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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 4, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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groups, mcdonald's, kentucky fried chicken, pizza and diet coke. that makes trump america's fillet o'president. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> makes me want a fillet o'fish. it's been a while since i've chosen that over a quarter pounder with cheese. thanks for joining us. "ac 360 starts right now. we begin with a question about the president of the united states and obstruction of justice. namely, can the president obstruct justice if he attempts to shut down an investigation into someone he knows has committed a crime. what the president's attorney said about it today. former president richard nixon didn't seem to believe that a president could be accused of obstructing justice. here's what he said to david frost in the spring of 1977. >> when the president sdoes it, it's not illegal.
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>> the fact that richard nixon said this as an ex president and having been nearly impeached, maybe that should tell you how well that argument went over at the time. yet, it is being revived today over this presidential tweet from saturday morning. quote, i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi. he has pled guilty to thots lies. it is a shame because those actions during the transition were lawful. there was nothing to hide. that is a stunning tweet because until that tweet was sent, as far as the public knew, the president fired national security adviser michael flynn for lying to vice president pence about contact with the russians. yet, the tweet says and let's show it again, i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi. lying to the vice president certainly ill-advised but vice presidents are probably used to that sort of thing and it's not illegal. lying to the fbi, that is a felony. when the president fired general flynn, he knew or had reason to believe that flynn had lied to the fbi, thereby committing a
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crime. that tweet suggests that when president trump had dinner on the 27th of january with then fbi director james comey and according to comey asked him for his loyalty, that means that the president knew or had reason to believe on that night that the national security adviser had committed a crime. this tweet also suggests that on february 14th when comey says the president asked him to drop the fbi investigation into flynn the president knew or had reason to believe that flynn had lied to comey's agents, committing a crime. now we have new cnn reporting that says the president was in fact advised to that effect. how did the white house come to know that flynn had lied? well, remember sally yates, the acting attorney general at the time. on the 26th of january yates made an urgent appointment to brief white house counsel don mcgahn about what she said about the contact with sergey kislyak. she spoke about it exclusively with me though she declined to give specifics. >> when were you first made
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aware that general flynn was lying about his interactions with the russian ambassador? >> first let me say and i know that this may seem kind of artificial to folks. i can't really talk about what general flynn's underlying conduct was because that's based on classified information. >> can you say when you were made aware about an issue with his underlying conduct? >> it was in the early part of january where we first got some indication about what he had been involved in and then sort of the middle part of january when there were false statements that started coming out of the white house based on misrepresentations he had made to people there. >> two weeks went by after yates spoke to the white house before flynn was forced out for lying to the vice president about his contacts with russians. that's the reason the white house said they fired flynn. now a source familiar with the matter tells us that don mcgahn after speaking with yates briefed the president telling him that based on his conversation with yates he believed flynn had not told the truth in his interview with the fbi. we don't know the precise date
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but we do know that it happened and it happened in january. again, this means that when the president allegedly asked james comey to go easy on flynn, he may have known or at least had reason to believe that flynn had committed a felony. that means this tweet on saturday could provide additional evidence he obstructed justice which may explain why the white house, especially the president's personal attorney, john dowd, has been doing damage control regarding that individual tweet. dowd first saying that the part in the tweet referring to lying to the fbi wasn't a new admission but instead merely paraphrasing what was in white house attorney ty cobb's statement about general flynn's guilty plea. there was another explanation. dowd said that he, not the president, was the one who wrote the tweet, acknowledging it was sloppily worded. today the he didn't write it narrative seemed to have been put aside. the new narrative isn't only that president trump didn't obstruct justice but to borough from richard nixon that a president cannot obstruct justice. mr. dowd telling axios, quote,
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the president cannot obstruct justice because he's the chief law enforcement officer under the constitution's article two and has every right to express his view of any case. in a moment our legal panel will weigh in. we have other breaking russia related stories in addition to this on paul manafort and striking behavior for someone out on bail. also an item already being used by the president as ammunition to attack the fbi and robert mueller. there's yet more breaking news on all of this, late reporting that a significant portion of the account that accompanied general flynn's guilty plea was contradicted by k.t. mcfarland. ma manu is on capitol hill with more. what are you learning? >> k.t. mcfarland was nominated to be the ambassador to singapore. she was asked exactly about conversations that she may have had with michael flynn related to sergey kislyak. i'll read you exactly what was sent in a written question from
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senator cory booker. he said did you ever discuss any of general flynn's contacts with russian ambassador sergey kislyak directly with general flynn? in response, mcfarland wrote back, i am not aware of any of the issues or events as described above, according to her july response. what we learned on friday from the court documents that were unsealed in the flynn case in which he pleaded guilty, it says that there was a senior transition official who discussed with flynn how to approach the idea of these new sanctions that have been imposed by the obama administration in late december with kislyak. now, we have learned separately that a senior transition official who is named in those court documents was in fact k.t. mcfarland. so her testimony before a committee in part of her confirmation hearings appears to contradict what bob mueller and the special counsel released on friday as part of their court documents that was signed by
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michael flynn as part of this plea agreement. this is all raising new questions, anderson, on capitol hill about whether or not k.t. mcfarland was truthful with the senate foreign relations committee as part of her testimony because clearly her version of events was that she did not recall but clearly, according to these documents and bob mueller, there were these communications that occurred with michael flynn about sergey kislyak. >> members of the senate foreign relations committee, do they want to speak to mcfarland again? >> the democrats on the committee are concerned. booker himself putting out a statement telling us that he believes she gave false testimony before the committee. the top democrat on the committee, ben cardin, told me separately that he has serious concerns about her before she moves forward for a full senate vote and wants her to clarify her testimony before the entire senate actually debates and votes on her nomination. now, the decision will ultimately be made by senate
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majority leader mitch mcconnell. it's uncertain what he will decide to do about her nomination, and the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee right now is of course bob corker who of course has sparred with the president. we have not heard from him yet about this matter, but clearly democrats are raising some concerns tonight, anderson. >> thanks very much. joining us is adam schiff, ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee. is k.t. mcfarland's apparent inaccurate statement to congress a lie and if so, should there be repercussions? >> if she wrote in response to her oral testimony that she wasn't aware of any of these discussions and in fact those reports are accurate that she was one of those senior transition officials, then yes, it's a false statement. i don't know who those senior transition officials are. that has been publicly reported but it's not something i can tell you from our investigation. we want her to come before the house intelligence committee. i think that's going to be very important. but yes, it seems hard to escape
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the conclusion that if she said to the senate i'm not aware of these conversations and she was one of those sernior transition officials and those e-mails if they're accurate that have been publicly released, it certainly appears that was a directly false representation to the senate. >> now that president trump has seemed to confirm that he knew michael flynn had lied to the fbi or had reason to believe he lied to the fbi when he asked former fbi director comey to drop the investigation into him, in your view, does that amount to obstruction of justice and do you believe the president can be charged with obstruction of justice? >> it's certainly evidence that goes to obstruction of justice, and yes, i believe the president is no more above the law than any other american. it would be an absurd result to say that the president could interfe interfere with investigations involving himself or others potentially and that he is immune from any repercussion. i don't think that the congress which would ultimately make that decision whether this would rise to the level of a crime or
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misdemeanor, i don't think the congress would ever tolerate a president wilfley obstructing justice and say, no, he's above the law, we can't do anything about it. the fact that he has the power to fire the fbi director doesn't mean he has the power to fire him for an illicit reason anymore than an employer can fire that employee for the employee's refusal to do something wrong or based on other illicit motive. >> even if robert mueller were to determine the president did obstruct justice, what would happen then? a sen sure or impeachment as you said is up to congress which is controlled by republicans. they haven't showed an appetite for anything like that yet. >> well that's true. i don't think there's any constitutional bar for example to the special counsel actually indicting a sitting president, but there are lots of reasons why that wouldn't happen. i think rather he would make a report to congress that might say this is what i found and if he found evidence of
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obstruction, here's the evidence. you'll have to weigh whether you think that rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor. i tried an impeachment in the senate some years ago when we impeached a federal judge. there's a legal standard but there's a very practical standard as well. in this congress that practical standard is, would republican members ever go back to their republican districts and be able to make the case that what the president did was so wrong that he had to be removed from office. this wasn't something about nullifying an election that other people didn't like. that's a pretty high bar, but this president is capable of clearing that bar if he was actively involved in trying to obstruct an investigation that he believed might lead back to him. >> just lastly, there is new reporting today that paul manafort was ghost writing an unpublished editorial on ukraine with a russian who has ties to russian intelligence. arguing that this violates the
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terms of manafort's bail. >> if the condition of bail was not making statements that could influence the impartiality of a potential jury, then absolutely. it's hard to imagine a more bone-headed move if he did this. i have to think that unless he has really incompetent counsel, his counsel must not have been aware that he was doing this because he would have certainly advised manafort not to go near russians and certainly not to be creating op-eds and ghost writing them. there's no better way to end up having your bail revoked and your liberty confined. so i can't imagine under what circumstances manafort thought this was a good idea, but i would say that the special counsel has an awfully good case to make why this bail condition ought to be revoked. >> the bail agreement would have agreed manafort from house arrest and gps monitoring. do you think those conditions should be off the table right now? >> well, if he wrote this or
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ghost wrote an op-ed and he was trying to place this in clear violation of the court's instruction, then i think he's dead in the water in terms of getting any further relaxation of his conditions of effectively home confinement. so i have to imagine that a judge is not going to take this lightly at all having appeared before a great many federal judges when i was a prosecutor. the last thing they want to learn is that someone that they have given a generous bail condition to has violated the terms of that and effectively tried to conceal it from the court. >> congressman schiff, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thanks. up next, our legal panel weighs in on whether any action by a president can be called obstruction of justice. and later my exclusive conversation with the woman who reportedly settled an $84,000 sexual harassment claim with a congressman she used to work for, about how she per so youed justice even though she was warned it could hurt her career. as you can clearly see,
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the president can be indicted for anything is really unresolved. the supreme court has never addressed that. what is quite clear is that the congress and the house of representatives can find that the president obstructed justice in an impeachment proceeding. that's what the house of representatives found against bill clinton. that's what the house judiciary committee found against richard nixon. john dowd's point that the president can't obstruct justice is clearly wrong, but the forum where that can be resolved, that is unclear. >> ken, do you agree with jeff? >> i do agree with jeff with one caveat. i assume that dowd was referring to the ordinary criminal justice process, not impeachment. impeachment has much wider latitude and not limited normally to what we would think of as felonies, high crimes and
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misdemeanors, ultimately subject to political judgment to a great degree, as congressman schiff referenced earlier. i do think it would be very hard in the ordinary criminal justice system to find a president obstructing justice within the federal system, but again, i agree with jeff, this is completely unresolved as a matter of existing case law in the united states. we're in a no man's land here from a legal perspective, but again, people significant on the left as allen december sha wits. >> kerry, where do you stand? >> it is an unsettled area of law. there hasn't been a circumstance where we've had to actually see how it would play out. here's a practical matter how it
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could go forward. let's say that the special counsel's investigation uncovers facts that in their judgment, the special counsel's judgment, would make a reasonable charge of obstruction and a prosecutor can't bring a charge of any type of crime, a federal prosecutor, unless they believe they have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. if the special counsel's office thinks that they can do that, then they have several options. they can either bring the actual charge and this unsettled issue actually would be litigated or the special counsel could make some kind of report that would go to congress that then would provide an impetus for them to do an impeachment inquiry. or the special counsel, another option is they could hold the indictment for when the president is not in office, but the most likely scenario i think where most legal experts agree is that if the special counsel
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were to bring a charging document, that that probably would then trigger reaction in congress. >> but anderson, it's worth remembering that both leon gentleman war ski who was the watergate special prosecutor and ken starr in white water, in the monica lewinsky case, both of them submitted reports to congress, the famous starr report with all the dirty parts and all of that, basically they dumped the whole problem in the white house of representatives' lap. the big difference in both of those was that the opposition party controlled the house of representatives. under nixon, democrats had the house. under clinton republicans had the house. now with republicans in charge of the house of representatives, there's nothing as far as i can tell that mueller would tell them, that mueller could tell them that would lead them to lead any sort of impeachment inquiry here. >> ken cnn's reporting that the white house counsel told the president that he believed flynn had misled the fbi prior to the
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president asking comey to drop the investigation. does that change in your opinion the president's exposure to this charge, whether it goes to congress or whomever? >> not, not substantially. obviously it becomes one subject of inquiry. nonetheless, what flynn pled to was lying about something that wasn't illegal. what was illegal was just doing the lying. >> the question is, if the president knew that he had lied to the fbi and then tells mueller, you know, drop the investigation about somebody who -- i'm sorry, tells comey drop the investigation knowing that flynn had lied, that doesn't raise the stakes in your mind? >> i think the exact quote was go easy on flynn, something to that effect. we can look back not too far to a case that i followed very closely with david petraeus for instance, very high profile, substantial history like michael flynn. i was surprised with how lightly
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treated david petraeus was and i don't think you're in the same category of ordering someone to drop a case versus go easy on him. does it sound great? i don't think it does but i also don't think it sounds like obstruction of justice. >> jeff, does it sound like obstruction of justice to you? >> it sure does. remember, he's the boss of jim comey. and he knows -- >> and yet he didn't give an order. >> well, you know, when the president of the united states in a private dinner one-on-one says go easy on somebody, i think that's pretty close to an order. and when he doesn't go easy on him, what happens to jim comey? jim comey gets fired, which is an even more egregious example of obstruction of justice. so i don't think you can look at one isolated piece of evidence when you look at the fact that he asked comey to go easy on him, comey didn't go easy on him
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and then he fired comey, i think that sets out a very compelling case of obstruction. >> carry, to you -- >> arounders anderson, there's that's odd about these events over the last couple of days which is that it's still hard to understand how it is that the president would be informed that flynn lied in his fbi investigation. sally yates, the former deputy attorney general testified before congress that she did not actually inform the white house counsel that flynn had lied. so either mcgahn, the white house counsel, sort of inferred that from his conversation with her and then communicated that to the president or any other channel that the president might have learned that really is very unclear. so this whole sort of scenario over this tweet over the weekend is just very unusual and difficult to understand what actually transpired and who knew
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what when. the other thing that it does is it draws into question the role of the white house lawyers and whether or not they can continue to be effective if they are really become fact witnesses in any potential obstruction inquiry. >> ken and then we got to go. >> yeah, i would certainly agree with the being dragged in at the factual level that carry just made the point of but i would also note that we were talking about particular incidents. flynn did not do anything -- i'm sorry, comey did not do anything with respect to flynn per se before trump fired him. so the comment that comey didn't go easy on flynn and so he was fired, i don't think those two -- those don't add up at the time of the firing. and i would agree with allen defer wits with respect to the firing in particular. that can be done by the president. that's an exercise of his constitutional authority. if there's going to be any review of that, it shouldn't and i don't believe can be done in
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the criminal justice system. it can only be done via congress. >> ken, jeff, carry, appreciate it. as we've mentioned tonight there's one comparison that this administration just can't seem to shake. watergate keeps coming up. the latest example claims the president cannot obstruct justice. we'll get into that next with journalist carl bernstein. ortfo. well, what are you doing tomorrow -10am? staff meeting. noon? eating. 3:45? uh, compliance training. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. 8:30? tai chi. yeah, so sounds relaxing. alright, 9:53? i usually make their lunches then, and i have a little vegan so wow, you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do? yeah. introducing essential portfolios. the automated investing solution that lets you focus on your life. what(train whistle blowing)or? hey, thomas. i want a rabbit! that's not how you get a rabbit. if you want a rabbit, you ask for a pony and then let them work you back down. mm-hmm.
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we've been talking tonight about the idea that the president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice because he's president. that idea has been brought up before. here again is former president richard nixon talking to daivid frost in 1977. >> when the president does it that means it's not illegal. >> joining me, carl bernstein. we've also been careful with the comparisons to watergate. that said, when president trump's attorney says the president can't commit obstruction of justice, does that sound nixonian to you?
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>> nixon said that after he had been asked to leave office. richard nixon is a criminal president who abused his authority in secret throughout his presidency and had to leave office because of it. donald trump by contrast is a president of the united states who has claimed authoritarian powers for himself and exercised them not in secret but openly, and now because of that it looks like he may well have obstructed justice, among other possibility illegal acts. what you're seeing is we had a coverup in watergate in which the president of the united states proviesided over that coverup to hide his own criminality and now we have a coverup in which the president of the united states seems to be presiding over it and we don't know for what reasons and exactly what he's covered up but
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his susceptibs septembeusceptib there. >> although jeffrey toobin pointed out nixon had a house that was under democratic control. assuming the house stays in control of the republicans it's a very different scenario. >> it is because the dbig difference in watergate, the heros in watergate were by and large republicans who had the courage to say this is not about ideology, this is about illegalalty. this is not about a republican, this is about a criminal president who has abused his authority. the republicans today on capitol hill seem to have no such willingness to say these things, though in private they are the ones who are saying that the president is both unfit very often and unstable and does not have the requisite abilities to exercise the powers of the presidency in a competent
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manner. we're hearing that increasingly. so we've never heard that about nixon, that nixon lacked competence, that he lacked intellectual ability, that he was ignorant of history. so we have all these strands coming together with donald trump in an unprecedented presidency being accused both of illegality and incompetence. >> if watergate was the case of the coverup being worse than the crime do you believe that's -- >> not true. >> not true? >> it's not true. the coverup was secondary. the crime was a terrible abuse of authority and included trying to undermine free elections in the united states in which richard nixon and his deputies tried to engineer who the democratic nominee would be for president of the united states through a series of sabotage and dirty tricks, and now we have a president of the united states in which it is claimed the russians enabled him and he
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helped enable the russians to make him president of the united states. we don't know yet if that is true. that's what part of this investigation is about. also, we are nowhere near the part of mueller's investigation to where jaworski, the special prosecutor in watergate was after two years. we're just seeing a tiny piece of what mueller has done and that tiny piece is ugly, insidious. it shows a willingness of the president of the united states to proside oveside over coverup. whether it's illegal, we'll find out. but the conduct of donald trump in office that we've seen publicly is much more egregious than we publicly saw nixon's conduct certainly up to the time that he fired the special prosecutor in the saturday night massacre. >> we have john dean a lot on the program, president nixon's white house counsel who plead
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guilty to obstruction of charge. is there a john dean potentially in the orbit of this white house? >> well, the other night on the air john was on and i was on with john dean and i said john dean is general flynn, the john dean of donald trump's presidency and the campaign. dean said, well, certainly flynn knew more than i, john dean, knew about the conspiracy going into watergate. dean however presided -- helped nixon preside over the coverup. we don't know yet did flynn help trump preside over the coverup. we only know -- i'm going to put my hands up here -- a tiny bit so far about this conspiracy that mueller has outlined. but we can see he is outlining a real conspiracy to obstruct justice, to enable a large number of players just like in watergate under nixon to be
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found guilty perhaps, certainly indicted for a conspiracy to undermine all kinds of democratic processes through illegal acts and perjuryous conduct. now potentially perjury for k.t. mcfarland. this is a massive case. >> thank you. next, the fbi agent removed from the mueller investigation. why what he did during the clinton e-mail probe is giving ammunition to use against the special counsel right now. but i wasn't really feeling it. you know what, i'm not buying this. you gotta come a little harder dawg. you gotta figure it out. eh, i don't know. shaky on the walk, carriage was off. randy jackson judging a dog show. i don't know dawg. surprising. what's not surprising? how much money lisa saved by switching to geico. wow! performance of the night. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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and increased credit scores 17 points on average. borrow up to $100,000 with low rates and no hidden fees. find your rate in just two minutes, and take on your debt at a lot of breaking news tonight. we're learning more about the fbi agent dismissed from robert mueller's investigation. the top counter intelligence expert was taken off the team after sending text messages critical of then candidate trump. cnn has learned about a pivotal change he made to then fbi director james comey's public statement on hillary clinton's e-mail investigation. our justice correspondent evan perez joins u us. what are you learning? >> this is one of the top intelligence experts under scrutiny.
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peter schalk led the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and worked on special counsellor robert mueller's investigative team. he was removed this summer from the mueller team after an internal investigation found private messages that he had sent that appeared to mock president donald trump. we learned that during the clinton probe last year he's the fbi official who changed a key phrase in how the fbi described clinton's handling of classified information. electronic records show that schalk changed language describing clinton's language as, quote, grossly negligent, to, quote, extremely careless. here's fbi director james comey using that edited term to explain why clinton was cleared of wrongdoing. take a look. >> although we did not find clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. >> so the change there wasn't a
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small thing. the federal law on handling of classified material includes criminal penalties for gross negligence. extremely careless doesn't have the same legal significance. we're told by officials that the drafting process was actually a team effort, a handful of people were reviewing the language as editing changes were being made. the fbi by the way declined to comment for this story. >> you're learning more about the fbi agent's role of russian meddling during the election. >> he signed the memo that officially opened the investigation into the russian meddling. he was the number two official in the counter intelligence division. he was considered to be one of the bureau's top experts on russia. all of this is now likely to add to the political firestorm over the russia investigation. the white house and congressional republicans want the fbi to provide documents because they think that there
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could be some political bias, not only in the handling of the clinton investigation, anderson, but also in the trump investigation. >> thanks for that reporting. back with jeffrey toobin. also joining us, michael caputo and paul ba gala. from a legal standpoint how big is the difference between gross negligence and extreme carelessness? >> it can be significant but i think we're sort of missing the point. that's on james comey. comey was the one who said it. he's the one who understands the difference and made the decision not to use the gross negligence term and instead to say extremely careless. whoever drafted it i think is pretty irrelevant. i think the text messages are definitely a problem, but as for what comey said, that's on comey, not on some subordinate. >> paul, it seems like it would give the president an argument that both the clinton e-mail probe and the russia
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investigation are, to use his par parlance, rape. >> the statement itself, apparently this agent helped draft was itself an outrage. the fbi director is not alud by justice department guidelines to take an innocent american, one he has decided not to charge and call a national press conference and trash her. it was a total violation of justice department guidelines and an outrage and hurt hillary clinton politically. the fbi's job is to investigate and refer. they do a great job. they have so many career professionals, impressive. i hate that our president is attacking them. but that statement itself, whoever crafted it, it did enormous damage to hillary clinton politically which is not the fbi's job. they're not the federal bureau of politics. 11 days before the election jim comey tilted the election by attacking hillary clinton again and her e-mails. >> what do you make of this being about what comey said rather than what this guy suggested he said? >> i don't think that's credible.
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when we heard this language they were carefully using in those statements before the end of the election, we knew that he meant gross negligence. we knew he was avoiding using those terms because they let directly to the statute and now to shrug and say it's just some person that drafted the message, i think that's not credible. this guy was the head of counter intelligence, started the russia investigation and an appropriate thing for him to be doing in his position. now we're hearing from other news organizations that he may have participated in the interview of general flynn as well as texting anti-trump messages to his lover who was also a member of the mueller investigation. this is not a good look for mueller. it's giving the president what he's looking for. all the president's supporters are looking at this now and i think he's got a lot of explaining to do. >> jeff, according to fbi protocol, agents are allowed to express opinions on political subjects and candidates. was this breaking any rule
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though? it certainly doesn't seem wise or property that somebody engaged in an investigation would be sending messages even privately. >> it's not wise given the political sensitivities. but let's be clear. this is apparently text messages between two people who know each other. this wasn't exactly a campaign speech on a street corner. but look, it is the first kink in mueller's armor. he's been politically bulletproof so far. and now fox news has something to run with to say that mueller is a political operative and they're going to run with it. i don't think it's major. i don't think it's serious. i don't think it has anything to do with what james comey said which is james comey's responsibilities, not some subordinate's, but it does create and problem and it does give mueller's critics something to talk about. >> paul, is it fair for mueller's supporters to be
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saying this is just some guy on the staff when that's sort of the argument that this white house has been making about whether it's papadopoulos or even flynn or manafort and the democrats have been attacking the white house for that? >> mr. papadopoulos confessed to crimes. mr. manafort is charged with crimes. it's very different from sending an unwise text message in private. this is what's striking about it. as soon as mr. mueller learned about it, he sent this guy to siberia, aka, the human resources department, got him off the investigation just for a private text message which does not violate justice department guidelines. that's how high mr. mueller's ethical standards seem to be. the republicans want to trash him, good luck with that because this guy runs a very tight ship. he doesn't leak the way other special counsels have. he apparently has such a high standard that even if you sent a private text to someone saying i don't like donald trump, you're out. this guypeccable
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standard for integrity. >> richard, what do you say about this. >> we also know that the house of the house intelligence committee is accusing the former secretary of stone walling and they've been trying to find out who this mysterious person was. they were not able to find out anything. we're just finding out now. maybe he did do something quickly but then it appears that the house couldn't figure out what he had done and why he had done it. there's a lot of questions to be asked and answered here and i think we're going to be seeing those in front of the house intelligence committee at least. >> thank you very much. up next, a cnn exclusive interview. i speak to a former staffer for blake farn thold. if you move your old 401(k) to a fidelity ira,
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congressman john conyers will make an announcement tomorrow morning about his future in congress as pressure is building for him foe resign after smukt smkt allegations came to light. we're learning new details about harassment allegations against texas congressman blake farenthold. according to politico, he reportedly settled an $83,000 sexual harassment claim from taxpayer dollars paid that $84,000. according to a complaint, his former communications director lauren green says congressman farenthold told her he was estranged prime minister his bief and not had sex with her in years. the congressman said he had sexual fantasies and wet dreams about her. in the complaint, green said farenthold will make complaints her -- her appearance and wardrobe. both the congressman and green signed confidentiality agreements which bar each from speaking about any specifics of the case. here is what congressman farenthold told a local cnn
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affiliate in corpus christi, texas. >> i was completely exonerated by oce and the settlement agreement has been paid. i'm doing my best and am going to hand a check over this week to probably speaker ryan or somebody and say, look, here is the amount of my settlement. give it back to the taxpayers. i want to be clear that i didn't do anything wrong, but i also don't want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this. i want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying, blake, you benefitted from the system, you don't have a right to talk about it or fix it. >> i spoke with green just before air for her first ins view since this news broke. here is that conversation. >> there's obviously a lot of stuff you cannot say because of the confidentiality agreement. i certainly understand that. can you just talk about your decision to come forward. how difficult was that or was it difficult at all at the time? >> it was certainly a difficult decision to make.
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i really just felt that i had to stand up for myself. i just thought that i would have regretted it for the rest of my life if i didn't, and i just felt that it was extremely important that i stand up for myself. >> difficult decision because of concerns of how other people would react, concerns for your career? >> concerns for my career, you know, i was told that, you know, if i pursued with this that my career on capitol hill would be over and that was all i knew. >> you started out as an intern? >> i did. >> you've worked your way up. >> i did. to communications director and was there for five years. so this is all i knew. and, you know, i was told, yeah, like, this would be career suicide. >> was it? i mean, what's happened since then? have you been able to get work in politics? >> as soon as i decided to do this, i kind of had to come to the conclusion that d.c. was no longer going to be in the cards. >> really? it's that big a step that you feel like this is no longer
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going to be an option? >> right, i mean, that was some of the feedback that i got that also -- i just few that this potentially could -- there would be, you know, media surrounding it, like all of that. staying in d.c. was not an option for me. >> what has been the long-term impact? has there been one? >> it stagnated my career a bit. i would say it's, ha been hard find that next step. i've had a lot of short-term employment and a lot of testimony work, you know, which has been great, but, yeah, i just haven't been able to get back to where i was. and, you know, which is unfortunate. you know, i have reason to believe that there have been a couple of jobs i haven't gotten, you know, because they kind of, you know, they googled my name -- >> and that comes up. >> right. and i think it somehow is perceived as a negative. so, you know, you have that against you.
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luckily or fortunately i would say, the climate is changing so much in that i'm not as scared of that anymore, you know? i think that before that was a big concern of mine, you know? >> you feel that people's understanding of what can happen -- >> right. >> has changed? >> right. i would say so. i think what is going on right now, it's more than a moment. i think it's a reckoning and we're having these conversations that have been needed to be had. you know, and they're happening at the dinner table, you know? they're happening in the office place, and you know, i just think america is having this dialogue right now. >> you really think it's not just a moment, it is a reckoning. >> it's more than a moment because a moment is fleeting and this doesn't feel fleeting. >> you think this will have long-lasting impacts? >> i think so. i think you already see change happening and people being held accountable, you know?
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people of power who, you know, have abused their power or, you know, the offenders. >> you are under a confidentiality clause, which is one of the reasons that you can't talk about details of what you allege, even stuff that's in the lawsuit, in the complaint. if -- and the congressman, congressman farenthold released a statement on friday saying, quote, while a 100% support more transparency with claims with respect to members of congress, i can neither confirm nor deny that settlement as the congressional accountability act prohibits me from answering that question. if he was willing to waive confidentiality would you be willing to waive confidentiality as well? >> absolutely. >> so you would -- if he was willing to waive confidentiality, you would waive your confidentiality agreement so that you could speak about what actually happened and what allegations you say actually happened? >> i would. i have nothing to hide. i think, you know, i felt i've done the right thing and stood up for myself. you know, i think transparency's
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important, and, you know, while it may, you know, open myself up or, you know, to more scrutiny, i think it's something that -- i mean transparency is extremely important, you know? >> lauren, thank you very much. >> thank you. when we come back, more on our top story tonight, claims from the president's attorney that the president is above the law and a lot of questions about what top michael flynn aide kt mcfarland told congressional investigationers. with 5 times more ethnic regions... ancestrydna can pinpoint where your ancestors are from...
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with the possible exception of the ridiculous, breaking news fills the hour. cnn learns the president knew or has reason to know earlier than led to believe that national security adviser michael flynn had misled the fbi about contact with russians. we're also learning that flynn's former deputy gave testimony to congress that contradicts some of what flynn pleaded guilty to. on top of that, paul manafort faces his bail being revoked to contact with a russian. we begin with what the president knew about michael flynn, though, lying to the fbi and when he knew it, a question this tweet on saturday certainly prompted. quote, i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi. he's pled guilty to those lies. it's a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. there was nothing to hide. now the sentence about the f