this is cnn breaking news. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. here in new york. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us. we begin with breaking news. more trouble for the fired national security adviser michael flynn. the chairman and ranking member of the house panel says it appears flynn failed to follow the law and did not properly disclose payments from foreign governments. >> as a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from russia, turkey, or anybody else. and it appears as if he did take that money. it was inappropriate. and there are repercussions for the violation of law. >> we cannot discuss the contents of the documents that
we just saw because they are classified. but we can say this. they are extremely troubling. we have concerns and i believe these documents should be classified to the fullest extent possible without compromising sources and methods. >> let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim -- they also say the white house declined to provide other documents requested by as part of the investigation. walk us through these late breaking developments. >> wolf, i'll tell you, to see the top republican and democrat there from the house oversight committee, jason chaffetz, they've seen the documents. the issue is $45,000 that flynn was paid. this is a kremlin controlled
television network. government propaganda. he took that money. you and our viewers will probably remember the picture of him sitting at a banquet in moscow next to the russian p president vladimir putin when he went to give this speech. he's a retired general. needed to do so from the aerrmy and defense department. but did not report the money he was paid for on that speech on his security clearance form when he was picked as the national security adviser. that's not just frowned upon. that is potentially illegal and that's what you hear from both chaffetz and sumincummings. they've asked the white house for documents but the white house referring them to the defense department, not cooperating on other issues. but when you have a republican and democrat, they are from the house oversight committee pushing for this. talking about possible breaking of the law by flynn. we've not seen the end of this case. >> i think you're absolutely right. jim acosta, the white house is
pushing back a bit on the suggestion that they're refusing to provide documents to this committee. what are you hearing from inside the trump administration? >> that's right, wolf. the white house is saying it's impossible for them to turnover these documents to the house oversight committee because they don't have them. they are referring the oversight committee to the relevant agencies in that process apparently is now under way. they're not disputing this letter was sent from the white house to the committee. they acknowledge they did send that letter. we should also point out that general flynn's attorney did put out a statement. it says has has been previously reported general flynn briefed the defense intelligence agency, a component agency of dod regarding the rt, the russia television speaking event before and after the trip and answered any questions that were posed by dia concerning the trip. you also have the attorney
pushing back but this goes to show you how problematic the selection of general flynn has been for president trump when he selected mike flynn for national security adviser. this has been a drip, drip, drip process in terms of getting to the bottom of the just what michael flynn was up to when he was having these discussions with russian officials during the campaign, during the transition, and so. and keep in mind, wolf, there's just this messy component to all of this and that during the campaign, and you'll recall this, wolf, michael flynn led those chants of lock her up. he did so during campaign rallies and so on. and now you have the heads of the house oversight committee, both democrat and republican, saying that michael flynn did not comply with the law and so democrats are going to have a field day with this for just as long as they can. >> as jim points out it's not just elijah cummings, it's the
chairman jason chaffetz as well. they were making very strong statements. the former acting attorney general sally yates and the former director of national intelligence james clapper are now set to testify a second time. may 8th on russian interference in the presidential election. they're going to be testifying on may 8th before the senate judiciary committee. earlier they were both testifying before the house intelligence committee, but senator lindsey graham, he's the chairman of the subcommittee, what is he saying about yates's testimony? this could be very significant? >> senator graham is saying he's interested in a couple things. one, he's interested in why the former trump campaign, national security adviser carter page was a subject of a fisa warrant requested by the fbi. he wants to know what was behind that. where that may lead. that's key to him. and keep in mind you will have the former acting attorney general sally yates, the former director of national intelligence james clapper like lie to testify before three committees. you have the senate and house
intelligence committees doing their own investigation. senate hasn't released their list yet, but it's pretty certain you're going to have clapper and yates on that list. now you have the subcommittee from judiciary lindsey graham's pursuit as well. so it shows you that you've got three tracks here going. almost competing tracks talking to the same people. where does this lead? clearly the investigation's going to go on for some time. senator graham says he's alsoed in michael flynn. this particular issue, sally yates had said her concern was that he might be blackmailable by russia because of things he does. things he did in the past. we're not sure what that is. and senator graham wants to know exactly why that is. he wants to pursue it through his subcommittee as well. >> as you know, based on what sally yates told the white house, he event ually, flynn, ws dismissed by the president after only a month or so on the job. thanks for your reporting. lots of developments to discuss with our panel.
we have our cnn military analyst retired air force colonel scedrc leighton. policy and business reporter. you worked with general flynn on the joint staff back in 2008, 2009. so what's your reaction to the news that he may have not followed the law when he was seeking security clearances to become the president's national security adviser and paerappare did not notify anyone at the time those security clearances that he received about $45,000 from r.t, russian television? >> wolf, my reaction is supreme disappointment. when you work for somebody and you've been around them for quite some time, you want them to uphold the highest standards. you're held to those standards yourself and you expect your seniors to do the same thing. so i would characterize it as supreme disappointment.
i am not only concerned about this, but it does look to me as if there is a lot more as they mentioned, a lot more to this than what we currently see. >> colonel, when you worked with him, what was your impression of michael flynn? you had a close working relationship with him d. you think he was qualified to become the national security adviser to the president of the united states? >> general flynn was a really good ta -- basically he had don those things well. when it came to the bigger picture, all the kinds of things that one deals with on a strategic basis at the pentagon and beyond and obviously in the white house, i did not think that he was the right individual to be the national security adviser to the president. and that's not including the political aspect of what he did during the campaign which is something that i thought was un
precedented. when you look at the other types of national security advisers that have come from a military background, somebody like collin powell, completely different people. people with a very set world view, one that allowed them to think strategically and act strategically, which is exactly what you want in that role. we did not see that with general flynn and i did not think that he was in that mold. >> he clearly was no collin powell. how much of a problem is flynn for the white house right now? he's gone. he was dismissed. but potentially a political problem? >> that's right. every time you talk about flynn, anytime we talk about flynn, the white house i'm sure goes crazy. in part because it does -- it causes a lot of problems. it strains the relationship with the republican leadership with whom they have to cut all kinds of other deals. every time these vary subcommittees come up with more
information, it strains those relationships. it has kind of made the president personally kind of nuts. he tweet s about it. he call its fake news. he doesn't want us talking about it but we have to. it's important. as we total up the pros and cons of the first 100 days, you give the president the pros. the neil gorsuch nomination that went through. on the other side of the ledge ser mike flynn. >> and i assume the white house is not very happy. all these hearings. now the judiciary committee and the senate, the intelligence committee and the senate and the house as well as the ongoing fbi criminal investigation on the russia involvement in the presidential election, they're not happy about all this open testimony that's about to take place. >> no. it's certainly a tlorn horn in president's side. michael flynn represents a bigger problem this white house has with staffing. we have plenty of staff jobs
unfilled, appointees unconfirmed. either donald trump's team wasn't ready to run the government or they didn't take the vetting process seriously. this does represent a big overall problem. w wilbur ross was talking saying he has all these bilateral strayed agreements, but does he have the manpower? you have to have lots of people in place. >> there are hundreds and hundreds of jobs that have still not yet been fill. >> exactly. it's a being problem for the white house. >> everybody stand by. more coming up. still ahead, more threats from north korea as the united states parks a nuclear submarine in the neighborhood. also the president's daughter is jeered a bit in germany as she stands up for her dad and his history with women. we're going to hear from ivanka trump and take you thrilive to berlin. coming up next.
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anti-semitism anywhere in the world. >> we are here today to remember and to bear witness toch. to make sure that humanity never, ever forgets. the nazis massed 6 million jews. two out of every three were murdered. yet even today there are those who want to forget the past. where still there are even those filled with such hate, total hate, that they want to erase the holocaust from history. this is my pledge to you. we will confront anti-semitism. >> very strong words from the president of the united states. his comments were closely
watched. he had been criticized in the recent past for not speaking out about incidents of anti-semitism today. the first daughter was targeted in a women's panel in berlin. she faced a few hisses from the crowd. >> he's been a tremendous champion of supporting -- and enabling in the new reality. >> you hear the reaction from the audience. >> i certainly heard the criticism from the media and -- >> ivanka trump seemingly blaming the news media. the criticism of her father. kate, this is her first overseas trip since being elevated to an official advisory role in the
white house. what was her reaction to that reception she received from the audience? >> well, wolf, as we just heard in that clip, the reception was just for a moment during this panel sort of probably what she wasn't anticipating. ivanka was talking on a fairly formidable panel. she was with angela merkel, the queen of the netherlands. this is definitely dipping her toe into a global stage, closing the gender pay gap. that one moment that happened was perhaps unexpected, but she was overall pretty much i think it's fair to say grilled by the moderator about her role in the white house and she handle today well. unlike perhaps her father, she's somewhat unflappable. afterwards there was an off camera gaggle with a few members of the media and she was asked about that incident where people in the crowd reacted and she
said, you know, it's politics. politics is politics. i'm getting used to it. as long as there is a dialogue and it's sort of forcing a conversation, she's fine with it. she was also asked if she felt the moderator was too hard on her and she said again i'm used to it. it was fine. she just wanted to sort of move the ball forward with her conversation about women's issues and funding and helping women entrepreneurs get off the ground and help the global economy. >> the hisses that we heard, was it only a handful of people reacting or was it more significant? >> well, i think it sort of rippled a bit through the crowd. once there was a hiss there was a couple other ones. this was a lengthy panel. there was a degree of respect involved. however, what she did touch on, thought about how her fourth is supportive of american families,
that was when the noise was heard. again, you know, she mentioned it again that her father was supportive of american families in her off camera gaggle as well. it's not something she's backing down from. certainly people here in germany did have -- thaiey're up on the politics. they followed the campaign and they're interested in what she has to say and they weren't shy about pressing that. >> she spoke about her father's decision to launch those tomahawk cruise missiles at the syrian air base. what did she say on that? >> well, she did say that despite on interview that eric trump her brother had with an outlet a few -- a couple of weeks ago saying that because of ivanka's being heartbroken by the images, that was the impetus for the strikes. ivanka said that's not the case. she was heartbroken.
she did consult with her father. she did share her feelings but g said in no way did her feelings or sen timentes lead to the strike. of course the presidents don't act solely on emotion. there are a large panel of people with experience acting. it wasn't down because ivanka said to do it. she slecleared that up quickly. >> it was the first time they launched a military strike against the regime of bashar al assad in the chemical attack that resulted in a lot of children that were killed. thanks very much, kate, for that report. the u.s. has sent a nuclear submarine to south korea. just ahead we're going live inside pyongyang, north korea to see how north korea is ramping up its own military activity and the latest threats from kim jong-un. hey allergy muddlers
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hi . we're following new dwe developments with north korea. the u.s.s. michigan, the nuclear submarine has arrived in south korea as the u.s. conducts military exercises with both south korea and japan. an apparent show of force amid rising tensions between washington and pyongyang. will ripley is in north korea right now and says the leader there, kim jong-un, is displaying a show of force of his own. >> wolf, despite warnings from president trump and the pentagon, more provocative behavior from north korea's supreme leader kim jong-un. a long range artillery drill involving hundreds of north korean soldiers reportedly.
this is especially concerning to people in south korea because the north has a lot of long range artillery pointed at the metropolitan area, homes to tens of millions of people. north korea has not yet conducted their sixth nuclear test which analysts say could happen at any time, but there were other events to mark the 85th anniversary of the korean people's army known as army day here in north korea. there was dancing in the streets, students and civilians turning out for these celebrations. they are expected to be out to show their revolutionary spirit, even on their rare days off. also a more somber event, a wreath laying ceremony to honor those who died in the korean war. meanwhile you have president trump calling their arsenal a grave threat to the world. he's hoping china will exert
more economic pressure to rein in his nuclear program and also showing force in the waters off the peninsula deploying a nuclear submarine and of course the u.s.s. carl vinson. all of this while three americans were arrested. tony kim was arrested. we don't know what charges he's facing or where he's being held. serving 15 years hard labor for stealing a sign from his hotel or taking that sign off the wall and putting it on the ground. and also kim jong-un chul serving ten years hard labor accused of spying. you have the military provocations and american citizens being held. >> all disturbing developments. will ripley in pyongyang. thanks, will. i want to bring in david rhodes
editor for reuters. all the military activity, the u.s.s. carl vinson, joint exercises with japan and south korea. this is an aircraft carrier strike group. i know that this makes the north koreans very nervous. >> it does. and it's clearly designed to pressure them. i also think it's partly to pressure the chinese to produce results. everyone's talked about how china has the economic leverage to get north korea to stop his development of this nuclear capacity. two audience for this. one in beijing and one in pyongyang. >> the military maneuvers plus the tough talk may have an impact on north korea but you think it's to get the chinese more involved because they have leverage recovery north korea?
>> the feert thar that there is possibility that trump could carry out a military strike against north korea. that's unlikely. this is designed to show why that would be so dangerous. many of these weapons could reach seoul. you could take out and damage the nuclear capability, but you'd have an immediate retaliatory artillery strikes against seouls that could kill tens of thousands of civilians and many american souldiers as well. i've been and i'm sure you have as along the militarized zone. you see the conventional weapons, the artillery pieces, the missile launches that north korea has. they have a million troops north of the dmz. south korea has almost a million troops. 28,000 u.s. troops. the city of seoul is only 30 miles away and there's 15 or 20 million people right there. in terms of conventional
destruction, it could be awful. >> it's awful. this really is the biggest, i think, and most important foreign policy challenge president trump faces. he's banking on this personal relationship he hopefully developed with president xi when they met in mar-a-lago recently. the key player is china. will they do more? we don't know. a lot of bluffing on both sides. will china really push north korea. that's the key question. >> i notice air china has announced they will resume flights between beijing and pyongyang. david, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> still ahead the breaking news we're following. the president's former national security adviser mike el flynn may not have followed the law when he joined the president's white house team. take a look at the live pictures coming from the white house briefing room. we're standing by. press secretary sean spicer about to come out, take reporters questions. we'll have live coverage of that once it begins.
it's day 96 of the trump presidency. take a look at this live pictures once again coming in to cnn from the white house briefing room. the press secretary sean spicer should be coming out fairly soon to start taking questions from reporters. we'll of course bring it to you live once it begins. i want to get back to our top story this hour. the chairman and the ranking member of the house oversight committee says it appears the former national security adviser michael flynn failed to follow the law by not properly disclosing pages from russia. flynn received $45,000 for a speaking engagement in russia. congressman jason chaffetz, he's the republican chairman, he says he sees no indication that flynn received permission from the pentagon or the state department or that he disclosed payment for that speech in his security
clearance application back in february. president trump came to flynn's defense. >> when i looked at the information, i said i don't think he did anything wrong. if anything, he did something right. he was coming into office. he looked at the information. he said huh, that's fine, that's what they're supposed to do. he didn't just call russia. he called and spoke to both ways. i think there were 37 some odd countries. he was just doing his job. the thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly and then he said he didn't remember. it wasn't very satisfactory to me. >> that's why he got fired. i want to discuss that and more with congressman brendan boyle. he's a democrat from pennsylvania. a member of the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> so you see jason chaffetz, the republican chairman, elijah cummings, the ranking member of
that oversight committee, they're both calling the situation extreme lly troubling. what needs to happen next? >> i think, wolf, clearly that while jason chaffetz used the term inappropriate, they both used the term troubling, i'll use a different term and that's criminal. when you have someone who was at that point the national security adviser to be accepting $45,000 from the russian government, not disclosing that information to the white house, that in and of itself is criminal. and then second, the judgment of president trump to appoint this person to head the nsc and now after the fact not cooperating with an investigation, it's yet another layer, a part of this larger trump/russia investigation that needs to continue both on the fbi side as well as here in congress with the house committee and senate
committee. >> just got a statement in from senator chuck schumer, the democratic leader in the senate. let me read it to you and our viewers. the disturbing news that general flynn may have violated the law in connection with his clearance may be just the tip of the iceberg. these revelations highlight the importance of the intelligence committee working in a bipartisan way to request and receive documents with respect to any financial arrangements flynn and others in similar positions may have had with foreign governments. when he says tip of the iceberg, do you have any yesterday information what he might be referring to? >> no. not something i would be comfortable talking about in an unclassified setting. but what i would say is that the integrity of the investigation into this matter has to be 100% above reapproach. that's when we had my colleague devin nunes acting in a bizarre way, i'm glad he finally recused
himself and stepped down so that way the house intel committee could move on to having a real investigation. we understand that the senate investigation is at least appearing to proceed in a bipartisan basis. and then of course we don't know what fbi director comey and the folks in the justice department side are doing which is happening in parallel. the fact that you have someone as responsible as the senate minority leader saying that this may be the tip of the iceberg shows the seriousness of what is involved here. so it's so important that all of us put country ahead of party and get to the bottom of this. not to mention, by the way, right now we have important elections going on in france and germany. so we have to find out what happened in the u.s. in 2016 and then move to prevent that in the future from our allies and our next election. >> upcoming elections in the united kingdom and brit ain. lots of elections. the u.s. has been sending a
nuclear submarine to the area, the north korean leader kim jong-un threatening to blowup u.s. ships, blow them out of the water. if provoked, is president trump from your perspective, congressman, taking the right approach right now in dealing with north korea, this nuclear threat? >> well, on this i'm actually going to cut president trump some slack. this has been a challenge through the administrations of president clinton, george w. bush, as well as barack obama. solving the riddle of pyongyang and this bizarre regime is something that has flumoxed administrations and us on capitol hill. tomorrow i will be meeting with defectors from the north korean regime to have the opportunity to hear from them the horror they've lived under. in terms of what u.s. policy should be, there are no easy
answers. i think continuing to lean on the chinese knowing the influence that they have over pyongyang, but again, this all gets back to the fact that we just know so little about this regime. it is the most closed in the world. so continuing to be vigilant, making clear that any unilateral attack by north korea will absolutely require a response on our part, i do think that that's the best medicine moving forward. but i have to say it isn't a satisfactory answer to me because there are no easy answers when it comes to north korea. >> you're absolutely right. very tough situation. congressman brendan boyle, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> still ahead, onminutes away from a white house press briefing. we'll go there when sean spicer steps into the room. also the state department facing criticism over ethics after touting one of the president's businesses on a website for foreign travelers. we'll discuss that and more
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press briefing room. the press secretary sean spicer should be coming out momentarily to start taking questions from reporters on this day 96 of the trump presidency. we'll have live coverage of that once it begins. in the meantime, the state department says it now regrets a website post intended for american embassies worldwide. the state department posted what is basically an advertisement for president trump's mar-a-lago resort for visitors to the united states at taxpayer expense they promoted the so called winter white house. joining us now, former chief white house ethics attorney for president george w. bush and norm. he was ethics czar under president obama. what's the concern here? are you concerned about this at all? >> well, just one more instance of use of public office for private gain. we don't use the state department to sell a membership
interest in mar-a-lago which is a private club owned by the president where membership costs $200,000 a year. that's not the role of the state department. the next time the president wants to sell interest no mar-a-lago, he needs to go to realtor.com or some other outlet. the state department has spread a message we are here to do a pay to play f. you do business with president trump, you're going to get in good with the united states government. there's no separation here between the president's commercial interests and the business of the united states government. that message is being spread all over the world. this is a very, very troublesome situation and it's just one more development. we see dweevelopments like this every single day in this administration. >> the state says, norm an, the say it really wasn't meant as an advertisement. they described the so-called
winter white house to embassies around the world. is that a problem? >> wolf, it is a problem. under section 2635, one of our u.s. laws, you are not allowed, if you're a government agency or government official, to promote a private businesslike mar-a-lago using your public office. and the -- when i served as ambassador, we had an elaborate set of rules in my embassy and in the state department on when you can and cannot advocate for a business. this just doesn't meet the smell test. wolf, if it were one isolated episode, everybody would understand. but there's been a pattern starting with the president himself breaking a 40 year practice. professor painter did it in the bush white house. i did it under obama. presidents have to sell or otherwise
bring conflicts to the white house. we've seen mr. flynn's problem. there's been 100 ethics violations and we're not even in the 100th day of office yet. >> what do you say, richard, when the white house lawyers point out, yes, there's rules for white house officials, government employees, but there's special consideration for one person, namely, the president of the united states. what do you say to that argument? >> i don't know what the so-called special considerations are that would enable president trump to do business different than any other recent president. every president since nixon has disclosed his tax returns. no president has used the united states government to market his commercial properties and, most important, no president has had people working for him who have been taking undisclosed payments from a foreign power, much less the russians. and so we see today a cover-up
at the white house where they are refusing to release documents about the undisclosed foreign documents that were illegal under the emolument's clause. and the white house thinks this is okay. >> but richard, in fairness, they fired him. >> oh, they fired him. and they won't disclose who else at the white house knew about this. and they defended him really up until they were forced to fire him because it became clear that he lied to vice president pence. they didn't bother to investigate at all. how could someone, who is receiving money from the russians, get this high up in our national security apparatus? this is a serious threat to the national security if the white
house operates this way. >> norm, button it up. >> wolf, it's even worse than that because we don't have the president's tax returns. we don't know what his russian financial ties are. we know the son said before dad started running for office that they see a lot of russian money in their businesses. well, we need to get the father's tax returns. we need to cut him off from the foreign payments that he's admitting he's getting from other countries and we need to stop this rampant disregard for ethics and for law. they say that tone at the top is the secret for good compliance. this administration is tone deaf at the top that's given us the trump mess, the flynn mess and now the mar a logo mess at the state department. >> thanks very much for joining us. we are waiting for the white house press briefing with sheea
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we're going to take it early today. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. we're taking it early because we are watching and waiting for that white house press briefing to begin any moment now because one of its former staffers, former national security adviser is accused of possibly breaking the law. what is more, the white house refused a request to release documents on the very individual. talked about retired lieutenant army general michael flynn.
he, it turns out, received more than $45,000 from rttv, a broadcaster run from a russian government, back in 2015 from a speech he gave in moscow. here's what leaders in the house oversight committee revealed about that payment. >> as a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from russia, turkey or anybody else. and it appears as if he did take that money. it was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law. >> he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the army prior to traveling to russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity. >> the united states criminal code title 18 section 1001 provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which
may result in fines up to five years and five years imprisonment. >> so that was the chairman and ranking member on the committee speaking up about all of this. we're waiting to hear from sean spicer who no doubt will get all kinds of questions on this very issue today. let's begin with jim acosta there in the briefing room. they wanted documents from the white house on this very issue and what is the -- is the white house denying them these documents? >> reporter: well, what they are saying is that they don't have the documents. it's impossible to furnish the documents because they don't have them at this point. and so what the white house has done is they have directed the house oversight committee and its members to the relevant agencies, the oversight company, as you know, we've been reporting all morning, did receive that letter from mark short, the legislative affairs
director over here at the white house. the white house is not disputing that they sent that letter that that's their explanation at this point. general flynn's attorney has released a statement saying that general flynn did brief the defense intelligence agency about these speaking appearances and about the money he received for those speaking appearances and the house oversight committee is pushing back on that. i heard from a staffer just after that statement was released by michael flynn's attorney saying that this committee has seen no evidence that michael flynn briefed the intelligence agencies about these activities and so there is a bit of a he said, she said about what general flynn was doing to comply with the law in this area. president trump's first national security adviser was not in