TRANSCRIPT

The optics of Flynn requesting an immunity deal

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," March 31, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP: If you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When you are given immunity that means you probably committed a crime.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What he is asking go testify. Go get it out there. Do what you have to do to get there and tell Congress tell everyone exactly what we have been saying for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIPD)

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Michael Flynn back in September when the issue was immunity for Clinton aides and the email investigation, and Sean Spicer today when the issue was whether Michael Flynn should get immunity in the Russia investigation.

Time to bring in our panel: Daniel Halper of The New York Post; Mercedes Schlapp, columnist for the Washington Times, and Tim Farley host of "Morning Briefing POTUS" on Sirius XM Radio.

So, let's take a look at the presidential tweet last night that got this debate over immunity going again. After the story broke that general Flynn's lawyer is seeking immunity before Flynn testifies to Congress to the FBI President Trump tweeted this, "Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a wish hunt, excuse for big election loss by media and Dems of historic proportion." Daniel, that got the story even revved up more.

DANIEL HALPER, THE NEW YORK POST: Look, as Charles said earlier there is a lot in here that we just don't know what's going on. But taken on separate levels, I think with General Flynn, given his prior comments about immunity, it really makes you wonder if he, risking his own reputation, risking his own public embarrassment, really has something that he needs immunity for. Why else would he be going out there seeking immunity if not for that reason? That's how it feels at this point. But obviously there is a lot we don't know.

And with the president's tweet, likewise, it makes you feel like he is trying to assure General Flynn don't worry, I've got your back, don't turn on me. I've got your back. But, again, there is a whole lot --

WALLACE: Are you suggesting -- you are reading a lot into that tweet.

HALPER: I'm trying to make sense of it because, by itself, it doesn't make sense.

WALLACE: I have got your back. What does that mean?

HALPER: It means don't flip on me, don't turn on me. But that's assuming there is something there. There may not be anything there. It could be nothing is there.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, WASHINGTON TIMES: That's too far.

HALPER: I started off by saying there is a lot that we don't know. These are ways to read the tweets that are really interesting and really provocative. But, again, it could be nothing.

WALLACE: Mercedes?

SCHLAPP: What is a little challenging to understand is why the president would tweet, talking about Michael Flynn and immunity in the same sentence when the president early on and Sean Spicer basically said we don't have trust in Michael Flynn anymore. He misled the vice president of the United States. So why bring Mike Flynn back inside the discussion when Michael Flynn is no longer part of the White House?

And plus, for this immunity, this is about Michael Flynn protecting Michael Flynn. This is about the fact that when you look at his record and the fact that he received thousands of dollars from Russian businesses and from speeches that he gave and whether he did or did not register as a lobbyist under the FARA Act, those are the questions that are going to be brought up. So he is trying to protect himself if he is granted this immunity.

WALLACE: But again, you do wonder why the president would touch this with a 10-foot pole?

SCHLAPP: Why we he do it since the president disconnected himself from Michael Flynn when Michael Flynn misled the vice president. It makes no sense.

WALLACE: OK, Tim, let's move to another subject we don't know.

TIM FARLEY, SIRIUS XM RADIO: That's my specialty, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Devin Nunes and this Intel that he got -- first he said he got it from a whistleblower source whose job might be in jeopardy, and now it turns out that in fact he got it at the NSC right across the street from the White House from an NSC official. So it seems that he wasn't quite straight about that. Now Devin Nunes -- I'm sorry, Adam Schiff went today, the Democratic ranking member of the committee, went to the NSC to get the same information. And he came out and he just issued a statement basically saying he wouldn't say the contents of it, but he said there was nothing there that couldn't be shared with everybody on the committee.

FARLEY: OK, so here's one of the challenges is trying to make sense of this story every day as America watches. We have I think three parallel investigations underway, one of which was whether the Russians tried to have an effect on elections, whether they interfered with the elections. Given the dramatic testimony in the Senate this week I think it's pretty clear that there's a bipartisan sense that, yes, the Russians have been doing this for some time, they were trying to.

The second is whether or not there was any kind of collusion between the Trump campaign or the Trump transition team and Russia. And there has been no evidence to that effect. A lot of people have smelled smoke. There is an investigation, as we heard last week from FBI Director Comey.

And the third is whether or not, although the debunked claim from President Trump that President Obama wiretapped him, there is still a question of whether there was an inadvertent collection of any kind of intelligence and who did that and how it came out. Again, this is sort of like the big wheel of fortune, three words, 30 letters and you only have two letters so far, one is "R" and one is a "D."

WALLACE: We want to buy a vowel.

FARLEY: Yes, well, we want to buy a lot of something here because nobody really knows of all of the facts. And I think it's time to take a breath and wait while some of these investigations take place rather than have Republicans say, well, Democrats, we are accusing you of this, and Democrats accusing the Republicans of something. There is just an awful lot we need to know before we can start making accusations, I think.

WALLACE: Daniel, we are not very good at taking a breath. And in fairness to us in the media, you have got to report something every day, right? And there continue to be developments. Devin Nunes, Adam Dchiff, President Trump, Michael Flynn. I mean, there are continue to be little bread crumbs being dropped on this trail.

HALPER: Yes. There is actually news happening. We are not discussing nothing. There are huge elements of it that are not -- that are just unknown at this point. We don't know what Nunes learned. We don't know what Congressman Schiff learned today. We just don't know what evidence President Trump might have had. We don't know so much, but yet we do know that there are these wild accusations and we need to get to the bottom of it.

SCHLAPP: Sadly, I think you've seen the process played out from the House Intelligence Committee with so much political theater and drama around it. So you have Congressman Schiff going on MSNBC basically saying there is circumstantial evidence that there is colluding between the Trump campaign and Russia without even knowing what the findings are. And then you have obviously the incident with Congressman Nunes heading to the White House.

Now, in that case alone, in talking with individuals within the House Intelligence Committee, what I learned was the fact that there is false information out there, the fact that this source really wanted to have this confidentiality, guarantee of confidentiality from Congressman Nunes. And so that is why he asked the chairman specifically to be able to share that information, obviously in a secure location. That is the story that I have been told. I don't think it's a story that's gotten out as effectively.

WALLACE: Yes, but wait, wait, wait. If he's sharing this information in the NSC before NSC officials, why on earth did Devin Nunes need to go back the next day and make this dramatic briefing of President Trump? And why is he briefing President Trump in the first place? He is the head of an independent investigation.

SCHLAPP: Yes, but as chairman he has that discretion to do so.

WALLACE: Do you think it's wise for him to be --

SCHLAPP: I think the process has been messy. I think, unfortunately, it's been so politicized. I think that for Nunes it's -- the story actually has become more been Nunes and less about the fact that we have a very serious issue that we have to take into play here, which is whether intelligence resources or information were used for political purposes. And what is the extent that the Obama administration has been involved in surveillancing Trump campaign officials.

WALLACE: There is also the continuing investigation of possible collusion.

SCHLAPP: That is the other part we need to investigate, and we have to get to the bottom of it, absolutely. So keep me honest.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: There you go.

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