Return to Transcripts main page
Mueller Says Michael Flynn Gave 'First-Hand' Details of Trump Transition Team Contacts with Russians; U.S. Senator Says Saudi Crown Prince Complicit in Khashoggi Murder; French Government Announces Six- Month Fuel Tax Suspension. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired December 5, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Michael Flynn flipped and then some. Now the recommendation, don't lock him up. A pre-sentence report from the special counsel reveals some clues on just how much the former senior Trump aide has been saying.
Lawmakers have reacted to a classified briefing from the CIA director about the investigation into the murder of "The Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There is not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And later, a victory for the Yellow Jackets (sic). The French government gives in to protests on fuel prices but they still want a whole lot more from their president.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm John Vause. Great to have you with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: We begin with a major development in the Russia investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller says Michael Flynn has been so cooperative, so helpful, that Mueller is recommending no jail time for the former U.S. national security adviser. Flynn has been talking with prosecutors on at least three investigations. We get late details now from CNN's Sara Murray.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn has provided, quote, "substantial assistance to the Russia investigation and should get no jail time." That's the big news from special counsel Robert Mueller's court filing
on Tuesday night.
The filing, a sentencing memo, comes after Flynn has cooperated with Mueller's team for more than a year, sitting for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other Justice Department offices.
Now the memo appears to show that Flynn helped the Justice Department with at least three ongoing investigations. References to two of those investigations are almost completely redacted.
Flynn also cooperated with the special counsel's investigation into links or coordination between the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign, as well as interactions between the Trump transition team and Russia.
The Flynn revelations come amid this flurry of activity from the special counsel's team. Last week, Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. And prosecutors accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of lying to the special counsel and violating his cooperation agreement.
Now as for Flynn, he was a fixture with Trump on the 2016 campaign trail and even leading a "lock her up" Hillary Clinton chant at the Republican National Convention. But his turn as a White House national security advisor, that was brief.
He was fired more than two weeks after then acting attorney general Sally Yates told the White House that Flynn had lied about his communications with the Russian ambassador and that he could be blackmailed by the Russians. Flynn is set to be sentenced on December 18th in D.C. federal court -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: And CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin is with us from Los Angeles.
OK, Areva, clearly Robert Mueller, the special counsel, very pleased, both with 19 interviews he had with Michael Flynn, very pleased with the information Flynn provided as well, all the documentation Flynn made available to Mueller.
So Mueller made this recommendation. This is what he wrote.
"Given the defendant's substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range, including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration, is appropriate and warranted."
Boy, when they flip, they really flip.
I mean, you know, what are we looking at here?
If he says no prison time for Flynn, is that where the judge goes with this?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the judge is going to take into consideration all of the substantial things stated about Michael Flynn by the special counsel.
Not only did he talk about how cooperative Flynn was and that he's helping with three investigations, he talked about the, you know, the 19 interviews that he participated in, not only with the special counsel but with other lawyers from the Department of Justice.
Now we don't know if those lawyers were in the Southern District of New York or what, you know, other area in the Department of Justice.
But we know Michael Flynn has been very valuable to the special counsel and the Department of Justice. The special counsel talks about his substantial time in the military, the fact that he's been -- you know, he's done more than 30 years in the military, served five years in combat.
So special counsel Mueller went out of his way to highlight the positives about Flynn's participation and cooperation with him. So I think the judge is going to give a lot of weight and credibility to the statements made by the special counsel in this memo.
VAUSE: Yes, you know, there's a lot of expectation about what it may or may not reveal. We kind of get what we expected but -- you know, because a lot of it was redacted citing the ongoing investigations.
But there was one part of the memo which stated, "the defendant's record of military and public service distinguished him from every other person."
Notice every other person who's been charged as part of the special counsel's office investigation, that would be like Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, the list goes on.
Then it goes on, however, senior government leaders --
VAUSE: -- "should be held to the highest standards.
Senior government leaders: any ideas who Mueller might be referring to there?
MARTIN: You raise a really good point, John. We were hoping to learn more about what motivated Flynn to tell the lie that he told about his communications with the Russian ambassador, who might have been in on it and, you know, some other details about, you know, what led to him pleading guilty.
We didn't learn those things in this redacted memo but we did learn a lot about this investigation. And I think one of the more important things we learned is that it's not over.
Despite what the president and his legal team have stated over and over again in the media, it appears that there are many veins and many other lines of investigation that are being pursued by the special counsel.
And we don't know if Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Don Jr. or other members in the Trump administration are the targets of those investigations. But it is very clear that Mueller is keeping close to the vest what those investigations involve and who are the people that are a part of those investigations.
VAUSE: You know, the investigation goes on. The pushback from Trump supporters goes on, almost as soon as the memo came out. Here's Trump friend and unofficial adviser Sean Hannity of FOX News. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Flynn is a convicted felon, a victimless process crime based on evidence that is suspect. The FBI didn't think he lied. Now you can't get him on an actual crime so the old perjury trap always becomes the fallback in the Mueller camp of Democratic donors.
This is how America is going to treat a military hero?
This is a sad and pathetic moment for not only the special counsel but for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It's all a victimless crime. The man confessed, which seemed to suggest the evidence was not suspect. So I'll leave the last question to you.
Is this a sad and pathetic moment for the country?
MARTIN: Absolutely not. I think this is a proud moment for the country and this is a proud moment for the special counsel's office.
What we know about Robert Mueller, he has been impeccable. He's been methodical. There haven't been leaks from his office. He's been very strategic and he's been effective.
And that's one of the things that Trump and his supporters can't argue against: the facts are the facts, there are not only guilty pleasure but actual convictions of individuals involved in this investigation. Those facts cannot be disputed.
And you know, it's so interesting when you hear Sean Hannity, the president, Rudy Giuliani talk about Michael Flynn. They want to spin this narrative that somehow Flynn didn't lie to the FBI. Well, Flynn himself acknowledged that he told a lie.
So I don't know how you can undermine, dispute or somehow challenge the testimony from the individual himself.
So if you have respect for him as a 30-year military man, why not respect him to be intelligent enough to know when he told a lie?
So it's a quite ridiculous argument, John. It doesn't have a lot of credibility. We expected the president to try to minimize. We expect this kind of rhetoric from Sean Hannity.
But the reality is Robert Mueller is having a ginormous week when it comes to individuals involved in the Russia investigation.
VAUSE: And it was Tuesday. OK. Now it can wait. Flynn really seemed to rise to prominence during the Republican convention in 2016. That was when Donald Trump was officially nominated as the party's presidential candidate. And looking back now, oh, the irony, the irony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Lock her up. That's right. Yes, that's right. Lock her up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes. Lock her up, Hillary Clinton, because of e-mail server. I mean, the twist here is that Flynn actually probably won't serve a lot of time in jail. That doesn't sit easy with a lot of people. Listen to one of Flynn's colleagues. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH PETERS, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: I really have mixed feelings about this. As a former officer, I'd send him to jail for life. He betrayed his country. But as someone who's known Mike since 1985 -- and he has served this country well -- he's a superb officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So whether you like it or not, this is how the system works. Basically, you do a deal, you give up a bigger fish, you go free or you serve reduced time.
That's it, right?
MARTIN: And not only that, John. You go to the special counsel early. And I think when you look at what happened (AUDIO GAP), you stay on Team Trump, a pardon is all but guaranteed.
And now you have Robert Mueller saying, look, there's a new and different game in town. If you come to the special counsel's office with information that's credible and you come early and you participate in cooperating with the special counsel, you may also be facing what Flynn is facing, which is a memo and a recommendation to the court that you not face any jail time.
So I can understand how, you know, colleagues of Michael Flynn have mixed feelings about this, because he was serving at the highest level --
MARTIN: -- of this country. And you do expect him to be held to a higher standard and you wouldn't expect him to be embroiled in any criminal, you know, wrongdoings.
But he was. And I think the good thing here is, he didn't deny, he didn't spin, he didn't, you know, try to run from, you know, the wrongdoing that he committed.
He went to the special counsel, he cooperated; he's cooperated throughout this entire year and apparently he's provided some very valuable information to Robert Mueller that, hopefully, is going to lead to the indictment and prosecution and conviction of other individuals who have been involved in criminal activity.
VAUSE: Yes. And if you heard Jeffrey Toobin earlier, saying if he was President Donald Trump, he would be very worried right now. Areva --
VAUSE: Good to see you.
MARTIN: I think no doubt he's worried. Thank you, John. Always good to see you as well.
VAUSE: Thank you.
VAUSE: U.S. lawmakers continue to fight the White House over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist with "The Washington Post," a high-profile critic of the Saudi crown prince.
On Tuesday about a dozen senators were briefed by CIA director Gina Haspel Khashoggi's death, which includes the murder was ordered by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Turkish authorities say Khashoggi's body was cut into pieces at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Trump, though, insists there's no smoking gun, linking MSB directly to murder. But some Republican senators say, after hearing from the CIA director, they are more certain than ever about the involvement of bin Salman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball. I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible. I think the behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I have zero in my mind that the crown prince, MBS, ordered the killing, monitored the killing and knew exactly what was happening, planned it in advance. If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes guilty.
So, the question is, what do we do about that?
So far, it's unfortunate, but I think they feel like this is something that's come and passed because the administration has not spoken to this in a way that -- they've spoken to it in a manner that really gives him immunity. And so what the message is to him and those around him is that you can go around killing journalists.
GRAHAM: Secretary Pompeo and Mattis are following the lead of the president. There's not a smoking gun. There is a smoking saw.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Let's go Abu Dhabi live now to CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley.
Sam, it is one thing that the Saudis have the U.S. president on their side or in their pocket, depending however you want to phrase it. But many senators are now prepared to defy Donald Trump.
Is there any indication the Saudis may have the slightest bit of concern about this growing number of lawmakers and what they're saying, in particular about suspending arms sales to the kingdom?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think -- I mean, we reached out this morning to the Saudis. Had no official or even off-the-record response yet. That's no great surprise. The Saudis want this whole issue to go away so they can get back to their traditional relationship with the United States, which is based around deep commercial intelligence and, of course, fossil fuel interests.
That's what they are hoping in the end will eclipse the, from their perspective, the embarrassment, the shame that is attached to the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
But these latest statements coming from Republican senators who, they might imagine, would be more pro-Saudi in the way that the Trump administration is but making absolutely -- having no qualms whatsoever in pointing a finger subsequent to that secret briefing from the CIA director, will rattle the Saudi Arabians.
MBS has been and is still on the kind of international tour, trying to glad-hand and warm relations with leaders around the world. He's popular here in the monarchies of the Sunni-dominated Middle East. And he's seen by the United States and others as an essential partner in the effort to offset the growing power and influence of Iran in the region.
But it is also a matter of deepening embarrassment to Saudi allies. Just over the last 48 hours, the head of MI-6, no less, Alex Younger (ph), gave a very unusual speech in Scotland, in which he said the British were expecting a full accountability and no-holds-barred investigation into what went on.
That kind of signaling from people like that and the U.S. senators seem --
KILEY: -- very, very difficult indeed for the Saudis. Of course, undermining their moral position when it comes to Yemen -- John.
VAUSE: I actually read that, the demand coming Britain for a full investigation.
If the Saudi government listened to the U.S. Senate, they've got Donald Trump in their pocket, when countries like Britain make those sorts of demands, what impact does it have?
Does it even raise a finger?
KILEY: There has been hints from the Saudis that they may cozy up to the Russians. You saw the high-five that Vladimir Putin exchanged with the crown prince at the G20 summit in Argentina.
So there have been messaging from the Saudis, that, if you're not with us, you're agin' us. And they'll start looking toward Russia. Of course, Russia is resurgent in terms of its influence in the Middle East and it is working on picking up where it left off in the late 1980s in Africa.
So there is a global power play that the Saudis could exploit here. But militarily, they're entirely dependent on NATO standard equipment. They could no more go off the Russia and buy military equipment than the British army would rearm themselves with AK-47s. They're the wrong size; they're the wrong bits of kibble together.
So a lot of that is bluff and bluster. But they do have ultimately, John -- if you'll excuse the pun -- the Trump card, which is that they control oil prices globally. At the moment, they're cooperating by pumping to make sure they have offset the loss of oil to the international market from Iran and keeping oil prices low.
But that's in their gift, John.
VAUSE: OK, Sam, good to be with you, thank you. Sam Kiley live in Abu Dhabi.
We'll take a short break. When we come back, U.S. stock markets closed Wednesday and investors actually may need the break. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all tumbled on Tuesday but Asia, not changing direction. Details next.
VAUSE: China's confirmed it will not raise tariffs for 90 days, part of a cease-fire in the trade war with the United States. But on Tuesday, the U.S. president rattled markets, saying on Twitter he was a tariff fan and warned he will have a real deal with China or no deal at all. Beijing has promised to push ahead on negotiations but that seems to
do little to calm investors. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul all down. U.S. markets were hammered on Tuesday, the Dow nosedived nearly 800 points.
VAUSE: The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also tumbled. Both shed more than 3 percent. They're closed on Wednesday out of respect for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush.
An attempt to restore calm, the French government is backpedaling on a plan to increase taxes on fuel. The increase has been suspended for six months. But even so, Yellow Vest demonstrators were back out blockading streets. Melissa Bell now has more on the response from the protesters.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a climb-down on the part of the French government that was announced today but not a total retreat.
After all, what Edouard Philippe, the French prime minister, had to say after three weeks of saying that the government would not make any concessions, would not turn around or climb down from that proposed tax hike, due to take effect in January 1st, was essentially that that tax hike would be suspended -- not taken away, not canceled entirely but suspended for six months.
A concession far greater than anything we could have expected from him so far and yet, a concession that fell short of satisfying the Yellow Vests. Already their representatives, their members and the few spokesmen that appear to represent them -- and remember that this is a movement that has essentially no leader and no political party and no trade union organizing it.
Those who speak in it saying they are not satisfied by what the French government had to announce today. One of the problems really facing Emmanuel Macron is that, three weeks after this protest began and given the extraordinary violence on Saturday night, this protest has become about so much more than the initial tax hike that has parted.
And so a partial climb-down on the part of the government was in a sense never going to satisfy those who want to go much further, who believe that they have the wind in their sails and they can look ahead to next Saturday and plan another protest.
The key question will be how many people turn out to demonstrate, will they find themselves out on the streets of France in numbers as great as they have so far?
And will that violence once again be repeated in the French capital?
French authorities are working to try and prevent a repeat of those scenes we saw last week. The Yellow Vests say that they will carry on with their movement. They will carry on expressing in anger. That it's about much more than fuel tax, it is now about the cost of living itself and the policies of Emmanuel Macron -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
VAUSE: For more now, CNN's European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas is with us from Berlin.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Hey, good morning, John.
VAUSE: Good to see you.
OK. Keeping in mind, it was President Macron who has been determined to push ahead with this fuel tax, said it all along. Here's the announcement from the government, this fuel tax hike is now on hold, it's being suspended. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDOUARD PHILIPPE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): These decisions, effective immediately, must bring back peace and calm to the country. They must allow us to begin a real discussion on the main issues that have been expressed this past few weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. A couple of things here. If you're looking really closely, that was not Emmanuel Macron, the president. That was actually the prime minister, who is touting the retreat and giving in to the protesters here.
So Macron has actually not spoken to reporters since coming back from the G20. He's kind of been, you know, skulking around the Elysees Palace. You know, these are not good signs that he actually has a sense of the seriousness of the crisis he's facing because it's not just about the fuel tax.
THOMAS: No. I mean first of all, the fact that his prime minister is doing this in some ways is normal. The prime minister is the head of the government. It's his responsibility to deal with policy issues, to bring those to the general public and so on.
But you're absolutely right when you say that, for Emmanuel Macron, what he really needed to do here was to step out and speak to the French people about what are some genuine grievances here and what he ends up doing is further reinforcing the idea that he is a detached president who doesn't listen well to the people.
And it was really important for him to do this at this particular moment, because you can see just how the tensions are so elevated in France at the moment.
VAUSE: OK. We have actually heard from the, I guess, unofficial spokesperson for the Yellow Vest protesters.
He told "The Guardian" newspaper, that the French are not sparrows and don't want the crumbs the government is giving them. They want the baguette.
This sounds almost like, you know, the natural follow-on to the days of let them eat cake. I think what it says is that the anger and the grievance fueling this protest was born long before Macron was elected president. Taking a pause and trying to talk about it for a couple of weeks doesn't seem like they're going to get very far.
THOMAS: No. And I think it is very likely to be, you know, too little, too late. This has given an opportunity for many other organizations to come to the forefront.
You see different political parties trying to exploit the potential here of this uprising that still is polling very well and in French society you are absolutely right that these grievances have been around for a very long time.
If you just take the last two presidencies and the right-wing presidency of Sarkozy, the socialist government of Francois Hollande -- during that 10-year period, minimum wages --
THOMAS: -- only went up approximately 200 euros.
And so these are grievances and pains that the people have been feeling for a long time in French society.
And it seems that yet again, this government has been unable to come up with a range of kind of policies that are moving France ahead in the new directions Macron spelled out without appearing to be kind of an onslaught on working people.
VAUSE: So keep that in mind because the president, ever helpful as always, retweeted this.
"There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes. Media barely mentioning this. America is booming, Europe is burning. They want to cover up the middle class rebellion against culture Marxism. 'We want Trump' being chanted through the streets of Paris."
There's actually nothing in that retweet which is accurate. Macron has been governing as a centrist, even leaning to the Right, the sort of a right-wing cabinet technocrat. The fuel taxes are climate change measures in part. No one was shouting, "We want Trump" in the streets of Paris, at least none that we can find.
This is the problem that Macron has. It is very difficult to -- as the leader of a Western democratic country to lead to the center. And no one has kind of worked out how to do it yet.
THOMAS: Yes. I just think, just very quickly on Trump's tweets. It's really interesting to look at the forensics of this because, of course, he's both tweeting and retweeting here a far right ideology which he gets from Nigel Farage.
His comments on Brexit 10 days ago came from Farage and this sort of, you know, belief that the Western system is being undermined by some kind of radical group that's hell-bent on destroying Western civilization.
In fact, Trump's repeated attacks on the European Union and on the liberal democracies within the European Union are contributing to undermining that process.
Now on the question of sort of centrist rule and so on. That's a more difficult argument to make. I mean, after all, Tony Blair is really the person in Europe to have inaugurated that kind of mechanism of rule from '97 to 2007, where, for all intents and purposes, his government was a centrist government.
The bigger issue possibly that we're seeing with Emmanuel Macron, with other leaders in Europe today is, over the last few years, we've seen a diminishing of strength of mainstream political parties.
And Macron is at the head of the movement in the way that a very different movement is currently governing Italy in the guise of the Five Star Movement.
And these different political organizations -- yes, he's elected; yes, he has the parliament. But they don't have either the experience or, one could argue, the institutional framework or the understanding as to how these kinds of mechanisms are working.
And we see this and these kinds of challenges at the moment, particularly as Macron is going about implementing these policies.
VAUSE: Dominic, we're out of time. We shall leave it there but good to see you and thank you for getting up early and being with us. We appreciate it.
THOMAS: You're welcome. See you soon. Bye-bye.
VAUSE: We will.
VAUSE: OK. Time for a short break now. Up next, looming indictments, some more charges and careers ruined for some who were once in Donald Trump's inner circle, all begging the question, what if he had never won the presidency in the first place?
[02:30:17] VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) is underway for a fourth season of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. The hit series is set in the 1960s with a dystopian alternate history which saw the allies lose World War II. Hitler is still alive at least for the first season and the defeated U.S. is divided between Nazi-control of the east and Japanese-occupation of the west.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) on this in 1947 two years after the capitulation of the United States of America. The bloody struggle was finally incomprehensively won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to imagine a very different version of American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Aries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 1962, the United States no longer exist after the allied defeat in World War II, a first time on American (INAUDIBLE) much has change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So what would the world look like if Donald Trump hadn't won the election two years ago? The result turn on less than a hundred thousand votes in three states. But the outcome has had a profound impact on many of those who are closest to this president. Many call this the man in the Trump tower. We'll start with the former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, because, well, he's in the news today.
He was a decorated war hero rose to be a lieutenant general, had a reputation for developing effective counterterrorism strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was promoted to run the defense intelligence agency in by 2012. It was a stain on his record after being fired two years later by the Obama administration because of mismanagement and temperament issues. But then a year ago, Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI denying he talked about U.S. sanctions during a conversation with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
It turns out he did. Because of a plea deal with the special counsel, Flynn is unlikely to serve time. But that conversation with the Russian ambassador took place during the transition. And there is no incoming Trump administration, no appointment of Flynn as National Security Advisor, no conversation, no lying to the FBI. And now, Flynn, is actually expected to be sentence in two weeks. And then there is Michael Cohen, the once I'd take a bullet for Donald Trump guy who's now cooperating with the Russia investigation.
Just last week, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal which said candidate Trump was actually pursuing during the election campaign despite repeated claims by Donald Trump to the country. And that's on top of Cohen's guilty plea from earlier this year to eight counts of tax fraud, a false statement to a financial institution, unlawful corporate contributions, and excessive campaign contributions.
Now facing huge legal cost and felling abandoned by the president, Cohen cut a deal and he flipped. And the New York Times reporting Mr. Cohen has concluded that his life has been utterly destroyed by his relationship with Mr. Trump and now his own actions and to begin anew. He needed to speed up the legal process by quickly confessing to his crimes and serving any sentence he receives according to his friends and associates as well as of analysis of documents in this case.
It's possible that at some point Michael Cohen could have face charges of tax fraud. But with there being the same level of scrutiny as there was after the 20116 election? No, certainly wouldn't have been charged with lying to Congress because chances are he would never have been called to testify in the first place. Now, Paul Manafort who rose from the son of a small town mayor to international political consultant and the chairman of the Trump campaign and now a felon.
Guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, one count of hiding a foreign bank account. For decades, he made millions advising autocrats (INAUDIBLE) and strong men around the world. But it seems he would not survive five months he served as the Trump campaign chairman. Manafort agreed to a plea deal with the special counsel's office. But last month, federal investigators accused him of repeatedly lying and extraordinary allegation that could mean along the prison sentence and may potentially new charges as well.
At 69, Manafort could die in jail. His one hope right now is the presidential pardon. And then there's the president's eldest son, Don Jr. who could be facing an indictment over that Trump Tower meeting in 2016 especially if it turns out that his father's denials of no prior knowledge actually are not true. Similar legal problems are said to be hanging over Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. And remember the former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, quit his job, and his credibility now in tatters and it seems he's unemployable.
Well (INAUDIBLE) Republican Party Reince Priebus once had a promising career, now, who knows. And also, former president himself under siege reportedly unhinge and lashing out who takes little joy in the process of government. Perhaps, he too is wondering, what if?
[02:35:07] And what if Britain voted to stay in the E.U. (INAUDIBLE) where some are having second thoughts ahead of what's expected to be another bruising day in parliament with the prime minister and her Brexit leave plan.
VAUSE: Today, will resume in Britain's parliament in a few hours on Theresa May's Brexit plan. It will be the second of five days (INAUDIBLE) the prime minister is still reeling from the first day suffering a serious of embarrassing defeat on Tuesday including an unprecedented vote in parliament which found the government in contempt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unfortunate for government to be in contempt
of parliament which it agreed that is worst for parliament to be in contempt of the British people which is what will happen if we do not deliver on Brexit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Can I say to my honorable friend, I absolutely agree that it is the duty I believe of this parliament. It is the duty of us as politicians to deliver on the result of the votes that the British people gave in 2016 in the referendum. They voted. We gave them the choice. They voted to leave the E.U. It is up to us to deliver that but leaving of the European Union in the interest of our country.
What it would say about the state of our democracy if the biggest vote in our history was to be rerun because the majority in this house didn't like the outcome. And what it would do to that democracy and what forces it would unleash. This house voted to give the decision to the British people. This house promised we would honor their decision. If we betray that promise, if we betray that promised, how can we expect them to trust us again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We send Anna Stewart deep into darkest leave territory in England that (INAUDIBLE) May then voted to leave the European Union. OK. More than two years on now. They've seen the message. They've send the tears. They've seen where this is heading. How are they feeling now?
ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not so good, John. And just to put that into context of what happened yesterday during defeat in parliament is really quite bruising for the prime minister. It doesn't bode well given this is the first day of five. She goes into second day of negotiations. Today, at Westminster and it doesn't probably do much more confidence from the E.U. either looking at it.
[02:40:07] However, one of the defeats yesterday could actually help the prime minister and that's of course one of defeat means that should have Brexit deal that she's trying to push through get voted down next week. Actually, that could bring some more votes in because if she -- if it gets (INAUDIBLE) parliament will take control of what happens in the process next. Now, hardline Brexiters could be very worry that could lead to an even softer deal than what's on the table or even a second referendum.
So in the interest of (INAUDIBLE) John, now, I'm hearing (INAUDIBLE) what all the people hear that voted to leave think. Do they regret that decision and what do they think of all these negotiations in Westminster?
STEWART: So how did you vote back in the referendum?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote out.
STEWART: You voted out, why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) I don't know why. I should have voted to stay and I think everybody seems to (INAUDIBLE) I'd vote to stay.
STEWART: Should they pass Theresa May's deal next week?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm hoping so. I mean it would cause a lot of trouble if they don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should just have a clean Brexit. We voted out. That didn't not a little bit of that and a little bit of in.
STEWART: For the pub's owner, the debate will come too divisive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So for a number of occasions (INAUDIBLE) we're not going to talk about this anymore. As an individual (INAUDIBLE) alienate half of my customers.
STEWART: So there's a real sense of frustration, John. And actually, I did a poll while in the pub just to see what people wanted to happen next week and the vast majority with much rather that parliament voted down the prime minister's deal and actually we had a hard Brexit and no deal Brexit. They'd rather full out of E.U. come March rather than still feel for holding to Brussels which is the very interesting concept and they feel a bit I guess distance up here in (INAUDIBLE) in the north of England far away from Westminster (INAUDIBLE) the way see it it's over two years on.
They voted to leave. Why is the debate still continuing? John.
VAUSE: The smartest guy I've heard on three hours on television now. The smartest guy I've heard in three hours was the bartender. The guy who runs the pub. Anna, thank you.
STEWART: I knew you'd like him, John.
VAUSE: He was the best. Appreciate it. OK. Well, it is the time for (INAUDIBLE) reflection in Washington for a man who dedicated his life to public service. Thousands have slowly passed by the casket of former President George H.W. Bush lying in state inside the Capitol building. The Bush family visited the Capitol on Tuesday to pay their respects also to grieve mourners. President Trump and the First Lady offered condolences to the Bushes at the president's guest house.
They were greeted by former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush. Please stay with us for an extensive coverage of the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, 10:00 a.m. at Washington, 3:00 p.m. in London. That's 11:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. You'll see here on CNN. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.