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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 13, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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president trump announces the grounding of all 737 max jets. the second involving the airliner. why did u.s. suddenly drop the reluctance to ground the jets? >> more manafort charges less than an hour after a prison sentence a prosecutor unveils charges against the former campaign chairman. is it meant to ensure a pardon won't set manafort free. a cnn exclusive e-mails show
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a fact clanl between trump's legal team and michael cohen assures cohen he could sleep well because he had friends in high places. could that mean a pardon was sought or offered? and up for sale a popular actress as details immerge about the college admission scandal facing charns for allegedly scheming with officials to get their children into top schools. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. president trump ordered a grounding all 737 max jets. they resisted after sunday's crash in ethiopia.
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the faa says the move was prompted by new information from the wreckage along with satellite tracking data suggesting similarlies between the two crashes. also breaking, there may not be any lieght at the end of the tunnel for paul manafort. it means if manafort is found guilty those are pardoned proof a get out of jail card wouldn't help. i'll speak with chris stewart and correspondents will have full coverage of today's top stories. let's begin with breaking news. the president announcing the grounding of all boeing 737 max jets in the united states. let's go straight to the white house correspondent. u.s. regulators have move for d.
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>> the white house had been facing an increasing amount of pressure especially african da suspended the use of the planes the u.s. was the only major player still letting them fly in their air space. the president said it was in the a move he had to make but he didn't want to take any chances. in a rare move late today he grounded boeing 737 max jets along with the max 9 models. >> all of the planes are grounded effective immediately. >> announcing until the company can provide further ans on what lead to the crash the planes won't fly. >> any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and there after be grounded until further notice. >> the move came shortly african
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da announc after can tada announced, leavi the u.s. flying solo. >> we were giving them informationment they were giving us information. >> he appeared to be reversing a decision made by u.s. safety officials who said tuesday there were no systemic performance issues with the planes. tonight the faa said it made the call to ground the planes based on new data from the crash. it revealed several u.s. pilots had complained about problems controlling the plane. u.s. airlines say they hadn't heard the complaints. they believe a software problem may have brought down a 737 max 8 flown last october that killed 189 people. >> pilots have been float fied. airlines have been notified. airlines are agreeing with the safety of the american people
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and all people is our concern. >> trump said the airlines had been told of the move. southwest airlines, one of two u.s. carriers who fly the max 8 appeared surprised by the decision issuing a statement saying it was seeking confirmation and guidance from the faa. the deadly crash killed all 157 people on board minutes after takeoff. today he was voicing confidence in boeing where his acting defense secretary worked for decades. >> boeing is working very very hard right now. hopefully they are very quickly come up with the answer but until they do the planes are grounded. >> now, the president also has a close relationship with the ceo.
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they have spoken twice over the last two days. it is after revealing. >> okay. thanks very much. let's go to martin at hartsfield-jackson for us. the faa says new information from the wreckage together with satellite tracking data suggests similarities between the crashes. what are you learning? >> ever since it was announced that the emergency order grounding the flights the faa has been clarifying why they made their abrupt turn about. they say the say general si made the decision as a result of the
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data gathering evidence at the site. we don't flow what the new evidence may be that they gathered at the site. it is essentially te limb tri that looked at the flight pattern from the moment it took off to the moment it crashed. >> what are we learning? >> the interesting thing about the black boxes is there are investigators on the ground.
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they had thought perhaps they would be transporting the black boxes and the faa would get a quick read to what happened. it is part of the reason they were delaying any kind of decision. now i know the government instead is sending boxes to france. it is up to officialings to release that information. the faa realized it would be a while. they acted on grounding the aircraft. >> all right. thank you. we are also learning some breaking news here in washington coming out right now from the house judiciary committee.
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>> he just met after the contentious hearing. this was behind closed door. he had concern about what he initially said and did not believe he was telling everything about his interactions with the mueller investigation as well as the investigation to the former president, the president's former attorney michael cohen and interactions he may have had with the president about that investigation into michael cohen and how wlhe acted before he le just a few weeks ago. now, nadler immerged about this roughly two hour meeting and laid out what he viewed as the top three take aways. >> one, unlike in the hearing room mr. whitaker did not deny he called in to discuss the michael cohen case and personnel decisions in the southern
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district. two, wile hile he was acting attorney general he was about whether to hire one or more u.s. attorneys. three, while he was attorney general mr. whitaker was involved about the scope of the southern district of new york and whether the southern district went too far in the campaign finance case which the president was listed as individual number one. >> so i asked him after that what did you mean about not the president -- him not denying conversations that he had with the president about the michael cohen guilty plea. at the public hearing whitaker denied a report at the time that the president lashed out and matt whitaker frpimplicated the
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president involving hush money payments. he asked if he had any interactions about the cohen guilty plea. i asked him what do you mean he did not deny that interaction and according to nadler he said he did not deny it. he did not say no. when i asked the ranking republican on the committee about this moments ago collins down played and said he didn't confirm any conversations. it doesn't mean they actually happened. collins also pushed back on all of those points saying there was really too much to do. it is conversations about firing u.s. attorneys. it didn't happen. he said it's not unusual to talk about getting rid and replacing. he said it was a normal source
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of business. he didn't say -- he did not specify that. he said whitaker must talk about the probe and effecting michael cohen. he said whitaker suggested he went too far. it is a little bit behind closed doors. >> yeah. standby. the justice department reporter is with us. you were reporting extensively on what he was saying monthing ago. it certainly doesn't come as any surprise to you. >> no. and the issue was how he was
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going to tow the line. remember back when he was the acting attorney general he was very circumspect. he denied the characterization that the president had lashed out at him, sort of honing in on those words. he didn't deny the fact he had conversations with the president about the southern district of new york even though he also knowledged in the hearing that he hadn't had any conversations with mueller. he was trying to make some sort of distinction between the southern district of new york probe. now we hear that he wasn't willing to actually shut down the fact that he might have had conversations with the president about the southern district of new york and michael cohen and also about the u.s. attorney he reported the president called up
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and had said eis there anything we can do about this such ways? all of it is kind of interesting to see how wlhitaker is changin his testimony. >> very significant. the acting attorney general at the time, his conversations with the president of the united states, his boss, it opens potentially right now what we are learning today a whole new line. >> we have also seen the key republican on the committee. collins telling it was not his interpretation. he is disagreeing with nadler. we haven't seen a transskicript order to read for ourselves what happened. the overall take away is that the conversations between the president and whitaker did happen. >> let me go back. you have a chance to speak with
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judiciary committee about pardons. what else did you learn? >> that's right. involving manafort and questions about whether the president would move to pardon his former campaign chairman has not ruled that out. jerry is chairman of the house judiciary committee that would be overseas. any impeachment proceedings don't want to go down. i asked him directly do you think it will be an impeachable offense if you were to pardon manafort. it could be an impeachable offense but you would have to know the improper motive. he said it could be. that was one subject of discussion. if the president does move it is something this committee could very well look into and this chairman could certainly push back on.
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>> we'll have more on this. there is other breaking news right now. the former trump campaign chairman faces new legal trouble, an array of state clarns filed in new york right after a federal judge basically doubled his prison sentence. our justice correspondent, takes through the latest developments. >> for the first time manafort apologized for his crimes in kour. it did not give him the len yen si he asked for. the judge adding three flaf years onto his sentence. wp just when the legal proceedings had wrapped up new york city filed more than a dozen new clarnls against the president's former campaign chairman. >> manafort facing compounding legal problems tonight minutes after being sentenced for the second time in federal court the defense attorney filed 16 new charges against him in new york, state crimes that cannot be pardoned by president trump.
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judge jackson ordering an additional 3.6 years adding onto the 47 months received last week in vir vir. >> such a harsh sentence that the totally unnecessary. >> his lawyer spoke briefly. >> judge jackson conceded that there was no evidence of any russian collusion in this case. >> judge jackson was careful to state saying any conspiracy, collusion was not presented in this case therefore it was not resolved in this case. the judge listened to manaps fort as he took responsibility for his crimes. in virginia he said he was ashamed of his conduct. he said i'm sorry for what i have done. let me be very clear, your honor
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i will be 70 years old in a few weeks. please let my wife and i be together. the judge family sized his lack oaf remorse prior to his in-court sentencing statement. saying i got caught is not an inspiring plea for lean general si. >> saying no collusion is simply a non seq. by to. it is one more thing that's inconsistent with the notion of any acceptance. >> they wondered if it were a plea asking -- the defense attorney trying to take a pear don off the fable saying no one
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beyond the law in new york. >> zblp i have not given it a thought. i do feel badly for manafort. that i can tell you zblchl while the president didn't congressmen he did say legal troubles are a very sad situation. as for the manhattan d.a. the mortgage fraud crimes span from 2015 to 2018 which includes the time he served as campaign chairman. >> thanks very much. joining us now is chris stewart of utah. he is a key member of house intelligence committee. thanks for joining us. >> good evening. >> what is your reaction from
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t the chairman? he says the former acting attorney general did not deny president trump spoke to him about the michael cohen investigation seemingly in contrast to what he said the other day when he was testifying. >> yeah. i wasn't part of that testimony. i would have to talk to these individuals. i want to be careful. my initial response is i don't know that it's terribly important frankly. it's not unusual for the president to have those conversations with the attorney without u.s. attorneys. they work and work for the president. as you know, the ranking member came out and had quit a different interpretation it sounds like. >> he now says in his testimony that whitaker was involved in
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discussing the possible firingovfiring of one or more of u.s. attorneys. >> i think those conversations take place all of the time. they work if the president. now, if some within were to make some claim they were firing him or firing her, these u.s. attorneys for some purpose it would be something quite different. as you know, every u.s. attorney works at the pleasure of the president. i think they have conversations quite often. >> but the concern congressman is he may have been involved in having a about theest attorney in new york. does that concern you? >> well, is that true? is that what you reporting, they spoke cliktly. >> if that is concerned would
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you be involved in that. >> that if. >> the indications is they were not about that, they were about other u.s. attorneys. they not apples and oranges. >> yeah. once again i don't think it would be terribly unusual. the president doesn't operate in the vacuum. he has to speak with his attorney general. they discuss many things. but to tie these together -- >> let me point out, it would be unshl to have the. >> well that would be true but again, according to -- unless i misunderstood that's not what they were planning here. i don't want you to if they they
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were jauk talking b. >> so not reporting and others have reported that. we'll per sue that. >> fair enough. >> he also said that a pardon of manafort could be poe enten shlly an impeachable offense if there's an improper motive. what message would saw aif the president were. >> i think even an even if no it they are of the ares people
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speck p. >> he has been? ed in a few weres mep what fop the campaign chairman committed these very serious crimes. >> you think trying to mag it i is juries before the association. if cases ten years before that p i'm not sure he in showed the apope ya repors prs i have nefrm find some of these crimes have
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ig fog if fp fnchts nerm the president kept preponderance his campaign foreign policy adviser already served time in prison. his deputy campaign chairman is facing time in prison. national security add sites. what happened does it say? >> well, i think it's a fair observation. i would say this. some of these individuals i look at them and i think they are not the types of individuals that they have demonstrated that i would feel have associated with me and my campaign.
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it's fair to indicate they have been accused of nothing that ties aks to the president and certainly not to collusion, conspiracy, obstruction. these are financial dealings. crimes took place after mueller was appointed. for example, general flynn, this was a man that served his country honorably for many many years. he clearly made a mistake. i don't think you look at him and say this is some kind of shady character. show houb close to the president. i think it's unfair to characteri characterize him that way. >> he did plead guilty. he did have a record in the u.s. military which is a fair point. the federal judge involved there today's sentencing said i was
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noz presented do it is resolved fwi case. m do you think it is appropriate as a ruch the for the president to prove the case moved there was saab lawsuitly if testimony. >> there has been no evidence you can say there waup pt been wf if i think it's father to say and if there sprp throw it to. fop show us any evidence before any ks.
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>> we'll seep we'll see what public schooler has to say. that report will be mad avatable in the at too. >> the t frms. let's talk about the breaking news. wh whitaker, you heard what he just said. zb right. and you'll remember what he said before the committee which was that he did not have conversations with the president about the cohen case. he didn't defny that he did. it seems to be a different kind of testimony. he also didn't deny he discussed personnel in the southern -- in the southern district of new
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york. >> i think they were sort of stunned by the conflict. >> significant development. >> yeah. the u.s. attorneys are controversial. the cohen situation is explosive. >> if it is true that the president had a direct conversation with the acting attorney general about a case an active criminal case for and about at the time his fixer, attorney, whatever you want to call it was, that is wholly inappropriate. whether the lawyers say whether it goes beyond inappropriate. >> which is why i didn't say.
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>> it is where or in the he may have attempted to obstruct justice. the president of the united states discussing firing u.s. attorneys. it is inappropriate to discuss firing a particular u.s. attorney for example the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york because he recused in the oversight of the investigation because he wants to replace him much like he did when he fired attorney general jeff sessions. it nears the firingover jam of comey. it's that doing it for a corrupt purpose is a violation of the law. so first and foremost there's a question about whether or not whitaker may have perjured himse himself. the far bigger question is the substantive one, did they actually have this conversation and if so is there going to be an inquiry. >> let me get jackson involved in this. you were watching this closely
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too. >> inappropriateness is the new normal. i'm not being sarcastic. we are talk about the president doing something inappropriate. whether a news flash before us that this president would do anything that was inappropriate. let's go back to facts or not facts and alternative facts. i'm not sure what world we are living in. he has an interest. keerly in calling what was the implication of the call? why would he call? it is obstruction of justice. those are the two competing parts. >> and you to ask the question
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whether it is something that bob mueller whether this is something that bob mueller would want to hear about from whitaker. behind closed doors this is what he said he did not say no. what did he say? >> he didn't want to say yes. >> he didn't have to. >> but i would think it is something mueller would be interested in. >> mueller or this is what congress is supposed to do. >> yes. >> this is one of the play jor downsides and major upsides for democrats and dare i say finding out basic facts of having democrats in charge of the house of representatives in charge of the committees that will look
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into that. first of all getting that information from the democratic chair but then the question is and maybe this was asked in the briefing, what are they going to do about it? >> trump did this afterbeing fully aware of the possible consequences here. drs no argument here. some sense you have to wopdnderf he is challenging to step so far over the line again and again and again. apparently he can get away with it. >> go ahead. >> this time i think there are consequences. initially he had cover. so what the president can do what he wants to do. at this time there are
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consequences because many things are coming to light. there are subpoenas being served. tax returns are going to become a separate issue. the president cannot do what he wants to do. he calls it presidential harassment. we call it transparency. >> let's talk about the sentencingover of of msentencin of manafort today. he already served nine months mostly in solitary confinement. he is about to begin a pretty lengthy prison sentence for somebody that is about to turn 70 years old. >> he is. you have the u.s. attorney in new york charging him with mortgage fraud falsifying records, conspiracy and he could face additional years in prison on that. >> that's the state attorney. >> yes.
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they had been investigating far long time. they wanted to wait until the financial sentencing that he was going to receive in these federal cases before they announced their indictments. >> sure. there is an argument far defense attorney to want to deconflict. that said i think based on the timing it is reasonable to conclude part of the motivation here was essentially presidency proofing this. these are charges that if president wouldn't be able to pardon for. there's a reason we only allow to pardon federal crimes and not state offenses. i think it was to some degree
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motivated. >> and let me get him into this. the defense attorney in manhattan sited that 16 additional charges. how serious are these charges? you looked through the document. >> they are absolutely serious. it is wrapped around that he may never see the light of day again. my former office is skilled at prosecuting. it is in the financial capital of the universe. it would be nothing new. i think we should all know and understand and talk about this was an investigation that was underway. they paused to see what they are going to do. i think the fact that you talk about serious, a b felony carries 25 years there jail. state court judges are not going to be interested in the collusion questions or any other questions. they will be interested in the central question of did you
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kplit fraud? are you guilty and what punishments should be out. it would run on not con current meaning with federal charges. come to new york and deal with the state charges and that's on top of that. he will never see the light of day again. >> and if he is convicted in new york state in these allegations there's no presidential pardon that will get him out of jail as far as state convictions are concerned. stay with us. we'll be right back. moving? that's harder now because of psoriatic arthritis. but you're still moved by moments like this. don't let psoriatic arthritis take them away. taltz reduces joint pain and stiffness and helps stop the progression of joint damage.
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cohen. when he was still liked by those guys. >> right. they go back to april 2018 when they still had a joint defense agreement. they were sent by an attorney named robert costello. he was somebody joining michael cohen's defense or wanted to join michael cohen's defense. they large ri about michael cohen's relationship with the president and with the white house. i want to give you a little phrase from it. he describes this and said it was very very positive. you are loved. sleep well. you friends in high places. so these are part of the documents that cohen gave over to congressional committees. the interpretation of what's being said in those e-mails is really -- it differs depending whom you ask. >> you had a chance to speak
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with giuliani. what did he say? >> he said it has nothing to do with pardons. that was not part of the discussion cost dpello said coh is concerned the president was mad at him. he said there were personally and also legally. and so what giuliani was trying to do in response was to try to calm cohen down to say he's not mad. there was also concern according to giuliani about cohen's emotional state. he was very upset. it was after the raid. it was effectively. we i should point out we don't have pliek l cohen's responses which is important for us to read here. i can't characterize them one way or another. they saying this is clear they
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were try to go keep me on board, get somebody on my legal team who would go back and go back to the white house. what i was thinking and what i was doing. it is first step. >> how do you see it? >> that explanation doesn't make sense. why would you say you had friends in high places unless something about their position was relevant here. i think it's also worth noting we have seen the president dangle pardons in public as well. one thing is whether or not giuliani discussed pardons with the parking light or discussed pardons with other individuals sort of in the orbit of potential targets here. they are not anyone that have any he jit plat. it is to be used on behalf of
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the nation. the idea that he would be discussing this with private attorneys at all is an indication he was considering using this power not for the country -- >> let me get joey in there. >> stick with me. everything will be fine. i think that's the only reasonable interpretation. stay on team trump and everything will be okay. cohen is is a liar. you can't believe a word he says. every day there are trials throughout the country and there are some witnesses who are less than candid. here is what the judge tells every juror and i could tell everyone listening as follows. you can accept those portions of their testimony that you believe to be credible and reject others. it doesn't mean when someone is lying they could be lying other everything that's what i'll leave you with. >> stick around. more news including the latest developments on a wide ranging college admissions bribery
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scandal. laughlin is due in court for her role in the alleged scheme. you're in the situation room. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer. giving you the power to actually lower your cost. unfortunately, it can't do anything about that. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands?
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including the actress lori loughlin. erica hill is joining us. what are you learning? >> reporter: we know she is at the courthouse in l.a. at this hour after surrendering early this morning, waiting to face a judge. those details that you mentioned and the headlines continuing to spark outrage. actress lori loughlin known as aunt becky surrendering to authorities this morning. she and her husband face charges related to operation varsity blues. their alleged $500,000 bribe to ensure their daughters would be admitted to usc as recruits for the crew team. neither daughter participated in the sport. the allegations are a far cry from aunt becky. >> we may have -- he may have embellished, lied a bit on our application. >> he e-mailed pictures of his
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daughter on indoor rowing machines. the photos were used to create fake athletic profiles. i created a side door that would guarantee families would get in, singer told the judge tuesday. i was bribing coaches for a spot. that occurred very frequently. the senior associate athletic director at usc fired tuesday after being indicted on racketeering charges related to the scam. another actress, felicity huffman arrested at her home husband. she's now out on $250,000 bond. according to the complaint, singer told huffman and her husband, william h. macy, he controlled a testing center and could doctor their doctor's s.a.t.s. she paid $15,000. >> the payments to singer for these services were made at least in part as charitable
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contributions to the sham charity that singer had set up. this enabled the parents to not only mask the true nature of payment, but also take the tax writeoff at the end of the year. >> in phone calls, laid out in complaint, one, from just last month, huffman and singer discuss using the same cheating scheme for her younger daughter. the details playing into a familiar narrative about the benefits of privilege. one huffman's character embraced on "desperate housewives." >> you can't bend the rules? >> the team could use new batting helmets. >> i have my checkbook. >> they decided against cheating a second time according to the complaint. jane buckingham, the ceo of a california marketing firm, offered a sample of her sopn's handwriting so his tests could be forged, which includes details exchanging with parents across the country, layi ining
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the lengths used to cheat, claiming they were nationally ranked tennis and water polo players. coaches were involved and compensated. the ncaa and affected schools are looking into the allegations. while no students have been charged, prosecutors stress the investigation is far from over. cnn has reached out to the parties named, including the coaches. we have yet to hear back from those coaches. i want to point out, former federal prosecutor tells me he believes the charges are in his view very tough to beat. one question that has yet to be resolved is what happens to these students who were admitted to various schools as part of the cheating scandal? >> awful, awful story. the allegations so serious. erica hill, thank you very much. coming up, the house judiciary chairman says matt
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whitaker does not deny talking with president trump about michael cohen. does that raise another red flag about obstruction? right after a federal judge nearly doubled paul manafort's federal prison sentence, a new york prosecutor unveils state charges. are they pardon-proof? that rocking chair would look grahh, new house, eh?e. well, you should definitely see how geico could help you save on homeowners insurance. nice tip. i'll give you two bucks for the chair. two?! that's a victorian antique! all right, how much for the recliner, then? wait wait... how did that get out here? that is definitely not for sale! is this a yard sale? if it's in the yard then it's... for sale. oh, here we go. geico. it's easy to switch and save on homeowners and renters insurance.
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happening now, whitaker revelations.
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he did not deny talking with president trump about michael cohen's case. part-time new charges. paul manafort gets more prison time as he is sentenced here in washington. less than an hour later, the manhattan district attorney announces state fraud charges. potentially blunting the impact of a presidential pardon. friends in high places. cnn obtains the e-mail michael cohen gave congress to bolster his claim that the trump team dangled a pardon before him through a back channel and told cohen he could sleep well because of his connections. it's a cnn exclusive. on the ground. president trump announces all boeing 737 max planes in the united states are now grounded as the country becomes among the last letting them fly in the wake of two deadly crashes. tonight, we are learning new details of pilot complaints about the aircraft. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around


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