Show: FOR THE RECORD Date: March 31, 2017 Guest: David Cicilline, Ron Hosko, Matt Mille, Alan Dershowitz, Francesca Chambers, Ken Dilanian GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC HOST: Chuck, I`m not going to miss Meet the Press this Sunday, that`s for sure.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: You better not. Don`t be late, will you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I won`t be late.
VAN SUSTEREN: I won`t. I`ll be there. Thank you, Chuck. And Chairman Nunes speaks and it`s for the first time since the Washington Post and New York Times both reported the stunning news that a combined three Trump White House officials showed him classified files. And moments ago, Nunes` counterpart, the house intelligence committee ranking member Democrat Adam Schiff was spotted entering the White House, so why he is now at the White House? To review classified documents, but here is the catch, we do not know if these are the very same documents that Chairman Nunes was shown when he made that surprise late White House evening visit.
And also breaking right now, the top Democrat in the house oversight committee, Elijah Cummings, is demanding answer from the White House counsel and the national security adviser on their staff coordination with Chairman Nunes. He wants to know who knew about it, who else was involved, and will any disciplinary actions be taken. Here`s Chairman Nunes for the first time speaking about that explosive report, and he is speaking a long way from D.C., he`s in Fresno, California, tonight.
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REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Those reports are mostly wrong. There are -- I mean, this is something that I`ve known about for a very long time from people who were not affiliated at all with the White House or anybody there. The challenge was finding a place to be able to view this information, to be able to get my hands on this information. So I think what`s in the stories is there`s a lot of innuendo, there are people that probably knew about this, knew about me being there, but the fact of the matter is, that doesn`t make them the source of my information.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The big criticism, I think the overarching criticism that has been thrown at you is that you`re just too close to the White House. And when they saw the New York Times article even if it was not your original source, there saying, oh, it`s still people there at the White House who are helping you gain access to this information and then going back and telling the president. And they`re saying he`s just too close to give a fair investigation when that investigation might involve the White House. Do you understand those criticisms?
NUNES: Yeah, I mean, I do. But it always goes back to. Then who else is going to do it? Because there`s only so many -- at the end of the day, someone has to do it. I`m sure that all the Republicans in congress voted for President Trump. All the Democrats voted for Hillary Clinton. I mean, that`s just how it is. At the end of the day, we`re accountable to our voters. And like I said, this whole issue that we briefed the president on, that I briefed the president on, had nothing to do with Russia.
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VAN SUSTEREN: With me Rhode Island congressman and member of the house foreign affairs committee, David Cicilline, and Ron Hosko, former assistant FBI director under James Comey, and Matt Miller, former spokesperson for the Justice Department. Congressman, first to you, we just heard from Congressman Nunes, Chairman Nunes, and he said that -- he says, I can tell you that those reports are mostly wrong. This is something I`ve known about for a very long time from people who are not affiliated at all with the White House or anybody there. That`s partially of what he said. What is he talking about?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Unclear. I mean, Mr. Nunes has already said that he received this information while he was in a vehicle and from a source that he`s not disclosed, but then he went to the White House, was shown documents and then returned the following day to present them to the White House -- to the president, then held a press conference. It`s very, very inappropriate for our person who is leading an investigation to brief the target of that investigation. This is highly irregular. The story seems to be changing a little bit. But I think the main point is that it`s very difficult for anyone to have confidence that Chairman Nunes could lead this investigation and an independent, nonpartisan way that really get the facts and get to the bottom of this. And when he said, you know, he answers to his constituents, actually, as chairman of the intelligence committee, his responsibility is greater than that. It`s really to answer to the American people to give them confidence that he`s taking this responsibility seriously and independently. And I think his behavior has completely undermined his ability to do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ron, it`s also -- I mean, it`s hard to understand really -- you know, this has been such a story that`s changed so often.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: So often.
VAN SUSTEREN: We don`t know a lot of facts. What is the question you would like to ask the chairman?
HOSKO: Well, the questions asked the chairman including specifically what is it that he has seen? How is it that he`s processing this information? What is it that he`s willing to share with Mr. Schiff and/or others on the committee? I find the whole thing deeply troubling. And the most troubling part is if Congressman Schiff were to go there today, having been there today, and review the identical documents that Congressman Nunes did, I would bet my paycheck that he would come out with a different assessment and assertion than Nunes did.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t even know that. But, man, I don`t even know if anyone knows it`s going to be the same documents. I mean, you know, I don`t know, Matt, if congressman Schiff knows if it`s the same documents.
MATT MILLER, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FORMER SPOKESPERSON: No, I don`t think he will. And I think there`s not a lot of trust right now. There`s not a lot of trust between Congressman Schiff and Chairman Nunes. There`s not a lot of trust between Congressman Schiff at the White House. I mean, this entire thing really has been a disaster from the beginning. If the president -- the president obviously, he got mad, he sent these tweets out. If they had come out after that weekend and said, you know what, the president read this in the newspaper, we`ve looked at it. We`re not worried about it, and withdraw then. It would all be over by now. Instead, we`ve launched this long series of investigations that really have undermined the confidence of what ought to be the focus of the investigation, which is Russia.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ron, there some easy sort of simple fixes or attempts to fix it. If I were Chairman Nunes tonight, I would be at the White House with Congressman Schiff and I`d say these are the documents I looked at. I`d sit in the room with him. I sit and talk to him, and I get him on my team and then come out and make an announcement to the American people, that to which they can tell us.
HOSKO: It seems obvious, if there`s any possible hope that these two can come out and have a singular message, I think that would be helpful. But, personally, I believe trust in the institution, the body that has this investigation now, has been destroyed and it cannot be rebuilt.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, leader Pelosi has said that Chairman Nunes was duped, but that`s sort of consistent with -- she`s a passionate advocate for her view. She`d say that. But do you think he`s been duped by the White House?
CICILLINE: Well, I don`t know whether he`s duped by the White House or not, but he clearly was responding to an effort by the White House to distract from the investigation. I think to draw attention away from what was under way. And it seems as if the whole thing was orchestrated to do that. You know the sharing of this information and the notion of coming back and briefing the president and never speaking to Adam Schiff or the other members of his committee. So he was either duped or he is incapable of understanding the importance of being independent and in not briefing the person that`s being investigated. It began with Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes having a press conference together where they set out this sort of bipartisan way to do this independent investigation and it took a very bad turn. And actually, Devin Nunes said he did this in part because the president was having a bad day with the media. He`s not an advocate for the president. You know he`s a close ally, a member of his transition team. He serves a different function here as chairman of the intelligence committee. You can either lead an independent investigation or you can be an ally of the president, an advocate for him, but you can`t do both.
VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, so where do we go from here?
MILLER: I think we have to start over. I don`t know how you fix this house intelligence committee investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why not just defer to the FBI and to the senate and forget the house investigation?
MILLER: That may be what eventually happen. Certainly, there need to be two tracks of investigations. There need to be a criminal investigation that the FBI is conducting. But remember, that`s only to find out criminal wrongdoing. There may be things that the American public deserves to know about what happened that don`t rise to the whole criminal wrongdoing and that has to happen in the house, the senate, a select commission. It has to happen somewhere. And right now it`s not happening in the house.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Ron, it may be that there`s nothing wrong with Chairman Nunes looking at this information, and maybe that he`s very helpful and that he has discovered something that is a security issue for the country, maybe all that. But the way that he has handled this has promoted the most incredible, you know, confusion and suspicion. I think it actually hurts the FBI.
HOSKO: It is destructive, I think, to trust and to a sense that it would be an unbiased and cohesive understanding of the threat of the impact of the connections. I think the American public are thirsting for that information if it`s done fairly in the right way. And it may well be impacting what the view is of the FBI.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, I know that you probably talked to a whole lot more Democrats than you do Republican because of the way this Washington is. But are any Republicans pulling aside the halls of congress, are they saying anything, are they shrugging their shoulders, or are they digging in their heels defending the chairman?
CICILLINE: No, I think people are very concerned about this. We`ve obviously heard, you know, some public statements from Republican senators about this. I think people recognize it. This is a very serious investigation. We shouldn`t lose sight about what`s at stake here. This is a question about the role of the Russians to influence an American presidential election and whether there was any cooperation or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and this very sophisticated campaign. And it`s serious and people expect that we`re going to find the facts where they lead us, get to the bottom, I think the American people wants us to leave no stone unturned, and they recognize it has to be done in an independent way. I think Chairman Nunes has made that impossible. And I think people are questioning whether the house can do that under his leadership. He really should step down in the best interests of our country from leading this investigation. Have another Republican do it, who can discharge this responsibility and do it with great independence, and really someone who`s not so affiliated with this president.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who do you nominate? All right, which Republican would you nominate? Let`s get a Democrat to nominate a Republican? Who would you pick?
CICILLINE: If I nominated a Republican he probably wouldn`t get the job.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, tell me, I mean, who do you listen to on this?
CICILLINE: There are -- look, I mean, I think there lots of Republicans who have not...
VAN SUSTEREN: Give me a name...
CICILLINE: Charlie Dent is a terrific person I think who would be independent. There are a number of Republicans who have expressed concern publicly who would I think exercise the kind of independence. Maybe someone who hasn`t been such a promoter of the president, maybe I`ll start with someone who is not on the Trump transition team. That`s a good beginning.
VAN SUSTEREN: And, of course, we know Chairman Nunes was. But I sure think it would have been a lot smarter for Chairman Nunes to go over there tonight with the ranking member. I think that...
CICILLINE: I agree.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean that`s his way out, I think if the ranking member can help him sort it out. But it`s not happening tonight.
CICILLINE: I agree.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, thank you, gentlemen.
VAN SUSTEREN: Still ahead, why is President Trump defending a guy he fired for lying to the vice president? And what is behind Michael Flynn`s attempt to get immunity? Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz joins us. Also, the White House again accusing the Obama administration of doing something wrong, what are the facts, what is the truth, and why is the Trump administration citing NBC News? We`ll dig into it. Plus, the Kremlin is watching us all like a hawk and we`re now hearing for Putin`s mouth piece about what Putin wants you to believe what Russia is doing, including threats about a new cold war. And also tonight, how the Russia controversy has consumed the Trump White House for the entire month, it is March madness, all right. Stay with us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, says he has a story to tell. And, boy, would we love to hear it, but will we? Today, the senate intelligence committee rejecting this offer on the table to testify in exchange for immunity over the house intelligence committee, and aid for Chairman Nunes says immunity has not come up with General Flynn`s lawyer, and the top Democrat saying that it`s too soon to even think about it. General Flynn was fired by the President Trump back in February after misleading vice president about a call he had with the Russian ambassador. And today, the president defending him, writing on twitter, Mike Flynn should ask for immunity, and that this is a witch hunt excuse for big election loss by media and Dems of historic proportion, but not talking about it to reporters.
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UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any comment on Michael Flynn, Mr. President?
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VAN SUSTEREN: White House press secretary Sean Spicer was pressed on that tweet today.
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UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We heard from the president this morning saying that Mike Flynn should ask for immunity. We also know the president has long- standing views on what immunity means. I mean back in September, he said if you`re guilty of crime, what do you need immunity for? So does the president think that Mike Flynn is guilty of a crime?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He believes that Mike Flynn should go testify. He thinks that he should go up there and do what he has to do to the story out.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: With or without immunity?
SPICER: Well, that`s up to him and his attorney to decide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me Alan Dershowitz, constitutional law scholar professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. Nice to see you, Alan.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Thank you, nice to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, when he said -- he made the crack last fall about immunity, that people who are asking for immunity are guilty, as sort of -- Leader Pelosi was critical of judges for recusing themselves in reference to Sessions. To suggest that every time you recuse yourself as guilty. So let me say loud and clear, innocent oftentimes need and should ask for immunity, your thought?
DERSHOWITZ: They never should ask for it publicly, though. What is shocking about this case -- and he has a very good lawyer, but I cannot for the life of me figure out the strategy. You don`t publicly ask for immunity, especially if you`ve previously said that only guilty people seek immunity. You negotiate behind the scenes. You then, if you get immunity, it`s imposed on you. You haven`t asked for it. You have no choice. If congress gives you immunity, the Justice Department gives you immunity, you have no choice. It`s much better to get immunity, not having asked for it, but then to ask for it and not get it. And so something is going on here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here`s my theory about why they did that. Because I agree that you do it privately, you don`t do it publicly. That`s a bad strategy. But here`s what I think. I think that they weren`t getting an offer of immunity out of the house and the senate. And they want that offer immunity on Capitol Hill, so that Flynn can accept it. Go up on Capitol Hill, testify, tell whatever he wants to testify and then he`ll be protected from any possible criminal -- he`ll be able to use that immunity down if he`s ever indicted in a criminal court, for, let`s say a false statement in connection with an investigation with the FBI, which is an easy -- the FBI loves to make those charges against people.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I think they were trolling for that.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, it`s possible. It`s possible that they were trying to provoke a public confrontation so that the public will demand that he be given immunity so that he can tell the story. Let`s remember that under the constitution, you don`t get transaction immunity. In other words, you don`t get immunity from prosecution. You only get what`s called use immunity. And what the prosecutors can do is they can create a lock box in which they put all the evidence that they already have prior to this testimony given under immunity and they can use all of that testimony to prosecute him. They tried that with Oliver North, as you`ll recall, many, many years ago, but they didn`t do a good enough job. But prosecutors can sometimes have their cake and eat it. That is if they can give the immunity, get the information and still prosecute the immunized witness based on evidence that they have already gathered before he testified. So we`re seeing a three-dimensional chess game being played now.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of President Trump tweeting that Mike Flynn should ask for immunity and that this is a witch hunt excuse for big election loss by media and the Dems of historic proportion. When he fired him after -- I use the nice term misleading, some people might say he lied to Mike Pence. I don`t know. That`s part of the investigation. But then for the vice president went out and said something publicly that was false because of what Flynn told him, yet now the president is defending Flynn.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, the president has apparently told people that he regrets having fired Flynn. You know, the president generally doesn`t like to do anything that acknowledges any wrongdoing at all. So this may just be a reaction to that. It`s also conceivable that this is a coordinated plan between the White House and Flynn`s attorney. I doubt that. But to have the president come out and say take immunity is very unusual. It increases the pressure on congress and the Justice Department perhaps to grant immunity. So everybody`s playing some very risky games here and we don`t how in the end it will come out. But this is not the usual situation. The usual situation is the lawyer quietly says, you know, my client might be willing to testify. You have to tell us what you`re willing to do. Queen for a day, transaction on immunity, derivative use immunity, here`s the proffer. Here`s what we can say. That`s usually what happens. I have never seen a case before where a person seeking immunity goes out into the public and says I want the public to know that I am seeking immunity. I have a story and the other side says, no, we`re not going to give you the immunity. That`s very unusual.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we`ll see what happens, new facts on this one every day. Thank you, Alan.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: So why is the Trump White House pointing the finger again at the Obama administration? What does NBC News have to do with it? That`s next. Also, we`re going to dig deeper into General Michael Flynn`s history with the Russians, innocent or sinister? And does it have any relationship to his attempt to get immunity? Some of Flynn`s past comments now coming back to haunt him.
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MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER SECURITY ADVISOR: Lock her up. That`s right. Yep. That`s right. Lock her up. You know why? And you know why? You know why we`re saying that? We`re saying that because if I -- a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Now the White House is trying to shift focus in the Russian probe to the Obama administration again, saying there`s evidence it spread sensitive information for political purposes. In particular, the White House has pointed to a former Obama official, Evelyn Farkas. Here`s what White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today.
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SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The revelations of Evelyn Farkas, who played a senior role in the Obama administration going on the record to talk about how they politically used classified information is troubling, on the record consistent on what Dr. Farkas says. That there was clearly an attempt to do something politically motivated with the intelligence out there. And Dr. Farkas` admissions alone are devastating.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Now Evelyn Farkas is a former Pentagon official who focuses on Russia, she left in 2015. She`s now an MSNBC contributor and she entered this story the day after the New York Times ran this headline, Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of Russian election hacking. That was on March 1st. The next day, Farkas appeared on Morning Joe.
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EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER PENTAGON OFFICIALS: I was urging my former colleague and get us much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people who left. That the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their -- the staff -- the Trump staff`s dealings with Russian, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot going on today.
FARKAS: Yeah. That`s why you have the leaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Two days later, March 4th, President Trump sent out those infamous tweets claiming he had been wiretap by President Obama. And today, press secretary Spicer also mentioned new NBC reporting that he says raises questions about whether the Obama administration leaked sensitive intelligence for political purposes.
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SPICER: You know, NBC News has just reported something very similar about information that was used by the Obama White House to spread this information and this politically sensitive information.
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VAN SUSTEREN: The NBC report recounts efforts by Obama administration officials to preserve key classified documents related to the Russia probe and providing senior members of the senate intelligence committee a way to access those documents. With me, Francesca Chambers, White House correspondent for the Daily Mail, and Ken Dilanian, NBC`s national security correspondent. Ken, I`m having a little trouble with this timeline. Evelyn Farkas left the government in October of 2015, which is way before - - just as the campaign was getting started. How did she know or how would she get information that the Obama administration would be collecting information on the Trump campaign if she was out as of October 2015?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS: Greta, I think just like you and just like me, she`s working her contacts inside the government and she was sort of reflecting what she was hearing from her former colleagues about what they were doing. And, you know, obviously the Trump administration sees it as sinister and she saw it as perfectly appropriate because they were concerned about what might happen with some of this intelligence.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, did she have a continuing security clearance after she left so that she could be -- once she left the government, she could be having these conversations about what the people back in the government were collecting?
DILANIAN: Well, she may have had a security clearance, but I believe she has said that she didn`t traffic classified information. She was purely talking about in an unclassified way -- as I do every day about classified information. I`m trying to get information right about what the government knows and what`s being shared. But, you know, people aren`t reading out the classified details to reporters or hopefully former colleagues, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Francesca, I would assume if there was some wiretapping or any type of effort to find out what was being said secretly among anyone or campaign, that that would be classified.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: Any information that Congressman Nunes has said that he viewed is classified and that`s why he can`t tell us any more information about it. And what I found interesting about Secretary Spicer comments today is that he said that what we`re hearing from her, what we`ve seen from NBC, all this reporting points even more in the direction that President Donald Trump was wiretap by former President Barack Obama as he`s claimed. But as you can see, from what she`s citing and what we`ve been hearing, that there`s nothing to substantiate those claims. We still have heard nothing about that. And Congressman Nunes has also said that he`s seen nothing in these documents that he reviewed that would lead him to believe that happen.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. While we`re on the air, right now, let me tell you what`s just happened, that Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the house select committee intelligence, the counterpart to Chairman Nunes, has just come out of the White House and he released the following statement. Today my staff director and I reviewed materials at the White House. It was represented to me that these are precisely the same materials that were provided to the chairman over a week ago. While I cannot discuss the content of the documents, if the White House had any concern over these materials, they should have been shared with the full committee in the first place as part of our ordinary oversight responsibilities. Nothing I could see today warranted a departure from the normal review procedures and these materials should now be provided to the full membership of both committees. The White House has yet to explain why senior White House staff apparently shared these materials with but one member of either committee only for their contents to be briefed back to the White House. Ken, the story goes on. What do you think?
DILANIAN: You know, what`s significant about this, Greta is what I`ve started to suspect. If there was really something improper and explosive in these documents Nunes was talking about, the White House would have just released them to both parties, to the full committee, because on its face it would have been a scandal or something worthy of investigation. If Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, went in there and looked at them, we can accuse him of being a partisan but he is also concerned about people`s privacy and if he went in there and looked and said -- he is not really saying but he hasn`t said that there was any particular improper sharing of names, as Nunes has implied or improper unmasking of U.S. person names, perhaps there wasn`t and perhaps that is the whole reason they went through this charade of laundering this information through Nunes who had two news conferences and then went to the White House. Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: Francesca does it mean that has been a drama, I mean what has been the point of all of this? Why did Nunes do that? I still don`t get why Nunes put us through this drama. It`s been suggested by Congressman Schiff, although he doesn`t say exclusively, because it was a classified information, but this is not such a big deal, whatever it is.
CHAMBERS: We still don`t know if the information he saw today is the same information that Congressman Nunes saw.
VAN SUSTEREN: Other than he says that he was told it was.
CHAMBERS: And we still don`t know if the same information that he saw was the information that Congressman Nunes saw. Only Congressman Nunes knows what he saw unless the White House staffers compiled this information for Congressman Schiff are the same ones that gave the information to Congressman Nunes in which came by again begs the question, why didn`t they just give it to the entire community? Why was it given to him and him alone and why is the White House not saying that? Are they just being transparent about it?
VAN SUSTEREN: If it weren`t so serious the thought of Russia meddling in our election, I would be more inclined to keep saying that who is on first, as that whole comedy. This continues to be so bizarre. Ken and Francesca thank you both.
Ahead, it`s not just the Russia controversy from failed health care bill to the stalled travel ban, what Americans are saying about President Trump`s challenges.
First, General Flynn sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He talked to the Russian ambassador. What story might General Flynn be able to tell?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Took the Fifth Amendment and her ringleaders were given immunity.
And if you`re not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Flynn`s attorney said that his client has a story to tell. Is the White House concerned that General Flynn has damaging information about the president, his aides and associates about what occurred during the campaign with respect to Russia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Is General Michael Flynn talking? Nope. But his lawyer is and it comes with a tease. His lawyer says Flynn has, quote, a story to tell. And that may be a tantalizing claim for investigators eager for a chance to learn more about Flynn`s phone conversations with the Russian ambassador. As well as that 2015 gala in Moscow where General Flynn sat with Russian president Vladimir Putin and, of course, there is the question, does General Flynn know anything about the Russian meddling that we are now learning continued after the election? Here`s what Senator Marco Rubio said this week.
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SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Within the last 24 hours, at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a second attempt was made against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information again targeted from an I.P. address from an unknown location in Russia and that effort was also unsuccessful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And could General Flynn shed new light on the thinking inside the very secretive Kremlin now pushing the line that the hacking never happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MIKE FLYNN (RET), FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: All those fake news having nothing beneath and having no evidence were nothing else but slander and that is why we`ll continue to suggest to everyone insisting that Russia was interfering in the domestic affairs of the United States, we will suggest them to read Mr. Putin`s lips.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me now, Malcolm Nance, also the author "The plot to hack America." How Putin cyber spies WikiLeaks try to steal the 2016 election and Michael Crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for "Politico" who has covered extensively on the Russian hacking. Malcolm, now we have a spokesperson for the Kremlin, for Putin, referring to fake news and that they did nothing wrong and I don`t know, I guess he thinks we`re making it up.
MICHAEL CROWLEY, POLITICO: Well, it`s very Russian. Deny it and then accuse the other side of doing the thing that they said you`re doing so they say we`re fake news. Of course, it was Russia helping to pump fake news into our political system. And I don`t think you can take the Russian denial seriously. It`s funny they keep using this "read my lips" line, which is the George Bush line, no new taxes, he broke that promise, I mean it was an empty pledge so, it is just a kind of a funny historical footnote. I think the more we learn about the connections between Trump and his associates and the Kremlin, the more disturbing it gets and it doesn`t -- you just can`t put much faith in what Putin`s people are saying.
VAN SUSTEREN: Malcolm, is Putin winning?
MALCOLM NANCE, AUTHOR: Oh, Putin is doing a great job at winning this game. I`ve gone on record many times and said that we may be witnessing the single greatest intelligence operation in the history of Russia and I`m talking back to the czar era. He is definitely winning. When he made his comments the other day, he is just executing a very long-standing Russian, you know, old-school KGB, which is was he was, a KGB officer, which is deny, deceive and make counteraccusations. I`m on the board of spy museum in D.C. We have that on a coffee cup that comes from Russian operations. Putin is playing to his base as well, which is Russia, trying to make Russia appear benign and also to the Americans that he actually called out for to support him. So Vladimir Putin is doing very well in this, even though we have caught him in the operation, he is still creating chaos in the west and discrediting liberal democracy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Michael is the White House distraught or disturbed by this or is this distraction? I mean, how are they reacting to it? They think that they`ve gotten our attention off some of the other issues having to do with this meddling with this whole Nunes? Where are they on this?
CROWLEY: I think it`s a mixed bag. It`s almost impossible for the White House to talk about anything else right now. No White House would want to be talking about this nonstop. On the other hand, if they start with the assumption, look, this investigation in and of itself was going to be such a big deal, everyone was going to be talking about it anyway, it`s better that the focus is on Devin Nunes and the antics of this house guy who came to the White House and what happened which is sort of confusing. I think people have trouble following it. I think it may look like it`s descending on partisan squabbling and it`s not on the substance of the charges, which is whether there`s some collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, which would be the biggest story since Watergate, bigger, just as astounding scandal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Malcolm, I think it is plausible, I certainly don`t know, those three at the White House who summoned Nunes, whatever we have three names now, that they did it, because they were trying to come up with some evidence to support the previous tweet by the president that he was wiretapped so it almost looked like they were combing documents looking for support to back up the president.
NANCE: You can see that is very clear. Cohen-Watnick, the former Defense Intelligence Agency, very junior analyst who somehow is running all of U.S. Intelligence on the national security council staff, you can just see that this guy went straight to our classified intel link or super net and did this search and went out to find evidence to exonerate his boss. I also have a great concern, Greta, that it`s quite possible that he was also looking for information to exonerate his boss who was fired, General Flynn himself. This is abuse of classified systems. Anybody with the security clearance would have had their security clearance pulled and would have taken away all their privileges. The originating agencies would be filing objections. This is political misuse of intelligence.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I think the investigation will probably go in that direction. Anyway thank you, gentlemen.
Ahead a month of headlines swirling around the Russian controversy, what is the political price and what is the response from around the country?
VAN SUSTEREN: Stuck in a sand trap, the Economist magazine centerizing President Trump`s political problems with a cartoon, showing him, running into trouble while playing golf. A lot of that is due to the Russian investigations that have monopolized the headlines from the start of the month to the end. Take a look.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Then Senator Sessions met with Russian ambassador, one a key adviser to the Trump campaign despite denying it under oath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have now decided to recuse myself.
VAN SUSTEREN: The president accused former President Obama of wiretapping at Trump tower during the election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI is investigating the Russian government`s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Russian efforts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today I briefed the president on the concerns that I had about incidental collection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bombshell reporting from "The New York Times." two White House officials was involved in feeding House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes information.
VAN SUSTEREN: "The Wall Street journal" is now reporting former Trump national security adviser general Michael Flynn offering to testify in exchange for immunity.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Joining me is two radio hosts who heard directly and loudly and clearly from their listeners, Bill Press from the Bill Press show and Hugh Hewitt, MSNBC Political Analyst and host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show." I wondered how you guys come up with the names of your shows.
Anyway, Hugh you first, Alan Dershowitz said a few minutes ago that he has heard that Donald Trump regrets firing General Flynn. Have you heard anything like that?
HUGH HEWITT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST AND HOST OF THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW: No, I have not. In fact, Reince Priebus said the west wing is working very well. I talked to Mike Moran who says he is respected by everyone. While he feels allegiance to a man who has helped him, I haven`t heard any regret. He is one of the geniuses of our era.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, how are things over at the White House? You`re over there a lot.
BILL PRESS, BILL PRESS SHOW: Chaos.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hugh just said everything is fine.
PRESS: He said that Reince Priebus said that everything is fine. I`m sure that Hugh would not say that everything is fine. I go to the briefings as often as I can. I wasn`t there today. I was there yesterday. The entire briefing was consumed with questions about Devin Nunes and who let him in the White House and what documents he saw and why they laundered, if you will, these documents which seems as they did through Devin Nunes and you know they want to talk about jobs. They want to talk about infrastructure.
VAN SUSTEREN: They don`t want to talk about health care.
PRINGLE: Well, true. They tried it. I think Donald Trump would like to run away from health care as fast as he can. The problem is that Paul Ryan keeps saying we`re going to try again. My point is, this issue, because particularly you said this earlier, I believe of the way they`ve handled it.
VAN SUSTEREN: That is the problem.
HEWITT: Greta --
VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead, Hugh.
HEWITT: Bill and I have been doing this since you were in high school and he is never been right and today, unfortunately, it`s not the first day that he is right.
We`re going to confirm a Supreme Court justice next week. They`ve got a setback on health care. They`ll get it back together. On this point, Devin Nunes left the White House and I listened to his statement Greta in which you played. He didn`t say a thing about the substance of what he had seen as to whether or not team Obama had politicized the collected intelligence. He said nothing either way. That is the question to ask Adam Schiff. That is the question to focus on.
PRESS: All right. Hugh, we do know each other well. Let me just say --
VAN SUSTEREN: The finger in the screen. Look at that.
PRESS: Hugh, you should not be using White House talking points, Hugh. That is exactly what Sean Spicer yesterday said. We`re not interested in substance. We`re not interested in process. It is a question. When the chairman said, I`ve made this great discovery from some unnamed source, I have to run down and inform Donald Trump, and that very same day -- and I was at the briefing. Sean Spicer says we have no idea where he got this stuff. We have no idea what`s in it. We have no idea why he is coming down there. Then we learn it was all a ruse. He had been down there the day before, and that is where he got the documents. And now the White House will not tell us who let him in.
HEWITT: Devin Nunes made a big mistake.
PRESS: Thank you.
HEWITT: He made a big mistake. He should not have lied to Eli Lake, who is probably one of the most respected national security advisers in Washington. But I go back to Adam Schiff at the White House today leaving. He ought to be asked, did you see anything that concerns you ranking membership, and if so, was team Obama abusing incidentally collected surveillance, collected lawfully but used illegally. Dr. Farcass, by the way, was not on the staff. She is not in a position to comment on whether or not that happened. But she is in a position to gossip about what she heard, and the gossip that she gave voice to on this network is very alarming. I asked Reince Priebus about that as well on my radio show, and he said --
VAN SUSTEREN: 30 seconds, Bill.
PRESS: The point that they didn`t find anything substantive in these documents is very important. It proves that Donald Trump was lying when he said that President Obama wiretapped Trump tower.
HEWITT: That did not happen, Bill, though. You`re right about that. He was not wiretapped. You`re right about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hugh, Bill, nice talking to you. I hope you come back next week.
HEWITT: Thanks Greta.
PRESS: All right.
VAN SUSTEREN: And President Trump, comedy and some very happy comedians. One joins me next.
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JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Trump`s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, will be questioned about his meetings with Russian officials. Yep. If they find out he did anything illegal, he`ll be sentenced to still being Trump`s son-in-law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nunez went to the White House to brief Trump on information he got from the White House. It`s like when you send yourself an e-mail reminder and two minutes later go, oh, a new e-mail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only is Flynn willing to talk for immunity, he is also coming out with a new book, "The art of the squeal."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The late night comedians, in fact all comedians have hit the jackpot, a new president in the White House, not just any president, but Donald Trump. With me, stand-up comedian and political statures Kathleen Madigan, whose comedy is streaming now on Netflix, also on tour, hitting Bloomington, Illinois, Gayle burg, Illinois, Naperville, Illinois, and Ridge Field Connecticut, and that is just April. That is exhausting.
KATHLEEN MADIGAN, COMEDIAN: I didn`t even know all that. You know more than I know. That is crazy. I have to cancel some of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: That is crazy. That is exhausting.
MADIGAN: It is exhausting.
VAN SUSTEREN: Admit it that the Trump administration has made it really fun for comedians.
MADIGAN: He has made it fun, but he also acts so quickly that we`re behind. Like you write a joke and go, wait, he said something different now? I just read that tweet. They`re like, no, that is old. That is so old, Kathleen. You sound like a hack. He is very hard to keep up with. And I think when people come to a show, they should expect Trump things. If you went to mass, and the priest busted out some Trump jokes, I would say that is inappropriate. But you`re in a theater or a late-night show. So, yeah, people are going to talk about Donald.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. First of all, thank you for this t-shirt you gave me. I got a t-shirt.
MADIGAN: Oh, you`re welcome. It`s the last one that said "crew," and it`s from Milwaukee.
VAN SUSTEREN: Take a look at that. You`ve been to Appleton, Wisconsin. You performed there.
MADIGAN: Yes, I performed there.
VAN SUSTEREN: You and Louis Black will perform there.
MADIGAN: We will be doing a secret thing there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything sort of off limits with the first family?
MADIGAN: I would say the kids for me. But like not all comedians are going to agree. But I don`t think the kids have a vote in that, at least in my family there would have been no vote. If my dad said, I`m running for president, none of us could go, I don`t really agree with that. We weren`t even addressed as individuals. So I think the kids didn`t bargain for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know I feel like I know your family. I know your brothers are lawyers. I know your father`s a lawyer. I know about the cabin. I know about your mother, and I know about the pills in the purse, which she doesn`t like anyone to flow about, right?
MADIGAN: Right, because if she comes to a show, now they know she has a lot of pills and like other old people in her aisle will ask her for her drugs and she gets super possessive and run as way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does your family get mad at you for making them sort of the --
MADIGAN: No, not as long as I, you know, provide something spectacular once a year, which like, you know, like if I do a special, they`ll come to that, or like Vegas. If I`m at the mirage, they`ll come to that. There are 500 of them, so I really have to do some work to get them there. But nobody has said anything. If it`s a joke where I have questions about it, I will run it by them first and go, look, I`m going to say this. Like my brothers have serious jobs. I don`t want to be calling them a drunk or something.
VAN SUSTEREN: Actually, you have done that. That is actually not true. Actually, that is not true. Look, I said I told I feel like I know your family. That law firm, what about that law firm?
MADIGAN: That was true. That was my dad`s true law firm in north St. Louis. I said I can`t believe they had customers. You should have just called it four drunks with a copy machine.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t think they got to vote on that one.
MADIGAN: No, but they had already quit that law firm. It was over by then. He was a judge. He`d moved on.
VAN SUSTEREN: I went to your website. You are on the road how many nights a year?
VAN SUSTEREN: That is a little bit more than 365.
MADIGAN: Yeah, it is. It`s a lot. It`s the circus, and it`s been going for 30 years. When people go how long is your tour? I`m like, well, 30 years so far. It`s not like we`re the rolling stones where we take a year off and go -- whatever music people do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Louis Black is often the on the road with you.
MADIGAN: We do a lot of charity. He is doing the autism thing with me in Missouri. We do a lot of shows together. He is my best friend on the road.
VAN SUSTEREN: I understand the White House --
MADIGAN: Yeah, they`re lighting it up.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kathleen Madigan. Go to the website and see where she is, because if she is in your neighborhood, you want to see her, thank you Kathleen.
MADIGAN: Thank you Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend. I`ll see you back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. Eastern. If you cannot watch live, set your DVR and follow me on twitter @Greta you can say really mean things unanimously to me and also you can say mean things to Kathleen Madigan, follow her on twitter. "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END