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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 1, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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frankly, they've done nothing wrong. the worst thing they've done is to be missionaries. >> joseph yun, thank you so much. a pleasure. let's speak again in the weeks leading up to the summit. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. >> calle >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> an extraordinary remark this afternoon from the man supervising the mueller investigation. speaking out in a way we've never heard him do so before. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein responded to a question today about articles of impeachment against him that have been reportedly drafted by members of the conservative house freedom caucus. alluding to other attacks, presumably from the president himself. >> i can tell you that there have been people who have been making threats, privately and
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publicly, against me for quite sometime. and i think they should understand by now that the department of justice is not going to be extorted. >> the department of justice is not going to be extorted. he said a strong and rather stunning message from the deputy attorney general presumably to the house of representatives and the united states. it is as the russia investigation is heating up with 49 questions that robert mueller wants to ask president trump, being leaked to the new york times. the questions range from collusion to obstruction of justice, to the president's businesses. meanwhile, "the washington post" fact checkers have updated the tally of president trump's false or misleading claims during his time in office. it is updated to 3001. when the post started the project of monitoring the president, he was telling five false claims a day, the number, the postsaid is creeping up and in the last months he has
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averaged nine false claims a day. this is a major concern for the president's legal team as to whether he should willingly answer the questions from the special counsel and in person. the president is already making false statements about the mueller questions that leaked and he said there are no questions on collusion among the 49. that is patently false. just one of the more than 10 questions dealing with conspiracy and collusion reads, quote, what knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by paul manafort to russia about potential assistance to the campaign. the president also tweeted it would be difficult to obstruct justice if no crime had occurred. according to legal experts, that is also false. we have an extraordinary day in the legal matters surrounding the president to cover. and we have all angles of the story. let's begin with sara murray. sara, rare and stunning remarks from deputy attorney general rosenstein who supervised the special counsel investigation. >> that is right. and i think rod rosenstein is making clear he certainly isn't oblivious to the attacks that have been aimed his way.
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but he's saying the depts -- the department of justice will soldier on and that seems to be what robert mueller is doing as we learn he has a very long list of questions he wants to ask the president. >> tonight a new glimpse into some of the areas special counsel robert mueller wants to cover in an interview with the president. according to a list of questions obtained by the new york times. among them, why did president trump decide to fire fbi director james what did candidate trump know about russian hacking during the 2016 campaign and when did trump learn about the 2016 trump tower meeting between his son, top campaign aides and a russian lawyer. trump lashing out today, tweeting. you have made up phony crime, collusion that never existed. and it would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened. witch hunt. legal experts say that argument doesn't hold up. >> you absolutely can obstruct a crime that never occurred.
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>> sources tell cnn, trump's legal team outlined nearly 50 questions based on conversations with mueller, spanning issues from collusion to obstruction of justice, to trump's business dealings in moscow. while trump is adamant his campaign never colluded with the russians -- >> look at how these politicians have fallen for this junk. russian collusion. give me a break. >> reporter: mueller still wants to know whether trump knew about any outreach to russia by his campaign or his former campaign chairman paul manafort. and mueller probes whether the president tried to obstruct justice and he wants to know what he meant when he said this about his decision to fire comey. >> in fact, when i decided to do it, i said to myself, i said you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> reporter: plus what did the president mean when he invited russian diplomats to the oval office in may 2017 and told them
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he faced great pressure because of russia. but that was taken off after he fired comey. and what is it the president wanted from the attorney general he now publicly criticized, the attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself -- >> did he expect jeff range of president's contacts with top administration officials, campaign aides and advisers. including trump's son-in-law jared kushner, ousted national security adviser, michael flynn and attorney michael cohen and long time adviser roger stone. >> now will the fact this list came out have any impact on whether trump sits for this interview, remains to be seen. we've seen the president fuming over this on twitter. but the reality is he has soured
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on this notion of willingly sitting for an interview since the raid on his personal attorneys home office and hotel room. jake. >> sara murray, thanks so much. i want to bring in special agent josh campbell and a special assistant to james comey and also with me in studio, cnn chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, your reaction to what i took as a stark remark from the deputy attorney general and president trump has been attacking him for months and months and now we have members of the house drafting articles of impeachment but i don't know what he did wrong. so rosenstein said a few minutes ago, i can tell you there are people making threats privately and publicly for quite sometime and they should understand the department of justice is now going to be extorted -- shocking remarks and clearly the president of the united states is one of the people making threats privately and publicly. >> this internal fight within the administration is extraordinary. and rosenstein knows he's been the target. and he seems to have determined
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if he's going to go out, he's going out in a blaze of glory. they're going to have to fire him for doing his job. but he is not going to change his behave or department of justice policy to keep his critics, even his critics who are in effect his bosses, to keep them happy. >> josh, i want you to take a listen to part of what rosenstein said when asked about members of the house freedom caucus drafting these articles of impeachment. let's roll that sound. >> any reaction to the news that certain members of the house freedom caucus have talked about drafting up articles of impeachment despite your best efforts to comply with their document requests. >> they can't even resist leaking their own drafts. [ laughter ] >> would you care to elaborate on that? >> i saw that draft. i don't know who wrote it. >> so he said that justice department is not going to be extorted.
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he kind of makes fun of house republicans leaking their own drafts. what is your reaction, josh? >> well, i disagree with jeffrey with respect to rod rosenstein not changing his behavior because let's not sugar coat it, he has changed behavior and he's seeing in washington he's violated -- his own principles and now he has a target on his back because he's trying to be all things to all people. if you look back to late 2017 and mike schmidt and maggie haberman wrote a story about the memo that the president drafted with the real reasons to fire james comey and provided to rosenstein and he said -- he got a copy and created the official word that came out which provided this pre-textual reason and trying to ingratiate himself along with the president and found courage and responsibility for the appointment of robert mueller but he is the target of a president and a white house in a is obviously upset with him. this is what happens in washington when you don't stand on principle and trying to be all things to all people is coming back to bite him.
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>> today saers wra sanders was g about impeachment and she said there were no personnel announcements. this is something the white house could shoot down if they wanted to but she said they have no comment. >> and it shows how rosenstein still has a target on his back. whether he's behaved appropriately or inappropriately, he is obviously deeply loathed in the white house and they hold him responsible for the appointment of comey. and -- i'm sorry, for the appointment of mueller. and they are still weighing whether they're going to punish him and they haven't resolved that. >> and let's go to the question about whether or not the special counsel had submitted questions about collusion. the president tweeted that -- [ inaudible ] [ no sound ] the question has the special counsel -- [ technical difficulties ]
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[ inaudible ] -- to russia about potential assistance to the campaign. josh, would the special counsel submit a question like that if he didn't have evidence that manafort and others in the campaign had reached out to russia. >> well it is a good point. and you have to remember, he's got people that are cooperating with him. there is a large body of evidence that we're not privy to here that mueller's team is. so if you look at scope of the questions, obviously there are questions in there he already knows the answers to and if you look at his fbi investigation and jeffrey knows this, you will have questions that you generally want the answers to and you'll have questions you know the answers to to determine is this person being truthful with us as we continue to gather the information as we need. and i looked at the questions, none of these should surprise the president or his legal team. if you look at what is reporting in the news and the witnesses interviewed by the mueller team, they could have come up with this list. so this shouldn't be a surprise. what should be possibly concerning to the president is that now that this information is out there and it boxes him
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in. i don't think it was leaked by mueller. his team doesn't leak. but there is a question how this information got out there but now that the american people have seen these questions, and with the public interest surrounding this ka-- the case is difficult for the white house and the president to say we're not answering these questions. >> and we just put up -- >> it might be difficult but i don't think there is any way the president will answer these questions. >> you think they will refuse? >> i think -- he may well exercise a legal fight which i think he will probably lose. but if he loses a legal fight saying he's immune from a subpoena, i think he'll take the fifth. >> i would agree. >> he'll just say, this investigation is a sham, it is a witch hunt. i'm not going to dil indulge it and taking the fifth. and a lot of people including donald trump has drawn hostile inferences from people who take the fifth but i think he's willing to face the heat. if you look at detail of the questions and step by step progression that mueller wants to know of why he made this
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decision, why he made this tweet, donald trump can't answer questions like that. that is not the way his mind thinks and i don't think there is any way he will answer those question questions. >> i agree. we see the president doesn't go along with what may be politically beneficial to him but again if you look at the american people and the reading of the questions, these are answers to which they should have -- should have answered by the president. if it happens, i doubt it will but that is the calculation they have to make at the white house. >> thanks to both of you. so will president trump sit down to answer any of these questions or others. the white house will join us next. stay with us. you get a strong repair that you can trust. plus, with most insurance a safelite repair is no cost to you. >> customer: really?! >> singers: safelite repair, safelite replace. liberty mutual saved us almost $800 when we switched our auto and home insurance. liberty did what? yeah, they saved us a ton, which gave us a little wiggle room in our budget.
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or doing goat yoga at this mountain resort? or treating a destination wedding to the sweet sound of pug bongos? because lets me do me. where my dogs at? oh, here they are. you do you and get rewarded. take it away henry. i just got a pretty sweet deal on this card for mother's day. nice. i got a sweet deal on this iphone at verizon for my mom. i'm not done shopping. i just start with a card and then work up to... (vo) this mother's day, get up to 50% off the latest iphone on us. unlimited is only as good as the network it's on. we're back with breaking news. a huge day in the russia investigation. rear learning new details about what special counsel robert mueller would like to ask the president. at the same time the deputy attorney general, the man who oversees that investigation, said moments ago that the justice department will not be, quote, extorted. joining me now to talk about this and much more is white
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house deputy press secretary hogan quidly. as always, let me read you this quote from rosenstein and asked about the articles of impeachment drafted against him by members of house and he said, quote, i can tell you there have been people making threats privately and publicly against me more quite sometime and i think they should understand by now the department of justice is not going to be extorted. how do you interpret that remark? do you think he's talking about president trump who has very vocally criticized him? >> well obviously you'll have to ask mr. rosenstein about that. that has nothing to do with us. and obviously you'll have to ask congress about their willingness to draft these articles of impeachment. but that has nothing to do with us here at the white house. we're moving along and cooperating in every way possible. >> the president tweeted no questions on collusion. in fact, if you look at the new york times article with all of the questions that mueller wants to ask the president, one of them is what knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign including by paul manafort to russia about potential assistance to the
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campaign. i know you're not going to comment on legal matters, but as a matter of fact, this is a question about collusion, is it not? >> well here is the deal, jake and you've set me up for what i've got to say and you saw the briefing with sara sanders, out of respect for the special counsel i have to turn you back over to the president's attorney, jay sekulow and rudy ji giuliani. >> and the president said he would be willing to sit down with the special counsel. would he be willing to do that. >> i was in the room when he made that claim and he turned around and said to the group of reporters in general kelly's office, i'm willing to talk to those folks. i'll do it. and then he said, but i'm going to have to defer to my attorneys. so i think that the attorneys supercede any desire of what we plan to do. >> let me ask you about the statement put out by the white house last night on the iranian nuclear program. this is after israeli prime minister netanyahu making his presentation. the white house said that the --
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the presentation by rosenstein proved, quote, iran has -- present tense -- has a clandestine nuclear weapons program that followed -- quote, iran, had a probust clandestine nuclear weapons program. am i seeing that this is a clerical error and not an attempt to argue that iran currently has an operative nuclear weapons program. >> that is absolutely correct, jake. we've tried to explain and sara did today in the briefing, this, quite frankly, shows that the new information that prime minister netanyahu put forth was that this is -- this iran deal was so bad and the president has been very clear about that, but it is so bad that it created a pathway, quite frankly, to a nuclear weapon. it didn't prevent it at all. and so this is what should be most egregious and quite frankly most concerning is that in about -- it isn't about a typo fixed instantaneously but it is
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about a deal that put at risk the lives of the american people and quite frankly our friends and partners and allies across the world. they are way further along in iran to making a nuclear weapon than ever thought before. they lied to several inspectors, they lied to the iaea and said they only had a nuclear program with civilian been -- application but it is now way further along at enriching uranium and making a nuclear weapon and that should be a dangerous thought to most people in the world. >> but hogan, if they had a clandestine active nuclear weapons program and they no longer have that, isn't that an argument to preserve the program. i understand in seven years there is concerns about the sunset and i guess that and i'm not arguing that point. but if they had something that was a threat, and they no longer have it -- this is just based on
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the facts that the white house has acknowledged, isn't that progress and isn't that a -- the right step? >> no. absolutely not. listen, what we know now, thanks to intelligence gathering from the israelis, is that iran has been not just a bad actor, we know they're the largest state sponsor of terror but me completely lied to everyone involved. they have created an illusion that somehow they were woefully behind where they are at this point in time. what the president wants to do is create a new plan potentially if he looks back at current iran deal and decides he wants to get out of this because he wants a new stronger tougher deal on iran to prevent them from moving forward. he hasn't made a decision and looking at it and talking to our partners and allies but quite frankly a nuclear iran is a dangerous thought. >> i'm not disagreeing with the idea that a nuclear iran is a dangerous thought but i wonder if tearing up the deal is better than at least a deal that is
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preserving them not having an active clandestine nuclear weapons program. john kerry, the former secretary of state under obama who -- this was his baby, this deal, he argues if you tear up the deal, then you go back to when they did have an active nuclear weapons program but if you keep the deal, then that program is in the past. >> right. but it is not. that is the whole point. the premise that the deal was negotiated upon in the first place was that they were so far away from creating anything in a military nuclear method. instead, they have ballistic missile capability. we know they are so much further along, putting the entire world at a much greater risk. that is what the president is focused on now. we have a deadline to make this decision on what we'll do on the deal. the president is clearly looking at it. he wants to ensure safety for this country and for the rest of the world. but the fact that iran lied to everyone really shouldn't be a surprise. i think everyone knows iran lied. it was the degree in which the lie was told, which is if they get out of this deal -- if the
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sunset occurs and they could just start to pick up a nuclear progr program immediate -- immediately, this is a dangerous thing for the world. >> but that is the point, the sun sets in seven years and you want to change it and renegotiated, but if you tear up the deal then all of a sudden -- it is not seven years, it is now. now they'll do whatever they want. >> but the current deal has no teeth, especially as it relates to -- to looking into -- >> they no longer have it -- >> but if they have days to prepare for any inspections, they could continue to lie this entire time. you're operating out of the premise -- people are operating on the premise that iran are good actors. they're not. the world knows that. so to pretend as though this deal which doesn't have much teeth as all -- >> but the inspectors can go in -- >> they can. once they've tipped everyone off to what they are doing. iran clearly has been lying in this entire process. we know that and they are doing it at higher degrees than they ever did before. >> i'm not taking issue with the
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idea that iran can't be trusted or lying. i'm not taking issue with that but i'm wondering if the status quo is better than tearing it up because at least the inspectors could go in and if you tear it up, there are no inspectors going in. >> but the status quo is a nuclear iran and that is a problem and if it needs to be changed this president will do it. >> white house deputy press secretary hogan gidley. thank you. >> who is behind the leak of the robert mueller questions? there is speculation it might be a familiar face. stay with us. today, 97% of employers agree that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success. like the ones we teach here, every day.
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you do, who leaked this. but why do you think it was leaked? what is the purpose of leaking this, it seems to have come from the trump team since the mueller team doesn't seem to leak. >> that is the question with the president's tweet and he said it was disgraceful but it wasn't the special counsel who made that and the "times" made it clear in the reports. they said they read the questions to the president's legal team and compiled a list and it was provide to someone at the new york times outside of the legal team. it was not coming from mueller, from someone on the president's side which raises questions about who it could be -- >> and why. >> and what the tactic was there. i don't know what they hope to accomplish. and we do know that rudy giuliani did meet with the special counsel just last week. so i'm not saying that rudy giuliani leaked the questions but it does raise questions about ho they came from and flies in the face of the president saying it is disgraceful they were leaked when if does seem like it came from someone with the president. >> why do you think someone
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would leak this if it's t was -- if it was an ally, to make mueller look ridiculous or look at t at the questions and to put them out there and encourage the president to participate and think i can answer these? >> i had a different thought, which is essentially what the president was doing this morning in tweeting, what he was doing is essentially trying to build an argument that if he's charged with obstruction of justice, and they haven't proven the underlying collusion, that is not acceptable. i think he's actually trying to build an argument with his audience, with his fans because what he said was essentially a new argument in the law, which is not accurate, but that you can't be charged with obstruction of justice if the underlying issue hasn't been proven. that is factually incorrect. we have the president clinton impeachment records that go the other way. but i think he's trying to make an argument for his people and why do we think that is -- why is that happening. because mueller has indicated that the obstruction of justice
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charge would happen first. and that could happen in the next several months. and so i think what he's really trying to lay the groundwork for is saying even if i'm charged with obstruction of justice, no big deal. because no one has proven the underlying collusion. >> and some of the questions look hard and look as though mueller might have information that we don't know about. obviously he has a lot of information we don't know about, but some of the questions seem predicated on information we don't know about, such as contacts made by the trump campaign, alleged contacts, including paul manafort to russia to get help. now we know about russia offering help but not about people on the trump team reaching out for help from russia. if you were the president's lawyer, would you be concerned about the questions? >> well, look, i don't think there are any questions in there that are surprising. i think they're all consistent with a lot of public reports about the focus on obstruction and the focus on collusion. i think they're pretty detailed. i think don't know why they were leaked but i would say that if i were to guess, one of my
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theories might be that the -- the internal team -- legal team is having a hard time to get the president to focus and if there is one thing to get him to focus, it is having these type of questions in the news. >> that is interesting. >> and to consider this the severity and the detail with which that mueller is likely to go into with some of his inquiries and to get prepared. the other part is what nero mentioned and caitlyn alluded to as well, which is they want to systematically start to undermine the questions and the lines of inquiry as outside of the scope of what the special counsel should have been focused on in the first place and they'll do that now, all the way until if there is an interview, which i'm skill skeptical that will happen. >> i don't know anybody who thinks it will happen. >> do you think president trump will sit down -- >> it seems less and less likely. the president's legal team after seeing the questions, i would assume if it was me would not want him to sit down with these -- with the special counsel. of course the questions we've heard the president talk about publicly already or they've been posed to the white house and
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there haven't been straight answers but the assumption is that the special counsel already knows the answers to these questions. he wants to see what president will say in response. >> can i say how extraordinary it is that special counsel would have questions and he would not answer. at the end of the day, if the prosecutor had questions for me and every day people and you get subpoenaed, you will answer. >> no one is above the law. >> no person is supposed to be above the law so the idea of will he or won't he question, he absolutely must answer the special counsel questions and he should subpoena him in he doesn't. >> no person in the united states, no man is above the law is perhaps one of the things that will be eroded continually as other things in this trump presidentially are. stick around. we have more to talk about. the president trump's long time personal doctor said he was robbed when president's trump's long term bodyguard showed up at his office and took the files.
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breaking news on this guy, believe it or not. remember him from the 2016 campaign. donald trump's personal physician, dr. harold bornstein who claimed trump would be the healthiest president in history. he's back in the headlines. he's saying that trump aides, quote, robbed him at his new york city office, he said shortly after the inauguration that trump aides barged in and terrified his secretary, pushed aside a patient and took the president's medical records. he first told nbc the aides were the president's former bodyguard keith schiller and the lawyer and third man who he described as large. a person familiar with the matter told cnn that bornstein is over reacting and mischaracterizing the meeting and the trump officials brought along a letter from the white house physician who was at the time rear admiral ronny jackson. and jeff, the white house is t not -- denying the team went into his office and took the
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documents but it wasn't a robbery of any sort. >> reporter: at the white house press briefing, sara sanders did not deny it. she said, in fact, there was a -- steps that were taken more than a year ago, just in the first weeks of the trump administration to seize these medical records. of course, the method might be slightly unusual. but this is how she explained it as a run of business. let's watch. >> as a standard operating procedure for a new president, the white house medical unit took possession of the president's medical records. >> it was characterized as a radio. doctors were upset about it. >> that is not my understanding. >> so saying standarding procedure. hard to recall any other president who would send his long-term personal bodyguard to collect records but no question the president owns his own medical records so this is one more twist in an odd turn of stories about the president's personal physician here. but the white house pushed back
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sharply on any suggestion he was raided or robbed and said that simply isn't true. jake. >> jeff zeleny at the white house. i'm back with the panel. so moments ago the white house called it standard operating procedure for the medical unit to take possession of the medical records. but sara sanders didn't deny that schiller and others were responsible. schiller who was -- he was the president's personal bodyguard and then became a special assistant to the president. it doesn't sound like standard operating procedure. >> it is not standard operating procedure so send a long time bodyguard who you gave a job at the white house to go to his office and barged in and took the documents and making them take a -- a photo of him and the president off the wall. this is a colorful figure and so that draws into question what his claims r. but it isn't standard procedure, you request the documents but clearly they took a very different route.
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but desiree's questions about -- that is the roll that keith schiller had and he delivered the letter to the fbi that fired james comey. so he had a certain peculiar role in the west wing to say the least but it is not standard operating procedure. >> i don't know what you call it, but he carried out some of the more uncomfortable deeds that the president trump needed accomplished. kevin, obviously the medical records of any politician becomes a sensitive subject, whether it is hillary clinton or mitt romney or barack obama, john mccain. bornstein said his office was raided after he told the new york times that president trump took propecia for prostate and can stimulate hair growth and he wasn't given a hippa release. from his perspective, this sounds personal and it doesn't sound like it was just standard preet -- proceeding procedure. >> jeff zeleny said this method is unusual. that is an understatement. there is i process and a
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protocol to get your records. the president obviously -- it does n does not surprise me they didn't follow the protocol. it was designed to do what it did do. it sent the message that this doctor is no longer in good stead with the president or his team and overstepped the line now they are creating distance and by sending the message that -- with that raid on his office -- >> stronger than raid. dr. bornstein after the raid, he felt, quote, his words not mine, raped and frightened and sad. >> yeah,ive mean -- i think what is odd about this whole situation is this is a person who a few months earlier said he had the most spectacular health in the history of humanity or something like that. and i think -- i don't mean to be suspicious, but it makes me wonder what is actually in those records and maybe they thought that dr. bornstein is not someone they could trust any longer. so they needed to take immediate possession of those records. because perhaps there is
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something in there that may communicate to the broader public, if you have a doctor willing to do so, that his health was perhaps not the healthiest. maybe he's upset about the hair growth issue but it is striking me as a kind of practice that goes above and beyond normal behavior to send in three people, one of whom has a big -- a big guy to scare the -- daylights -- >> scare the heck out of -- >> out of the doctor. here is a theme, which dr. bornstein -- this gushing thing about president trump's health and then candidate trump's health and rear admiral ronny jackson said that he thought that trump theoretically could live to be 200. what is it -- dr. bornstein looks like a guy who might say the first thing but admiral jackson, he's a military guy and seemed -- my dad is a dr. and my mom is a nurse and that is not how they talk. >> like glowing and praising
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terms. jackson is saying he could live to be 200 and he -- said if he got elected he would be the healthiest individual ho hold the office. >> come on. >> it is funny, the glowing and gushing statements that were the president's doctors. his personal physician has been his personal physician for so long and dr. ronny jackson has obviously only been his physician -- the 15 months in office and no longer his attending physician but it does raise questions and they have both clearly had downfalls in the last few weeks. >> and let's talk about dr. jackson for a second -- >> a bad sign. >> let's talk about ronny jackson. cnn reported the white house knew last fall about a potential breach of privacy incident involving jackson and the vice president's wife. she directed aides to tell john kelly about her concerns. and yet still the white house is angry at senator jon tester for sharing this information, these allegations against rear admiral jackson when he was up for v.a.
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secretary. although, apparently, tester did so with the blessing of the republican chairman of the committee, johnny isakson. so it seems like karen pence and vice president pence had issues with this guy, johnny isakson, the senator from georgia and republican had issued and jon tester is getting all the heat. >> i would say substantively, the ha-- the allegation is that ronny jackson violated the hippa -- the privacy law. the health privacy rights and laws of a patient which happens to be mrs. pence. but that is a gross violation for any doctor of any kind. and the fact that it is coming from the pence family and not coming from jon tester himself seems to indicate there is a broader problem there. >> and look at everyone who goes into the white house. whether it is a doctor or rob porter, sean spicer, it seems like if i were a republican consultant or you are a republican consultant, why would anyone go into the white house? it seems like people do not escape with their reputations in
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tact. most of the time -- there are a few people. mcmaster and powell and it -- it seems like to you go in there and your reputation is savaged. >> and you have to remember what drives them. they feel the strong need to serve. and the need to somehow be a stabilizing force inside of the administration. and point them in the right direction. but clearly there are processes and protocol that are supposed to be in place in in white house that are not that are creating the problems and it is going to be a bigger problem in recruiting new people to the administration as some of the turn-over occurs. >> and the problems are their own fault. rob porter and the president had nothing to do with what he did to his wife and the same with the allegations against ronny jackson. they were way before trump came into his life. but there are people that the president essentially turns to -- mcmaster was one of him. he embarrasseds him and same with tillerson. the president said people are knocking down the door to get into the white house and that is not view and very evident with the search for the v.a. secretary that they cannot find
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anyone and having trouble picking just one person. so certainly the president does have a history of -- >> i love the book of genesis and yet the president turns into salt. a little sodom and gomorrah. and is president trump using a supermarket tabloid headline to send a message to his fixer and personal attorney michael cohen? stay with us. >> tech: so you think this chip is nothing to worry about?
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through nout the president allergy election of 2016, one publication could be relied upon to do president trump's dirty work for him every time. and i'm referring to the national enquirer.
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the publisher david peck and trump are long time friends and they published false attacks against ted cruz and his aides and against hillary clinton during the general election. that is what makes this cover so notable. the national inquirer is now attacking former trump lawyer michael cohen. cnn filed this report. >> reporter: long-term trump friend and lawyer said he would take a bullet for the president but the feeling may not be mutual. the headline from the national enquirer read trump fixer, secrets and lies. when asked if he thought the story publication was sending a message, cohen told cnn, what do you think. because a source close to trump tells sn a story like that wouldn't be published by the tabloid without the president's blessing. national enquirer head david pecker is a long time ally of trump. in the three-page spread they write the president is in the hot seat because of his lawyer.
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probably another signal trump isn't happy with michael cohen. right now attorneys are sifting through evidence seized from the home and hotel room and office last month as they try to block the courts from using it in a moubts -- in a mounting criminal probe. there is widespread speculation if cohen is charged le turn on the president. last week the president called into fox news and distanted himself from cohen an the investigation. >> michael is a businessman. he has a business. he also practices law. i would say probably the big thing is his business. and they're looking into something having to do with his business. i have nothing to do with this business. >> but the trump campaign is paying some of his legal fees with the president's re-election campaign funds. according to the commission, $228,000 have been paid to defense attorney's firm but two campaign officials say the money is for legal fee associated with the russia investigation and not the current criminal investigation that partly looks into payments cohen made to
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stormy daniels. a woman who alleges an affair with the president which trump denies. >> reporter: and as financial pressure may be mounting for cohen. new york tax system shows his family may owe up to $282,000 in taxes for the cab companies. cohen had no response on that matter. jake. >> thank you so much. let's bring back the panel for a speed round. kaitlin collins, is this on purpose? do you think national enquirer is going after michael cohen to send him a message to undercut him and undermine his probability. >> it could be. we saw what the president reacted when the new york times wrote the pete -- the piece that the relationship is not good and the president treated him poorly. >> and what do you think michael cohen would do? do you think he would flip? >> i have to say, this is like a three dimensional chess i don't understand. because saying that the -- having "the national enquirer" say that the president is angry at you makes it more likely he
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will flip. if i were michael cohen -- i don't know which way the message you would go with. maybe i would flip, maybe i wouldn't. but it seems a very strange process. >> at the end of the day, one of our favorite movies, kevin, good fellas, at the end of the day, henry hill flipped. >> for the little stuff, he kept quiet. but when it came to big stuff and about his family, that was when things changed and i think brin mentioned the financial toll having on his family, the emotional toll of having a president -- or somebody like this he was so close to seen as the fixer, the guy, now to start to create distance, i think that is a big impact. >> and the message from the national enquirer has to be devastating. >> not on accident. >> i'm sure he's seen that happen a few times and perhaps played a role. everyone stick around. stay with us. to find the right hotel for you at the lowest price. so you barely have to lift a finger. or a wing.
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quick repliebder, shameless plug, check out my new novel the hell fire club at local book stores. that is it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. deferring and referring. the white house refuses to comment on the leaked questions special counsel robert mueller wants to ask president trump who launched an angry tweet storm as the list went public. what are the questions revealing about the mueller investigation? obstructed view. president trump said the mueller probe is all about obstruction of justice and he claims there can't be obstruction if there is no underlying crime. why do legal experts disagree. records raised. the president's former personal