Return to Transcripts main page


Pence Kept in Dark About Flynn Probe; WH: Trump Asked Flynn to Resign Over "Eroding Trust"; WH: Trump Asked Flynn to Resign Over "Eroding Trust; Kim Jong-Un's Half Brother Dies Suddenly. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 14, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:29] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Topping this hour of "360", White House damage control after sending the national security adviser packing, that in the continued bleeding from Michael Flynn's departure. He'd left just hours after reports surfaced that he lied about his phone calls with the Russia's ambassador to Washington. And the Russians knew he lied, making him potentially a target for blackmail. He leaves behind a slough of questions about his boss's relationship with Russia.

Today, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer answered questions about some of what the President knew and when he knew it, but only some. CNN Sara Murray joins us now with more.

Do you have new information about when Vice President Pence actually found out about this Flynn conversation? What have you heard?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. And we're learning it was not through the White House that Mike Pence found out there were inconsistencies between what Flynn said on these calls with the Russian ambassador and what he had told the Vice President-elect he said. In fact, Vice President Pence found out through media reports about these inconsistencies and he didn't find out about this until February 9th, which was weeks after the Department of Justice warned the Trump administration that Flynn was misleading officials about what he actually said on those calls, Anderson.

COOPER: It's pretty stunning that the Vice President of the United States didn't learn about this from the people he works at in the White House, he learned about it from media reports, the very media that they themselves have been criticizing time and time again. What is the White House's reaction been to all of this?

MURRAY: Well, that's right. And I think this was a lesson in how you share communications within this administration. Because, ultimately, it was the fact that Flynn misled senior officials, that he misled the Vice President, Anderson, that led to his dismissal. Take a listen to what Sean Spicer said about this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: 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, it was a matter of trust.


MURRAY: So the White House is saying they don't believe Flynn did anything wrong legally, but essentially you cannot have your national security adviser running around misleading senior administration officials, especially the Vice President.

COOPER: And the FBI interviewed Flynn about the calls with the Russian ambassador, right?

MURRAY: That is right. We know that the FBI interviewed Flynn about these calls and afterwards came the Department of Justice warning to the Trump administration, essentially saying, "Look, this guy is misleading officials about what he said on these calls. It could lead him open to blackmail."

Now, sources are telling, our justice correspondents, that Flynn is be being cooperative with the FBI. What exactly that means, I think, remains to be seen. And I think the fact that we don't know exactly what was in those communications has led to further questions on Capitol Hill. We saw both Democrats and Republicans today saying they want to see more information, they want to see Flynn testify about exactly what was discussed in this transition period between the incoming Trump administration and their sort of Russian counterparts, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Sara Murray. Sara, thanks.

You heard in the last hour that House Republicans are reluctant to investigate this. Senate Republicans seem more willing to probe. However, you'll see in this conversation I had before airtime with Idaho Senator James Risch, it's not fully clear what precise shape the investigation may take.


COOPER: Senator Risch, do you believe General Flynn's actions warrant a full investigation by Congress? And exactly, who do you think should investigate?

SEN. JAMES RISCH, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Anderson, as you know, I'm on the Intelligence Committee. And that falls within the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Committee. We review virtually all activities dealing with intelligence and counter intelligence. Already, there has been an investigation announced by the chairman and the ranking member of Russian activities dealing with the election and those matters.

[21:05:04] This is going to fall into that. There is going to be an investigation. There's no question about it. COOPER: When you say you're going to review this, there's going to be an investigation, will you be calling people to testify under oath, General Flynn among others?

RISCH: I don't know about General Flynn. I think that remains to be seen. But the way we do review these kind of matters is we review documents, we get statements from people, we have people into the Committee. We do the usual kinds of things that you do when you're trying to get to the bottom of a matter, and that's what we'll do here.

COOPER: Wouldn't talking to General Flynn be essential?

RISCH: Maybe. And that's assuming that he is going to talk, as we all know, when these kinds of things happen, sometimes it's very difficult to get people to say anything any further, particularly, if they feel they're in jeopardy. And of course right now, I think probably there's going to be some lawyers telling him that it may be best if he didn't speak.

COOPER: So are you talking about actually having hearings? Because right now, it just sounds like you're reviewing documents. Are you talking about actual public hearings that Americans would be able to follow?

RISCH: There is so much that happens in intelligence and terrorism, counterterrorism that we are constantly having hearings. The hearings are closed. And sometimes there's reports that come out of the hearings, I think this has reached a high enough profile that certainly there's going to have to be some accountability, some reporting that's done after the matter's reviewed.

COOPER: So what sort of a timeline are you looking at for actually investigating this?

RISCH: The Committee today, as we talked about this, I think, I can say generally speaking, people on the Committee, as I talked to them individually, everyone expresses the desire to move this along quickly, because, as we know, there's lots of things happening in Washington, D.C. right now. What was news yesterday isn't today, and we need to get to the end of this thing as quickly as we can.

COOPER: Because I do think that's the concern of some people that this just gets lost in the shuffle as new events take place. Because, I mean, what you're saying so far is, you want there to be an investigation. Not sure the exact framework of it. You're not sure if there's going to be hearings, not sure if General Flynn would actually be called to testify, not sure how public this would be, although, you're saying it is serious.

RISCH: Yeah. I guess I'm not communicating too well. I am sure that there is going to be an investigation. I am sure that there's going to be a hearing. I am sure that there's going to be people testifying. The only one of those that I'm not certain on is whether or not General Flynn would be asked to testify, and indeed, if he was called and if he would testify. The rest of that I'm very sure on. And I'm very sure that it is going to be completed.

COOPER: Senator, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

RISCH: All right, thank you.


COOPER: Perspective now from three people with deep experience with the national security community, CNN military analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, her national security podcast is called the "SCIF", (inaudible) named after the President's secure communication facility, which is in the news lately. Also with us is Mike Rogers, former Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Community.

Chairman Rogers, do you believe there should be a full, formal and open congressional investigation into what General Flynn did and who knew about it because the current chairman of the House Intelligence Community doesn't seem inclined to go that route? He's echoing the White House line that the real focus should be about leaks.

MIKE ROGERS, (R) FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I think it's -- from what we just heard, I think the Senate is going to do that kind of investigation. You know, the real concern here is, I mean, I didn't -- I'm not sure I understand. Is there an FBI investigation into Mike Flynn or not? I'm not sure I understand after today's news if there is or isn't. It looks like the FBI went down to the White House and had conversations. That would interfere with any legislative investigation you might have even off the Intelligence Committee.

But what they can do is, what they were talking about, they can bring witnesses in around, talk about Russian activities, talk about the activities that may have led to Mike Flynn resigning this week.

So, I mean, there's a lot to talk about here. One thing I hope they do in this whole thing is take this moment to realign the National Security Council to the real focus. You know, they got too many bosses, too many senators of power, too many people in charge, bifurcated messages coming out. That's all a result of lack of discipline of making the National Security Council function in a way that gets all of the intel information we have, funnels that up to the senior decision makers in the White House --

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: -- so they can make a good policy decision. That seems to have been lost in all of this conversation.

COOPER: Juliette, the other thing that interest me and I don't think we know the answer to this. I've tried to ask Sara Murray but it's not really clear to me still if the FBI interviewed General Flynn, what did General Flynn tell the FBI? Did he lie to the FBI about what he said to the Russian ambassador? I mean, if he lied to Mike Pence.

[21:15:02] I mean, again, I don't think we know the answer to that, but that would seem to be critical.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: It is absolutely critical, because that is going to trigger the potential that Flynn is then the subject of an FBI investigation. So everyone's talking about this antiquated Logan Act and whether he violated this Logan Act, that's a side story.

Right now, the question is, when Flynn sat down with the FBI, did he lie to them about the communications? Because, you know, this is the Martha Stewart, right? No one remembers what she was interviewed for, John Edwards, you get convicted for the lie. That is relevant, not because you shouldn't lie to federal investigators, but it is relevant, because then that will determine the extent to which the Senate Intelligence Committee --

COOPER: Right.

KAYYEM: -- can bring Flynn in and whether they offer him, and this is a key point, they offer him a plea arrangement so that he will speak. So this is absolutely not over. And I think that the fact that the FBI interviewed him is relevant.

COOPER: General Hertling, I mean, the other thing I sort of don't understand or not sure I buy one way or the other and I'm curious at your perspective. I mean, the White House keeps saying the thing was that General Flynn lost the trust of the President because he lied to the Vice President. Do you buy that argument? That this is just about the loss of trust? Because if he didn't do anything wrong in talking to the Russian ambassador in a multiple of phone calls, why lie to the Vice President about what you said to the Russian ambassador?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET): I'm confused about that too, Anderson. Here we have an incoming government official as a national security adviser, several weeks before the election, allegedly talking to an ambassador from a foreign power, telling him, allegedly, to disregard the policy of the United States government. That, to me, is somewhat damning. And for anyone to say that it didn't violate the law, that may be true, the letter of the law. But I'm just curious about what might have happened, the what ifs, if Russia had done something during that period of time because they thought they had cover from the about to enter new government.

It confuses the heck out of me. And I got to tell you just listening to your conversation with Senator -- with Mr. Risch, it's just amazing to me because if this was an active duty general officer in my old life as a military guy going before Congress, he'd be on the carpet in a heartbeat, being investigated. And I don't understand why there's any kind of delay. I think it's irresponsible for the Senate and the Congress not to conduct an investigation. And they have been talking about this now for the four weeks that Mr. Trump has been in office. I don't get it. I absolutely do not get it.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers, does it make sense to you that, I mean, the White House says, look, this is about lying to the Vice President. But again, I just don't understand, if he didn't wrong in having the conversations, why lie, not only to the Vice President, to Sean Spicer and others allegedly?

ROGERS: Yeah, I mean, I'm not even sure I want to speculate on why he would do that. It could have been one of those as innocent as he decides to do a courtesy call, he said he was going to do a courtesy call. I mean, it's a judgment issue, if you're talking to the Russian ambassador that it wouldn't devolve into some kind of talk about sanctions or missile defense or fill in the blank.

COOPER: Right. And there were multiple calls --

ROGERS: But maybe he stumbled into that. And in his mind, that's not the intent of this call. I don't know.

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: I think that's what the review is. And just on an investigation in Congress, this should be taken seriously. They should do a review, and I think the Senator talked about that. You need to review documents, review some witness testimony, talk to the Department of Justice so you can decide, all right, should we launch a full investigation? I think that is prudent and appropriate. We shouldn't launch these things willy-nilly. I think clearly there are more facts to be found here. And I think, if I heard it right, the Senate is going to actually do just that.

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: So I think they're moving out in a smart, prudent way and it's bipartisan, and that's important.

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: It needs to be a bipartisan investigation and it shouldn't be a --

COOPER: Because, I mean, Juliette, the other factor in this of course is what did the President know? And I mean, with General Flynn just on his own calling up multiple times the Russian ambassador, discussing, you know, allegedly U.S. foreign policy and then Russia doesn't act on what President Obama did, tossing out Russian, alleged Russian intelligence officers, and then the President tweets praise of Vladimir Putin for not responding.

KAYYEM: That's exactly right. I think Sean Spicer sort of trying to distract us with this issue of trust between the Vice President and Flynn. The issue, as we now know, the President knew, advised DOJ that they felt that Flynn could be compromised. Someone made the decision not to tell the Vice President of the United States.

COOPER: Right.

KAYYEM: That is the key question. Why did they decide not to, and then that raises the ultimate question of well then, you know, what did Trump know and when did he know it?

COOPER: Right. KAYYEM: And I think that these are all legitimate questions.

COOPER: Right. General Hertling, I appreciate it. General Rogers, Juliette Kayyem, we're out of time, thank you very much.

[21:14:58] Coming up next, is this White House really so different when it comes to all the drama we're seeing? We'll ask two people who've seen it all from -- inside and other administrations.

Also, we're live in North Korea, with tension rising after new missile test and intrigues surrounding the mysterious death of Kim Jong-un's half brother in an airport, he fell ill, ahead on "360".


COOPER: Last night in the program, Jeffrey Lord suggested that the kind of turmoil we're seeing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is, in his own words, normal in a new administration. Jeffrey's back tonight. He's got his own experience in one administration. What's that again, Jeff?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it was the Reagan administration.


COOPER: Also with us is former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, professor of public policy at University of California Berkley and author of "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few".

Secretary Reich, you called this Mr. -- and I'm quoting exactly, "Mr. Trump's bungling, bitchy White House." I will let you explain.



REICH: But it could have been my article and my title, Anderson. I mean the fact of the matter is, there is disorganization at the beginning of every administration, every White House. People are just kind of learning the ropes.

COOPER: Right, going from campaigning to governing is difficult.

REICH: Going from campaigning to governing is always difficult. But I frankly have never seen the chaos that I have seen and witnessed in the Trump White House. You have an executive order, a travel ban going out, without any coordination with any other agency, forming, I mean, creating absolute uncertainty, wild, wild uncertainty among the people who are supposed to be enforcing it. You've got a chief of staff who doesn't even know exactly how to run a White House. You've got Kellyanne Conway, who is out there promoting Ivanka's products. Sean Spicer is a late-night comedy joke. I mean, you've got leaks and back biting. It's not clear what is going on, who's in charge.

The "New York Times" yesterday was talking about the National Security Agency doesn't even want to brief the White House on what's going on in terms of top secret intelligence for fear that it is all compromised. Even the Situation Room is compromised with regard to Russia.

[21:20:12] I mean, what kind of a White House is this anyway? Donald Trump was elected on the premise that he would actually be cleaning up, not only the swamp in Washington, but also would be applying tough business practices to management. Well, this is actually the sloppiest management I frankly have ever seen.

COOPER: Jeffrey, I mean, that was Donald Trump's selling point during the campaign. He knows -- he picks the best people and knows how to run an organization. Is this the way the White House should be run? I mean, do you think it's really running at optimal speed?

LORD: I do think, Anderson, as I said to you last night, I went back and took a look. Every single administration has some version of the story out there. All I did was type in turmoil and White House and add a president's name, and it was there.

And I might add for Secretary Reich, the Clinton administration was described two years after it took office as being terribly disorganized, filled with bright people who had no idea what they were doing. On and on and on this goes. The Reagan administration was no exception to this. And it sort of came to the fore the day that President Reagan was shot. And there was a scurry, what to do, what to do? The Secretary of State --


COOPER: -- said I'm in charge --

LORD: Exactly. I mean it was not a good situation. So I just think President Trump has now just joined the club here and he will definitely get a grip on this. I have no doubt about that whatsoever.

COOPER: But Jeffrey, I mean, it does seem like there's not a lot of folks in the President's inner circle who have actually worked in a White House before. Does that make -- doesn't that make a difference?

LORD: That is often the case. I mean, particularly, when you look at somebody like, again, President Clinton who was an outsider from Arkansas or Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama, and I'm not just picking on Democrats here, because the same thing would apply, it's human nature. If you come in to the White House with no previous experience in the White House, and a lot of this is first-time stuff. So you learn, that's how we get gray hair.

REICH: You know, I think this is -- and I think this is complete false equivalence. I mean, I have been around several White House transitions and several new White Houses. Yes, there is some degree of uncertainty, but -- even in terms of leaks, I've never seen a White House that was -- as leaky as this one. Everybody is basically calling up the press and telling stories on everybody else. I mean, even when Donald Trump is on the phone with foreign leaders, we get a play by play account of all of the things he did wrong by people standing around him.

I mean, I, you know, I'm all in favor of the public knowing, but this is just back biting and it is scurrilous kind of leaking and we -- it's just a symptom of a White House that is out of control.

LORD: There is a belief, Anderson, in Republican circles and conservative circles that there is an effort out here if you will delegitimize the Trump administration by going after his staff people, his senior staff people one person at a time, and, you know, to create scandal, et cetera, so that, you know, General Flynn today, Kellyanne tomorrow, Steve Bannon the next day --

COOPER: But I mean, according to the White House, General Flynn lied to the Vice President of the United States. That's not something created in some back room.

LORD: No, no. No, no. I understand, but the whole commotion over Kellyanne Conway's throw away line, which was just, you know, an attempted humor, a one-liner to make this into some big ethics deal or, you know, Sean Spicer is not competent. Sean Spicer has been around for a long time. He knows what he's doing here. He'll get the hang of the White House podium. I have not the slightest doubt about this.


COOPER: Secretary Reich and then we got to go.

REICH: I'm sorry, the idea of conspiracy that somehow undermine -- I mean, these are the people who are doing the leaking. They're people who are there in the White House, who are basically telling tales on each other. I mean, there are people who -- I mean --

LORD: Shocking.

REICH: -- even I am hearing who are saying that Reince Priebus doesn't know what he is doing, doesn't even know how to manage his way out of the White House men's room. I mean, yes, there is always a problem at the start, but this is Donald Trump's. Remember, this is Donald Trump who said he was going to be a businessman, a tough businessman. He was going to apply the toughness of business management to government. And this is just -- it's the opposite.

COOPER: Interesting. Secretary Reich, thank you very much. Jeffrey Lord as well. To be continued.

Coming up, with David Petraeus, running for national security adviser. We'll hear from the woman that he actually leaks secrets to. We'll talk to her and talk to her about double standards, about how they both (inaudible). We'll be right back.


[21:28:25] COOPER: Now that Michael Flynn is out, one of the names being floated as a potential replacement as national security adviser is retired General David Petraeus. Petraeus resigned as CIA director in 2012 after it came to light that he had an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

The FBI and Justice Department later recommended felony charges against Petraeus for sharing classified information with Broadwell and also lying to investigators. He is still on probation after pleading guilty to lesser charges.

Petraeus oversaw military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Broadwell also knows General Flynn from her time working in Afghanistan.

Just before air, I spoke to Paula Broadwell, former military officer and director of the Think Broader Foundation, fighting gender bias in the media.


COOPER: Paula, first of all, I want to get your reaction to General Flynn's resignation or being asked to resign by the President. I understand you actually knew him in Afghanistan. What do you make of what's unfolding?

PAULA BROADWELL, DIRECTOR, THINK BROADER FOUNDATION: Well, I think there are a lot of details we have yet to learn, Anderson. First of all, was this action that he took in contacting the Russian diplomat, was that guided by -- from someone in the administration? Did he unintentionally violate the Logan Act, which is basically when someone negotiates with a foreign government that doesn't have friendly relationships with the United States? And what were his motives? So there's a lot of uncertainty in all of that.

COOPER: With regards to General Petraeus, I mean, he's been believed to be under consideration to replace General Flynn, obviously, as national security adviser. Certainly, you know, questions is going to be raised about whether the incident he was involved in with you makes him unfit for that decision. What do you say to that to people?

[21:30:02] BROADWELL: Well, I say it's been five years, and everyone involved in this situation has taken responsibility for their actions and suffered the consequences and has tried to move forward. So I think in relation to me that he should be able to move forward.

COOPER: It does seem like, you know, when you think both of you that there has been kind of different way you both have been dealt with. I mean, General Petraeus has, you know, gone on to being on, I guess, on boards of companies. He's, you know, consulting. He's, I guess, you know, probably being highly paid and now he's being considered for a position.

You know, in the coverage, I went back and read some of the coverage of what occurred, and it seemed like the way you were portrayed, you know, in the "Washington Post", it talked about your tight-fitting clothes at one point, some of the comments made by other people were kind of implying that you had somehow, you know, seduced this shining general. And do you feel that there's been this double standard?

BROADWELL: Obviously, I feel there's been a double standard, Anderson, not only in the press coverage but in the treatment and the discipline. But I've never been one to cast myself as a victim. I take full responsibility for the mistakes that I did make. I think as a strong woman, I'm going to wear what I want to wear. But I certainly wasn't out on any kind of mission. I was trying to write a book. I was a credentialed journalist. The Department of Justice recognized that and declined to bring any charges. The challenge for me has been waiting an additional year, over a year, for the army to resolve our case, and --

COOPER: And you're still waiting for that?

BROADWELL: I'm still waiting for that. And the irony is, again, that David Petraeus is being considered for this position, which is terrific. He's very qualified. And as I said, everyone should be able to go on with their life. But he's two months away from a two- year probation period being finished, and I'm still in limbo with the military.

So, today, my attorney submitted a rebuttal to the military stating that the grounds for punishing me and not him are unjustified. There hasn't been due process. There are jurisdictional issues. And I feel confident. Most importantly, I feel it's important for me to stand up for myself, to inspire other women to do the same things for themselves and I guess we're just going to be in a holding pattern here to see how it resolves.

COOPER: But I mean it is -- you're not bearing, you know, you don't seem to bear any ill will toward General Petraeus. I think some people in your position would. I mean, General Petraeus, you know, shared classified information. He hid, according to Director Comey of the FBI, hid classified information in his attic and then he lied to investigators about it. And yet, he's been able -- he's now being considered for one of the top jobs in the administration and you're still waiting to hear from the military and have had your academic career and, you know, job opportunities basically put on hold if not turned down flat out right.

BROADWELL: Well, let's go back to your first comment. I think a lot of what happened to him has been taken out of context. There was no ill intent. And again, no national security was jeopardized in anyway. So, to be fair, you know, I think I have to put that in context and he's paid the price for it. I'm not here to defend him or promote him but I think it's important to say that.

As for myself, my year, my word for the year is magnanimous. I'm just trying to stay above the fray. There's been a very difficult process for me and my family to kind of endure this long investigation and, you know, it's been over five years, but I also have learned a lot on the process. You see me on other television shows. I'm the first to take responsibility for my mistakes and own it, and move forward and try to be the change I wish to see in the world, whether that's addressing media bias or institutional bias with the army or, you know, every day bias that we're seeing across America right now. I feel just amazing solidarity with so many Americans who want to do something, and it's all borne of my rather awful experience. So I guess for me, there's been a silver ling. COOPER: Paula Broadwell, appreciate you being with us, thank you.

BROADWELL: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Coming up, ICE raids arrest hundreds, now there's a word that a dreamer has been arrested without cause. We'll hear from some undocumented immigrants. Some of them came to United States as toddlers, about their concerns, next.


[21:38:19] COOPER: Immigration rights groups say they think it's a first. Last week in Seattle, a so-called dreamer, a man who was covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been arrested without cause. His lawyers say he was taken into custody by immigration officials and is being detained without justification.

Now, recent raids throughout the country led to nearly 700 arrests. The Homeland Security says those were routine and mostly criminals and they said those kind of arrests happened under the Obama administration as well. Throughout the country, however, illegal undocumented immigrants are scared. Gary Tuchman tonight spoke with people in San Diego.