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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  April 13, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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the hotel as they did so aggressively. >> okay. thank you so much. sara is sitting with us. another voice here. a lawyer and all of this is going on in this friday afternoon. yes, he's right. one sense it felt aggressive the way the fbi went in on cohen's hotel and office and home. it sounds like a window into why. he has potential recordings that could have been deleted had they not rolled in when they did. >> absolutely. normally -- got to go to a different sara. hang on. >> opioid memorial. it's a moving experience. president trump and the first lady encourage you to visit the memorial before it leaves washington, d.c. on april 18th. today at the summit of americas in lima, peru, assistants to the president and advisor ivanka
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trump oversees private investment corporation into u.s. acting u.s. secretary of state. which will mobilize 500 million in private capital to invest in projects that empower women in latin america. this new initiative will break down barriers that limit women's full participation in the economy and reaffirms the trump administration's commitment to empowering women in latin america and around the globe. as you saw yesterday's confirmation hearing for secretary of state mike pompeo went well. from his years in the army to his time as a key member of the house intelligence committee to a successful tenure as kcia director, he axeled. america has been safer, more sku secure, and prosperous. there's no reason that pompeo's
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confirmation process shouldn't be done in a speedy and bipartisan manner. even the "washington post" editorial board published an editorial yesterday with the headline "confirmed mike pompeo." democrats and republicans should do that by coming together and doing what is without question the right thing for our country. with that, i'll take your questions. >> the president came out swinging today calling james comey a liar, a leaker, a slime ball. is he worried about what he's saying? >> not at all. the american people see right through the blatant lies of the self-admitted leaker. this is nothing more than a poorly executed pr stunt by comey to -- he's padding his pockets with a book that should
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be in the basement bargain bin. he'll be known as a disgraced partisan hack that broke his sacred trust with the president of the united states. the dedicated agents of the fbi and the american people he vowed to faithfully serve. one of the president's greatest achievements will go down as firing director comey. >> the deputy attorney general was here yesterday. is the president going to fire rod roseenstein. i don't have any information at this time. >> for a short time ago he pardoned school pardon pardon pardoned scooter libby. many people believe scooter libby was the victim of a special counsel investigation run amuck. recent statements indicates you feel the same thing about the mueller investigation. was the president sending some sort of signal to the mueller investigation or about the mueller investigation by pardoning scooter? >> not at all. one thing has nothing to do with the other.
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and every case should be reviewed on their own merits. pardoning libby was the right thing to do after the principle witness recanted her testimony. the d.c. court of appeals panel unanimously voted to restore mr. libby's bar membership after being presented credible evidence in support of his version of events and it appears that key prosecution witness changed her recollections. >> the president acknowledges he doesn't know scooter libby. what was it that convinced him that scooter libby deserved a pardon? >> the president thought it was the right thing to do. >> reporter: i ask about the president -- >> speak up. >> the president began the week saying he expected a decision in 24 to 48 hours on syria. on tuesday he said a decision would come that night. here we are on friday. and in a statement last night he said that no final decision had been reached. i was wondering for you can walk
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through why the president hasn't met his own time line there. specifically, anything to do with the sort of syrian movement we saw after wednesday? >> no, we're continuing to have ongoing conversations with our partners and allies. the president spoke with president macron of france earlier today. we're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the white house. when we have any further developments within we' developments, we'll let you know. >> because it's friday. >> friday the 13th. >> walk us through -- >> you growl like it's a bad thing. >> committed to senator gardner in terms of what the justice department would do and the white house would do in terms of supporting legislation on -- >> i think the president did speak with senator gardner yesterday and again today. we're consulting congress about issues including states rights and in which the president is a firm believer and the statement that the senator put out earlier
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today is accurate. [ inaudible question ] >> i can't talk about anything that may or may not happen but i can tell you that the president and a number of individuals within his administration have spoken to a number of our partners and allies across the world. >> is he satisfied now that syria wasn't responsible for the chemical weapons attack? >> yes. we're confident that both syria had responsibility in this chemical weapons attack. but we also hold russia responsible for their failure to stop chemical weapons attacks from taking place. josh? >> it was reported today that michael cohen, the president's president attorney negotiabilitinegotiated a $1.6 million settlement. it e merged today that cohen is under criminal investigation.
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is the president still associated with michael cohen? is he continued to consider michael cohen someone he holds in confidence? >> i know that the president worked with him as a personal attorney. beyond that, i don't have anything else to add. >> does the president want to say anything? >> the president is clear about the turn the investigation has taken. the president spoken on this topic at length and i would refer you back to those comments. [ inaudible question ] >> i would refer you to michael cohen's personal attorney. >> is cohen still the president's personal attorney? >> i'm not sure. i would have to check. we only speak about white house staff. [ inaudible question ] >> the president has a great relationship with mccarthy. in terms of an announcement
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about who he wants to see as the next speaker, i don't have any announcements on that front. john? >> the comey book came out today. he speaks to the president -- writes about the president very personal terms. were you surprised by that? was the president surprised by that? >> i don't think we're surprised by the fact that james comey continues to spread false information. the guy is known to be a liar and a leaker. and so there's not a lot about james comey we would find to be surprising. >> quickly on the pardon that came out today for libby. the president issued three presidential pardons. one to joe arpaio. is there a commonality in terms of what the president looks for when he pardons individuals? >> again, every case should be reviewed on their own merits and that's what the president has done in each of those. >> sara, i'm wondering if the administration has reacted with
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any message to moscow after officials there today said that the chemical attack was faked and staged with britain's direct involvements. >> certainly our intelligence tells us otherwise. i can't go beyond that, but, again, we have a very high confidence that syria was responsible. once again, russia's failure to stop them and their continued disaction on this front has been part of the problem. april? >> reporter: question into the syrian. cause for the delay in the strike time? >> we're continuing to have ongoing conversations with partners and allies. assess the information and once a decision is made, we'll let you know. >> thank you. justice department inspector general came out with the long awaited report this afternoon on
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andrew mccabe saying he properly leaked information about the clinton foundation investigation to a reporter and lied to james comey about it under oath to fbi investigators. do you have an reaction to that and does that validate the fire mccabe? >> it sounds like two peas in a pod with mccabe and comey. mccabe was fired for disgrace and misconduct and lied. beyond that, i don't have anything. >> you said that james comey was a liar. that he's a leaker. that he made false representations or claims. other than what the president tweeted this morning about lying under oath, what has he said that is false or a lie? >> comey claimed reopening the clinton investigation. he did it based on merit. now he said it was because of poll numbers. comey claimed the president told him to stop investigating flynn
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after he told him no one told him to stop investigations. and the media reported that officials determined that comey leaked four memos. at least four we know about with classified information and i think it's clear that comey has a credibility problem. the other thing is clear it was one of the few issues in washington that both democrats and republicans agree on. he's been criticized by the legal community for leaking sensitive information. and organizations promoting good government found comey's leaking grounds for firing. multiple democrats, including some of the biggest leaders in the democrat party have attacked comey. minority leader pelosi said comey was maybe not in the right job. schumer said he was appalled by what comey did and did not have confidence in him any longer. senator bernie sanders said comey acted in an outrageous way. clinton's running mate said comey is responsible for the lowest moment in the history of the fbi. maxine waters said comey has no credibility. the fbi should be independent
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and not lead by a political hack. comey's higher loyalty is clear it's only to himself. if you can get this group of people to agree on something, i think you would have to be right. >> sara, what about the dossier. did he lie about that? >> the dossier is false. opposition research that was funded by the clinton campaign to attack the president. it was used illegally to justify spying on americans. and i think that's quite the problem. >> what about the content of the president. attacks on comey. is that a bit becoming of the presidency of this white house to go after him in such a personal way? >> i think it -- >> calling him a liar and leaker. >> i think it's unbecoming for the person who is supposed to be the top law enforcement official in the united states, the person that is supposed to protect the people of this country to lie
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and leak classified information. certainly to falsify documents. i think that's a very big problem. and somebody who has created this problem for himself. i didn't encourage jim comey to do a pr campaign. congress asked comey to testify multiple times in which he denied being able to do yet he found time to sit down with george steph no lis for five hours. i think comey should be held responsible. ? >> you've probably seen the quote when you were attacking fbi agents if you're under criminal investigation you're losing. what do you make of that now? >> the rank and file fbi are some of the greatest people in this country.
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we repeated that time and time again. and certainly have the full support of this administration. i think we've been clear, though, how we feel about some of the leadership at the fbi. particularly james comey. >> comey's book is the president's quote, "disdain for the federal law." how would you characterize the president's attitude toward the rule of law and things he said publicly about many of his top officials? president has a great deal of respect for the rule of law. but the president doesn't have a lot of respect for the people whose sole job to protect the american people and then lie. [ inaudible question ] >> that's a whole list he has undermined. it's not just people who have
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proven to leak information. >> reporter: the president hasn't undermined them in any capacity because he calls out things that he finds to be problematic or concerning. i think that he should do that. if members of the fbi are leaking information, the president should absolutely call that to question. you guys spend hours upon hours every single day praising jim comey, propping him up, giving him the biggest platform. we shouldn't be praising him. we should be putting him down and taking him off of air instead of giving him minute after minute. this country has a lot of real problems. we should be talking about the economy and syria and the drug crisis. but instead, we're going to talk about jim comey. you guys will cover it endlessly all day today. all day tomorrow and my guess every day next week with very little time given to the issues that people care about. so the president has every right to call out that individual that you guys are propping up and saying that there are problems and that we should be concerned about it. >> hey, sara.
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this morning james comey admitted he didn't tell the president about -- >> i'm sorry, can you speak up? >> this morning james comey said he didn't inform the president of the dossier. was the president surprised to hear that? did comey tell him about the sourcing of the political dossier against him? >> i'm not sure about that specific conversation. i know that it's been documented many times over now that the dossier is false opposition research funded by the clinton campaign and used to attack the president. >> one more question, because it's friday. did the president speak to former vice president dick cheney? >> i'm not sure. >> three republican state senators from missouri wrote the president saying that the em battled government should resign
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from office. they have serious charges of sexual abuse against him, faces impeachment. they concluded it's a former navy s.e.a.l. he would resign if the commander in chief asked him to. will he ask the governor to step down? >> i don't have an official response at this time. certainly something that is very concerning and something that we're taking very seriously. i'll keep you updated as we have something. >> reporter: so concerning the summit with prime minister abe next week. does the president push for a bilateral free trade agreement? >> i'm not going to get ahead of the president's conversations with prime minister abe but trade will be something that is discussed as well as the ongoing conversations around north korea. >> reporter: does the president -- >> sorry. >> reporter: meeting today on syria? i'm sorry? >> will the president have
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another meeting today on syria? >> there is another national security meeting later this afternoon at the deputies level. >> reporter: talking about the bribing process. how is the president deciding to take action on the case. how are you deciding when to take action on his case? can a normal person feel like they've been unjustly convicted. can they get their case to the white house? there's a justice department process, but it seems like the president is taking special interest in certain cases. >> again, the president has exercised constitutional authority and he determines when and how he's going to use that when it comes to the pardon process. he looks at each one individually and makes a decision and we make that
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announcement. [ inaudible question ] >> we are confident in the intelligence we have and in the fact that we know that syria is responsible for these actions. one last question. is he considering other options? i don't have any additional changes to policy in syria at this time. and in terms of options, all of
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our options are on the table. we'll make an announcement then. >> reporter: what does the president have to say to those that say firing mueller would be suicide -- [ inaudible ] >> i'm not going to get into hypothetical situations. the president has taken no action on that front. and i'm not going to get into a back and forth on a hypothetical. >> republican lawmakers are counselling him not to take an action like that? >> with a number of issues, the president talks to a lot of different lawmakers on a number of topics. he's going to continue consulting with them. not just on this but very big issues that our country is facing. that's what his focus is on. thank you so much, guys. happy friday! >> all right. got a lot of voices. let me bring in gloria. we're coming to you first.
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what i jotted down off the top. a full sort of-throated assault, prepared notes on all things ko james comey. she said the american people have seen through the blatant lies of a desperate pr stunt in referring to his new book. looking lo looking to pad his pockets with a book that belongs in the bargain bin. >> right. look, i think they hated and i think the president has made that very clear. and i think that is one thing that is going on. but the other thing that is going on that, honestly, i see our reporter outside the courthouse is going on should be actually a more concern to the president right now, which is the question of michael cohen and his the raid of his office.
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and why they raided his documents and the fact that these attorneys are now saying that there is no attorney-client privilege in the stormy daniels case. and at one point in their document they say that absent the search warrant. the records could have been deleted without record and without recourse for law enforcement. then the reason for the belief afterwards is heavily redacted. these are very serious developments. not only for michael cohen but i would argue also for the president of the united states. so they can throw stones at each other. comby and trump and that will continue and, however, that may not be a side show with this particular moment. i think the white house is the main action. >> yeah. we've been focussing on the criminality or the fact that michael cohen and his personal
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attorney is under criminal investigation. and we'll get to that. we'll get back to that in a second. i want to stay on james comey we talked about this investigation and his firing and what did you make of how sara sanders characterized this? and to gloria's point, they hate him. >> i agree with gloria a lot of this will end up being mud slinging. one thing that is important to highlight, brooke, a way they're discrediting comey's book is that it's written after he was fired. that this is all about revenge, and, you know, getting back at the president. this is why his memos before he was fired as he was having the meetings take so much weight. you can't accuse him of having
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the motives at the time he did that. i believe the fbi general counsel also has his own version of what comey told him at the time. so i just want to make sure that we put those in context. this is his personal recollections of post firing. but there are recollections he had at the time. >> yeah. you know you reported a lot on james comey. didn't he admit in this book that he did have political calculation when deciding on announcing the reopening of the hillary clinton e-mail probe? >> well, that's, yes, he has. it's conscious or unconscious calculation whether he was concerned about how it would be perceived. all along, you know, covering that case certainly covering this case comey has always been concerned about that about the political. about how the fbi would be viewed. how he would personally be
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viewed. how to he's never expressed that to any of us. but there are people that we've talked to that have been close to him through the years and he was concerned. he was mindful of appearances. and he was even concerned sometimes about how he looked and whether he should wear a jacket in certain situations or roll up his sleeves in certain situations. so he was mindful of the optics of any situation that he was going into. >> if i can, we were listening to sara sanders and you're saying there's a lot in the quotes and sound bites come ought from this comey conversation and the comey book. and you were noting how he compares the president to, you know, the gambino family. mob bosses he once put away. >> yeah. it's interconnected. michael cohen and, you know, the criminal investigation is tied to the comey book. and this is about the trump
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white house at war with the fbi. and the fbi is a bureaucracy. the fbi is a culture. and they feel that donald trump is unethical. that there are a lot of laws being circumvented, potentially broken. and, you know, there's no coincidence that cohen is getting raided and today charged with criminal, you know, it's going to be criminally investigated. the same time that the comey excerpts came out. comey leaked the excerpts in a coordinated fashion. if you're donald trump you're beseeched. you have to feel like it could be the beginning of the end. lord knows what cohen has in his documents and maybe even tape recordings. >> let's get to that. to the other huge piece of news we've been discussing for much of the show is michael cohen. the president's, you know, everyone keeps talking about this a man who knows where the bodies are buried. who buried the bodies for donald trump. this is michael cohen initially
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under criminal investigation. the hearing has been underway. if people are just tuning in, catch them up on all things michael cohen. >> look, it's been certainly a busy day here. i think we have a very good indication today of where the michael cohen investigation is going. and where prosecutors here in new york are going with it. and in the end, it is it does involve the president. his lawyer michael cohen and really, you know, we've learned so much from these court documents that were released moments ago here and that the fbi, what the prosecutors here have been looking at and looking for are these communications documents relating to michael cohen's and the president. some of their dealings, perhaps. we have learned significant here that if the fbi prosecutor is
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saying if they had not gone in the way they did with the search warrants, they have concern that evidence would be destroyed. i mean, that's a crime itself. >> yeah. >> that's a significant development here. the other thing we've learned that michael cohen was under surveillance already by the fbi. they had covert surveillance on him with his e-mails where they found some indications that his only client was the president donald trump. there's a lot of argument that is going on. in court behind me today and we're going back in at 4:00 because the judge wants to know exactly that question. what other clients did michael cohen have? where he's asserting all the privilege and the fbi has thousands and thousands of documents and it's going to violate all the attorney client privilege. the judge is asking his attorneys, okay, who are the clients? tell me. so far we have not gotten an answer. the lawyers haven't been able to tell the judge so far who these
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other clients are that they're perhaps concerned their privilege could be violated. we have learned a lot here on this investigation. how serious this is. and the other thing, brooke, simply, that the fbi and the prosecutors here have not begun to start going through the information that they obtained in these search warrants because of some of the action that is going on right now. this emergency relief that michael cohen's attorneys are seeking to prevent. so they don't even know what they fully have yet. they have some idea because they have surveillance on him. they is covert surveillance they've been reading his e-mails. they have some claims into the information they're dealing with. they don't know entirely yet what they're dealing with. >> we know and, gloria, i want you on this. you pointed it out earlier, coming back to the president's words haunting him. it was a moment i want to play
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this clip. this is quick but it's the president on air force one. this is when he's being asked about that hush money. the $130,000. michael cohen, you know, admitted paying and michael cohen said the president had nothing to do with this. >> so, gloria, that's the moment and that's when the president said "ask michael cohen" and according to the court documents this is coming back to biete hi. >> it is. it clearly is stated in a
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footnote here. they're saying even if the president is michael cohen's only client, the michael cohen, the president said personally he did not know anything about this. and he did not know anything about the payment and you'd have to ask michael cohen. so if he's denied knowing about it, they are, you know, they are saying that these communications there should not be any communications. because they wouldn't be, you know, if he denies knowing about it, then why is michael cohen worried about it? because it never happened. if we believe that the president is telling the truth. and so, obviously, they're saying this stormy daniels matter is really not covered here. and they are questioning at every turn. michael cohen's assertion that he not only work for donald trump. that he had five other clients he can't seem to find.
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he worked in a law firm. that he rented office space in a law firm where only he had the key to his office. it's very clear have looked at e-mails in which they seem to have seen no evidence that he was working on behalf of other clients. if he helped anybody, it may have been at donald trump's behest. so they're saying you represent the president and we had every right to do this. because we believe otherwise documents might have been destroyed. we believe crimes were committed. i'm sure and i know as it was pointed out earlier in reading through this there are a lot of very tantalizing redactions. in which potential crimes are laid out. it. >> right. we only get to read bits and
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pieces. the development that they're now arguing this, you know, the stormy payment wouldn't be covered under attorney-client privilege and the fbi had to roll up when they did because he was worried they were about to destroy evidence. >> we're are obligated to take connell continuing legal education on an yule basis. it differs from state to state. but there's an ethical component to it. and this sounds like the type of lecture you would hear in what we refer to as a cle presentation or law school exam. i would say there's no simple answer to that which we've heard this far. i think the court would be hard pressed not to find an attorney legal client relationship here where the president says he's my attorney and the attorney said he's my client. what i said to you, brooke, the president is in a tough spot. he's trying to thread a needle
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by saying i was not a party to the underlying agreement. he was out of the loop. but it's nonetheless a binding contract. >> okay. let me come back to you in a second. the government cited covert search warrants to search the e-mail accounts. can you explain that and what it means for michael cohen? >> yes. the burden of proof to get covert surveillance under title iii, which is what authorizes electronic surveillance for criminal matters is incredibly high. you have to show the court not only that you have probable cause to obtain evidence of a crime but you don't -- you can't get it through any less interest of means because the invasion into the person's privacy. so i think that combined with
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the aggressiveness of the search warrant and, you know, the fact they met this high bar to execute it on an attorney tells you that these that whatever part is redacted in the motions. but the crime they are investigating are quite serious. and i think that cohen's argument in response is quite weak. he wants his own counsel to be able to sift through whatever the government has collected, which, i mean, no defendant gets to do that. and the department of justice actually has a team that is going to do that for them. you know, i think if he doesn't have a lot of clients, it's hard to assert attorney/client privilege. i believe the government's motion said there aren't any communications between him and the president. >> the other piece of this, and i'll bring it back up. specifically react to the piece we learned from the nonredacted
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bits. they raided him early in the morning. you know, when they did because they were worried the records were specifically the electronics he had -- there was a worry he would delete them. >> look, there were alternatives here they obviously believed were not working. alternative number one is that michael cohen could have cooperated. he could have voluntarily handed over whatever information they were seeking. they could have executed a subpoena without a search warrant. they must have believed that was going to be insufficient. they also could have narrowly tailored a search warrant. it seems to have been very global. so what we need to know is what was the basis for the feds to believe there was a risk of destruction if they didn't go to these measures, which are, yes, aggressive is a good word to use to describe it. >> uh-huh. and then, gloria, people haven't been following your reporting
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over the last, you know, 24 hours on how michael cohen had the pension to record conversations. he had audio recordings. >> yeah. if you have been in michael cohen's office, there are multiple phones, there's computers, he's on two phones at a time. he records things, he's a multitasker extraordinary. and our reporting is that he recorded conversations routinely leading up to the campaign and during the campaign, say, with media personalities, et. cetera, defending the president. and then would play it back. you know, he would play it back to the candidate at that time. he would play it back to donald trump. he would play it back to staffers. and this was something that worried some people but he did that. we don't know what else he recorded. we don't know, you know, we don't know whether he recorded
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other conversations with, say, even donald trump. all though donald trump's office is a couple doors down. maybe not. we know that donald trump has a couple of phones in his office and very often he would be on a phone and ask people to pick up and listen on the other line. but these two gentlemen were very close. and are very close. and so i think that one of the reasons, and i was told this morning by two sources that, you know, one of the reasons the president has become what would be source called unmanageable because he's so furious is that the president is wondering you know what is in there? there are a lot of things in cohen's vault. there are a lot of things on his
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computer. i'm sure the president is angry about this because he's going blame bob mueller and then he's going to blame jeff sessions, and then he's going to blame rod rosenstein. >> yeah. >> i'm taking this in. sara, you've been patient. you've been listening. we get it, very close to the president. this attorney under criminal investigation. it's a huge deal. that's the headline that came out this afternoon. keep in mind it was southern district of new york who pulled the trigger on the raids earlier this week. it's not mueller. but this is where i'm going. if depending on what they find, they can use -- they being prosecutors, can use it as leverage because this is a guy who knows where all the bodies are buried in the trump world. finish my thought. >> right. wi what the prosecutors will do is pile on the charges based on whatever crime was committed after they conduct their
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investigation, and the more exposure that michael cohen faces, the more time he faces in prison and the more likely, i'm speaking hypothetically. the more likely it is he might flip. this is a guy that said he would take the bullet for the president. i'm not sure what it takes for him to flip. it's leverage because the more hot water he's in, the more likely it is that he might flip on the president. and, again, you know, he apparently now we know he's just an extension of donald trump because that might be his only client. and this attorney-client privilege we've been discussing here is not absolute. you look whether the documents are privileged. some of them may not be. those that are, you look to see whether the privilege was waived. it appears donald trump may have waived that privilege by what he said on air force one. and you look at the exceptions that might apply. i want to make a point.
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i usually agree with our reporter but i have a slight disagreement. the tape team is a self-serving mechanism within the dj. it's the doj doing the investigation and people within the doj who create a team who vet and review the documents. as a defense attorney i don't feel comfortable with that. even though it's probably not a reasonable request by mike cool hen for his lawyers to review, because that's what they would have done in response to a subpoena. there's a concern about that. i think it would be reasonable the court would appoint an independent body, not the doj, not the lawyers, neither side but an independent body that would review the communications, items seized to see whether or not they're protected. >> okay. let me come back to cohen in a second. we have a lot to juggle this afternoon. now the president has just tweeted. we're going to move off cohen for a second and go back to
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mccabe. he was fired not too long ago. the number two at the fbi. he was fired. the ig released their review. i'll read it for you because it's context for the tweet. this is from the president. "doj issued the mccabe report which is a total disaster, he lied, lied, lied! mccabe was controlled by comey. mccabe is comey. no collusion. all made up by this den of thieves and low lives. with an "f." the inspector general had released this report the findings of the report. the review of the firing from the attorney general jeff sessions and i'll go to the rush to judgment was unprecedented and cruel. far more harsh than he deserved. thoughts on the president's words? >> so i think the president is
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playing, i would say, a pretty effectively political game. this conversation has been the legal ma knewsha. but to the president, he's casting all of the above as being very partisan, very political actors. and, by the way, brooke. i happen to think that jim comey played into the president's hands by going personal. by talking about his hands. by talking about his tan lines. by talking about whether his hairline is real. it seems so petty and so when the president now with regard to mccabe said this is politics and they're liars and thieves and so forth. he's fostering a narrative it's a political battle to the detriment and ignoring the rule of law and evidence. which, by the way, is what mueller is focussed on. >> on your last mount -- point, and i think it's an important one. doug i've been watching you nod. in the thick of these headlines that have been coming out in the comey book. yes, he points out that the
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president has orange skin and white circles around his eyes where he wears goggles to fake and bake or whatever. and, you know, that he has small hands. some are arguing it seems like he has an ax to grind. >> it seems like he's undermining his own argument. he's the better man. he's the one with character and with leadership and he was mistreated. >> yeah. >> and he has been basically tarnished by this whole episode. comey is an interesting figure. he may be the single person who is most responsible for putting trump in office by making that announcement about reopening the hillary clinton investigation and we don't know. he may be responsible for taking him out of office. right. because he does clearly play an important role in terms of this whole investigation about obstruction of justice, the russia collusion, et. cetera. but, again, he may be undermining his own cause, or it if he cares about the character and principles behind this, he
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might be undermining the greater picture he's trying to paint here by making these seemingly pet petty tasks. >> this is a man seen like the north star in some circles. do you think it dings his credibility by making those comments? i was surprised he made those tawdry comments. there used to be the establishment memoir. comey came from that kind of ilk. this book he's using terms like "holy crap" and, you know, you mentioned the tan lines. he knows everybody is google it and talking. >> that particular reference. it's allowing what michael was sayi saying this is a gross book and the firing today of -- i mean, the pardoning of scooter libby
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on the eve where maybe the president will feel because of the comey book let's go after all these guys like you saw in that tweet. let's, you know, fire rosenstein. let's do it now. and make comey the simple because he's got the democratic like we heard. you know, bernie sanders and everybody saying horrible things and comey. >> note on rosen stestein and ta quick break. rod rosenstein has been meeting with an ethical ethics advisor about whether or not he should recuse himself. so far he's choosing not to. we have that coming up. hello. let's go for a ride on a peloton. let's go grab a couple thousand friends and chase each other up a hill. let's go make a personal best, then beat it with your personal better than best.
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so we have some full throated assault in the terms of words coming from the white house today with regard to the
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fired fbi director who has this memoir coming out and the excerpts of the book have been released today and james comey and the tweet from president trump on andy mccabe. to to jamie with news on that. what are you learning? >> so one thing i just want to say, i've been speaking to very senior fbi sources, people who worked there for a long, long time and one of the things that they've been saying about the comey book and let's just say we've only seen excerpts, we have not seen the whole thing yet. but they are really stunned and not happy about it. because what we've seen deals with a lot of things that are petty, that are salacious, prostitutes f. there is one thing an fbi director or a former fbi director can do, he can dodge a question. there were places he went. and the fbi folks that i'm
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talking to keep saying our institution has been under attack. and when he is out there selling a book saying these kinds of things they feel it is not the way the fbi conducts itself. and that it is hurting their reputation, both short-term and long-term, especially after president trump has been attack, attack, attack. so there is that concern as well. >> got it. jamie, thank you for weighing in on that. i want to get to now the other piece of news today, the special counsel boss here, the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein learning he has had his own questions about whether or not he should recuse himself. it has been this growing call from the president's allies and since he first started overseeing the russia probe and the mueller team and he was the one who penned that comey memo which ultimately is what the president admitted to leaning on to justify the comey firing.
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so i have cnn justice reporter laura jarrett with the details and walter schaub who once was director of the government ethics office. but laura, to you, tell me exactly he was weighing? >> well, brooke the situation stems from comey memo and since the beginning of the investigation people have questioned how rod rosenstein, the number two official at the justice department is able to oversee mueller's work given that he penned the memo that the president leaned on for the justification for firing james comey. and essentially saying that he flouted doj protocol and people wondered if you are a witness, well how could you be supervising the probe but i'm told the deputy attorney general has looked into the ability to oversee the situation and
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following that individual's advice. i'm not told about how frequent the conversation or the timing happen but it provides a glimpse into rod rosenstein's mindset here and it shows he hasn't been operating in a vacuum all on his own. he said in the past he would recuse if he needs to but this shows he's had advice. but that hasn't stopped the president and his allies and lawyers coming out and saying that rod rosenstein needs to recuse here and he's conflicted. alan dershowitz is the named proponent and alex degeneva and the president tweeted about this back in june but it provides some insight into rosenstein's thinking and as officials -- i'm sure walter schaub will weigh in, they have told me this is the right move. >> walter, what do you think? >> that is absolutely true. consulting with an ethics official is exactly how the process is supposed to work. and in fact, there is a provision in this the standards
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of conduct issued by oge, the office of government ethics say if you consult with an ethics official and rely in good faith on their advice, you won't face disciplinary action. if later it turns out the advice was wrong. so first of all, there is an encouragement it go and do this and then in any other administration it would be perfectly normal, in fact, encouraged for high level officials to consult with ethics officials about this. and i also agree with the advice. it is fairly ironic that the president and don mcgahn and others in the white house pressuring jeff sessions to participate are now terribly concerned about whether rod rosenstein should have recused. well the distinction is that as a campaign official who spoke with russian officials during the election, jeff sessions had a duty to recuse because he was a potential subject of the
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investigation. merely being a witness, somebody may come and ask questions, but it does not give you a financial investigation and there is no need to recuse. >> walter schaub, i'm curious, your thoughts on the president pardoning scooter libby today. >> well that is very concerning because it is a strong message he's sending to people that don't -- don't worry about cooperating with mueller or other investigators, because i've got your back if you do it. and that seems to be loud and clear, the message there. and if there was any doubt, kellyanne conway went on tv and talked about the fact that she felt that scooter libby was the victim of -- as she put it -- another special counsel. >> mm-hmm. let me bring in -- stand by, everyone. i want to bring in doug brinkley to talk more about michael cohen under criminal investigation just in the last couple of minutes here. again, if you are just joining us, the significant piece of
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news that dropped this afternoon is the president's personal attorney a man he's known and worked with for years and years and more than just a attorney to the president and in wake of the raid, under criminal investigation. >> it is the worst news that donald trump could possibly have. >> why? >> because trump is the kind of figure, the reason he got elected -- is roguish and out of the box and he's worked in a building in new york and casinos, for that long of a period of time, they now are going to be able to find evidence of donald trump breaking the law and it doesn't take 15 breaks of the law. it is one. and if you are trump, that the one thing you won't want to happen. he figured he could handle how to deal with rosenstein and how to deal with the mueller report on collusion. but this gets back to stormy daniels and maybe much more. i don't know how any of us like our lawyers being raided, but the fact of the matter is this is a president who has got to be
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on-shore accordi-- and under th house under siege. >> and what do you make of this. >> i've been surprised that he talks like he does and uses twitter. he gives everybody rope. you saw the clip we ran on the airplane where he should have just said no comment but he can't help himself. >> with regard to the stormy daniels -- >> yeah. so reporters have been getting li -- to getting him on the record and today is a good day for stormy daniels and her legal team because it looks like they have momentum now. >> what did you think walter schaub just last said to you on the air force one comment where the reporters voice is saying, mr. president, what did you know about the $130,000 and he said i knew nothing and then ultimately he said ask michael cohen and when you talk to our reporters covering this cohen today, it is what was used against him today.
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>> yeah. it is ironic too, because this president struggles with the truth. so we don't even know if that is a true statement. but it would be more ironic if it turns out it is not and he walked into a trap that way. but it certainly seems to open up a new line of inquiry as to whether or not the court should uphold the collection of this information and allow justice to look through it. >> and then lastly, just looking at my notes from sara sanders at the podium and she was asked is michael cohen still the president's personal attorney and she said, i have nothing more to add. wouldn't confirm if he was still the president's personal attorney and referred the press pool to the attorneys' attorneys. for more than that. that is it for us today. thank you for being with me. walter and douglas and a whole
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host of other people who weighed in on the breaking news on this afternoon. i'm brooke baldwin and let's send things to washington, d.c. and our special coverage continues with jake tapper. "the lead" starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead." i'm jake taper. we begin with breaking news on friday the 13th, the trump is firing back from james comey's devastating tell-all book, the justice department disclosed this afternoon that the president's personal attorney, michael cohen, is under criminal investigation. this was revealed in court in response to cohen's motion to restrain the evidence collected in monday's raids on his residence and hotel room and office and safety deposit box and electronic devices. the cohen hearing is due to resume any minute. the government asserted any communications between president trump and coen concerning the payment to adult