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Mueller to Soon Reveal How Michael Flynn Cooperated; Mueller Team Tight-lipped as Charges, Guilty Pleas Mount; Trump Tweets Raise Questions about Witness Tampering; Turbulent Day in Stock Market. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired December 4, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:31:13] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Moving now to the Russia investigation. What did Michael Flynn tell Robert Mueller and his investigators? We'll find out soon in a court filing due at any time today. The Mueller team is expected to describe the crimes that Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Trump, committed and how he has helped in the Russia investigation. Now, President Trump's former NSA pleaded guilty a year ago and admitted lying to the FBI about lying to Russian Ambassaor Sergey Kislyak and he agreed to cooperate with the Mueller probe.
CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is joining us now.
Shimon, what can we learn from the filing today?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: One of the most important things, Brianna, we are going to learn is whether or not the Mueller team considers what Michael Flynn did in his cooperation was substantial. Are they going to say he provided substantial assistance? If they do that, that makes it a pretty significant deal where his cooperation stands. And, in doing so, what Michael Flynn is hoping for is no jail time. He is facing potentially some jail time and the point of his cooperation was to avoid jail time.
As you said, we are going to learn exactly what Michael Flynn did here in his communications with Russians and other folks surrounding the campaign and the transition and his time at the White House. We will get a detailed list of information from the special counsel in this filing, which could give us a peak into this investigation. Which as you know, we have been hoping for. It's been pretty quiet in the Mueller team in terms of this investigation as it relates to Flynn. At any point today, that could change.
KEILAR: All right, Shimon, we know that you are waiting. We're waiting with you.
Today's filing in the Flynn case provides a rare look, as you heard Shimon talking about, behind the curtain into the Russia investigation. Robert Mueller and his team have been tight-lipped about their actions and racked up a string of guilty pleas and charges and convictions. Let's take a closer look at the Russia probe by the numbers. We have
CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, here to break it all down -- Jess?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, despite the constant cries of witch hunt, the special counsel has already netted several high-profile guilty pleas and convictions and that year-long cooperation from Michael Flynn.
Let's take a look at it by the numbers. So far, as of this point, three people have been sentenced to prison terms ranging in length from two weeks to six months. These were the three. The most prominent of the three, George Papadopoulos, the former campaign foreign policy adviser. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is in the midst of his 14-day sentence. He reported last Monday.
Then there's Paul Manafort. He was convict. He was the president's former campaign chairman in August before pleading guilty later in D.C. I'll get back to that.
Overall in this investigation, 36 people and entities have been charged, that includes Russians connecting to hacking Democratic e-and interfering in the election. All of this all taken together resulting in 192 overall criminal counts.
Let's look at the seven people who have pleaded guilty here. You have Michael Cohen, of course, who will be sentenced on November 12th. In his latest sentencing submission, he is asking the judge for no jail time. He is promising to continue giving prosecutors information.
Paul Manafort pleaded guilty but is now being accused of lying to the special counsel's team despite that guilty plea and that plea agreement.
Notably, and a name we haven't heard in a while, Rick Gates. He is still cooperating after his guilty plea.
[13:35:10] Then there's others who have pleaded guilty. They more tangentially tied to the Trump campaign or Paul Manafort. Richard Panado (ph), for example. He pleaded guilty over identity fraud over the Internet. All of them pleading guilty.
And you have Michael Flynn. We will get his filing today and could learn a lot more after a year of silence of what he has been telling.
Brianna, a lot happened in this Mueller case and a lot more still to be revealed as it pertains to Michael Flynn later today -- Brianna?
KEILAR: It is a big day, indeed. Jessica Schneider, thank you.
And we have to expect that we will hear plenty from President Trump once the Michael Flynn information comes out. The president weighed in on Michael Cohen and Roger Stones. The tweets on the two of them could cause the president more problems there. On Cohen, the president said his former attorney should not be able to make a deal to lessen his prison sentence. On Roger Stone, he praised his former advisor's declaration that he would not testify against the president. But legal experts say the president may have gone too far in those tweets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In isolation, this tweet, it does leans towards influencing a witness, unnecesasily and unlawfully. But it's the overall pattern that is much more trouble for the president of the United States.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: He endangers the rule of law by talking about this as all, but implicitly sends a message that maybe a pardon is at the end of the rainbow.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The threatened use of the pardon power to reward people who don't cooperate was one of the articles of impeachment that was passed by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 against Richard Nixon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: We are back with Utah Congressman Chris Stewart, a Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
You have been following all of this with more knowledge than we have. When you look at what you have seen the president say, and hear the legal experts raise these questions, do you think this is obstruction?
REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R), UTAH: I really doubt it. I'm not an attorney, but I talked with many attorneys the last few days about this and over the previous months --
KEILAR: Is it appropriate?
STEWART: Let me answer the first question. I've talked with many attorneys and they say there's no way in the world you can create a case for collusion and witness tampering. He didn't coach them. He didn't tell them what to day. I don't think there's a serious prosecutor who will try to make that case. Political pundits will argue the other but I don't think most legal minds --
KEILAR: Those were legal minds to be clear. Those weren't political pundits
STEWART: Well --
KEILAR: I just want to be clear.
STEWART: Maybe they are a little of both.
KEILAR: They are legal minds. They are not our political analysts. Do you think it's appropriate?
STEWART: I don't know. I haven't read the tweets. This president has been vocal in a way many of us have been uncomfortable with. I will leave it up to the president whether he chooses to speak or not. KEILAR: Michael Cohen says he lied to Congress and he misled the
Senate and House Intel Committees. You sit on the House Intel Committee. Have you or your staff gone back through those transcripts to look at where he says he lied?
STEWART: Yes, and it was mostly in the Senate. Truthfully, he had more detail on this in the Senate side.
KEILAR: Sure, but in the charging document, he does say that he --
KEILAR: -- so I'm wondering if you looked back and see where you are concerned about it?
STEWART: Yes, we did. We looked back and we made comparisons and obviously he was not honest with us.
KEILAR: What happens with that? Because the Republicans concluded with this report months ago that there was no "there" there.
KEILAR: That there was no collusion for sure. Now there's a question of whether the president is conflicted. Do you think your report should be revised?
STEWART: No. What happens here is what we wanted to happen for quite a while, for the Mueller investigation to continue. We couldn't interview him now. Many of the witnesses, once they are under the purview of the Mueller investigation, they're withdrawn from us. We are no longer able to question them. I've always wanted the Mueller investigation to continue. I hope it goes as quickly as possible. I'm pleased to hear we may be coming to the end of this. It's fair for the American people and fair to the people who had accusations against them. It's been a long time. And I hope he can conclude and I want him to conclude.
KEILAR: Knowing that one of your witnesses who testified said he was lying over pretty important details, namely that the president had business with Russia for months and months while he was campaigning, does that give you pause looking at a report that you have your name on that drew conclusions?
STEWART: No, no, no. If you are saying our report is inaccurate because of this, look, I'm going to disagree with you nicely on that. We had witnesses come in and hundreds of witnesses, hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony. If in the course of the investigation, we find out one of the witness was dishonest with us, we --
[13:39:59] KEILAR: You know not all witnesses are the same, sir. That is clear Michael Cohen is not the same as another witness. Nor is Don Jr where this certainly raises questions about his testimony to you because --
STEWART: No, it does not at all.
KEILAR: He said he did not have involvement.
KEILAR: Michael Cohen said the family was kept very much apprised of this business involving --
STEWART: There was reporting on Donald Trump Jr that was completely inaccurate last week saying he had made some statements. They had to withdraw that reporting and recognized it wasn't accurate. Mr. Cohen was no more important nor less important than any other witness.
KEILAR: Did Don Jr minimize the involvement in this Russia --
STEWART: I want to answer your first question first. If we find out another witness has not been honest with us, we don't go back and rewrite the entire report. This is under the purview of the special counsel. It's his responsibility now. I support the special counsel.
KEILAR: Isn't that frustrating as an authoriy on something where you have --
STEWART: Sure. You bet it is.
KEILAR: -- you have witnesses misleading you and you're saying, well, our report is what it is.
STEWART: You bet. It's very frustrating. Let me tell you --
KEILAR: Don't you want to get to the bottom?
STEWART: Of course we do. And nothing I said to you indicates that I don't want to get to the bottom of this. All I said is I can't be responsible for every witness.
By the way, to your point -- and this is so important -- Mr. Comey was not honest with us. There are other very senior people not honest with us. We have been trying to put that story forward for a long time. I am in no way minimizing when witnesses come before us and they're not honest. That's distressing and inappropriate. We are the only thing that provides oversight for the individuals and these organizations. It's important for them to tell us the truth when they come before the committees.
KEILAR: Thank you so much, Congressman Stewart.
STEWART: Thank you. KEILAR: We really appreciate it.
STEWART: Thank you.
KEILAR: Thanks for being with us.
More on our breaking news, fallout from today's confidential CIA briefing. A chorus of Senators on both sides of the aisle are crying foul in the murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
And let's take a look at the Dow. Things have changed in the last few minutes. Now down over 800 points.
[13:46:35] KEILAR: Let's get back to a look at the Dow. Down 721 points. It was just down 800 points.
I want to bring in CNN business correspondent, Alison Kosik, who is watching this all from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Alison, tell us what's going on.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: As you can see by the strong red arrows, the tone from yesterday, where we say the green arrows, significantly and dramatically changing to the downside.
That's because you have a lot of investors questioning what really happened between China and the U.S. as far as trade goes at that meeting between President Xi and President Trump in Argentina over the weekend. They came out of the meeting with the White House saying they made a deal to basically make a deal to negotiate towards talks. The sun rose again today and everybody gave it another thought and thought, you know, what if nothing happened in Argentina, nothing solid or concrete. A lot of investors are nervous that there's no resolution for the trade talks between the U.S. and China.
Also sort of amping up the nervousness, the Mueller investigation. There's a feeling that the Mueller investigation is coming to a conclusion at some point, and that is making investors nervous as well.
One more thing, the pile-on. There's a phenomenon going on in the treasury market showing that yields on shorter-term notes are rising above yields on longer-term notes. What that indicates that is signifies a possible economic slowdown. That is spooking the market as well.
You pile all that together and that creates a nervousness and then you see the Dow down 698 points at the moment.
KEILAR: Are the markets closed tomorrow?
KOSIK: The markets are closed tomorrow in honor of President George H.W. Bush's funeral. As usual, what often happens in the financial markets is they close, and not just the NYSE, but the NASDAQ as well. All financial markets will be closed to honor him -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Alison, thank you so much for that.
We have much more breaking news ahead. Stay with us.
[13:53:09] KEILAR: Former President George H.W. Bush is lying in state in the Capitol Hill rotunda today. Thousands of visitors paid their respects to the 41st president. And there was this remarkable moment from Senator Bob Dole.
KEILAR: You may recall that Bob Dole actually ran against Bush for the nomination in the 1980s. They were close friends. We also saw President Bush's beloved service dog, Sully, the yellow Labrador visit the rotunda, as well as his son, Neil Bush who arrived to honor his father.
President Trump and the first lady will be paying a private visit to the Bush family today at Blair House, which is the president's official guest house across the street from the White House.
Coming up, it has been months and months of silence but, any minute, Robert Mueller will reveal how Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser of President Trump, cooperated with the special counsel.
[13:54:38] Plus, the stunning remarks from Senators after they received a CIA briefing on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist. Stand by.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin.
We begin with the breaking news as we are watching another turbulent day in the financial markets where stocks have been dropping all day. At one point today, the Dow dropped more than 800 points. Right now, it's currently down a little more than 640 points.
This, despite the president's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, today saying he is optimistic the U.S. and China can work out a trade agreement under the president's 90-day deadline. Kudlow has also dismissed talks that the U.S. could be headed for a recession.