tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN August 4, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
we have major developments in the russia investigation. this is "cnn tonight." i'm chris cuomo in for don lemon. here is what is happening tonight. chn has learned special counsel robert mueller is crossing the president's red line. you remember when the president said don't mess with his money, it is going too far if the special counsel looks into his finances? well, that's where the russia investigation is headed. the fbi is reviewing financial records related to president trump, his family and the trump organization. cnn also learning that mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony from people involved in the donald trump jr. meeting at trump tower. the president's white house
attorney, thai cobb, issuing a statement saying, "the white house is committed to fully cooperating with mr. mueller." listen to what president trump said about all of this tonight in west virginia. >> the russia story is a total fabrication. it is just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of american politics. that's all it is. >> interesting little bit of a pivot there from the president. usually he bashes us, the free media, about in and that it is our obsession. not this
time. he is going at the democrats. interesting little political pivot there. let's discuss what the developments mean to the investigation specifically. we have john flanery, former federal prosecutor for the southern district of new york and cnn commentator matthew whittaker, former united states attorney. thank you for being here. >> good to be here. >> mr. flannery, let me start with you.
of these developments how would you prioritize? what is impressive to you? >> there are two things. i prioritize them as equal though, follow the money and take the meeting that is so critical in which there is a meeting about russia with russians and the second meeting in which they're deciding how to cover it up and the president writes a letter for trump jr. those are really important things to focus on. going back to when i was a puppy prosecutor and thought i wanted to work for herbert stern who won these cases against a mayor and others because he followed the money trail. this is a man, trump, money and rep, that's it. getting elected, and those two seem key to this fellow. i think that way they can have information they can prove and demonstrate for the whole public as well as the jury. >> the big pushback we keep hering, mathieu, while premature none of this is a crime. nothing you guys are talking about is a crime.
there's no proof there's criminal transactions of a financial nature, even if the president had a heavy hand is drafted an arguably misleading statement about the don trump jr. meeting, not a crime. >> i think one of the developments today is the fact it's now been leaked grand jury subpoenas from been issued from this grand jury, but we still haven't had any evidence leak or any proof of any crimes. i guess i would like to go the one point that needs to be made here, and that is that if bob mueller and his small u.s. attorney's office, as i've heard it described today, does go beyond the 2016 election and get into trump organization finances unrelated to the 2016 election -- and really unrelated to russian coordination, if it even exists, i think that would be crossing a red line. i think that's when that the deputy attorney general who is acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation,
rod rosenstein who i served with in the bush administration, he needs to step in and pul the reins back on bob mueller if he starts to go outside of the bounds of his delegation of authority. >> john flannery's bow tie is moving east to west in a negative fashion. you disagree? >> i love matt but i disagree. >> he never agrees with me. >> what is your take, john? >> my take is the fact he would rewrite his son's note at that age is consciousness of guilt. so it is a piece of evidence that shows he wants to conceal the whole thing. as for the money, the money is part of the quid pro quo. the interesrelationship of the people and the money, and the fact that he is looking at things when he was, quote, a civilian before he was president which opens up the possibility of prosecuting by indictment as one of the opinions supported when ken starr was an
independent counsel. i think there are a lot of things -- >> chris, if you were the judge and this was a trial, i would immediately object to assuming facts not in evidence to what john is saying. >> no, we do -- these facts are in evidence. >> which facts are in evidence? >> the facts in evidence -- >> before i make a ruling, which facts are you discussing and why are they in evidence? >> yeah, you're making me feel like i'm in court. >> i have not seen a single dollar. i haven't seen a single dollar. >> a single dollar? the talk about money laundering and why you would have the prosecutor in new york step down from an investigation involving vast super of money that crossed from russia into the united states, and them talking about what -- their exchanges and to believe the sanctions are not about money, which is exactly what putin was upset about, about some of the sanctions because his money was off-shore and it was affecting him personally. as for trump, there are questions about what were his holdings in russia that were
bragged about by eric years ago. so to say that you don't talk about money in this case is to ignore the obvious thing, given the personalities of the people and what motivates the people that are involved. >> well, that's the great thing of having -- >> the conversation -- >> go ahead, mathieu, finish the point. >> that's the thing about having a grand jury. >> the grand jury is a tool of the prosecutor. it is not like it stops anything a prosecutor wants to do. >> go ahead, mathew, respond. >> yeah, you're right, but the grand jury is a very effective means to getness ba these bank and transaction details. >> that's true. >> right. >> and to bring people in front of them that cannot claim the fifth and have to testify in front of the grand jury. i think it is -- you know, it is a big deal investigation wise, and i think it is going -- it is going to get to the bottom of all of these allegations i keep hearing john layout. >> it is an important distinction you gentlemen are drawing. just for the audience, you know,
that didn't have the insanity to go the law school, just because you hear scary words like grand jury and subpoena, the process should not be mistaken for the productivity. we don't know what will come from these requests for information and testimony. we'll have to see. i have a question of a little bit of a different level. i understand that the special counsel has criminal jurisdiction here, but there is a parallel at least concern that is of a political nature. you menged earlier, mathew, rosenstein may have to step in and pull back the reins if mueller goes too far. imagine if that were to happen. imagine if the president were to make good on his threat, a hy r hyperbolic as it may have been intended, don't go afl mafter m money, that's too far, what would happen in this situation, the optics of rosenstein saying to mueller saying, "stop doing that," or the president saying, "mueller's gone too far, step
in," what would it mean? >> it would be a complete political con n political problem in washington d.c. we cannot have prosecutors, you know, the prosecutor that just pursues whatever they want to pursue without any relation horsepower to the people ultimately. >> i hear somewhere in new york a man named bill clinton, a former president going, amen, brother, amen. mr. flannery, what is the other side of that though in terms of what mathew is saying this would be abusive of the kuconstitutio if they were overreaching. the reason i bring up president clinton, who knows better than him? we got to monica lewin sky when we started with a land transaction. what would you say about that being said? >> i know bob mueller and i was on the judiciary committee when ken starr was testifying, and i
don't think starr is bob mueller, number one. number two, i think we have a real question here about how rosenstein -- he's in a very peculiar position. he wrote the memo that just field the firi -- just field t justified the firing of comey, but i think he thought the president would say, no, i fired him because he was investigating the russian matter. i think he is in a peculiar position and conflict as well. if they came to him and said, fire comey he would probably end up being resign or fired himself. that would -- that probably could only happen if we changed the attorney general. i think it would be an american catastrophe, a failure of the system seen not just nationally, around the world, and people like senator lindsay graham have put down their marker, that ain't going to happen. there will be hell to pay if
that happens. >> the most loaded words in the business,
we will see. john flannery, mathew whitaker, thank you for your perspective. when we come back, follow the money. you hear it about prosecutions and sure enough the special prosecutor is on the trump money trail. what cnn has learned tonight about financial documents related to the trump organization, the trump family and the president. ♪ you won't see these folks they have businesses to run. they have passions to pursue. how do they avoid trips to the post office? stamps.com mail letters, ship packages, all the services of the post office right on your computer.
all right. we are back with more breaking news on the russia investigation. sources telling cnn that special counsel robert mueller is looking into potential financial ties between president trump and his associates and russia. that is something the president told "the new york times" that he would consider it going too far, crossing a red line. take a listen. >> was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to russia, is that a red line? >> would that be a breach of what his actual -- >> i would say yeah. i would say yes. >> now, red line is a buzz world, right? it is a loaded term. so is that a real threat or is it just political hyperbole?
we asked kellyanne conway about what the implications would be of this development in the investigation, what would the president do about it. here is what she said. >> there's a second layer, which is that the special counsel is looking and asking for financial document also related to the president's holdings and to people who may have had business dealings with the president who may be relevant to the investigation. the president had said, looking at his finances may be a red line, not to cross for the special counsel. >> look, the president has said that jim comey, the former fbi director, assured him on three separate occasions he is not personally a target of any investigation. we know that these types of -- these types of endeavor end up being fishing expeditions. they're a broadly cast net. i would remind everybody that in terms of president trump, he has said that he has no financial dealings with russia whatsoever. he said the ms. universe
pageant, which is an annual event, happened to make its way to russia eight or nine years ago, he was there for that, and he just -- his sons have also repeated that the business has no financial dealings with russia. they do business all over the world. and in this case, you know, again i think people are just talking about an investigation that exists but looking for collusion and conclusions that don't exist. >> well, what you didn't hear kellyanne do is say, here is what the president will do because this crosses that line. so we're in a pause mode there. let's figure out what we know right now. we have two of our reporters who broke this story. cnn justice correspondent pamela brown and crime and justice reporter shimon brook. shimon, what have you learned about mr. mueller seizing on trump and his associate's financial ties to russia? >> well, the fbi and mueller have reviewed financial records
related to the trump organization. we are told investigators have come through a list of shell companies and buyer of trump brand real estate properties including tenants of trump tower and found interesting connections to russians. also the fbi and these investigators examined backgrounds of russian business associates connected to trump dating as far back as 2013 ms. universe pageant, chris. all is part of theron going lir look at the years that trump and his sornlassociates have had connections to the russians. >> pamela, for another piece now. it is not just about the trump organization, it is about associates like former campaign chairman paul manafort. what do we know on that front? >> that's right. so we have learned, chris, what sort of peaked investigators interest was they became more suspicious when they turned up
things that were among them. to coordinate information that could taj hillary clinton's election process. these u.s. officials who our team spoke with say that these operatives, these suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were the conversations they were having with manafort, encouraging help from the russians. of course, it is important to point out here the russians could have been exaggerating, even lying, and manafort's spokesperson has denied his colluded with russians. to take a step back here, chris, that is where it began a year ago. now investigators as this investigation enters its second year are focused on whether he was involved in money launlderrilaunldering or tax violations with his pro parties in ukraine. that gives you a sense of how it has expanded with this one person. >> shimon, pamela raised a good
point. it is not about where it began but where it leads and ends. in terms of context of timing here and where it could go, this is what they call the ken starr problem, you start with a land deal and wind up with monica lewin sky. the question becomes, from when. is it just during the campaign? does it precede the campaign? is it open ended in terms of when? if so, does that open a window to charges about things that may have nothing to do with the campaign? >> well, absolutely. you know, not only does it have to do with, you know, the president. this has to do with family members perhaps and other people close to him and people who have work on his campaign. this is going back, you know, all the way to 2013, at least 2013. you know, this is all part of what the fbi and others, these investigators and special counsel, are trying to figure out. you know, sort of take sort of a deep dive into people that work
for the organization with donald trump, and they also want to look at some of these financial ties to see sort of, you know, what were these loans, what were other connection cans, perhaps some of these russians that may have been buying up properties, who may have been renting space at trump tower or leasing office space or whatever it maybe. it is to figure out whether or not they have been spending time building a relationship with the people around donald trump. >> you know, we keep saying mueller, and he is the special counsel. he is the main man, but the team also matters. pamela, other than hearing about exaggerations and allegations about who they donated money to, there's not that much known about the team but there have been some ads and their biographies and backgrounds are relevant. how so? >> that's right. you can look at how many people have been compiled, how he is running this investigation, who has been picked to be part of it and kind of have a better understanding of where it is going.
so many of their backgrounds, many of the attorneys and investigators, their backgrounds are in fraud and financial crimes. he's compiled more than three dozen attorneys, investigators and other staff in an office here in washington d.c. officials we have spoken with describe it as a small u.s. attorney's office with the investigators assigned to separate groups, looking into different categories, various aspects of this investigation. these include groups of investigators and lawyers focused on russia kol lucollusi separately obstruction of justice and focused on manafort and mike an flynn. many of these people are lawyers coming from kushi law firm jobs to work in this special probe here in washington. in fact, we were told that investigators from across the country, even california, are coming here to washington to be a part of this. as it stands now, there are 16 attorneys assigned to this probe, not including all of the other investigators from the fbi
and support staff, chris. >> well, that is a big team. but the question is, what do they come up with. pamela, shimon, thank you very much for advancing the reporting. we're going to take a break on cnn tonight. when we come back, transcripts of presume's calls with world leaders have been leaked, and it does sound like the president is contradicting himself on would have been his biggest campaign promise also. we will give it to you next. ♪
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the biggest campaign promises he made. joining me two men who have the ear of the people across this country. they are syndicated talk radio host john fredricks and sirius xm host joe madison. gentlemen, thank you for being with me. >> thank you. hi, chris. >> thanks, chris. >> absolutely. i want to get your reaction to "the washington post" release of the transcript of president trump's phone calls with mexican president enrique pena nieto and malcolm turnbull in january. he had heated exchanges with both leaders and said unorthodox things to say the least. i want to read out a part and we can discuss it. in the phone call with the mexican president president trump said, we cannot say that anymore because if you're going the say mexico is not going to pay for the wall i don't want to meet with you guys anymore because i cannot live with that. i'm willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. but you cannot say anymore that the united states is going to pay for the wall.
i'm just going to say that we are working it out. believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we're talking about. but politically this might be the most important to talk about. what is your take on that? >> well, chris, let me start. obviously there's two issues here. first one is the big one, which is the leak goes. these can't continue. whoever did this better pack a toothbrush because general kelly's going to get to the bottom of it and these people are going to jail. you can't run a government with having these leaks. you got to get to the bottom of it. you have to be able to have confidential, classified information without it ending up on cnn, "the new york times" or "the washington post" or whatever. i think we can all agree on that. chris, the bigger issue is style and substance. everybody is upset about these comments because they bristle at president trump's style of communication. i look at the substance.
now, many people have said they've gone with the talking points, which is, well, these haven't been authenticated. i read them, i think they're about as authentic as you're going to find. this is vintage donald trump. he's talking to leaders, he's doing exactly what he said in the campaign that he would do, that he would stand up for america. he's not the president of australia or mexico. he's standing up for american interests and americans and he's fighting back, and his frankness and candor, quite frankly, chris, is refreshing to americans that elected him to stand up for us. as far as -- as far as the wall is concerned, nobody ever thought that the mexican government was going to send a check to the u.s. treasury. everybody that understands this issue understands that the mexicans have this massive trade surplus with the u.s. that we ship our jobs to mexico,
factories there, to play to -- to take advantage of the cheap slave trade neighbor network, labor network, and then get the properties back in the u.s. without a tariff. the president has said, look, i'm going to put up to a 30 or 35% tariff on these goods coming back to save the american worker and u.s. jobs, and that's going to help pay for the wall. so this is a matter of style over substance. everything in the substance of what he said is 100% accurate. you look at his conversation with australian prime minister -- >> turnbull. >> turnbull. he said, wait a minute, why are we taking 1250 refugees that your country has rejected and they're in jail? this makes no sense for us. >> hold on. one subject. >> we don't get anything out of here at all. >> one subject at a time, john, because there's another take on what he was doing with enrique
pena nieto which is he was saying the wall was basically a political device and that we had to get our stories straight so we could move on to things that matter more. that's how a lot of other people heard it. what is your take? >> well, you know, john, i'm trying to deal with a list of things. let's go back to the beginning. first of all, no one is going to go to jail for leaking this information because you said something, john, that's not true. this was not classified information. these were staff people who were listening, and deliberately listening, asked to listen as all presidents have people who do that, and they were making notes of the conversation. so you don't go to jail because you have these memos. so let's get that straight for the american people. so nobody is going to jail. if that was the case, then you might as well empty the white house because you won't know where it came from. number two, you can talk about a
35% tariff if you want to throw that at mexico, and what do you think the mexican president will do? you'll start a trade war because for every action there's an equal -- opposite and equal reaction. number three, the reason that the australian president said and the prime minister said that he can't take these people this is because they have laws and they were trying to prevent smugglers. remember, it is an island and they were trying to prevent people using boats to smuggle in people. number three or four, these were not bad hombres or bad people. these were economic refugees. it wasn't -- and trump did not say 1200. trump said 2,000. so he exaggerated on that matter. the other thing that the australian president said, which was true, is that we had a deal.
when america makes a deal, whether it is the previous president or not, america is supposed to live up to its deal. finally, you're absolutely right, this was a political issue. rally after rally after rally, and you can go back in your archives from everywhere, from fox to cnn to msnbc to every network where he said mexico is going to pi for thay for this w. we all know that. the reality is they estimate that wall is going to cost something like $21 billion and trump said, you know, no, i'm good at building things on the cheap. so you have congress that's put aside, what, 1.6 billion, which is a very long way from the 21 billion that it is going to cost. the other factor, and i will close with this, is that these are presidents and leaders of their own country, and you simply can't go around bullying
presidents. if the president of mexico said, we're not going to pay for that wall, he's got to get re-elected in his country, not america. the same thing goes for the australian president. >> john, let me get your take on a different issue. i spoke to kellyanne conway about the administration's proposal to cut back on legal immigration maybe by 50%, and there's this new merit-based criteria standard they're thinking of introducing. here is what she said about it. >> when we talk about our ancestors, kellyanne, i know how proud you are of your family and how proud they are of you with what you have done with opportunity in this country. >> i am. >> they broke their backs to provide for you and me. that promise at the pedestal of the statue of liberty are not words added later as stephen miller suggested at the press conference, they matter. those were the solemn promise of this country to the world, not that we just take the best of the best. we take those yearning to be
free. you know the words better than i do from the poem. >> chris, i also know -- >> it seems we're changing that message. >> look, you are giving some sweeping statement about america and patriotism and i totally agree with american patriotism, that's why i'm here frankly serving in the white house. let's be honest. did you ever get this exercised about the illegal immigrants who were deported many times and the felony convictions that killed people like kate steinle? have you ever felt that impassion about it? i'm just asking a question because you act like everyone is the same and that's not true. what the senators and the president were saying yesterday is. a merit-based immigration system should be considered as a wear to make sure that we are keeping wages higher and we're remaining competitive as an american workforce, people who are looking for work. >> john, what are you hearing from listeners about this? because to me it seems to be a little bit of a strained argument.
forget about the katey steinle part of that, it is a very different and discrete issue and it deserves attention and it has gotten plenty. this idea there's an economic basis for the new standard, do people buy that and that as a value judgment it is time to change or rethink how we consider the promise of this country? >> chris, the real value judgment is to protect middle and low income wage and -- workers in the united states who have been screwed over and over by this government who has had policies of shipping the jobs overseas to take advantage of slave chief labor and bringing immigrants in through h-1b visas or student visas or anything else to take jobs from americans. the real compassionate issue here for american workers trying to make ends meet, whose wages haven't gone up and who can't make it, and these policies of immigration that we have is
driven by two things, democrats' desire to get cheap votes and republicans and the chamber of commerce desire to get cheap labor. that is screwing the american worker. i don't know how more blunt to say it. the policy of donald trump here, which by the way is the same almost that australia has, the country that all of a studden je madison is holding up as the lighting image, the same policy they have. what he is saying is, look, we're going for the first time in 40 years, we're going to prioritize americans and the american worker. >> all right. >> that's the difference. >> hey, real quick let me tell you something. you know, let me talk about my ancestors. you didn't care what language they spoke when you grabbed 'em from west africa and from east africa and brought 'em here. you didn't even help them speak english. you brought them here for cheap
labor. if you want to talk about labor, let's talk about what is happening in can ton, mississippi where they won't allow workers to even have union representation. if you really want to put americans to work, pay them a liveable wage. let's see what donald trump thinks about a $15 an hour job, and i guarantee you that if you pay people a liveable wage they will do the work and you won't have to worry about it. here is the other thing. what do you say to people who come from countries where there are civil wars? do you have to tell a child, a mother, somebody who is leaving a civil war or leaving starvation, look, you can't come to america because you can't speak english? that's not the america that i live in. >> all right. john and joe, i appreciate this. this was a robust conversation. >> thanks. >> thanks. >> you made "cnn tonight" better. thank you, fellows. we're going to take a break. when we come back there's a lawsuit over a false fox news story. the white house is in that suit's cross hairs. the fox contributor behind the suit joins us.
the white house all conspired to concoct a phoney story about the murder of a young staffer for the dnc. all of it done as a way to discredit the conclusion by u.s. intelligence that russia hacked the election. i want to bring in our senior media correspondent brian stelter. good the see you. >> good to see you. >> what do we know? we know fox news retracted the story, but what else has happened? usually in a situation like this, if it really isn't true, if anything in this lawsuit is true, you would see a all right of action by a news organization. what are we seeing here? >> that's right. this was in mid may. since then not a lot of action from fox, at least no publicly. no suspensions or disciplinary action against anyone we know of involved in the story. however, we do know fox has retained outside counsel, they brought in outside lawyers to handle the case from rod wheeler. we know rod wheeler's attorneys are looking forward to the discovery process. they would like to depose people, like for example sean spicer who was white house press
secretary in april when spicer had a meeting with wheeler and this gop doaner at the white house where they talked about this, this theory that has hurt the slain dnc staffer's family so much. because we know there was a white house meeting, it creates a sense that maybe there is more to the story but there's a lot we don't know. we don't know how much evidence wheeler really has to back up his assertions. >> that's one of the good things about litigation, right? you have discovery and you only know what you show. so there will be that eventually. the only thing we know for sure at this point is that the family of seth rich is devastated by this controversy and these conspiracy theories. the statement they put out is hopefully this lawsuit will bring to an end the connection of our son and his death to this. there is no proof that rich was connected to wikileaks that's come from police as far as i understand. do you? >> that's absolutely right. the police believe it was an armed robbery attempt gone wrong late at night one summer night a
year ago in washington. out of that one fact there's been a mountain of lies and mistruths and conspiracy theorys bit on top of it, all designed to show it wasn't russia that hacked the dnc, it wasn't designed to help trump, it was actually maybe this kid that did it and sent the information to wikileaks. as you said, the family has been devastated by these claims. they say there's no evidence of it and they wish the conspiracy theorists would go away. fox gave the theory a lot of credibility for a week in may, partly thanks to rod wheeler, but now wheeler says he was misquoted. >> fox was all over it. they put on the story. wheeler worked for them as a contributor, the donor was one of their contributors. the allegations about the white house softer ground and luckily for us we have a man to put meat on the bones for us. brian, thanks of thank you very much. joining us is the man that filed the lawsuit. fox news contributor rod wheeler, a former washington d.c. homicide detective. he has with his attorney gene
christianson. thank you for being with us tonight. >> thank you. >> good to be with you, chris. >> let's get to some of the allegations. as you know, we interviewed ed batowski here and he had stiff responses and i want to get your response to his arguments. the main allegation in the lawsuit is that they used you to forward a lie essentially, that they misquoted you. is that accurate? is that your argument here? >> that's exactly my argument. chris, let me start out by saying that my heart and prayers go out to the rich family. they always have. you know, i really tried hard to find a murderer, not to debunk a russian narrative or support a russian narrative, to find a murderer. while i was in the process of trying to find that murderer, behind the scenes what i did not know is that this reporter and that this rich guy, batowski had another plan in mind and that's why they brought me into this thing. i realize that now, but
unfortunately realized too late. >> ed batowski says you're lying and he points to an appearance by you on fox news on may 16th. let's play that. >> there was a federal investigator that was involved on the inside of the case, a person that's very credible. he said he laid eyes on the computer and he laid eyes on the case file, and he came across very credible. when you look at that with the totality of everything else that i found in this case, it is very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, well, prograerhaps there were e communications between seth and wikileaks. >> how do you reconcile that rod wheeler with the rod wheeler before us tonight who is saying, i never wanted anything to do with this conspiracy? >> absolutely. so as -- during the investigation when i'm going through information and interviewing people, i get the
information -- this is important here. i get the information about this federal investigator from who? malia zimmerman and ed butowski. that was my source for them. when i asked about the federal investigator i asked was this guy credible, the response was yes. after the story broke and this is important, quickly, chris, after the story broke i immediately, i didn't waste time, challenged malia about the quotes she put in the story. i asked her to contact the federal investigator to talk to him and to give his information to the d.c. police and i was told i could not talk to this guy. >> one quick thing for you, jean. i know the lawyer here is usually ignored in these interviews, not tonight. proof that he was misquoted, i know it is a little tricky. you could look at it as a demonstration of a non- existent fact. but is there anything you can show in the lawsuit that will demonstrate your client was misquoted? >> sure. i mean aside from the fact that we have a 33-page complaint that
is full of quotes from audio, from text messages, from e-mails, these aren't just allegations about rod saying what happened. we thoroughly checked everything. we listened to these audios. we read the e-mails. we've read the texts, and we only included information in that complaint that we had verified in fact had taken place. contrary to what mr. butowski told you on tuesday night, i believe he said to you that he had lots of documents, lots of text messages and he was going to handled them to you personally i think he said. >> yes. >> he was going to come down and give them to you. >> yes. >> and he's done that, i doubt it because those other text messages, those oather e-mails don't exist. >> i have not seen or heard from the man since we interviewed him, but the invitation stands to take any proof he has. that's a good segue for us here. one of the text messages in question here, we will put it on the screen please. not to add anymore pressure but
the president just read the article. he wants the article out immediately. it is up to you but don't feel the pressure. he says, this was a joke. here is his answer. >> rod wheeler had been asking me for a long side and said, ed, when i get this case settled the president is going to hire me. he was always doing this and saying this to me, so this was tongue-in-cheek talking, just texting. it wasn't serious because rod wheeler was always looking from a job because he has no money. by the way, this lawsuit is all about rod wheeler trying to get money because he messed up. >> two buddies joking and you're broke. rod wheeler, your response? >> well, here is what i will say to that. i want to be clear about this, and i hope mr. butowski is watching. look, because i don't have three million dollars laying around the house like he does, that doesn't make me less of a person. just because i don't get my shirts custom made and i buy my shirts at macy's, that doesn't make me less of a person.
he can take all of his money, all of his money bags and stuff it because as far as i'm concerned this man knew he was lying. he's been lying the entire time. one last thing real quickly, and i'm not going to do a lot of talking, i'm sure my attorney is saying, "okay, rolled, that's enough." here is the thing, if i'm so broke, why haven't i invoiced mr. butowski for any money? he sent me a few thousand when i first started. i never invoiced him at all for any of the work i have done. >> why? >> i wasn't pressed to invoice him, and i didn't know where this case was going to go because halfway through this case when he started taking me to the white house and things i start thinking to myself, this guy has an ulterior motive. his goal wasn't to solve the murder. he had something else in mind and that's when they reeled me in and used me for their story. you know what else too, he add minuted. we have it on tape. he said, rod, you're going to
get an award for the things you did not say. i said, ed, keep the award, tell the truth. >> he says there's more to that tape where he was doubting the notion that you had said things that weren't true, and that he was playing with your suggestion because it was silly. so he was playing with your silly suggestion because you both knew you had said what you said. >> and where is that tape? where is that that mr. butowski claims will right what he claims is people saying that he has lied and that his political motivations are not part of it. >> you could have it, counsellor. are there earlier portions of that recording that give a different context to the conversation? absolutely not, and we wouldn't have -- you know, this is -- this is a case unlike your commentator previously where we actually had to be selective. there was so much material, there were so many facts we had to choose from. you know, at some point you
don't just put every single thing into a complaint, and, you know, if it comes to a point after discovery and we need to amend the complaint, then that's what we will do. >> 33 pages, you don't leave a lot out either though, counsellor. that's a pretty healthy complaint. >> there's plenty more information and i assure you of that, and it will come out. rod can attest to that. >> rod, you said something earlier i want to pick up on. you talked about your shirts. by the way, it is a nice shirt. >> right. >> objectively stated. >> hey, i got it at macy's. >> ed butowski says that's what the meeting with sean spicer was about. are we ready with that sound? all right. here is what he said. >> my conversation with sean about this recording lasted about one minute. he said, ed, i don't know anything about it, i didn't want to know anything about it, i can't do anything, and we ended up talking about many other things, believe it or not, including because he and i both get our shirts at the same place
through some company and we talked about the new cotton material on these shirts. chris, that's the truth. >> is it? >> i have something to say about that, chris, and that is if that were true, then why do we have a text message the day before april 19th, ed is texting rod to say, make sure your investigative report is up to date and finalized in pdf so we can bring it with us to our meeting with sean spicer, that's what happened. >> and that's what we did, chris. we had this meeting, ouimwe met 10 or 15 minutes. i will tell you how it ended. he said, i'm not sure how i can help with the investigation. he said, rod, if you want me to put you in touch with somebody at the justice department, he gave me his business card. this is the business card. what i have done, he also gave me hills personal cellphone number but i have kind of whited out the last four business because i don't want to put sean's number out there. this is what he gave me and he said, if you need more help give me a call. i have never called sean spicer after that, but that's the truth
and that's what happened. >> so you went into that meeting to discuss this case. do you think sean spicer knew that's what the meeting was about? >> you know, i don't know. but if you listen to what ed butowski says, sean spicer knew about it. >> no, ed butowski said sean spicer didn't know about it. he just took the meeting as a friendly gesture because he knew them. >> let me say -- >> and there was presumably nothing else going on that day in the white house for mr. spicer. >> there's room for speculation. this is not the first time we have heard about a white house official taking a meeting they say they didn't know anything about but went to anyway, but this is not the court of public opinion. in a court of law you only know what you show. you have to demonstrate what sean spicer if you're going to include the white house in a concocted scheme, you have to show they knew about it and wanted to advance it and there's merit to the suggestion that the president of the united states
had seen the article and wanted it advanced. do you have any proof to do any of that? >> we just filed the lawsuit as you know on the 1st, and defendants are entitled to answer and then we will proceed to discovery and we will obtain that information that we believe is out there and weill prove rod's story. >> do you believe the president of the united states was aware of this piece? >> i have no idea. all i can tell you is what butowski told me. that's the fact that the white house is all over this and the president wants this out. matter of fact, even with regards to the quotes, he said the quotes were left in there -- this is what he said and we have it on tape. so i'm not just saying this. he said the quotes were left in there and the story because that's the way the president wanted it. now, i never heard the president say that. that's butowski talking. take it for what it is worth. i have a problem with that, but you know the main thing here, chris, and i know we don't have a lot of time, is that my goal is to clear my name. i don't have the millions that
butowski has but i have a good name, worked hard for it, and that's what i want to do, clear my name and i want fox to do the right thing. >> rod wheeler, jean christianson, thank you very much. as we learn more come back so we can test it. >> thank you. >> thank you, chris. >> thank you. let's take a quick break. stay with cnn. ♪ you're gonna have dizziness, nausea, and sweaty eyelids. ♪ ♪ and in certain cases chronic flatulence. ♪ no ♪ sooooo gassy girl. so gassy. if you're boyz ii men, you make anything sound good. it's what you do. if you want to save 15% percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. next! ♪ next!
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director was short, 11 days. he was quite an impression. so much so that he became the subject of parody done in beautiful form. here's a taste -- >> i'm going to fire so many people. i don't know who it's going to be -- reince -- but i'm going to get to the bottom of the leakage in the white house. you hear me, reince? >> joining us now -- >> so good to see you laugh, chris. after two hours of hard, hard -- use already say murder -- marioe -- >> actor, mime -- >> i'm not a mime. no, i push mimes into the grass. first of all, thanks for saving two minutes for me. i'm in bed at this time watching turner classic movies. i don't need to be here with you. >> we have breaking news -- to. >> what's breaking? >> let me ask you -- believe me, you don't want to know. >> doesn't your head want to
blow off at this point after two hours of that? >> no. i paid too much for this hair. let me ask you something -- you have done so much, why did you want to do this? >> why did i want to do anthony scaramucci? >> yes. >> because it was a calling. it was calling -- it was a calling from above. so i heard -- i heard the lord say, you must do this. this is your calling. go, go now, go to the studios of the comedy central. >> it's not just that you guys resemble each other, which you do -- you are both very handsome. however, your background goes right to the projected image of who anthony scaramucci is pretended to be by some people because that's not who he is. he's not a thug -- >> no. i know he's not. >> you know that world so well from your own life. >> and i'm so attracted to it and him and the paragraphado of the -- bravado of the italian american and what that is. yet, you know, the fact that