tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 28, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
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contact in the fall of 2016 with an associate with alleged ties to russian intelligence. that's one story. the other goes straight to the question, did the president through his personal attorney, try on secure the silence of gates' boss, paul manafort, and michael flynn by offering what only a president can deliver. namory pardons. tonight the white house is responding. the way they're responding leaves a lot of questions unanswered. it broke in the "new york times" here are two key pagss. it came as special counsel was building cases against both men and they raised questions whether the lawyer, john dowd waurgs offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty. the talk is that mr. trump's lawyers were concerned about what they might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel. the "washington post" meantime has more on the time frame
reporting that dowd floated the pardon ideas to attorneys for manafort last summer. what else was he doing at that time? well, he was denying he was doing what the times and the post today reported he was doing. discussing pardons. take a look at cnn's coverage last year. >> the "washington post" reports the legal team for the president is also investigating or taking a look at issues related to pardoning potentially his aides and family members and the report does say that the president has even acquired about the ability to pardon himself. when asked about it, the president's lawyer called that reporting, quote, nonsense. at the time the post reporting did not mention floating the possibility. however his denial to buzz feed was categorical. there's nothing going on on pardons, research, never has
happened. nothing on pardons. now at the time, raft july that would not be true which may be why today's white house briefing sarah sanders appeared to be especially careful to only speak with pardons in the present tense. are pardons on the table for anyone involved in the russia probe? >> i would refer you back to the statement from ty cobb in the report that you're asking about in which he said, i've only been asked about pardons by the press and i have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under consideration or under discussion at the white house. >> can you say unegive economy no one here has discussed pardons in this case? >> sake that ty cobb is the person would be most directly involved and he has a statement on the record saying there's no discussion and there's no consideration of those at this time in the white house. >> so just to point that out, can you say unequivocally that no one here has discussed
pardons in this case. and sarah sanders argued with, there is no discussion and there is no consideration. the question is, does the lady present tense too much? you can decide for yourself or as sarah sanders says, ask someone else, not her. >> for specific details any search process outside the white house, i would refer to you his outside counsel. i would refer to you jay sekulow. anything beyond that, i would refer you to the president's outside counsel and his attorney david schwartz. once again i would refer to you outside council. anything beyond that i would refer you to outside counsel. any new questions i would refer you to the president's -- i'm not going to get into a hypothetical question and i would refer to you michael cohen on that matter. >> perspective now, one of five "new york times" correspondents on the pardon story today. can you just walk us through
your understanding of how these conversations came about? >> what we reported was that the last year, the president's lawyer at the time, john dowd, reached out on at least two occasions to two different lawyers for paul manafort and michael flynn. this happened the middle of last year before first of all, michael flynn accept ad plea agreement bob mueller. and before paul manafort was indicted. the exact substance of the conversations is still a little unclear. we know the subject of pardons was broached. what we don't know is how much these pardon offers remain as an offer of perhaps both witnesses in the investigation. perhaps not cutting the deal with mueller. >> that's really critical in terms of the meaning of this. whether this was a quid pro quo. the suggestion being made. you don't cooperate, the president will give you a pardon. >> that's right. and there's still more we need
learn about this. as we report today, at the very least it suppose there was concern in the white house, and concern within president trump's legal team about, what manafort and flynn might tell mueller if they were to cooperate with the special counsel. there seems to be concern that mueller at this time, have been, was building cases against both flynn and manafort. if the two were to flip and cooperate, there seemed to be concern about what they might have to say about the president and the president's advisers. >> questions about pardons have also come up during interviews with the special counsel's investigators. >> that's right. and witness interviews in the last several months, mueller's investigators have asked various witnesses about conversations in the white house about pardons. we reported also that president trump raised the issue with the white house counsel's office sometime last year during which he asked about the pardon powers. he was asking about what authority does he have to
pardon. so this was a topic of conversation. it is clearly something that mueller's team is asking about with other witnesses. >> correct me if i'm wrong, i believe i read that dowd later expressed surprise that flynn had second a plea deal. >> right. he was believed to have thought the case against flynn was flimsy. and he didn't need to do a plea deal because there wasn't good case. so this was other conversations dowd has had with other people where he's expressed that. >> dowd as well as the president's current lawyers, they're pushing back on your reporting. you still stand by it. is that right? >> absolutely. we're very confident in our reporting. >> appreciate your time. thank you. >> so there's that. the gates story. and i broke last night in the form of a court filing. it was a sentencing memorandum
concerning another cooperating witness. in it the special counsel's team reports that they've connected gates, the former associate, paul manafort, to a person tied to a russian intelligence service. and they allege this continued while he worked as campaign chairman for mr. trump. according to gates, they were in touch in september and october of 2016 and this was pertinent to the investigation. gloria, the optics, the pardons are obviously, the political third rail. they also call it how the president views the legal team. you've been talking about. that john dowd who recently quit and at the center of this new reporting. >> i have to say that there is a great deal of consternation by the people who are left on the president's legal team about john dowd. without even talking about mark
mazzetti's reporting, they were upset at the way he left the legal team. some of them raised the question, whether it was under ethical. whether he put the president never legal jeopardy by quitting the way he did. so publicly. and now of course, they're on a search to try to replace him. and get another attorney or two in there and they're having a great deal of difficulty even doing that. they say there is no rush. we can do this any time. but clearly, they understand. and as one source said to me, look, we understand, particularly if the democrats win the house. we need to have somebody who may have some familiarity with impeachment, for example. and other constitutional issues. so they're angry at dowd. they have to figure out how to replace him. in the meantime they're proceeding to deal with mueller. >> it is interesting. michael flynn close a plea deal.
and he's fighting these very serious charges in court. and a roll of the dice for manafort nelson thinks the government has overstated their case. >> or he thinks maybe he will be pardoned. that could also be part of it. let's look at the big picture. we know that president trump has presided over a cover-up of all things russian for more than a year now. the question is, is it a nixon cover-up? and these developments today make it look more and more definitive that it probably is a criminal cover-up by the standards of most legal experts. we don't know that for sure. but we're tying together both the question of the president's actions in relation to promising things that will in fact impede and instruct mueller's investigation, and also, we are seeing in the gates
developments, which also affect manafort because they were business partners, gates and manafort, and russian intelligence agent alleged worked for both manafort and gates. and we're beginning to see the outlines, perhaps, of a real, quote, collusion case with the trump campaign and members of the trump entourage. not definitive. but now we're in territory where the outlines of what mueller is trying to build look more and more apparent and why donald trump is so determined to preside over this cover-up and probably a criminal cover-up at that. >> it does bear repeating and the times is reporting, they don't have anything on president trump communicating with john dowd. he denied the conversations take place. there's no reporting, if they did take place, that they were aware of him or directed him to, nor is there reporting on the
actual words used in the conversation if did it occur between john dowd and the attorneys for manafort and gates. in the conversation, the words used matter tremendously. >> they do matter a lot. i want to go back. i echo a lot of what carl said. let me go back to more fundamentals. they have a situation where it is the president's personal attorney who is in the spotlight. not his legal team in the white house. the president clearly went outside the normal channel that you would work through the legal counsel if you wanted communications with the lawyers in this mueller case and said you've chosen dowd. dowd said he's never worked for them. their "new york times" comes lake. the "washington post" independently verified through two sources. these two sources. both competent enough to run the story. that heavily suggests that john dowd has been lying about this all along.
that they were dangling pardons. this also comes around the time, you may remember the sheriff joe arpaio in arizona when the president pardoned him. a lot of people thought that was sending a signal to manafort, to flynn, to others, if you hang tough, i am willing to use my pardon power, even in a great controversy. i disagree carl on one point. that lawyers seem to be divided about whether the president would be doing something illegal by dangling a pardon. there are some who say he has full powers and he can do anything he wants with pardon power. others say no, no, it would be illegal. the point is, just because something is legal does not mean it's right. and it is not right to be dangling pardons in a really sensitive case unless you have something to cover up. >> just so you know, we'll be talking to professor dershwitz from harvard only exact matter.
>> we don't know whether john dowd was freelancing doing this in some conversations with attorneys he knows, or on whether he was doing it at the urging of the president. we know in the past he has done things at the urging of the president. we don't know if he did that in this particular case. >> what is so interesting, this is not a situation where he would have attorney-client privilege. it is not a conversation with the president himself. there's no privilege. he would have known going in. this is not a prift conversation. so he did have that conversation. >> i don't think there's any question that mueller now is in a position to call john dowd into his shop and question him extensively. and yes, the president of the
united states has almost absolute pardons to power and can do it perfectly legally. it is not at all clear that the president of the united states can, quote, dangle pardons in front of someone as a means of obstructing a legitimate inquiry. and that appears to be what has happened here. and also, whether the words floated were exact that dowd used in this meeting. i'm sure john dowd is a clever lawyer. if this happened the way the times and post described it, has a means of speaking suggests certain things and perhaps keeps him on the legal side of the line. there seems to be from the reporting little question that he dangled these pardons and it is part of a larger cover-up directed by the president of the united states. >> and i want to remind everyone that in the case of manafort and the case of flynn, the president's attorneys were out there public say saying this has nothing to do with the
president. these are separate issues. and flynn has nothing to do with the president. manafort's business had nothing to do with the president. so at the same time, this may have been they were distancing themselves publicly. >> the question is, whether dowd acted on behalf of the president. it is very clear he would not act without the president's blessing. very clear. >> i got to -- >> we'll come back. >> thank you 57. next, two legal heavyweights join us. also later tonight, with protests breaking out in california in the state capitol.
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statement is in the presence tense, sarah sanders referred to that statement, how big a deal is this? >> it is potentially a big deal but it is important that we put the times story in perspective. there is nothing unlawful about a lawyer discussing pardons. that is the power of the presidency. where there could be trouble is if there was some sort of promise implied or given to witnesses in the mueller investigation that if you don't cooperate you will get a pardon. >> professor dershowitz do you agree with that? can the president float that idea? >> i think there are two issues. the president can pardon unequivocally. george w. bush pardoned weinberger to stop the investigation. the special prosecutor accused him of doing that to stop the investigation and did stop the investigation. so the act of pardoning can't be a crime in my view.
but if you negotiate a pardon in exchange for something of value, then you may very well have violated a criminal statute not by giving the pardon but accepting or negotiating something of value. i can't imagine that sophisticated lawyers would ever have that kind of conversation. in which the quid pro quo is mentioned in exchange for this, we will give you a pardon. if you don't this, we won't give you a pardon. it is inconceivable to me that sophisticated lawyers would have had that conversation. >> if that, professor, if it is implied that you don't cooperate, we give you the pardon, is that illegal? >> it really depends very much on how the conversation occurred if it occurred. the president doesn't have to offer a pardon. remember, manafort said he wouldn't accept the pardon. the president can pardon you whether you like it or not.
the president can pardon you even if you don't accept the pardon. it was ruled many years ago. so if the president wanted a pardon, he could easily just had pardoned. i don't understand why he would have negotiated a pardon. if he gave a pardon then there would be no incentives for the folks on the other side to cooperate because there would be no leverage over them that would force them to cooperate. and so the story doesn't really ring true to an experienced criminal defense lawyer like me. >> jeff, if mueller wants to question dowd whether he floated pardons could dowd refuse to talk about. >> it depends the attorney/client privilege only covers the conversation with his client, with donald trump. he would have no privilege regarding conversations we had other lawyers or other witnesses. you know, i find myself in
uncharacteristic agreement with most of what allen said. >> it's about time. >> but you know, you are taking a harder line. the idea that negotiating over a pardon to help your own legal situation, that is problematic. where i disagree is the pardon itself i think could also be evidence of obstruction of justice. but, certainly, you know, using the pardon to try to get yourself out of legal trouble is i think problematic. but at least "the new york times" story so far doesn't suggest that he did that or doesn't have evidence that he did that. >> i am glad that you are changing your mind, previously you said the act of granting a pardon could be the act of obstruction of justice. now you are backing away from that. saying it could be evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. i stick to that position. saying the act of granting a
pardon, any act in and of itself is stigsally authorized, cannot forming the basis of a criminal charge. >> you just lost me there. >> well if i lost you, you are not paying attention because what i said is clear. >> the core of obstruction of justice has always been did the president fire james comey in order to forestall, stop. interfere with the investigation on himself. that is a crime. >> and that doesn't matter. you see, it can't be a crime to fire jim comey no matter what the motive is, if on the other hand he did something illegal in the process of doing something, that would be different. you cannot commit a crime by engaging in a constitutional protected act >> the world is full of crimes that take innocent or protected acts and make them criminal because of criminal intent.
it is not criminal to sell stock. but it is criminal to sell stock with inside information. >> bad analogy. >> we are talking about the president of the united states that has constitutional authority to hire and fire. >> let me ask you, before we end. the president is having trouble it seems to be getting a team of attorney. does that surprise you. you were on the legal dream team of o.j. simpson. oj simpson was able to get a range of smart attorneys representing him. does it surprise you that the president of the united states seems to be having issues. >> there is a lot of conflict of interest around washington. secondly, i am told he did not or the, to offer the job to bob bennett. offering the job to the man who walked president clinton into the perjury trap would be the worst possible judgment.
the president indicated that was not offered to bob bennett. there are conflicts, there are matters of whether you want to get somebody who is an outside, insider guy. bad cop, good cop. it is not easy to assemble the perfect team when you are trying to play good cop, bad cop. i'm confident the president will be able to put together a very strong legal team. some of the people are very strong. dowd resigned and i don't know the reason for it. but i think the president will be well represented. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> well there is another possible legal problem for president trump. when we continue, lawsuits alleged by officials who stayed at the trump hotel in washington may have violated the u.s. constitution. coming up, another white house cabinet member is out. this time va secretary. how his replacement was chosen. . at red lobster with exciting new dishes like dueling lobster tails and lobster truffle mac & cheese. classics like lobster lover's dream are here too.
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that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. breaking news from the white house, president trump late tonight fired his secretary of veteran affairs and is nominating ronny jackson to replace him. shulkin was one of the few high level holdovers from the obama administration and has taken a great deal of fire on a lot of fronts. jim acosta joins us now. so why is it happening now and
did the president himself actually do it? >> it sounds like the news was delivered by the chief of staff john kelly. but white house officials stressed to me that david shulkin was not fired by tweet. the president tweeted this announcement this afternoon. there were some big concerns inside this white house about that recent inspector general's report that criticized shulkin's trip to europe last year. he spent a lot of time being a tourist over in europe and those distractions i am told by white house officials became too much. >> dr. ronnie jackson is the doctor who gave the update on the president's health. what exactly are his qualification to head the vm? i know he was the doctor to the last two presidents. but it is a massive organization.
it is a massive management task. >> reporter: it does always help to praise the boss and i don't think that was a remote possibility that this was part of this. i was told by a white house official that part of the decision was doctor jackson's performance at that briefing. they are saying and insisting that dr. jackson did not get this job because he was heaping praise on the president's health. but the president liked dr. jackson handled himself with reporters and that was part of t as for the doctor's qualifications, a white house official pushed back and said wait a minute, dr. jackson is qualified to run the va if you take a look at his medical background. and dr. jackson was praised by previous administrations. the obama administration did have good things to say about dr. jackson.
but i don't think it ever hurts you to praise the boss and we heard a lot in that briefing about that. and apparently the president liked what he heard at the briefing and that was a big part of why dr. jackson is getting this big job. it will be interesting to watch how the confirmation process goes. he does have a lot of serious questions to answer about how he is going to take care of this large important agency. >> i appreciate it. now to another legal fight. emoluments, it is generally defined as compensation, meaning salary, fee, profit for services of employment in an office. the constitution says in part that no person holding any office shall without the consent of congress accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king,
prince or foreign state. a lot of fancy words but it means it is illegal to profit from being president. but attorneys general from maryland and the district of columbia filed suits alleging the president has done that. foreign officials have paid to stay at trump hotel in washington. a federal judge says that lawsuit can actually proceed. the trump organization statement says it does significantly narrow the scope of the case. joining me now is the board chair for a watchdog group which joined in that litigation. you were involved in that lawsuit. the crew was co-counsel for lawyers in maryland and d.c. to you, what are the implications of this lawsuit actually proceeding? >> thanks fortune having me back. the implications of this lawsuit now, the judge has said the district of columbia and maryland have standing.
they have sufficiently alleged an injury in respect to president trump taking these benefits, cash swag emoluments is a word for swag. and the president is raking it in. just a few blocks from the white house. and the court said bring it on. d.c. and maryland can litigate this case they have standing. >> is the allegation, you know, obviously the president has business interests, would any business interest in your opinion be a violation of the emolument clause or people are intentionally staying at this hotel to curry favor. with the president. >> that's exactly it. the reason the founders of our country and the framers of the
constitution put this on foreign cash or benefits or cash or benefits from american domestic governments flowing to a president because they thought would it bend his judgment. what is happening over in the trump hotel on pennsylvania avenue is an outrage. openly saying of course we are going to stay there to try to get in good with him. and so this is just what the founders and framers feared and it is a very serious problem. >> does this mean the way the court has ruled now, does this mean that other states and other businesses near trump properties around the country can have legal standing claiming the same thing the trump property has -- is cutting into their -- people saying they're staying at that hotel to curry favor and they're not staying at our business. >> that is one of the most important aspects of this case,
the court set out a set of standards that any state that has a trump property, any competitor, any individual being harmed similar to d.c. and maryland, anywhere in the country can proceed against the trump institution and that's the right decision, anderson, it is crazy that we have a president who is nakedly exploiting the oval office, and spends a third of his time as president at his own businesses, the trump hotel and else where across the country, no wonder we are seeing the administration surrounded by scandal. when the president, the tone at the top sets forth i am going to profit. the constitution forbids it. and they have recognized that maryland and d.c. have standing and many other principles held out. >> i appreciate your time, thanks very much. >> the attorney for adult film star stormy daniels is filing
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payment that cohen made to miss daniels, seeking to ensure her silence about the alleged affair. white house press secretary sarah sanders fielded another question about it at today's briefing. >> you haven't answered the substantive question about whether the president was aware of the $130,000 payment that was made in which he is explicitly named to keep stormy daniels silent. you were asked three weeks ago today and said you weren't aware. are you aware now? >> the president has denied the allegations. and we have spoken about this issue and i don't have anything beyond that. anything beyond that i would refer you to the outside counsel. >> i am joined now by michael avenatti. thanks for being with us. what is the -- michael cohen's people want this to be an arbitration. they don't want it to be in open court and they tried to move it to federal court which has a history of pushing it towards arbitration.
how is that affecting what you are doing today to be able to depose the president and depose michael cohen. >> what we filed just after midnight, this morning was a preemptive motion and asked for a number of things. a two-hour deposition of the president and two-hour deposition of michael cohen. limited document request. where we can ask for specific documents to be produced. and then we want to expedite a trial date on the issue on whether the agreement was entered into. why is that important? before their motion to compel arbitration can be heard, a fundamental question has to be answered. whether there was an agreement to begin with. whether they reached a meeting of the minds and had an agreement. without that agreement you never get to the motion to compel arbitration and that is under what is called the federal arbitration act. we had this motion in the can for a while.
we were expecting them to move to federal court. they did. and we have now filed this motion and we are highly confident the court is going to grant it. >> if the president is not a signatory to the actual contract that was signed by michael cohen and the llc and stormy daniels, why try to depose the president he? what are the questions you want to put to him? >> we want to find out what the president when he knew it and what he knew. >> are you talking about having the affair, or whether he asked michael cohen did this. is this essentially a campaign contribution or was the president involved? >> we are focused on the formation of the agreement and the terms of the agreement and what the president knew and when he knew it. we are not interested in what the white house spokesperson or deputy spokesperson has to say. we want to put the president under oath.
we're going to ask him some very simple questions. normally you are permitted seven hours under the federal rules and we requested two of his and mr. cohen. it is one thing to lie to the press and another thing to perjure yourself under oath. so we're going to ask those questions. we're highly confident. >> why are you, you say you are confident in the motion, is there precedent for this? this is an accelerated schedule you are asking for. >> this is not a crazy notion we thought up overnight. we have been looking at this for a number of weeks and we have done our homework. there's extensive precedent in the ninth circuit. the president may not like the ninth circuit court of appeal, i happen to love the ninth circuit. it is a circuit in which i practice quite a bit. the judges are learned and able to say the least. and extensive precedent. for the granting of this motion. it is almost black letter law, what we're asking for.
i don't think the president's team thought through this process. of removing the case to federal court. they didn't see this coming. >> do you know how quickly you will get a ruling on this? >> we asked for a hearing on april 30th. we'll be before judge otero. i have some experience before judge otero. he is a very smart no nonsense judge. i mean no nonsense. i am confident he is going to hear the motion on april 30th and issue the decision shortly there after. if the motion is granted, i can envision us taking the deposition of michael cohen and the president within 30 or 45 days. >> we'll see you. thank you very much. >> coming up, outrage in sacramento after police killed an unarmed 22-year-old man. stephon clark. protesters have shown up outside basketball zbams a city council meeting. we will get the latest in a live update next. directv gives you more for your thing.
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every year to ensure that hazardous trees can't impact power lines. and since the onset of the drought we've doubled our efforts. i grew up in the forests out in this area and honestly it's heartbreaking to see all these trees dying. what guides me is ensuring that the public is going to be safer and that these forests can be sustained and enjoyed by the community in the future. there's more breaking news tonight. protests continue in sacramento, california, after police shot and killed an unarmed 22-year-old african-american man, stephon clark, in his grandmother's yard. at the white house today, sarah sanders was asked if the president had anything to say about the case.
>> certainly a terrible incident. this is something that is a local matter, and it's something we feel should be left up to the local authorities. >> what does he say about weeding out bad policing when you continue to see these kinds of situations occur over and over again? >> certainly we want to make sure that all law enforcement is carrying out the letter of the law. the president's very supportive of law enforcement, but at the same time in these specific cases, in these specific instances, those will be left up to local authorities to make that determination and not something for the federal government to weigh into. >> the protests in sacramento have spilled over into a city council meeting and multiple protests during nba games at the arena where the sacramento kings play with another planned for tomorrow. dan simon is there, joins us now. dan, what's the situation? >> reporter: hi, anderson. for the last hour or so, we've been marching along with these protesters in downtown sacramento. they've really been clogging the streets and creating problems
for people trying to get home from work. i've been in sacramento for the last week, and i have to say that the anger is not dissipating over this issue. if anything, it has gotten even more intense. take a look. >> stephon clark. stephon clark. >> reporter: sacramento's chaotic city council meeting the latest example of the escalating tension over the police shooting death of an unarmed 22-year-old black man named stephon clark. >> the mayor and the city of sacramento has failed all of you. >> reporter: clark's brother has called the police officers murderers. his interruption forced the mayor to halt the meeting. >> enough. >> do y'all got my back? >> enough. >> the mayor wants to talk to me. the chief of police got my brother killed. >> enough. >> he doesn't care. he shows no emotion at all. >> we are going to -- >> shut up! this is not about you. shut up. >> we are going to recess the council meeting and resume in 15 minutes. >> reporter: it all began with
this. >> show me your hands. [ sound of gunshots ] >> reporter: two sacramento police officers, one of them black, responding to a report of someone breaking car windows, fired 20 shots at stephon clark in his grandmother's backyard. police firing after thinking the 22-year-old was pointing a gun at them. instead, only a cell phone was found nearby. >> everybody, take out your cell phone. >> reporter: activists seized on that troubling fact. >> direct the cell phone to the council. does this look, as you point this to our council -- does this look like a gun? >> bottom line, were the officers justified at all in this shooting? >> well, that was what this investigation has to come to a conclusion of at the end. and until all the facts are in and until we finish that, i can't answer that. >> reporter: sacramento's police chief has pledged complete transparency while also announcing that the investigation will be overseen by the state's department of justice. part of the community anger stems from a puzzling moment caught on the body camera video.
>> hey, mute. >> reporter: just moments after the shooting, the officers turned off their microphones. it's allowed under department policy if officers, for instance, have a confidential conversation. but it's not clear why they would have shut the mikes off here. the chief acknowledging it raises suspicion that the officers had something to hide. >> it might be and probably is a time to not allow that anymore. >> we will fight for stephon. >> reporter: the family has hired high-profile civil rights attorney benjamin crump. for now, all they say they want is justice. >> why? >> reporter: a wrongful death lawsuit will most certainly be coming while protesters continue to take to the streets. on tuesday, for the second time in a week, they blocked the entrances to the sacramento kings basketball game, leaving the stands almost completely empty.
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silence of two key figures in the russia probe by offering presidential pardons? on the table, new reporting that suggests the answer may be yes. some very carefully parsed answers from the white house aren't exactly dispelling suspicions. also it's a controversy as close to the white house as the trump international hotel. a lawsuit gets the go-ahead accusing the president of profiting essentially from being president. later, a new twist in the stormy daniels saga. the legal effort to get the president on the record and under oath. new filings by the attorney for stormy daniels. we begin with the pardon story first reported in "the new york times." the headline, "trump's lawyer raised prospect of pardons for flynn and manafort." the lawyer in question is john dowd, who recently left the president's legal team. the discussions happened before michael flynn copped a plea and paul manafort was charged. our jeff zeleny joins us now from the white house. so explain what we know about these alleged conversations about pardons because we should point out that dowd denies it occurred. >> reporter: anderson, that's true. john dowd denies it occurred, and the white house was doing some careful answering of