tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 14, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
>> reporter: they're hoping right now, you can see the sun is out. they're hoping to dry all of this out and they have been using these days of dry weather. you know they had unusual amount of rain and snow here to clean up all of this, jake and dry it out. back to you. >> paul, thank you so much. that is it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. you can follow me on twitter at jake tapper. i now turn you over to one mr. wolf blitzer who is in "the situation room." thanks for watching. >> happening now, breaking news. erosion of trust. the white house now says president trump himself asked national security advisor michael flynn to resign. his faith in flynn lost after learning he misled the vice-president about discussing sanctions with a russian official. could flynn face charges? unanswered questions. we now know the white house was warned by the justice department about flynn last month, but as recently as friday the president said he was unaware of the controversy. when did he first find out? calls for investigations.
key republican senators join democrats demanding a probe of the flynn scandal as well as the president's public discussion of north korea in a restaurant at his florida resort. and now top aide kellyanne conway may face an ethics probe. could more white house jobs be on the line? and un expected death. half brother of north korea dictator dies suddenly overseas, reportedly under mysterious circumstances. was he assassinated? i'm would half blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. new revelations about fired white house national security advisor michael flynn. a white house official confirms to cnn that the fbi interviewed flynn early on in the administration about his discussion of u.s. sanctions with the russian ambassador to
the united states. the white house says president trump asked flynn to resign because his trust in the general had eroded. we now know mr. trump was warned by the justice department late last month about flynn, but waited 18 days to ask for his resignation. key senate republicans are calling for an investigation not only into flynn, but also of the trump administration's ties to russia. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says the flynn probe is, quote, highly likely. we're covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, including congressman adam kinzinger of the foreign affairs committee and our courts and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with the unfolding political drama, the firing of national security advisor general michael flynn. our white house correspondent sara murray is working the story for us. sara, you broke this store. there is fresh fall out from the scandal. update our viewers. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. the white house has been in turmoil the last couple of days
of how to deal with general flynn and the report that he did in fact discuss the sanctions when he spoke with the russian ambassador. now we're learning the president himself has known about these phone calls for weeks raising questions about why it took so long for him to fire his national security advisor. the president's top national security advisor retired general michael flynn is out. the first casualty in donald trump's tumultuous white house. >> the evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> reporter: trump fired flynn after losing faith in him for misleading the vice-president about whether he discussed sanctions with the russian ambassador. but the president has known about flynn's calls for weeks. the justice department warned the trump white house in late january that flynn misled officials about his communication with the russian ambassador. and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail from the russians. according to white house press
secretary sean spicer, the president was informed immediately. the white house determined flynn's actions didn't run afoul of the law, but the loss of trust was too damaging to overcome. the fall out sparked about a whiplash for administration officials. last week the president told reporters he wasn't aware of reports that flynn had discussed russian sanctions before he took office. >> what do you make of reports that general flynn had conversations with the russians about sanctions before you were sworn in? >> i don't know about it. i haven't seen it. what report is that? >> reporter: today spicer said the president meant he had not seen a washington post story on the matter. but said the president took immediate action after the justice department's warning. >> the president from day one from minute one was unbelievably decisive in asking for and demanding that his white house counsel and their team review the situation. >> reporter: before trump assumed office, spicer told reporters in mid january conversations between flynn and the russian ambassador only focused on scheduling a call between the two world leaders.
>> they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. that was it, plain and simple. >> reporter: today he said senior administration officials were misled. >> this was an act of trust. whether or not he actually misled the vice-president was the issue, and that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of general flynn. that's it, pure and simple. >> reporter: as recently as monday evening, counselor to the president kellyanne conway insisted flynn had the president's confidence. >> yes, general flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. >> reporter: today she struggled to explain his departure. >> the fact is that general flynn continued in that position and was in the presidential daily briefings as part of the leader calls as recently as yesterday. as time wore on, obviously the situation had become unsustainable. >> reporter: meanwhile members of congress on both sides of the aisle still have questions. john corn an, the senate's second ranking republican and
senator roy blunt, a member of the senate intelligence committee, both called for an investigation into ties between president trump and russia. and they want to see flynn testify. now, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is essentially reiterating those concerns and says it's highly likely that the senate intelligence committee will look into flynn. this is supposed to be the honeymoon period for donald trump white house. he has less than a month into his administration. republicans control this white house, the house, the senate, instead they are doing clean up, wolf. >> they certainly are. sara murray at the white house, thank you. we're also learning that the fbi interviewed flynn early on in the new administration about his phone call with the russian ambassador. our senior white house correspondent jim accosta is working on that part of the story for us. jim, you're getting new information from your sources. what are you learning? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. a white house official confirms that fbi agents did interview the former national security advisor michael flynn when he was the national security
advisor. in the early days of the trump administration, that was presumably before the justice department notified the white house that there might be some problems with this phone call that michael flynn had with the russian ambassador. that was the genesis for that white house investigation into flynn's phone contacts with the russian ambassador. wolf, what i think is really an open question at this point is whether or not flynn was forthright in that conversation with fbi agents. that is, of course, something that could get him into some legal hot water if he was not telling the truth to those fbi agents. but we don't know what the outcome was of that fbi interview or what the justice department is going to be doing with that material here in the coming days. but obviously another wrinkle in this investigation, wolf. >> i'm sure they're reviewing that fbi interview with flynn lying to the fbi is, of course, a crime. as you also know, sean spicer, the white house press secretary, said during his briefing today that the president has been in his words, incredibly tough on russia. and you pressed him on that.
tell our viewers what he said. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. that was part of his response when he came into the briefing, he wanted to make an issue with the reporters michael flynn as national security advisor and the phone call he had with the russian ambassador. but, of course, during spicer's defense of the president he made the claim that the president has been incredibly tough with russia. that is a claim that is just not going to stand up with a lot of democrats and republicans in this town. and here's how the exchange went. >> you said earlier in your comments that the president has been incredibly tough on russia. >> uh-huh. >> how is that possible? you just made comment after comment over the course of the campaign, the transition where he defended vladimir putin. he had an interview with bill owe riley when he was asked if vladimir putin is a killer. he said, well, america hasn't been that much better -- to me it seems and i think to a lot of americans it seems this president has not been tough on russia.
how can you say that? >> i just walked through. the difference between the president wanting to have and understanding how a good relationship with russia can help us defeat isis and terrorism throughout the world, look, the obama a administration tried to have a recess with russia. they failed. they tried to tell russia not to invade crimea. they failed. this president understands that it's in america's national and economic interests to have a healthy relationship. if he has a great relationship with putin and russia, great. if he doesn't, then he'll continue on. >> reporter: and, so, there you heard, wolf, sean spicer essentially laying out what is something you heard from the president time and again, he even talked about it during the campaign, that it's the president's intent to mend relations with russia, to go after isis, to join forces in the war on terror. but, wolf, to have the claim that the president has been incredibly tough on russia, i mean consider as i mentioned there to sean spicer what the president said to bill o'riley in that interview that aired on
the super bowl, he said putin is a killer. trump responded you think our country is so innocent. that comment raised red flags up on capitol hill. and also go back to that tweet, wolf, that the president issued when he was the president-elect back in late december after vladimir putin decided not to pursue counter sanctions against the obama administration after the obama a administration slapped sanctions on russia for their intervention in the 2016 election. great move on v. putin. i always knew he was very smart. that is hardly tough language. >> interestingly, the russians decided not to counter sanction the united states, expelling american diplomats after russian diplomats were expelled after the phone call general flynn had with the russian ambassador. that raised all sorts of alarm bells, all sorts of questions in washington. thanks very much for that, jim accosta, reporting. let's get some more on all of this republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois is joining
us, a member of the foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> you bet. thanks. >> the white house is pegging this on a trust issue. why didn't president trump lose trust in michael flynn on january 26 when he found out from the justice department that flynn had lied about the call to the russian ambassador? why did he only lose trust in him once this all became public? >> i think that's a question only he can answer. obviously i haven't talked to him about this, so, why the time -- i don't know if they were checking out more sources or whatever it came down to. but the reality is i think what actually led to michael flynn leaving was he became a massive distraction. and when it came out that he lied, he lied to the vice-president and the vice-president went on a sunday show and defended that he didn't talk about this. i think they saw this distraction growing and that's when the president made the decision. whether he made it a few days prior and it was just executed now, i don't know. i think only he can answer that. but i think the right move was
done, which is we've got to get rid of flynn in this case. i think it's important to note flynn has done great things for the country in iraq and afghanistan, but his ties to russia have always been a question from even the beginning of the campaign. >> are you confident that the president did not ask flynn who was then his national security advisor to contact the russians to discuss rolling back the sanctions? >> well, i'm not confident of any of this because i don't know. i think it's one thing. if you go back to the actual conversation that happened, i think had general flynn come out right away and said, yes, i talked to the ambassador, he brought up sanctions or i brought up the possibility of sanctions. i think it would have been highly improper because that was during a prior administration making a decision. and i would have condemned that. but that wasn't the cardinal sin. i think the cardinal sin ended up being then lying about it and we find out now he had an interview wa interview with the fbi and we'll find out soon what he told the fbi. it was a dishonest answer he would easily be facing criminal charges. >> he certainly would be.
the fbi has a very strict policy. you lie to the fbi, that is a crime potentially. as you know, president trump and we mentioned this earlier, he tweeted in december the day after the sanctions were ordered by the obama add a morgan stanley against the russian government for interfering in the u.s. election with the cyber attacks, flynn spoke to the russian ambassador that day of the sanctions and then the russians surprised everyone, didn't counterattack the u.s. with sanctions of their own. no expulsion of american diplomats. the president -- then the president-elect tweeted, he tweeted this. great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." it was an amazing moment because the russian foreign minister sergey had already said publicly in a news conference the russians would expel american diplomats from moscow, would impose counter sanctions and a few hours later putin said, no, we're not going to do that. and it raised a lot of questions.
you understand the point here that perhaps, perhaps the suggestion was -- the allegation is that for some reason the russians, including putin, were convinced by flynn, just wait, once trump takes office things are going to get better. >> oh, yeah absolutely. i think that can be a conclusion some make. until we know more answers, though, i don't think i can come to that conclusion. the same token, look, the russians are very smart to not retaliate. we have way more arrows in our quiver. that's the one thing to remember, too. >> let me trump, congressman, because in the history of u.s. russian relations, earlier u.s.-soviet relations, whenever the u.s. expelled russian or soviet diplomats, the russians immediately expelled an equal number of american diplomats and vice versa. there was almost always a near perfect exchange. as far as i know i think this was the first time the russians decided for whatever reason, you know what, we're not going to retaliate. >> yeah, sure. that's why i said people have
legitimate questions they can ask about it. but i think it's also important to keep in mind before we jump to that conclusion before we know anything that at the same time as, you know, donald trump and i've been critical has talked about this in essence russian reset, the russians have in their mind, too, they want to have an alliance with the united states. but it's an alliance that can never happen. we see today they're buzzing our navy ship. they have a spy ship off the coast and they're becoming innocent civilians in syria which is not in alignment with our war against isis. that creates more isis members. so, while every administration has tried to have a so-called russia reset, i think our ability to be buddies with russia is incompatible with our value system. >> congressman stay with us. we are we have more to discuss, more information coming into the situation room. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. ♪ why do so many businesses rely on the u.s. postal service? because when they ship with us, their business becomes our business.
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breaking news this hour, key senate republicans are now calling for an investigation into fired national security advisor general michael flynn and his discussion of sanctions with the russian ambassador to the u.s. before president trump took office. we're back with republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois, member of the foreign affairs committee. congressman, the speaker, speaker paul ryan, he hasn't said if he'll support a congressional investigation on michael flynn. should the house follow the lead of the senate where the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says it's highly likely the senate intelligence committee will investigate flynn? >> well, i think we need to get to the bottom of what happened. and if this is a senate intelligence committee is going to investigate that, i think they can get to the bottom of t. the one thing i'm worried about is every issue ycreating this jieptd public forum of everything when you can have an intelligence committee in the senate do this and get to the
bottom of it. so, i'll leave it to the speaker. everything today, i mean basically from when i woke up to right now, there has been a lot of fast moving developments in this and i think it's important to figure out what's going on to investigate to an extent to find out what we know, and get to the bottom of it. and as this continue to develop, i'm sure we'll have even more information on t. >> senator rand paul of kentucky said something today that raised a lot of eyebrows saying it makes no sense to spend time having republicans investigate republicans. let me put it up on the screen. he said, "i just don't think it's useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. we'll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing obamacare if we're spending our whole time having republicans investigate republicans. i think it makes no sense." do you agree with him on that? >> no, there's not a ton i agree with rand paul on and i don't agree with him here. look, our job is to disregard
party and to represent the american people, to get to the bottom of answers to protect our country. and that's what i do. i put my country before my party. i'm a republican because of what i believe. but any time we have to investigate and have oversight even against a republican administration, we need to do it. to rand's point about investigation after investigation, we can't get bogged down every time there is an investigation, we need to have overall looks. we need to have oversight. i hope that was a misstatement instead of a statement of how he feel. >> yeah, because there is no doubt that a joint committee, for example, can take a look at this whole investigation of michael flynn and there could be another committees that could be dealing with obamacare and other issues. >> sure. >> in other words, there are 535 members of the house. they can do a lot more than one issue at a time. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> any time. thanks again, wolf. >> still ahead, the
all-important time line. stand by for the latest details about what michael flynn did and when the president knew. also ahead, disturbing questions following the sudden and very mysterious death of kim jong-un's half brother. was he intentionally killed? ♪ tomorrow's the day we'll play something besides video games. every day is a gift especially for people with heart failure. but today there's entresto®- a breakthrough medicine that can help make more tomorrows possible. tomorrow, i want to see teddy bait his first hook. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto® was proven to help more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto®. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto® with
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house press secretary sean spicer now says the president asked for flynn's resignation last night because of, quote, eroding trust. our pentd gone correspondent barbara starr is joining us from the pentagon. barbara, the time line of what happened and when, that is key to this story. what are you learning? >> well, wolf, details coming out really by the hour now. now we know that the fbi interviewed mike flynn in the ear earliest days of the trump administration and president trump has known himself for more than two week that he had a problem, a very big problem here. michael flynn's resignation as national security advisor, after only just over three weeks on the job, had been brewing for days. the retired general had become a lightning rod for criticism over his ties with russia. it was a relationship dating back to 2015 when flynn sat right next to vladimir putin at a dinner in moscow. but it was december 29th, 2016
that became the beginning of the end for flynn. that day president obama announced new sanctions against russia, expelled 35 russian diplomats and closed two compounds all as sanctions because of influencing u.s. presidential election. that day flynn had phone calls with the russian ambassador to the united states. the next day, december 30th, in what came as a surprise to the obama administration, putin said no americans would be expelled from russia and that he would await the inauguration of donald trump before taking any action. then president-elect trump celebrated with a tweet, "great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." washington post columnist first reported flynn had those phone calls with the russian ambassador. but the white house insisted flynn did not talk about sanctions in those calls. >> calls centered around the
logistics of setting up a call with the president of russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. that was it, plain and simple. >> i talked to general flynn yesterday and the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new u.s. sanctions against russia. >> reporter: but flynn's calls were intercepted by the u.s. intelligence community. secret transcripts show flynn did discuss the sanctions, a potential violation of federal law prohibiting private citizens from engaging in diplomacy. flynn was not yet in office. law enforcement officials say flynn made no promises about lifting sanctions and appeared to be trying to be vague. alarmed on january 26, the justice department attempted to warn the white house.
acting attorney general sally yates told white house counsel don mcgahn that flynn misled the administration about his communications with the russians and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail. this afternoon press secretary sean spicer revealed the president himself was told the same day, january 26. >> immediately after the department of justice notified the white house counsel of the situation, the white house counsel briefed the president and a small group of senior advisors. when the president heard the information as present bid white house counsel, he instinctively thought the general flynn did not do anything wrong and the white house counsel's review corroborated that. >> reporter: last friday, after the washington post first revealed to the public what those transcripts contained, the president said this. >> the conversation with the russians about sanctions before you were sworn in? >> i don't know about it. i haven't seen it. what report is that?
>> he talked to the ambassador of russia before you were inaugurated about sanctions. >> i haven't seen that. i'll look at that. >> reporter: but it all came to a head monday when the white house says president trump asked flynn for his resignation. >> the issue here was that the president got to the point where general flynn's relationship -- misleading the vice-president and others or the possibility that he had forgotten critical details of this important conversation had created a critical mass and an unsustainable situation. that's why the president decided to ask for his resignation and he got it. >> reporter: and tonight there are increasing calls from key congressional democrats and now republicans for a full investigation into all of this. wolf? >> barbara starr reporting, thank you. let's bring our political and counter terrorism experts. gloria borger, let me start with you. you broke the story of general flynn's resignation last night. good work along with our own sara murray. why was he actually forced out? was the issue in the eyes of the
trump administration that general flynn's actions, was that the issue or the fact that he got caught? >> well, if you listen to sean spicer today, it was all about one thing. it was all about trust. it was all about the fact that the president of the united states finally decided that he could not trust this man who has such an important position. but if you look at this time line here, in a way the time line provided by sean spicer raises a lot more questions than it answers, wolf, because we know that on january 26, the president knew that the department of justice felt that his own national security advisor might be subject to blackmail. and this was presented to the white house, and the white house investigated it itself, and that its legal counsel said there was
no legal problem here. let's put aside the question about what he was talking about to the russian ambassador, et cetera. they decided there was no legal problem, and then we did not hear about this until a story became public 18 days later in "the washington post" about the question about the fbi having questions about flynn. at that point the white house said there was so much information, they decide that had they couldn't trust him any more. so, what happened in those intervening 18 days? was it just the fact that the post published the story and that what was private now became public? was there other information that the white house found out about? i think those are the questions that both republicans and democrats are asking. >> dana, dana bash, as gloria just said, the press secretary sean spicer emphasized the white house counsel found in legal issue with flynn's actions, but
it was an issue of trust. the president lost trust in his national security advisor. why did that take 18 more days? >> we don't know the answer to that. and that is one of several questions that we don't know the answer to still. whether or not it just took them awhile, they say, to continue whatever investigation they were doing, or whether or not is probably the real deal, which is it became public, which is that "the washington post" reported it. and, therefore, it made it unsustainable to use a white house term today, for mike flynn to stay there because the cat was out of the bag. it's not just that this was sort of contained -- well, let me rephrase that. this was apparently very much contained in the white house so much so that i was on capitol hill today talking to some senior members who have oversight on such issues. they didn't know about the potential transcript or the
recording of these phone calls with mike flynn until friday when they saw it in "the washington post." so, that just dinkind of gives a sense of how the white house was trying to figure this out on their own. clearly, given the fact that, a, the president felt loyal to mike flynn, and b, it would have been and as we now see it is, a bad story for a new president to have to fire his national security advisor three weeks on the job. they were hoping it would go away. but, you know what? good reporting, our friends at "the washington post" made that impossible. >> good point. was it appropriate, phil mudd for flynn to continue am that national security role for nearly three weeks? >> i think it was. let's step back for a moment. a year or two from now, wolf, we'll look back and say something remarkable happened. that is within a month of the president assuming office, had
he -- he had to terminate his national security advisor. within a week he gets advised of what happened in that phone call with the russian ambassador, meanwhile the fbi is conducting an investigation, presumably the white house legal counsel has to determine what they believe the president is pushing forward with his initiatives on thing like immigration. he's got nominees in congress for departments of state, department of defense. i look at this and say, i think in retrospect whether he terminated flynn within a week, two weeks, three weeks will become irrelevant. what happened was within a month he had to do something i don't believe any president has ever done, and that's get rid of somebody who is not only his national security advisor. he's got to be one of the top two or three people trusted during the campaign. i think that's the story here, wolf. >> breyona, is it plausible that general flynn would have discussed this sensitive issue of sanctions with the russian ambassador in washington on his own without being directed by anyone in the administration to do so?
>> you know, wolf, we don't actually -- we don't know that and i should definitely stress that. but talking to sources, many of them have been hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks there wouldn't have been some input from the administration or that president trump wouldn't have talked to mike flynn about this. keeping in mind mike flynn's background, when he was head of the d.i.a., under the obama administration, he wasn't someone who was known for place niegl nicely. he was someone who would break the china and was a bit of a freelancer. there was that dynamic from flynn. but still talking to sources who were familiar with flynn, who are familiar with the flynn-trump dynamic, they really think it would be so odd that he would have done this just on his own without any input. >> everyone stand by. we're going to continue this. once again, we're learning more. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. no matter how the markets change... at t. rowe price... our disciplined approach remains. global markets may be uncertain... but you can feel confident
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you react to information they already know. for example, in this case they would have reviewed the transcript to see if there were conversations with the russian ambassador about sanctions. they might then ask an open-ended question. general flynn, did you ever speak about sanctions? if his answer is, no, not only do they know that he's not telling the truth, that's a federal violation. lying to a federal investigator. so, be clear about what these investigations are about. they're not just fact finding. they're to determine whether the subject, in this case general flynn, is being truthful to fbi investigators. and if he's not, he could potentially be charged for that. >> that could be a big deal. dana, the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunez is more concerned apparently with investigating the leaks than flynn's ties to russia and the house oversight committee chairman jason chaffetz also said he won't be investigating what sort of pressure they are facing. won't be investigating the flynn issue specifically. what kind of pressure are they
facing as a result of those comments? >> truthfully, not very much from the people who they care most about, their constituents. you know, these are republicans and pretty much across the board except for a handful in the house who are in very red districts, very -- districts that donald trump likely won with a very large margin. the question i think is the senate, which, of course, is also controlled by republicans where the republican majority leader sang a different tune today and was much more open about the idea of investigating, not just the whole idea of russian meddling in american elections, but specifically this flynn question. so, the pressure now is mounting on republicans really across the capital, but i think that those who are more susceptible to this pressure as i said are those in the senate to a select committee or special committee to investigate all this.
unclear if it's going to go that far, but certainly the senate, i would think, is probably the place to watch because the pressure is more tantamount there. >> gloria, possible candidate to replace general flynn supposedly the former cia director general david petraeus. what are you hearing about his chances? >> well, i was told last night by a source with knowledge of the candidates that general petraeus does want the job. and i gather he's going to be meeting with the president at some point in the near future. and i think that there are people at the white house, however, who also understand the complications of petraeus. te up side is, of course, that he's completely qualified for the job. the downside is that he shared classified information with his mistress for which he was prosecuted. and i think that there would be lots of democrats, in particular maybe some republicans who would raise questions about this,
particularly since the president made a huge issue during the campaign of hillary clinton's e-mail server and whether she could be trusted with classified information. so, they don't want to make the president look like a hypocrite. i know that he has been impressed with general petraeus, but there are a lot of other good candidates out there. >> all right. everybody stand by. there is more information coming in. also, there is news involving the north korea leader's half brother. all of a sudden he dies at a airport in malaysia. was he assassinated? t? a long time. then it's a fortune. well, i'm sure you talk to people all the time who think $100k is just pocket change. right now we're just talking to you. i told you we had a fortune. yes, you did. getting closer to your investment goals starts with a conversation. schedule a complimentary goal planning session today.
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mysterious death of the half brother of the north korean leader kim jocng-un is raising questions, including whether he could have been assassinated. let's go to brian todd. >> police in malaysia say they have no suspects but told reporters that kim jong-nam took ill at the kuala lumpur airport, felt dizzy and asked for help at an airport counter and felt like someone grabbed his face from behind. experts are divided over whether kim jong-nam was a threat to his younger brother. he'd been estranged from his father, and later from his younger half brother, who happens to be the violent erratic dictator of north korea. tonight the mysterious death of kim jong-nam is raising serious questions. malaysian police say he died after falling ill at the kuala lumpur airport.
there arereport s circulating that he may have been attacked. analysts are divided whether kim jong-nam was a threat to his older half brother. kim jong-nam had lived in macau and beijing and may have been supported by china. >> there have been rumors if the north korean regime were ever to become unstable that kim jong-nam might be brought in by, say, china, as a replacement for kim jong-un. >> reporter: kim jong-nam was 45 years old, oldest son of kim jong-il. kim jong-nam and kim jong-un had different mothers. kim jong-nam's mother was an actress, their father had an affair with, kim jong-nam was considered by some in north korea to be the natural heir to power until 2001 when he was caught trying to sneak into japan on fake passport. >> trying to sneak into japan on a dominican republic passport with his small son to entertain him at tokyo disneyland, so, and
it's complicated relations with japan, north koreans would be so bold as to make this kind of attempt but the symbolism of trying to go to disneyland, i think that in itself was this idea that the north korean regime could not tolerate are. >> reporter: that made kim jong-nam persona non grata with his family. he was asked if he was interested in succeeding his father. >> no. personally, i'm not interested in this issue. >> why? >> sorry. i'm not interested in the politic. >> reporter: what he was interested in, according to analysts, was living like a high roller. frequenting the casinos and dance clubs of macau. >> he was known as basically a playboy and a gambler. he spent most of his time in southeast asia, and also in europe. traveling around. he did support when kim chong-il was alive, he did support kim
jong-nam, give him a certain amount of largesse to support his lifestyle. >> and tonight it is unclear and may remain unclear whether kim jong-un had anything to do with his half brother's death. if he did, analysts say, it could have been a signal to china, which may have been supporting kim jong-nam, or it may have been a signal to potential defectors, given the recent spate of high-profile defectors who have escaped north korea. wolf? >> good point. brian todd reporting. thank you very much. coming up, red flags were raised about the fired national security adviser michael flynn last month. so why did president trump wait 18 days to act? >> immediately after the department of justice notified the white house counsel of the situation, the white house counsel briefed the president. [vo] quickbooks introduces rodney. he has a new business teaching lessons. rodney wanted to know how his business was doing... ...so he got quickbooks. it organizes all his accounts, so he knows where he stands. ahhh...that's a profit. way to grow, rodney! visit quickbooks.com.
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happening now, broken trust. the white house says president trump asked for michael flynn's resignation after he lost confidence in his national security adviser. tonight, members of both parties are demanding investigations into flynn's contacts with russia, his misleading statements and president trump's response. 18 days. the white house confirms the president was warned nearly three weeks ago that flynn wasn't telling the truth. what changed between then and now. and why was flynn allowed to stay on the job? russian provocation. moscow deploys spy ships and missiles even as u.s. relations with the kremlin are under scrutiny. is vladimir putin trying to test president trump in new ways tonight? and inside north korea. we have a live