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CNN TONIGHT

First Charges Charge On Mueller's Investigation. Aired 11- Midnight ET

Aired October 27, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[23:00:55] This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. 11::00 p.m. on the east coast. We're live with the breaking news. A federal grand jury approving the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. The charges still under orders from a federal Judge. Sealed under orders from a federal Judge. We're learning that anyone charged, and we don't yet know who that might be, could be taken into custody as soon as Monday. Let's get right to CNN's justice correspondent Pamela Brown. Pamela, CNN was the first to report this. Walk us through tonight's breaking news.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Well, it's a significant development that a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., today approved the first charges in this investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. This is according to sources briefed on the matter speaking to myself, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz. The charges, Don, are still sealed under orders from a federal Judge, and we're told that plans are being prepared for anyone charged to be taken into custody possibly as soon as Monday. These sources said. Now, because it's still, you know, under seal, it's unclear exactly what these charges are.

The spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. As you know, Mueller was appointed back in May to lead this investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Elections, but he was given broad authority by Rod Rosenstein. On Friday, we had the producer at the courthouse, today the producer was there and we saw veteran prosecutors including Andrew Wiseman who works in the Mueller shop there in the courtroom at the D.C. federal court with the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation and our producer Laura Robinson as well as others saw activity at the grand jury room. Officials made no announcements. Now we're learning that the grand jury approved the first chargers in this high-profile investigation.

LEMON: The right word there that I want to talk about is approve. To bring charges like this, who would have to approve them, Pamela?

BROWN: Our understanding is that the deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would have to approved them now that he oversee the probe, because Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Attorney General recused himself. So, under the regulations what would happen is Robert Mueller would bring the information to him, the potential charges to Rosenstein to keep him apprised of what they want to do. And if Rosenstein had a big issue with it, then, of course, he could probably put a stop to it. It's not a formal approval process or anything like that, we're told, but we would be made aware of it before the prosecutors brought the information to the grand jury to bring these charges, Don.

LEMON: So, Pamela, do you have any idea who the charges are against? And what kind of charges they are?

BROWN: We have a sense of who the charges are against, but, you know, because it's under seal, we're told that so far, the people have not been notified about this. And usually takes a couple days. You have an indictment under seal, and then there's a whole process. It takes a day or two. Normally the attorney is notified that, you know, his or her client has been charged and that that person needs to turn themselves in. It that is what we expect to play out in this case as soon as Monday we're be being told. We could see some law enforcement action.

LEMON: If I'm sitting at home, I'm sure the viewers are wondering how significant is this development in the Russia investigation, can you tell us that?

BROWN: Well, it's very significant, because this is an investigation that has been going on for more than a year. It is extremely high profile. It draws the ire of the President who can calls the investigation a hoax, a witch hunt, recently he tweeted that this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Now we're founding out that several months in to Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into Russian meddling that the first charges are being brought. It's important to note that he does have broad authority, as I mentioned, and so these charges may actually have nothing to do with collusion or the campaign in 2016.

[23:05:00] We don't know. But if they don't, that could leave an opening to the White House to kind of say, look, there is no collusion, they couldn't find anything on that so they had to look here. We just don't know because we're not naming who the charges are against. And we don't what the charges are, because they're under seal. We'll have to wait and find out. Of course, we'll stay on top of this, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much. Pamela Brown with our breaking news. I want to bring in now former CIA operative Evan McMullin, who was an independent Presidential candidate. Also CNN political commentator Charles Blow and Alice Stewart. And Global affairs analyst David Rhode. Political commentator David Swerdlick joins us as well and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates and Michael Zeldin. Big panel because this is big breaking news we need to talk about. Laura, I want to get your legal advice. What is the process here? When will we know who is under indictment and for what?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: STODDARD: soon as this is publicly available information, probably as early as Monday when people are informed or attorney of the person who is informed that they are the target for the indictment will come forward and have perhaps some information as to when they will turn themselves in. That all really assumes you will have a handling of kit gloves here. Remember, we all thought it was very odd back in, I want to say it's July, when you learned evidence, the fact that Paul Manafort had a warrant executed on his house, did not include a knock and announce, essentially odd for a white-collar sort of crime where you'd normally have the courtesy extended to people. The idea you would have the ability to turn one's self in may not be extended in this case, but very likely that it will. First we may hear of it may be around the same time the person is actually turning themselves in and probably orchestrated press conference by that very person.

LEMON: So, Michael, there was that no-knock warrant that she just mentioned served on Paul Manafort's home. Many people think Michael Flynn was a focus of Mueller's scrutiny. Is it likely one of them?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, as far as we can tell from the public record, the Manafort tax matters and perhaps money laundering related to tax matters being handled by Andrew Wiseman and the Flynn matter which started in the U.S. Attorney's office in the eastern district of Virginia and then was rolled into Mueller's investigation with the same prosecutors moving over, were the two cases that were thought to be most advanced.

So Mueller's been at this about five months and if you're bringing a straightforward failure to file your tax returns or failure to declare foreign income whether personal or related to your business in Ukraine, in the case of Manafort or Turkey in the case of Flynn, those are pretty straightforward types of cases and wouldn't or shouldn't take Mueller all that long to wrap them up and get them sealed and put away as they are right now. What that portends for the future for these guys with respect to other collusion-like-related offenses remains to be seen.

LEMON: David Swerdlick, there's been a lot of speculation that Mueller was applying pressure to get Manafort to flip against someone else. Could that be what's in the works right here?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, possibly, Don, but I think one broad political point should be made to everybody out there watching, and that is that if you're a Trump supporter, and you think that when these indictments are unsealed next week, if they're unsealed next week, that this is going to exonerate, you know, the administration writ large. That is probably jumping the gun. If you're a Trump opponent and you think whatever is happening tonight even though it is big, big news and hats off to Evan and Pamela for reporting it out, this is all of a sudden going to bring down the administration, I think that is also jumping the gun.

This is a first step and it might be a step where one of those gentlemen that Michael just mentioned, either General Flynn or Paul Manafort can be indicted and then rolled up into is a larger investigation of potential collusion, potential obstruction of justice, but we are probably weeks, months, maybe even years away from getting to these steps. The Mueller investigation is moving very methodically for a reason.

LEMON: Ok. I'm glad you said that. Let's bring it to the table now. I want to make sure we got those guys in. Guys, feel free, those of you who are remote to jump in any time. I want to get your response. Listen, it's significant that this is happening, significant that this is the first major step in this investigation. How do you respond to what David said?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think David is exactly right. I think it is too premature to pop open the champagne if you're a Democrat and say this is it for the Trump campaign, but at the same time this could be something very significant and really put us on the path to showing extreme collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. We don't know that. Could be one extreme or the other. Could be the first step in a long process.

I do think the timing is interesting, and that the last 48 hours or so the administration has really been shifting the focus from them to Hillary Clinton. Tweeted earlier today, after many costly months we've seen there's no collusion between Trump and Russia but rather Hillary Clinton and Russia. A lot of those on the right have been really focusing on how much money is being spent and there's been no there, there. We don't know that. And the fact that these -- this initial first charges are coming out after that push, I think that is very interesting.

[23:10:11] But Republicans pushing back on this are no different than back when the whitewater trial was going on. Democrats were angry with Ken Starr for calling him a sex police going after for Bill Clinton, so I think Republicans will continue to call out Mueller for spending all this money and taking time. I think as many knows, he is very methodical, going to do this at his own pace, own time and not pressured from outside tweets --

LEMON: Not affected by anyone. David, if it ends up being against Michael Flynn who's a former national security adviser fired, because he lied about a meeting with a Russian ambassador, what are the implications of that?

DAVID ROHDE, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Flynn, did Donald Trump instruct him to meet with a Russian ambassador? That could potentially be a violation of law in terms of the acting administration coming in and not being in power yet. And this gets into this question, this is all theoretical at this point, I agree with you, this is all really premature, but did Flynn act on his own or under the instructions of Donald Trump to do that? I think that is what they're pushing for. How does Trump react? He can pardon Flynn. A lot of this is going to be how does Donald Trump, himself, react to this? Does he compound his problems or just hold steady and let this process play out?

LEMON: Charles, you've seen what's been happening over the last couple days with changing the subject, maybe the administration had an idea that something was coming down the pike. Trying to undermine the legitimacy of this investigation. Push the focus onto Hillary Clinton, by the way, who is not the President of the United States, by the way. You would think she was if you watched the news the last couple days. What do you think of that?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is true, a curious proposition that you raise, because they were literally throwing every piece of spaghetti they had at the wall to cover something up. It was every single thing at the, all at the same time. So my antenna went up being in journalism, it just doesn't feel right. Why her, why now, what is this about? But I think one thing these charges underscore is that the President of the United States has been lying for months about this investigation. He keeps saying that it is false and fake and phony and it is not. There is a -- Russia really did this.

There are real avenues for investigation. Mueller and his team are following those avenues. What they find, whatever. But for him to continue to say that it is fake, that is a lie. For him to constantly say that they have found no evidence of collusion, they don't -- he doesn't know that. We don't know that. That is a lie. He cannot say that without knowing what Mueller knows. He does not know what Mueller knows. Every time he tells that lie, we have this -- we have to step back and say he is lying. He seems to believe if he tells a lie often enough, some people will start to believe it.

LEMON: I've had people stop me on the street, I've had friends who texted me. What about Hillary Clinton, what about this uranium thing? I have to send them fact checks on the uranium thing, explain to them it's been reported, been debunked, that the information they have gotten so far over the last couple days really there's no new information in that. Then again, you know, it's the White House pushing this and conservative news organizations. You tweeted this a short while ago, Evan. You said "buckle up, we can expect Trump's efforts to confuse and divide Americans against each other to shift into overdrive. Don't fall for it." are you talking about what just --

EVAN MCMULLIN, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm talking about what happened this week, but I think that is nothing compared to what we're going to see in the weeks and months ahead. Listen, pew came out with an interesting poll recently this week, I think, where they showed Republican -- they divided Republicans up into different categories and they tested how much -- how many of them strongly support Trump. And then they asked them, well how many of you strongly loathe or hate or whatever Hillary Clinton? There was more hatred for Hillary Clinton than there was love for Donald Trump. And Donald Trump is shrewd in an evil kind of way, shrewd enough to know that he can win with that if he simply feeds the hatred of the political opposition, old political opposition, Hillary Clinton, as you point out, less relevant than ever because she is not the President. That was the result of the election was.

The strategy here is one that is familiar, the Russians use it, too. What Donald Trump will do, he'll take the same accusation that is being leveled against him and he'll send it right back at his opponent and in this case, right back at somebody his partisan supporters already don't support, already hate. And for people who are his supporters, or neutral, then they'll just conclude, oh, it's a wash. There are accusations on both sides there was Russian collusion and therefore what he does -- [23:15:10] LEMON: That is exactly what's happening.

MCMULLIN: He is playing the partisan game. It's not just distraction. It's leveraging the extreme rogue partisanship in this country to create a political dynamic that he believes, I believe, will protect him. Has been protecting him. And is his best shot at protection in the house which has, of course --

LEMON: Why? I have to get to the break, but why are people so vulnerable to this sort of, to this sort of rhetoric?

MCMULLIN: It has...

LEMON: Is it compromise? Why are people so vulnerable? Otherwise intelligent people who cannot see through this?

MCMULLIN: There's so many factors, right, I mean, you're asking why are we so divided in this country? One of the reasons I think has to do with the fact that barriers to entry and digital media have lowered. You have far more digital media platforms. They focus on particular segments.

LEMON: But it's beyond that. It's really beyond that. I got to get to the break. Stick around. We're going to talk much more. Everybody will get to weigh in more.

When we come back, much more on our breaking news. A federal grand jury approving the first charges in the Mueller investigation.

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[23:20:15] LEMON: Here's our breaking news, a federal grand jury has approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, that is according to sources briefed on the matter. The charges still sealed under orders of a federal Judge. Plans have been prepared for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday. The sources said it is unclear what the charges are. My panel is back with me now. I want to get back to Laura Coates. Laura, can we talk about something else, not sure if it's related to this, but I think it is important to get, Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney Dana Boente resigned today. Any significance to this, is it related to the indictment, do we know, could it be?

COATES: Well it's curious you mention that. Dana Boente is the U.S. Attorney who oversees the eastern district of Virginia and his name rings to bell to many people, because he was the person to replace Sally Yates when she was fired from the Justice Department when she refused to implement or tried to support the arguments in favor of the first travel ban under the Trump administration. He then is also the person who oversees, like I said, the EDVA, where is where all the financial document subpoenas related to Michael Flynn and his colleagues about his disclosures about information or money he received from foreign entities actually derived from.

So it is curious on a day when we don't actually know who is subject of the indictment that is forthcoming from Washington, D.C., and that federal court, you do have a curious connection here that may be made. However, I do believe that Dana Boente is agreeing to stand on, stay on until his replacement is found. The question is, was forced out, did he want to remain? All reports indicate that he in fact, wanted to remain and may have been a surprise even to him. So eyebrows are raising. The ultimate conclusion without more information about the indictment, I think we have to be in suspense a little bit longer.

LEMON: Michael, in the five months that Mueller's team has done a lot of interviews, they gathered a lot of evidence. What are the other possibilities here? Could this be about the June 6th meeting that Don Jr. had with all those Russians who promised dirt on Hillary?

ZELDIN: Well, possibly, but I don't think so, because we haven't seen evidence that Kushner, Manafort, Don Jr., the President, has been brought into any sort of grand jury or sworn testimony deposition. My guess, it's always a bad thing to do, I guessed that O.J. Simpson was going to be convicted and that proved not to be too correct. But my guess is that this relates to either Manafort or Flynn and their financial transactions. Either related to foreign accounts that they held offshore in their business operations that they didn't fully report or something to do with their own individual failure to register as a foreign agent.

But if I were betting, given the speed at which this occurred over a five-month period and the nature of the materials that we know were taken from the Manafort home and businesses during the search warrants and stuff, I would guess financial crime related to tax, Ukraine, and perhaps business dealings in the United States through real estate purchases.

I don't think this would at this point go close to the heart of what we are calling the collusion investigation, the conspiracy to cooperate with Russia in respect of the election. I don't think we're there yet.

LEMON: David Swerdlick, there was a lot of talk about the President pardoning people ahead of any indictment. Could he still do that?

SWERDLICK: Yes, he can do that. I mean, the President has broad pardon powers at least when it comes to federal crimes, but, you know, that would probably present at least somewhat of a political problem for him if he started pardoning people in advance of them either being charged or going on trial, et cetera. I mean, you have a situation where it's one thing that to say someone was convicted and then pardoned them after the fact. That is the scenario we're more familiar with. To start saying in advance, I'm blanket pardoning this person and Robert Mueller's special counsel team hasn't even figured out what they did or did not do, then you have a situation where members of congress, we in the media have to start looking at that and saying, well, what is the pardon about? Is it trying to hide something? Is the President just, you know, trying to do a favor for his friends? We don't know that the President would actually even do that. Yes, it's possible but I think we have to see how it plays out.

ZELDIN: I would think, Don...

LEMON: Go ahead, Michael.

ZELDIN: I agree with that completely. I would think one additional problem that pardoning people that are going to be spoken to before they've been indicted and convicted and sentenced is that it raises the possibility of obstruction and abuse of office. So I think that that create a big hornets nest were the President to go that route. And of course the states are still free to indict these people for state money laundering, state tax, and all those things cannot be pardoned by the President. So it doesn't necessarily get him off the hook.

[23:25:28] LEMON: Our panelists around the table will weigh in right after this break.

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LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, the first charges filed in the Mueller investigation. We don't yet know who is being charged and the charges, themselves, are still sealed under orders from a federal Judge. My panel is back with me. David Swerdlick and Michael Zeldin, we were having conversation, we are talking about possible pardoning of people who may be involved in this. Charles, we may be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, can he pardon himself?

BLOW: That is an open question, but, you know, this all underscores this idea that the President has enormous power, and, you know, he is not kind of trapped by a lot of constitutional law or legislation. I mean, we have, and we're operating under the assumption that the President will in general be an honest, upright, upstanding person. And this President is kind of blowing a lot of that out of the water. We now have reporting that he is meeting with potential candidates to be federal prosecutors in many districts where he has business interests and who could, therefore, prosecute him on a state level.

LEMON: Also asking for whistleblowers to be...

BLOW: It's just an incredible thing and what it says to us is our protocols, our kind of gentleman's agreement about what the President will do, how they will behave, simply are not holding up.

LEMON: Should they be re-evaluated?

BLOW: I think going forward, we're going to have to look at some sort of kind of legislative stricture that says things like you must release your tax returns. We just got used to the idea that people started to do it and everybody did it after them. And we didn't have to have legislation to compel them. They just did it. Became routine and protocol.

And then all of a sudden somebody didn't do it and we realized there's no way for us to compel them to do it and we need to know that. That would take one of the stones off of the side of the scale that says something fishy is going on if he just released the tax returns, because we would at least know that he was not encumbered by some sort of loan or something, a foreign government, where the United States had an interest and he was negotiating on our behalf. LEMON: What do you think about this whole pardon thing and the

question is, to is, what's the next move? Because people are tweeting tonight that, you know, Robert Mueller should be fired or stepped down.

MCMULLIN: Well, it will be difficult I think for President Trump to get to Mueller. He would have to I believe remove Rosenstein and put in place something else and Sessions position seems murky, whatever he is doing, his involvement, whatever it actually is. The President doesn't have a straight shot on Mueller, so it's more complicated than that I think.

LEMON: Let's ask Laura. Laura, is it more complicated from there?

COATES: Well, it is complicated in a sense of the President of the United States would have to jump through significant hoops to be able to get to, be able to fire Robert Mueller. That was the whole premise of having somebody in an independent position like he is. Of course, his direct report, who he reports directly to is Rod Rosenstein. So Donald Trump to be able to fire Robert Mueller who serves essentially at the pleasure of Rod Rosenstein would have to instruct Rod Rosenstein to do so, if Rod Rosenstein declined to do so, he could fire Rod Rosenstein, but have to replace somebody who's also willing to do so.

This gets to sound a lot like what happened in the Nixon era in the Watergate scandal. Finding somebody who's willing to be the marionette of the President which would raise a lot of red flags and other categories. The likelihood of it, it may be an aspirational objective of the President of the United States to rid himself of the burden of having to deal with the collusion investigation. But the headache he would invite is far greater than the challenges posed perhaps by Robert Mueller.

LEMON: Alice, would love to be able to do it.

STEWART: Of course. The key is as Laura knows and all the legal experts and everyone knows, Rod Rosenstein works for the department of justice. He is not President Trump's personal attorney. I think moving forward for the administration, the best course of action would be to stop referring to this as a witch hunt, stop calling attention to the amount of time and money that is being spent on this. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that this president and this administration did not collude with the Russians.

So if that is true, and if they say there is no collusion, and they were not involved, then let this investigation move forward. Give them all the information. Don't obstruct in any way, shape or form by continuing to call attention to the time and money that is being spent on this. And let's get the answer. I think the American people want that. Not just Republicans, I think the American people want to see this come to a conclusion. The best way is for them to focus on what they need to be doing. Tax reform, health care, issues that, you know, that they were brought there to focus on.

LEMON: Fake news, hoax, what he is been calling it, diverting attention. Look at the shiny object over here, Hillary Clinton to this point the research shows that, you know his supporters hate Hillary Clinton more than they love him. Is he bringing attention to it by trying to --

[23:35:00] ROHDE: No. I think it's working and I think we're deeply divided and what's really going to matter in the end, I think, is 12 months from now the midterm elections, 2018. Can the Democrats win control of the house? These committees, you know these investigations are already sort of dying out on the hill. You know, Mueller could have a miracle. He could get someone to flip and there's concrete evidence that the President, himself, was involved. That is I think a long shot. So it really comes down to these elections.

LEMON: Thank you, all, I appreciate it.

When we come back, much more on the breaking news. First charges filed in the Mueller investigation. Plans have been made for anyone charged to be taken into custody. That could happen as soon as Monday.

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[23:40:00] LEMON: Breaking news, first charges filed in the Mueller investigation, the charges under seal tonight by orders of a federal Judge. My panel is back with me. Michael Zeldin, can we talk about pardoning and firing Mueller and such?

ZELDIN: Is right. There's a lot of discussion about whether or not the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the sheriff from Arizona, was a signal to Mueller that if he gets too close to people that could implicate him, the President, in wrongdoing, that he would use his pardon power as he did in the case of Arpaio? In respect of federal crime, the President has that power. He doesn't have it in respect of state crimes. And so if there's state money laundering or state tax, whether state violations, the President can't interfere with Mueller's investigation or state Attorney General's investigation.

With respect to firing of Mueller, the code of federal regulations that governs this whole area is quite explicit that Mueller can't be fired by anyone other than the Attorney General. This case, acting deputy Attorney General, deputy Attorney General in the place of acting Attorney General Mueller without due cause or other dereliction of duty. So there's no right for the President to fire Mueller. Only Rosenstein upon a finding of dereliction of duty or other good cause.

If Mueller so asked to be fired, then Rosenstein has to make a career sort of decision. Is he going to fire him without good cause, or is he going to retire? And if he retires, then the succession plan goes to the associate Attorney General then she has to make a decision whether she is going to retire or fire when there's no good cause to fire. Then the interesting thing that you would ask Laura about, the eastern district of Virginia U.S. Attorney, if the associate Attorney General refused to fire Mueller, so the deputy refuses, the associate refuses, then under the succession order, it goes to the eastern district of Virginia U.S. Attorney. So he is the third in line who would have to make this decision about whether to keep firing Mueller. (LAUGHTER)

LEMON: What are you saying?

ZELDIN: To keep or fire Mueller. If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, good luck here.

LEMON: So what are you saying? I want to know what that means.

COATES: That all roads lead to Rome. The all roads leading back to east of Virginia. The idea this is a coincidence, Mike pointed out Dana Boente would resign on the same day perhaps that there might be an indictment or somebody who would issue subpoenas for. And about the idea that somebody who was already charged in task and willing to replace a fired Sally Yates when she was the acting Attorney General and Trump was displeased with her work and her refusal to promote an unconstitutional directive, you have this incentive to know that the President of the United States believes that he has great omnipotence in this issue.

But as Mike pointed out, we have the idea that, we already put in place different acts and legislative acts to protect against that presidential (inaudible). You do not want to become a monarchy. Remember, this is where it's important these two things intersect. While you have to have the due cause firing or dereliction of duty to avoid the Saturday night massacre as behavior if President Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller or seek somebody who's willing to do so, guess who gets to review whether or not there was due cause to, in fact, fire congress? Now you have the meeting of the minds between a congressional probes and a criminal probe. Theirs is really no escaping the scrutiny. If Donald Trump or members of his campaign are hoping to evade that scrutiny, there are so many parameters put in place under the separation of powers to avoid that.

BLOW: I'm sorry, I'm confused. That same district, if Trump were to pardon someone who did something in Virginia, for instance, Flynn maybe, does that mean that, that, the person who just left who now needs to be replaced would be the person who would need to bring those charges on a state level if they wanted to bring them? I'm just confused.

COATES: No, no. State level --

BLOW: That is not right. Okay. Great, great, great, great. Great.

COATES: You have state level versus federal level.

BLOW: Great, great, great.

COATES: The U.S. Attorney Dana Boente who will stay on until he has a replacement, he is in charge of federal charges.

BLOW: Ok.

COATES: The state issue is not an issue, but, again, it does to your point, Charles, have everyone wondering about the idea of how do these different charges intersect? We're all in suspense to figure out is Michael Flynn even the person named and if he is the person who is the one indicted then we need to look at Dana Boente, perhaps his investigation about the financial dealings of Michael Flynn, because surely they intersect with Robert Mueller's probe.

BLOW: Wow.

LEMON: Wow. All right. More on our breaking news when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:49:08] LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, first charges filed in the Mueller investigation. Those charges are still under seal. I want to bring in two men who have the ear of America. Joe Madison, host of Sirius XM. John Fredericks, Syndicated Talk Radio host, who is a former co-chair for the Trump campaign in Virginia. Good evening to both of you. You haven't been on the air since this latest bit of breaking news happened. Joe, I'm going to start with you, give me your reaction to the first indictment coming down in the Mueller investigation.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM: I've been listening intensely ever since you've been on and the indictment's come down. I think where we are, quite candidly, is we don't know. We just simply don't know. So I don't think anybody needs to start predicting until probably Monday morning or afternoon, whenever these indictments are made public.

[23:50:00] And I would agree with I think one of the panelists who said this is just a beginning of a very long process, but I also agree with those who said that you can no longer run around saying there's nothing to this. This is not something that the President can tweet away. And I think he would make a terrible mistake if he did, but I anticipate he probably will.

LEMON: John?

JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: I think we have to wait and see. I agree with Joe on that. I mean, this investigation is going on for some time. Everybody is anxious to see some sort of finalization or conclusion or what the evidence is or why we're doing it. Now, in all due respect to grand juries, as you know, gentlemen, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, so we don't know the seriousness of these. We just have to wait and see what happens on Monday. We understand there's two of them going on, but a lot of my callers this week are really upset about the payments to the Russian dossier group by both the DNC and perhaps Hillary Clinton campaign and the fact that no one seems to know...

LEMON: Are they upset about the DNC? Hang on hang on. I want to bring some facts in and then I'll let you respond. Are they upset that it was started by a Republican leaning publication and then a Republican himself and then taken over by the Hillary Clinton campaign? We have to get the facts in.

FREDERICKS: Well, that only came out today. And I tell you, the Washington "free beacon" is the... LEMON: Not the Republican part. The Republican Party has been out

since the very beginning. We have reports, we have been -- hang on. You've got to get the facts in.

FREDERICKS: Go ahead.

LEMON: We have been reporting on Republicans being the first to fund this for months on CNN and also that it was also connected to Democrats. Very little new information. More specifically now that it was part of the Hillary Clinton, part of the DNC (inaudible).

FREDERICKS: Don't you think $9 million is new information? And as far as the Washington "free beacon," that is the poster charge for the neo con warmongers. That is who funds them. So obviously when they had an anti-war candidate in Donald Trump that wanted to get us out of these foreign entangle and cut the funding, cut the money throb, drain the swamp, well, they picked up the opposition to that. But you got $9 million got paid out to these people. Who paid it out? Debbie Wassermann Schultz, she don't know...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Why does this matter how much it cost? $6 million to Cambridge Analytica. Why does it matter how much it cost? This is op-ed research which every campaign does. That is why they raise all those millions and millions of dollars during the campaign so they can pay for things like opposition research.

MADISON: This is what these guys do all the time. I always refer to them as cafeteria whatever, Cafeteria Christians, Cafeteria patriots. They always pick and choose what they want they want to emphasize and as the two of you were talking, the one thing that you've left out, John, is that some of the information by the opposition, and Don is absolutely right. Both sides do it, turned out to be factual. So who paid for it is immaterial as opposed to was the information accurate or not. That is really what we want to focus in. But you are honest. You said what your callers were interested in, and I'm certain they were instigated by you on the air.

FREDERICKS: Well, you know, Joe, the truth will set you free, and that is what we seek to do. That is why I seem to be unique in the talk radio business, to be honest. But, look, at the end of the day people want to get to the bottom of this and they want to know who in the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton campaign paid these people, paid them through false names, where did this money go, and it was done to discredit the President.

LEMON: How do we know it was paid through false names? Wait a minute.

FREDERICKS: When the President said or the campaign that the whole system is rigged, well, here it is.

LEMON: Well, first of all --

(CROSSTALK) Opposition research, what do you think opposition research is? Its

research that negative research on your opponent.

MADISON: And both, look, everybody in America, both sides do it.

FREDERICKS: Paid to the Russians?

MADISON: Both sides do it. Come on, John. John. Repeat after me.

LEMON: They did not pay a foreign government. That is not true.

MADISON: Just say both sides do it.

LEMON: Yes. Ok.

FREDERICKS: He wants his opposition research, the dossier was created to discredit the President.

LEMON: He wasn't the President at the time. It was candidate for presidency of the United States. It was started by Republicans and picked up...

(CROSSTALK)

FREDERICKS: Has to be investigated.

[23:55:00] LEMON: Listen, it was started by Republicans. He was a candidate. He wasn't a President. And it wasn't to discredit the President of the United States. It was the same thing.

FREDERICKS: No. Started by the neo consequence, Don.

LEMON: They're not Republicans?

MADISON: It wasn't.

FREDERICKS: War monger machine, because they feared a candidate who was telling the truth about --

LEMON: Now you are categorizing the Republican. Ok. I've got to go.

FREDERICKS: Millions of dollars off it. He was exposing.

LEMON: I'm being told I have to go. That was a great talking points.

MADISON: Monday will be interesting.

LEMON: None of that is true. Monday will be interesting. Now, that you are right. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

MADISON: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

FREDERICKS: Ok.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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