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tv   Wolf  CNN  April 20, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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hello, i'm wolf blitzer in washington. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we start with some breaking news and new revelations in a federal court today as michael cohen's attorney says his client could be indicted in the next 90 days. that came out during a hearing that's going on in los angeles right now. and stormy daniel's lawsuit against michael cohen and against donald trump. we're joined live in los angeles. what are you hearing from inside the courtroom, miguel? >> reporter: yeah, i think drama is one thing you can always
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count on in this case. the lawyer and judge trying to sort through that criminal case in new york and the civil case here in los angeles. the lawyer, brent blakely for mr. cohen, said he needed this day. this day was absolutely imperative in this case because he felt his client could be indicted in the next 90 days. he then motioned toward michael avenatti, the lawyer for stormy daniels, and that's what mr. avenatti has been saying as well. the judge kind of shut it down and said, look, i know what's been said in the media, i know there is a lot of drama, but i want all that stuff in the media left in the media, and i only want matters relative to this court discussed here. there was one other thing that avenatti said that was interesting so far in this hearing that is still ongoing, saying that even if michael cohen took the fifth amendment right -- and this is a lot of what they've been discussing in the courtroom today, why michael
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cohen has not declared definitively that he would take the fifth here in los angeles, meaning that if he was on the stand or if he was deposed, he wouldn't say anything other than, i plead the fifth. the judge and michael cohen's lawyer seemingly coming to a conclusion that they would be filing that, or at least they would talk to mr. cohen to see if he wanted to file a declaration that he would be pleading the fifth here in california. that would change the nature of the proceedings here. avenatti coming back ask sayind, look, even if he takes the fifth, it doesn't matter. there are plenty of others that could testify in this case. the bank that wrote the check, mr. cohen's assistant. he even went so far as saying mr. cohen's spouse could be called to the stand depending on what that relationship is. so the judge really grappling, trying to understand how this overlaps with the new york case. they're still trying to figure out whether that stay would be
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implemented today for 90 days as the cohen team is asking, perhaps shorter if the judge decides that. if there is no stay at all, or in the unlikely possibility that cohen drops the entire case and stormy daniels is free to say whatever she wants. wolf? >> we'll watch the drama unfold over the next few hours. you'll bring us the latest as soon as you get it, miguel marquez in los angeles. thank you very much. let's bring in our senior analyst laura coates. what do you make of this development that the lawyer representing michael cohen, brent blakely, that cohen himself could be indicted in the next 90 days in a federal court in new york city? >> it seems like a pot shot of michael avenatti saying, you clearly would agree to delay this case because you yourself have told people in the media that you may be indicted. obviously you would sign off on
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this and the judge would look at whether the other side was opposing the motion or not, whether it's good to do so because they don't want to lose the parties' interest. the second thing is the term overlap. it's so key here. if, in fact, there is testimony, there will be an indictment coming out of the district of new york in manhattan about michael cohen that mi impaay im the litigation in california. every judge will think about that and consider it, because they don't want to have an unproductive proceeding. if you're going to sit here in california and never answer a question simply because you fear an indictment in new york or vice versa, then we won't have a fruitful production occurrence. we'll just have somebody wasting the court's time and they don't want that. it's an interesting turn of events. we're still going to wait and see what happens. the democrats now making a federal case out of hacked e-mails and conspiracy. the democratics now suing the
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trump campaign, wikileaks and several others in hacking of the publication of dnc e-mails at the heart of this lawsuit. let's go to jeff zeleny in florida near the president's mar-a-lago resort. specifically, jeff, what is the dnc alleging? >> reporter: well, wolf, certainly an interesting lawsuit today from the democratic national committee accusing the trump campaign of conspiracy for working with wikileaks in the release of e-mails and working with the russian government. now, this is a 66-page lawsuit that was filed in manhattan earlier this morning, and this is really essentially reviving much of what we have learned over the last year or so about how these meetings in trump tower with russian officials. but what it is doing, wolf, in an interesting legal strategy is essentially accusing the trump campaign of being a racketeering enterprise, going after them through an old rico statute. that was used in organized crime
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cases. it's an open question if a judge will allow this to proceed. it's an open question if this will ever be litigated or not. but it certainly raises the stakes here. it's not naming the president directly, but it is naming everyone else directly from his son, to his son-in-law, to his former campaign manager. if you'll remember all the people who were at that june 26 meeting in trump tower. so he's going through in great detail a lot of things we have learned. republicans are saying this essentially is a midterm election year stunt. unclear how this will play out in races. but wolf, no question this is something that republicans will have to defend. there is no word yet from the white house, their reaction to this lawsuit. >> let's see what happens on this lawsuit. a potentially very significant development. jeff zeleny, donna florida, thank you very much. laura coats still wuls. first of all, your reaction to
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this dnc lawsuit? >> i've spoken to dnc officials about this lawsuit and one thing i asked them was, do you have any new evidence. they're bringing together the pieces of information, maybe already out there in a way before not presented to a judge. maybe how trump had advance notice of what wikileaks would tweet out. egging them on to hack those e-mails. the time pressure was the statute of limitations on the applicable law here was coming up to its two-year r wwindow. >> the courts hope they have time to do depositions. >> what they'll be bringing up or talking about is not going to
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be here. the democrats will be asked to provide information as well, and they'll be asked again why didn't they take steps to secure their server when it was brought to their attention that there could be risks. when it was brought to the attention of republicans there could be increases. mostly it just smells like a political stunt at a time when people are already paying attention to these issues. >> and laura? >> just like the 13-count indictment or 13 different nationals, robert mueller knowing he wasn't able to bring them back. in many ways this looks like a talking lawsuit that is geared towards the intel committee who chose to do nothing.
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this is also a monetary-based lawsuit, unlike what is happening in a criminal probe where you're having jail time a potential outcome of it. it's talking in a specific wam. just like michael are claiming that this is not going to make a lot of production. following new revelations from memos of james comey to president trump. comey said the president expressed serious reservations. he tweeted, quote, so general mike flynn's wife can be totally destroyed while shady james
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comey can leak and lie and make lots of money from a third rate book that should never have been written. is that really the way life in america is supposed to work? i don't think so. clearly the president had a lot of concerns about michael flynn that was recorded in the memos, but he ended up firing him. >> one, the president is venting about michael flynn in the comey memos. we know he does that about anyone who works for him, so we can't take that too seriously. yes, it led the white house to fire him, and the president's ultimate decision to decide to fire him. and we know that almost instantly when he made that decision, he started to wonder what this would mean for michael co help. this has been one of the hall marks of the president.
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he feels like the only reason they're in this position is because they supported him and worked for him during his campaign, and then michael flynn into the white house. >> how do you see it? this tweet from the president basically saying michael flynn's life can be totally stride while shade i james comey can lie and leak. >> james comey and the fbi are highly biased for their involvement in this, and an interesting change where he has defended michael flynn. there are some certainly in that world who are pushing for the president to pardon michael flynn. the president has that power. we'll see what happens. >> number 1, comey didn't leak in terms of the legal sense, give over classified documents.
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number two, remember, he's the one that pled guilty. the court may look at tht and say your life has been somewhat tarnished, but that's mainly of your own making and you admitted that in a court of law. he has the right to pardon him on a federal crime. >> those were given to congress, immediately leaked to all of us. we've gone through them. i want to get your thoughts on the solacious details from the steele dossier that were referred to in those comey memos. >> it's interesting, because it's not the first time we've heard this from comey, the president seemingly not being able to help himself bringing that up. whether or not the golden shower -- we have. without prompting from doem, the question assault against the
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president. then you have that we've ventured over the course of the last year, but president putin apparently saying russia has the woes works in the world. the kremlin forced to respond to whether the russian government said russia had beautiful hookers. and the kremlin spokesman said, president putin couldn't say such things and did not say it to president trump, taking into account that they had never communicated before trump. >> he made that statement public
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earlier. there had been, sir, some conflicting statements from donald trump earlier, before he was inaugerated, whether or not he had ever spoken to putin. >> yeah, there was this back and forth. he said he had spoken to him and later said they never had a conversation. i think this is one of those confusing elements where this is a president that frequently changes his story. i don't think we should be surprised by that. and now here we are, talking about golden showers and russian hookers. how did we get here? >> all right. just reporting the news. stick around. more news we're following straight ahead. stunning tapes revealed. the president posing as his alter ego. also he could get on the forbes 400 recent list. rudy giuliani's role on the
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president's team, to bring the russia investigation to an end. and he is one of the president's favorite targets. >> he does not have the temperament to do this. he's choking like a dog. >> ted cannot get along with everybody. he's a nasty person. >> now it appears ted has written an ode. to trump.
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president trump adds a prominent name and long-time supporter to his legal team. the former new york city mayor, rudy giuliani. but he's not the only addition to the team. the president will also bring in a husband and wife duo. jessica has details. what do we know about this couple? >> rudy giuliani may be the most prominent name when it comes to that national recognition. the husband and wife joining the
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president's team, they are big names in legal circles. marty and jane raskin. they run a firm of defense in the manhattan are-- miami area. first marty raskin was the chief for the division of the u.s. attorney's office and he was also in the organized crime and racketeering section for the miami strike force. then there's his wife jane. she also has a long list of federal prosecutorial defense as well. she worked at the department of justice for the counsel of the criminal division. she also served in the organized crime division and racketeering section out of boston. she spent a lot of time in boston in her career as well. what's interesting is i spoke to several attorneys who knows this couples. one of the attorneys put it this way. when it comes to marty raskin, he is a skilled lawyer, he knows
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the system's ins and outs, and then he said, he will represent the president well if the president listens to him. that's key. will the president listen? the white house hasn't disclosed exactly how rudy giuliani or the raskins will be serving on the president's legal team, but those attorneys who know the raskins says the president might be best served if the raskins focus on the suit coming out of the southern district of new york, the michael cohen raid, given their experience with crimes and knowing the ins and outs of attorneys' offices. >> rudy giuliani says his main role on the trump legal team will be to act as a liaison with special counsel robert mueller. he told cnn that mueller's russia investigation needs a little push to get to its conclusion. for more on the giuliani role in
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the russia probe, let's bring back our legal analyst laura coates. what do you think about rudy giuliani in addition to these well-known, highly respected lawyers down in miami? >> he brings two things that trump desperately needs. one is sort of a public relations boost here, right? the president needs to push back not on a legal sense but to get some public opinion. the deeper that mueller digs and the more the cohen raid has sort of prompted a new sort of sense of danger around the white house, you need somebody bigger than life that can push back against that. giuliani is certainly bigger than life. the other thing is the legal aspect. this is a guy who knows the southern district of new york. he was u.s. attorney there and he's got a relationship with mueller. and in both cases the hope is that he can sort of help push this to a conclusion, although i think everybody we talked to suggested that this idea that it's going to be wrapped up in a
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couple weeks, even given giuliani's assets, seems really unlikely. >> because he does have a relationship with mueller. he speaks very highly of mueller, rudy giuliani does. he thinks maybe in two or three weeks, they can at least get a sense if this can be wrapped up and what would be the terms of a presidential interview? >> if his focus is going to be on trying to navigate how this one on one or this voluntary interview will go with mueller's team, then perhaps the knowledge giuliani brings will be useful. if his role is to expedite a federal investigation of this magnitude with the hopes that his relationship as the person who was in office on 9/11 and mueller was with the fbi at that time, then he's in for a real shock. i'm sure mueller is able to compartmentalize, and i'm sure he will have zero influence on
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the ability to expedite the investigation. sure, john dow was the point person for a long time. i suspect he'll step in for that exclusive point. >> amidst all this, michael, the source has told cnn that the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, when he met with the president told the president that he was not, quote, a target into the investigation of michael cohen, the criminal investigation that's under way in new york. what do you make of that? >> in some ways that's a reflection that the president has long wanted in all of these investigations, some kind of public assurance that he wasn't under investigation, wasn't personally the target. that's a lot of what the president and jim comey talked about that's described in those memos. i think, though, that if the president takes that and believes that that somehow means that this is all over for him and that there is no legal
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danger, no political danger, i think he's really deluding himself. because the fact is he can potentially not be a specific target of that investigation, and there would still be a lot of danger that's unearth ld that mibl cohen had, that related to the president, that related to these other investigations. so there's not really a danger to him if ez not a -- clearly a target of this investigation. we'll see what happens over the next 90 days or so as lawyers on both sides of the stormy daniels' case are now if that happens. up next, they have a complicated relationship, to say the least. >> donald, donald, relax. >> i'm relaxed. >> you're a basket case. >> go ahead. >> don't get nervous. >> now senator cruz is getting roasted over his glowing tribute
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to the president. we'll update on yyou on that whe come back. oh, sorry i'm late, sir.
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an about-face for the texas senator ted cruz now lavishing enormous praise on president trump. senator cruz wrote this for "time" magazine, and i'm quoting now. president trump is a flash-bang grenade thrown into washington by the forgotten men and women of america. but remember the 2016 presidential campaign when trump attacked cruz with a lion's head nickname and talked about the looks of cruz's wife while cruz fired back with these. >> i believe you know politics much better than i do because for 40 years you've been offended politicians for years.
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>> he insulted necessary, me, h my wife. it is disgusting. >> and this. >> donald trump will not be the nominee. >> will you support him? >> donald trump will not be the nominee. >> john, what about this about-face? how do you sense it? >> it's extraordinary. the man president trump called lyin' ted is now effusive in his heartfelt comments for the president. you have to wonder if it's just f fodder for the texas race this fall. >> listen to how the president talked about ted cruz. >> lyin' ted does not have the temperament for this. he says, i'm a natural born
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citizen. the point is, you're not. >> taking shots like that, did you ever think you would see these kinds of compliments coming from senator cruz for president trump in this new issue of "time" magazine? >> you know, i don't think i hold ted cruz to a high standard of constancy. but even still, this is a man who the president of the united states insin waited his father was somehow responsible for the assassination of john kennedy. there is bad blood here and it simply plays into the base of politics. there's something sad about it, frankly. >> you know cruz is up for reelection. do you think the very nice words from senator cruz in "time" magazine could lead to a campaign visit or two or more
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from the president in texas in the coming months? >> that's clearly going to be ted cruz's hope, and he's hoping he can build bridges with the base that he may have burned during that tough campaign. the quinnipiac poll gained three points. it shouldn't be that close, especially in texas. ted cruz probably feels he needs all the help he can get. i like seeing people mend fences in politics, but he may have gone too far a step ahead. >> thank you for that analysis. up next, a reporter claims the president posed as his own spokesman all to climb his way up the forbes wealth list. you're going to hear the audio for yourself right after the break. also, russia calling the shots. the kremlin claims it warned the u.s. on what lines could not be crossed on last week's strikes
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nothing yet from the judge but the hearing in los angeles involving the stormy daniels lawsuit against the president and michael cohen, the president's long-time lawyer, that hearing has ended, at least for today. michael avr naenatti, the lawyer stormy daniels, is speaking right now. >> i'll make a brief statement and then take some questions. first of all, we're very pleased with today's hearing. it's apparent to us that the court recognized, to quote the court, that there are gaping holes in the application by mr. cohen and mr. trump to delay
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this matter. it has always been our intention to make sure that this case proceeded expeditiously and that as much information as possible would be known and made known to the american people about what happened here, all of the facts relating to the negotiation around this agreement, the 130,000 there are payment and the cover-up that has resulted. as i'm sure each of you observed, we have one of the finest federal judges in the country assigned to this case relating to the honorable james otero. incredibly diligent, very, very smart as today's hearing indicated, and very, very focused on what matters on all constitutional issues in this case. there is no question that he is going to ensure that mr. cohen's fifth amendment rights are adequately protected at the same time that the rights of the american people and the american public to know the truth are
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equally protected. i'll take questions. >> can i ask you, you asked for more details about what was taken in the raid and electronics in particular. would you share those details here? >> i was repeating what was stated in new york by mr. tom mcvey, the very able, competent and exceptional u.s. attorney who is handling the criminal matter in new york. he stated in open court on monday that when the fbi raided the office hotel room and residence of mr. cohen that they imaged the electronic devices, foep phones, computers and the like, they left those behind and only took the images with them with approximately 10 bankers boxes full of documents. i was only regurgitating what was said on monday. i don't have any reason to doubt that. >> we're going to continue to monitor michael avenatti, the
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lawyer for stormy daniels. we're also awaiting a ruling by this judge out there to see if there is going to be a stay in the case, what goes forward. we'll update you when we get more informationme. in the meantime, there is other news we're following. donald trump, president of the united states, speaking in the third person. he still does it fairly often, but it's a style he uses in speeches and maybe something he perfected decades ago when he reportedly acted as his own personal spokesman under the name of john barron. now a forbes reporter is releasing copies of taped conversations he had with john barron back in 1992. >> okay. what's your first name, by the
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way? >> john. >> john. >> john barron. >> let me tell you what the deal is just so you understand. >> okay. >> mr. trump -- first of all, most of the assets have been consolidated to mr. trump, you know, because you have down fred trump. and i'd like to talk to you off the record, if i can. >> okay, sure. >> but i think you can really use donald trump now and you can just consolidate it. i think last year somebody showed me the article, and i think he had 200 and 200, and the other's been pretty well consolidated now for the most part, as i also think somebody had mentioned that you had asked about that or somebody had. and it's been pretty well consolidated, okay? >> it was a tremendous deal from any standpoint, i guess, but what i think you might want to do is at some point maybe after that before you right your little article, maybe you want to call me again and sit down because i'd like to discuss a couple things. i look at the forbes from my standpoint as being important. and i don't think that in
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numerous cases, and i can only judge by the new york realtors that you mentioned, i don't tink you have your facts 100% correct. and i think that's probably somewhat important. so if you have a chance, if you so deem or if you deem it necessary or important enough, i'll be available. >> all right, that was, quote, john barron. let's discuss this and more. joining us from new york, john cassidy, contributor for the new yorker magazine. he's covered john barron in the past. what do you think of that tape from 1992? >> he was john barron in a divorce case, in other cases. i've never had that experience myself, but i think a lot of new york reporters wouldn't be surprised to see this. back in the '80s, everybody who covered trump knew he was determined to get on the forbes 400 list. he was always determined to show
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that he was one of the really rich people in america, richer than these rivals in the new york real estate game. and the article was a very good article, i should say. it just shows it's all true and that trump actually told lies about his assets, including one of the things he said was that his father had passed over all the family assets to him and consolidated them subsequently and merged in his father's will, in fred trump's will, and passed them over to his kids. i think it confirms what we previously knew, that when it comes to trump's estimation of his own worth, you need to take a lot of what he says with a pinch of salt. >> yeah, he's always been very, very sensitive on that forbes list, especially including, in my interviews i've done with him over the years, that pr push over his wealth. that's been a focal point, as you well know, and a lot of business reporters in new york know as well. it came up several times during the campaign, too, about his net worth. here's part of his current --
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the current forbes billionaire's list. take a look at this. this probably deeply irritates the president. jeff bazos from amazon and the owner of the "washington post." he's at the top of the list. he's worth $112 billion. he's number 1. the current billionaires list lists donald trump as number 106. he has $3.1 billion worth. u you have a smile? >> he even complained when they highlighted him as 4 billion and said he should be a lot higher. whatever worth you put on trump, he says i'm worth double that. it's hard to figure out what he is exactly worth because the trump organization is a private company. it doesn't have any stock listings so you can't look at the stock prices. also it's got a lot of hidden debts. we don't know how much. forbes estimated about a billion
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dollars. during the campaign he said he was worth $10 billion. various magazines have put it at 2.5, 3.5. i did a little back of the envelope myself for a piece he wrote, and i got it figured at 2.5 billion. that's a lot of money. he's got a lot of assets, nobody denies that, but he doesn't appear to be as rich as he says he is. >> john cassidy, thank you so much for joining us. sdp >> thank youment. coming up, red lines drawn. we're getting new details on america's strike last week on syria and how russia warned the united states where it was acceptable to bomb. which most pills don't.n, and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist. ♪
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. right now conflicting accounts of the phone call between washington and moscow leading up to the syria air strikes. the foreign claimed the u.s. was warned about the so-called red lines in syria, the areas they could and could not bomb. >> translator: we had contacts on the military leadership level afterwards at the level of generals between our representatives and the commanders of the u.s.-led coalition. they were informed about where our red lines are, including geographical redlines on the ground. in any case, the results show that they have not crossed these red lines. >> our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us. what has the pentagonbe been saying?
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>> what the pentagon has been saying is they did tell the russians, in other words, the u.s. told moscow to stay out of certain areas or be aware that the u.s. would be in areas that could include damascus, that could include homz. it was a bloc in the area where the u.s. might be operating, not specific locations, not specific time frames. this is how deconfliction works, you tell the other guy i may be operating in this broad area at this time. moscow was very well aware of what the real message was there. there was no escalation back from the russians, no action by the russians that pentagon has reported. i want you to listen one more time to what general joe dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff about the russians and all of this. >> we specifically identified
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these targets to mitigate the risk of russian forces being involved and we used our normal deconfliction channels. those were active this week to work through the airspace issues and so forth. we did not do any coordination with the russians on the strikes, nor did we prenotify them. >> and just to tie it all up for the week, a short time ago, here at the pentagon defense secretary james mattis said that bashar al-assad would be ill advised to ignore the warning that the u.s., the french and the british sent him in those air strikes just one week ago. wolf? >> thanks very much. i'm joined by cnn security analyst. why is this so-called deconfliction so important, samantha? >> because it actually helps our mission in syria. when we deconflict with russia, we have more room to pursue our mission to counter isis and occasionally punish and deter
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chemical weapons use. the goal is to avoid unintended run-ins where russia has personnel, as we do, on the ground and we want to make sure our forces don't come into unintended contact. we saw a crisis happen a few weeks ago when you was forces did kill russian mercenaries on the ground in syria. communication here is key. there are different ways that the united states and russia can communicate about operations in syria. one is the so-called hot line that's getting a lot of press. this hot line is to deconflict specific operations. as the pentagon briefed last week, it is likely impossible that they would be in touch minutes or hours before specific operation to deconflict the air or the ground. but. we also have regular contact. so general dunford may be in touch with his russian counterpart every week or every day to talk about the strategic power in syria. >> where do you see all this heading?
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>> i am worried that russian lines are going to multiply. they've established these geographic and personal red lines. they could start spreading assets and people throughout syria and say you can't strike here because we have people there and if you do, we'll escalate. they're trying to expand their role in the political space and play mediator in chief and we know they're carrying syria's water diplomatically. so they could establish more red lines, threaten to escalate with them if we don't respect them and it could limit u.s. policy objectives. >> this is a tense situation. >> there is more breaking news. a michael cohen indictment may be coming soon. you're going to hear why. that's ahead. when you said you were at the doctor, but your shirt says you were at a steakhouse... that's when you know it's half-washed. add downy odor protect with 24-hour odor protection. downy and it's done.
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happy friday. thanks for being with me this afternoon. the attorney for michael cohen, the president's personal attorney, says that cohen could be indicted very soon, perhaps in the next 90 days. this revelation coming today inside a federal courtroom in los angeles as trump and cohen's lawyers are trying to delay the stormy daniels lawsuit. sarah sidener is our national correspondent and also with us joseph moreno, former federal prosecutor. first tell us about the 90 days. >> reporter: we should not read much into that. he was referring to what michael avenatti said on television, that michael avenatti said he would be indicted in 90 days. he was quoting michael avenatti who has been