tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC December 18, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST
abuse of both our law and our international commitments under refugee agreements. >> senator jeff merkley, thank you for sharing that. >> thank you, chris. >> that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. the breaking news we're covering tonight. if you've ever wondered what it's like to be interviewed by the fbi, you can read what it's like as the feds release the notes that sunk mike flynn at the white house. all of it on the eve of his sentencing tomorrow. plus, with 17 investigations and circling the president and his aids, is it possible that he made it worse for the president. more exposure for team trump. the alarming news out for team trump about what the russians tried to do to robert mueller. and james comey begs his fellow republicans to find some courage somewhere as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a monday night.
on a monday night, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters. day 697 of the trump administration and just hours from now the president's former national security advisor will be sentenced in the russia investigation. as we've been getting our best view yet of flynn's fbi interview as we're learning more about the crime he pleaded to. this comes as wired magazine highlighted 17 known trump and russia investigations. it comes as we get a look at a pair of new reports today that detailed the extent of social media propaganda efforts by russia before and after november of 2016. the washington post points out tonight that months after the election russia's disinformation teams went after robert mueller. we'll have more on all of those stories in a moment but first
the feds on mueller's team did something rare tonight. they showed us their notes. the report the fbi wrote up after they drove over to the white house and interviewed flynn and apparently first realized he was lying. it's another one of those documents the black lines of redaction that we've come to dread. in the trade it's a 302, the form that results in an fbi interview. in this case the agents who asked flynn about his conversations with then russian investigator sergei kislyak. they asked flynn if he recalled any redaction with kislyak about a united nations vote surrounding the issue of israel. in flynn's statement of offense from last year investigators said flynn had asked kislyak for russia to vote against or delay
the resolution. flynn pleaded guilty last december, you'll recall, to lying about his conversations with kislyak. last week michael flynn said he should have been warned about the consequences of lying to the fbi before his interview but in a rare and swift push back for them mueller's team reminded the judge and the public by extension a sitting national security advisor knows he should not lie to the fbi. all this comes as president trump and his legal team are wrapping up their efforts to attack the russia investigation ahead of the flynn sentencing tomorrow. during an interview with fox news sunday giuliani spoke about the chances of trump sitting down with mueller and shared his thoughts on michael flynn's fbi interview. >> special counsel wants to interview the president. >> good luck. good luck. after what they did to flynn after they trapped him into perjury and no sentence for him. 14 days for papadopoulos. >> when you say no way.
>> they're a joke. under my dead body but i could be dead. james comey was back on capitol hill. then afterwards in the hallway to waiting reporters comey let loose with a broader message about the times we're living in, the president we're living under and the behavior of the fbi in this case. >> in recent days with the weight of the flynn investigation has been carried out with a lot of criticism n. your view should that have been handled any differently? how do you defend -- >> oh, come on. you know what's happening to the republican party. they're up here attacking the fbi's investigation of a guy who pled guilty to lying to the fbi. he should have been warned you shouldn't lie. should have been told you can have a lawyer. think of the state of affairs we've ended up in. that's nonsense. i'm very proud of how the fbi
investigated. >> more and we'll have that for you on top of all of this we learned today two of michael flynn's former associates have been charged with conspiracy to act as agents of a foreign government. they are accused of trying to covertly and unlawfully influence u.s. politicians in a plan to extradite a turkish cleric living in pennsylvania back in 2016. basically a rendition out of this country. flynn is not mentioned by name in the indictment but referred to as person a. a lot of that going on these days. he is described as having a key role in the plot. prosecutors say was orchestrated by the turkish government. charges were referred by mueller but were brought by federal prosecutors in the commonwealth of virginia. with all of that let's bring in our lead off panel. graduate of west point, most
importantly for us he is a veteran of the federal bureau of investigation whose past research has focused on russian operations, he wrote "messing with the enemy." barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. shane harris. julia ainsley is here with us. welcome to you all. clint, given your former fbi service, let's start with the particulars. did i get the definition of a 302 about right? >> that's correct. those are the interview notes that would be put into an investigative file after you get done with an interview. usually you go back and write it up right away. go through a review process. several different stages. at this point you have a very senior fbi agent that's doing this. so that's one of the top people. i'm he sure they wanted to go and interview. it's very straightforward. what we don't have is we've
heard rumors of an intercepted call or they picked up on it. we can't compare it to what that might be. that's the one weakness of reading the interview notes. we don't know what was said. if he admitted to lying, there was some other source that was there. let me ask you that during the interview he thanks them for the reminder. how would they have known this? >> let's think about this. based on what i read, this was phone calls made from a person's cell phone in a third skun try back to a diplomat, russian ambassador, sitting in washington d.c. if you're the former head of the defense intelligence agency you might think that that phone call would be heard from other people. it might suggest there could be a whole lot going on with that phone call. i don't know if there is. if you get a reminder saying,
hey, did you say any of the following things? that is a tip that maybe you want to be extra honest or think about your answer to that response. >> i may have watched too much tv but i bet the guys in the white van with the headphones could hear the phone call. barb, is this a new aggressiveness? i'm thinking about the effort to correct the false story that was flying out there that flynn was tricked or duped by the fbi and today now showing their notes, showing the 302 though we hasten to add the black lines are back but is this a new aggressiveness? >> no, i don't think it is at all. i think if you read 3902s it rebuts that flynn was somehow trapped into committing perjury. they were produced only because judge sullivan asked that they be produced after the allegations were made that the fbi had railroaded michael flynn. now we see what actually happened there. as clint has said, they prompted
him, jogged his memory, said, did you ever talk about this, did you ever talk about that. oh, yeah, good reminder. if anything, they were giving him a break and a chance to tell the truth which could have been helpful with who he was relaying the information with. he could have been very helpful but instead chose to continue to cover. so the other allegation about not warning him that it's a crime to lie to the fbi, that is something that is somewhat routine that prosecutors ask fbi agents to do because we have to prove that the defendant knew it was a crime to lie to the fbi. so that makes it easy for us. to look at the report and say the agent even told him during the interview but it's not a legal requirement. it's not an element of the offense. it's there if someone doesn't have the background of a general flynn you can say they were told. someone obviously with his background serving in the
military as a public servant absolutely knows and should know that it's against the law to lie to the fbi. >> anybody watching cable news certainly knows it's against the law to lie to the feds. julia knows this story backwards, forwards, backwards again. the black lines of redaction. which ones peeked your interest more than others? >> got it right here. we talked a lot about how he lied and how he probably -- how he knew that there was a lie. i took a lot of this, brian, to see what he actually told the truth about. right here it said that flynn volunteered after the election he had a closed door meeting with kislyak. they have more connections between these two people than we knew. flynn was calling kislyak for the downed russian plane. he called him after a russian diplomat was -- >> they had a texting relationship. >> hey, can you call me? he was working on having a very close relationship and he even admitted that international officials that he talked to during the transition, he talked to kislyak the most.
he had a different relationship with him. he said his goal of this was he wanted a partner in the war on terror. it doesn't have to be the ambassador of russia especially now that we know so much about how russia wanted to medal in this election especially this campaign, this administration. so that's what i'm taking away. right after that piece he volunteered that he had this closed door meeting with kislyak. we have the biggest black box. i want to know everything he says. >> there has to be an accounting taken over our newsroom. shane, julia walked us to the curb. now walk us across the street. are we any closer on learning why he was lying on russia? >> i don't think we are. >> take a wild guess. >> let's put it this way. there's been this business raised about whether or not
contacts between the designated national security advisor and the russian ambassador violated the logan act which is to say you can't be engaging in foreign policy. given the very limited use of that statute in the two century history, i highly doubt it. the question was why was mike flynn lying about this one? it's perfectly acceptable for him to be reaching out during the transition to want to keep lines of communication open. so still we don't have a real explanation. mike flynn absolutely knew you cannot lie to the fbi. before that interview he was speaking to the deputy director of the fbi. we want to talk to you about your contacts with this russian individual. it's sort of baffling. if there is something he's covering up for. one thing is there. and the why question. other people are involved in the communication with the russian
a.m. pass is a door. she amended her statement to the fbi about this after mike flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the agents. >> clint, it must be a feeling, a singular feeling. you're the only one on the panel who has done this. represented the fbi and sat across civilians and started the questioning process reminding them that they had better be honest because you're an officer of the federal government. boy, i bet that focuses the mind. >> yeah. usually they're nervous as soon as you show up especially if you are showing up based on the teams. they went through his history. when was the first time that you hung out with russians? oh, i went there, you know, i met with the head of the gru, then they worked it back to the very specific points. it's like a funnel. you start very wide.
they wanted to ask what did you say to kislyak sips you overlooked it. it's frustrating. he's one of the top heads of this and you say why would you do this? why would you make phone calls over seas? he says he's on vacation and that he's really busy and he has a poor signal but he had to make a lot of phone calls apparently. doesn't make sense. >> from a blackberry, not a phone drop, not a secured line. >> why were you doing business. two, three weeks later you are the national security advisor. you can do what you want. what are you in such a hurry to build this union with russia. doesn't make any sense. >> julia? >> let's not forget that this interview wasn't the only time that flynn was very trepidations, walking on egg shells. he called tomorrow to make sure they talked about sanctions.
he went ahead and lied about it. then he apparently lied to the vice president about it. it's not a one-time slipup. he came back to this conversation, was worried about having it and then lied about having it. what was it about this conversation that was so worrisome to him. >> barbara, the sentencing recommendation if i'm correct was 50 to 6 months perhaps community service. if you are flynn's lawyer tonight, are you nervous that this thing has gone a little wobbly, a little sideways? >> i am a little bit because, you know, flynn got a really great deal. i think we learned a lot more about that today. he got a pass on this other activity involving turkey and lobbying without disclosing that to the u.s. government and so now he wants to go in and get credit for cooperation. he wants credit for acceptance
of responsibility. i think if i were flynn's lawyer i would go in tomorrow and i would not talk anything about this railroading stuff. i would talk about his remorse, his service. i would focus on his heroism to the country and his incredible cooperation in this investigation in hopes of goat being him a sentence of probation and leave this railroading theory behind. >> shane, what's the version for a dim civilian like yours truly about what we learned from flynn through these turkish indictments today? did that advance the ball in your field of study? >> i think it did. what we realize is while mike flynn is working as a senior advisor to the trump campaign and then later working on the man who was the nominee for his party to policy and not disclosing that. this issue of working on the
extradition. cleric in pennsylvania. that was a dead issue as far as the justice department was concerned bringing him back to turkey. here's mike flynn while he's working for this agency, countered contrary to u.s. policy. it looks essentially like mike flynn is potentially leveraging his status. high profile senior advisor to a presidential nominee which is of course it raises huge questions about his professional judgment, about conflicts of interest and really ethical issues, frankly. why is somebody who is advising the possible next president engaging in secret work on behalf of a foreign government. he should have known he shouldn't be doing that. >> living proof that we do have the best people.
presidency and here's how bad it is when compiled by one enterprising journalist. "wired" magazine tallied up at least 17 distinct court cases stemming from at least seven different sets of prosecutors and investigators. that does not include federal investigations. we have six categories. russian interference in 2016 campaign. hush money payments. inaugural committee spending. misuse of charity funds. foreign payments and emoluments clause. and a defamation lawsuit over a sexual assault from a former apprentice contestant. we've been left to read this story in progress. as it's laid out in all the various charging documents,
sentencing documents especially those related to michael cohen, they all raise questions about whether trump could be indicted. the man who was formerly the top government lawyer before the supreme court, neil contial feels the trump case could be so unique that rule may not apply. >> there are memos that say a sitting president can't be indicted but they're generic memos. they don't apply to a situation like this in which the crime that's being alleged is one that allowed someone to get the presidency in the first place. you know, these are campaign contributions and hush money that could very well have swung the 206 efforts. they may be the most serious in united states. >> the president spent much of
his launching a combined unliked attack and included a broad side against federal investigators. remember michael cohen only became a rat after the fbi did something which was unthinkable, unheard of until the wish hunt was started. why didn't they bring into the dna or get the server or crooked's office. it was an fbi raid that executed a federal warrant. giuliani slammed him for pleading guilty and trying to defend his client, the president. >> southern district says you can get out of jail. >> if you do this. you have three years now. there's a real motivation to sing like crazy. he has a lot of sipping to do to get out of the three years. he has changed his story three or four time. >> so hasn't the president. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> preserve protect and defend
the constitution of the united states so help me god. >> that last part was too easy. with us to talk about it tonight is pulitzer prize winner phillip rucker. former republican member of congress, david jolly. welcome to you both. phil, what must it be like? the question you asked me, looming government shutdown. the ongoing twitter war with elements of his own government and now the economy, which is starting to pop up on the radars of a good many folks who when they last checked things were humming along. >> yeah, brian. the gyrations in the stock market have president trump especially worried these last few weeks because he knows that a good economy is going to be
the key to his re-election in 2020. and if we are to head into a recession as some economists suggest maybe happening, that does not boyd well for his political future. trump is dealing with this cascade of legal investigations that are really quite perilous for him. it goes beyond the russia investigation. some of these ensnare members of his family. ivanka, done jr. and jared kushner. they get to his business practices which he has taken great pains to keep secret from the public by not releasing the tax returns. the businesses is an issue he felt was a read line for mueller but there are separate signals. 2019 is the year because the democrats in the house are committed to doing so, not just about russia, not just about the
hush money but they plan to try to subpoena his tax returns. they plan to investigate the emoluments clause and corruption with his businesses. they also plan to investigate issues throughout the administration and some of these cabinet agencies. >> congressman, i have one more greatest hit to show you from america's former mayor. this is about a sliding scale unknown to most of us for payoff payments. we'll show it and talk about it on the other side. >> the amount of money is concise tint with harassment, not truth. i have been involved in cases like this. when it's true and have the money the president had, it's a million dollar settlement. they went away with so little money you indicate it's worth it. >> you have your million dollar settlements and 1/3s over here. >> rudy giuliani is a terrible lawyer right now.
the reason he's flailing, the president is under oath from michael cohen to the prosecutors that name the president as a con spirit issor in a federal felony to the judge that has entered judgment regarding that underlying crime. the reason you think you see donald trump mt. rushmore, he's more likely to be the third president to be impeached. the reason i mean that is democrats are going to face a very touch issue. donald trump has been named a criminal conspiracy in court. it's been entered into judgment, accepted by a federal judge. if the judge did not think that. this is going to be a tough place for democrats. they have to approach it 2459 president of the united states has implicated. anything else would be article 1
authority within the constitution. i think a lot of the american people are going to say, democrats, if you look the other way. what does that mean for presidential immunity. >> for the record, comey has popularity issues and that's when he was refined. it undermines the rule of law. this is the president of the united states calling a witness who has cooperated with his own justice department a rat. say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we have ended up. there's a set of values that represent the glue of this country and they are under attack by things just like that. we have to stop being numb to it whether you're republican or democrat, you need to stand on your feet, overcome your shame and say something.
>> so phil ricker the question i guess becomes does that change any mind? will anything be different tomorrow because he said that today? >> you know, i don't know that any minds are going to be different on capitol hill tomorrow. it's important to keep in mind the context of that impromptu statement from comb comey. he was coming out of a closed door hearing. he was dealing with questions from a lot of republican lawmakers about hillary clinton's e-mails and some of the issues that president trump has been hammering. he's exasperated that there were not republican legislators who are willing to stand up to president trump, who are willing to forcefully defend the rule of law. there's a new congress coming in in january. certainly i think the democrats are going to be hammering this rule of law issue. but the question remains whether any republican leaders or senators are going to be willing to carry that banner. john mccain is now dead. jeff flake is leaving the senate. bob corker is leaving the senate. mitt romney is arriving in the
senate and he's going to want to fulfill that goal. >> congressman, what did you make of his words today? >> history will cast a long shadow. we've talked about mick mull vainfully saying donald trump is a terrible person but accepting the job of chief of staff. those in the senate are trying to distance themselves but support his agenda. at the end of the day we do get to judge our political leaders based on a certain leadership integrity quotient. we have seen none of that for
republicans. >> our thanks to phil and david for coming on our broadcast tonight and helping us understand what happened today. coming up for us, alarming new details about how trump supporting russians schemed to mislead americans on every social media flat form out there and it's still going on as we speak. tonight the story when we come back.
targeted the special counsel. two reports commissioned by the senate intelligence committee and focused on the internet research agency, the russian troll farm, robert mueller indicted last february. according to one of them, quote, what is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the republican party, specifically donald trump. the goal was to reinforce tribalism, polarize and exploit societal factors. blur the lines between reality and fiction. our trust in media entities and the environment in governor. the interference is active and ongoing. notably the trolls have tried to create and amplify the narrative. the emerging russia stories were a weird conspiracy pushed by liberal cry babies, who else? the online post received nearly 265 million engagements as they're called a cross
platforms. that includes likes, retweets, shares. with us to talk about this tonight and the seriousness, malcolm nance. special ops, homeland security. his book is called "the plot that destroyed democracy." malcolm, most people if you ask them will say the schools are in terrible shape except the one my kid goes to so as a consumer matter, i'm guessing a lot of people think i'm too smart for this. tell us what it looks like on our phones tonight? >> what it looks like is information flowing into your telephone. what you think that you're getting across from facebook and all these other media sources and of course the fake media as
donald trump calls it is just a fundamental part of your day whether you're listening to am radio, looking at photographs on instagram and pinterest. what russia has done and where the true brilliance of this intelligence operation comes from is way back in the early 2000s the russian military conducted a strategic study and started carrying out a disinformation plan in which they said that instead of carrying out connecticut energy and we could build a frame over t. to the point where over time as we are constantly tearing them apart and feeding them with false information, they would actually welcome an invasion. so russia has done that to the united states. it began way before 2016. the earliest references i have
in relation to donald trump started back in 2011 with maria boutina and the nra contacts with christian right and the alt right in the united states. russia was pushing them then. then in 2013 they stood up the russian federation internet research agency which built all of these memes and tropes. it became the fake news designed to do what it did today, take 1/3 of the united states population and make them refused to believe what they see before their very eyes and may have elected a president in the process. >> one of your long held beliefs that simultaneously breaks my heart is they were so good at breaking apart our differences, dividing american against american and knowing such an incredible cost-benefit analysis.
knowing how to do it and you won't be surprised if they had american help. >> absolutely. the cost of this mission by russian intelligence, that's who carried this mission out. they were a subcontractor to russian military intelligence in the fsb, russia's national security agency. it was done at the cost of less than a couple cruz missiles. they now own the mind set of 1/3 of this nation. by doing that they have managed to now make us not believe anything that we believed before. that diversity was an american factor which made us greater. they have played on the themes of far right conspiracy theorists from the 1960s. the john birch society, a sideline group and the farthest extremes of the libertarian
parties. they have amplified racism to the point where the alt right, steve bannon's own creation of gamers is now of the wholly owned subsidiary of the alt right. to the point where they're mainstreamed. this is how effective this information warfare campaign has been carried out and let me tell you, this report shows how they went after to suppress the african-american vote and there is no doubt in my mind or anybody else's in the intelligence community that doesn't believe it took american citizens to assist them in really getting down to where these voters were who needed to be suppressed and did it in such a fashion one of their twitter groups had 366,000 followers on it. >> malcolm nance, this is why we ask you all the time to come on the broadcast.
scary stuff, but it needs to be said. needs to be heard. thank you for joining us. coming up for us, an angry james comey letting republicans have it saying they're too afraid to defend the fbi. they're too afraid to stand up to donald trump. bill crystal is with us, another recent target of donald trump when "the 11th hour" continues.
republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, that words of a president matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters. where are those republicans today? at some point someone has to stand up in the face of fear of fox news, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stands up and speak the truth. >> bill crystal is with us to talk about what we just
witnessed, and that was james comey in the hallway on the hill today, what could end up being the moment of this day and these days that would be saying a lot. bill is a veteran of the ragan and bush administrations. long-time journalist who's the former editor at large of "the weekly standard," something we'll get to. bill, do you think mr. comey's words are going to cause courage to break out, couldn't help but think of here's looking at you, corker. here's looking at you senator flay. do you think it will have an impact cumulatively. different straws are being built up on the cam mess's back. the support for trump is stronger than i would like to see. i would like to think there's a sense of foreboweding, the wheels are coming off. the white house is in disarray. trump did badly in the election.
the options last month, economy, stock market is down for the year. i've been hoping, one always hopes for a magic moment where the scales fall from the eyes and the timidity falls from the soul and people step forward courageously. you can see the cracks in the support for trump. >> i've got to read you about what happened to you over the weekend and your friends take no glee in this. you ended up on the president's twitter feed. this was advice a have i the closing of "the weekly standard." >> the pathetic and dishonest weekly standard run by failed prognosticator bill kristol is flat broke. remind us what the weekly standard was and along comes david brooks. the standard was conservative but it frequently dissented from the republican establishment and
delighted in modern pop culture. the staff was never unanimous about everything. the many flavors of conservatism were hashed out in its pages. that was a hell of a tribute. >> david brooks is one of those. he was there at the beginning and of course moved onto the "new york times." some people stepped down from "the standard" and still do pretty well. it was very nice for david to write that column. i think we put out good information. one of his main people that are pretty consistently arguing about him.
may it rest in peace. i think that's a wish of his, not an actual sincere hope. the wish is that it will go away, we're going to rest in peace. charlie sykes, steve haze, john mcormack and i and others will continue to write and speak out. as i said before, i think that, you know, scales are coming off other people's eyes on donald trump. they don't quite want to say it yet, but i was approached earlier today and in the past he would berate me, mom me. sticking to the anti-trump kind of things. so we'll see. we'll see what happens. you have to call it as you see it. i'm very proud of what was put out. i think it was a high quality magazine. i'm proud of almost all of the people who worked there. great pleasure being a colleague of theirs.
donald trump doesn't have those kinds of homecomings. good principles carried out with good cheer. >> that's what i wanted to hear and what i wanted to give you the opportunity to say on television having read your name. bill kristol, friend of this broadcast. thank you for coming on. >> thanks, brian. another break for us. more on "the 11th hour" when we come back.
last thing before we go tonight now that a new week is officially underway, the evidence, not the numbers, are on the move with new polling out showing the various russia-related investigations exacting a grim toll on the president who was as poll obsessed as any candidate in the history of the presidency. the headline here is this. six in ten americans say president trump has been untruthful about the russia investigation. only 10% believe he has gotten the message for the change coming out of the mid terms. in fact, more americans, 48%, want congressional democrats to be in charge of setting policy. only 19% want trump in charge of that. it probably won't please donald trump that michelle obama's name scored highest in opinion
polling at 60%. the fbi is at 51%. trump's at 37. pelosi, 28. russia at 6. fred yang, democratic pollster on our bipartisan team said there's another warning sign, all of this for the administration and that's the economy. as he put it, quote, for the first time in trump's presidency his safety net shows signs of unraveling. as peter hart, the namesake of our long-time polling colleagues put it, when presenting these numbers, the dam has not burst on donald trump, but this survey suggests all the structural cracks that exist in the dam. on that note, that's our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.
this morning, former national security advisor michael flynn will be sentenced for lying to the fbi. it comes just a day after two of his ex-associated were charged. congress is inching closer to a government shutdown. republicans and democrats are stuck in a stalemate over president trump's demand for 5 billion in border wall funding. james comey slams republicans for not standing up to president trump, but the white house is hitting back at his comments. ♪ good morning.