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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  August 20, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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lives and trying to impact the election. these accusations in a flurry of tweets from the president. we have learned the president's lawyers were never fully debriefed on what exactly mcgahn told mueller's investigators. let's go to the white house with jeremy diamond. good morning to you. what's the read from the white house this morning after we heard from the president about this over the weekend? >> reporter: as you mentioned, a remarkable revelation just this weekend that the white house counsel, mcgahn, sat for over 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel's team. the white house and the president's personal legal team never got a full debriefing. that has rattled the white house this weekend. we have seen the president tweet a number of types aboimes okay . insisting he was okay with mcgahn sitting with the special
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counsel's team. we are hearing from a source familiar with the matter says mcgahn offered no incriminating information in relationship to the president. there's a question mark around that given that even mcgahn, regardless of what he says, cannot know how the special counsel is going to put all the puzzle pieces together once he gets his own testimony. certainly, this information reverberating around the white house. we have seen the president using this as the latest opportunity to lash out at the special counsel. >> this at the same time as his lawyer, rudy giuliani, again is making the case -- trying to make the case for the president on the networks over the weekend, when it comes to telling the truth, he had an interesting interpretation of what the truth is. lay it out for us. >> reporter: that's right. those comments from rudy giuliani from yesterday on another network, still making an impact here at the white house and around washington. a lot of eyebrows raised. let's listen to what he said yesterday. >> i'm not going to be rushed
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into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. when you tell me that he should testify because he is going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, that's silly. it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth. he didn't have a conversation -- >> truth is truth. i don't mean to -- >> it isn't truth. truth isn't truth. >> reporter: it has become a bad meme after chuck todd suggested after that interaction. rudy giuliani trying to clean up the comments. making clear he wasn't simply talking about a truth as a broader theme. but he was talking specifically about this notion of he said she said kind of situation. let me read you rudy giuliani's tweet where he said my statement was not meant as a upon pontifin on moral theology. so that may be the case as far as what rudy giuliani was saying there. it does go to this broader idea
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that he and the president have been trying to poke the credibility of the mueller investigation and kind of realign the facts here and what mr. mueller will ultimately put out. >> appreciate the reporting. this morning, let's dig deeper into this with former trump white house lawyer jim schultz with me. good morning. jack quinn joins us, former white house counsel for the clinton administration. two good voices to have with us this morning. jim, if you were in your old job, with the trump legal team, would you be concerned about the fact that mcgahn gave 30 plus hours of testimony to mueller's team over three days? >> what you have to understand is that that was part of the initial strategy by ty cobb and john dowd, turning over 1.4 million white house documents, having numerous white house employees go before the mueller
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team and be interviewed. that was their strategy, to cooperate as much as possible, get as much information out there as possible. >> i get it, jim. i know that was the strategy. do you -- i get that was the strategy. dowd is sticking by the strategy, saying this was great for us. but do you, counselor, think it's a good strategy? would you be a little bit shaking in your boots this morning if you are sitting on the white house legal team? >> i don't think i'm shaking in my boots if i'm sitting in the white house legal team. you have seen a shift in perspective. with flood on the scene now, he is -- he has been through this drill before. he is now tightening down the reigns a little bit on what goes out the door, who gets interviewed and also most likely negotiating scope of those interviews. i think there's a philosophic -- i think flood is doing the right
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things now to protect the white house, which is his job. >> one of the things we know, jack, from "the new york times" reporting is that some of the episodes that mcgahn detailed for mueller's team included the president's attempt and desire to fire bob mueller last summer. you do note -- it's an important note. you said there's no attorney client privilege for a government lawyer, even counselor to the president. if you were the white house lawyer right now on that team, would you be concerned? >> i would be really concerned. i think a major error has been made here by the legal team. these guys are like outfielders who have turned their back on the field of play. they're speaking to the people in the stands. that's what the trump people are doing and appealing to the base. that's what mr. giuliani's presentation has been all about. look, the opportunity that they booted away -- this is somewhat in contradiction of jim's point
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about what flood is doing. they have been focused on whether the president is going to sit down for an interview with the special counsel. back and forth, back and forth, we're not going to that, being very tough. in the meantime, they turn their back on the white house counsel. he has given them 30 hours of interviews. it's the next best thing. not only have they gotten that, but they didn't assert executive privilege. with that, have some leverage in order to set the terms of the interview and ensure themselves that they could be debriefed on what happened there. >> jack, you wrote in a piece in february in "the washington post" that you understand where they're coming from. right? you tried to do essentially the same thing in the clinton white house to try to push off, push off an interview. but now you say that that is a misgie misguided strategy. why is it legally misguided?
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>> it was legally misguided in this instance because had they asserted executive privilege -- that's the privilege that they could have asserted. i'm not saying at the end of the day they would have prevailed had it gone to court. it may not have. the assertion of it would have enabled them to help negotiate the terms of the interview with mr. mcgahn and certainly to ensure that they would have the opportunity for a debriefing. the likelihood is that all of the things they wanted -- that long litany of questions they planned to ask the question, they asked don mcgahn what the president had to say about all of those things. they have firsthand eyewitness -- >> right. it's not the same as asking what was your intent to the source. >> but it is -- it's the next
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best thing. >> i agree with that, poppy, in that, yes, they could have used executive privilege as a negotiating tool on the front end. that was probably the would have been a better strategy on hindsight being 20/20. what i also think is important to note that there is still anticipate argument that executive privilege can still be asserted. you are talking the white house, which is part of the executive branch, doj, part of the executive branch. that doesn't get to a grand jury and that doesn't get to congress unless executive privilege is waived. >> the argument is -- this is deep down in the "times" piece that perhaps they could argue retroactively executive privilege here so it would not be included in the mueller report to go to congress. something you agree on, rudy giuliani, you both think he needs to get his story straight. jim, to you. if not a legal asset to the president right now by saying truth is not truth, is it a
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political asset to the president in this white house right now? you worked in the white house. you worked on the legal team. is he helping by muddying the waters politically? >> i have represented a lot of politicians. i have represented a governor in my home state of pennsylvania as general counsel. when you are speaking on behalf of your client, you have to be precise. if you are going to take that step to do it on television or in the public domain, there's no exception to precision. he is not being precise. he is giving off the cuff answers. he needs to be better prepared and be very precise with his answers and get his facts straight so that he is conveying that message appropriately. >> both gentlemen, stay with me. i want to bring in my colleague who will report out some important news for that, that's on the president's former attorney, michael cohen, facing potentially some really tough charges here, maybe by the end of this month. >> that's what we are hearing. we have known for a while, since april, since that raid of his home, hotel and office, that
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they were looking into his business practices. what we are hearing now is that possibly the amount that he could be seeing in an indictment should it come. according to "the new york times," they are reporting that possibly he lied to lenders about his assets in order to get up to $20 million in loans for his taxi businesses. then also, tax fraud is an issue. we know campaign violation -- campaign finance violations could be an issue if there's an indictment. >> because of the payout to stormy daniels, for example? that could be seen as an in-kind contribution to help the campaign? >> that's what we have been hearing since the search warrant happened. we don't know if that's part of an indictment should one come. "new york times" reporting that it's possible if we see an indictment, it could come as early as the end of this month. we have two weeks left in this month. what we hear -- my colleagues have heard from sources is that, the sdny is cognizant of when they file charges against people. they were like that with chris
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collins. that came up with the news conference. they don't want to do it too soon to the midterm elections. it's possible we see it before the end of this month. or we see it after the midterms. >> thank you for the reporting. jim and jack, back with me. what do you make of this in terms of how valuable co-con c could be to the mueller probe? >> my thinking on this is that -- >> to jack, really quick, jim. >> go ahead. >> my point is, i'm not going to pretend to know what michael cohen knows that's relevant to the mueller investigation. we don't know that. presumably, he has some insight line of vision into some of the issues that the special counsel is looking at. precisely what he might have, it's guess work at this point. >> jim, you know that this is a man who has been loyal to the president up until recently. he also went on with george
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stephanopoulos and said my loyalty is to my family and my country. should the white house be concerned? >> michael cohen has been out there almost begging to help himself through this issue he has gotten himself into. i think jack is right. we don't know what he knows. whether it's useful at all. quite frankly, a lot of that is going to be, for the prosecutors and for him, making a judgement, even if he has something that may be worthwhile. depending upon what he is looking at from a sentence perspective, even if he is convicted or pleads guilty, all of that is going to factor into his decision making as to he goes forward and then the prosecutors -- maybe he doesn't have anything to say that's worthwhile. >> to be very clear on this, if he were to cooperate, the reporting that -- as i understand it is that he would have to cooperate not just on a select area of focus. he would be cooperating with feds across the board. whether it came to cooperation in the russia probe, right?
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>> once they have you and you are a cooperator, they have you. he is going to have to make that judge emergency. that's a tough call to make. >> he would be available to mueller or any other prosecutor. as jim says, they have you. you have to give evidence wherever you have evidence. >> right. the plea doesn't come -- the deal that you might get until you provide what the government thinks you are going to provide for them in the end. gentlemen, nice to have you, such important voices. thank you both. day three today of jury deliberations in the trial of former trump campaign chair paul manafort. we will take you live outside the courthouse in a few minutes. john brennan is considering going to court with president trump over his security clearance being revoked. this as over 100 former officials in the intelligence community speak out with another letter against the president's
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happening right now, the jury in paul manafort's trial is deliberating. this is day three. the judge in the case citing personal threats, saying he has received threats and that's why he does not want the names of the jury released to the media. let's go to the courthouse. jessica schneider joins me now. there's that and then there's what's happening behind closed doors. i don't think we heard a peep in terms of questions from the jury since we talked about those ones that came late thursday.
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>> reporter: that's exactly right. we heard the one night friday where the jurors said we had enough here. one has a commitment. we need to go home by 5:00 p.m. we are in hour 15 of deliberations. we haven't heard much from the jury. the first day they asked four questions, including clarification on what reasonable doubt meant. by all accounts, this jury is really working hard and painstakingly. they have a lot to get through. while the jury is deliberating right now -- they started at 9:35 this morning -- there's a bench conference happening right now in the courtroom between the defense team and the prosecution. the defendant paul manafort, he is in the courtroom. this is all happening with the doors closed, out of public view. this is under seal. we won't know what has happened here until after the verdict. it's anyone's guess as to what's being discussed by the two attorneys, two sets of attorneys right now with the judge. again, that's all happening while the jury here is still
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deliberating. they're in day three of this. they really have a lot to get through. we're talking 18 complicated counts, bank and tax fraud. we're talking 388 documents, 27 witnesses that they have listened to. we heard from the defense team -- we have been hearing from the defense team a lot as they walk in and out of the courtroom. they have been staking out in the hotel across from the court. the cameras catch them every time they walk in and out. every time the defense team has said that they are feeling good about this. they say that the longer this jury deliberates, the better they think it is for their client paul manafort. the defense attorney kevin downing, he was asked today, do you think there will be a verdict? he said, i don't know. a reporter asked, how is your client feeling? the client being paul manafort. he said, he is feeling very good about this. the defense team putting on that happy face, pleased on the outside with how things are going here, poppy. we will see. this jury, we haven't heard a
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lot from them, just the first day with the questions. we will see if more questions pop up toward or perhaps a verdict. we will wait and see. >> you are a lawyer. do defense attorneys ever say my client is worried, not feeling good about this? >> reporter: no. it's all about that public persona, the public -- how they portray it. i'm sure that's what part of the defense strategy here, look good, look confident. >> understood. keep us posted. the president just launched a fresh attack on john brennan. what he said coming up. this is as the former intelligence chief considers a lawsuit against the president. t all your school supplies today. school... grade... done. done. hit the snooze button and get low prices on school supplies all summer long. like these for only $2 or less at office depot officemax.
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now more businesses, in more places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. president trump has a message for john brennan, bring it on. the president moments ago wrote this. i hope john brennan the worst cia dreirector in our history, brings a lawsuit. brennan says if i have to take this to court, i will. it comes as more than 175 former intel officials join the outcry over the president's decision to revoke brennan's credentials. should brennan take the president to court over this? >> i think congress should exercise more control over how the security clearances can be
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taken away. the clearance is not for john brennan's sake. it's for the safety of the united states. while it may be petty the president did this, he is making us less safe. the national security team has fewer people to draw on. >> some would argue -- you could get, if needed, brennan's exer tea -- you could get his expertise. he has been opposed to what the president has done. he also questioned brennan a bit. listen to this. >> do you think that brennan's hyperbole is an issue here, is one of the reasons we're having this crisis? >> i think it is. i think john is like a freight
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train. the common denominator among all of us is concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values. john and his rhetoric have become, i think, an issue in and of itself. >> does he have a point that perhaps brennan has gone too far saying claims of no collusion by the president, for example, are hogwash? >> i think john brennan, like myself and others, we look at a burning democracy, a five alarm fire, and you can either grab a fire hose or pour more gasoline on it. i see donald trump and enablers in congress pouring more gasoline on it. these are issues that if we don't speak up now, we could lose everything we treasure. >> you don't think there's an issue with brennan's language? it's not going too far? >> i don't believe so. i think this is a time in our country's history where where you stand is how you will be
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judged. whether wove a democre have a d not will talk on where people stand. >> let's talk about where you are been standing a lot, that's in iowa. ten type times over the last yd a half. i like iowa. my dad is from iowa. >> i was born there. >> there you go. people running for president also like iowa a lot. >> i heard about that. >> have you? are you going to run for president? >> i'm going to do all i can to win my way back to congress. i'm helping a lot of colleagues, particularly there's three seats in iowa where we have two of our countries under the age of 40. then after the midterms, i'm going to consider it. right now, i'm helping candidates who are stepping up to protect our health care, paychecks and the democracy. i'm inspired by so many new candidates who are bursts of new energy, ideas and leadership. >> there was the news in there, i am considering it. not a denial. you are thinking about running for president. why do you think that you would be, a, your party's best shot at
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the oval office, and, b, the single best person to lead this country? >> poppy, this president has just taken a wrecking ball to many freedoms that give me the first generation person in my family to go to college an opportunity. i was raised to believe if you work hard it means something. i think having experience and energy to give americans a healthcare guarantee, invest in modern schools to make sure we green our grid and infrastructure, that's the path forward. the future is a page forward. i'm going to consider it. right now the best way to cut our time in hell in half is to win congress. we shouldn't look beyond that. >> let's talk about how you do that. if you retake control of the house, if nancy pelosi is the best leader, the right leader for the party to lead you forward. as you know, there has been a growing outcry from some in your party, from candidates like danielle connor, who say she
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doesn't represent the future of the party. are they right? is nancy pelosi the best leader for your party? >> i'm supporting nancy pelosi. i heard nancy pelosi tell those candidates, you do what you have to do. she's not making them make a pledge. i think there's room in our party for others. i look forward to welcoming them. these are problems we would love to have. that means we're in the majority and have to figure out who our speaker will be. >> i asked jim himes of connecticut on friday if he thinks leadership in your party is too old and too white. here is what he said. >> the fact that our top three leaders are in their late 70s -- i don't care who those leaders are -- that's a problem. the democratic party is going to need to get faces and people who can speak to people in their 40s to people in their 20s. >> is he right? >> i'm the youngest one on our leadership team. i'm 37 years old.
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i sit at that -- >> that make u.s you an anomaly. >> we have 40 candidates under the age of 40. most of them never imagined running for congress. it reminds me of what i read about the watergate babies in 1974. they stepped up because they saw what was happening to their country. they answered the call to service. >> it sounds like you agree leadership is too old. >> i think we need new leaders at that leadership table. that's why i hope this freshman class is so big that they assert themselves and they have seats there, too. >> before you go, new gallop poll that fascinates me. it's the first time in a decade where democrats, when you poll democrats, they have a more positive view of socialism than of capitalism. 47% view capitalism positively. 57% view socialism positively. do you see that as a dangerous strain on your party on something your party should
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embrace? >> i see the republicans have been so reckless with capitalism, the tax cuts have gone to the top, people don't have health care security today, i understand why people look the other way. i believe in capitalism. i believe in not redistribution but reinvestment and rebuilding. if we go back to that, i think people, regardless what your party is, will believe in capitalism again. that's something we should seek to restore once we win in november. >> we will see what happens. i think we got 7 d9 days or something like that. we have to update you on a story we have been following closely here out of yemen. cnn can now confirm the bomb that was used in that tragic attack on that school bus in yemen that killed 40 children was american made. it was sold as part of a u.s. arms deal with saudi arabia. now there are more questions over what the u.s. role in all of this really is.
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