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Flynn's Lawyers Stop Talking With Trump's Lawyers; Showdown Over Top Post at Key Watchdog Agency; Cyber Monday Could Hit Record Sales; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Engaged; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:33:36] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Today is the deadline set by the Senate Judiciary Committee for presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner to provide more documents related to Russian election meddling. Meanwhile, the president has not commented on news that his one-time National Security adviser and former campaign confidant Michael Flynn is no longer sharing information with Trump attorneys regarding the special counsel probe.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston and CNN legal analyst and former NSA attorney Susan Hennessy.

And, Susan, I want to start with just the law here and Michael Flynn. The fact that his lawyers are no longer speaking with the president's. Almost by definition, this means that at a minimum, Michael Flynn is in talks with the special counsel.

SUSAN HENNESSY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's not necessarily the only explanation. Right? So we know that Flynn has decided to withdraw from this joint information sharing, joint defense agreement. The most probable or sort of the likely explanation is the fact because he's trying to reach a deal with the special prosecutor. It's not ethical for an attorney to continue to represent someone who's trying to cut a deal with the government.

So certainly all sides point to that. That said, that isn't the only reason that somebody might decide to withdraw from one of these agreements. We've seen a lot of leaks coming out of this investigation. Likely from the defense side. So it's possible that calculations like, you know, not wanting damaging information to come out might also play a role here.

So overwhelmingly likely what we're probably not as sort of a legal matter in a position to say, you know, 100 percent that's what's happening here.

BERMAN: We don't know for absolute certain.

[10:35:02] Mark, you know, Michael Flynn, not just the National Security adviser for 12 minutes, you know, last January and February, but almost like a Zelig-like figure during the campaign particularly when it comes to issues dealing with Russia. So if, in fact, he is talking to the special counsel, we can't be 100 percent sure, it could be a treasure-trove of information.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you would think that he would be right at the nucleus, the epicenter of it all. From what we know from leaks and from CNN's own reporting and reporting from others is that Michael Flynn was very much in contact with Russia through the transition going into the first days of the administration.

But it's really that transition period that has caused a lot of concerns specifically whether Michael Flynn was talking about -- with then U.S. ambassador Sergey Kislyak about softening the restrictions and the sanctions that had been put on Russia by the Obama administration. Now if that had happened, that could be very, very ugly. And from what we know from intercepted telephone calls, that there were conversations along that line.

But I do think that as we're heading into this next phase of this investigation, there is something to be said about the fact that he is not cooperating right now with the others that are being looked at.

BERMAN: Right.

PRESTON: Specifically because his son, John, we know from our own CNN reporting a few weeks back, that he was concerned that his son is going to get dragged into this and could, you know, face some problems himself, and that if, in fact, he was able to work with the special counsel, perhaps he could save his son some of that heartache.

BERMAN: And Susan Hennessy, it's not just matters of Russia where Michael Flynn could be in some kind of legal jeopardy. You write a lot about the fact (INAUDIBLE), the fact Michael Flynn has had all kinds of discussions with people connected to Turkey over things that have to do with lobbying. And this could be an area in some ways independent of the campaign where Michael Flynn could face some problems.

HENNESSY: Right. So there are sort of two streams here. One is whether or not he properly disclosed his business relationships with the Turks on his security clearance forms and his foreign agent registration acts filings. So more sort of paperwork, a quite serious felony to lie on those forms.

There's also recent reporting that apparently Flynn or allegedly Flynn engaged in a plot to forcibly remove, the legal term is kidnap, a Turkish cleric from the United States and return him to Turkey. So we're now seeing at least immediate reports allegations of really astonishingly serious criminal conduct that certainly Special Prosecutor Mueller is going to be looking into quite closely.

BERMAN: And Mark Preston, there's one other key moment where Flynn could shed some light here. And this of course has to do with the conversation with James Comey, the fired FBI director, says he has with the president where the president according to Comey says, hey, can you back off? Can you see it, you know, in your spirit to back off this investigation into Michael Flynn? You know, we don't know if Michael Flynn has any version of this

story, if the president ever had a conversation with him about it. This gets, perhaps, to the obstruction investigation.

PRESTON: Absolutely. And as we've seen with the special investigations time over time is that you just open the door with the accusations or the allegations and you're bound to find something else. And that's what we're talking a little bit about here with Michael Flynn and Turkey. But to the point about the firing of the FBI director, and, of course, the obstruction of justice that some people think that the president has engaged in, what does Michael Flynn know?

And as we say, as you turn over and you're willing to cooperate it just means that you're willing to give information out that's going to get somebody bigger than you in trouble specifically. So then you've got to look up the ladder and say, if Mr. Mueller is accepting of Mr. Flynn's information, what is that information about and who is it about?

BERMAN: All right. Mark Preston, Susan Hennessy, thank you both so much for being with us. I do appreciate it.

We have some breaking news out of Washington. It has to do with the consumer watchdog agency, the CFPB. Who is running it right now? Two different people say they're in charge. You're looking at both of them on the screen right now. And both sent e-mails to the staff this morning.

Our Jessica Schneider just got copies of those e-mails. She joins us now.

Jessica, what are they saying and who is in charge?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the question, really, for the employees here. Who is in charge? Both of these people, Leandra English as well as Mick Mulvaney, both asserting their roles as acting director.

So let me break it down for you how it went down this morning when the employees here at the Consumer Financial Protection Board came back from Thanksgiving. Just before 8:00 this morning, Leandra English, she sent a very brief e-mail welcoming staff back from the Thanksgiving holiday and then signing the e-mail very poignantly as acting director.

Well, it was just about 90 minutes later when Mick Mulvaney also sent the staff an e-mail, signing it acting director, but his was much lengthier. He said that he had been preparing a welcome e-mail, an introductory e-mail, but that he needed to send one sooner because it came to his attention that Leandra English had also sent an e-mail asserting her role as acting director.

[10:40:07] I want to read a little bit of Mick Mulvaney's e-mail for you. He said, "I was working on an introductory e-mail just now but I understand that Leandra English sent out an e-mail first." He said that, "This is unfortunate, but in the atmosphere of the day probably not unexpected." So continuing on he also said that the staff should disregard any e-mails from Leandra English and on top of that, if they got anymore e-mails that they should report them directly to the general counsel here.

So this battle playing out over e-mail. I'm sure the staff is very confused as to exactly who is in power right now. This is also playing out in the court. Leandra English, she filed a lawsuit last night saying that under Dodd-Frank that she should be the acting director. That when the director resigned on Friday, that he appointed her as acting director.

But of course, as we know, just a few hours later, President Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney as acting director. Mulvaney did arrive here at the bureau this morning. We understand that he was granted access to the director's office, received full cooperation from the staff, and, of course, came in tow with doughnuts to welcome himself or introduce himself to the staff here.

But of course, there is confusion playing out now in the offices here. Uncertain how soon this could be settled in court, John, as we know, that this lawsuit is pending. The demand is for a temporary restraining order, also a preliminary injunction. So we'll see how quickly the courts move but for now two people at the helm asserting their roles as acting director -- John.

BERMAN: You would think a judge needs to weigh in almost immediately because the people in that building they can't work like this.

All right, Jessica Schneider in Washington, thank you very, very much.

Break out the credit cards. Billions of dollars will be spent today. It is Cyber Monday. Will it save some retail stores from having a potentially dismal holiday?

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[10:46:21] BERMAN: Sort of like national shopping day right now. It is Cyber Monday. About 164 million Americans expected to go for online deals today. Digital sales already hit record numbers on Friday, but today's numbers could be even bigger.

CNN tech correspondent Samuel Burke joins us now with the details -- Samuel.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just getting the numbers in from Black Friday and I think it's a very good sign for the economy. Americans willing to open up their pocketbooks and spend. And also we've just had Amazon cross the $102,000 mark on the stock market. Jeff Bezos is now worth $100 billion.

But just to put it into perspective how much Cyber Monday is eclipsing Black Friday, take a look at these numbers, John. We are expected to spend $6.6 billion today. That's up 16.5 percent from last year. And just to put those numbers in perspective about online sales, well, Thanksgiving we spent almost $3 billion. Thanksgiving or rather Black Friday, $5 billion.

But this is an incredibly important day. Not just for Amazon but so many of the shops that are actually fighting to compete with Amazon. When you think about Toys "R" Us, for example, that's in bankruptcy a lot of these physical stores are actually having to make themselves relevant online and today really could be make-or-break for them.

Now I'm sure you're wondering what the best deals are out there. If you're looking for a smart speaker, today is the day. An Android phone or a DNA test.

John, I remember you did yours, one of those DNA tests, and it didn't quite come back the way you expected. I did mine. I also found out that my mom is part East Indian so there are always surprises in there.

BERMAN: You could put that in a stocking. It fits. It's very easy.

All right, Samuel Burke, thanks so much for being with us. I appreciate it.

All right. An American invasion into the British royal family. Prince Harry, he is engaged, folks. We have key details on the ring and also on the bride-to-be Meghan Markle, an American. Finally inside Kensington Palace. Stay with us.

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[10:52:50] BERMAN: All right. News now that really affects all of us. Prince Harry is getting married. It is to an American actress Meghan Markle. You can see the couple there, as they walked outside Kensington Palace earlier this morning in front of cameras. You can see the engagement ring right there we're told designed by Prince Harry himself. The wedding, next spring.

We're joined now by Max Foster outside Buckingham Palace with all the details -- Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON AND ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Bring the spring, I say. It's actually freezing here. But she did a remarkable job as she came out in front of the cameras. A huge bank of cameras. A big test really for her future, really for the rest of her life.

There's a huge amount of interest in Meghan Markle. She's a celebrity. She has that fashion story that so many of the tabloids are after and of course she's marrying Prince Harry, who was until now the most eligible bachelor coming out of the UK, according to many.

So it's a big moment for her and she's currently doing an interview with Prince Harry for a pooled interview that will be shown later on. Lots of people very keen to know, you know, where this engagement was, but we do know that the engagement ring she was wearing is one big stone from Botswana, which is a country Harry is close to, he visits all the time. There are very tight privacy laws there so he's free to do what he wants. They visited there together several times so we suspect that they got

engaged there in Botswana earlier this month, who knows. We don't really know. But the other two stones on that ring are from Princess Diana's collection. So also a piece of her, remembered today, obviously. Over the summer there's a commemoration of her death and that was very much in the front of Harry's mind today as well.

BERMAN: So the wedding looks like it will be in the spring. Do we have any idea where or how big? And also, Max, what will life be like for them? Prince Harry is what, fifth in line in the throne now? He will be sixth when William has his next child?

FOSTER: Yes. He's a senior royal. He's very close to William. He will always have a big say in the royal family but he is fifth in line to the throne. If William has more children, he'll keep going down that order. So, you know, we're going to find out tomorrow the circumstances of the wedding, where it will be, will it be a big Westminster Abbey affair with the carriages and the horses? Will it be something smaller over at Windsor Castle like his father had on his second marriage or will it be in L.A.? We just don't know.

[10:55:06] The point is, he has a free reign on how he does this. And this is also off the back of Diana's experience in the royal family, where she was very tightly controlled. That backfired. The queen very much of a view that Harry needs to decide exactly how he wants this to happen and he will want Meghan to be happy.

BERMAN: All right. Good advice to Prince Harry. Thank you very much, Max Foster. Appreciate it.

So much to do, so little time, crunch time for lawmakers on Capitol Hill as they take on a huge list of issues and only 12 more congressional shopping days before Christmas. Stay with us.

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