CNN's Jim Sciutto: Trump was, or tried to be, directly involved in ending the FBI investigation into Flynn
Sciutto: A couple weeks after Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn lied to the FBI about communicating with Russia, "the president asks the then-director of the FBI, James Comey, to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn"
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the December 1 edition of CNN's At This Hour with Kate Bolduan:
Loading the player reg...
KATE BOLDUAN (HOST): Yeah. And Jim, when it comes to kind of the context of all of this, and maybe I'm making it too simplistic, but I think it's worth kind of breaking it down, he's charged for lying -- yes, it's narrow, but what he's charged with is lying about talking or working with a Russian government official about official government business before they were officially in office? That's the whole thing.
JIM SCIUTTO: That’s an issue – and that violates the one president at a time issue, right. This is the transition, President Obama is still president, President Obama had imposed new sanctions on Russia for election interference. There's one president at a time. But keep in mind, the White House and the president's pushback on the Russia probe from the beginning has been from the beginning has been that it's a witch hunt, there’s nothing there, and it involved low-level people, coffee boy like [George] Papadopoulos. That has broken down at every turn. One, we're talking about very senior people. The president's national security advisor here, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. Two, lying is a federal crime, and as Evan Perez has made the point on the air, it's one count, yes, but about four separate lies. So, repeated lying is what we're talking about here.
And finally, those lies are not about conversations about golf games, right? These are lies about conversations about issues material and very relevant to this administration and to national security of this country. Conversations with the Russian ambassador, the ambassador to the country that had just interfered in the election. Conversations about a U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israel, very material, important conversations, so their defense breaks -- the administration's defense or dismissal rather I should say of the investigation, breaks down. One final point, when you look at the timeline here, Flynn lied, I believe it's January 24, he was interviewed by the FBI then. Couple days later, Sally Yates makes her warning to the White House that because he lied, he could be a national security risk. And a couple of weeks later, the president asks the then-director of the FBI, James Comey, to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn. That's the president's direct involvement in this or attempting to be directly involved. That timeline is very key.