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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 13, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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investigation. federal prosecutors reveal that trump lawyer michael cohen is the focus of a criminal probe. we're getting new information from a late hearing as the trump team fights to suppress evidence from fbi raids. paying off a play mate. a new bomb shell tonight about michael cohen's efforts to silence another playboy model. this one had an affair with oo republican donor. how many hush money deals has cohen arranged. sources say the president is angry and unmanageable as he rants about james comey new book trading personal attacks. comey suggesting one of the most salicious allegations against mr. trump might be true. the president wipes the slate clean for a former bush administration official convicted of perjury and obstruction. did mr. trump pardon scooter libby to send a clear message
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about robert mueller's investigation. we want to welcome our viewers from around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. the president's lawyer michael cohen in serious legal peril has federal prosecutors reveal he's under criminal investigation that's been going on for mornnt. we're told mr. trump has called mr. cohen to check in on his as the president neleads a new campaign to trash james comey. he's talking publicly about his tell all book. blasting the president in personal terms. this hour i'll get reaction from a top white house spokesman and democrat. our correspondents and analysts are all standing by. let's go to our justice correspondent, evan perez and our crime and justice reporter.
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he's outside the federal courthouse in new york. hearing on michael cohen on that case just ended a little while ago. >> reporter: that's right. ended a little while ago with no resolution. the judge putting pressure on michael cohen's attorneys to providing information about some of his clients. so far through this day, he has not been able to do so. the judge has grown frustrated through the day and is now giving him until monday to come up with that list of clients. more importantly, today is we learn some of the measures that the prosecutors here and the fbi went through in this investigation. we learned there's a grand jury that's been impanelled here in new york. that's listening to evidence. they also explained why they needed to do the search warrant and made public late today, including that there was concern that michael cohen or that
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documents that they were looking for were going to be deleted or destroyed. therefore they needed to get theeds documents in the way that they did. searching his home, office and searching that hotel room. they also vealed they went and entering his safe deposit boxes. they took electronic devices and then, wolf, we learned they had michael cohen's under covert surveillance. they had access covertly into his e-mails where they lirned he wasn't doing any legal work outside of really for donald trump. that is an issue in this case. that's why the prosecutors want information about what clients he claims could potentially be affected by privilege which would essentially prevent -- he wants to revent the government from looking at the evidence that they obtained in those swarn search warrant, wolf. >> the new york times published this story.
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let me read the first sentence. president trump's add visors have concluded that a wide ranging corruption investigation in new york, that's the case that was just referred to, posing a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel's investigation according to several people close to mr. trump. >> i think that's plainly clear. the president has been talking about the russia icnvestigation. we thought there was a low likelihood they would be able to close the loop on some of that information. there's stuff that happened as a result that the fbi was not able to keep an eye on anymore. the greater danger since the southern district of new york had its own investigation going on. we thought this is the
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investigation that has much bigger consequences, much bigger potential consequences. not only for michael cohen but for the president himself. the reason being you have a greater number of criminal laws that could apply here. in the mueller investigation he has a much narrower scope to look into there was coordination between the trump campaign and russians. they are look at bank frauds, tax fraud. these are things mueller could not focus on. if i was the white house, i was be concerned about the new york investigation. keep in mind, if he fires robert mueller, may he can try to shut down that investigation. he cannot shut down the attorney in manhattan. that's a completely different district. the complaints he has about the special counsel do not apply in
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manhatt manhattan. i would agree with what the new york times is reporting. if you look at the papers filed, it's clear that cohen is not the only one here under the micro scope. >> if you go through the documents, they have redacted certain sections that could have damaging information for the president of the united states. >> that's right. also the reference in the court documents is that they believe michael cohen only has one client. that is the president of the united states. one of the things that we know, according to the search warrant that they served on him, they say that one of the things they are investigating is this $130,000 payment which was done to protect and shield information from coming out into the public before the 2016 election. again, this is to protect donald trump. the reason why this might be
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even worse for michael cohen and perhaps the president is that the president, in that video we have shown a few times told reporters on air force one last week that he had not spoken to michael cohen about this. he knew nothing about it. what that means is this is not protected by attorney-client privilege. the judge is poking holes in that very idea. >> how much trouble is michael cohen in right now? >> a great deal of trouble. i think the fact is he -- at least from what we can tell, the judge is very skeptical that any of this can be protected by attorney-client privilege. this is an incredible amount of information they have that electronic, years of bank records and so on. things he's clearly worried about. >> we're learn frg our own gloria that the president spoke on the phone can cohen today. does that further complicate this case?
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>> reporter: it can. you have a grand jury that's been impanelled to hear evidence regarding a criminal investigation on michael cohen. now the president is calling him to check on him. that's going to raise some concern. i will tell you being in court here today, it seemed his attorneys were not really communicating with him. there seem to be some miscommunication. the judge was growing frustrated. she was not understanding why the attorneys came in for this emergency relief, this motion they filed late last night asking prosecutors not to have access to what they call privilege information but yet when they came in here to court today, they were not prepared to argue their position. they couldn't provide key information and then she sent them back during the vesz to go and talk to michael cohen and then they came back and still didn't have that information. now the judge has ordered michael cohen to appear in court on monday.
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then i should note that michael avenatti was here as well today. he's telling us he may bring stormy daniels here. you may have michael cohen here, michael avenatti and then stormy daniels all here together probably for the first time on monday afternoon. >> accident in question around. i know you're working your sources. also tonight, sources tell cnn that president trump is angrier than ever to the point where he's flailing around and becoming even more unmanageable. fury growing as his fired fbi director is out selling his provocative new tell all book. >> the white house is escalating its attacks on james comey in response to the allegations. the president is facing plenty of new questions of his own after he pardoned a key official from the george w. bush administration.
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an action that democrats believe is a signal to witnesses cooperating in the russia investigation. at the white house a steady series of insults for former fbi director james comey. >> the american people see through the blatant lies of a self-admitted leaker. this is nothing more than a poorly executed pr stunt to rehabilitate his tattered reputation and enrich his own bank account by peddling a bargain book instead of become remembered as a dedicated ser vants like so many of his colleagues. he's be known as a disgraced partisan hack that broke his sacred trust with the president of the united states. >> reporter: sarah sanders channelled a furious president trump who is said to be out ranled over the flow of damaging antedotes. >> i never thought these words would come out of my mouth. i don't know if the current president of the united states
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with prostitutes peeing on each other. >> reporter: the president fired back tweeting james comey is a proven leaker and liar. everyone in washington thought he thould be fired for the terrible job he did until he was fired. he's weak and untruthful slime ball. it was my great honor to fire james comey. >> you're under criminal investigation and losing. >> no. >> what do you make of that now? >> the rank and file fbi are some of the greatest people in this country. we've repeated that time and time again. certainly of the full support of this administration. i think we have been clear about how we feel about the leadership at the fbi. >> reporter: the president is making other waves announcing a full pardon for scooter libby. libby was convicted of perjury in tin vest gags into the outing
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of former cia agent whose husband joe wilson tried to sound the alarm about the faulty case used wi the george w. bush administration. >> my personal sense is i didn't think any contempt for donald trump could go lower but he surprises me each and every day. >> reporter: it's an odd move for the president given his past comments about the bush administration during the campaign. >> you call it whatever you want. i want to tell you, they lied. they said there were weapons of mass destruction. there were none and they knew there were none. there were no weapons of mass destructi destruction. >> reporter: libby's attorney and her husband recently considered joining the president's legal team in the russia investigation. also a fierce critic of robert mueller's investigation slamming comey. >> james comey is a dirty cop. he's a completely dirty cop. >> reporter: and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who oversees the russia probe. >> rod rosenstein is so incomp
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tent, compromised and conflicted that he can no longer serve as the deputy attorney general and jeff sessions has an obligation to the president of the united states to fire rod rosenstein. >> reporter: democrats are accusing the president of using the libby pardon to send a signal to witnesses cooperating. >> i think it does telegraph what he will probably do with flynn and manafort and using his pardon power. he doesn't use it in most discreet way. he does it for political purposes and cover his people. >> reporter: white house insi insisted there's no connection. >> one thing has nothing to do with the other. >> reporter: given all the white house attacks for james comey for being a liar and a leaker it's worth noting that scooter libby was convicted of lying. that's a level of apparent hypocrisy that many americans
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will find hard to pardon. >> these are really significant moments unfolding now. we're having trouble keeping up with all of these developments. we're going to get more information right now. let's talk about all of these developments including the new york times report that the president's advisors now consider the corruption investigation in new york city a greater threat to the president than the robert mueller probe. trump sees new york inquiry as a greater threat than mueller. rod shaw is joining us now. thanks so much for joining us. >> good afternoon, wolf. >> is the president more concerned about the investigation of his personal lawyer? what's going on in new york city involving michael cohen than the robert mueller probe? >> reporter: as the president
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has said and many of us have said, there's fwho collusion with russia. there's going to be no findings of wrong doing. he has expressed very serious concern about the direction of the investigation. it was supposed to be about russia collusion. now it's moving into totally different territory. i'm not going to discuss this new york times report or anything else regarding it. michael cohen's legal problems and issues are his own. the president has not done anything wrong. >> the president did phone michael cohen today. cnn is reporting that, other news organizations as well. why? >> cnn and other news organizations have been right or wrong about these things in the past. we're not going to read out any types of phone conversations between the president and his attorney on this or any other matter. >> are you saying our information is wrong when we say the president and michael cohen had a phone conversation today is this. >> what i'm saying is i'm not going to get into it.
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>> is michael cohen still the president's personal attorney? they have been very close for da decade. >> last i've heard rgs he continues to be. >> even though he's under criminal investigation. >> there's been no finding of wrong doing against michael cohen either. he and his attorney can answer for the issues up in new york. the president has maintained there's no collusion with russia and no wrong doing and special counsel won't find any wrong doing. >> in this document that the u.s. attorney in new york submitted to the federal court today, they said that a federal judge has found, quote, probable cause to believe that the premises and devices searched contained evidence, fruits and instrumentalities of conduct for which cohen is under criminal investigation. the president still regards michael cohen as his person attorney even though the
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attorney in new york says he's under criminal investigation. >> that's correct. i'm here to speak on behalf of the president and the white house. >> you are speaking on behalf of the president and the white house. does the white house know what might be in the documents, the electronic equipment seized from michael cohen's home and office? >> let me stop you here. this is a matter up in new york that michael cohen and his attorney can address. i'm not here to address it. i don't know the nature of whatever the prosecutors up in new york are looking into. i'm here to talk on behalf of the white house. we have a lot of issues. a lot of big issues con fronting this country. we have potential action with regard to syria. we have all sorts of issues with the economy, trade. i cannot comment on what michael cohen is addressing right now. >> let me get your point on this. does the president regard both of these criminal inquiries, what's going on in the robert mueller investigation, the u.s.
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attorney in new york, does he see them as separate or combined? >> obviously one has led to another. the president has viewed the entire approach as a witch hunt. he said there was no collusion. there's been no evidence of to s substantiate. >> we don't know what he's found or hasn't found because he isn't telling us yet. we're waiting for the special counsel to wind up his investigation. the new york times is reporting tonight that prosecutors are demanding all communication with the trump campaign including hope hicks. you speak for the president, is he concerned about that? >> again, we have been cooperating with the special counsel. we've been producing over a million pages of documents. we've been entirely cooperative.
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let me add it's different from the approach that president clinton took toward the special counsel in the 1990s. he was confrontational. he objected to witnesses. this president has been cooperating. >> i want to be precise. you're cooperating with the special counsel. you say that. are you also cooperating with the u.s. attorney in new york in this separate criminal probe. >> as i said, michael cohen and his attorney can -- >> is the white house cooperating with the u.s. attorney? >> i'm not aware of the the u.s. attorney in new york asking the white house for anything. what i'll state is that matters pertained to michael choen -- it can be answered by him and his attorney. >> is the president concerned about this broadening of the investigation? >> you're asking the same question 30 different ways. michael choohen and his attorne
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can respond to that. i'm here to talk about the issues that the other americans who don't work for cnn care about. >> i ask these questions and i know you're getting frustrated. i totally understand. >> you're asking the same question over and over again. ask me a different question. >> why did the president have a lawyer in the court today, in the federal court in new york. why wads the president represented by a new attorney? she showed up in court speaking on behalf of the president. >> i know all the details concerning that matter. obviously the president wants to maintain attorney-client privilege. >> the only reason i'm asking is because the president did have an attorney in new york in that courtroom, the federal courtroom today. let's get to another sensitive issue. the president, today, issued a full pardon of scooter libby.
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he was the chief of staff to dick cheney. was that designed to send a message out there, maybe to m g michael cohen, paul manafort or others? >> not at all. it was based on the merit, the conviction of scooter libby was based on testimony that the individual, the new york times reporter has since recanted. she said she was misled by investigators. her testimony no longer holds and in fact you wouldn't have to ask me or the president. it's the d.c. court that's reinstated his law license. it's him being reinstated, having his right to vote reinstated. this is a sad chapter in scooter libby's life. >> there's no doubt the president had the full authority to issue a pardon and there's a debate whether or not he should. why now?
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this has opinibeen going on for years. the question is why did the president decide to do this right now at this sensitive moment? >> i guess you could find any moment and call it sensitive. the president on the advice of many. he was convicted based on the testimony of an individual who has since recanted ta testimony and there was a unanimous vote by the d.c. court to reinstate his law license. on the merits the president made the decision that scooter libby's conviction shouldn't stand and he deserved a full pardon. >> the president recently met at the white house with joe digenvie. did they ask the president for the pardon? >> i don't know what kwam up in
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that meeting. i wasn't a part of it. this is an individual who prior to that had never been accused of doing anything wrong. since has never been accused of doing anything wrong. he was wrongfully convicted and the president made the right step today. >> not so much on the merits but the timing which is potentially significant. let's get to another issue while i have you. what is the president hope to accomplish by calling the fired fbi director james comey a slime ball? >> i think the president's tweets and the comments earlier today by sarah sanders were pretty clear. james comey has a proven record of lying. he has a proven record of leaking. he made statements to congress, which are contradicted by
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comments in his book. you've got everybody from maxine waters, chuck schumer and nancy pelo lolosi to the president wh thinks that james comey doesn't have credibility and the president was happy and honored to have fired him. >> let me ask you about syria. everyone is bracing for some sort of u.s. military action. did the president narrow his options on syria by tweeting that missiles will be coming? >> i won't get ahead of any announcements that may or may not occur with respect to syria. the president has had ongoing discussions with his national security team. he's been discussing this with a number of allies. we're preparing for a potential action and response.
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the president said he's going to hold the syrian government accountable. he's going to hold the russians and the iranians who are propping up this regime responsible. russia this 2013 guaranteed that syria's chemical weapons would be removed from the country and guaranteed they would not be used. we have seen them cross what was previously president obama's red line in the past. this president acted last year and prepared to hold syria as well as russia and iran accountable. >> you understand fully that the potential dangers if you go not just after bashar al assad regime. if russians or iranians or others are killed in the process. >> of course the president is aware and listening to his national security team to ensure that any response is carried out effectively. it's carried out efficiently and you know preserves american national security interests.
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again, syria and assad's actions cannot stand in the civilized world. the use of chemical weapons on civilian populations will never be tolerated by this president. he's preparing with our allies and national security team for further action. >> i suspect it will be seern rather than later. i know you don't want to tell us when it will happen. we appreciate you joining us. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me on. just ahead, i'll get a democrat's response to the breaking news including the criminal investigation now under way involving the president's long time personal attorney, michael cohen. house intelligence member is standing by live. we'll discuss with him right after a break. me while i drive. it's fine. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. and i don't share it with mom! right, mom? righttt. safe driving bonus checks. only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it.
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there's other news that's breaking tonight. the new york times reports that trump's advisors see the criminal inve gags of his lawyer as a greater threat than robert mueller's russia probe. this as the white house is echoing president trump's new rant against james comey accusing the fired director of being a leaker and a liar. comey is offering a blistering on camera account of his exchanges with the president going beyond what he reveals in his tell all new book. in a few minutes i'll speak with new yorker contributing writer. let's bring in cnn political correspondent sarah murray. comey is speaking out.
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>> in comey's book he offers substantive as well as pettier pot shots. she he's prepared to tell all as the white house is trying to down play him as a gdisgruntled exemployee. >> you're briefing the incoming president of the united states of the about prostitutes in moscow. >> reporter: he describes a newly elected world leader more p preoccupied with the allegations against him. in describing president-elect's briefing in january 2017 by intelligence chiefs on russia's intelligence interference. >> he said to confirm that had no impact on the election and
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then the conversation, to my surprise, moved into a pr conversation. no one to my recollection asked what's coming next from the russians? how might we stop it? >> reporter: his comments comes as he tells his forthcoming book which casts trump as a narcissist who runs the white house like a mafia boss. this president is untethered, ego driven and about personal loyalty. the president soured long ago on the fbi director. >> no collusion. no obstruction. he's a leaker. >> reporter: now comey is rehashing the fit for tabloid moment when he briefed trump on the now infamous dossier. >> i started telling him about the allegation was he had been involved with prostitutes in a hotel in moscow in 2013 during a visit for the miss universe
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pageant and the russians filmed the episode and hedefensively a talking about do i look like a guy who needs hookers. >> reporter: he doesn't need to pay for women strike ng the face of the latest allegations of infidelity he's facing. >> he tried to pay me after we had an intimate. i did not know how to take that. >> did he try to hand you money in. >> he did. i just had this look of -- i don't know how to describe it. the look on my face must have been so sad because i had never before offered money like that number one and number two i thought does he think i'm in this for money or why i'm here tonight or is this a normal thing. i didn't know. >> reporter: by comey's telling he couldn't get over the claim that he invited russian prostitutes to his moscow suite
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and watched them pee on one another. >> he wanted me to investigate and he said if there's a 1% chance my wife thinks that's true, that's terrible. i remember thinking how would your wife think there's a 1% chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in moscow. i never thought these words would come out of my mouth but i don't know whether he was with prostitutes peeing on each other in moscow in 2013. it's possible but i don't know. this is just the beginning of his publicity tour. >> get ready. it's going to be intense. thanks very much. joining us now a member of the house intelligence committee. i want to get to comey's book. do you believe the president is more vulnerable in the cohen investigation in new york than in the robert mueller russia probe? >> it's hard to tell.
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i'm just getting bits and pieces of information on that. i heard someone say earlier that one directed the other or the president thinks that the comey investigation instigated the new york investigation. there's no way in the world he could know that. there's possibilities that information comes to mr. mueller's attention and probable cause of criminal activities and he refers it to the proper jurisdiction. i think that speaks to the integrity of what he's doing, not an attack on it as the president intends. sdplp the president spoke on the phone with michael cohen today. what do you think he hoped to get out of that phone call? >> i did criminal defense ten years. i can always surmise he's getting worried. if you follow his tweets and language he's used in the last few weeks as this investigation continues to move forward, he seems frenetic.
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if i had to guess he's panic and wants to come home and find out what's taking place with his attorney. >> the new york times is reporting the prosecutors have demanded all communication with the trump campaign including hope hicks. what does that tell you? >> it tells me we should have never shut down the house investigation. a lot has happened since then. watergate took over a year to get to the bottom of. here we are dealing with an obstructive president and a house that's obstructed this. they are still getting the job done. they are moving from the periphery of the investigation and towards the center. it has the president, in no other words, freaked out. i think these things are tied in a sense. mr. cohen testified before the
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house intelligence committee. since then we have acquired information that tells us he oughts to come back. >> let me you about the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. if the special counsel robert mueller is investigation the comey firing and rosenstein played a role in that firing, is it appropriate for mueller to report to rosenstein? >> it does get conflicted. this is the house that they created. >> congressman, thanks so much for joining us. >> any time.
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thank you. >> let's get some more on the break news. a new revelation that cohen facilitated a payment deal involving another playboy play mate. joining us new yorker contributing writer. just today we learned about another payment arranged by michael cohen for a top republican donor. does this connect back to president trump? >> it shows pattern of behavior, wolf. this is what legal experts told us in many of our stories. many of the law enforcement officials involved in the probes would be looking at. those adjacent to the president has a pattern of paying off
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people for stories. if you look at the examples that direct lly involve stories unflattering to the president. just the president's stories silenced or an effort to silence them. you have this direct transaction allegedly between michael cohen and stormy daniels. you have the ami transactions. just the other day we reported this news story about a former doorman at the trump organization who had a wild claim about the president. also received a pay out for a story that was never run. legal experts said this is germane to several ongoing investigations and indeed many outlets have reported that one of the aims of the fbi raids was to look at communications
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between cohen and the national inquirer. >> yeah. that's clearly one of the points that came to the fore. according to the government's court filing, i'm sure you have gone through it. michakchael cohen told a witnes that president trump is his only client. what do you make of that? >> it's relevant because part of the rational of these investigators when they talk about the basis for the way this raid was handle and handled by a search warrant, was that they said it was not material protected by attorney-client impressive le privilege because this was not the individual acting in an attorney in the sense. this was a business associate. i'm an attorney but i'm not doing legal commentary on this. i'm reporting out the facts. i'll leave it to others to decide who prevailed in that debate. it's apparent in talking to sources close to the president and close to the national
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enquirer that this was an individual who was a go between for business transaks and not just the traditional work of an attorney. >> here is something very intriguing. the lawyer represented the newest play mate. multiple sources said this was a routi routine relationship that hay had. he was involved in many cases that became stories that the national enquirer caught and killed, to use the term that's become common in describing this activity. >> a former editor said david
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pecker sbubought so many storieo protect druonald trump called ia favored bank. >> i'll be careful to stick sto what we reported in the new yorker. i won't speculate on how many more there may or may not be. certainly we now know that there were at least two transactions on behalf of the president or benefit of the president. ami denies that was the purpose. the multiple sources seemed adamant about that with the aim of silences stories that could be been unflattering to the president. >> i know you do a lot of reporting on this. are there more payments to come out? >> i won't speculate on how many more there are but the pattern is sufficient that legal experts tell me this has serious ramifications for election law, for criminal law and certainly as to what the ami side of this gets out of the transaction. what we report many this late
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e story is sources told us this was a different one and may have resulted in introductions to individuals who could have helped ami. >> we'll continue our conversations. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. we'll have much more on the breaking news right after this. e two travelers at a comfort inn with a glow around them, so people watching will be like, "wow, maybe i'll glow too if i book direct at" who glows? just say, badda book. badda boom. book now at digital transformation actually what does ithappen?o make do you just flip a switch... and presto your business is magically transformed? not quite. it takes a ground-breaking company like dell technologies. a family of seven technology leaders working behind the scenes to make the impossible... reality. for instance, we're helping to give cars the power to read your mind from anywhere.
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breaking news. the new york times reporting deep concern over the criminal investigation of president trump's long time perm lawyer, confidant, friend, michael cohen. let's get some more from our reporters. what do you make of this other new york times report suggesting that the president potentially facing a greater threat from the cohen probe in new york than the robert mueller probe here in washington. >> yeah. listen, wolf, if you have a guy who is identified as your fixer and he is under criminal investigation and they've seized all his records, that is cause for concern. donald trump has spent his career pushing the edges of norms and rules and laws and institutions and michael cohen holds the key to some of that for the last 12 years or so. this has to be a source of e nor
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house concern and when you add to it the fact that this happened in new york and could be fodder for state prosecutors there, which is beyond the reach of a presidential pardon, these are big issues. >> the new york times also reporting that prosecutors have not demanded all communication between involving the campaign manager, hope hicks, the president's long time aide. how worrying is this for the president? >> that's a very key line in this story. it's a little bit further down, but certainly very important because of course, we know this is a president who doesn't use e-mail. he's not big on that. he's on the phone all the time talking with people. but if they are looking into this communication that cohen had, people that knew u a lot when in their roles in the campaign or administration. hope hicks left recently. that takes a whole other turn.
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it could be in the e-mails and he's relaying it to hope hicks or vice versa, so it raises questions there. but also, we've kind of seen the white house try to distance themselves from cohen. bradshaw says he is still st president's attorney, but today, sarah sanders, earlier this week, she wouldn't say as much. this is someone very close to the president. they have candid conversations together and michael cohen has been at the white house with regular lity. i've seen him there many times. once having lunch with melania truch. certainly very close to the president. >> you know, joey jackson is with us. our legal analyst. gloria borger reporting that the president had a phone con tore sags today with michael cohen. could that be a problem? >> you know, it could be. to the extent there could be some type of wiretapping going on. but you know, just backing up from that, i just really wonder. obviously, we know michael cohen
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is being investigated for more than campaign finance, right? you look at business dealings. money laundering. tax evasion. but i'm wondering, let's talk scooter libby for a minute. how much was the scooter libby pardon. we can argue the merritts of it. we have a judicial process. he was convicted. got a 30-month sentence. george bush commutes it. doesn't pardon him. how much of that is a message to michael cohen, you know a whole lot, but you know what i can do in the event you stay the course and the event you stay with me, guess what. you get a pardon, too. because if he talks, that is michael cohen, who knows what could be revealed and if the end game is to squeeze cohen, who knows so much about trump, boy, that could bring down the presidency. final word, this whole hearing that's unveil, i should say i appeared before wood before. >> the federal judge in new york. >> the federal judge in new york. she is a, you know, she is very
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thorough. she's receptive. she's fair. she's open to argument. so it's not a surprise to me that the hearing is ongoing. it's not a surprise that the parties are coming back because she's one that evaluates all the information. all we ask is you don't have to adwree with me, but just listen to what i'm saying. she'll listen and render a fair ruling, but at the end of the day, that trump power, right, of the pard b b b, i think plays big with regard to whether or not michael cohen speaks or doesn't speak in terms of revealing information that he knows about trump's dealings that may be not too, that may be somewhat untoward. >> phil mudd. >> i feel like i'm salivating. he hit on something important. if you think that phone call is benign in the wake of that, the presidential pardon today, what if there is one sentence where the president said don't worry about it. it's all going to end up okay. how would you interpret that?
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i would interpret as the president winking at me saying i'm going to pardon you. lieu indough ski and hope hicks show iing up in the documents, they've been interviewed. again as a guy who looked at investigatio investigations, they better be hoping there was nothing captured today that says something different. that means they're going to get reinterviewed. >> david, you want to make a point. >> no, i just want to agree with what phil just said. i think the pardon itself is suspect coming as when it did. but the pardon come wine bined with the call makes even more so. clearly, there could be a messaged with that. there's no one the president wants the talk least than michael cohen, who knows more than anyone else. >> let's not forget scooter libby was convicted of purgery and obstruction of justice.
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>> and leaking. just to do a reality check here, this is how the president of the united states spent his day today. we're on the edge of our seats waiting to hear about a potential syria decision and what did the president do? fumed over a jim comey book. called michael cohen and he's trying to figure out how to poke everybody else in the eye over these legal issues that are unfolding. is this the kind of mind set we want to have for the president when he's making life and death decisions? that doesn't make me sleep very good at night. >> there is a life and death decision he's going to be making as soon as within the next few days if not the next few hours, whether or not to go after some targets in syria. >> i disagree. i think the decision was already made. there's no way you can critique obama for not striking, but you can strike early in your administration from mar-a-lago, you can tweet it's coming hot and heavy. >> i don't think he had any idea what it meant.
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i don't think he knew what the targets were. and it was off the cuff. >> one thing to watch, wolf, i think the question will be, some of his advisers say if you hit too hard, be careful about what the russians b and iranian do and the president might want to say i want to lock and load. >> because there are russians on the ground there. iranian on the ground there and you've got to worry about escalating this into a major conflict. what are you hearing about the president's anger right now? >> well, he is very angry. we can see that evidently. it's funny to see how this is playing out because in the past, we've reporteded on the presid being privately angry. late at night in the west wing, or the white house alone. but now, we're seeing the president spill out into public u news. this "new york times" story said the president is more concerned about what's going on with michael cohen than he is with the special counsel's investigation. we kind of saw that this week because before, we had not seen the president go off about the special counsel in the manner he did this week when they brought the president to that dinner where they're supposed to be
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focusing on syria and instead, he unprompted, went on a rant b about these raids, saying they broke into michael cohen's office, which they did not break in. they had a warrant. so we really saw his anger spill into public view. we should note the president was supposed to leave the country today to go on an international trip, but instead, he stayed home to monitor the american response to syria. but instead, he's partoning scooter libby. tweeting about james comey and clearly calling his personal attorney. >> what about that? what does id say about the president's mind set right now, going into a possible military retaliation in syria? >> well, think about this. i mean, he is going to dwgive a order that could possibly lead to the death of human beings. he is going to give an order that could very possibly enmesh the u.s. in further military involvement in that region. this is a hugely consequential
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decision. and i agree that the fact that he is so consumed by this other stuff that we don't even hear about it. maybe it's better as opposed to what we saw earlier in the week. but it's hard b to believe that his mind is on what it should be on when everything coming from the white house and everything comeing from his tweet is about these other matters. >> and joey, how worried legally speaking should the president be right now? >> i think there's a significant worry and i think we saw that again play out by virtue of a pardon. now of all time, we have significant matters going on. not the least of which is syria. obviously i think we're all concerned as to whether or not his actions as it relates to the things that are happening in the ream region and what their response will be. will anything be motivated about issues of distortion, distraction?
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deflection? and so, is your intent to deal with a matter in a way it should be? i think clearly, he's worried about it. at least we saw or came to know he called michael cohen then we have this pardon issue, which i don't fancy myself a genius, but when you have investigations everywhere, we know the president's contempt for judicial process. webb about flynn and you know, manafort and everyone else. he's letting his person know you've been with me all this time. stay with me. i have you. you have me. we're going to get out of this because i can pardon you. just seems suspicious in terms of the timing, so i think his mind is twisted and wrapped around this. i think if cohen talks, it's a problem for the president. >> quickly, sam, you worked on the national security counsel. what do you think? >> i think you need a lot of focus and attention when making complex decisions about striking syria. i think the president's angry
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and he literal has his finger on the missile button. >> lots going on and doesn't look like it's going to stop soon. guys, thanks very much for joining us. that's it for me. thanks very much r for watching. i'm wolf blitzer. in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. . next, breaking news. michael cohen now under criminal investigation and the president himself calls him today. new details on what the federal agents got in the raid. plus, trump and comey at war. the name calling from both sides. as the white house goes on overdrive to discredit the fired fbi director and scooter libby pardoned. why now? vary plame, whose cover was blown by the bush administration as an undercover cia agent is my guest. let's go "outfront." good evening. michael cohen under criminal


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