tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN February 14, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
administration a mirrere 25 day in. press secretary sean spicer just faced a tough briefing. regarding now resigned general michael flynn. it was revealed the department of justice warned the administration late last month that flynn could be blackmailed by the russians. he originally denied speaking about sanctions with russia and then yes, indeed discussions were held. he apologized for giving quote unquote incomplete information to the vice president and to others. so moments ago you had sean spicer saying flynn's quitting
was not a legal issue, it was a trust here. here he was. >> the issue isn't whether or not what he discussed. there's been a complete legal review of that and there's no issue of that. the issue is whether or not he failed to properly inform the vice president or not remember it but that's the simple issue, when he lost trust that's when the president asked for the resignation. >> we go to sara marie. >> the president found out about this 19 days ago, tell me about that. >> that's right, we know that donald trump essentially fired his national security adviser last night asking for his resignation and accepting it, but one of the big lingering questions is why did this drag on so long if the president was
already aware for weeks. take a look how sean spicer explained the timeline today. >> the acting attorney general informed the white house counsel that they wanted to give quote a heads up to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he had sent the vice president out in particular. the white house counsel informed the president immediately. the president asked them to conduct a review whether there was a legal situation there, that was immediately determined there wasn't, that's what the president believed at the time what he had been told and proofed to be correct. the issue pure and simple came down to an issue of trust and the president concluded he no longer had the trust of his national security adviser. >> it was determined there was no legal issue there and that's a good indication that what's been hanging them up is not whether or not michael flynn discussed these with the russian
ambassador and flynn seems to acknowledge he did an that was in fact the case but the question with president trump was a matter of trust, you cannot have your national security adviser running around and misleading your president. we're hearing from both republicans and democrats today saying they want more information about the contacts an communications between donald trump, his transition michael flynn and russian adversaries. >> thank you very much. phillip rucker, white house bureau chief of the "washington post" broke this story open last night. all ininvolvolve allegations of blackmail. >> great to be here, brooke. >> if the white house was concerned or doj was concerned
that somehow michael flynn would have been open to blackmail do we know that was because of the conversation he had with the russian ambassador or something else? >> it's the conversation that he had with the russian ambassador and the fact that he misled vice president pence and others about the conversation and the fact he was basically lying internally in the white house is what created the blackmail situation, it was something that the russians knew about flynn and knew they could use against him, and it was sally yates who conveyed that to the president. >> sally yates, in your piece she was integral in this, but also someone who the president fired what two weeks ago over the travel ban which leads to questions about potentially muddied issues and why she was
let go. >> well, we know her communication about the flynn matter came only a few days before he was fired over the travel ban issue. the travel ban issue was that she instructed her sub order nan na -- s subordinates not to enforce the travel ban, but there were already clearly tensions between her and the white house, she was a holdover from the obama administration until getting jeff sessions confirmed. >> this is one who trump has talked to more than anyone. candidate trump, now president trump, briefed the president daily by his side all the time. this is how the cnn contributor put all this on twitter. he said quote isn't it possible that trump told flynn to talk to
the russian ambassador about sanctions and knew flynn lied to pence. this is something lizza is putting out there. how, phillip, how will we ever know for sure? >> i don't know how we will ever know for sure, i wish the president would come forward and address this. but sean spicer did today the president did not know about the sanctions discussion until he was notified by the white house counsel. i think we are going to learn more about what the president knew and when. but he is the top national security adviser, his role is to synthesize all of the community for that briefing he was with the president over the weekend at mar-a-lago, briefing the president on classified information just yesterday, so this is a very important figure who had a lot of private
one-on-one conversations with the president over many months. >> thank you, excellent, excellent reporting with the "washington post." >> thank you. >> michael hanlen welcome to you, my goodness, what a slow news day it is -- i'm joking. with phil rucker around mihis je about flynn, with prime minister down at mar-a-lago, i'll pose this, the president knew about this back on january 26th why did he allow michael flynn to sit in on all these very important meetings for 19 days
until he asked him to resign? >> that's a great question, brooke, and i can only speculate of course, i think this has to do with dynamics between the vice president and the president. we learned that the vice president was the one who got the bad information from general flynn, his reputation was put on the line with public statements he made which parentally turned out to be incorrect. so another story angle might be how much influence mr. trump has given to his vice president in this crucial decision since as you pointsed out flynn was aligned with trump a lot longer than pence, so you might have thought there might be a longer period of getting a second chance or third chance, but there wasn't. >> right. now we see ultimately emerge, the vice president with the resignation of michael flynn. >> amy, you were on the security council, this issue with
blackmail, that michael flynn was potentially open to blackmail by the russians. what do you think president trump should have done when he first learned about this end of last month? >> so look, the question of whether a national security member can be blackmailed is one of the very fundamental questions that is investigated when you are being vetted to serve in that sort of role. and the key reason is when you are on the national security council and particularly for the national security adviser, that person has access to the most classified and compartmented information that the u.s. government has. that person knows where men and women who are serving the united states whether they're in a covert role or otherwise acting in very sensitive situations that person knows where their located and what they're doing and why, and so that person
could be put at risk, the lives and safety is absolutely fundamental as to whether or not that person should have access to that information. >> athe fact that michael flynn has been in national security for decades. one would have access to a transcript that it could be listened to, am i right? >> he should have known and particularly given the role he was going into one would assume he would know which frankly makes it puzzling. it's absolutely imperative that he not only be a credible actor on the behalf of the united states, but that he appear to be a credible actor on behalf of the united states, so anything that compromises his impartial yalt raises significant
concerned. >> what he knew and when, there's also the issue of someone on twitter quite a bit. he's been pretty mum until this tweet. he wrote quote the real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of washington. will these leaks be happening as i deal with north korea. so not the fact that michael flynn lied to the vice president, that's what he's tweeting about and had it not been for the leaks, we might not be having this conversation today. >> it's true. and certainly general flynn made some serious mistakes and i'm not going to suggest that the decision was wrong. i'm a little bit of a skeptic that this rose to the level of serious vulnerability to blackmail however. >> you are? >> i am skeptical. technically speaking it does appear he didn't comply fully
with the law but everyone knew there was going to be a new russia policy in three weeks and flynn repeating that truism to me is not a big deal, i don't always agree with every word out of sean spicers mouth but i do believe this came down to a trust issue, i think that matters more than the supposed issue of blackmail. amy's point is valid, but i don't take it quite to the same level as some people do. >> i appreciate the skepticism. >> amy, we have seen this jason chaffetz now announcing he's opening up the investigation about classified information down at mar-a-lago down in palm beach where we have the pictures over the weekend. president trump takes the prime minister an because of this
missile of north korea, the classified information in the middle of this dinner party reading, what's your reaction to this newly launched investigation to that? >> so, i think it's important that the facts be investigated. protecting our classified information is critical to keeping the united states safe from a range of adversaries and that's kind of the lesson you learn day one when you join the national security community. we have seen throughout the years people who have been disciplined for failure to abide by the classification requirements. these are serious allegations and not just because of one particular incident but because of the vulnerability that it introduces into protecting the united states, so i think it's appropriate to do an investigation and to make sure that the rules are followed here. >> on balance, the white house does say they were sitting there discussing the details from their joint news conference. that's what we heard.
let me bring in anna innavaro. we have heard from republicans and democrats calling now for this bipartisan investigation of michael flynn. but you e-mailed me this morning telling me you were angry, why? >> because it's taken republicans so long to really speak up and get behind folks like lindsey graham and john mccain to investigate ties to election hacking. i just don't understand what my party leadership is doing. we know putin is a thug, we know he is no ally or friend the united states. we not get to the bottom of this? the integrity of our political institutions is too important and should be beyond and above
partisanship. there are such serious questions here that threaten our political institutions and need to say now loud and proud our loyalty is with our nation. we all know that if this had been happening under a hillary clinton under a barack obama presidency republicans would be all over the place trying to investigate it. i just think they need to be consistent with republican values, the values i grew up with. >> matt? >> when susan rice went on all the sunday morning talk shows and was not honest about the reasons for the benghazi disaster, republicans were upset, but we didn't call it a constitutional crisis. the fact is is this the president decided to not take actions against his aid who did not tell the truth.
>> but ultimately you had a mega benghazi investigation. >> no, but the president himself, the president himself did not take any actions against staff. this president when faced with what seems to be the fact that general flynn mischaracterized and maybe disassembled these conversations -- i think it's okay even if you don't like donald trump in the case to say it was the right thing for him to accept the resignation. >> do you agree? >> all of trump's aides have gone on tv and said different things, it's very hard to follow what's happened because within hours they are totally in conflict in what they are
sayin saying. they had the vice president go out and say something that wasn't true. if it wasn't for the lies that were exposed, he would probably still be in there, we are not doing our party our country any favors by playing dumb. the russian ties with the trump administration are very -- >> hang on, hang on. let me jump in i want to play some sound. this is a trump surrogate on. this is what he said. >> misled, maybe even lied to members of the white house, why is everybody so quiet? >> well, it's valentines day and i guess they're having breakfast with their wives. i think it's time to move on, find a replacement. i certainly know general kellogg would be a great replacement so let's move on, north korea, the
travel ban, continued discussions with russia, it's a busy, busy white house so general flynn did what he thought was in the best interest of the country and i certainly respect that and think it time to just move on. >> matt, move on? >> no, i agree with anna ther y are questions that need to be answered and this whole thing came about not because of what happened in the media, but general flynn the transcripts or whatever, they were listened to. >> right but there were leaks and great journalism that definitely led to this. >> brooke, i'm not saying that the jump adjourn lipss -- ask
questions about our russian policy, i think congress should always investigate. it's their job, i have no problem with them having hearings, i don't think let's ask all the questions that the american people want to know, let's answer them and let's get about the real issues here and the real issues here is not rehashing you know what happened with general flynn, the real issue is what is our stance toward russia and the foreign policy. >> on russian policy this is what sean said in the briefing then i want to talk. >> the irony of this entire situation that the president has been incredibly tough on russia, he continues to raise the issue of crimea, nikki haley stood before the security council the first day and strongly denounced
the situation in criincri -- cr the president has made it very clear he expects the de-escalate the situation and return crimea. unlike previous administrations so we can solve problems of the world such as isis and terrorism. >> in what alternate universe has trump ever been tough on russia? he's never said a bad word about putin and russia. >> i don't know what universe. if he was having conversations with russian officials during the campaign, the american people want to know. this is one more level of a mounting mountain of evidence of
troublesome russia trump ties. i'll give you some manafort the second campaign manager that had to quit because of his russian ties >> can i jump in, brooke. >> sure. >> we're talking about this conversation, anna, happened in december. that's what they're talking about and some are saying yes, this might have been broke the logan act. others say it was perfectly reasonable to have that conversation with general flynn. i will agree with you it seems pretty clear that president trump is intent on thawing relations with russia, not because he thinks he's a great guy, i think he's a terrible guy. >> do you think he will pivot, do you think he will change his view on putin?
>> i think donald trump would like to start off with a warmer relationship with russia and overtime putin will proof to be what he has with the two previous administrations nothing but a thug. >> it should be troublesome to every single american regardless of the party. i would like to be able to talk to the a.g., who was fired, and know what was happening weeks and weeks ago, i would like to know what those conversations. >> they can do it today. >> exactly. so why don't they? >> they have. the congress already has. you should read -- brooke, help me out here. >> we have a president who has given us a moral equivalency. >> stop. >> no, don't tell me to stop. >> please, anna. >> you're the one yelling at me.
i think you're little -- >> you're talking to the wrong girl, matt. you can say stop to somebody else, you're not going to stop me, baby. >> let's talk about the facts. congress has the ability to have those hearings at any time. have you not listened to what senator johnson has said senator blunt has said, they agree there are real issues that congress needs to have hearings on, and i think they're being responsible in asking for them. >> great then you and i are in unison we should have a select committee to investigate the russians. >> hey, happy valentines day. >> happy valentines day, thank you both so much. >> breaking news, russia appears to have a break a decade old treaty, and a russian spy ship off the coast of the u.s.?
question is what are you learning about what's happening off of delaware right now? >> hi, brooke, we are seeing several moves off moscow, one of which is a spy ship is sailing off the coast of delaware, that's design toded to gather intelligence. in addition we're also hearing moscow has deployed a ground based cruise missile that america says it is in violation of the inf treaty from 1987 and learning that russian war planes came within 1,000 yards this the black sea, so we are seeing these moves occurring almost within a matter of days and so
something definitely that the pentagon is taking note of. >> we just heard crickets, but what is the official line? >> you know, it's approaching midnight here, so we're going to be looking out and trying to get reaction from the russian government on these reports that are clearly coming from the pentagon trying to confirm them o or get any further details, i can presume in international waters, they'll say it's international waters so allowed to be there, i can't imagine what the response will be about the allegations of a new kind of cruise missile that may be banned. of course we'll be asking about that. we go to past russian doctrine to interpret the expansion -- as a threat to russia and that russia holds the right and holds
on to the right to protect itself to what it perceives to be a provocative action. moscow has been open and a lot of people here celebrated when donald trump won the election, they celebrated his positive statements about russia but doesn't mean that russian doctrine has completely transformed over the past two months. that's possibly what we may be seeing if these reports prove to be true. >> thank you. coming up my next guest was to be part of the trump inner circle until the president told steve bannon to reject him. next.
with national security adviser michael flynn out who is left to advice on foreign policy? rex tillerson for one, but the former exxonmobil executive who lacks military experience, number two elliott abrahams is now out of the running, serves as the national security adviser for president george w. bush and says he was nixed because of steve bannon. i talked with elliott moments ago and asked him what it means. >> you have three advisors, flynn being the latest one, all now under investigation into potential ties with russia and
even roy blunt a republican senator now calling on this investigation into president and russia, there's a lot of smoke, elliott, how suspicious are you of president trump and moscow? >> i have to say we don't know the facts even about the election for example. i've always thought that the russians believed hillary clinton would win the election and they weren't trying to throw the election, they were trying to harm the next president namely who they thought would be hillary clinton but i think they really made a significant effort to hurt her and under mine her, how significant, how big was it? i don't know. who knew about it? i don't know that either. but i think you are going to find out more from the republicans in the senate. i think one good thing that comes out of this frankly is that this strag administration
going to be rough on russia, now they're going to have to take a harder line at least until all this settles down from from my point of view is a very good thing. >> because of this you expect unlike anything we have seen from trump, him to pivot and be tough on russia? >> i think he really has to. nic nikki haley said we're not going to remove sanctions because of the ukraine, i think that has to stay in place, while frankly this mess is cleared up. >> if he doesn't pivot and keeps the same line as he has, would you then be suspicious? >> well, i wouldn't be suspicious that it's -- that he's being compromised. i would just say that it's bad policy, really wrong policy but i think you're going to find a
awful a lot of republicans on the hill saying we have to find this out. the intelligence community has to look into this and get their own facts of who knew what at the fbi and who did they tell it to when did the chief of staff find out when the president find out? was it all the same day? i think you're going to find they're looking into that pretty carefully. >> last night i saw you on erin burnett "out front" and that it was you being number two officially snagging that, we keep hearing that the knives are out. have you ever seen anything quite like this? >> no. in the bush administrations george w. bush. >> that if you're seen with a
knife you're out. there was a store in bloomberg, priebus he's behind, not catching up. where does that come from? that's an inside story if you take a look at it. if i were advising the new national security advisor the first thing i would say to him or her, you have to be in charge of rrpt to eporting to the pres. there cannot be a strategic group particularly bannon and talking about foreign policy, you've got to be if guy. so i think this disorganization that i think we are now into the fourth week of really has got to end and you know the word that's missing so far? >> what? >> loyalty. loyalty. >> but people talked initially about mr. trump that he values loyalty within his inner circle.
>> well, to him seems strong, but it can't be we'll knife each other but won't knife you. we all take care of each other. loyalty of the president means we are not trying to screw other members of the staff and get advantage over them and that's what you are not seeing. you're not seeing that kind of loyalty. >> we know general petraeus is on the replacement job, one of throw names floated. just a question, who would you back? >> i know general petraeus little. -- these are both great patriots and people who served their country enormously and i think would do a really terrific job. those of the two that i know the best. >> okay. elliott abrahams thank you so much for the time. >> you're welcome.
a bipartisan committee of senators some of whom are still on the fence about labor secretary nominee andy puzder is reviewing a 1990s episode of the oprah winfrey show. why? because in this interview, puzder's ex-wife accuses him of domestic violence. she is now privately telling senators she made a mistake in leveling those allegations. by the way, puzder's confirmation hearing is set for this thursday. manu raju is our go to guy on the hill, senior congressional reporter. you've seen the tape. what exactly are the allegations she makes then? i know she's walked it back now. >> well, brooke, i have not seen the tape, but some of the committee -- some of the members on the committee have seen that tape. it is actually not available for public release and members on
that -- the oprah network actually has the rights to that tape, which is one reason why they have not release it had widely. so, there was one screening actually last week in which some members attended to watch that episode from the late 1980s on puzder's ex-wife leveling those domestic abuse allegations. also she appeared in disguise because she did not want her at that time ex-husband to know that she was on the show. now, one senator who i did speak with who watched that tape is patty murry, the top democrat on the committee that will be reviewing his nomination in that confirmation hearing this thursday. she did not like what she saw. here's what she said. you saw the oprah video. what did you think that of? >> i think it's very troubling. i'm not going to comment on the case. i think there's a lot in this nominee, background comments that he's made, that are very troubling and should be to all
of us about someone who's job is going to be to protect workers in the workplace. it's the ads that he has put out there, comments he has made in the past, issues of sexual harassment, how he treats and respects women. >> reporter: will you ask him about the oprah tape at the hearing? >> i haven't decided yet. >> reporter: now, some republicans on the committee, too, have seen that tape including lisa murkowski of alaska and she had actually told our colleague tom lobianco she has not made a decision whether or not to support mr. puzder's nomination, even after seeing that tape. some republicans also on the committee, three other ones, are still withholding their support, waiting for him to answer questions. but it is important to note that his ex-wife did send a letter to the committee saying this she regretted her appearance on that oprah show, saying she only did it because she wanted to appear as a champion for women's rights and she wanted to, quote, get a free trip to chicago. and she's taken back all of those domestic abuse
allegations, dropped them and now calls them a very good man. the domestic abuse cases did not actually happen. but expect all this, brooke, to have to come forward at that hearing this thursday, brooke. >> on thursday, manu, thank you very much, on the hill. coming up next president trump's representative at the u.n. slamming north korea for its recent ballistic missile test. cnn is live inside pyonyang on details on the regime's nuclear technology. if you have medicare parts a and b and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance
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we continue to follow the breaking news on two russian provocations. the first russia has secretly deployed a ground launch cruise missile, although the exact location of the flight test is unclear. what we do know is that this deployment is an apparent violation of a landmark arms treaty that helped see the end of the cold war. meantime, in a separate incident, in international
waters off the coast of delaware, the u.s. has spotted a russian spy ship. the vessel is outfitted with high-tech spying equipment and is designed to intercept signals -- intelligence so it will be interesting to see how president trump and the u.s. respond to that. thanks for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" starts now. >> thanks, brooke. i understand why general flynn would think lying in the white house would not be that big a deal. "the lead" starts now. the cover up cost the national security advisor his job and his reputation. as vladimir putin possibly sees an opening, deploying a missile violating an arms treaty with the u.s. the sudden and mysterious death of kim jong-un's half brother after he was reportedly attacked, did his play boy life-style catch up with him or was something more sinister afoot? plus a thundering flood, homes in danger, the race to patch up part o