Return to Transcripts main page


Fired National Security Advisor's Lawyers Stop Sharing Information With Trump's Legal Team; Al Franken Apologizing For Groping Allegations; Roy Moore Tough Political And Spiritual Battle; Black Friday 2017 Tips; Possible Last Black Friday. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 24, 2017 - 06:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is a special holiday edition of New Day this Friday, November 24. 6 o'clock here in New York. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill by my side again. Thanksgiving was good?

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Thanksgiving was good. Yours?

CUOMO: We both survived. We're both here. Take it as a win. Here's out starting line. Lawyers for fired National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, are reportedly no longer sharing information with President Trump's legal team. Now, a source tells CNN the same thing. This could be significant. I'm qualifying it because it could mean a lot of different things, but information sharing agreements have to stop when negotiations start with a prosecutor. So the question, is Flynn cutting a deal with Special Council Bob Mueller?

And battled democratic Senator, Al Franken, apologizing again amid groping allegations. Franken says he did cross a line with some women and vouched to regain the trust of Minnesota voters.

HILL: Meantime, accused child molester, Roy Moore, the republican party's nominee for the Senate seat in Alabama telling his supporters they are in the "toughest spiritual and political battle of our lives." Will you add (ph) for Moore's democratic challenger to suede voters' mind.

And it is, of course, Black Friday. Bargain hunters heading out to stores to get the best deals on the hottest items. We have some tips for you, and we'll also take a look at why this could be the last Black Friday. We have it all covered. We begin with CNN's Joe Johns who's live in Palm Beach, Florida where President Trump is vacationing. Joe, good morning.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica. The significance of this is what appears to be a shift in the relationship between the president's legal team and lawyers for the former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and there could be a lot of reasons for that. But the White House framing on this is that it should not be interpreted tat Michael Flynn is now cooperating to the detriment of his former boss.


JOHNS: A source telling CNN that fired National Security Advsior, Michael Flynn's defense team, is no longer sharing information with the president's legal team, a sign that Flynn could be preparing to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Mr. Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, dustups (ph) that in a statement to CNN. "No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president."

But the New York Times, which first reported the story, detailed that the president's lawyers believed Flynn is discussing a deal with Mueller pointing to the significant criminal exposure that Flynn and his son are facing. The new revelations coming just weeks after CNN reported Flynn was concerned about his son's potential legal exposure in the investigation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.

JOHNS: Flynn is one of the prominent Trump associates under scrutiny over his long established ties to Russia. Flynn seen here sitting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015 at an event in Moscow. During the presidential transition, Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about discussing sanction with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The conversations said that took place at that time were not in any way relation to new U.S. sanctions against Russia.

JOHNS: We now know that four days after President Trump was sworn in, the FBI interviewed Flynn about his calls with Kislyak. Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, even warned the White House that Flynn was vulnerable to potential blackmail by Russia, but Trump continued defending Flynn.

TRUMP: This man has served for many years. He's a general. He's, in my opinion, a very good person. I believe that it would be very unfair to hear from somebody who we don't even know and immediately run out and fire a general.

JOHNS: The president eventually forcing Flynn to resign. It was later revealed that President Trump had been pressuring FBI Director, James Comey, to back off investigating Flynn before firing him, too. Flynn also coming under intense scrutiny for failing to disclose payments he received from Russian entities. The White House reportedly bracing for charges against Flynn after three other Trump associates were recently indicted. But the Times notes "the White House insists that neither Mr. Flynn nor other former aids have incriminating information to provide about Mr. Trump."


The President continues with his holiday weekend here in sunny Florida. The biggest question at the moment, whether and where he might go golfing, but attention is already turning back to next week and when the President returns to Washington D.C. and sits down with Congressional leaders. They want to hammer out some type of a tax cut, back to you.

CUOMO: Joe Johns, thank you very much, good to see you survived Thanksgiving. Let's bring in CNN Political Analyst David Drucker and CNN Legal Analyst Paul Callan. Councilor I was so excited to hear you on the show this morning because I've leaned on you so much about these issues in the past. OK so I was being very extra qualified, I can see (Erica) checking why you being so qualified?

Because this reporting, that they're no longer on the Flynn team communication with the Trump legal team. I keep saying could, maybe could maybe mean that he is doing a deal because there are other reasons that the team would want to split off - would want to start doing it's own thing. But, in general lay out the legal parameters for when one legal team stops sharing information with a related legal team and what that could mean visa the prosecutions.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, and you know I always want to start out by saying too, my job is to sort of neutrally look at the law and not you know rah - rah that you're gonna be able to get Trump or this doesn't get Trump. This is just so people understand where the law is and when you hear that somebody is cooperating with the F.B.I or Federal investigators. That usually means one of two things.

It means they've cut a deal with the person. They have enough evidence to indict him and now they're trying to get him to give evidence against other potential targets which could obviously include people in the Whitehouse, although they have not been specified as targets in this investigation.

The other possibility is a far more benign one from the standpoint of people in the Whitehouse. And that is Flynn has agreed to take a plea. Maybe they used his son? They have potential charges against his son as leverage against him. And usually when you're about to take a plea you have to stop cooperating with other people under investigation because you're in a conflict of interest situation.

Your lawyer can't be telling other lawyers what's going on in your case because you struck a deal with a prosecutor and there's a conflict. So it's one of those two things that's probably going on with Flynn. Now of course the third thing in you're hedge was maybe nothing at all is happening here. Yes we have sources, The New York Times clearly broke this story and have sources suggesting Flynn may be cooperating, but you know something? Until Mueller makes a public announcement of some sort this remains highly speculative.

HILL: That's the highest ranking official that we're talking about so far. There is an extra layer beyond all these very reasonable reasons why it could happen, you can't help but wonder what the thinking is now inside the Whitehouse even though I know we're told hey it's not a big deal.

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, look we know this investigation really irritates President Trump and the people closest to him find it to be very distracting. I think that the bigger danger is not so much Trump because there is more at the moment because there is more time for this to play out until President Trump goes before the voters again in 2020.

I talked to Republicans on Capitol Hill and they're very concerned about the length of the investigation as it relates to the 2018 elections. Could Mueller come up with a big finding just before the elections next year that could put Republicans further on defense? They're the ones on the ballot next year.

It's one of the reasons why initially they were pleased to see a special council because it got them off the hook for what they were suppose to do about this potential problem with Trump, his campaign, and the Russians. And then they realized this things completely out of our control, we have no control over the timing, we don't know what they're gonna find, we don't know how it's gonna look.

And so now they're in a situation where in a sense they're at the mercy of the President, but not just the President, whatever it is the President or people close to him might of done during the last campaign may impact them in the next campaign.

CUOMO: Right, look I mean the reason on it is ordinarily when this happens it's because everybody's related. So when I find out they're cutting a deal with you it's super relevant because you're gonna know things about David, about Paul and about Chris. I don't know if that is true here about Michael Flynn.

He had so much history on his own, the general. These dealings, these relationships were his. So it's not like this was part of some cabal of activities within the campaign. That's why I'm hedging. They may well have them on something, we know at least in terms of reporting of income he may have some legal issues, but people are making a leap with - on the political side of because he may know something about the President or about somebody else. That's not necessarily so.

CALLAN: No, I think you're absolutely right, and I think people make that leap though because General Flynn as he was National Security Advisor to the President for 24 days. That's a - that's a heavy duty powerful insider role.

CUOMO: --Enforcement for a long time before that.

CALLAN: Absolutely. So you would think, and also we know Flynn was dealing with Turkish Authorities and with the Russians as part of his business, Flynn Intel. So there are a lot of things that suggest, this guy could have relevant inside information that would implicate a lot of people. But once again, Chris, we're speculating here.-

CUOMO: --No, I got you.

CALLAN: Even moving slowly (ph) on Flynn.-

CUOMO: While we have you, let me just run the numbers by you, feel free to shoot it down. Obviously, but we made it graphic so we might as well.

HILL: As a nice graphic.

CUOMO: You have 12, just the numbers because the numbers are impressive, but you tell me if they're not to you. Twelve Trump associates had contact with Russians, nineteen face to face interactions with Russians, fifty one separate communications, nine blanket denials from Trump and his associates. I want that last line in there because remember just starting as a premise. They kept saying, nobody and nothing, nobody and nothing, nobody and nothing. It's clearly not, nobody and nothing but do you find those number impressive or misleading?

CALLAN: Well, all but the last number I find to be unimpressive because if you look at presidential campaigns almost every presidential campaign has extensive contact with people in other countries.

The Nixon campaign did, Johnson's campaign did, Obama did, Clinton did, they all do because they are coming into a big foreign policy job and obviously everyone in the world is reaching out to them. So it's not unusual to see that many contacts.

When I see though the last item, that's the thing that sends up a red flag for me. Blanket denials of contacts by various Trump administration people. The biggest thing people get nailed for by the FBI, and by the Feds when they want to get you, is lying to federal investigators.

And if you are talking to an FBI agent or a legitimate fed, and you say, this is, I never had a contact with anybody, and then the next week, boom, you find out there was a meeting at the Trump tower with a Russian and there were other meetings. Now you have potential criminal charges that can be used as leverage against you, that's the most important statistic on your list.

DAVID DRUCKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: And I can emphasize enough, one of the reasons why this has so much fuel is because the President in his very aggressive persona is willing to criticize and go after everybody. NATO, South Korea, those are allies, China at times, before not maybe, not during the past trip but before this trip and advisory.

Not Russia, not Putin, ever and so it has fed politically this idea that possibly there's something to look into. And it's also a window into a presidential campaign that even though there are often many contacts, and Paul is right about that, there was not very good vetting here.

The President surrounded himself with people who were interested in him and loyal to him and what most presidential campaigns do, if not at the very beginning, but definitely as they branch out and build out, is they take a look at potential conflicts that can come back and hurt the candidate. That is something that didn't happen on this campaign. CUOMO: Look, we're only here because the President fired (ph), and because he talked to him about going easy on Flynn. That's what prompted Rosenstein, you know, with congress contribution to pick an SE and special Council, otherwise we wouldn't be here.

That is something to consider but I wouldn't have you good gentleman-

DRUCKER: On the day after Thanksgiving.-

CALLAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Very nice of you to do, thanks to both of you.

HILL: We're still thankful at this point.

DRUCKER: Good to be here.

HILL: Senator, Al Franken, again amid groping allegations as questions grows about whether Congress will tackle the issue of those settlements. The ones that your tax dollars have paid, we discuss next.


HILL: In battle Democratic Senator Al Franken apologizing again on Thanksgiving Day amid more allegations he groped women. The Minnesota senator releasing a statement that reads in part "I'm a warm person; I hug people. I've learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women. I feel terribly that I've made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust.

Let's discuss now with CNN Political Analyst David Drucker and Karoun Demirjian. So when we look at this, Al Franken also said it's difficult to respond to anonymous accusers as many other things you've heard from him. New statement no talk David about whether or not he plans to stay. How much of that is really his decision at this point?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think actually the ball is in his court, and I think this statement makes clear he does plan to stay. He wants to regain the trust of his voters, and that means I'm not going anywhere and he's gonna be subject to an ethics investigation. The senate could move to expel him, so it's not entirely in his control, but I think that - that is a very long process and the same applies to Roy Moore if he wins election.

He'll have to be subject to an ethics investigation first. They will then have to move to expel him, very long process. Look, I think for Democrats when you look at the accusations against Al Franken and John Conyers. They're in a very difficult, significant political spot.

So for years they have gone after Republicans, accusing them of engaging in a war on women. They have been, politically speaking, the champions of women's rights and women's equality and all of these sorts of things. If they go soft on Franken, and they go soft on Conyers and anybody else on the Democratic side that is found to have credible allegations against them by women on the record. It's gonna undermine their political credibility greatly.


It'll really remove their ability to profit politically from Roy Moore, which is, who continues to be a big political liability for Republicans next year.

And it will put them in a really tight spot, it's similar to, for years when Republicans would be caught in extra marital affairs, why was that particularly damaging to Republican law maker? Because they were, not so much anymore, but they were the party of family values. And the hypocrisy issue in politics can also be, can often be a very very burdensome issue to deal with.

CUOMO: All right now, let's, keep me honest on this, Karoun, but you know, we were talking about this yesterday a little bit as well and the idea that not all accusations are equal. And this Franken stuff with the, whatever is happening during these photos, with him.

Yes it's important if women take it the wrong way, he's got to deal with that but, he has now been lumped in as a tit for tat with Roy Moore. Life, aw you can't talk about Roy Moore if you don't want to talk about Al Franken. What am I missing that I don't see these as being even in the same universe of allegation, and how is this playing in your mind.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean again, it's typical to get exactly in the mind what Senator Franken is doing right now. But it doesn't seem that he is, kind of, banking on that. That what he's being accused of is not as bad as what others have been and potentially will be accused of as well.

You know, you already talking about Roy Moore, you're talking about somebody who when he was in his thirties was going after teenagers. And situations where it was a lot, we're a lot further than, you know, the the the than what Franken has been accused of doing, especially in the case the the (ph) which is the girl who was 14 who he took her back to his cabin and got to the point to where he was touching.-

CUOMO: --and the women who-

DEMIRJIAN: Cloths on.

CUOMO: And the women who said at the age of 16.-

DEMIRJIAN: --Exactly.

CUOMO: She was in a car with him, and that, and he, those are assault.


CUOMO: Allegations. DEMIRJIAN: Definitely, and the question is, Franken has to be playing back anything else that may come up in his own head. Because ethics does take a long time, but also potentially unearths more accusations if they're out there. So he must be thinking, okay, what is the worst that can come out now and and and looking to see if that's basically going to be the worse thing that is out there.

And all ready we can kind of say, it may not be because people are being accused of using their positions of power in their congressional offices before targeting teenagers. This is not that, but but again this goes back to the point that David was making which is that, you can't start to equivocate, if you're the democratic party and you want to be the person that is standing up to basically have the moral high ground and try to be able to secure the votes of, you know, any women that might find this off putting.

In places like Alabama, which are stretches for the Democrats and you haven't yet heard the leaders of the Democratic party come out and have a zero tolerance on this sort of thing so that leaves room for people like Franken to set their own, to chart their own course going forward and say bring on the ethics investigation, I want to win back the support of my voters and the trust and sure I'll face the music and that must mean he thinks the music is not that damning in that.

DRUCKER: Chris, I think substantively and morally, you are right to say, that what Moore is accused of doing is much different and not in the same universe as what Franken is accused of doing. But in a court of public opinion, things are judged a whole lot differently

DEMIRJIAN: There's also the issue of, this is all happening of course, as there's a lot of work that needs to get done in Washington, when everybody comes back from vacation on Monday and there is a finite period of time. The Senate has an incredible aggressive agenda right now, as we know, and that is going to figure into some of these decisions as well.

CUOMO: Strong point.

HILL: So, so how (ph) does that come into play now, because what they really need to do is get something done in Washington.

DEMIRJIAN: Sure, I mean, there's there's, right now that is a special incoming on the GOP which is staring down the barrel on tax reform and counting votes furiously. I'm not sure there's more more dozen of winning if he's actually going to be a sure thing for them in trying to get that passed. So there is that urgency, there is also the fact that we have to be talking about a budget pretty soon.

The deadlines are coming up for how long you can keep the government funded if there isn't some sort of continuing resolution or other measure. This is all, in a way, as far as votes counting goes, yes, you can kind of see about what the margins are for the GOP. How important it is to be able to control what that Alabama seat may be doing.

And that may set the pace of things, but also this is just in general something that is now becoming front and center the issues that everybody's talking about. In Congress, on Capitol Hill, there's less focus and less discussion on the policy. It's typical to see exactly how that is going to swing things because clearly those discussions are still going on behind closed doors to resolve these financial issues that are coming up towards deadline.

DRUCKER: That is right by a way to keep an eye on Roy Moore. He is was not a vote for the Obama care repeal bill. You don't know that he's going to be a vote for the tax reform bill if he's elected and it's still on the floor.

CUOMO: Especially, look, Erica's point is strong because when we're fighting on one level, we will fight on every level. So if we have a dispute about whose side is more creepy, and more of in violation of women's rights, now I will fight you differently on DACA differently. Now I'm going to fight you on the Haitians and temporarily residence. A bill that now has also been dropped in our lap, and we have tax reform and we still have the authorization to use military force.


DEMIRJIAN: And I'm also worried about those seats. That's the other issue.


CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much, especially the day after Thanksgiving. Very nice. Thankful for you both.

Now Roy Moore, we're talking about him. He is digging in his heels on his denials. With all these men who have been brought into the fore, Roy Moore is no longer alone anymore except in the level of the adamance of his denials. He is now on the offensive, going after his opponent for putting these accusers front and center, in a new ad. We get the state of that race -- next.