Skip to main content

tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 5, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

3:00 pm
president's wrath over the russia investigation. cnn has learned that mr. trump has talked this week about possibly replacing jeff sessions with of all people his embattled epa chief, scott pruitt. cursing out congress. we're getting new information about a very ugly outburst by a witness in the russia probe. former trump campaign manager, corey lewandowski, hurling expletives at democrats. did the incident help tear the panel and its investigation apart? and offscript. the president throws out prepared remarks and revisits some of his most outrageous and false claims, including his allegation of widespread illegal voting in the 2016 presidential campaign. mr. trump saying, to hell with it, as he veers off message again. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
3:01 pm
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking tonight, president trump is publicly weighing in on the stormy daniels lawsuit, denying he knew anything about his lawyers' hush money deal with the porn star. this as we're uncovering new efs that mr. trump hasn't given up on the idea of firing his attorney general, jeff sessions, a move that could threaten the special counsel's russia investigation. cnn learning that this week the president floated replacing sessions with his embattled epa chief, even as scott pruitt was embroiled in scandal. uhl get reaction from democratic congressman adrianna espaillat. and our analysts are all standing by. let's go to pamela brown. pamela, we heard from the president on air force one just a little while ago. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. and there were some significant developments aboard air force one. the president breaking his silence on stormy daniels, claiming that he didn't know
3:02 pm
anything about the payment that his own lawyer made to daniels just before the election. this is especially significant, because now the president is on the record denying this, if he ever has to give a deposition. before arriving back from west virginia tonight, president trump for the first time speaking publicly about porn star stormy daniels and the $130,000 in hush money his personal attorney paid her just before the 2016 election. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no. >> then why did michael cohen make it there is -- there was no allegations? >> you'll have to ask michael cohen. michael's my attorney. >> do you know where he got the money? >> no. >> reporter: the president also voiced support for his embattled epa administrator, scott pruitt. >> i think scott has done a fantastic job. i think he's a fantastic person.
3:03 pm
you know, i just -- i just left coal and energy country. they love scott pruitt. >> reporter: and tonight cnn haze learned that the president has so much confidence in pruitt, he has even considered him a replacement more attorney general jeff sessions, as recently as this week. such a move would put pruitt in charge of the russia investigation, giving him the authority to oversee and even fire special counsel robert mueller. but aboard air force one, trump denied he has any intention of changing pruitt's job. trump's support for pruitt comes in the wake of a barrage of bad publicity. but as one source told cnn, trump was 100% still trying to protect pruitt, because pruitt is his fill-in for sessions. a senior administration official tells cnn the president was not pleased with pruitt's inability to button up several of his controversies in an interview with fox news on wednesday. opting to blame critics for his missteps. >> i do believe as we do our work, ed, as we're focused on
3:04 pm
these types of things, they are transformational. and anytime you do transformational things, there are critics and things that come against you in that regard. >> pruitt complaining he was completely unaware that two of his top aides received unapproved pay raises. >> so one of your employees from oklahoma got a pay raise -- >> they did not get a pay raise. they did not. i stopped that yesterday. >> are you embarrassed that -- >> it should not have happened. and the officials that were involved in that process should not have done what they did. >> reporter: pruitt also struggling to explain his rental of an apartment from the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist when he first moved to washington. >> president trump said he would drain the swamp. >> i don't -- >> is draining the swamp renting an apartment from the wife of a washington lobbyist? >> i don't think that that's even remotely fair to ask that question. >> okay, so, why did you then accept $50 a night to rent a condo from the wife of a washington lobbyist. >> well, let's talk about that. that is something that, again, has been reviewed by officials
3:05 pm
here. they've said that it's market rate. >> you're renting it from the wife of a lobbyist. >> who has no business before this agency. >> so hold on a second, williamson jenson, major lobbying firm. exxonmobil is a client. >> mr. hart has no clients -- >> exxonmobil has no -- >> his firm, he's a member of a law firm. to take his relationship -- >> you're not asking the question. >> it was like an air b&b situation -- >> so you only rent for the nights you were there? >> that's right. >> that's kind of a sweetheart deal. i've never heard of an apartment like this. i've lived in washington for over 25 years. >> this was going to be my remarks. it would have taken about two minutes, but what the hell. >> reporter: meanwhile, as president trump chose to get out of washington today, he was in his element in west virginia. >> no, i'm reading off the first paragraph and i think, this is boring. we have to say -- tell it like it is. >> reporter: what was supposed to be a roundtable discussion about tax reform quickly turned into a wide-ranging campaign-like speech with the president resurrecting one of
3:06 pm
his debunked conspiracy theories. >> in many places, like california, the same person votes many times. you probably heard about that. they always like to say, oh, that's a conspiracy theory. not a conspiracy theory, folks. millions and millions of people. >> reporter: trump going back to his first political speech and his favorite incendiary topic, illegal immigration. >> remember my opening remarks when i opened, everyone says, oh, he's so tough. and i used the word "rape." and yesterday it came up, this journey coming up, women are raped at levels they've never seen before. they don't want to mention that. so we have to change our laws? >> reporter: and today the president said he may send 2,000 to 4,000 national guard troops to the border, but other details such as when that might happen, whether they'll be armed, remain murky tonight. wolf? >> pamela brown at the white
3:07 pm
house. thanks very much. let's get some more now on the breaking news with stormy daniels. the president publicly denying he knew about the hush money he received from his lawyer michael cohen. let's get to our legal analyst, joey jackson. joey, the president said he didn't know about that $130,000 payment to stormy daniels. does that actually invalidate the hush agreement? >> you know, wolf, good evening, it depends who you ask. on the first end of it, you can make the argument that a contract is offer acceptance. and therefore, if i extend an offer to you, wolf, you accept. you and i are the parties to the contract. to the extent that the president has no knowledge of the contract, where is the acceptance? who was accepting on his behalf? therefore, invalid. of course, mr. avenatti is making a number of other arguments that i think are meritorious in addition to that. however, on the other end of it, you could make the argument that it was a third party beneficiary contract. you and i have spoken about this. i purchase a car for my son. my son has no knowledge he's getting a car at all. he's not on the contract or
3:08 pm
otherwise a party. if that car is not delivered to me, however, he has rights to enforce the contract as a third party beneficiary. and so that's the argument i thought they were making, until i heard the president say that michael avenatti was acting as my lawyer, i thought the president's team was going in the way of michael avenatti -- excuse me, making the argument that they were saying that these -- this was a familial relationship. and as a result of a familial relationship, it would, of course, refute mr. avenatti's arguments in that regard saying the contract then would still be valid. >> because the president flatly said when he was asked, did michael cohen, his longtime attorney, make the payment? the president said, you would have to ask michael cohen, michael cohen is my attorney, you'll have to ask him. and what you're saying, joey, the use of the word "attorney" is very significant. >> i think it's highly significant. because then you get into the area of this, first of all, the believability area. is there anyone out there listening to you and i who really believes that any
3:09 pm
attorney on the planet would make a commitment like that on behalf of a client for $130,000 out of a home equity loan? i like to think that i represent my clients well. i like to think that i care about them greatly. there will be no time that you will find me taking personal funds and getting those funds on their behalf in order to satisfy is a payment. on the other hand, however, if you would talk about me acting as a family member, as a friend, as a longtime confidant, that would change the equation. and so to the extent that the president was saying, he was acting as my lawyer, that really goes against the whole third party beneficiary argument. so i'm concerned about the use of that language, yes. >> michael cohen's spokesman, david schwartz, issued a statement following the president's remarks aboard air force one. let me read it to you. "this is an accurate assessment of the facts. this is exactly what i have been saying all along. michael cohen made the payment to protect reputation, family, and business. it had nothing to do with the election."
3:10 pm
that's the statement from david schwartz. but in his comments, the president again called cohen his attorney. and that is, as you correctly point out, is a significant word. >> i think it's highly significant. and we should also note, i mean, listen, there are two ways, of course, in order to make your case. obviously, in a court of law, that's the one way. and i think that we'll really learn, should we get to the deposition parts of this, where people have to actually give sworn testimony, we might get to the truth around what happened, how it happened, where the payment came from, how it was made, why it was made, we'll get to that that's a court of law. but what you read was a statement. and as attorneys, we're also looking to get the high ground in the court of public opinion. but i think from a credibility perspective, if you're going to make the argument that michael cohen was simply acting as a lawyer, i just think it defies all common sense and credibility, because lawyers do not act in this way. people who love and care about someone, who are family members with someone, who are longtime
3:11 pm
confidants and advisers with someone, they could, in fact, make a payment, you don't know anything about it, i got you. but to say you acted in my legal capacity, i think that raises the specter of not passing the smell test. >> let me see if you agree with michael avenatti in his statement that he released following the president's comments. he said, our case just got that much better. and we very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of mr. trump's feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130,000 payment as he stated on air force one. as history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath. do you agree with him that his case just got much better? >> well, let me say this. it's not a lie -- well, it's not a crime to lie to the press, but it certainly is a crime to lie in a deposition or other places. now, for example, i bring you back 20 years ago when bill clinton, then president, looked at the camera and said, i did not have sexual relations with that woman, monica lewinsky, i did not. then monica lewinsky testifies
3:12 pm
in a grand jury. bill clinton testifies in the grand jury and says, yes, the relationship was physical. and therefore, he had to tell the truth. and so the problem is, now the president is on record. and so in a deposition, it's fair game, should he depose him, that is mr. avenatti, the president, he can ask him the question about what he went on record as saying. and if he veers away from that, it's very dangerous. because now you're lying under oath, it gets you into -- again, i refer to bill clinton -- impeachment territory because of a lie you tell in the deposition. i think, and i would be one to advise the president to settle this case immediately. forget about the motion to compel arbitration. you don't need it. you don't need to be right. just get out from under it. because if he is deposed, it becomes a significant problem. >> and so the point being, how will michael avenatti use the president's comments in his case? >> i think in a very significant way. i think two ways. number one, i think he's taking it to the people. he's taking it to the public and speaking about, look, let's talk
3:13 pm
about this. we as trial lawyers all the time, wolf, we go before juries and we talk to them about common sense and good judgment. are there any one of you, as you sit there, believe a, b, or c. and the jurors have to answer that question. so in the first way, he's using it to gain the high ground in the court of public opinion, saying, this is nonsense. and the second way he'll use it in the event he gets to depose the president to say, excuse me, mr. president, you came to the back of air force one. you happened to make some statements in response to some questions, did you not? let's talk about what you said and let's talk about whether that's true. you know you're under oath, sir, do you not? so answer the following question. and then he'll proceed with asking him questions concerning his relationship with michael cohen, the payment of michael cohen, was it reimbursed, where did it come from, what was his knowledge of it? what did he know? when did he know it? how did he know it? and that's when you get into ground that you just don't want to be in. you're the president, you've got a lot of things to do. i know you want to be right. i know you're arguing this never happened. write a check -- well, we know
3:14 pm
mr. avenatti said he's not accepting a check. do what you need to do to get out from under this before you have to testify, and when you testify, you're on very dangerous ground, because we know, we can be fair about this, that this president plays fast and loose with what we believe to be truthful. and you can do that in the press. you can do it in the back of air force one. you cannot do it in a grand jury. you can't do it in a deposition. you can't do it to federal investigators. you just can't. so i would say, if i'm advising him, mr. president, let's take a pass. we need to move on. settle this case. >> let's say the president is telling the truth. and i'm looking at the transcript of what he said. he did not know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels. he didn't know why michael cohen made the payment. you would have to ask michael cohen. he didn't know where michael cohen got the money. no, i don't know. let's say he's telling the truth in all of that. what ethical or legal questions potentially would that raise for his attorney, michael cohen? >> well tw, to things, wolf, an i'll answer that question. in saying that someone is
3:15 pm
telling the truth, again, it's all about credibility and everything has to be evaluated in context. and i think this is what you hear a lot about. so you mean to tell me, 11 days, a week and a half, whatever the specific time frame before an election when you were under siege by women accusing you of various things and this could have been the straw that broke the camel's back, you knew nothing about it? so it gets to the point of credibility, right? we all as people -- you know, law's a gray area. it's never a mathematical science or question. you're operating in the gray. and you're relying upon people, jurors to get it right based upon argument. so to your question, wolf, is there anyone out there, support the president or not, believes that can be true? now, accepting your proposition as it is for now, now you have to ask about michael cohen, which you have. and that is that there are some serious ethical dilemmas. we as lawyers don't go out and settle cases on a whim, because we feel like it, because we're good people, because, ah, i just want to look out for you, it's the right thing to do, i love you, man, and therefore we write checks. not how it works.
3:16 pm
we have ethical practices we have to deal with. one of which is informed condition sent. if there's a settlement agreement, we have to talk about it. my client asks, is it a good thing to do, a bad thing to do? how will it affect me? my family, my job. we're ethically bound to do that. and to the extent you don't, assist problem. so it would appear to me that the president by calling him my lawyer could have very easily said, he's like family to me, i love him, would have changed te equation. he said, "my lawyer." and if the president is telling the truth, i believe it could cause problems for mr. cohen. >> so do you think michael avenatti could depose president trump? >> i've seen the various press he's done on this and other networks concerning this particular case. he appears to me to be driven by the truth. this doesn't appear to be a money-based type of approach to litigation. i think he's made plenty of
3:17 pm
that. and so the reality then becomes, if you want to get to the truth, the best way you get to it is by having people, wolf, raise that hand and you have a court reporter there and everything is transcribed. and goodness for bid you veer away from what's truthful. and again, we know the president is -- he's very apt to sort of -- we can call it puffing, we can call it misrepresentations, we can call it fabrications. but there are some concerns about things that he says that are not true. you can't do that in a deposition. he can talk to you and do it, he could go on other networks and do it, he can come to the back of the plane in air force one and do it. when you're under oath, you've got to tell the truth. and if you don't, guess what. bill clinton again, hate to speak about him, but the fact is, he was impeached as a result of a lie he told in a deposition. you don't want this happening to you, mr. president. settle this case, get out from under it, whatever it takes. >> joy, peter strisz, the attorney for karen mcdougal, the former playmate who also alleged
3:18 pm
having an affair with donald trump. strisz just wrote this, now that donald trump has cleared up everything for michael avenatti, will he be making a statement about our client, karen mcdou l mcdougal, or should we ask michael cohen. what's your reaction to that? >> my reaction to that is that obviously it's gamesmanship. i think it's a wise tweet to make in this point in time. i would advise the president not to be making any statements at all, whether it relates to miss mccdougal, miss zervos, why he said this, i have no idea. the first thing we say to clients, please, don't talk, don't say anything. now he's on record and i highly dould he wou doubt he would say anything about miss mcdougal. >> joey, stick around. president trump finally breaking his silence on stormy daniels, saying he knows nothing about his lawyer's payment to the porn star. surpri-- hold up. hold up.
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
we got a laggy video call here. you need verizon, the best network for streaming. trade ya. okay, people, that's a reset. let's take it back from "supri--" (avo) get up to 50% off our best phones. because unlimited is only as good as the network it's on.
3:21 pm
people say watching paint dry is boring. but some of you know paint can bring a wall to life. because you are particular. particular helps you find the perfect color and nail the details. look, particular people make the best art and science and... things. so be proudly particular with paint like no other. benjamin moore. the standard for paint professionals. only at local paint and hardware stores.
3:22 pm
with a $500,000 life insurance policy. how much do you think it cost him? $100 a month? $75? $50? actually,duncan got his $500,000 for under $28 a month. less than a dollar a day. his secret? selectquote. in just minutes, a selectquote agent will comparison shop nearly a dozen highly-rated life insurance companies, and give you a choice of your five best rates. duncans wife cassie got a $750,000 policy for under $22 a month. give your family the security it needs at a price you can afford.
3:23 pm
we're following multiple breaking stories, including president trump just now breaking his silence on stormy daniels, saying he knows nothing about his attorney, michael cohen's, $130,000 payment to the porn star, just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election. also breaking, we're getting a new window into the collapse of the house intelligence committee's russia investigation. one of the final straws, an ugly hearing in which president trump's former campaign manager,
3:24 pm
corey lewandowski, cursed out democrats and refused to answer their questions. our senior congressional correspondent, manu raju, has been digging on this. so manu, what are you hearing from your sources? >> this is an investigation, wolf, that got increasingly contentious, all the way to the bitter end and culminated in this very heated the interview with the former trump campaign manager, claude clooorey lewand. and we're learning new details about that testimony where he apparently cursed at democrats on the panel repeatedly. but after he testified, the investigation ended and left the public no closer to learning the truth of what actually happened when russian s meddled in the 2016 elections. behind closed doors, the house intelligence committee's russia investigation broke down. >> we ared a ju ed adjourned. >> reporter: after a bitter feud erupted with president trump's former campaign manager, corey lewandowski. sources tonight providing new details to cnn about last month's contentious hearing with lewandowski, who refused to answer a range of questions from
3:25 pm
democrats, including communications with president trump and what he knew about the firing of fbi director james comey. lewandowski's sources say cursed multiple times at democratic lawmakers, including jackie speier of california, at one point saying, i'm not going to answer your f'ing questions. while democrats objected, republicans defended lewandowski, saying he had answered all questions relevant to the committee's investigation. lewandowski's told cnn that "i had to repeat on multiple occasions that there was no collusion, cooperation, or coordination because the democrats couldn't understand my plain english way of speaking." lewandowski was the final witness in an investigation that has ended amid deep mistrust between both parties. with republicans concluding they found no evidence of trump campaign collusion with russia and democrats charging that the gop stifled the inquiry. but as the house probe falters, special counsel robert mueller's investigation is aggressively moving. sources tell cnn that at least
3:26 pm
three russian oligarchs have been targeted for questioning by mueller's team. one of whom was stopped in the new york area and had his electronics searched when his private jet landed. the investigators want to know whether wealthy russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly to trump's campaign and inauguration. >> well, i think it shows that mueller is in the old watergate sense, following the money. >> reporter: as mueller makes his move, the trump administration now ratcheting up pressure on moscow, preparing its toughest action in response to russian interference in the 2016 campaign, with plans to issue new sanctions against several oligarchs tied to russian president vladimir putin, according to two senior administration officials. in response, a kremlin spokesman said, there are no oligarchs in russia. >> mr. president! >> reporter: even though president trump has remained mostly silent or undercut his own intelligence committee's findings about russian election meddling, washington is now
3:27 pm
engaged in an escalating feud with moscow, after accusations that russia was behind the poisoning of a former spy in his daughter on british soil, the u.s. has since moved to expel dozens of russian diplomats, prompting moscow to retaliate, kicking out american diplomats from russia. the state department confirming 60 u.s. diplomats left russia today. still, even some trump allies, including joining national security adviser h.r. mcmaster say not enough has been done to punish russia. >> we have failed to impose sufficient costs. >> reporter: tonight, scrutiny also intensifying over the data analytics firm tied to the trump campaign, cambridge analytica, and how it accessed private data from facebook users. facebook now says the firm may have obtained information from 87 million facebook users, up from its previous estimate of 50 million. >> at the end of the day, this is my responsibility. >> reporter: facebook ceo mark zuckerberg set to face a
3:28 pm
grilling on capitol hill next week on how his company worked with cambridge analytica and how his company failed to root out russian interference. >> we didn't focus enough on preventing of use and thinking how people could use these tools to do harm as well. and that goes for fake news, foreign interference inex wil s elections, hate speech. >> reporter: so after we reported on corey lewandowski's appearance before the house intelligence committee, he told me that democrats on the committee were the first to use foul language during his testimony, wolf, when he said, i felt the need to respond in kind. he said the -- quote, the language they used in the committee was appalling. he also said, "i've never heard such language used before." now, lewandowski said he did not recall what precisely was said and he would not name the democratic members of the committee he was referring to, so, wolf, the debate continues going forward about what exactly corey lewandowski said, but no one disputes some rather tough language exchanged in the final
3:29 pm
witness interview that led to this result -- >> very, very ugly, indeed. manu, good reporting. thank you very much. let's talk about all the breaking news, including president trump's first comments on the stormy daniels controversy. joining us now, congressman adriano espaillat, a democrat who serves on the foreign affairs committee. congressman, first of all, do you believe president trump when he says he didn't know about that $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> it's hard to believe that he didn't know. but, nevertheless, he said he didn't know, he sent to his attorney, and his signature is not in the document, in the agreement. and that then leads to a question on whether or not he was truly a party to the agreement. and that will play out in whatever legal proceedings are ahead of us. >> do you think there's a role for congress, should congress be investigating this $130,000 payment? >> i believe so. i believe that it was done prior to the election. it was done during campaign
3:30 pm
season. and it was hush money to quiet somebody up. and i think that there's a role for congress to play in looking into this particular matter. >> to look into whether 11 days before the election, this was, as some people have suggested, an in-kind campaign contribution that would be, that would be illegal. >> that could be construed to be an in-kind campaign contribution, and if such, it would be an illegal contribution. and i think there's plenty of room to look into that and to get to the bottom of it and figure out whether or not it was legal. >> let's get to some other sensitive issues, congressman, while you have you. the president says he won't replace his attorney general with scott pruitt, but he was considering doing exactly that, as recently as early this week. do you believe the attorney general, jeff sessions, is safe? >> well, i thought we were going to catch a break and perhaps we would get that citizenship question in our census form, since it was the justice department that asked for the citizenship question to be in
3:31 pm
the census application, but, look, we've seen people go and come -- and leave the white house in a short period of time. the turnover has been tremendous. i would not be surprised if the attorney will be subject, as well, to some kind of pressure to leaving. if not now, in the future. the president may be looking at avenues and ways to try to get to mueller in the future. so, we've got to be watchful. congress must be watchful, and we've got to really uphold the rule of law. >> if sessions, the attorney general were fired, congressman, and a new attorney general was confirmed, someone who would be in charge now of the mueller investigation, as opposed to rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, would that raise at least in your mind, the question of obstruction of justice? >> well, i don't know if i could take it to that level, but certainly, it will raise serious doubts as to whether or not by changing the attorney general, the white house is trying to get
3:32 pm
at mueller, who continues to move forward, continues to put the pressure on, the heat on, and as we saw today, the oligarchs in russia are now under his radar. and so, he's moving forward and this is a serious and credible investigation. people have been charged and arrested for it. it comes closer and closer to the white house. and i think it's got a lot to go further. so we'll see what transpires in the next few months. >> and on another issue, scott pruitt is facing calls for his resignation from the environmental protection agency. what does it say to you, congressman, that president trump is defending him. he said just on air force one, i think he's done a fantastic job. he's a fantastic person. i just left coal and energy country. they love pruitt. referring to west virginia. they feel strongly and love him. what does that say to you? >> well, clearly, there's been some ethical lapses that have been -- that have emerged with pruitt. his renting of an apartment at $50 a night.
3:33 pm
he claims it was sort of like an air bnb deal, kind of like a sweet deal for washington. the rent is pretty high down there. but nevertheless, he rented this apartment from someone who has clear links to the energy business and links to the epa. so clearly a lapse of ethics. so these issues that are mushrooming around pruitt are troubling and for him to speak highly about this particular person in his cabinet, i think, is troubling as well. >> congressman espaillat, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you so much. just ahead, more breaking news. the president breaking his silence on stormy daniels and the hush money payment to the porn star.
3:34 pm
what does it take to make digital transformation actually happen? do you just flip a switch... and presto your business is magically transformed? not quite. it takes a ground-breaking company like dell technologies. a family of seven technology leaders working behind the scenes to make the impossible... reality. for instance, we're helping to give cars the power to read your mind from anywhere. ♪ we're helping up to 40% of the nation's donated blood supply... to be redirected to the areas and people that need it most. and we're even developing technology to create a whole new vision for the blind. so while you might not see what we're doing... what we're doing is changing the way we all see the world.
3:35 pm
magic can't make digital transformation happen... but we can. let's make it real. i'm the one clocking in when you're clocking out. sensing your every move and automatically adjusting to help you stay effortlessly comfortable. i can also help with this. does your bed do that? oh. i don't actually talk. though i'm smart enough to. i'm the new sleep number 360 smart bed. let's meet at a sleep number store. it's ok that everyone ignores it's fine. drive. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. and i don't share it with mom! right, mom? righttt. safe driving bonus checks. only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it.
3:36 pm
he's playno, with us. he's trying to tell us something. let's see what forensics thinks. sorry i'm late. what did i miss? wanna get away? now you can with southwest fares as low as 49 dollars one-way. yes to low fares with nothing to hide. that's transfarency.
3:37 pm
internet providers promise business owners a lot. let's see who delivers more. comcast business offers fast gig-speeds across our network. at&t doesn't. we offer more complete reliability with up to 8 hours of 4g wireless network backup. at&t, no way. we offer 35 voice features and solutions that grow with your business. at&t, not so much.
3:38 pm
we give you 75 mbps for $59.95. that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. we're back with the breaking news. after months of dodging questions about stormy daniels, the president tells reporters he knows nothing about the hush money his lawyer paid to the porn star. let's bring in our analyst to assess. michael zeldin, you're our legal analyst. he said, flatly, when he was asked about the $130,000 payment that michael cohen, his attorney, paid to stormy daniels, he says he didn't know anything about it. does this invalidate, potentially, the hush agreement? because it was presumably in his name. >> well, it creates opportunities for avenatti and stormy daniels, his lawyer. he has moved in court for depositions or other discovery. the president's silence doesn't
3:39 pm
help that. when he talks about the contract for the first time, it may allow avenatti to go back to court and you say, you say to the judge, you see, we need to evaluate what he is saying in relationship as to whether this is a valid contract. also in request for his declaratory judgment, he says that there are conditions on both parties that have to be met. if donald trump's speaking about this contract, in any way abrogatess those terms or conditions, it may help avenatti seek to declare this contract null and void. so i think it's a better day for stormy daniels' legal position than it is for president trump and michael cohen. >> let's pick up that, david swerdlick. stormy daniels' lawyer, michael avenatti, issued a statement saying, quote, our case just got that much better. and he also says he now plans to refile a motion to depose the president and michael cohen, the president's attorney. will the judge potentially view that differently this time? >> well, perhaps. and just to piggyback on what
3:40 pm
michael is saying, this idea -- it is, in a sense, better for the avenatti/stormy daniels side if one of the theories that they've been pushing, both legally and in the media is this idea that, how can the president be a third party beneficiary to a contract if he doesn't know about the contract? i don't know how a court would rule on that. i also think, wolf, that this opens up a credibility problem for the president. if the president said fairly unequivocally today, that he knew nothing about it, why didn't he say that all along? we've been talking about stormy daniels for weeks. >> jim sciutto, you've been doing a lot of reporting on the mueller investigation. could any of this interest in stormy daniels potentially be of interest to robert mueller? >> well, with mueller has shown interest in financial dealings of the president. we know that cnn has reported, he's requested financial documents. we know spr spefrom speaking to witnesses who have been interviewed by mueller, that mueller has asked questions about financial dealings, certainly involving russian, but other business practices of the president, even going back to the time before he declared his
3:41 pm
campaign. with stormy daniels, it appears the principle legal problem and the lawyer to the left of me would know better than this, better than me, but whether election funds were used in that stormy daniels payment. and then that would be an elections -- an election law violation. and that clearly could be of interest to the special counsel, as well. >> a $130,000 in-kind campaign contribution that could be a violation of campaign finance law. you know, joey, let's talk about some of the other women now who are going after the president, suing the president. karen mcdougal's lawyer. she's the former playmate, wants comment from the president as well. summer suing the president, hasa legal suit against the president. how could this statement on stormy daniels, didn't know anything about the payment, potentially impact the other cases? >> if i'm the president's lawyers, i say it has no impact on the other cases. the president made comments, i think they were ill-advised. any lawyer will tell you, we
3:42 pm
tell our client not to speak. people can think, i can say whatever i want, not so. don't say anything. he did and he has. and i think that represents a significant problem as it relates to this case. why? because he talked about michael cohen acting as his lawyer, not his family member, not a longtime confidant, not a person i love and trust and respect. and that raises issues for his defense. and then, of course, it goes to the issue of him being on record now. and so if he's deposed, he could be confronted with it. but his lawyers will isolate this and net event that it's used and, oh, it will be, in the event that he gets to that deposition stage, to just suggest that it relates to stormy daniels has nothing to do with mcdougal. we know her lawyer tweeted, hey, you have something to say to me? no, mr. president, don't say, exercise some discipline. we know he has issues with that, perhaps he will tweet later about it. he should not do so. nor should he do so as it relates to the zervos case. >> rebecca, what do you make of the president finally breaking his silence on stormy daniels?
3:43 pm
the timing of this right now? >> well, it's more surprising to me, wolf, that the president hasn't said anything prior to today, just because president trump tends to comment on everything. controversial -- controversies, things that aren't -- but this looks like a lot more impulsive than it does strategic, for the reasons we've mentioned, it creates legal complications for the president. it brings this unflattering story back into the news for him. but we know that the president is a counterpuncher. when he feels like someone is going after him, he likes to fight back. he has, so far, tried not to give into that impulse on twitter, for legal reasons. but we saw today that he slipped up and did. >> michael zeldin, the president's comments today make some bigger problems for michael cohen? >> well, michael cohen has said all along, the president wasn't party to this contract. he was just a third party beneficiary. so, the president's comment really doesn't totally jeopardize cohen's position on the case. what it does is it jeopardizes the president's position, i think, more in the public
3:44 pm
domain. because he's now talking about this. when his silence was deafening, it was much better for him. now we're spending our time talking about this. it's going to raise, again, the question of, is he being truthful? if avenatti is able to use this to get deposition testimony or other discovery, he's going to have to walk this statement back or affirm it. and that's going to be problematic for him. >> all right. there's also we have to assess. we're going to continue our breaking news coverage. we're also going to have much more on the president's new comments about the stormy daniels hush money payment and what it means for the porn star's case against him. this as the president's legal team is trying to block the lawsuit of another trump accuser, summer zervos. are they trying to prevent the president from testifying under oath?
3:45 pm
3:46 pm
we had long deployments in iraq. i'm really grateful that usaa was able to take care of my family while i was overseas serving. it was my very first car accident. we were hit from behind. i called usaa and the first thing they asked was 'are you ok?' they always thank you for your service, which is nice because as a spouse you serve too. we're the hayles and we're usaa members for life. see how much you could save with usaa by bundling your auto and home insurance. get a quote today.
3:47 pm
3:48 pm
3:49 pm
breaking news this hour. stormy daniels' lawyer says he'll file a new motion to depose president trump on monday. this just hours after the president publicly denied he knew anything about his attorney's hush money deal with the porn star. listen to what the president said aboard air force one just a little while ago. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no. >> then why did michael cohen make it if there was no -- >> you would have to ask michael cohen. michael is my attorney and you'll have to ask michael. >> do you know where he got the money to make that payment?
3:50 pm
>> no, i don't know. >> we're also following a new our national correspondent athena jones is joining us. what's the latest on summer zervos' lawsuit? >> trump's lawyers saw the to get this at the very least delayed until he leaves office. they argued that trump did not defame summer because his denials, his repeated denials over allegations were political speech that's protected by the first amendment. last month a new york judge ruled this case can go forward. in her opinion she said no one is above the law and even cited the 1997 supreme court case, the clinton versus jones case. the supreme court then decided in that case which was about the
3:51 pm
sexual harassment lawsuit that paula jones brought against president clinton, they decided a president can be sued in court for unofficial acts. now trump's legal team is appealing that decision and they want this case suspended until that appeal is hurt. now two important things to note. the appeal is not expected to be heard until september. the other important point is that based on the arguments that trump's lawyer is making and the cases that they cite, it apparent the goal here is to delay the discovery process in this case. that is gathering facts before trial through document requests, through depositions, which means having someone answer questions under ole. we know her legal team will want to depose the president and that president trump often says things that are imprecise, inaccurate and simply not true and it was lying under oath that
3:52 pm
got president clinton in trouble in the 90s, one that led to impeachment. >> thank you. just ahead, more breaking news as president trump breaks his silence on stormy daniels and the hush money payment to the porn star. trade ya. okay, people, that's a reset. let's take it back from "supri--" (avo) get up to 50% off our best phones. because unlimited is only as good as the network it's on. ♪ experience a blend of refined craftsmanship... ...and raw power. ♪ new innovations... ...and a tradition of excellence. luxury... ...and performance, engineered to take the crown. presenting the all-new lexus ls 500 and ls 500h. experience amazing, at your lexus dealer.
3:53 pm
if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. other side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and headache. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ♪ otezla. show more of you.
3:54 pm
3:55 pm
3:56 pm
tonight as president trump has been squabbling over his
3:57 pm
national security over his push to withdraw u.s. forces from syria, let's go to barbara starr. >> president trump may be talking about bringing troops out of syria but you that is not happening right now. several dozen additional marines have arrived in northern syria according to two u.s. officials. at american outposts like this, the marines are boosting defenses. with 2,000 u.s. forces on the ground in syria, this may be the last troop increase for the u.s. president trump says he willing to keep forces there in the short term but he wants u.s. troops out of syria soon. >> i want to get out. i want to bring our troops back home. we have nothing, nothing except death and destruction. it's a horrible thing. so it's time. it's time. we were very successful against isis. >> but how soon u.s. troops come
3:58 pm
home and what happens next in syria is anybody's guess. the pentagon going to great lengths to put a positive face on it all. >> i've heard rumors of people talking about withdrawal. i know the president said very soon because we have been very successful with defeating isis. >> one top pentagon general claims it's no big deal. >> as we reach finality, we're going to adjust the level of our presence there. >> reporter: even disputing the president specifically pressed for a quick withdrawal. >> the president has been very good in not giving us a specific timeline. >> reporter: but the president's expectation is said to be that he wants troops out in six months. >> the hard part i think is in front of us and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes,
3:59 pm
addressing the long-term issues of reconstruction and other things that will have to be done, and this of course is -- there is a military role in this. certainly in the stabilization phase. >> reporter: it may all put one of the most plain spoken four star generals in a tough spot. >> i don't think general votel will accept the idea we have to leave in six months. he's been on the ground, has looked the kurdish leaders in the eye and has basically told them we will stay. he done want to be somebody to go back or has to go back on his word. >> reporter: when u.s. troops do finally come out of syria, the question is how far will russia and iran go to dig in with their influence even further and will other allies contribute troops or cash to help rebuild syria? >> it's interesting, because as the president says he would like those 2,000 troops out of syria,
4:00 pm
he told reporters he wants between 2,000 and 4,000 national guard troops along the border with mexico. we'll continue to follow that story as well. barbara, thanks very. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts now. >> the president not only sticking by his epa chief but floating replaces attorney general jeff sessions with pruitt. this as more shocking accusations pile up against scott pruitt and the president just throwing out another bomb on china, talking about another $100 billion in tariffs. and trump breaking his silence tonight on stormy daniels. it's a busy night. let's go "outfront." good evening, i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, cnn has lear


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on