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Has Flynn Flipped?; Royal Wedding Confirmed; New Details About Trump's Oval Office Meeting With Russians. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:33:05] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A source tells CNN that fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's lawyers have told President Trump's legal team they can no longer share information. The story, first reported by "The New York Times," suggests that Flynn is cutting a deal with Robert Mueller.

Let's discuss this with Norm Eisen. He's our CNN contributor and former White House ethics czar. And, Renato Mariotti. He is the former federal prosecutor and candidate for Illinois attorney general.

Gentlemen, great to have you here to help us figure out the latest threads in the Russia investigation.

So, Norm, I'll start with you. If, in fact, Michael Flynn is cooperating, doesn't that suggest that Robert Mueller has a bigger fish in mind that he needs Michael Flynn's cooperation for?

NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC: Alisyn, thanks for having me, and it does suggest that Robert Mueller is working his way up the chain.

In my years as a criminal defense lawyer before I was an ethics czar, I often cut these deals. And, invariably, Alisyn, the prosecutors wanted my client, in order to get cooperation, in order to get favorable treatment to flip on somebody up the chain.

In this case, that means Kushner, Don Jr., or perhaps, the president himself.

CAMEROTA: Renato, I mean, for a while the thinking was maybe Michael Flynn was the biggest fish, you know. He is the person with all sorts of Russia ties that we had seen on video or in photos. So this has changed the equation.

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, PARTNER, THOMPSON COBURN, CANDIDATE FOR ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: It certainly has. You know, until now, I thought, frankly, that Flynn's legal team assumed that they were getting a pardon.

The president, you know, obviously felt strongly enough about Flynn that he reportedly told James Comey that he should let the investigation go.

[07:35:02] So if I was on Flynn's legal team I would have been keeping my fingers crossed for a pardon but obviously, something changed. There was something that either they thought the president would not issue a pardon for or for example, a state crime, which the president can't pardon.

And so, now this puts him in a situation where he's got to do as Norm said, help himself by, you know -- by helping Mr. Mueller and that means developing -- helping Mr. Mueller develop a case against someone else.

And he's exactly right. The prosecutors do not give a cooperation deal to someone unless they help the, you know, create a case that's chargeable against someone else.


MARIOTTI: So that's what his goal will be to do.

CAMEROTA: Norm, that's interesting. I mean, I had almost forgotten about the pardon possibility.

So if Michael Flynn -- I mean, there was all sorts of talk that President Trump would consider pardoning Michael Flynn. He's spoken very highly and favorably about Michael Flynn. He likes him, he respects him as a general, etcetera.

So why would the pardon -- I mean, then you clam up. If you know that you were getting a pardon you would clam up and not cooperate. So what do you think has changed?

EISEN: Alisyn, Bob Mueller has applied pressure not just to Michael Flynn, but to Michael Flynn's son, who was involved in some of these unregistered foreign agent activities and other matters that create liability.

It would be awkward for the president not just to pardon Flynn but to pardon his son. And I think that Robert Kelner, Flynn's lawyer, is a very shrewd operator has figured out that the wisest thing to do now -- the surest way to protect his client and his client's son -- and that's a common prosecutorial tactic.

Renato and his colleagues make me sweat by going after my client's spouses and kids. That the wisest thing to do now is to take the deal that's in front of him and not count on a pardon that might be uncertain and politically unpopular.

CAMEROTA: In fact, that echoes what Preet Bharara, obviously, former U.S. attorney who was fired by the Trump administration just tweeted out this weekend. He says -- and Renato, I'll get your take on this --

"If you're dead to rights, flipping on others and cooperating with the prosecution is the only sane and rational move. Also, prosecutors accept cooperation only if you can provide 'substantial assistance.' Higher up in the food chain. Stay tuned..."

So what does substantial assistance look like? MARIOTTI: Well, that is a legal term and that's what I was trying to

get at a moment ago when I said that you actually have to create a chargeable case against someone else.

So, for instance, let's say Mr. Flynn tried very hard. He did whatever he could to help the prosecutors -- help Mr. Mueller's team and he just didn't succeed in creating a case for them, then that would not be substantial assistance.

In other words, if he told them everything they knew and they said well, that's really great, Mr. Flynn, that really does help us -- we aren't able to charge anyone else as a result of what you told us -- then that would not be substantial assistance, he would not get a deal, and he wouldn't get any cooperation credit.

So what you have to do is literally create a case that results in charges being filed in order to get cooperation credit.

CAMEROTA: So, Norm, as you watch this unfold and look at the clues that are being sprinkled like breadcrumbs, what's the time frame here?

EISEN: Well, Alisyn, I once cut a cooperation deal with Bob Mueller's U.S. Attorney office and I'll tell you, they're not fast. What's happening now, most likely, is Flynn's lawyer is making what we call a proffer. He's offering to the prosecutors what his client might say.

The prosecutors push back. They say you're not telling the whole truth. What about this document? They go back with questions. That can take a while.

But, Mueller likes to move fast so, you know, I think we're -- I think we're looking at weeks to cut this cooperation deal. It could fall apart, too.


EISEN: And, we could all be misreading the tea leaves. There could be another reason for this. But I don't think that's the case and so you're looking at weeks of negotiations.

CAMEROTA: OK, gentlemen. Thank you very much for all of the information.

Renato Mariotti, Norm Eisen, great to see you.

EISEN: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You hear that? It is the sound of hearts breaking the world over. Prince Harvey off the market.

CAMEROTA: Or, Harry.

CUOMO: What'd I say, Harvey?


CUOMO: Prince Harry. What we know about the upcoming royal wedding --

CAMEROTA: Your heart is not breaking.

CUOMO: -- starting with his name. It is Harry.



[07:44:00] CAMEROTA: It's official. Prince Harry is engaged to American actress --


CAMEROTA: Harvey -- is engaged to Meghan Markle. Look at this beautiful couple.

They will exchange vows next spring. It will be the first wedding between a member of the British royal family and an American in 80 years.

Joining us now with all of the excitement is CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter. Great to see you.


CAMEROTA: So, 80 years ago it was Wallis Simpson. That didn't end as well as we hope this one will.

ARIBITER: It was a happy marriage for Wallis Simpson and Edward but, no, it didn't end well because she was an American divorcee.

At the time, that was absolutely outrageous. The church wouldn't allow such a union and it led to the abdication crisis which, in turn, led to the queen becoming the queen. She was never expected to be monarch.

So, a different turn of events this time around.


CUOMO: So, Harry taking a bride.


CUOMO: What does this mean in terms of the cultural precepts of, you know, of who he is and what he's about?

ARBITER: Well, I think hearts are broken worldwide this morning certainly because he's probably the most popular member of the royal family. But I think this is the happy ending that people have wished for, for Prince Harry. [07:45:06] He's been very vocal this year about how he struggled in

the years following his mother's death. He's poured his heart and soul into the Invictus Games.

But as William said when he married Kate, it makes such a difference when you've got someone alongside you. Someone that is equal. Somebody that's living that same goldfish bowl lifestyle and someone to really share in all these events.

And, Meghan has done a tremendous amount of philanthropic work on her own basis.

So really, I think what she and Harry are going to be capable of is -- it's going to be quite impressive.

CAMEROTA: It's also exciting. She's American, she's an actress. Tell us about her.

ARIBITER: She is. She's -- I mean, an actress marrying into the royal family as well. I mean, when you look at Meghan, really, she sort of ticks every box that would be against the type of person that would marry into the royal family, so she's really a perfect figurehead for how times have changed within the royal family.

CUOMO: Harry is that way also, though --

ARBITER: Yes, Harry is.

CUOMO: -- right?

ARBITER: He's impulsive, he does things the way he wants to do them. He is his mother's son.

So, this was always -- there's been so much speculation over the last few days. Are they engaged, are they not engaged, when's it going to happen?

And unlike the rest of the royal family, who do everything by wrote (ph), Harry's a bit of a loose cannon. So I think together they make quite a pair.

CAMEROTA: But when you say she ticks every box --


CAMEROTA: -- what you mean is that she's non-traditional. I mean --

ARBITER: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: So, she's an American.

ARBITER: She's an American.

CAMEROTA: Her mom is African-American.

ARBITER: Yes. She went to -- she went to Catholic school. She was married to -- married before to a Jewish man. I don't believe

she converted. So, there's the religion issue.

CAMEROTA: She's divorced.

ARBITER: She's divorced. She's an actress.

CUOMO: But the Church of England allows divorce. I mean, that was part of its --

ARBITER: Now, they do.

CUOMO: -- formational philosophy.

ARBITER: Now, they do. The Archbishop of Canterbury had to be asked if he would conduct a wedding in a church for a divorcee.

But we've got to remember the future King of England -- the future king of the rounds (ph) is a divorcee. So times have changed and expectations have changed. I think that's the most important thing.

If this was even 10 years ago, I think this wedding would have been a no-no.

Charles, Edward, Andrew, they all dated actresses. They were all told to end those relationships. Times have changed.

CAMEROTA: OK. So we'll talk to you again in an hour about what we think the wedding will look like.


CAMEROTA: OK, thanks so much.

ARBITER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Black Friday's digital sales hit record numbers. What about Cyber Monday? Well, that might even be bigger.

Who says that? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans. She has more right now.

Why? Why might it be the biggest?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, the economy is doing well. People have money and they're spending it. This holiday season it's all about online sales.

Americans are expected, Chris, to spend $6.6 billion today. That's a record for Cyber Monday. That's up 16 percent from last year.

It has already been a record-breaking season for online shopping. Five billion on Black Friday. Nearly $3 billion on Thanksgiving.

And with more Americans shopping online fewer are actually setting foot in stores. Early estimates show foot traffic decreased about two percent so far.

But shoppers shifting online is not a new trend so this year, physical retailers made big investments on their Websites and with how they're delivering packages, along with very deep discounts.

Today, expect great deals on things like toys, laptops, and shoes. Strong online sales are good news for retailers who can grasp ahold of that trend. Twenty seventeen has been a brutal year for retail but a profitable holiday season could help flagging sales overall.

Chris, Americans are expected to spend a trillion dollars this year.

CUOMO: Wow. So, on one level, robust. That's good. But where they're spending their dollars, how it advantages and disadvantages, also a big part of the story.

ROMANS: It really is.

CUOMO: Christine, thank you very much.

All right. So, it's the Oval Office meeting that made big headlines. What exactly did President Trump say to Russian officials a day after firing FBI Director Jim Comey?

The journalist behind an extensive new report gives you details you have not heard, and want to, next.


CUOMO: New details emerging about what President Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with two Russian officials just hours after he fired FBI Director James Comey.

This is a new report and it uncovers top-secret information that the president shared with Russian diplomats.

Joining us now is the author of that report, Howard Blum, contributing editor for "Vanity Fair" and author of "In the Enemy's House." It's good to have you, sir.


CUOMO: So back in May, this happened, and at the time it caused some ripples but it was kind of shut down, you know. It was shut down by the administration and we moved on.

What did we miss?

BLUM: Well, what we missed, really, is first, what Israel had done. Israel had --

CUOMO: Well, wait. You're bringing up Israel because the substance of it was that the president relayed intelligence that came from the Israelis in a supposed private relationship between the U.S. and Israel to Russians. BLUM: Exactly. Israel had done a daring commando raid into Syria. They bugged a house where a Syrian bomber was talking about how to make computers into laptop bombs. They took this intelligence, the Israelis overheard it, and they told the Americans about it.

At first, they had reservations about sharing it with the Americans because the Israelis were warned by the CIA -- by the CIA not to pass information on to the Trump administration. The Israelis decided --

CUOMO: Well, hold on because that's interesting. How do you that --

BLUM: It's astonishing.

CUOMO: -- and why did they feel that way?

BLUM: Israeli officials were flabbergasted. They go to a meeting at CIA headquarters before the inauguration and they are told after the meeting is over.

The CIA officers come up to them and said you know, you should be careful what you pass on to this administration. We feel the Russians have their hooks into Trump and to the Trump administration, to the National Security Administration. We don't know where it's going to wind up.

[07:55:12] Israel's first fear was that information that they could give to the United States would be passed on to the Russians and then on to the Iranians.

CUOMO: Why are they specifically concerned about the Russians, given that this is about Syria and the dynamic there?

BLUM: Because the Russians are the allies of the Iranians and they feel that anything they pass on to Russia will wind up in the Iranians hands and be used against Israel.

And Israel still decides in the interest of saving lives to go on and tell them about these laptop computer bombs. They do this and the United States puts restrictions on carrying laptops onto planes. Britain does the same.

And then in May, the day after -- 24 hours after Comey is fired, the president has a meeting with two Russian officials -- people who may or may not be the ambassador to the foreign secretary, co-conspirators in the indictment that Robert Mueller makes against this administration.

He reveals to them that this operation took place. He does not reveal that Israel was involved. He said it took place in the city in Syria where it happened.

And it's astonishing. Here is a president who has railed against Hillary Clinton for passing on classified information. He rails against leakers and he's telling this to our adversaries.

CUOMO: Was it classified then? BLUM: Yes, it is. It wasn't -- it wasn't even given to Congress. It was code word information and it was passed on to the Russians.

CUOMO: Now the explanation was Trump didn't know what he was doing. He didn't know it was sensitive.

What's your reporting?

BLUM: Well, there -- any explanation of what really happened is that -- well, is conjecture at this point. The search for truth is really the search for better hypotheses. One can hypothesized that Trump did this because that's part of his personality. Knowledge, like wealth, is only good if you flaunt it, so he had to tell the Russians, you know, I'm on the world stage. This is what I know.

The other reason might be, perhaps, that the last thing the president hears, he likes to share it with the world. And he had gotten a briefing, presumably, before this meeting about a Russian aircraft that had gone down over the Sinai. Two hundred and twenty-four people were killed. These -- he tells them well, we have a way of fixing that.

The third reason, and the reason that Robert Mueller is investigating at this moment is, is it more pernicious. Is he sharing with -- information with the Russians?

He began their meeting, according to the transcript that was in "The New York Times" by saying I had a Russian problem but now I got rid of it. He sounds like a Mafia Don by dismissing it so --

CUOMO: Why do you point out the timing between the Comey dismissal and this relaying of classified information to Russians by the president?

BLUM: Well, the timing was bizarre in the sense that no American journalists were allowed to meetings.

CUOMO: There was a Russian journalist.

BLUM: There was a Russian journalist who took photographs. The only photographs of the meeting were from ?, not from an American newspaper.

CUOMO: But in terms of him doing this right on the heels of the Comey thing do you see that as coincidence or you see it as connected?

BLUM: I see it as coincidence. But the fact that he immediately begins -- the president -- by discussing the elephant in the room, saying I got rid of Comey. I had a big Russian problem, now it's solved. And that doesn't seem to be the case.

CUOMO: Howard Blum, digging deep on something that matters to the American people. Thank you very much.

BLUM: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

BLUM: A pleasure being here.

CUOMO: There is a lot of news this morning. There are some big headlines. What do you say? Let's get after it.


CUOMO: Leandra English filed a lawsuit against the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is seeking to block Mulvaney's appointment to run the agency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the president's on good ground here.

BARNEY FRANK: This is way to sabotage the agency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman Conyers announced he would be stepping down as a ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I am trying to be a better public servant and a better man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans have called for Roy Moore to drop out of the race altogether. The president has seemingly turned to support him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be on the side of right when history writes the story.

CAMEROTA: Prince Harry officially engaged to American actress Meghan Markle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It plays into a fairy tale. This idea that Prince Harry met his princess over in America.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day. It is Monday, November 27th, 8:00 in the east.

So, a showdown this morning for control of the nation's top consumer watchdog agency. An Obama-era official handpicked by the director to take the reins now suing to block President Trump from installing his pick, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, as the new leader.

CUOMO: On Capitol Hill, sexual misconduct taking center stage. Congress returning to work. What are they going to do about it?

We've got Sen. Al Franken apologizing again for his behavior. Congressman John Conyers giving up his post on the Judiciary Committee. He's undergoing an ethics investigation for harassment claims. He denies the charges but he did make that settlement.

When will they stop? We have it all covered.