tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 30, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
thanks for joining us. don't forget you can watch "out front" any time anywhere on cnn go. "360" starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. we begin with breaking news on the russian investigation and it is potentially nuclear. michael flynn, the security advisor who lasted only 24 days on the job offered to talk to the fbi and others. flynn was fired for lying about phone conversations with the russian ambassador. carol is on the story byline. what have you learned former national security michael flynn has offered to the fbi and others? >> reporter: we learned through his lawyer he had conversations to achieve some sort of immunity
in exchange for his testimony or cooperation in terms of the fbi. those discussions, understanding it happened in recent days, and a statement out from michael flynn's lawyer saying he would agree to testify under certain circumstances and they have had these conversations. his lawyers are saying their concern is not so much michael flynn had something to hide, they're saying he doesn't or something he should be concerned about but that in this political environment he would not be treated fairly. he's asking for immunity from any prosecution to be able to give his testimony and cooperate and not have any consequences should something arise that could be criminally prosecuted. >> the fbi as well as the house intelligence committee and the senate, the house intelligence committee spokesman for chairman nunes said michael flynn has not asked for immunity.
the lawyer's statement does talk about the house dependence -- house intelligence community and the senate. it doesn't address the fbi, correct? >> no. his statement -- i just took a quick look at it. it does not. the fbi is obviously a natural place to go if you're trying to seek immunity or if you're going to be investigated. we know the fbi had interviewed michael flynn a couple months ago when he first was under scrutiny or reported publicly that he was being -- his communications with the russian ambassador were being investigated and other communications between him and russian officials were being looked at and he was interviewed by the fbi and it would make sense he would have discussions with the fbi and the house intelligence committees as well. >> i guess when i first read the statement from chairman nunes'
spokesperson saying he had not asked for immunity before the house intelligence committee, it seemed at odds with your repo reporting but also the lawyer's statement. when you read the lawyer's statement closer, it basically, it doesn't use the term "immu "immunity." the lawyer does say they have had talks with the house intelligence committee. it's really maybe a question of semant semantics. >> it may be a question of semant semantics. if you look at the lawyer's statements and discussions with various sources he is seeking immu immunity. what he's asking for is to be able to cooperate and deliver testimony in exchange for not being prosecuted in some way because of something that he were to say or something that may arise in that. everyone's kind of parsing words here but certainly his lawyer, as his lawyer says in the statement, has discussed this with the house committee.
>> do you have any details what flynn has offered to talk about? >> no, we don't know what he has offered to talk about. we don't know if it's specifically things that he did or experiences he had when he was on the trump campaign. we don't know if it has to do with some of the things that he himself has did as a consultant. there's a number of things michael flynn had consulted for foreign governments and did work for the turkish government and been paid tens of thousands of dollars by russian companies and he got a lot of attention appearance in 2015, for instance, for the russian media organization where he sat at the table with vladamir putin. we don't know exactly what he's offering to talk about or what they want him to talk about. >> do you know if the fbi or congressional officials, house or senate, have they responded to flynn's offer of immunity?
>> no, they have not. our understanding is there has not been any sort of deal as yet worked out, that these discussions were ongoing and they've been happening in different forms over the last couple of days. >> carol, it's obviously a st stunning story. i want to bring in jeffrey toobin, legal analyst and matthew rosenberg with a story of his own. first, jeffrey, just from a legal standpoint, explain how this -- how immunity works an what you make of this. >> just to start with the -- what it means is that it means that michael flynn is taking the fifth. he is refusing to testify without immunity on the grounds it might imvictim nate him. fra frankly, the idea of the national security to the president of the united states is taking the fifth is pretty big news in and of itself. what it means is he will not cooperate either with the fbi or
congressional investigations without getting immunity. here's where things potentially get complicated. they make those decisions separately. there have been conflicts between the two in the past. oliver north got immunity from congress, didn't get immunity from the independent council, where i was one of the prosecutors and that destroyed the case against oliver north. there will be a difficult negotiations between the justice department, fbi and congressional communities about whether they want to give him immu immunity. it is usually a smart move and certainly flynn's lawyers are acting prudently by saying we want to get immunity. we have a great story to tell. we're going to tell it if we can but you better give us immunity first. they're protecting his client. we'll see what he has to say. i don't know. >> i want to read our viewers, part of flynn's lawyer's statement. general flynn certainly has a
story to tell and he very much wants to tell it. no reasonable person who has the benefit of advice from counsel would permit this and a witch hunt prosecution. >> he is saying because of the unfair environment and needs immu immunity, not that he did anything wrong. >> the lawyer is trying to capitalize the committee and fbi, if you give us immunity, you will get this bombshell. the way sober prosecutors work in circumstances like this, they have what's known as a proffer session or sometimes known as queen for a day. the witness goes in under effectively immunity and says, if you give me immunity, i will tell you the following. that is what should happen, i think. but it's got to be negotiated
with both congress and the fbi and shows why these investigations sometimes take a long time because these negotiations are complicated even before you get any testimony from the witness. >> to your earlier point, this would be negotiated with the fbi, the house and the senate all at once or as what happened with oliver north, could the senate grant him immunity to testify and not others? >> right. in part as a result of the north case, the occasicongressional committees and justice department try to coordinate their efforts. they don't have these confli conflicting situations much anymore. as a strictly legal matter they are separate decisions but a consultation should take place and proffer should take place between all these parties. it's a lot of moving parts and takes a while to negotiate and only then we find out presumably if he testifies in public we
hear what he's got to say. >> gloria, it's interesting how the trump administration will handle this. i saw on wit ear tweet from sean spicer during the hillary clinton e-mail build-up he was gl gleefully saying, grab the popcorn, a bunch of people have asked for immunity or granted immunity around hillary clinton that set up the server and even general flynn talking about the hillary clinton e-mail server story said -- we don't have the video yet but will put it up soon said people don't ask for immunity unless they committed a crime. >> don't forget, he was out there at the convention as the lock her up chant went and led a lock her up chant. this is somebody who's been very political. what's stunning to me is this notion that somebody who was a national security advisor to the
president of the united states, albeit for a very short time, would be saying to congress and to the fbi, i'm going to plead the fifth. i am not going to tell you what i know. it is kind of shocking. >> not only that this could happen but within the first 70 days of an administration. >> i don't know. maybe jeffrey can answer that, i don't know, when he teases out to authorities, what he might offer, the question is, what would they go for? do they want him to give up a bigger fish? do they want him to give up -- you know, i don't know why it would be of such interest to them if nobody in the transition had been actually communicating with or dealing with the russ n russians during the election, and would they all do this session together or separately?
>> jeff, conversations between general flynn and the president or then president-elect, would those be something he could discuss or would there be presidential perspectirivilegep? >> things start to get very complicated. certainly, nothing that donald trump said between him and flynn before january 20th would be off-limits at all. there is no such thing as executive privilege for candidates. and that would exist, particularly during the clinton kenneth starr investigation, there was extensive lengthy litigation what conversations are covered by executive privilege and not, the answer is it's complicated and not easy to say. certainly nothing prior to january 20th of this year could conceivably be covered by
executive privilege. >> do you have any sense why chairman nunes, through a spokesman, would come out now and say, general flynn didn't ask for immunity before his committee? >> no, except that maybe they're parsing words here. we do know they've clearly been having conversations about him getting some sort of immunity. i'm not really clear why. the only other thing i would say, in terms of bringing it back to the white house, gloria was talking about, an important point, this is the former national security advisor to the president. when i talked to white house officials earlier today about this, their out ward posture is we don't care. it's fine if he gets immunity. we have nothing to hide and he can say what he wants. it certainly would be a very uncomfortable place for the white house if this were to go
forward. >> ryan, what do you make of this? >> the question, of course, is the tantalizing thing jeffrey was talking about, the story he has to tell here, who was that a shot at? who was he saying you have something to worry about with the story? is he talking about people in the current white house? from the trump campaign? this is a guy up until recently was the top foreign policy advisor to trump not just for the entire campaign and the white house, and he was fired, right, and was not very happy about the way he was treated by the white house at the end there. one question would be, what does he know about the white house officials himself and correct me if i am wrong, we don't know the area around which the fbi is looking at flynn? is it related to the conversations with kislyak and alleged logan act violations?
have to do with the fbi's investigation of potential collusion during the campaign? dpe depending what the fbi is looking at, it's not just flynn that has potential exposure here. this is the first time someone asked for immunity. a lot of names that came up in the investigation seem to have gone to the committees and said i will come in and talk, roger stone, manafort, kushner. this seems like a separate category, that think s he has much more exposure than the other names so far. >> we do know the investigators were looking at his contacts not only with the russian ambassador in december but earlier contacts. we're not sure how far they go back. we wrote right after the inauguration those contacts going back through the campaign were also being looked at by
versio investigat investigators. >> sorry. >> go ahead. >> sorry. go ahead. >> matthew, go ahead. >> sorry. >> we've spoken to people on the senate side in the last hour and they told us, yes, the conversations have been ongoing in recent days. the senate is not interested at the moment. they may at some point be interested in being granting immust im must immunity but not interested in the offer. >> the two sources were in the white house and we have the deputy chief of staff leaving the white house and now general flynn will testify with immu immunity. >> we're three months into this already. pretty amazing. we've seen a number of situat n situations where the line between political and say policy and national security policy is very blurry ins whether white
house -- blur wi -- blurry in this white house. there's danger there and political goals take you to treacherous territory when you're trying to run a government. >> we have to take a quick break. a lot to talk about on the flynn story and more in a couple minutes. be right back. allergy symptoms distracting you? doctors recommend taking claritin every day of your allergy season for continuous relief. claritin provides powerful, non-drowsy, 24-hour relief. for fewer interruptions from the amazing things you do every day. live claritin clear. every day.
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we're back talking about the breaking news of the report in the wall street about national security michael flynn offering to talk in exchange for immu immunity. i want to tell you something general flynn said on "meet the press" back in september of last year talking about hillary clinton and immunity. >> the very last thing john podesta just said no individual too big to jail. that should include people like hillary clinton. five people around her have been given immunity to include her former chief of staff. when you're given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime. >> that was then. >> joining us, paul callan. i want to go back to viewers for a second, viewers tuning in, if you could explain what it is you
know at this point. the house intelligence committee chairman nunes said he hasn't asked for immunity yet but that's very clearly what he wants and discussions have gone on. >> that's right. we have spoke with a number of people that said general flynn through his lawyer has spoken to house and senate intelligence committees through his lawyer. they said they have had discussions and clearly trying to frame this as him not wanting immunity but because he has done anything wrong but because of the political environment this investigation is taking place. that's what their argument is there. we know that and we don't know exactly what general flynn is offering to cooperate with. his lawyer says he has a story
to tell if they're willing to tut a deal with him and no one has cut a deal with him yet. these conversations are ongoing, going on the last couple of days and continuing. >> jeff, based on your experience, how do these discussions go. he gets immunity for a day in which he can tell what he would say and they will judge whether they offer him immunity. these discussions, offered by the house and fbi and senate, do they happen in a room together? do they have to all be together? >> it's almost always face-to-face. one of the things a prosecutor or investigator is trying to decide in whether to grant immunity is whether someone is telling the truth. that's the most important thing. you're not going to give immu immunity to someone you think is lying to you. this is a face-to-face
encounter. it's interesting the senate said we're not prepared to deal with this now. that makes sense because you want to do background investigation first, look at the documents and read e-mails and see if there are national security intercepts so you can test whether michael flynn is going to tell you the truth. you want to have background information to test against what he says and only then will you decide whether to grant him immu immunity. yet another sign by these investigations take so long. we're not talking weeks, we're talking months here. as a political matter, it gives you some idea how long this will plague the trump administration. >> paul callen, just to contradict what general flynn said there, just because somebody does insist on immu immunity, it does not mean automatically they are guilty of something. his lawyers are setting this up as he has a story to tell but he
needs protection because this is such a politicized environment and this isaiis a witch hunt go on. that could be the explanation. he will defend himself and says he's done nothing wrong but too politicized environment to do anything without getting immu immunity. >> general flynn's statement, i represented a client we asked for immunity and i can assure you she wasn't guilty of any crime. that's lawyers being careful. however, it's like asserting the fifth amendment. it certainly looks like you have something to hide. there's a doctrine the first witness through the door usually gets the best immunity deal. from what we're hearing now he seems to be the first person openly shopping an immunity deal. that would suggest in his case maybe there is something to
hide. we do know he had dealings with the resistance and the thing that trips people up is lying to the fbi or lying to federal investigat investigators. we don't know all the details of his prior statements with or to the fbi. that may be something the general is worried about and his lawyers are worried about. we'll have to see the details as they develop. >> if i can add one point, immunity deals never give you immunity for lying to the fbi in the course of your immunized stateme statements. you still have to tell the truth. once you get immunity. that's why they don't want to give you immunity unless they are pretty sure you are telling the truth which means they have to do all this other investig e investigating first. >> i want to read the first line from his attorney. general flynn has a story to
tell and very much wants to tell it should circumstances permit. >> that's to tantalize the fbi into getting serious about an immunity deal. if i were in the white house, i would be thinking, this is a guy we fired, a guy a lot of white house aides said pretty negative things about. i don't get the sense he has much loyalty anymore to the trump administration, and so if the fbi's investigation is as broad as comey suggested last week, i'd be a little bit worried if i were in the white house right now because flynn knows everything, right? >> anderson, when i hear a witness say, through his lawyers, i have a story to tell, that's very very aggressive by
the defense attorneys and very suggestive that flynn has something of substance to put on the table to trade for a deal. that's an unusual statement to hear from a defense attorney. >> do you think it suggests -- would you say it suggests there's something else here that maybe did something worse and that's what i'm getting at or is that too vague? >> yes. i would say the only way you get an immunity deal is if you're trading somebody else for your scalp. this certainly would suggest he has information about possibly improper, possibly criminal activity. obviously we don't know who. when i hear a statement like that, that's what i'm thinking as a criminal defense attorney. >> if i could offer a little skepticism. it's very much the defense
attorney's decision to tantalize them because he wants immunity. >> you said they would advance in a private meeting from him what he would offer up and decide whether to grant him immu immunity. theoretically to paul's point about giving up somebody else to get immunity. if all his story is i've been wronged in the public discussion of this, i did nothing wrong, there's no there there, nobody else i'm pointing a finger at, do you give immunity to somebody who's saying i've done everything fine? >> it depends what the other evidence in the case show es. that's why you have to get the docume documents, the other material, the complexity of this case is so enormous it deals with national security information, information in possession of the national security agency, which hates to divulge anything.
there will be a tremendous amount of discussion between these committees and only after the nsa has disclosed this material, if they do, you can make an intelligent judgment whether michael flynn is telling the truth and deserved immunity. >> gloria, the other thought is if you were michael flynn and you are giving information to these communities, the house committee, chairman nunes, i would be concerned if any of this stuff would leak out talking to the senator or the house or get back to the white house in advance. >> of course you are because you're dealing with congress. right now, his main concern is getting immunity. the real precedent, not exactly the same as we have here, as jeffrey mentioned earlier, the
iran contra committee. oliver north was given immunity by the congressional committees and there was also an independent council and the independent council separately convicted oliver north, but that conviction was overturned because he couldn't prove that he was able to sustain this conviction without using the immunized testimony that was given in congress. >> gloria is telling the story of my life. i was part of the prosecution team and it's because of that destroyed prosecution, all our years of work down the drain there is this coordination now at least in theory between the fbi and congressional investigation about immunity. >> will there be coordination? you have jeff sessions, who recused himself from this. that's probably a very good idea since he was a member of the
transition. i know the president wasn't happy about that. now, the fbi has to decide what it's going to do. will they work with the congress? comey has a counter-intelligence investigation going on. >> one of the things to watch is what do nunes, schiff, burr and warner say about this? especially nunes and schiff. so far nunes has acted as protector of the white house and interesting to see how he dec e decides the issue of whether flynn should get immunity or not and that will tell you who he thinks this would damage. >> i want to turn to that story when we come back. everybody hold your places, carol, i know you have to go, thanks for reporti ining with t stories from the "wall street journal" and a look at the timeline of general flynn's o t ouster from the white house and the reporting matthew and others have done about chairman nunes
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management michael flynn left the spotlight four weeks ago when he was forced out as national security advisor for lying about contact with the russian ambassador and today he asked for immunity in exchange for his testimony. wolf blitzer reports. >> december 25th, flynn texts russian ambassador kids sergey kislyak. i want to wish an administer christmas and happy new year and look forward to working with you. >> i'd like to give you a call. may i? december 29th. they connected by phone, the same day the white house ordered extra sanctions on russia and 35 diplomats to leave immediately.
the call was reported january 13th and trump's team confirmed the call that day but denied any discussion of the sanctions. >> the call 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 how to initiate and schedule that call. that was it, plain and simple. >> two days later, january 15th, vice president pence defended flynn and the call in an interview with cbs. >> they did not discuss anything having to do with the united states decision to expel diplomats or impose a censure against russia. >> the controversy waned until february 9th, the "washington post" reported flynn did indeed discuss sanctions with the ambassador. and flynn who previously denied the accusations changed his tune and the washington both said
flynn indicated while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions he couldn't be certain the topic never came up. cnn and others reported the justice department warned the trump administration in january flynn misled administration officials and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the russi russians. >> according to two officials we spoke to who have been briefed on this, it was a main topic of the discussion, it wasn't some thing that kislyak maybe threw out at the end or anything like that. >> shortly after the report emerged, flynn submitted a letter of resignation, because of the fast pace of events, i inadvertently briefed the vice president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the russian ambassador. >> jack kingston joins us. jen psaki from the white house
director of communications for president obama. >> is this bad news for the trump administration? >> i don't think it's bad news. it's helpful if he wants to come forward and people will want to hear what this big story is he has. i think there are a lot of questions. as i read the immunity agreements with the five clinton employees involved with the e-mail scandals, there were different times with heather mills they got immunity from the fbi and apparently not from congress. i'm not a lawyer, i don't know how it looks, it might be a while going back and forth before an immunity agreement was rea reached. fra frankly, i think it would be good to have him say what is it you know? it seems to be the center of it and not the whole thing but where some starts and stops. it could be, i think, productive. >> jeff toobin, does it seem like it will be productive in that way?
>> it certainly will help get to the bottom of the story, if he's telling the truth, because he is such a central figure in all of this. there's really only one kind of immu immunity, technically called limited use immunity. as we have been discussing, it is under both the justice department and congress can grant it. the problem is, can be, when they don't agree who deserves it. >> jen psaki, how do you see this as former white house communications director? >> i think he's one significant player in this entire unraveling russia connection onion here. we don't really know how big the story is. clearly, given the language in the letter from his lawyers and jeffrey toobin and other lawyers can speak to that, it indicates he has a story to tell. typically i would not think that
is a story to get people off the hook or clear it up, a story that will raise more questions about other players involved, maybe players we don't know of, probably more information we don't know of. i think that's what we probably should expect in the next stages of this. >> as this unfolds, what's interesting is that very often congress will have a different goal than prosecutors. in the case of ollie north, for examp example, i think, and jeffrey correct me if i am wrong, congress felt it was more important to get the truth out there than it was to get a conviction. it played out that way. >> gloria, you're exactly right. that's not a bad thing on the part of congress. >> right. >> congress does have responsibilities that are different and particularly, again, going back to the '80s, the issue was, was president reagan implicated in the iran contra scandal. congress thought it was more important to get an answer to
that question than to preserve the possibility of prosecuting north and point dexter. that was frustrating to us as prosecutors but i don't think that was an irrational choice. it shows how congress and prosecutors can have different agendas and both legitimate. >> right. that's why they may not agree what to do with this offer here. >> sorry. matthew, as someone who has worked for the "new york times" and working closely on this and you broke a big story we are going to talk about in our next segment, what is this like -- for some people watching this, this is maybe their first -- i don't know if scandal is the right way, cloud over a white house to this magnitude, what is it like working on this every single day? does this still surprise you? >> yeah. i guess surprise and not shocked.
i always get that confused. we jammed out this morning our own story who was providing representative nunes information and this evening we end up chasing a very nice story from our colleagues at the "wall street journal". it is amazing and i've lived in parts of africa and south asia and pakistan and afghanistan. there is a degree of behavior on the part of the government, degree of attempt to obfuscate and to say, nothing to look at here and not be straight with us that seems familiar to other countries we hardly call successful or well-run count countries. >> congressman kingston, you were going to say something? >> i was going to say, in the case of the five immunities granted to the hillary clinton employees -- frankly, the obama employ employees, because of the obama state department and the private e-mail server situation, congress did have a different view. as you know, congress criticized the fbi quote for giving out
immunity deals like candy. i think in this case, the fact flynn has made this offer, i think it will be viewed with maybe a lot of skepticism by both parties in both houses of congress as well as the fbi so it could be a long time coming. >> but, jack. >> go ahead. >> how can this be sort of good news, as you say, when somebody who was the former national security advisor to the president of the united states is effectively saying, if you don't give me immunity, i'll plead the fifth? >> i'll tell you why, the trump administration said over and over again there is no collusion. >> tell the story under oath then it's not an issue. >> if there's no collusion there's no story to tell. i don't want to say that. >> here's the good news. now, we will get evelyn farkas up there who worked for hillary clinton and knew there was surveillance of the trump campaign. i would love to see her testify. >> the left the administration in september twenty 15.
>> yes. how did she know they were being spied on if she left in 2015? >> she left in september 2015, a high level russia expert. >> she knew they were being spied on. how is that possible? >> jack, i'm not sure if you read her interviews. what she talked about as a russia expert is her belief there was something up here and trump should be questioned, should have to go through almost like a security clearance like process. >> let me say this. there's no way in the world she is not going to be southbound fsouthbound -- be subpoenaed the other day. she said we did not want the trump people to know what -- >> she was on the outside. >> the difference between her and flynn is she's actually g e giving interviews right now, she just wrote something for the "american spectator" at the request of jeffrey louderd. she's out there talking and doesn't seem she won't have a
problem testifying. the story today is general flynn, ryan, is there any way to spin this, this is positive for president trump. if you're in the white house tonight -- >> no. when your former national security advisor is talking about immunity deals, that's generally not a good story for any white house. one thing to watch here is how -- does the white house defend flynn or do they attack him or cut him loose? remember, up until this point, if you look at nunes and the white house, the house intelligence committee has sort of turned flynn into a martyr last week, if you remember, a lot of the questioning that went on in the house intelligence committee last monday i know seems like a year ago, was about whether flynn was improperly unmasked in the transcripts between flynn and the russian ambassador. flynn was picked up talking to the russian ambassador and
transcripts of those conversations were distributed and nunes says he believes a crime was committed with flynn's name on it. it will be very interesting to watch now if there's a sense from the republicans on that white house that flynn is suddenly not their guy anymore and there's an effort to distance themselves. >> hold on. sorry, we have to take a break. we will have another panel right ahead. a lot more happening tonight. thoughts on matt news reporting two white house officials helped give chairman nunes intelligence reports he had gone to the white house for. if they were already at the white house, why did it take the chairman to go over there to then go back to the white house the next day to tell the president about it? %-p. in-depth analysis, o and a team of experienced traders ready to help if you need it. it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are. it's your trade. e*trade
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what we and many others have been reporting for days now. today, "the new york times" reported that two white house national security staffers including a protege of michael flynn's provided house intelligence chairman devin nunes with intelligence reports. now, it is the latest in a drama that has been unfolding for weeks now. we've watched president trump use the story line to justify his early morning tweets, accusing president obama of wiretapping him, which it doesn't do that at all. it doesn't provide any evidence. in any case, when asked this afternoon about "the times" story, press secretary sean spicer said a lot of things, but it was a nuclear-powered nondenial and we'll play a portion shortly. that and the report adds the suspicion that we've all been witnessing a charade put on by public servants to dupe the public. and this all stems from those early morning saturday tweets in which the president has yet to provide any evidence of support for. and said the administration has latched on to a different story line and it's becoming clear they're using devin nunes to help sell it.
using intelligence, whatever it may be worth, that they already had. this has been going on for weeks, and it's more than just spin. many believe it is a diversion. every moment spent on this is time not spent on russians influencing the election or questioning the surrounding contact between moscow and trump team members, or other work the white house wants to do. so you make up your own mind on why all of this is happening. first, an extended portion of sean spicer's answers on the story today. >> we've learned something new since then. so please tell us -- >> no, no, again, major, i've commented on this both yesterday and today, that your obsession with who talked to whom and when is not the answer here, it should be the substance. >> can't the process from your vantage point validate the importance of the substance? >> well, i think there's a review that we've asked for, probably -- >> and you told us that you're willing to look into -- >> and i am -- >> ask questions about the process and provide -- >> no, no, no, please don't put words in my mouth. i never said i would provide you answers. i said we would look into it.
>> did the president direct anyone in this white house or in his national security team to try to find information or intelligence to back up his assertion about what happened? >> i don't -- i'm not aware of anything directly. i would have to look into that. >> when you have that connection of dots all the way along, does the process -- does the providence of this information not become relevant to the overall investigation? >> it's up for the people who are conducting the review to decide that, not for the people in this room to decide it. >> so a lot to discuss with the panel. matthew, your reporting, you broke this story that two white house officials helped give chairman nunes those intelligence reports. can you just explain what you know at this point? >> it's this convoluted tale at this point, where last week, devin nunes gets up on wednesday and says, you know, i've been given these intelligence reports and they show that trump and his associates are swept up in intelligence gathering, suggests there's a lot of improper unmasking of their names in
these reports. and kind of suggests that whistle-blowers have come to them with this very troubling information, that the trump white house, of course, immediately seizes on to it and says, you know, this somewhat vindicates our claims of being wiretapped. and this kind of goes on. nunes eventually admits he did get the information in a meeting at the white house. but it's a story that makes no sense, because you don't go to the white house to randomly meet with people. it's not like you can walk in and say, hi, i'm devin nunes, this is jim from the nsa. we're going to check out the intelligence. so what's finally emerged is that there were two white house officials who, one of whom kind of dug out and find the intelligence. the other of whom who appears to have provided it to mr. nunes. they provided it to him at the white house, or he went to the white house, then went to capitol hill the next day, had a press conference, and went back to the white house to brief president trump the same information he had got at the white house. it doesn't make any -- it is kind of bizarre at this point. and this is raising a lot of
questions. you have two people who seem to be using intelligence for political ends, there are questions about did they do this on their own, were they asked to do it by others, was this an attempt to find post-facto justification for their actions? we don't have any answers, because the white house doesn't really answer questions about this. >> and one of the people was basically brought to the nse by flynn. and when -- according to your reporting, i think, when the new national security adviser wanted to remove him, actually president trump intervened, specifically at the request, i guess of bannon and kushner to keep him? is that right? >> that's accurate, yes. >> and then what i don't want to understand, and maybe it's because it doesn't make any sense, is if this information was already with the national security council, with these two people, at least, on the national security council, on
the white house grounds, why did they immediate need to bring, o to give them cover and make it look like this was something not generated by the white house, but something coming from devin nunes, why did they need to bring nunes in there to then go back over to the white house and brief the president on something that his own nse team already -- that his own nse already had? >> if there's another reasonable explanation than the one you just offered, nobody said it to us. nobody's offered that other explanation, because it doesn't make any sense. it's the most circular thing there. >> but don't you think, if the president has been the one to report this information or they went to the president instead of going to chairman nunes, don't you think his critics would be saying, see, the president is interfering with this investigation. and i -- >> no, jack, not at all! >> that's ridiculous, jack! >> okay -- let me say -- >> it's okay to sneak around? >> and i'll ask you this. you know, i'm assuming there's some crime that has been broken.
i don't know what it is, but i do know that anybody who unmasks somebody like general flynn has broken a crime -- >> that's not true, actually. >> it is absolutely true! >> jack, on march 15th -- >> -- check the information had no evidence of a crime? >> the point -- no evidence of -- >> nunes has said -- >> -- american citizen had been spied on by the federal government. that is -- >> look, all we know -- >> they weren't spied on. they were caught -- >> wait -- >> it's amazing how the white house critics don't have any curiosity about the process when it comes to the leakers. they don't have any curiosity when it comes to evelyn farkas. how did she know that -- >> she didn't know. she was speculating. >> jack -- >> you guys all get your marching orders at the same time? because all of a sudden, every republican on tv is talking about farkas -- >> i was going to -- >> jack -- >> jack, can i just ask you one question. jack, the president himself on march 15th, in an interview with
tucker carlson, when he was asked about his tweets, and he said, well, it wasn't really wiretapping, maybe it was surveillance, said, you're going to find out more in a couple of weeks,. >> he said, maybe some -- >> can i finish? my question to you -- >> i know where you're going, i think, but go ahead. >> okay, well, let me ask you. the question is, what was the president talked about and what did he know and did he actually know -- did he actually know what devin nunes finally learned? >> well, let me say this. i have had the honor of meeting and talking to donald trump. he's the kind of optimistic guy who's always going to say, you're going to be very proud of the wall, we're going to build the wall and mexico is going to play it. we're going to have jobs right and left. he's the guy that's going to bet on it. i don't think there's anything nefarious. i don't think devin nunes, we've got this orchestrated. i really and truly do not
believe that they are organized enough to orchestrate something like this. >> why would he say that? >> so you're saying he was just making stuff up? >> he says it -- i think it was a throwaway line. i think it's, you're going to be surprised at the information that comes out. >> and then when sean spicer said, wait until the end of the week to see what comes out, was he also just being optimistic? >> you know, that's -- i -- you know what, i can't say anything about where saern was coming from on that. i just know on the president, the way he talks, i would say, that's the way -- it was a throwaway line -- >> because now two people from the white house -- but that's two people from the white house, one of them, the president, and the other his spokesperson, both telegraphing something's about to come. and then lo and behold it comes. and it comes not from devin nunes, it comes from the white house itself, through devin nunes. i mean, just on paper, it does seem -- >> it also hasn't come, because the contents -- >> -- at arm's length -- >> the contents was nothing.
>> the left has kept saying all along, why didn't the president just call, pick up the phone and ask the fbi or the justice department if he was being wiretapped. he could have done that. but the minute he did that, if he had done it, then he would have been accused of interfering with the investigation. >> that's not what this is about. >> jack, you should be -- jack, you're the one who should be mad here. someone who comes on tv to defend the administration. you should be mad that they've made your job so difficult over the last week. >> no, no, no. >> look what -- they could have done this so easily, jack. >> i'm outnumbered. >> let me make up with point. they could have easily just given the information to the committee. >> and by the way -- and devon -- devin nunes gave an interview to ely lake who has lied. he said something that was not true. ely lake has come back out and said, this wasn't true, what devin nunes told him. >> he may have lied the to speaker ryan as well. >> let me ask you guys a question. why isn't adam schiff saying, yeah, let's