tv For the Record With Greta MSNBC May 22, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
the state packed african-american voters into the first and 12th congressional districts to minimize their influence statewide. that's all for tonight. chuck will be back tomorrow with more mtp daily. for the record with greta starts now. hello, chris. what a night it is. we have breaking news. michael flynn, the national security adviser has just taken the 5th andment andhis might be why. because we have more breaking news. new accusations thatlynn lied to federal agents and democrats say they have the proof. the top democrat in the house oversight committee, congressman cummings writing a blistering letter to jason chaffetz. saying the committee has documents that appear to indicate that general flynn lied to the investigators who interviewed him back in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal. now cummings lays out this timeline. it's as follows. december 2015, michael flynn attended a gala in moscow for
the russia propaganda network rt. he sat near russian president vladimir putin. sometime in january 2016, a month later, flynn submits an application for a renewal of his security clearance. then one month later on february 1 112016, security clearance investigators in response to the application interviewed flynn. one month later, march 14, 2016, those investigators issued a report of their investigation, their interview with flynn. that march 14 report states that flynn told investigators u.s. companies paid for him to attend the rt gala with putin. congressman cummings says they, meaning the committee, have documents showing it was rt who paid flynn to participate in the gala and paid him through his speakers bureau. not directly, but directly for his airfare and his lodging. it's all in this letter. congressman cummings writing,
the stated facts undercut what republicans have repeatedly said that the obama team was responsible for vetting flynn, including in an interview right here on this show. >> was the obama white house that this would have fallen under. i don't think what happened here is really the fault of donald trump. >> with me, congresswoman jackie speer democrat from california who serves on the house intelligence committee. good evening, congresswoman. >> greta, great to be with you. >> have you seen this letter that congressman cummings september to chairman jason chaffetz. >> no, i h't seen it yet. it kind of lays out what i think is a pattern with general flynn, which is he just lies. he just lies straight out. because he also had a responsibility before going to that gala in rt in russia to ask permission from the u.s. army
because as a general officer retired, he can always be called back to active duty. so you have to get approval before you can receive funds from any foreign source. he did not do that. so i've actually sent a letter to the acting secretary of the army asking him to proceed with action which he can take independent of everyone else to take action against general flynn for violating the rules. >> as a lawyer, i can tell you, as a former criminal defense lawyer, that is not good. we'll have a lawyer to talk about it. if indeed there is proof that there has been a lie to a federal agent, general flynn is in deep trouble tonight. let me ask you about another question. general flynn is taking the fifth and not surrendering documents. certainly his right. innocent people take the fifth every day of the week and they should. nonetheless, your thoughts on him taking the fifth? >> so, actually, since 1979, both houses of congress have had
the ability to file contempt charges and the fifth amendment only applies as to your actions presently. you cannot be asked to testify against yourself. but previous documents, previous statements you've made are all subject to that subpoena. he is really not in a position to violate that subpoena. he can be brought up on contempt charges by the senate. they can then vote on it in committee on the floor and then it would be directly to a u.s. attorney who then would determine whether or not to file contempt charges against general flynn. >> i think, though, that -- i think there's a difference agreement. criminal defense say once you give documents you -- that i'm sure will be subject to a great dispute on both sides. let me ask you about march 20th. there's a hearing before your committee. you brought unthe name michael caputo. why did you bring his name up? >> well, i believe that michael caputo is part of this ka
balance including roger stone and paul manafort and others who had business relationships with russia. in fact, it was vladimir putin who hired caputo through gas -- to try and improve his profile in the united states. he lived in russia for a number of years, had a russian wife. then moved to work in ukraine. so i wanted to find out more about this relationship. why would then candidate trump pick him out of all the various p.r. firms, campaign consultants in the country. why pick out michael caputo to represent him and serve on his campaign? >> all right. curious about this. cummings obviously made an ak indication of lying to federal agents about general flynn. i want to be very clear. you were curious when you asked him. you have no suspicion, no evidence that michael caputo has committed a crime, is that
correct? >> that's fair. that's correct. >> what do you make of the investigation? what's your sort of global look at this investigation? >> well, there's two elements of it. one is the intervention by russia into our election process and how flagrant it was, how violative it is of our democracy and the steps we need to take to make sure it never happens again. secondly, whether or not the trump campaign operatives worked in conjunction with russia in terms of undermining our election process. that's what we really need to stay focused on. eventually, to determine whether or not the various election departments in the states are up to the task of making sure cyber security is strong enough. >> former director james comey agreed to testify before the intelligence committee. he wants to first speak to the special prosecutor bob mueller to figure out the parameters.
if you could question former director james comey, what would you ask him? >> well, i would ask him specifically about all of the memos that he has written to memorialize his conversations with the president of the united states. obstruction of justice is a huge charge. if, in fact, there is evidence to build on what we know of this memo that he wrote after his meeting with the president in which he was asked to stop the investigation of michael flynn, then we've got real serious issues here. >> congresswoman, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> we have more news tonight on -- about former fbi director james comey. moments ago chairman chaffetz tweeting spoke with comey, he wants to speak with special counsel prior to public testimony. hearing wednesday is postponed. now, comey reportedly wants guidance of the special prosecutor as we just noted from robert mueller before any public
testimony, before the senate intelligence committee or the house before jason chaffetz's committee. it will be after memorial day that comey is expected to testify. that will be an open hearing before the senate intelligence committee and notably, it will be the very first time we hear from comey since the president fired him. now the "washington post" is reporting, president trump is close to hiring outside counsel to help him navigate the russia investigation. the president now has a list of finalists for his legal team. michael zel ner is a former independent counsel and former director of the fbi, he worked for james comey until 2014. before we get to the list of the so-called finalists, i want to talk about this letter that was written. michael, that was written declining on behalf of general flynn, that he's declining to comply with the subpoena. >> innocent people do that all the time. so do guilty people. your thought about this letter. >> you first can't miss the irony of flynn having said in
september when you are given immunity that probably means you committed a crime. it's a bad predicate. as a legal proposition, it seems to me they have a point. the subpoena as far as it's been reported, asks for conversations with russian officials between january 16th, 2015 and january 20th, 2017 and for him to compile a list of any contacts he's had with russian officials. these are not business records. these are not preexisting records. they're asking him essentially to put together information that i think is tantamount to testimonial. in the webster hubble supreme court case, the court was clear about the distinctions between existing records of a business sort that cannot be privileged because corporations don't have that right and those which are testimonial in nature. so we'll see whether congress wants to just let this go or whether they want to hold him in
contempt and ask this special prosecutor. that's who it would probably be. or it could go to the main justice department to enforce the contempt citation. >> the letter from congressman cummings to chairman jason chaffetz includes in part. the problem with your argument and that would be to jason chaffetz's argument is that the committee has in possession, documents that appear to indicate that general flynn lied to investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of a security clearance renewal. lying to investigators is not good for him, is it? >> you know, it's very serious. particularly for general flynn. people who are undergoing background investigations all the time on the standard form, the sf-86, there's language that basically compels you to tell the truth. to give truthful statements on that document. the reality is, very few people will get prosecuted for telling lies on that document. i talked to a polygrapher last
week and he said ron, somebody can tell us they've used marijuana five times on the document and come in and confess that they've used it 5,000 times on a polygraph and they won't be prosecuted. they'll be discontinued. i think, to some extent, this may go back to jim comey's deliberations about hillary clinton. what's the legal precedent for prosecuting somebody for doing this? >> as a former defense lawyer, if you remember martha stewart was investigated for insider trading. about two or three months after the insider trading is that she talks to investigators. she never gets indicted for insider trading and apparently she didn't do any insider trading but got her for false statements to the fbi. >> that's right. 18 us code section 2001 is the provision that says it's illegal to lie to an investigator. >> -- >> it determines how material it is. to use the example much 5 or
5,000 uses of marijuana, i'm not sure that there's a material difference necessarily between them unless it expands over a long time frame. but here when you're seeking a background investigation or you're trying to free yourself of conflicts from a financial reporting thing, these are material representations that need to -- >> i tell you what doesn't seem like an accident. it seems slippery. seems like a dodge to me. i don't know whether in fact this is true. i'm going off cummings' information. this may -- cummings may have it wrong. if he said he was paid by the speakers bureau and suggesting that the russians didn't pay him, that seems so slippery to me. i mean, that seems deceitful. in this town, if you get a -- you get signed up with the speakers bureau and somebody hires you. they pay the bureau, they take the 10 or 15% cut and turns the rest over to you or 30%, whatever it is.
>> to michael's point, materiality, how much of an impact, how intentional was that lie? >> that's not just -- that one i don't think -- you'd have to be clever about that one. if i said to you, who paid you the speakers bureau or russia? >> right. >> you would -- to answer that -- >> the definition of is. >> speakers bureau rote wrote the check, but. >> you have a pattern, greta. he didn't indicate when he was working for turkey that he was working for turkey. he said he was working for a dutch company. he's using the cutouts in the middle each time to deny the information of the true beneficial payor of the money. i think that's going to be a problem for him because of that pattern. >> if i were general flynn, i'd be worried and i would have taken the fifth guilty or innocent. i would have taken the fifth. >> no question. >> thank you both. coming up, more on the bombshell accusations against general michael flynn. if flynn lied to investigators, is that political checkmate.
halfway around the world, president trump going off script talking about sharing intelligence with the russians in that oval office meeting. did he just confirm that israel was the source of that intelligence he told the russians or was he just taking a swipe at the media? plus, why is kremlin lashi out at senator john mccn? we'll explain why they're calling mccain insulting and boorish. stay with us. to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ but when we brought our daughter home, that was it. now i have nicoderm cq.
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editorial director of the huffington post. and ken -- who are the two under the spotlight tonight in the campaign? >> well, if you're talking about the paul manafort and roger stone report, those gentlemen, former trump advisers, paul manafort, the former trump campaign manager, are cooperating with the senate intelligence investigation, we were told today and have turned over documents pursuant to this request. if you'll recall, they were asked to list their contacts with russia and russians and to disclose any communications with the campaign about russia and russians. we don't know exactly what they've turned over but we're told they have turned over documents pursuant to that request, greta. >> howard, it's a terrible thing to think that someone who takes the 5th is guilty and if someone turns over documents and is helpful tend to think the person is innocent. what do you make of all of this? >> what i make of all this, you
have to look at it as a whole situation. and one. famous defense lawyers in town used to say that i don't represent a client, i represent the situation. one of the problems that donald trump has here right now is he doesn't have anybody representing the whole situation. my take on this is that man fort and stone are going to try to be cooperative. the guy that they want the focus to be on is mike flynn. because mike flynn is the guy who is clearly the most under the gun at this point. and the fact that the obama administration and now even chris christie, maybe he's trying to twist the knife with donald trump, chris christie is saying hey, i didn't want mike flynn either. to me, it looks like they're trying to set up a big narrative of how nobody really wanted mike flynn. so what was mike flynn really doing there and that's where the special prosecutor is going to head. >> of courseproblyveryone is saying that michael flynn
wasn't his choice either. everyone is trying to pass the buck. >>exactly. >> we're hearing, ken, that there are for -- the president is considering ted olson, reed weingarten, mark kes wits. why does -- why is the president looking for outside counsel at this point? >> well, greta is seems like a prudent step. this story has been dominating donald trump's presidency and responding to inquiries about it must be taking incredible amounts of staff time. you know, it would be prudent as howard said to have somebody managing the situation. because it threatens to consume the presidency. i mean, you have multiple investigations now bearing down into this one issue. and it's causing a giant distraction. it only makes sense. >> if you take the bait, ken, i mean, i agree if you take the bait. but so far, the president, if you look at -- step back and look at sort of the picture, right now the president is not the one under the spotlight.
it's his people who worked on his campaign and the thing is, he keeps taking the bait and these tweets that he does every day. if he just ignored it -- >> i would say, greta, one reason why the president -- and friends of his and friends of friends of his, the outside circle that has known trump for years and that cares about him and people who have wisdom here are saying that precisely that reason, you need a ted olson or you need a brendan sullivan from williams and connolly. if you can get them. which i don't think you can. you need somebody to take the cell phone away from him or give it to melania, as you suggested. because -- >> that was before we got on air. >> i'm sorry i outed you there. >> i said that she probably is the best -- i don't think -- i don't think there's a lawyer out there who can convince donald trump to put the -- >> there's no lawyer out there, greta, who will take the job unless they can do that.
>> of course. i think he's probably going to be lawyerless unless somebody wants to sort of the intrigue of it. is there any indication, ken, that he -- that the president is going -- would be hired a lawyer, that he would outsource the decision to the lawyer. i mean, looking back at this president, he seems to make his -- make up his own mind for better or for worse. >> absolutely. just remember, donald mcbegan's comment to sally yates according to ms. yates when she flagged that mike flynn was subject to blackmail. he came back, they had a second meeting the next day, presumably he talked to donald trump. his question was why does the justice department care whether one white house official lied to another? that betrays a certain mind-set. i can't imagine a lawyer like the ones we've just discussed being willing to go along with that kind much thing. >> exactly. the people i talked to about this cited that thing by mcgann saying he's a perfectly fine election law lawyer. >> that's what you say about the lawyer you don't want to hire. he's a nice guy. >> but you need a real criminal
defense attorney here. >> as we say, you need a real lawyer. i didn't mean that as a slight on -- >> by the way, trump doesn't want to do it. he's going to dig himself in deeper. >> i think he's like the world's worst client. anyway, he's the out of control client. thank you both. more on this unfolding story about general flynn and president trump, is close to getting a lawyer. but why now? who is on that short list? we'll go into that story. a report on that ahead. and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪
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with him in the oval office. reporters today also asking secretary of state rex tillerson about it. >> does the president plan to apologize for telling the russians, the israeli intelligence on islamic state? >> i don't know that there's anything to apologize for. >> well, there's no question that oval office meeting is still stirring up controversy. this weekend republican senator john mccain blasting russia's foreign minister, sergey lavrov. >> mr. lavrov is the stooge of a thug and a murderer and he had no business in the oval office. this stooge lavrov, who is nothing but a propagandaist. >> the kremlin firing back calling the senator's comments insulting boorish attacks. lavrov, joking about the oval office meeting. here he is talking to an official with the council of
europe. >> not cause problem for you. >> depends on what kind of secrets you pass on to me. >> with me daniel shapiro, former u.s. a.mbassador to israel. israel under president reagan and former ambassador russia under president clinton. ambassador pickering, first to you. tell me what you think about -- we've seen the public face where israel says everything is great with the united states, relations are great. prime minister netanyahu seems very content. what do you think is going on behind the scenes between israel and the united states after that potential security breach? >> well, we've seen there were leaks of israeli security officials expressing concern. but the prime minister obviously wants to receive the president and he wants to do it in a responsible way. so he's downplaying that. the deep concern that american intelligence officials have is
that it will lead to the loss of sources, maybe to the loss of life. and obviously, that's not either in israel's interests or the united states' interest. >> ambassador shapiro, your thoughts and i regrethat -- i realize why weon't kw it. i don't know the exact content of what the president told the ambassador and the foreign minister, but we know at least it was some indication as to -- i mean, there was something classified that was told them. what do you make of this? >> the reports are that it had to do with isis plots for laptop bombs on arrow owe that's what's reported publicly. the israeli intelligence services were concerned and it's had a chilling effect as they seek assurances that information that is passed to the united states and goes all the way to the highest level, all the way to the president, is going to be properly safeguarded. then you had a bizarre scene today that you played a moment ago of the president seeming to
confirm for no reason that indeed it probably was israeli information by making the statement, well, i didn't say the word israel in my conversations with the russians. you know, i wrote a piece in the "washington post" this sunday that said a lot of israelis i hear from are saying, you know, we like president trump, we agree with him, his policies and some of his policies more than we agreed with president obama. but we knew we had a disciplined and person of great judgment who can handle the most sensitive intelligence and issues in the proper way. i think they're having their doubts that's the kind of president they have in president trump. >> ambassador pickering, how difficult is it at least for the new ambassador to israel in light of what's going on with the president leaking that information -- not leaking that information. disclosing that information? >> well, the new ambassador comes obviously with a very close relationship with the israeli right.
obviously, he'll be well-received by them. he may get a complaint or two as dan shapiro just said, from the israeli intelligence establishment, which clearly wants to guard the information they provide us. clearly, wants to assure the rules of the game are followed, whether it's at the top or the bottom. so this is created something of what one would call more than a hiccup but not a knife attack on the u.s./israeli relationship which is always sensitive. my view is that it will be gotten over, but the president obviously, as dan pointed out, didn't do himself any goodbye saying something that clearly was a first high level admission that this was from israel. whatever is going on here, it certainly is being done as an amateur hour exposition rather than something that obviously is clearly being handled with care with diplomatic, obviously press
jens and certainty. this trip is a trip to -- for capitals, all sensitive, all places where the president had a changed of mind and this little business on top ofbviously the concerns that israelis have about the president's views on a peace settlement, i must say i agree with most of those, are going to be things that one way or another stand out as a hallmark of what seem to be perhaps an inopportune and badly organized arrangement. >> ambassadors, thank you very much for joining us. i wish we had more time. thank you both. >> thank you. questions about the russia probe are not going away. vice president pence found that out today. he went to capitol hill to meet with congressional republicans about policies and he was greeted by reporters.
>> and we're just getting more breaking news on russia. just moments ago the "washington post" put something up. that's next. we'll tell you what it is. who's the new guy? they call him the whisperer. the whisperer? why do they call him the whisperer? he talks to planes. he talks to planes. watch this. hey watson, what's avionics telling you? maintenance records and performance data suggest replacing capacitor c4. not bad. what's with the coffee maker? sorry. we are not on speaking terms. will you be ready when the moment turns romantic?
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in the mirror everyday. when i look when i look in the mirror everyday. everyday, i think how fortunate i am. i think is today going to be the day, that we find a cure? i think how much i can do to help change people's lives. i may not benefit from those breakthroughs, but i'm sure going to... i'm bringing forward a treatment for alzheimer's disease, yes, in my lifetime, i will make sure. we have breaking news coming from the washingt"washington po tonight about president trump and russia. john mccormick, senior writer for the weekly standard and we
have a national correspond dont with the "washington post." what is the "washington post" breaking? >> a few moments ago, they have broken a story written by two of my colleagues. and basically, what it says is that shortly after then fbi director comey revealed that there was an investigation into possible collusion between the russians and the trump campaign that the president asked the director of national intelligence and the head of the national security agency to publicly deny that there was any evidence of collusion. >> this is what i don't get, john. is that why was the president sticking his nose so deeply in this and for flynn? that's what i don't -- it's like, i say the last time, why does he need a lawyer? it seems like everything is on flynn. everybody is on everybody else. there's no one who made the allegation that the president
himself has done anything wrong. but he sure sticks his nose if it. apparently, according to the article, rogers documented contemporaneously what was in the "washington post." >> as for loyalty to flynn, i don't know. this is speculation, maybe psychoanalysis is trump that loyal. >> why isn't he loyal to anybody else? >> flynn was very loyal to him throughout the campaign. i think that each -- it's been reported that close members of trump's family thought that loyalty should be repaid. one of the most troubling things in the report just published, it seems to take things further than the last report. last we heard from the fbi memo that comey reportedly wrote down is that trump himself said i hope you can let this go. what the "washington post" is reporting right now, in addition to requests for coates and rogers white house officials about intervening directly with comey to drop the probe. can we ask them to shut down the investigation. one official said of the line of
questioning from the white house. again, this is just published right now. this seems to go a step further. >> it goes to the larger question in all of these stories and it's really stark in this one by adam and ellen is that the president either doesn't understand the boundaries between his power and that of the investigative agencies or he doesn't care. that he just doesn't respect those boundaries. >> that may very well be true. either he doesn't know or care. but i still think it's, why does he keep going out on a limb, making phone calls for flynn? i think that's -- i don't get that. i'm big on the loyalty thing. but remember lewandowski, he wasn't that loyal to him. i mean, he fired him. i don't fully understand why the loyalty to a -- to flynn? >> in this case -- >> i think that's suspicious. >> in this case, it was whether there was collusion between anyone on his campaign and the
russians. >> but i mean, the fact that he -- that he tries with apparent apparently, we don't know the facts for sure. these are allegations floating around. we got to hear from comey. he's going to comey and to coates. you've got him going to rogers and it was -- supposedly have notes with comey. contemporaneous notes with rogers unknown about coates. he's awful busy doing that. i mean, it's a really -- that takes some time. why is he so -- that's where i'm hung up. >> it's clear that the president believes that -- first of all, he's potentially in jeopardy here. people who are close to him are potentially in jeopardy here. but he also has personalized this as basically questioning the entire legitimacy of his election. >> i think karen really gets to something there. we do know that trump is very, very frustrated with this narrative that he only won because of -- >> it's not about loyalty to
flynn. it's about if the narrative about the integrity of the election and whether he's legitimate or not. >> one possible explanation. there could be more than one possible explanation. i think it could be both. but we do know that he's very frustrated by any hint he didn't win this fair and square, the power of his coalition. i mean, he talks about the electoral college map all the time. any hint that the russians intervened and had a hand in the election -- i don't think that's true furthermore. i don't think that that played a decisive role. it really bothers him. we know that for a fact. >> well, also, the fact is whenever he's been pushed on this, he lashes back with this is a bunch of whine i democrats trying to justify why hillary clinton didn't win. >> i hate to be pollyanna. if you've got nothing to worry about, let's have all the facts out there. that's where you get to the point, if you think you're being falsely accused or something, let's get the facts out. then when people don't want the facts out, i realize that things
can be distorted. but he's not asking for all the facts out, at least not right now. >> the what matters more than the why, i think. >> anyway, you'll be back later in the hour. thank you. don't go away. so much more breaking news tonight. did you miss anything? your day of trump in 60 seconds is coming up. enemy into an ally? microsoft and its partners are using smart traps to capture mosquitoes and sequence their dna to fight disease. there are over 100 million pieces of dna in every sample. with the microsoft cloud, we can analyze the data faster than ever before. if we can detect new viruses before they spread, we may someday prevent outbreaks before they begin. i'start at the new carfax.comar. show me minivans with no reported accidents. boom. love it. [struggles] show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com.
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new questions about whether president trump is fulfilling one of his famous campaign promises. you probably remember this. >> it is time to drain the swamp in washington, d.c. >> drain the swamp in washington, d.c. drain the swamp. those reforms include the following. a five-year ban on executive branch and congressional officials. lobbying the government after they leave government service. >> drain the swamp, clamp down on the lobbyists. look at this. the trump administration is bloking an ethics inquiry into
the payroll. it's a significant escalation of the top ethics watchdog. what's the sticking point? well, the trump administration telling federal agencies not to reveal which former lobbyists have received ethics waivers and are now working in government. with me now eric lipton, investigative reporter for "the new york times." he broke the story. nice to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> explain this business about the waivers and the lobbyists. >> sure. president trump has installed across the federal government dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers who are now essentially the regulators in many cases for the industries that they once worked on behalf of. so as when he came in as president, he said well, if you're going to take a job like that, for two years, you cannot participate in any particular matter that you worked on as a lobbyist or lawyer. but in fact, it looks as if many people are working in the same areas that they were representing as lobbyists. the oil companies, the wall
street folks. if they do that, they need a waiver. the office of government ethics has said, okay, if you have a waiver to allow you to work in exactly the same thing as a lobbyist, i want to see that waiver. so far the white house has said sorry, we're not handing over those waivers. >> the man who made the demand, his name, i read in your article. did he make a similar demand with the trump administration -- i mean, the obama administration and did the obama administration comply or not? >> well, the obama administration had a policy of any time it issued such a waiver, it automatically made it public. it was posted on a website. first of all, the obama administration for the most part did not hire people who had been lobbyists in the prior two years to work in the same area they were going to do now government work. if they did that, any time there was a waiver issued, it was public and posted on the internet. what the office of government ethics has said okay, fine, if you want to hire lobbyists in the same area they were working in, you need to disclose the
waiver and so far the trump administration is saying -- to the office of government ethics, back down, stop asking us for those waivers. >> under the existing law, is the white house complying with the law or not? i realize everyone wants transparency and i understand what the obama administration was. is the white house violating any law? >> no. in this case, this is an executive order by the presiden it's a question of he's said he wants to drain the swamp and wants the government to be more ethical and less insider -- >> by not disclosing it and not revealing it, is that -- is that within the white house's power or not? >> it's not a question of illegality. it is within its power to -- well, that's a question as to whether or not the office of government ethics has the power to order copies of these waivers. that's what the o two powers -- that's what the white house and government ethics are fighting over now. >> it would be so much easier to be transparent and put it out
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concert. details are just coming in. we don't know what caused this. witnesses reporting seeing smoke and hearing a loud bang. with me from london, nbc and former atf special agent in charge. first to you, kelly, what can you tell me? >> what we know is manchester police calling this a serious incident at the manchester arena. all of this starting to unfold when we first started getting reports on social media of loud explosion, at least one
explosion heard at the manchester arena. this was towards the end of an ariana grande concert. people trying to get out very quickly from that arena. we have since heard from manchester police, they are confirming that there are a number of fatalities and injured, although they're not confirming a number at this point. they say a line of ambulances is headed to the arena. they also are warning people to stay away from the area. this is at the center of manchester close to mass transport, as well, a very active part of this very large city. the arena is huge. it's the largest -- it holds the most seats of any arena in the uk at the end of a very popular concert there in manchester. keeping an eye on this, we're talking to manchester police trying to find out if we can get any more about this. so far what we know, it's very
little, there were reports of at least one explosion at the end of this concert, ariana grande concert, and a number of confirmed fatalities. greta. >> kelly, if you'll stand by, the first thing we all think is terrorism. we have no idea, it might not be terrorism. it can be loud noise because people get trampled going for the exit. we don't know. looking at this, obviously we're in the midst of this, what would you look for? >> well, we're looking for exactly what you talked about greta. we're looking for the cause of the explosion. we've gone through lots of bombings, we don't know if it's a criminal event, accidental event, something that was planned like you say people panic, some malfunction of equipment that could injure people and people could panic and trample others. so the question for the police to answer and to tell the public is this a criminal act, a bomb,
or is this an accidental explosion, or is this people just reacting to some, you know, equipment malfunction or fireworks used in a show, we just don't have the answer to that. what we do know is that there's an explosion and there's injuries, multiple fatalities and people, the ambulance and police are responding. those are facts we do know. >> apparently, there is some smoke. police statement on the incident, manchester arena, emergency services are responding to reports of an explosion at manchester arena. there are a number of confirmed fatalities, please avoid this area. details of casualty bureau will follow as soon as possible. kelly, let me go back to you, we hear it's at manchester arena. where is manchester? give us a little more information on this. >> right. so manchester is one of the uks largest cities behind london, of
course. it is in the northwestern part of the country, very populace city in the uk. as i said, this arena holds huge, tens of thousands of huge number of people. it's the largest indoor arena in the uk. this part of the country i a very mixed population, parts of manchester, birmingham, these are areas that were very high, industrial areas, the population is a mix of indian pakistanny, british. this was a heavy industry area for a very long time in the uk, now shifted quite a bit. but, again, manchester itself is well as birmingham have blossomed over the past couple of years or so and become much more diversified. a place like manchester arena, when you're talking about an ariana grande concert, obviously, you'll have a lot of young people, people in their
20s, huge space and a mixed -- a mixed group, not necessarily one religion, one race, very diverse population inside that arena and in that city as a whole. >> they've been looking at the police statement, kelly, it says the word explosion. that doesn't seem like a piece of equipment just fell over, that certainly is alarming. there have been reports of smoke, that's alarming, it's so easy to jump to conclusions based on what we've endured the last 20 years. >> greta, we should add and under score at this point we've heard from witnesses on social media and in other areas that, you know, they don't describe this necessarily as a loud bomb blast. some have talked about maybe this was equipment malfunctioning, maybe it sounded like some other loud explosion inside the arena, there were reports that maybe it wasn't inside the arena, that maybe it was just outside, so it's still, you know, a lot of these details
are still coming out and it really is not clear, even for people who were inside the concert as to whether or not this was an actual explosion as in some sort of bomb blast or some other sort of incident. there have also been reports that people really did sort of panic inside that arena once the sound was heard and there was a rush to get out. >> let me tell you -- >> injures could be next to that. >> there was an explosion at the manchester arena, which we know, ariana grande was performing, there were deaths and injuries. still trying to determine if terrorism. no claims of responsibility. that's being told right now. no claims of responsibility and a senior white house official traveling with president trump in jerusalem had not heard of the incident 6:50 p.m. eastern standard time. this news is just developing. but we, at this point, we don't
know. all we know is that there was -- there's been desibed as an explosioathe manchester arena, huge concert going on. thanks for watching, i'll see you back here tomorrow night 6:00 p.m. eastern. and "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. more obstruction, let's play hardball. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. we're following developments in manchester, england where police say there have been a number of fatalities and serious incident after a concert. officials tell nbc news there has been an explosion. we'll get the latest on that in a minute. we begin with the shocking news in washington. the washington post reports has two top u.s. officials to deny any evidence of conclusion with the