from crowd sizes, you name it down the list. when they're changing their story on an hourly basis, it's hard to take anything at face values. and the republican who tried to look the other way at controversies coming out of the white house, there is going to be mounting pressure to perhaps have an independent investigation of the white house and their ties to russia. you already hear republican joining democrats in congress saying they may need to pursue an investigation. more conflicting statements from the white house is just going to guarantee it's going to go that route. >> thank you, guys. >> thank you. >> coming up, how long can
republicans slow down investigations of donald trump? (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪ ♪ i can't wait for her to have that college experience that i had. the classes, the friends, the independence. and since we planned for it, that student debt is the one experience, i'm glad she'll miss when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant.
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rewarded mightily by our press. let's see if that happens. that will be next. >> we are continuing to follow the breaking news tonight from the "new york times" that members of donald trump's presidential campaign had repeated contact with russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. despite all of this interaction, u.s. officials tell the times that so far there's no evidence that the trump team worked with russia to influence the election. joining me now is maryland democrat congressman elijah cummings, ranking member on the house committee on oversight and government reform. i want to start by getting your reaction to the breaking news about these apparent contacts between the trump campaign at the time and russian intelligence officials. >> i must tell you, joy, i wasn't completely surprised. i've been pushing very hard for more information about what may have been going on with campaign officials in the trump campaign and the russians literally for months. and have not been able to get
our chairman, mr. chaffetz, to co c cooperate with me. it doesn't surprise me but it does concern me. >> should there be an independent investigation into the administration's ties to russia? >> i think that has taken care of itself. >> reporter: is your committee going to take any action on this? >> it really is the purview of the intel committee. they are the only ones that can look at that type of information. particularly when you're talking about interactions with a nation state like that. >> this is the same jason chaffetz who seemed ready to hound hillary clinton to
impeachment even about her e-mail server and -- >> he doesn't want to touch donald trump. one thing he is failing to say, joy, is something i have asked him to do and that is to join congressman swalwell with regard to a bill that we have that would create an independent commission, no senators, no members of the house, but an independent 9/11-type commission to have findings to research this issue with regard to russia and our elections, to come up with findings and then present recommendations to make sure it doesn't happen again. that would be an independent equal number of democrats, equal number of republicans and it would have subpoena power. that's the only way you're going to get to this. by doing it through the committee system, joy, what you end up with is a benghazi-type commission and then you get caught up in the politics. this is too important to get caught up in politics.
>> congressman chaffetz -- let's listen to what senator noonan said. >> what we know is that general flynn didn't break the law to the russia ambassador. in fact, who did break is law is whoever recorded this. >> we could have the house intelligence committee more interested in investigating the leaks than investigating potential contacts with russian intelligence services. >> joy, that's not unusual. when they get caught in a situation, they switch the subject. what nunez did not tell you, he was a part of the trump transition team. so i don't know that we would get a fair hearing out of the intelligence committee. one of my most respected colleagues, congressman schiff, he is the ranking member and i
know he'll do his best, but even he will tell you that maybe we can have a dual effort. they can do their intelligence work within the congress but you need to have this independent commission. let me tell you something, joy, i think there's more that's going to come out and the question becomes what did the president know and when did he know it, whether he went along with flynn having these contacts and then this new york city story tonight just shows us that there is a connection between and was a connection between the campaign and the russians. and all americans should be upset about this. >> absolutely. have you in your time in politics and in public life, sir, ever heard of a situation where an incoming national security adviser or any official of an incoming administration went on their own without permission from the principal to have contact with foreign leaders and essentially make policy? >> never. and i can tell you when i think about a man like donald trump,
who tweets tweets at 4:00 in the morning, who is all over the top of the news. as a matter of fact, i've actually talked to him for the "morning joe" show in the mornings, a man like that, you would think that he would have all the information, particularly something of this significance, he would be aware of all of it. and if he didn't have it, that is, if he didn't know that flynn was talking to the russian ambassador, you have to wonder what kind of shop he's running. >> i guess the big question a lot of americans are also asking is do you have any sense of what the breaking point is for republicans? is there some limit? this is extraordinary. we're talking about at least three members of the trump campaign, including the campaign chairman, being under investigation by the fbi and the national security adviser being under fbi investigation. have you detected any limit that would cause your colleagues on the other side of aisle to be willing to investigate this president? >> not yet but i think we're slowly getting ther today, joy, i had several
members of the republican party for the first time to come to me to tell me that they were looking at getting on this independent bill, this bill to have the independent commission. and i was shocked about that. so i think they're slowly getting there. because the evidence is becoming overwhelming that something is awfully wrong with this picture. joy, this is an instance where we have to put country above party, and this is a fight for our democracy. and it's bigger than trump, bigger than this generation, this is about generations yet unborn. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> coming up next, the trump campaign reportedly had contact with russian intelligence. north korea fired off a new missile and donald trump's office is in complete and utter disarray. that's next.
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i alone can fix it. >> donald trump may think that, but this is what republican senator john mccain said today about trump. >> i think there is significant dysfunction in the national security apparatus of the trump administration. when you see that you don't know who's in charge, this flynn situation, the whole environment is one of dysfunction in the trump administration. >> general tony thomas,
meanwhile, head of the military special operation command echoed that sentiment today saying this. "our government continues to be at unbelievable turmoil because we're a nation at war. as a commander, i'm concerned our government be as stable as possible." >> all that was before tonight as news that people inside the trump campaign had contact with russian intelligence. so thank you to both of you. nada, i'll start with you on this. that is the sort of change in the story now is that we're finding out the contacts with not just with russian government officials but russian intelligence. one clip in the "new york times" story, "the intercepts alarmed american intelligence and law
enforcement agencies in part because the amount of contact that was occurring while mr. trump was speaking glowingly about russian president vladimir putin." does it seeming to you that donald trump himself is a subject of this probe? >> i think it's still to be determined. i think that's what an independent investigation would actually help us with, which i think i agree with your previous guest that this is not to be left to the political theater. this is something that we actually need to have a non-partisan effort for it. >> malcolm, one little clip from the "new york times" story said the national security agency which monitors the foreign intelligence services captured the communication as part of routine operations. how could it be possible that michael flynn, former head of
dia, would not know his conversations with the russian ambassador were being monitored? >> i think with regard to the telephone call with ambassador kislyak, it was a matter of arrogance. when they took control of the white house throh the transition, they didn't feel that anyone was going to do anything about their decision making capacity. he just made these calls and thought he was cutting the deals that he was cutting. but stepping back to the "new york times" article really quickly here because as you know, i predicted all of this was going to happen seven months ago and that this is what nsa and the fbi were doing all of this time. and it comes out to play because i know i worked at nsa and, you know, this is not just our effort. we have allied intelligence agencies that give us cues and teps as to criminality or potential problems that are going on with person citizens and that manifested itself as
early as last august and september. this is very, very serious stuff. the pfizer ward authorized the nsa to turn on the full collection power of the united states and there is nothing that will escape that. these people need to start getting lawyers and cutting deals because when we have both sides of the conversation, you are going to get caught. >> and, nada, dan rather, legendary journalist dan rather put on his facebook that watergate was the biggest political crisis until maybe now. would they be doing that if they didn't think there was some sort of a constitutional crisis or a grave national security crisis? >> i think we can't say where the leaks are coming from, if they're coming from the intelligence community or from
the white house or where. at this point it's a little premature to be able to say this is national security intelligence officials actually doing the leaks. i would also say that at this point i think president trump should put o a statement and clarify some of the issues in addition to the fbi. if there is an active investigation going on, i think that's where an independent commission can come in and help clarify some of this for american public. >> the democrats are pushing for that now. we just heard congressman cummings say there may be a few republicans getting on board. >> right now off the coast, east coast of the united states, cbs and fox news reporting there is a ship off the coast of delaware, well in international water, it's expected to continue north until it gets to the sub base at new london, connecticut and head south toward cuba, a russian spy ship apparently patrolling off the east coast.
alarming? >> i wouldn't say it's alarming. russian intelligence collection vessels are often off the coast of the united states. they often go to places look the ballistic missile submarine bases down in kings bay, georgia and go all the way up to groton, connecticut. however, there's something that should be known here. the deployment of the vessel happens to coincide with a period of time right after u.s. intelligence kicked out 35 signals intelligence collectors from the united states last december, which involved general flynn's phone call. there appears that the russians either advertently or inadvertently may have a collections gap that they felt was krcritical and collect it o the united states coast or the russians may be just makinging ploy to make it appear that way.
moscow was making their presence known and perhaps even getting information that they lost. >> and is there a concern, a legitimate concern, nada, that during the time that he was national security adviser, if general flynn was a compromised person, is there a reason to be concerned about the information he was given? he had access and was privy to potentially top secret national security information. >> well, i mean, until we know what his actual nature of the relationship is, i'm hoping that he continues to be the true intelligence professional that he used to be and that he wouldn't put himself in that type of situation, even inadvertently to hand over any kind of information, just to be able to secure any kind of information and assure the russians. >> that is what most americans are hoping. coming up next, new reports say the republicans have the obamacare appeal but replace, that continues to elude them. what if we could stop the next
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the republicans have left the republican gop repeal effort on life support according to political. senator alexander "it's hard to see how this gets done is -- >> repeal of obamacare is going to be very soon, right? >> yes. >> meanwhile the freedom caucus is demanding an immediate repeal of the law even if there is no replacement ready. >> you think about the context we're in now. there are people talking about keeping some of the taxes, talk of repairing the bill, not repealing and replacing, repairing, implying that there's something worth fixing, something work keeping. in that frame week, we said
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president obama's desk -- >> they would never have to deal with the terror it caused. god bless the freedom caulk ycu they're doing what they do but they're going to cause so much chaos. >> katherine, if they could go ahead and repeal the law, democrats aren't going to give them the eight votes, say they repealed the taxes and the s sub -- subsidies. >> 20 million people have gotten insurance since the affordable care act was passed. those people are happy to be insured for the most part. and, you know, one could imagine that they might exact their revenge at the ballot box. there are some interesting parallels here with these town halls we've seen recently, right? in 2010 there were a lot of angry voters who came out and said keep your government hands offer my medicare, don't you dare mess with the health care
system, and i think a lot of democrats to their peril dismissed all of that and said it's all astroturf, it's not real, none of these people will show up to vote. you're seeing the same dismissals that are very dangerous. >> let's listen to speaker of the house ryan attempt to address this. >> i fully recognize and respect the strong feelings that people have about this issue. we should have be passionate about this issue. it is about people's lives. this affects every person and every family in america. that is why we are taking a step-by-step approach, so people can see the changes that we are making so they can see how they will help. >> maybe i'm a cynic. are they taking a step-by-step approach so people can see that or because they don't have any other plan? >> i don't know what they're doing. you go to their web site -- they
can't take a step-by-step approach. it involves a lot of steps. if they pull away the tax credits, the subsidies, expanding medicaid -- >> the mandate. >> the mandate. it crashes. the three-legged stool falls apart. i don't know what they're going to do step by step with transparency. you saw trump needle him but trump as been an obstacle, too. when he came out early on, don't repeal without replace or this becomes our problem. it's like, duh, the light bulb went off. this becomes trump care and it could become a real disaster. he gives them mixed messages, go for it, be cautious. >> and then you have the
governor of new hampshire suddenly decide he likes the medicaid expansion more than he thought he did. >> there's no doubt it's been helpful. it has a price tag of somewhere between $400 -- >> when people were screaming about obamacare, as soon as there was no barack obama, the people would have no problem. >> done the line almost to a single provision, most of the core things that the law actually does are quite popular. they're somewhere like popular and beloved by the american people. things like letting your children stay on your health care plan until they're 26, not being able deny people with
preexiikxisting condition. free money. so the issue was an obama problem. >> more after the break. why pause a spontaneous moment? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess.
go buy ivanka's stuff i would tell you. it's a wonderful line, i own some of it. i'm going to give a free commercial here. go buy it today, everybody. can you buy it on line. >> so the office of government ethics said that administration should take disciplinary action against kellyanne conway. we'll be right back.
it can seem like triggers pop up everywhere. luckily there's powerful, 24-hour, non-drowsy claritin. it provides relief of symptoms that can be triggered by over 200 different allergens. live claritin clear. joan and katherine are back with us. you have now kellyanne conway who has a credibility problem i guess could you say. she had a rough morning on the morning shows, including the "today" show. how difficult does the white house's sort of theatrics make life for republicans on the hill? >> i think very difficult for not only republicans on the hill but in the white house. there seems to be a lot of jockeying for power within the white house. no one can determine who is in charge. there was a piece that paul ryan went to meet with a number of
staffers to talk about tax policy and contriburickets. they couldn't find out who the point person was and that makes it much more difficult for people on the hill, for their political allies to figure out what the priorities should be, what tax reform should look like and a lot of other front wel what the actual priorities will be and what t policies will shape up to look like. >> i'm amazed at the extend of the tolerance for pain that republicans like paul ryan are willing to put up with all the chaos just to get rid of the health care and privatize medicare. >> it hasn't been as crazy as it has been the last two days but they are just hanging in there and they are happy with him. maybe he doesn't say some things that well, but he's with our program. but at this point they're never
going to get -- i shouldn't say never but they're not going to get to it for a while. and they're showing such cowardi cowardice. paul ryan says we don't need to look any further, they are stepping away from it like it's garbage fire on their doorstep. but it's on their doorstep and starting to catch the front door now, too. >> it depends on whether cutting off that limb is enough to sort of -- i'm trying to draw out this metaphor is enough to save the rest of the body, you know, in a sense. that maybe flynn as scapegoat gives the white house some plausible deniability, he was
the bad actor, it's not our fault, trump is not the one who ordered this conversation about sanctions, et cetera, et cetera. maybe trump can say the disease has been expelled essentially. >> they could say that, katherine, if it was true. >> the good news is i think they'll have more opportunity to step up and call for people's firings but i don't know if they have the guts to do that. >> is that because it's a political issue? >> i think they're afraid to get rid of him because i think they know his base is energized. i think it's awfully early to talk about getting rid of him but for his base. >> not for you and maxine waters. >> they find this is the one opportunity that republicans have, they have alignment of both houses of congress and the presidency and that may be ten
use. >> drop them off, sign the bills. >> i'm joy reid in for lawrence o'donnell. o'donnell. "the 11 hour" with brian williams is next. the president knew 19 days ago that his national security adviser had been caught talking about sanctions with the russians. so what's been going on all that time and would it still be going on if the mike flynn story hadn't broken in the "washington post"? plus, what we're learning tonight about vice president mike pence being left in the dark. "the 11th hour begins now. and good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. for all the talk of fake news, it was real news reported by real journalists that led to the takedown of one of the president's closest aides. and the real news may get worse yet for this new administration still in