Mark Mazzetti - What The New York Times Knows About Trump's Ties with Russia

February 15, 2017 - Mark Mazzetti 02/15/2017 Views: 29,057

New York Times Editor Mark Mazzetti breaks down what the media knows about Russia's relations with the Trump administration and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. (4:44)

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Please welcome Mark Mazzetti.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.

What a time to be alive, uh,

especially as partof the failing New York Times.

-Thank you, Paul.-Sad.

Sad. "Sad."Is that, like, your slogan now?

-You guys, in the office? Sad.-Sad. We're sad, yeah.

You're not sadright now, though.

Um... you'reone of the reporters

who's been talkingabout what has been happening

in the intelligence community.

This is a story that everyoneknows a little piece about,

but no one seems to knowthe full story about.

What makes this story so unique,

with Trump,the Russians and Flynn?

I mean,you'd probably have to start

by looking at what happenedduring the election.

This conclusionof the intelligence community

that the... with pretty,uh, overwhelming confidence,

that the Russians hackedthe election,

through hacking the DNC,through social media, et cetera.

If you take that,then you also have to look at,

what are these strange contactsthat were going on

between the Trump team and, uh,

and Russian officials.

And that'swhat the FBI's looking at.

And then you have,on top of that,

these phone calls that formerNational Security Advisor Flynn

made in December to the Russianambassador in the U.S.

-Yeah.-And all these things together,

um, they don't add upto anything yet,

in terms of any kindof collusion

or any direct, uh...

proof of anything.

But it's something that the FBIis looking into,

and... and it already cost,uh, General Flynn his job.

But now, if it's not a storythat means anything just yet,

or something that we're not ableto understand,

why is it such a big deal?

It may be innocent,and we don't know.

You're right.There is nothing wrong

with a campaigntalking to leaders

-or officials from othergovernments. -Yeah.

The one question is whothey were talking to,

and what they weretalking about.

And that's one of the things

that this investigationis looking into.

And you have to add on to thisfact though, that there is,

as I said, this, you know,mountain of evidence

that a lot of-- we should say--

that nobodyhas seen publicly, right?

It's still the intelligencecommunity evidence

about the hack that the Russians

basically tried to sabotagethe election.

And they concludedthat they were trying

-to turn it towards Trumpin the outcome. -Yeah.

So, so these areall things that--

they're different piecesof a puzzle

that hasn't been puttogether yet.

And so we're tryingto go as far as we can

just any day at a time.

If you are someonewho's keenly watching this,

or even in your situationas a journalist,

what would you say is the bestand worst case scenario

for Donald Trump in this?

Best case would be, I guess,there is nothing untoward,

and Flynn resigned merelybecause he led to Mike Pence.

And then what would theworst case scenario be?

Well, certainly, right,if on the Flynn story

is that he-- just that he liedto the vice president,

-then that would be a containedissue, right? -Yeah.

I think that the bigger issue

is what may be going on

in an investigation into--

which is a pretty wideinvestigation--

into Russian activityin the election,

contacts withAmerican officials,

with campaign officials.

And remember,it's not just the FBI.

The senate is now looking at itas well.

If anyone was ever to putthese things together,

and to show real, uh,real ties over the hack,

or any kind of collusion,

that would be a very, veryserious thing.

But I should caution,that nobody's there yet.

And as we sayin our story today,

nobody has seen any directevidence of collusion

between the Trump campaignand the Russians.

So at this point we're sayingwhat we can,

but we're continuingto follow the story.

When you report these stories

do you have a "to go" bag ready?

Because you knowthere's a chance

Trump's gonna come after you,right?

Do you have, like, a bag packed

of all your stuffand then, like, a passport?

Are you ready to roll?

-I mean... always.-I'm just saying.

Always ready to roll.

I mean, and it wasn't likethe previous administration

was all that friendly tojournalists, either, right?

Or the administrationbefore that.

It's somethingthat we're finding--

it's not a Republicanor Democrat thing,

or a Trump thingor an Obama thing.

It is just that you are seeing

a real effort by the government

to go after leaks, to go aftersources for journalists,

and it's going to continue.

And so it's one thing that,

I guess, Republicans andDemocrats can agree on is that,

you know, they don't like leaks,

and they're goingto blame the press.

So we're-we're-- you know,

we're dealing with it withTrump, but we're used to it.

-Well, good luck with that,my friend. -Thank you.

-Thanks for coming on onthe show. -Take care.

Mark Mazzetti, everybody.