tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC March 15, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
evidence that substantiates the claim. >> today, we are announcing the indictment of four individuals responsible for the 2014 hack into the network of e-mail provider yahoo. >> trump goes on offense and will the public ever see more than these two pages? >> you know, the only one that cares about my tax returns is the american public. >> you don't think the american public is concerned? >>. and why no one has been held accountable since reports of the online harassment surfaced for female marines more than two years ago. >> when you say to us it's got
to be different, it rings hallow. have you actually investigated and found guilty anybody? if we can't crack facebook, how are we supposed to be able to confront russian aggression? >> good day, following all of the action here in washington and around the world, there is a lot of action today. the pressure is on rex tillerson arriving in japan today to take on the first major secretary tillerson's trip. andrea? >> good morning to you. good night to you from here. we are in the middle of the night. rex tillerson arriving here just a few hours ago on what was wednesday night in tokyo. flying under the radar, no welcome for his spread says fors as he flies into what experts are calling a diplomatic typhoon to abandon the nuclear program
by north korea and no government in south korea after its impeachment of its president a few days ago. back to you, chris. >> andrea, thank you. let's get back to the big stories unfolding here in shington. let me bring in white house correspondent hallie jackson. kasie hunt on capitol hill and here with me, "new york times" political reporter jeremy peters. from the beginning taking the donald trump wire comments as they are and then going to, well, maybe it's broader surveillance. now you have these two leaders of the committee saying, look, some of this is litteral. some of it not so literal
depending on how you take it. >> reporter: first of all, what you described we have attributed to devin nunes who a different take on it than adam schiff. they both agree that the president, if taken literally, is not correct. and devin nunes said that very explicitly. he said if you take the tweets literally, then the president was clearly wrong to say that this wiretap was happening. so what does that mean? what could the president have been referring to? they are trying to investigate what has happened here. and that helps explain what they have handed out and this asks for the names of any additional american who is may have been swept up in a fisa investigation, foreign intelligence surveillance court, warrants for that as wiretaps are issued or done that a foreign national may be engaged in activity that the intelligence committee has an interest in seeing.
and so i asked the chairman, okay, is it possible that the president himself or people that are currently working in the white house might be among be among these names and to get a list of names by friday, it's not clear, of course, whether that deadline will be met and whether or not they would give that information strictly to these two people. they are members of what's called the gang of eight on capitol hill along with their leaders. they received more highly classified briefings than the intelligence committee broadly. it's not clear if in fact the intelligence committee provided this information where exactly it would go. so this is a threat that i think is very important to follow going forward. again, this story is like a thousand puzzle pieces. we're picking one up at a time. clearly the chairman and ranking member are trying to do the same thing. now, another piece of this that i think is very important, they
seem to indicate that the fbi director is being more cooperative and forthcoming in telling them what they need to know than he was previously. of course, the question is comey actually acknowledging that he's doing an investigation? so far, these two would not say that he was. they also wouldn't say that he wasn't. so, again, another piece of this that we want to keep following. chris? >> without a doubt. with the 20th and 21st now looming even larger. hallie, all of the buzz last night was over the trump tax return that was shared with "the rachel maddow show." that showed that trump paid 38 million taxes on an income of more than 150 million. before being elected president, mr. trump was one of the most successful businessman in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. so i guess on one hand, hallie,
they are saying, this proves our point, successful businessman who has paid his taxes. but also having been at the white house this morning, they are not very happy, are they? >> reporter: i think you're right. there's aggressive pushback from the white house regarding the story that broke overnight here on msnbc and i guess i'm having trouble with my audio. >> we're going to let you fix the mike. have you got it? let me go over to jeremy while we see if we can get that fixed. let's start with i guess balancing the cbo report with the wiretap investigation and all of this other news. and then you have these tax forms that come out. you get sort of a mixed message from the white house. they are complaining about the media, complaining about the guy who got the forms actually in the mail questioning whether he did and this prove what is we've been saying all along.
>> oh, you didn't mention the obamacare repeal. >> there we go. then there's that. >> that's run into at the capitol as well. there's an unbelievable, surreal amount of news here that's going on that's engulfing the trump administration right now as has been the case for these first 50 days. >> people are exhausted. i think we can say that, inside and outside of the white house. a lot of americans that i've talked to are exhausted but does it mean it becomes too hard to focus on one thing. it was interesting to me, watching the various members of congress who admits it's a very chaotic situation. they are trying to keep their focus. >> right. i don't know that the right issue to focus on first. i know why. they picked the obamacare repeal because the right, the conservative activist groups, the conservative members of congress were clamoring for. this is a pledge they made to voters. however, it's hard to imagine an
issue that divides republicans as deeply as the repeal and the fact that they have not been able to do this in a cohesive way so far suggests real trouble ahead for the president's domestic agenda because this is likely to consume a lot of the oxygen for the next several weeks, if not months. >> let me go back to hallie. now you have the white house dealing with this 2005 tax return. what are they telling you? >> reporter: the white house isn't pleased. point is that that is an understatement. there is aggressive pushback, the idea that this shows that the president paid his taxes and made a lot of money. that proves his point. on the other hand, it's mixed messaging. democrats, for example, are saying, hey, if the white house can essentially seem to confirm some of these figures by releasing that statement that says that the president did, in fact, earn roughly 150 million in 2005 and then paid that 38 million in taxes, why not release more information to
essentially show that that happened, not just in 2005 but in other years as well. so that is a story, as we talked about the tax returns, about transparency, that will likely continue to develop. the white house has not made any kind of commitment or announcement as to whether the president will release his 2016 tax returns. will this come up today when the president heads to michigan and then to nashville? who knows. what he will be talking about, we're certain of, are jobs and fuel standards in detroit, in michigan. and in nashville, he'll likely be doing this hard sell on health care. the president trying to push that message as, by the way, chris, something else bubbling up, too, i'm looking at the driveway here at the west wing and a couple of moments ago you saw some senators talking about the confirmation hearings set to begin next week for neil gorsuch, the president's pick for the supreme court nominee. while we're talking about health care this week and that's the message the white house wants to be getting out, next week expect
it to be all about the supreme court. >> the pile-up is unbelievable. >> yeah. >> so jeremy, let's go back to health care. i was thinking about something that lindsey graham said this morning and he said to the folks on "morning joe," that's a lot before 8:00 in the morning. i don't like this. >> better get used to it, right? >> now that it's noon, i feel like i can ask you about the health care bill. not dead yet. but on life support? >> i think this falls apart and comes back together and falls apart several times before you reach a point where you can declare it dead or alive. i think that -- >> the biggest lift right now on speaker ryan? >> well, not just speaker ryan because i do think that donald trump has an ability to wrangle members of the freedom caucus in a way that paul ryan, frankly, doesn't have because he never really had their support to begin with. so the trickier aspect of this, chris, is over in the senate and that's where you have members of the republican party at both
polls, the more moderate and far right, who are opposed to this for very different reasons and right now it's very hard to see this getting even the 51 votes that it would need to get under the special process that they could approve it by. >> and then they talk about parts 2 and 3 and we have any number of senators say if you think you're going to get 60 votes for buying insurance across state lines, you're living in a dream world. >> exactly. if you can't get past stage 1, which it's looking exceedingly difficult, how do you get to stages 2 and 3. >> let's go to andrea in tokyo. >> chris, another major story that we've been following is new testimony from the marine corps commandant over the scandal rocking the u.s. military. >> why are commander who is have
asked for all responsibility to deal with sexual assault and these behaviors for the five years this committee has been focused on this issue? you have demanded that you maintain control of all these issues. but where's the accountability for failure? who is being held accountable for doing nothing since 2013? who? >> i don't have a good answer for you. i'm not going to sit here and duck around this thing. i'm not. i'm responsible. i'm the commandant. i own this and we are going to have to -- you know, you've heard it before. but we're going to have to change how we see ourselves and how we treat each other. that's a lame answer but, ma'am, that's the best i can tell you right now. we've got to change.
>> senator, that was pretty extraordinary. we don't often see united states senator in that kind of an exchange with the marine commandant and if i may say so, are you satisfied with his answers? >> i'm not satisfied with his answers and i'm not satisfied with what the department of defense has done over the past five years. we don't have a system of transparency within the military. we don't actually have the time of oversight and leadership that we, frankly, need. again, we've seen this failure over and over again and it was a member of congress that wrote a letter to the department of defense who said this is a huge problem and you have to do something about it. that was four years ago. nothing has been done.
and as i ask the commandant, who has been held accountable? no one. no one has been fired or court-martialed. there's no accountability in our system. we must improve. we need it to be more professional and the decisions not to be made by commanders who have skin in the game and who may have biases. it needs to be made by trained military prosecutors who will prosecute these wrong doers and put them in jail. what they are doing is criminal. and it undermines good order and discipline and cohesion. we need better results and more accountability. >> senator, you were on the committee back then and even democratic leaders from the committee d the decision was made not to push harder to get a separate kind of legal system outside of prosecutors. do you think that there is any way now, given after especially that you're now in the minority,
that you could push harder? is this case going to break it all open? >> well, it just shows that they are not doing their jobs and i believe that if you had more convictions, if you had a more professional criminal justice system within the military and had these decisions being made by trained military prosecutors, you'd have better results, more convictions and prosecutions and that's how the change the culture. when justice is done, that's how you change the culture. what we've seen, i think, is a wink and a nod. commanders don't take this seriously. they've allowed this conduct to fester year after year. it's corrosive and undermines the good work that our military
does and those that are sacrificing themselves. all i've heard is excuses and it's a lack of leadership. we really need to reform the justice system from the top to bottom and we need it to be something strong and worthy of the sacrifice our men and women are making every day. >> here in tokyo and elsewhere in asia, obviously the real threat now is north korea. that's why i'm her secretary tillerson arrived a few hours ag he's facing a really tough challenge. a big welcome in terms of the diplomacy here in japan where there's strong support for the u.s. forces and a hard line against north korea but not so in south korea where he's going next. there's no government. the next likely leader is probably not going to take a strong line and to push as hard until the u.s. has been pushing in bipartisan ways and then china resisting pressure from the u.s. to put more pressure on
the north. what should this new team do? >> reporter: well, clearly they have to have a strategy where they are engaging china because you cannot deal with north korea without the support and the investment of china. china is north korea's only support today. it gives most of the financial support to the north korean government than anywhere else in the world. we need china's engagement. this is a huge strategic issue for both south korea and japan. i traveled to the region with other senators previously and we talked about how this aggression by north korea really is destabilizing the region. the presence of nuclear capability is a threat and so we need a higher level of engagement. >> and finally, today, on the house side, congressman nunes and schiff on the intel committee saying the chairman --
devin noon says saying there no evidence of the wiretapping with the obama white house. comey is going to be testifying on monday. >> that's not surprising, andrea. what the public needs to know and still doesn't know is what is the level of engagement between the administration and russia during the campaign, after and before the election and os investigations are ongoi ongoing and the public needs to know if he's speaking from a place of unbias. we need to know the answer of those investigations that hopefully we'll continue through fruition, both the senate and house intelligence committees are doing an investigation on those russian ties as well so they hopefully will be allowed to continue their work. >> senator gillibrand, thanks for being with us today, an
important day on all of these issues. >> thank you, andrea. coming up, a lot more from tokyo. for now, let's go back to washington and chris jansg. chris? >> thanksandrea. still to come, back to the major news we're following, not only the developments of the russian election hacking but now the announcement that the russian government officials were behind a massive hack of yahoo accounts. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ey're experts in things you haven't heard of - researchers of technologies that one day, you will. some call them the best of the best. some call them veterans. we call them our team.
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today, we're announcing the indictme of four individuals responsible for the 2014 hack into the network of e-mail provider yahoo. the theft of information about at least 500 million yahoo accounts and the use of that information to obtain the contents of accounts at yahoo and other e-mail providers. >> there there was a massive hack of e-mail accounts of yahoo. joining me is chief international security and diplomacy analyst and former nato supreme allied commander. good to see you. what's the broad implication of these charges? there is no other way to look at it considering there are two russian government officials
involved as well as two clearly state sponsored cyberhackers. this is akin to the attack on sony pictures by the north korean government several years ago. it demands a response. it's a cyberattack and i think it ought to be at the top of the news we're talking about today, frankly. >> you've used the word explosive. two obvious questions. why do you think they did what they did, number one. number two, beyond these four arrests, what else could be done? >> why they did it needs to be fully nvestigate but this happened in 2013, 2014. this is well before the current electoral process. but one could surmise this is an effort to get into u.s. networks and get into u.s. large message providers and find paths to influence. so think of it as prep tore to
what we saw during the election. that's a potential noted for all of this. and respond by strengthening our cyberdefenses. and the secretary of agriculture and interior, we don't have a secretary and we need to present the president with options both to strengthen and potentially to respond to this because i do believe it demands a response. >> the two top lawmakers leading the house investigation into russian interference in the election, they agreed on one thing a short time ago which is basically that if you take a tweet literally about the wiretapping, it's just not true but they have opposed approaches as to how they will handle the investigation. are you at all concerned that these clashing perspectives and
the outcome of this investigation? >> the real winner in all of this in the wiretapping tweet in the investigations in this most recent revelation of russian intrusion into 1.25 billion russian accounts at yahoo, the real winner is the russian federation because it contributes to what holds us back to making the kind of logical compromises and advances we need to make. so, yes, i'm very concerned. >> always good to talk to you, sir. thank you so much. >> thanks, chris. and coming up, foreign policy tests with tensions rising in the region, secretary of state rex tillerson arrives in tokyo. we'll have a live report from "andrea mitchell reports" next only on msnbc.
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to see for myself i went out on the water to see the u.s. seventh fleet which is a big tourist attraction here. the u.s. and south korean joint military exercises also toed t north of here in south korea taking place. there you can see the pictures of the tourists but then as well we have new pictures today of the "uss carl vincent," the joint exercises with south korea. 17,000 u.s. troops involved in those exercises. that prompted a warning from the north that they would unleash merciless attacks if the ships stray near the north korean territory. that's the backdrop as tillerson arrives. the first foreign policy test for the trump administration. joining me now is undersecretary of state for political affairs and senior counselor and rick
steingle and political analyst and expert on nuclear issues relating to north korea and adviser -- former adviser to president obama. welcome all. the combined experience of all of you over the decades with the korean peninsula and now we have rex tillerson, a former oil executive, maybe they could make the argument to you. here he is, deputy secretary, no ambassadors anywhere in this region, low profile, come fleet contrast to the way john kerry and condoleezza rice when their approach has not worked? >> i think what matters is the substance of what he's coming to
discuss. president obama said to then president-elect trump that north korea would be the most serious and dangerous national security issue in front of him. that is indeed the case. we're coming close to the brink where north korea could have an intercontinental ballistic missile to attack the united states. that's a threat to the entire world as well as including the thousands of u.s. troops that are in south korea and work in japan as well. so what matters here is the substance and i think secretary tillerson needs to bring every single tool of american national security and foreign policy to bear to deal with this issue and not only have all three of these countries on board but the entire world community. this is very serious stuff. >> gary, we know that north korea has a number of nuclear war heads. they've got the bomb. they are more of an existential
threat than iran and others who have yet to develop nuclear weapons. the missile technology, they slow down their missile advances and how close do you think they are to actually being able to not only reach u.s. troop space in japan, 50,000 troops, but actually get to the west coast of the u.s.? >> so i think it's very difficult to really make an assessment about how close north korea is to a long-range missile, a missile that can reach the united states. they've demonstrated the technology to launch satellites so, in theory, those rockets could be converted into military missiles. so far, north korea has never successfully retested a re-entry vehicle for a long-range missile. until they do that, they don't have a credible way to deliver a warhead to the united states. in contrast, they clearly have
the ability to reach targets in the region. they've tested many times missiles so they can hit targets in south korea and japan, probably with a nuclear warhead. but they could be years away from being able to strike the united states. we won't really know they've achieved that capability until they demonstrate it through a test. >> coming in under the radar in a small footprint that rex tillerson is adapting for his first venture into this big-time diplomacy. >> the advantage, andrea, you were able to go to see the seventh fleet and if you had flown on the secretary's plane, you would not have been able to do that. i'm sure they didn't consider that when they excluded reporters. people have talked about this a lot. he's head of exxon and didn't have to deal with the press on a day-to-day basis. he's part of a learn process.
i think the thing that he doesn't understand and that i would say to him is that dealing with the press, traveling with reporters helps american foreign policy. it helps promoting it and helps test you in terms of having to talk about it and i think he just doesn't understand that yet. and not that the press is his ally, but in terms of getting out his message there is absolutely indispensable. >> and wendy, you negotiated with the chinese as part of your negotiations with iran and with north korea when you were dealing with that as well. right now, china, according to experts here, sees the new administration of being weak because of donald trump's campaign threats against china, the monetary issues and the trade issues and the one china policy and now backing down from that. what do you think china's posture will be as we try to get them to do something which they haven't done before? >> we clearly need to get china to do some things that they haven't done before.
they need to understand that whether we take actions or others take actions or actions happen inside of north korea, it could some day fall apart in one way or another and so we all have to be ready to deal with that. we need to apply tougher sanctions on north korea and china is very much part of doing that since they have more economic levers than we do where north korea is concerned. so they need to understand that there is a lot at stake here and that what secretary tillerson has to show is that the united states is not going to move back from missile defense, though this is going to be a challenge with likely a new south korean government that isn't so hawkish as the previous one but that the u.s. isn't going to back down from making sure our allies and partners are protected in the region. china has to understand that, yes, now that the president has understood the importance of the one china policy and that we have to work economically with each other because we're not decoupled with each other economically at the same time
china has to work very carefully and closely to bring all of our tools to bear to make sure north korea understands it has a choice to make here. it can either have rej jegime survival or nuclear weapons but it cannot have both. >> rick, there's also reports that the new administration is proposing deep cuts in terms of all of the assistance to some of these important -- frankly, important agencies of child welfare and peacekeeping at the u.n. do you have a perspective on that and how that might affect us internationally. >> yes. and well-said by wendy. what is relevant to this particular discussion is some of the money that goes to the state department at the u.n. is about
monitoring north korean missiles. the other thing, again, that i think everybody on the panel will agree with, when we spend less money on soft power, that means we have to spend more money on hard power. that means if you cut the state department soft power, i have to spend more money on ammunition because the dividends are great and they are envisioning cutting a fulbright scholarship which is the jewel in the crown of the american exchange program. these cuts are really a dreadful mistake. >> and finally, briefly, gary, what is the likelihood of another nuclear test from north korea? we're hearing from the pentagon that there might be signs of that coming. >> so, there are big anniversaries coming up in april and that will be one time when kim jong-un could decide to conduct another test.
furthermore, he may want to do something to show defiance in the wake of the u.s./south korean exercises that are taking place. but i've tried to guess what he's going to do and i've been wrong most of the time so he could surprise us and not do something this time. >> that is the rising threat and the first big test for this administration in terms of foreign policy. thank you so much, gary and wendy and rick. that's it from tokyo. a lot more coming up. let's go back to washington and chris jansing. chris? >> thanks, andrea. fascinating conversation. also kind of a reality check. coming up, president trump just landed in detroit. he has an event at 2:00 eastern time. he's going to be talking to auto executives, to auto workers. the big conversation is about the possibility of rolling back auto emission standards. stay with us right here on "andrea mitchell reports."
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he'll talk with auto workers and executives. the big topic is jobs and will they roll back some obama emission standards. one of the things we'll be listening for there is whether or not he'll have anything to say about his tax returns released late yesterday. the white house released a statement on that. we'll keep following that for you from there in michigan. and also still to come, no evidence, the head of the house intelligence committee says they have seen nothing about the wiretapping in trump tower. and the leading senator is looking for proof as well. >> you know, when i first heard it i thought that was a wild claim. i don't really know. if it's not true, just tell me it's not true. why is it taking so long to get the answer? i have no evidence of it. i'm suspicious of it but now getting concerned because it's taking so long to answer my
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his spread sapredecessor had wiretapped trump tower. we see no basis for that whatsoever. we still want the justice department to respond to our letter. we've given them until march 20th. we're both willing to use couple polls ree measures if needed. >> and that comes ahead of the hearing today by the senate subcommittee where lawmakers are demanding that fbi director james comey provide information on two key things. whether there is even an active investigation into russian ties to the trump campaign and whether they have any hard evidence to back up the president's wiretapping claim. let's start with this line-up of
bipartisan members of committee that would be in a position to know. >> here's what i think is going on. the fbi is really in a catch 22. they don't necessarily have all of the information about surveillance of russia overseas because that would be in the hands of the other intelligence committee. the question directed to the fbi director is going to get a very narrow answer. >> let's go to your second point because we have some sound with jeff sessions. let's play that and then i'll get your reaction on the other side. >> did you have a chance to greet the president on issues related to the campaign or give him any reason that he was wiretapped by the previous administration? >> look, to answer, no. >> a little hesitation but then "no". >> i think it's clear because it would take five minutes for the fbi to come up with the answer. did the fbi go to the fisa
court, the court that authorizes wiretaps against targets in the united states and get an order collecting against trump tower. i think the answer is probably no. so the president was wrong. >> a lot of members of congress are frustrated because they don't understand what is taking so long. >> two reasons why i think the bureau is taking its time in answering lindsey graham and the house intelligence committee members. the nsa was probably the ones responsible for conducting surveillance overseas of russians and when americans are talking to those russians, that wouldn't necessarily be in the hands of the fbi. that would be in the hands of the nsa. but sect, if theond, if there'sr intelligence investigation, how can he tell his own boss, whom he has recused, and his boss' boss. on monday, he's going to have to walk a narrow tight rope and say we are looking at russian ir
interference in our election process but i cannot confirm or deny whether we're investigating trump's inner circle. >> which leads me to senator lindsey graham. here's what he had to say this morning. >> we would like to know if there's an active criminal investigation because congress should not interfere with it. we're going to have a hearing on russia. i don't want to bump into a criminal investigation if there is one. i think the entire country needs to know if there's something there and in terms of the letter we wrote, i want an answer. we asked the department of justice and fbi last week for any evidence of a warrant due to wiretapping and they said no. >> are they going to get the answer they are looking for? >> i don't think so. and it's not only is there a criminal investigation but a national security investigation.
that would i mply there are people in the trump circle undermining the national security. >> which begs the question why he would tweet that because it would implicate him. >> i think it's pretty clear, instead of expressing concern over russian irnt feernterferen was trying to say i'm worried about the fbi or intelligence community's activities and i really think that the president should be backing our intelligence officials, not the russian intelligence professionals. >> while i have you here, there are reports that the white house is in the process of giving more authority to conduct lethal strikes without a presidential sign-off. this is going to be a reverse of a policy put in place or preferred by the obama administration to get the cia out of drone strikes. what's the importance of this? >> it would give more authority to the commanders in the military. these tools and air strikes are
effective, targeted and can be very useful in a broader counter isis strategy. the question is what is that global strategy because isis is not just active in the war zones but active in europe and could be potentially active in the united states. >> are you anticipating a shift? >> i think there could be a shift andi'm not sure that's entirely a bad thing it depends on what the overall isis strategy is. the president required a review and we haven't seen the results of that yet. >> jeremy, thank you. >> thanks, chris. a lot more ahead. we'll be right back. without a scratch. maybe it was the day your baby came home. or maybe the day you realized your baby was not a baby anymore. every subaru is built to earn your trust. because we know what you're trusting us with. subaru. kelley blue book's most trusted brand. and best overall brand. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. usaa gives me the and the security just like the marines did.
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that just about does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." before we go, what's on deck for secretary tillerson today? >> well, it's his first big day in japan and later today we'll have actually a press availability, a chance to ask questions, we hope, and also he meets with prime minister abe and then it's on to south korea. a lot coming up. >> we'll look for the results of that questioning coming up later on today. follow the show online on facebook and on twitter. you can find me on twitter as well. craig melvin is up next here on msnbc. hey, craig. >> chris jansing, good to see you, my friend. good wednesday afternoon. craig melvin here. we're following several big stories right now. russia, russia, russia. the justice department announcing the indictment of four russian spies and criminal
hackers in connection to attacks on 500 million yahoo accounts. also, the fbi director james comey expected to brief senate ju di judiciary leaders on russia this afternoon. also, house intelligence committee members confirming what most suspected. there's no proof the obama administration wiretapped trump tower. so what now? and a tax to grind. president trump calling the revelation of his 2005 tax return, quote, fake news, even after the white house confirmed those numbers. what we still do not know about president trump's finances and why that's so important. but we start with the bombshell implications about russian government officials, the breach of yahoo's servers exposing personal details including credit card information of at least half a billion users. the justice department releasing details st