tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 5, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST
now their ranks are thinning and the time has come to say their farewells. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you so very much for being here with us. and good night from our nbc news washington tonight on "all in." >> general flynn is a wonderful man. >> mueller time for michael flynn. >> well, i feel badly for general flynn. >> the sentencing memo -- what
we know about mark for identification's cooperation with the special counsel and what it could tell us about what mueller knows about trump and the russians. plus, ben wittes, robert mueller is laying seeds to the -- the election scandal grows in north carolina. >> he was more like need to get more hairs in here. as republicans move to take power from democrats in wisconsin, the same power grab moves forward in michigan. when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. at this very hour we are still awaiting special counsel robert mueller's court filing on the sentencing of president trump's former national security adviser michael flynn. now, mueller's sentencing recommendation comes one year after flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi and agreed to cooperate with mueller and his investigation. and today's filing, or it will be tonight's filing, when and if
it comes, is expected to give us a better idea of the extent to which flynn has cooperated with that russia investigation, specifically what kind of information flynn may have given them. robert mueller has delayed sentencing of michael flynn several times over the past year, again and again and again. and it's led many to wonder if flynn's cooperation was, indeed, ongoing. meanwhile, you'll remember, trump's former lawyer michael cohen has pleaded guilty to crimes in both the southern district of new york's campaign, and the special counsel's russia investigation, just last week. trump's former campaign manager paul manafort, after being convicted of financial crimes in federal court, appears to have basically pretended to cooperate with robert mueller when he was actually relaying information to trump's lawyers, their cooperation agreement blew up and now he will face sentencings on friday with mueller expecting to also detail his "crimes and lies." that's the term that mueller's team uses. and then there's michael
flynn. michael flynn, the man who sat next to russian president vladimir putin at the russia television dinner in december 2015, you see him there, he was joining the lock her up chants. michael flynn who had to plead guilty for lying to the fbi about his contacts with russian ambassador sergei kislyak. later, when lies were uncovered and then acting attorney general sallyiates went to the white house with a warning to warn that flynn had indeed lied and because he had lied to be vulnerable to russian blackmail. president trump still waited 18 days to fire him. what did trump do? this is what he did. on the same day sally yates had a second meeting an michael flynn, concerned the man has been compromised who is going to be the national security adviser to the u.s., trump set up a private white house dinner with then fbi director james comey in which comey says trump asked for his loyalty and on the day after trump finally fired michael flynn he ushered administration officials out of the oval office
so he could speak to comey alone, according to to james comey, trump told him i hope you can see your way clear to letting flynn go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. as we wait for this filing we're left with some pretty major questions. the first one, why did michael flynn lie about his communication with kislyak, his phone calls, his interactions? what he did itself, calling the russian ambassador on the day that sanctions came in, wasn't some massive infraction. he was, after all, the incoming national security adviser for the new administration, the old administration out the door was imposing sanctions. flynn could have called the russian ambassador to say that while there's one president at a time come january 20th there
will be a new policy and your government ambassador should consider that before responding. he could have just told us he did that. he could have forthrightly said that's what he was doing. there was no need to cover it up. but he did cover it up. he lied about it to everyone. and then did president elect trump tell him to make those calls to sergei kislyak the russian ambassador? did president trump tell him to lie about it afterwards to cover it up? why did the president wait 18 whole days to fire him? why was the president so invested in possibly obstructing justice on behalf of michael flynn? let's bring in two people who have been waiting all day for mueller's memo, ken dilanian. you've been looking for this all day. >> yes. >> what is this document that we're going to get today? what is it? >> this is a document that's supposed to instruct the judge on what kind of sentence to pass on mike flynn. it's called the government sentencing memorandum of law. close enough. the reason we're all in such suspense about this is because we expect it could answer some of the questions you just outlined. in the past when people have lied, these kinds of documents have laid out not only the nature of their lies, but why they lied, their motive and the circumstance around their lies. it's reasonable to expect that we'll find out whether donald trump knew that mike flynn had lied, whether he knew that mike
flynn had gone out and talked to the russian ambassador. he said publicly he didn't know. >> it's a classic argument in the alternative in only the way donald trump says. i didn't tell him, but if i had, i would have liked it. in fact, he should have done it. those are the three arguments he gave at that press conference of transition, he said no, i didn't know about it, but if he did it, it's fine, and actually, he should have done it. let me ask you this, dan. you've heard this term process crime. it's being bandied about by critics of the mueller investigation and by the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani. based on what you know, do you it's being bandied about by critics of the mueller investigation and by the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani. based on what you know, do you think it's the case that the only thing michael flynn did wrong was lying to the fbi about calling sergei kislyak? >> no, and it's in court documents that he was
essentially lobbying for turkey without registering va lobbyist which special counsel charged paul manafort with. >> he got charged with that? >> he absolutely got charged with it. there are a couple of unusual things about this michael flynn sentencing memo, and his sentencing in general. ordinarily cooperating witnesses are sentenced after the case is done, after the investigation is done for two reasons. one is that you want them to be on the hook as cooperators in case they need to provide more information or testify. >> that latter part particularly crucial. you want to make sure if you go trial -- >> that's right. and the second thing you don't want to be in a position where you run risk of revealing information about an investigation that you don't want to reveal. now, michael flynn is being sentenced now, before the investigation has concluded.
so we're in a bit of an unusual territory here and it's hard to read the tea leaves to figure out exactly why. i would expect -- the other thing, just to sort of frame it, is his sentencing range is very low. it's similar to the sense of these false statements others have had, which is essentially zero to six months, the guidelines are which the judge uses as default line starting point. he doesn't have to do much to get pro base, which is the lowest sentence he's going to get. so i'm not sure that we are going to get the bombshell information revealing a lot of the investigation from this memo because he doesn't really need it. >> let me follow up on that. was it unusual to you that he pleaded to something so small and then cooperated for so long? like there's not that much on him. the thing they're holding over him, which is what their sentence recommendation is on
the thing he pleaded is not a huge thing, it's not like paul manafort who got the book thrown at him, what do you make of that? >> i find it interesting. i had thought all along this was a place holder guilty plea that they wanted to lock in michael flynn as a cooperating witness and then down the road, because of his position in the campaign, his contacts, what we knew about him, he was going to be included in further indictments or charges. that is not what happened. and it's interesting to see whether some of his other conduct will be revealed in the sentencing memorandum. he hasn't been charged with that. >> the other, one is, he was working as an unregistered foreign agent for turkey, while on the campaign, including my favorite michael flynn move, on the day of the election an op-ed titled -- our ally turkey is in crisis and needs our support," enemy number one of the turkish government, what he's being paid to advocate on election day, which is a little bit of a red enemy number one of the turkish government, what he's being paid to advocate on election day, which is a little bit of a red flag.
>> clearly a man who did in the think the trump campaign was going to win the election. >> my last monetizable day as the guy close to the guy who might get president, i've got to get this op-ed. not go vote for trump. >> i covered that at the time and i called the turkish businessman who was listed in lobbying records as having paid flynn and he lied to me and said it was unrelated to the government of turkey. as it turned out, it was. >> really? >> yeah. and further there were allegations, remember, this he concocted a deal to be paid some $15 million to extradite, to kidnap, to somehow ferret gulen back to turkey. >> there was reporting that he and his son had a scripted plan to go to the poconos.
and extract the dude. >> and the former cia director jim woolsey was one of the those who blew the whistle. >> evidence that he was trying to work this sort of triangle tried deal between russia and the saudis to build a nuclear plant with russian backing in the saudi kingdom and that at the inauguration, now he's the national security adviser, he sent assurances to former business partners that the plan to build nuclear react fors was good to go. deal closed. >> he was on the phone with his business partners at the inauguration. there was talk his son mike flynn jr. was mixed up and had legal exposure. as part of the deal that went away. now, dan will tell you where he used to work in the southern district of new york, they don't do business that way. they charge you with all the crimes in the beginning. that's not what happened. >> in the southern district in general, pry -- in most districts, as a cooperating witness you must plead guilty to all the crimes you committed. >> part of the point is that you were on the record accepting responsibility for what you did.
>> if you were to testify you don't want to be in a situation where either they say you got this deal or worse yet you didn't plead guilty and you're admitting to it and take the fifth. >> you also did these other crimes, by the way. >> you mention a lot of the shady dealings michael flynn had, or at least suspect dealings, and you talked about the process crimes. the one thing that we will get from this memorandum is an explanation as to why flynn's lies -- >> why did he lie? >> matters to mueller's investigation. >> and the materiality of that lie. >> that's right. given they were about sanctions and notably same with michael cohen's plea last week, about the trump tower moscow, but what was predicated on that deal happening is the removal of sanctions. >> of a finance back. >> exactly. so you're starting now to see some of these pieces come together.
maybe what we will see is how these sanctions relate back to the campaign. >> ken dilanian, dan goldman, you'll stay with us. come back when the flynn memo comes out. thank you. for further legal implications, i'm joined by ben wittes. what do you make of flynn's position in all this, ben? >> well, i think it's one of the big mysteries of the whole thing. you know, a bunch of the people who pled in the mueller investigation, papadopoulos, manafort, you know we've had a huge amount of news about what they've been up to since their pleas. and, you know, partly because mueller himself has complained about their activities. in the case of flynn he pled and vanished off the face of the earth, right? and it's been almost a year since his plea and we have really very little idea, more than a year, i think, and we have very little idea what he's told mueller or what the nature of his cooperation has been.
and so i think it's just one of the real wild cards and one of the reasons that people are so eagerly anticipating this memo is it's the first real window that we have onto the answer to your question. >> the point that dan made there about the sort of relevance of lying about this to the mueller investigation seems crucial to me. and we should remember that it's already being reported there are e-mails that dispute the white house claim that flynn acted independently when he was doing this, when he was talking to kislyak, e-mails coupled with interviews in court documents show that mr. flynn was, in fact, in close touch with other senior members of the trump transition team about american sanctions against russia, including k.t. mcfarland. that seems to be a crucial unanswered question here about where the directive came from. >> i think that's right.
i think what one question is, was he directed to lie? and under -- and why did he lie? but another possibility is that this false statement is not the actual reason that mueller is this -- was so interested in flynn. he's interested in flynn because of other things he may know and that that's actually the body of his cooperation, this lie was merely the low hanging fruit leverage that he had that could -- that they could plead and that could, by the way, didn't necessarily involve anything classified. and so you could -- you could do it all in public. >> good point. >> in a way that maybe some other stuff was not doable in public. >> then there's also the fact, which of course we all know but i was just going back through it to remind myself of this set of facts about this, about comey and the explicit ask that the director of the fbi, essentially drop a criminal inquiry to his associate. >> this is a really, really important point.
if you think about the entire obstruction of justice investigation, what is the predicate offense for the obstruction of justice investigation? that is, what's the investigation, the justice that was being obstructed? and the answer to that, at least in part, is the investigation of mike flynn. >> right. >> and so, you know, that's another big piece of the puzzle, particularly if you believe as i do that one of the other components of the mueller investigation that we really haven't heard anything from, but has been very active, is this obstruction component. >> say more on that. >> well, i mean, you know, it has been clear for a long time that there's a very active obstruction investigation. and we've seen a lot of people, including don mcgahn spent a lot of hours of quality time with the -- you know, with the special counsel's office and that was not about russia collusion. that stuff was about activity in the white house, which is about, you know -- which is about the obstruction component. mueller has said absolutely nothing about what he's found in the obstruction component.
in contrast to the russia stuff where we've had a series of indictments, both on the russian side of the ocean and on the u.s. side with respect to these false statements, we know something about what they've found on the russian side. we know very little or near nothing object what they've found on the obstruction side. >> ben wittes, thank you for making some time tonight. don't go anywhere, we are on hot stand by from the michael flynn sentencing memo which can come in at any moment. we'll be right back after this. this isn't just any moving day.
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once again, anticipating the special counsel's sentencing memo from michael flynn at any moment. this is wnl one piece of what we expect to learn this week. the special counsel is also expected to detail paul manafort's crimes and lies on friday. he's scheduled to elaborate on michael cohen's bad acts in a sentencing hearing next week. joining me now to provide their legal perspective, glen kir shner, both are msnbc legal analysts. before we get to friday and manafort, i want to ask for your feedback on what dan was saying before about unusual aspects of the cooperation of michael flynn here, barbara, in terms of what he's pleaded to and the duration and now doing the sentencing
recommendation before the case is over. what do you make of all that? >> well, i think it's important to keep in mind that he did plead guilty about a year ago. and so they've delayed this sentencing several times. and no doubt they've reached a point where they feel like the sentencing is -- the cooperation is complete. ordinarily you want to, as dan pointed out, wait until a witness has testified if you're going to ask him to testify. so that you can maintain leverage over him and he has the incentive to continue to provide you with information to earn credit, so to speak, in reducing his sentence. it tells me the fact that they're ready to sentence him now means that his cooperation is over. it suggests to me he's likely not to testify. but that he has provided as much information as he can.
and he potentially has lots of information to give about the role of high-level trump officials in those conversations with russians and why he was lying about those conversations. i think could be very meaningful. >> glenn, the key part about flynn, to barbara's point, he serves as official capacity and crosses over from the campaign to the transition to the white house where cohen and manafort are associates but don't have the official capacity. >> first of all, i agree with all of barbara's observations. when we pull back and look at flynn from 30,000 feet, the way the mueller team has played him makes a lot of sense. here's why. first of all, we all know that we try to work our way from the bottom up, the less significant players to the more significant players. but let's look at who michael
flynn was. he was the national security adviser for gosh sakes. and that's -- in anybody's book that's a pretty big fish. so i think the messaging that the mueller team put out by saying, you know what, we've got the national security adviser talking dirty to the russians on the phone and then lying about it to the vice president and lying about it to congress -- excuse me, to the fbi. we're going to charge him with that and then we're going to -- we're going to remain mum on everything else he is providing us. i think that is some powerful messaging to everybody else out there that, you know what, they better pay attention to what's going on. they better come in, cooperate and cut their losses. with respect to the memo that i think we're all anxiously awaiting, chris, i've filed hundreds of these memos in the 30 years i was a federal prosecutor, and i see three distinct possibilities here. one, mueller may say very little because the sentence that flynn is exposed to is only zero to six months. easy for us to say, it's not a consequential sentence. so mueller, i don't think, needs to say a lot to persuade the judge with respect to whatever sentence he's asking for. the second possibility as you may find, a split memo. part of it public, part of it under seal because it pertains to an ongoing aspect of the mueller investigation.
the third, and i think the most likely candidate here is we are going to get a full blown, very complete factual recitation of many of flynn's crimes, why? that's going to be some more important messaging with respect to what the investigation has. >> glen makes a good point about the messaging of if you lie to folks, we will charge that, come after that. and the first two pleas, papadopoulos and flynn are lying, people didn't get the message. everyone else is lying down the chain, including michael cohen lying to congress and people amending their statements and now manafort. and manafort's the one who's -- his crimes and lies are going to be documented on friday and he's the one who's been in some ways the most rogue actor in all this. >> yeah. you know, i know there's been some disparaging of these cases as mere process crimes, as if they are not serious crimes.
but if there's one thing we've all learned, robert mueller takes the process crimes seriously and sending a message other people should too, with good reason. when people lie, it delays an investigation. anyone complaining about the length of this investigation should look no further than the lies that are at the heart of it. and also when you're talking about national security officials and dealing with foreign adversaries, the lies are incredibly consequential. because not only are you facing potential criminal prosecution for lying, but then you also put yourself that compromise situation, the situation sally yates talked about. if the russians know you have lied publicly, they can use that as leverage against you to coerce you to cooperate with whatever they demand. the stakes are high and they're very serious crimes. >> there's a question how this makes it more difficult to investigate. but when we're talking about the materiality of a lie of michael flynn, it could be the case that all these people are lying all the time because they're all innocent but they're all liars and they can't help but lie, even though they're innocent. or it could be the case they're all lying to cover up fundamental underlying crimes
they committed that they don't want to get caught doing. >> it's got to be the latter and not the former, chris. our common sense tells us that. but, you know, we're all kind of puzzling a little bit over -- well, is this all that michael flynn is going to face? i would suggest this is probably all he's going to face by way of being charged with crimes. but it would not at all surprise me if, when bob mueller drops what i think we all sense is going to be a large overarching conspiracy indictment, you know, michael flynn may very well be one of the unindicted coconspirators who's in there for narrative purposes and to, you know, show the reader of that indictment and ultramately a jury, if it comes to that, how michael flynn's piece fits in with everybody else's piece. >> thank you both. stay close. hot standby continues, as we wait for the flynn memo, another reported mueller target in the news, roger stone said he will plead the gift following the president, getting his back on twitter. congressman ted lou on that story ahead. today is the day you're going to get motivated...
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we continue to await the release of the michael flynn sentencing memo, which could happen any minute. we will bring you the news the moment it comes in. i'll probably be reading it on air. but there's another story we wanted to make sure we got to tonight. there are new developments in the north carolina ninth district congressional race which as we said last night
appears to be the site of the most blatant electoral fraud in recent memory conducted on behalf of the apparent winner republican candidate. cnn's jim sciutto reports criminal investigation is under way into voting irregularities in bladen county, north carolina. it was initially centered on the 2016 election cycle, but now includes 2018 cycle as well. last night we told you how the state board of elections has now twice refused to certify the election results in which the republican appeared to win by 905 votes. row call reporter joe bruno yesterday found a woman who said she was paid to collect absentee ballots in the race which is, we should note, against north carolina law. and the man who paid her to do that illegal thing, she said, was lesley mccra doughles, a convicted felon, working for mark harris. the same local reporter has found a second woman who says mccra doughles paid her to get ballots. >> i feel bad now that i know it
wasn't legal. but at the time i didn't know. >> didn't mail the ballots, she gave them to dallas. >> i don't know what happened to them after that. i know there were stacks of them on his desk. >> stacks of ballots on his desk. now the same state board that's refused to certify the election has started releasing records as a congressional seat hangs in the balance. here's a professor who's been blogging about this election, and amy gardener, a political reporter for the "washington post." amy, start with you and the latest developments. it seemed inevitable. what do we know? >> the wade county district attorney lauren freeman is investigating and the state bureau of investigation, sort of like the state police of north carolina is also investigating. we know that a subpoena has been issued for the mark harris campaign and that another is on the way to his main campaign
consultant, a company called red dome group which hired mccray dallas. the investigation is continuing. i think more revelations will be coming every day right now. >> i want to talk about, michael, i want to talk about this man's history. and the history of elections in bladen county, from dave wasserman from the political report. in 2016 dallas worked for todd johnson who mails in absentees 221 for 1, and 437 to 17 over pittinger. it's a blatantly obvious absentee mail. it looks like something's going on here, huh? >> the numbers just do not lie. and the fact that 40% of bladen county's absentee mail ballot requests did not see a ballot returned indicates that something is up where the district average was only 24%
nonreturn and the statewide numbers was 16% nonreturn. >> so let me ask you a question about north carolina law, it's confusing. we have documents that say -- this is a log of people requesting absentee ballots in the aforementioned bladen county. the signatures of mccray are highlighted, appearing to have requested a total of 590 ballots. how can he do that? >> he can't. if you request a ballot, it must be the signature of the voter or an immediate family member, mother, husband, wife, something of that nature. the request form is very explicit. it must be the signature of the voter or an immediate family member in order to get the ballot by mail-in purposes. >> and yet he seems to have run this con for several election cycles. >> he has bragged about it actually to folks in the area and made his services known to any candidate that wanted to complete in bladen county and potentially in other areas of
the district and perhaps other counties in that same ninth congressional district. >> amy, a final question for you. right now the board of elections twice has said we're not going to certify this, the republicans of north carolina are saying, well, yes, we want criminal investigation, but we won by 905 >> amy, a final question for you. right now the board of elections twice has said we're not going to certify this, the republicans of north carolina are saying, well, yes, we want criminal investigation, but we won by 905 votes and you should seat the guy. what happens next? >> well, i think you already have seen republicans tamp down their rhetoric accusing democrats of trying to steal this election. >> yes. >> i think that they're aware that now there could be enough votes involved in the irregularities to sway the outcome. there are 3,400 ballots requested but not returned across the entire district.
>> oh, wow. >> that's an incredible number. i think the investigation goes in two directions. it goes beyond the bounds of bladen to see how widespread these irregularities spread. i think it goes up to see who knew what mr. dallas was doing, whether mark harris and whether
the consultant -- >> thank you for your time. as soon as we went to north carolina, the flynn memo came out. it has been released by the special counsel's office of robert mueller. we've been waiting all day for this. michael flynn very already pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the fbi, a recommended sentence of zero to six months for that crime. i'm getting it here and i have dan goldman here, who has been
speed reading. so far, as i look at it, let me just show this, there are some redacted portions to it. but it also -- actually, here's one, the defendant also provided useful information concerning -- redacted. how much information do we have here, dan? >> very little. this is the addendum that you're referencing there which has been redacted. and basically all of
the information about the ongoing investigation is redacted. it does include anything in public that would reveal anything that we don't know already. the main sentencing memo outlines in some detail his two sets of false statements relating to conversations he had with russians about sanctions. during the transition period. and also outlining the lies about his foreign lobbying for turkey. but, you know, given the anticipation that we all had about this, this is -- >> a lot is being -- >> underwhelming. two things jump out at me here. as part of assistance with the investigations, the defendant participated in 19 interviews
with the special counsel's office where attorneys from other department of justice offices, which is also interesting, not just sco, provided documents and communications. that's very significant cooperation. >> absolutely. and substantial. they used all the terms that you expect with fulsome cooperate, downward departure in his short sentence. here's the bottom line, if our viewers can see this, the good stuff is blacked out. >> just to put in context, 19 meetings, when i had cooperating witnesses, the only times i would meet 19 or more times with a cooperating witness was when we were preparing for trial. that is a significant number of meetings. we can reference the fact that michael cohen had seven meetings with the special counsel's office. 19 meetings is a lot. and so that is an indication that as -- you know, you don't meet with somebody more and more and more if they don't have more and more information to provide. >> i think what this underscores is mike flynn has been cooperating for a year in a black hole. >> in a black hole, that's right, nothing has popped out,
nothing. >> mike flynn's lawyers don't leak. i'm convinced the trump team has no idea what he's given the special counsel. >> the defendant has provided substantial assistance in a criminal investigation, section a, all blacked out. here's an important point. and it's obvious. when you see it in writing, it strikes you. the defendant has also assisted with an sco investigation concerning links and coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the trump campaign. that's it. we are pursuing a criminal investigation into whether there was collusion between the pre-established conspiracy directed by vladimir putin on behalf of a hostile foreign adversary to subvert an american
election in illegal fashion, was coordinated with associates of the current president of the united states, that is the meat of the inquiry we are undertaking and this man has cooperated with it. >> and they've also said that was the investigation. but obviously they haven't ruled it out. they're still investigating and they're saying he has helped us with that investigation. >> we knew this from the jerome corsi documents. i mean, this is not a bombshell surprise. i think the takeaways here are that they also indicate that they understand that his full cooperation will not be realized because the investigation is ongoing. but nonetheless they feel like there's sufficient cooperation to have him sentenced at this time. we were talking about that at the top of the show, that the timing of this is unusual. but because the guideline range of zero to six months is so low he doesn't need a lot of cooperation to get the pro base sentence. the other thing that's interesting is i'm certain he is going to be required to continue his cooperation following sentencing. so that is, i believe, part of his plea agreement and something that he likely would have agreed to do. >> what do you think this says to us about where mueller is at? >> i've believed for a while that we are not very close to the end. we may be at the beginning of the end. but i think there's some time to go.
i think this underscores that. >> if there was a big like, hey, here's everything we know, that is an indication of where he is in the trajectory. >> there are some sensitive matters they don't want revealed to the public they're still pursuing. rick gates is still cooperating and has a status conference in january. roger stone and corsi may be indicted. i think we're looking at another six months. >> barbara mcquaid and glen kirshner, what conclusions do you draw, barbara, about the indications about the fact they have redacted massive portions of it, there is no detail about what they are learning in this particular document? >> in some ways after waiting so long it's unsatisfying to see black lines on a page. what that tells me is he has told them some very significant
facts, they relate to the investigation with links between russia and the trump campaign, and they are secret. they want to keep it secret because they're still investigating those things. that's some fairly significant news. and so i think it means they're finding productive information and that some people above michael flynn and the food chain are in trouble. >> glen? >> yeah, so chris i was just reading one sentence, it says the defendant and the government agree that sentencing at this time is nonetheless appropriate because sufficient information is available to allow the court to determine the import of the
defendant's assistance in his sentence. i think what that tells me is that even though the national security adviser pled guilty to lying to an fbi investigation and we all know an aggravating factor is he lied to the vice president as well about these, you know, sort of covert conversations with russians, that he gave so much information to the investigation that it actually warrants the government requesting a sentence of zero incarceration. i mean, it doesn't get any more lenient than zero incarceration, which suggests to me that, you know, he really has been giving, over the course of 19 interviews, some very significant and probably damaging information. >> dan? >> the other thing that was sort of an open question is how much mueller was going to include in this sentencing memorandum. this is a by the book sentencing memorandum at this point. where you would not reveal any information about an ongoing investigation. you would -- you wouldn't do that for a variety of reasons. but because of the constant and repeated attacks on him, there was some speculation that maybe he would use this court filing to respond to those attacks, which have been no collusion, no collusion, no collusion and use this as an opportunity to explain some of the evidence of collusion to respond. and like bob mueller is, as a diligent, dedicated --
>> combat leader, this is his personality is to do it by the book, as you would expect. >> although we should note, today was the flynn sentencing memo. and there was no -- there was no promise or tipoff from them about what would be in it. other than parts of it would be public. they did a rare on the record statement from the spokesperson for that office. friday's filing, which is about paul manafort, they have said we will lay out the lies and crimes of paul manafort in that document. what do we make -- given what we have here and the redactions we have here and the sort of keeping things in the black box, what do we make? >> here's the thing about that. if paul manafort's crimes and lies pertain to the really interesting parts of the investigation, then we learn a lot. if it was about interactions with donald trump and collusion with russia, but what if it was about he stashed money abroad or lied about interactions with constantin, it might not be --
>> can you imagine how much of that memo is redacted as well. filed under seal and publicly. >> i don't see any reason why he would not do that. if that's how he's going to handle this i would expect that anything about the ongoing investigation that has not been revealed publicly would be redacted or filed under seal. >> you know, part of what's so strange, barbara, about this particular watching this unfold is that most criminal inquiries are not criminal inquiries into the president and his associates. most of them don't have to do with the president and his associates. it's so strange because we're in a strange democratic situation in which it is of pressing public import to know what the president and his associates did. but it's also part of the kind of process of this sort of prosecution that you do not
reveal what's going on. >> yeah. but one thing that's important to remember is when documents are sealed they're rarely sealed forever. they will be sealed, this flynn sentencing memorandum, as long as it's necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation. to get a sealed document you actually have to file a motion with the court and ask for permission to seal it, even with a redaction like this. if a court doesn't find a legitimate law enforcement reason for it to be sealed the court will order it to be unsealed. at some point when the case reaches its resolution, all that stuff will be disclosed. even the manafort document to be filed on friday, there's a good chance much of that will be either redacted or filed under seal. remember, in the plea agreement it says that the government retains sole discretion to decide whether manafort has breached his plea agreement. that's not a matter they need to litigate with the court.
they don't owe the court detail other than fact they've promised to detail crimes and lies in there. i imagine that could also be heavily redacted. >> i want you all to stick around, and i'm going to bring in congressman ted lou. i don't know if you've seen this document. but i want to talk about this. this is a document that is a cooperating witness, someone who has met 19 times and given truthful information according to the special counsel's office. there are other people who are not cooperating, roger stone is one of them. roger stone today pleading the fifth kind of out of nowhere in response to a request from dianne feinstein in the senate judiciary. what do you make of that? what do you think that signals about the president's manipulation or influence on potential witnesses? >> thank you, chris, for your question. let me first say i have two
takeaways from the flynn sentencing memo. the first is i believe robert mueller is signaling to other defendants or potential defendants that if you cooperate with the special counsel's office they will work with you and they will be lenient. in this case, recommending no prison time is extremely lenient. second, i believe robert mueller feels his job is secure. otherwise, i think he would have laid out a lot more. i believe that he believes that his job is secure. that's why he's not detailing very much information. and now when you turn to roger stone -- >> wait, stop right there, elaborate on that, to dan's point about needing to essentially publicly justify the continued inquiry? >> that's correct. if robert mueller thought that he was going to get fired i think he would have laid out a very lengthy sentencing memo detailing the several ongoing investigations and what michael flynn may have said about those investigations. he didn't do that. he largely blacked out most of the information. and that tells me that robert mueller is continuing with these investigations.
he doesn't want to reveal any information he doesn't have to. he believes he'll still remain on the job and see the investigations through their completion. >> all right. now the question of roger stone, it relates to michael flynn who is a cooperating witness, the president essentially tweeting the other day, sort of transparently about the weak snitch that rolled over on him and the strong and gutsy roger stone who's staying strong and roger stone then, as if on cue with this bizarre declaration, he's pleading the fifth rather than turn over documents to the senate. >> as a former prosecutor, i can tell you every person invoke the amendment in legal proceedings. you can also waive that right if you talk about the very issues you're asserting your fifth amendment protection. he talked about russia, wikileaks. denied his own culpability. i think a case can be made that he's waved his fifth amendment rights. it's against testimony, not documents. i think he has to produce these documents as well. >> it's a request from the minority, it's not an tulsa pina, it seems like roger stone
performing a certain kind of recalcitrance for an audience of one at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. we have an acting attorney general mr. whittaker who is in a strange position. he's the subject of four lawsuits, that say he is not the rightful attorney general of the united states. he is unprecedented in being elevated to that position and serving as long as he has. he's concerned to either spy on, squeeze or terminate the mueller investigation. are there any conclusions you can draw from what congressman lieu was saying, what dan goldman was saying about that. >> i very much like congressman lieu's take on this, it's an indication that bob mueller believes his job is secure. i will say, chris that i learned
how to be a federal prosecutor from working with bob mueller shoulder to shoulder for two years at the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. i think bob mueller is not even impacted by all the white noise going on around him, with respect to the appointment of whitaker, it may impact who he is briefing day to day, i don't know that we're entirely sure that acting attorney general whitaker is involved as opposed to rosenstein in the day to day supervision. i think bob mueller keeps his head down, keeps his team focused, and continues to move forward in the way he thinks best. >> ben, i haven't gotten a chance to your reaction. >>. >> you didn't let me get to the but in the sentence. >> what is not in there. with the other. there's a lot of stuff about how george papadopoulos didn't cooperate, didn't provide substantial assistance. we're going to get a memo at the end of the week about how manafort breached the agreement. there's none of that, he met
with us a lot of times. he's, you know -- and the subtext of that is, we got from him what we need. we are getting from him the he's, you know -- and the subtext of that is, we got from him what we need. we are getting from him the cooperation that we need. and that means bob mueller is saying at least as regards this guy, the investigation is completely on track, i'm not telling you where it's going today. i'm not telling you what we've actually figured out. but i'm telling you everything we need from this guy we got. and that's a big deal. >> and we should note, as you say that, michael flynn's son who's fairly public has been striking a lot of anti-mueller notes.
there are ways to think that maybe michael flynn would go down the road of george pap do house who is trying to separate himself. casting some aspersions on this enterprise. what he was doing in that room, he has been cooperating. >> i think he's got a good lawyer who's not sympathetic to donald trump. it was a very contrite statement, it was time to do the right thing for his family. i think he's not in a place from manafort. i don't think it's broken through, nicolle wallace first reported that matthew whitaker is not in the day to day charge of the investigation.
the justice department has not pushed back on that, what they have said is that whilt kerr hasn't recused, he's nominally in charge, i don't think he wants any part of this. >> all we can see is how much of the information, ordinarily in these types of memos, when i've written many of them. you don't go into pages and pages of detail, it doesn't read like an indictment. it's conclusory summary fashion what information they've provided against whom, why it's relevant, why it's important, but this to me reads like pretty significant information that of course because it's redacted we don't know. there is a lot here that mueller has and is dealing with, a lot of testimony from michael flynn that we don't know and that is it's conclusory summary fashion what information they've provided against whom, why it's relevant, why it's important, but this to me reads like pretty significant information that of course because it's redacted we don't know.
there is a lot here that mueller has and is dealing with, a lot of testimony from michael flynn that we don't know and that is important for the investigation. >> we've been talking about whitaker obviously. if i'm not mistaken, you sit on the judiciary committee? >> that's correct. >> and you will be in the majority very soon, you will have the ability to bring him before congress. what his involvement is, for instance, did he see this document before it was filed. does he know what's redacted.
how much does he know? are those questions you would like the answer to in. >> absolutely. and we get subpoena power starting january 3rd, let me just say about acting attorney general matthew whitaker, i believe his appointment is not constitutional. he was not confirmed by the senate, if this is allowed to stand. you can imagine future presidents getting someone through the senate confirmation process they know will be confirmed, getting that person fired and then installing their preferred employee. this can't be allowed to happen. my last takeaway from this memo is, the memo doesn't say there are two investigations. it says several, one of which is a collusion investigation, one is a criminal investigation. one is totally blacked out, we have no idea what the investigation is. >> barbara mcquaid, the first thing,there are two investigations, b is the special council offices investigation. the defendant has provided substantial assistance in a criminal investigation. we don't know what that is. that's something distinct and separate from the special council's office investigation. that's letter b. that's redacted. >> that's interesting. remember one of the things
mueller's mandate was, was to investigate anything between russia and the trump campaign. have they stumbled upon something else that has arisen? there was also that more detailed memo that rosenstein provided to mueller. we saw a glimpse of that in the manafort filings, where he broke down some specific matters that robert mueller was to look into. that too was heavily redacted, we don't know all the things they're looking at. it suggests there's something related to all of this, that michael fling is also cooperating about. that remains a secret as well. peace of it, as well as the obstruction of justice peace of it, or it could be something entirely different. we've used this analogy before, you're investigating a bank robbery. can you charge that case as well, it could be he has
revealed additional evidence of crimes that they have followed up on. >> ben wittis, if i saw this document and i was a business associate of michael flynn working on the saudi nuclear deal or anything like that, i think i would be a little unnerved by that redaction. >> yeah, i think if you -- if you're anybody who has exposure, had involvement with michael flynn on matters that you have the slightest question about whether they were legal, you have to consider some possibility that the special council has just sid in a sentencing memo with respect to you. and that's a possibility. >> if you're out there, you're watching this, and you're a person who's done some crimes that weren't about the election, you know, may be time to get a lawyer. thank you all for rolling with all of that, for sticking around
throughout the hour. particularly you congressman. i appreciate it. that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. the breaking news tonight, we've heard from the mueller team once again, and while a lot of it is blacked out, it's clear that the first big trump aide to flip mike flynn told them a lot, and they're asking a judge for lenience as the russian drama continues. speaking of which, the president's friend of three decades, roger stone, wants to take the fifth before a senate committee. he says he's not talking but is he trying to send a message? against all of that, donald trump will be just one of five presidents as washington comes together to bid farewell to 41 who, even in passing, has brought a rare moment of peace to our politics. as "the 11th hour" gets underway on thi