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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  November 30, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST

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this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump touching down in buenos aires tonight for meetings with world leaders at the g20. but one of those meetings has already been scrapped. just a short time after saying it was a good time to meet with vladimir putin, trump canceled. the official reason was the confrontation between russia and ukraine. but the timing has to make you wonder, coming right after michael cohen, trump's former fixer, pleaded guilty to lying to congress about efforts to build a trump tower in moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. and it comes as we're learning tonight that one idea for marketing trump tower moscow was
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to offer vladimir putin the $50 million penthouse. that is according to felix sater, a russian-born one-time business associate of trump's who worked on the project with michael cohen. confronted with news of cohen's plea, the president dismissed him as weak, claimed it didn't matter because he could do whatever he wanted during the campaign. but remember, all this means is that then candidate trump was trying to do business with russia in the middle of a campaign that russia interfered in to help elect him. so let's discuss now. we have lots to discuss. john dean is here. jack quinn. good evening. today's developments, gentlemen, it's really -- just when you think it can't get any more twisted, it gets -- i know this is not a word. twisteder. it gets more twisted. so john, i'm going to start with you. back in august sources close to michael cohen told me that they saw parallels to your story.
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right? >> yes. >> after what happened today, do you think there are parallels? >> well, there are some. he's an obvious insider. he didn't try to end it inside, as i happened to do. but when it came time to stand up, i think he did. when i look at his cooperation agreement, the first time he walked in with none at all. he spent 70-some hours with the special counsel with no agreement. today he has an agreement as a result of the information he's provided. so they don't give those out easily at the special counsel's office. he's provided some good information, don. zple says he doesn't have an official -- what he has is the promise of a letter i think. that's what the reporting is. a promise of a letter to the judge and maybe that will help. but there's no official what do they call it, 5k-1? >> right sf
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>> right. >> is that what they call it? >> sentencing guidelines. >> this is you back in 1973. and this is from your testimony to the senate watergate committee. watch this. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and if the cancer was not removed the president himself would be killed by it. i also told him that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately. >> you tried to warn nixon about watergate. clearly the russia scandal has turned into a cancer on trump's presidency. >> it certainly has. and i think today's plea may have been a real shocker for the president because his motive, as you've discussed in the last hour, is now shown bare. it's pure finance is behind this, an effort to make money. he didn't think he was going to win the presidency. he thought he'd be a little more famous, have a little bit more power for that reason, and he could crack a hell of a deal in
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moscow. it didn't work out that way. >> listen, the president is saying that michael cohen is lying, rudy giuliani has weighed in, jack. you know, it's cohen's word against the president's. special counsel, though, is saying they believe what michael cohen is telling them. that is significant. >> it's very significant. and i would point your attention, as i'm sure you know, robert mueller put his name on this pleading. this was not signed by one of his deputies. he put his name on this. and he indicated in that pleading that he believes that michael cohen has been truthful and helpful to the investigation. that was a significant signal on the part of the special counsel. yeah. >> today i think the important thing here is that few people i
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think can doubt now on the basis of what michael cohen has said that donald trump was untruthful about his relationship with russia and his dealings with russia throughout the campaign during a period of time when he was engaged in weakening the republican platform on american policy toward russia, when he was doing business deals that he consistently denied he was doing. and you know, all of that concealment betrays a guilty mind. one has to wonder why. >> yeah. by what is it -- you mentioned that robert mueller signed it, right? and you said that stood out to you. did anything else stand out to you? because today's plea -- i'm just wondering. there was so much information in here. what does this tell us about what mueller knows and the kind of intel he has? >> well, like previous filings, i think everyone read that
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document and thought wow, he's just exquisitely careful, he is way ahead of everyone else in terms of what he knows, and you know, the first thing i wondered, of course, was reading this deprived a question to president trump, you know, in terms of these written questions that the special counsel's office was giving to president trump and answers to think were provided just recently. i'm sure -- i think we know this subject was among the subjects about which mueller's operation provided questions to president trump. we're going to see now whether those answers were consistent with what we learned today. >> i think the timing is important.
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right? because this comes just a couple days, or shortly i should say after the president submitted his written questions -- his written answers to the special counsel. sources telling cnn, john, that the acting attorney general, matthew whitaker, has informed -- was informed ahead of time for this. if the president put whitaker in charge of the d.o.j. to help him with this russia investigation, he can't be really happy with him right now, can he? >> well, it's not clear from the reporting which has been mixed all day as to whether or not rosenstein is still in charge of the russia investigation. it appears that he is. he has still not been removed from that position. but the attorney general was informed and passed the information on. so i don't think he -- maybe he's not in a position to do anything, don. >> here's what our reporting is saying, that the attorney general rosenstein is still in
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charge of the day-to-day handling of the russia investigation but whitaker is his boss and he has been a critic of mueller. so what happens if they disagree on something? >> he's the boss. and he had to have been informed. >> wait, hold on. i wanted to get john in. i'll get you, jack. go ahead, john. >> i was going to say i think if whitaker had opposed that rosenstein knows the case so much better, knows mueller so much better that he would tell the big fella to back off. >> got it. >> and give him some advice. >> go on, jack. >> i think whitaker had to have been informed. he is in charge of the department. i can't imagine that rosenstein would jeopardize his standing, particularly after that recent outrageous tweet depicting him and everyone else as being behind bars. i can't imagine that rosenstein would have knowledge of this
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filing happening the next day and not have informed whitaker. i believe he did and that whitaker in turn informed the president. and my surmise is that whitaker correct correctly calculated that he would really be in jeopardy, particularly up on the hill, if he did something precipitous and stood in the way of this. >> i mean, you guys say this, but you've heard what james comey, the former fbi director, said about whitaker, that he wasn't the sharpest knife in our drawer. that's a quote from him. but he doubts whitaker would derail the russia investigation. given that mueller seems to be plowing ahead right now, do you think comey is right? first jack. >> i'm not going to characterize particularly someone i don't know. i have no idea what his capabilities are. >> but what about the second part of the question, then? that given what mueller seems to -- what he knows that he
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seems to be plowing ahead right now. >> mueller does? >> yeah. >> yeah. he is plowing ahead. and as i said earlier, i mean, he is incredibly careful. look, almost every single one of his filings in this case has amazed the legal community at the least and frequently the public generally. he is doing an exquisitely careful job. he is clearly building toward a resolution on this case. that is not to say that, you know, we know the end game here, we know who will be indicted and who will not be indicted, whether there might be an impeachment or not. we don't know that. but he is building a case. he is clearly not about to finish. >> that was my question. that's my question to john. john, listen, you've been through something similar. everyone keeps saying -- well, not everyone. but a lot of people keep saying
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oh, it's about to wrap up. but some of the sharpest minds i've heard and according to jack, it's only the beginning. this is just the start of it. do you agree with that, john? >> i agree. i don't think it's very far along in the big picture at all. i think mueller has settled in, he's got his key staff, he's taking things that are not relevant to his office and feeding them out to other offices. and he's going to have a very in shape team when they get ready to go to trial and those trials if somebody doesn't plead are going to be protracted trials probably. but don, one of the other things to pick up on what jack was saying on how careful this guy is, mueller, he seems to have documentary evidence behind every charge he makes. we saw that in the corsi draft material. we saw that today in the cohen pleading. and it's been consistent
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throughout. he's building powerful stuff. >> one he may also have tapes. and two, he still has to close this julian assange link. >> i've got to run. thank you, gentlemen. take your vitamins. eat your vitamins and your o.j. and get strong. go to the gym. get some sleep. it's only the beginning. donald trump has spent a lot of time trying to deny that he had business interests in russia. but remember when he tweeted "do you think putin will be going to the miss universe pageant in november in moscow? if so will he become my new best friend?" how far did they go to pursue that? that's next. my name is jeff sheldon,
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and i'm the founder of ugmonk. before shipstation it was crazy. it's great when you see a hundred orders come in, a hundred orders come in, but then you realize i've got a hundred orders i have to ship out. shipstation streamlined that wh the order data, the weights of , everything is seamlessly put into shipstation, so when we print the shipping ll everything's pretty much done. it's so much easier so now, we're ready, bring on t. shipstation. the number one ch of online sellers. go to and get two months free. we're getting some new information about just how badly donald trump's team apparently wanted to do business in russia. they even considered offering vladimir putin the penthouse in trump tower moscow. that is according to felix sater, a russian-born business
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associate of trump's who worked on the project with michael cohen. buzzfeed is reporting that penthouse would have been worth $50 million. here to discuss walter schaub, former director of the office of government ethics. and david cray johnston, author of "it's even worse than you think: what the trump administration is doing to america." gentlemen, good evening. every day there's something. david, i'm going to start with you. trump started pushing for a moscow deal. this was in the '80s. here he is back then in russia with his then wife. this is ivana trump, right? was a moscow building the holey grail for donald trump? >> well, donald had this vision of having trump towers all over the world with his name in faux gold letters. and there have been i believe five different attempts to get a building like this. the idea of giving a penthouse apartment, however, to the
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modern czar, actually small business move because many oligarchs might feel an obligation to buy an apartment and that would bring donald a lot of money along with his partners. >> interesting. so walter, you just heard what david said. you heard me mention they were considering giving putin this penthouse in the moscow trump tower. $50 million. what kind of issues does that raise for you? >> well, who hasn't thought about giving vladimir putin a $50 million condo? this goes to the heart of what we don't know. he's got a financial disclosure report that's about an inch thick. and each page has multiple, multiple assets on it and the only thing we know about them is their name and their value and in some cases the income they produce but not even in all the cases. what we don't know is his business partners, his customers. we don't know who he's dependent on for deals.
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so this is a peek, if we had a deck of cards laid face down on the table, this is a peek under the corner of one of those cards. so it's not surprising that we've discovered something troubling like this potential business deal he was working on really late in the election with russia. it just goes to show that business has been his primary interest and not public service. and what we don't know ought to scare us. and we're reminded of the title of david's book. you know, "it's much worse than we think." >> what was his obsession with doing business in russia? david, donald trump, he even pushed for -- to bring trump vodka to russia in 2007. but reports show that it didn't sell. >> it didn't sell here either. >> what was it about russia that intrigued him so much? why was he so obsessed with doing business there? >> i honestly -- i don't know the answer to that. the russians, however, began
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courting him in 19 i think it was 87 before the end of the soviet empire. with this trip he and ivana went on. donald is very, very susceptible to people who flatter him. remember, part of the very well-crafted efforts by the kremlin to interfere with other countries includes identifying people who may be important and who can be in some way compromised or turned into friends. the russians are develop very good at that. they have been putting money into donald's pockets for 30 years. as donald said about the saudis, why should i hate them, they've given me tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate. so i can see why even when trump was merely a blowhard celebrity in new york the russians might well think it was worth investing in him the same way venture capitalists put money into lots of different companies and then maybe they get google
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or netflix out of it. >> this is according to the "washington post," david, that donald trump jr. made six trips to russia in 18 months. this is around 2008. he is seen in russia, here he is, with his sister ivanka, his brother eric. take a look at that picture. how important was a russia deal for the trump children? >> well, it was very important to the trump family. don jr. or eric, i forget which one at the moment, came back from one of those trips and told a real estate trade publication that we have a disproportionate share of our assets coming from -- >> i think it was eric, wasn't it? >> i think it was eric. >> it was don jr. okay. sorry. >> it was don jr. okay. donald couldn't borrow from american banks after his 1990 debacle. they wouldn't loan to him. deutsche bank, which has long been a money laundering operation in part for russian oligarchs, is the only place
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that loaned him money. and russians needed during they'ra of the '90s and the first decade of this century, to move money out of the country, to find places to park it. and so there's deep entanglements. and walter's exactly right. we don't have a clue to what's really going on and we don't know the value of his properties. donald puts values on some of his properties that are ridiculously high when you look at comparable properties -- have i want to put up what you just said. okay? this is don jr. and this is 2008. all right? telling investors this. okay? you just mentioned that russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, he said, explaining that russians found the trump name appealing and were buying units in the company's buildings around the world. i'm going to send it to you, walter, now. what stands out to you from that statement david just reminded us
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of? >> i think what that shows is there are links of some sort with russia. and remember, the burden of proof is on him. he decided to part from the tradition of modern presidents of divesting their conflicts of interest. well, if you're going to do that, what you do is you walk in and say i'm going to ignore the ethics guy but here are all the things i'm going to do to be transparent because i understand that the burden of proof is on me to reassure the american people that i'm using this great power they've entrusted to me solely for their benefit. but he's done the opposite, beginning with not revealing his taxes and then not volunteering any information that isn't strictly legally required. >> it's a brand new world, gentlemen. thank you. i appreciate your time. the president hastily canceling his meeting with vladimir putin today just after he said it was on. i wonder what putin is thinking about all this.
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simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. the president and the first lady arrived in buenos aires tonight. they're in town for the g20 summit. but one world leader will be notably missing from the president's schedule. and that is vladimir putin. just after the news broke about michael cohen and the proposed trump tower project in moscow the president announced on twitter the putin meeting was off, it was canceled. but he gave a different reason, saying it was because of the conflict in the ukraine. let's discuss. juliette kayyem is here. bob baer as well. juliette, they may not have their trump-putin meeting. but you say the russians are very happy tonight. why is that? >> well, i think because they wafrp cnn as well.
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and they know what is happening to this president. i think you have to look at sort of the totality of what we have found out today, which is essentially how much leverage the russians had over trump as a candidate and over trump as the president. as a candidate he clear will i wanted the financial dealings for his real estate to go through in russia. that meant that the russians had something on him. then he lies about it, which means that the russians had something on him. and they wanted changes in policy which trump was sort of obliged or willing to do. so the amount of leverage that the russians had over trump, whether it was exposed or not, is something that we didn't know before but now is sort of fully exposed by michael cohen. that's a very, very good place for the russians to be because it's destabilized not just the presidency but of course our american democracy at this stage. this is a no laugh day today. this is pretty shockinging. >> bob baer, you say that since
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1986 russia has viewed trump as a man that they could do business with and they play the long game. explain that. >> well, they could see right away that he was biddable. in 1985 he started taking russian money, it was dirty russian money, mobster money from brighton beach. these people were connected to the kgb. he hosted a lot of these people. they were buying and selling apartments. and he also mimicked, parroted the soviet line in those days. and he was perfect. he was the perfect dupe for the russians. and so they hang this hotel over him in moscomoscow. the russian his no intention of letting him build a hotel in '87. i know for a fact. but they invite him there. intourist supposedly but it's the kgb. they look at him as a replacement for armen hammer, very pro soviet, but he was ailing at the time. they had report after report after report. they knew even his running in
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the election in 2016 was a victory for them because he just overlooked the invasion of crimea. they loved the guy and they could count on him because he needed money to do their bidding. he was biddable and they knew it. >> mueller dropped this news, juliette, the cohen news, right before trump got on the plane to head over to the g20. this is a theme we have seen. russia news breaking as the president heads out on international trips. do you think there's something to be said about the timing here? >> it's hard to know. i mean, i feel like mueller has such a long -- you know, he's got the long game plan here that it may have been just a coincidence. what i will say is that the sort of -- two things. one is trump needed to cancel the meeting with putin only because he could not afford another helsinki, a post-meeting helsinki type press conference. that could not sustain itself in terms of what they discussed. one thing i want to pick up just
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quickly on what bob said, we're now in the full financial part of this investigation. we're looking at the leverage and the blackmail and the real estate. let's not forget the election side of it. this only works for putin. all this blackmail and leverage. if trump wins. and that is why these two pieces of the investigation, the election hacking, the fake news, the whether there's meetings about wikileaks and the financial stuff are related because putin's leverage only works if trump's in charge. and that's why let's not forget the national security and election side of this as well as we're following the money. >> is it possible -- juliette said well, maybe it was just a coincidence. but is it possible mueller is trying to send a message to putin? >> no. i think mueller is just marching forward. he's clearly at this point -- you look at all the leaks that have come out this last week. he's got a good case for collusion. if this were a mafia investigation, trump would be
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indicted under rico. no question about it. you look at all of these pieces. assange and the fact his server is hosted in moscow and you've got the gru involved. he's got the gru intelligence officer, russian intelligence officer brokering the purchase of this hotel in moscow in 2016. by the way, it's a bar to federal employment to be working with a foreign government in a clandestine manner. why he's president is a question we're going to be asking for years. >> interesting. you said to be prosecuted under the rico statute. it's interesting how that doesn't really -- that doesn't apply to him, bob. >> it doesn't. but he's been dealing with the mob forever. just like he's been dealing with the saudis. all of his partners, they were living in trump tower. ivankov, famous brutal mobster working out of his offices in atlantic city. this is just a fact. and it's something we overlooked in the run-up to the election. i'm not sure why but we did.
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>> well, interesting. according to michael cohen, though, trump was still pushing for a deal in moscow while campaigning for president and saying things like this. watch this. >> putin called me brilliant. i like. >> now i like putin. putd putin called me a genius, by the way. he said donald trump is a genius and he's the absolute leader over there and he's the smartest person. >> i think putin's been a very strong leader for russia. he's been a lot stronger than our leader. i can tell you. >> wouldn't it be great if we actually got along with russia? wouldn't it be great? is there anything wrong with that? >> interesting, interesting, interesting. so juliette, at the same time he was trashing nato and the eu, was he doing putin's bidding? >> yes. i mean, it's so horrifying to see this knowing what we know now because what you are seeing in these clips, and i'm sort of catching my breath because when you see them all together, is what you see is the future president of the united states or the president of the united
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states essentially praising an enemy of the united states and someone who undermined our democracy solely for monetary gain and then undermining a very precarious at some times coalition in nato and the eu to give putin what he wants so that putin gives trump what he wants. it's pretty simple. i mean, it's not -- this isn't rocket science. it's just horrifying. i mean, when you actually watch all of that, this is -- he is selling us, people. i don't know what else to say at this stage. he is selling us. and he and let me now say it, ivanka, let me just say it again, ivanka and don jr. are now fully implicated in the selling of american democracy for the trump family gain. that is where we are. and it's not over yet. we only know pieces of this. there were 59 -- how many hours of testimony did michael cohen give? >> 70. 70 hours. >> yeah, 70. >> all right. that's a good place to end. thank you both. appreciate your time.
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>> thank you. >> senator tim scott reversing course and defying his own party. why the only black republican in the senate now says he is voting no on a controversial trump judicial nominee. 4-w-p is more than a store.
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senator tim scott of south carolina announcing tonight that he will not support the nomination of thomas farr to be a federal judge. farr is accused of supporting measures that discriminate against black voters. senator scott is the only black republican in the senate and his no vote effectively kills farr's nomination. let's discuss with alice stewart
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now and tara set mooir. a 180. last night tim scott voted to advance farr's nomination. today he said his final vote will be a no. you said last night that he's a stand-up guy. >> yep. >> you were right. did you see this coming? >> yes. i was -- if i had to bet last night whether he would have voted yes today or not i probably would have said he wouldn't have voted yes because if he held the vote open for an hour because he was deliberating what to do. so he voted to move forward the procedural vote. but he was still very frustrated. the reports were clear that he was still very frustrated about what to do and that he was still unsure. he made it pretty clear he was unsure what he was going to do today, that just because he voted for the procedural vote didn't mean it was a guaranteed yes today. and then wasn't the only one that started to back off their support. marco rubio, lisa murkowski as well, who endorsed farr earlier in the week, after seeing this memo that was issued from the
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justice department back in 1991 about the jesse helms campaign and that racist attempt to suppress black votes back then. that began to show some cracks in the support for farr because they were troubled by how involved he was or was not in this. he claims he wasn't as involved. but it seemed to be he was more involved than he initially let on and that was not okay for tim scott or marco rubio or lisa murkowski. >> last night when van said that he was a stand-up guy, right? >> and he is. >> and you said it too. and i said van said despite his vote yesterday, which was a procedural vote. right? it wasn't the final. that he had done enough good things where he wouldn't hold one thing against him. but then look what happens today. so it was good that he gave him credit for -- >> second time he's done this. he beat back another nomination that had racial overtones. >> you've defended thomas farr's actions saying he was not guilty
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of voter suppression. what's your reaction to this? >> look, i still defend him. at the same time i disagree with senator scott's decision. i respect him. i respect the fact that he took his time and he did his due diligence and he looked into this and he investigated it clearly. and as tara said, he's done this before. he voted to proceed with a certain vote but in the end at the end of the day he voted against a judicial nominee. >> what's the reaction from trump supporters on this? are they upset with tim scott? >> they're not happy with him because they certainly want to see president trump's judicial nominees move forward. they support president trump because of his ability to transform the power of the courts. but look, this is just one of many nominees that we have out there. i still support judge farr. he was not as involved with the helms activities with regard to what many perceive as voter suppression as indicated. he has said as much, and i believe him. he has been very vocal with regard to voter i.d., which i think is important.
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election security which i think is important. and defending congressional lines which he has done which is very important. that being said, it is not unusual to see some people that don't agree with how he acted have issue with that. as senator scott said, there are a lot of other people out there without lingering issues out there that can be put forth. >> i know you want to jump in, tara, but let me give some of the back story here and talk more about him because his decision came after learning about farr's part in the use of post-cards that intimidated african-americans to keep them from voting in the 1990 campaign of senator jesse helms, as you talked about. farr was a lawyer for helms' campaign and scott said this in a statement. this is what he said. he said, "this week a department of justice memo written under president george h.w. bush was released that shed new light on mr. farr's activities. this in turn created more concerns. weighing these important factors this afternoon, i concluded that i could not support mr. farr's nomination." does that send a message, tara?
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i'm going to let you jump in but does that send a message to other republicans that some lines just cannot be crossed? >> i mean, i would hope so. we've seen a lot of krielines crossed in the last couple years in this trump era, and i think it's starting to culminate. i mean, if this nomination had happened in a vacuum and we didn't have what just happened in mississippi with this racist now senator that just got elected to mississippi and the president supporting her, if what didn't happen with the president and his attacks on black female journalists, and i mean the list is pretty long with the racial insensitivity. charlottesville. good people on both sides. all of those things. this all of those things hadn't happened and then you had this thomas farr nomination, probably who one would have noticed. there would have been some back and forth but i think it would have gone through. >> i think senator scott -- under the circumstances now do you think someone else, you said because other people their support was starting to waiver. do you think someone else would
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have stepped up if it wasn't for tim scott saying no? >> no, i don't. unfortunately. >> the lone black senator? >> he's been very vocal about his experience as a black senator in washington and in life and experienced trying to explain to some of his colleagues that the experience of being a black man in america is different than what you guys see every day even for me as a senator. sew has kept it real, as the young kids say, about that. and i think that's been a good education for a lot of people who think some people are racially too sensitive. >> i seriously have a couple seconds left. listen, tara mentioned it earlier but this isn't the first time that it's happened, alice, where he has sunk the nomination. ryan bounds is one of them. he's the gop's only black senator. what does this say? >> i think it says look, i applaud him like i said for looking at the issues and doing his due diligence and making the
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right choice that's best for him. but keep in mind, yesterday 50 republicans and vice president pence were all on board for farr moving forward. the only ones were jeff flake, who was on his way out, and moving forward if senator scott hadn't voted this way i would say we would have the same 50 republicans that would have voted for farr moving forward to proceed without a doubt. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. >> thanks, don. >> thanks, don. welcome to emirates mr. jones.
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and vaporize it. ahhhhh! shhhhh! new nyquil severe with vicks vapocool. the vaporizing, nightime coughing, aching, stuffy head, best sleep with a cold, medicine. labor secretary alex acosta was said to be on president trump's short list to become attorney general. but not anymore. a source tells cnn he has been ruled out. and that's apparently because of a miami herald investigation of
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him when he was a u.s. attorney in florida. the "herald" is reporting that acosta gave a sweetheart deal to a wealthy man accused of sex crimes, including sexually abusing underage girls. cnn's rene marsh has the story. >> he's supposed to be protecting these victims, and he was protecting jeffrey epstein, a pedophile. >> reporter: according to an extensive investigation by the "miami herald," accused serial pedophile and multimillionaire jeffrey epstein got a sweetheart deal thanks to president trump's labor secretary, alex acosta. >> as of today -- >> reporter: the paper found that as a u.s. attorney in florida in 2007 acosta and another federal prosecutor struck a plea deal with epstein's legal team just as the fbi was investigating years of alleged sex crimes. the "lerld" reports epstein's accusations are include at least 36 underage victims, a steady stream of girls 16 years and younger in and out of his
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sprawling palm beach mansion, and allegations he paid teens to recruit more young victims. michael fisten is a private investigator for the legal team representing some of the victims. >> i read the indictment. there was multiple allegations of sex trafficking, trafficking girls across lines, using his airplane to traffic girls. witness intimidation. and then all of a sudden it disappeared. >> reporter: according to the "miami herald" the agreement between acosta and epstein's legal team allowed the defense to dictate the terms, shut down the fbi investigation into additional victims and accomplices, granted immunity to potential co-conspirators. and it was kept secret from the victims until it was approved. now victims have filed a civil suit calling the plea deal acosta arranged illegal. >> is it illegal or just improper? >> it could be both. it certainly is improper.
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>> reporter: as for epstein he pleaded guilty to just two state prostitution charges and served 13 months in county jail. he registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to his victims. secretary acosta addressed the plea deal in his confirmation hearing last year. >> based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor's office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes is a good thing. >> for a victim to be kept in the dark entirely in conjunction with an fbi probe being shut down and a favorable plea according to reporting he's said to have work release privileges and be able to leave his jail cell and not have publicity in a large extent for these case, that's what's so shocking about this. >> reporter: the "herald" interviewed several victims
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including virginia roberts, who was employed at president trump's mar-a-lago resort, which is near epstein's mansion, when she was recruited. >> the training started immediately. i mean, it was everything down to how to be quiet, be subservient, give jeffrey what he wants. and you know, before you know it, i'm being lent out to politicians and to academics. >> reporter: well, don, it's too early to know whether the justice department's inspector general will investigate as south florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz has called for. but this incident raises questions about alex acosta's judgment if he brokered a deal that's unethical, illegal, or not in the interest of victims. it's a serious set of questions to have for someone currently in a position of power as labor secretary. don? >> rene marsh, thank you so much. and thank you for watching. our coverage continues. we switched to tide pods free & gentle. it's gentle on her skin
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! president trump at the g20 in argentina after pulling the plug on his meeting with russia's vladimir putin. we'll continue to cooperate. >> trump's former personal lawyer pleading guilty telling robert mueller he lied to protect the president. and overnight, the u.s. marshal killed in the line of duty in arizona. and dramatic new body cam video of a sheriff's officer narrowly escaping the deadly


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