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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 2, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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it hurdled toward the ground. nose first and spiraling as it did. our thoughts and prayers go to the family members of that crew on board. be sure to continue to follow us here. you could tweet the show at the leed, cnn. i'm jim sciutto, this is it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation hang now, breaking news. floods zone, in an ominous shake rup, president replaced ty cobb with emmet flood who worked on president clinton's legal impeachment team. what does that move say about the president's strategy for the russia >> and hours not days, rudy giuliani indicates the president may still sit down with the special counsel robert mueller even as mr. trump fires off a new round of furious tweets. but giuliani insists any interview with mueller wouldn't last more than three hours. would that be enough to satisfy
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the special counsel? mueller's new witness. former trump campaign aide michael caputo meets with the special counsel team one day after slamming the senate intelligence committee russia investigation in the strongest terms. why is caputo describing his meeting with the mueller team as difficult? and scandal score card. epa administrator scott pruitt facing almost a dozen probes relating to allegations of unethical behavior. was one of the expensive foreign trips arrange the by a lobbyist and registered foreign agent? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news including a dramatic new shake-up of the president's legal team. white house lawyer ty cobb is leaving after weeks of what a source described as clashes with the president over his attack on
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the special counsel robert mueller russia investigation. at the same time, the white house said emmett flood will join the legal team and he represented former bill clinton during his impeachment process. also breaking, former trump campaign aide michael caputo tells cnn he talked with mueller's investigators today. and he described the meeting as, quote, difficult but fair. we'll talk about all of the breaking news and more with senator richard plume enthrall of the judiciary and armed service committee and our experts are standing by. we begin with jim acosta. you are learning new information about the very significant changes in the trump legal team. >> that is right. president trump's legal team is changing again as you said. this time it is white house lawyer ty cobb who is stepping down. he had advocated caution on the president's legal team but a source tells cnn cobb was clashing with the president over his attacks on the special
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counsel investigation. >> reporter: it could be the most ominous shake-up on the trump legal team yet, ty cobb who counseled the president for months to stob attacking -- to stop attacking robert mueller is out. cobb told cnn, i've done what i came to do in terms of managing the special counsel requests and i'm extremely grateful to the president and chief of staff john kelly for the opportunity to serve my country. but a source familiar with cobb's departure tells cnn the white house lawyer was uncomfortable with the president's tweets hammering mueller and wants no part of a mudslinging campaign making it clear he can't go down that path. replace cobb, attorney flood who joined a legal team that changed in recent weeks, adding rudy giuliani and losing cobb and john dowd. flood had worked on the legal team defending former president bill clinton against impeachment. >> it depends on upon what the meaning of the word is. >> reporter: democrats are pouncing on the latest chaos in trump world. >> nobody can stay around donald
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trump long who has a conscious and who has character and who believes in ethics. i think that is probably why dowd left and why ty cobb left and why mr. flood's time is limited. >> reporter: the president's latest tweets are a sign his legal team is getting more aggressive. hinting he could shut down the investigation mr. trump tweeted, at some point i will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the presidency and get involved. the president is escalating his attack on the justice department after mueller warned this year he may subpoena mr. trump to force testimony. and democrats argue a subpoena may be necessary. >> do i want to see it? no. but if it is necessary, it should be done. >> what would plaq-- would make necessary. >> if he refused to answer the questions the special counsel deems to be answered. >> reporter: rod rosenstein told laura jarrett the investigators are not backing down. >> there have been people who have been making threats, privately and publicly against me for quite sometime and i think they should understand by
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now that the department of justice is not going to be extorted. >> reporter: that puts more pressure on the president who told reporters repeatedly he wants to cooperate with mueller's team. >> would you testify to special counsel robert mueller, sir. >> thank you -- i would like to. >> you would do it under oath. >> would do it under oath. >> do you think robert mueller would be fair to you in this investigation. >> we'll find out. because here is what we'll say and everybody says, no collusion. there is no collusion. >> reporter: this latest shake-up after the president tweeted just last month that he was happy with his legal team calling ty cobb the person who just stepped down, his quote, special counsel. all of the indications now are opponenti opponenting are pointing to the president's legal team and playing nice has not gotten them anywhere. wolf. >> jim acosta at the white house. more on breaking news right now. cnn crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz is joining us.
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what is the latest shake up tell you about which direction this is heading. >> certainly there is concern here that there is a subpoena now looming perhaps over the president. and there is every indication that by with this shake-up, that the president wants to take a more aggressive position and in terms of his relationship in terms of some of the back and forth that has been going on with the mueller team. it is very clear that ty cobb all along has been more of the -- on the position that they should be cooperative, all of the paperwork and all of the e-mails and the records that mueller has been requesting have gone through the white house and his position has always been, we should give them what they ask, there are other people who are close to the president and some of the president's own attorneys who have felt they should be more combative and not as cooperative with the special counsel in turning over a lot of documents already been turned over. but when you think about some of the things -- when our sources that we talked to today and how they described the relationship between the president and ty
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cobb saying that it was a -- just kind of not a very good environment, at one point saying there is a rancid atmosphere between mueller and the white house and that ty cobb didn't want to be part of it any more, and also in the end ty cobb just didn't want to continue with this playing hard ball with mueller. ty cobb has always been on the side of let's be cooperative. so this signals that the president here wants to fight and wants to fight all of the requests and then perhaps subpoena that -- we could see soon. >> the president's other new attorney rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor, he told "the washington post" today that a trump interview, a sitdown interview with robert mueller and his investigators, according to giuliani, would need to be, quote, maxed two to three hours around a narrow set of questions. is that realistic? >> it is realistic if the prosecutors and the investigators agree to it. they could be negotiating, they could be using the threat of a subpoena as a way to negotiate
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an interview. but think about this, wolf, if the president goes before a grand jury, there is a chanceco be in there all alone with prosecutors. if he's all alone, what happens then? does he take the fifth? does he plead the fifth on some of the questions. that has been something that the president's attorneys have considered. but if he's doing an interview with prosecutors and the investigators, his a -- attorneys can protect him. so yeah, it is possible. but in the end, it is really going to be up to what the special counsel wants and whether or not they would agree to those kind of conditions. >> there is still questions unanswered. shimon, thank you. and more on the breaking news. joining us, democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut. and as you know, ty cobb said in an interview with -- in a interview with mueller is still on the table, but you know rudy giuliani said interview with the president would have to be a
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maximum of two to three hours around a narrow set of questions. do you think mueller should agree to giuliani's terms? >> there is no way based on my experience as a federal prosecutor and state attorney general that he should agree to two or three hours maximum for this interview. it should go as long as is necessary for him to be satisfied that donald trump is answering his questions. he's submitted 49 questions that give trump a road map to the topics. but not the follow-up questions. and here is the basic truth. the president of the united states has boxed himself into a corner. because he has lied repeatedly and consistently in public and robert mueller will ask questions about why he fired james comey, why he gave a false statement in the interviews that he's done, if he backtracked on
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it, why he concocted an explanation of the june donald trump tower meeting that seems false and these questions are going to put him in a very, very difficult position. and the turnover in his lawyers simply attests to how often and consistently he rejects the advice of his lawyers. >> it is extraordinary the turnover and in critical moments like this. do you believe robert mueller should subpoena the president if he doesn't agree to an interview? >> what is really stunning, wolf, is that the president of the united states is refusing to cooperate in a lawful investigation. remember, this investigation has already produced four convictions and many more indictments, so it is far from a hoax or a witch hunt. and, yes, a subpoena will be necessary if the president fails to submit to an interview that is unlimited in length or
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subject matter. and that subpoena now seems increasingly necessary and unavoidable. my hope is that republican colleagues will stand up and speak out against the clearly mounting effort on the part of the president's surrogates in congress to try to stifle or styme this investigation by these frivolous requests and in fact obstructionist requests for documents. >> do you believe mueller is willing to take that step, issuing a subpoena to the president of the united states? >> based on the way he's conducted this -- this investigation so far, methodically, discretionally and discretely but very systematically and determinely and i believe he will. i think he knows that donald trump has to submit to an interview or this investigation cannot be finished. and if he refuses, a subpoena is absolutely appropriate. remember the history here also in terms of legal precedent.
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richard nixon tried to defy a subpoena and the united states supreme court told him unanimously no one is above the law and he complied. likewise clinton in clinton versus jones tried to resist a subpoena and the courts rules against him and going back to the earliest days of our republican, thomas jefferson said that he as president copt be subpoenaed and the supreme court told him otherwise. so there is a body of law that supports robert mueller and it is consistent with his obligation, again i come back to the spectacle of the president of the united states who took an oath of office to faithfully execute the laws, thumbing his nose at the rule of law. >> at the same time that the department of justice said -- is refusing to hand over to congress the rosenstein memo detailing the scope of the special counsel's investigation. the department of justice said it pertains to an active
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criminal probe and that is why they don't want to release it in the face of conservative republican pressure to get that document. the president tweeted this morning, a rigged system. they don't want to turn over documents to congress. what are they afraid of? why so much redacting. why should unequal justice in quotes, at some point i'll have no choice but to use the powers granted to the presidency and get involved. that sounds like an ominous threat to the department of justice and what do you think he means by get involved? >> it is more than ominous. it is severely threatening. it is a virtually over -- overt indication that he is seriously contemplating interference in this investigation and in fact possibly firing rosenstein because remember that those republican members who were asking for the documents are threatening to impeach rod
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rosenstein and these threats and intimidation from republican members of congress are, in fact, arguably obstruction of justice. and the president's raising this possibility has no purpose except to intimidate and bully the professionalism and the dedication of the fbi and the department of justice who are doing their job. as rod rosenstein said just yesterday in his speech -- i believe at the press club, the department of justice will not be extorted. it will not abandon the rule of law because no one is above the law and the effort to get these documents, remember, is an interference in the investigation. they're asking for evidence that -- that inculpated individuals who may be subjects or targets so that it could be made available to those
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potential defendants and thereby enable them to avoid the investigation. and donald trump's threats, i think, are more evidence of obstruction of justice just as his allusion to pardons and other actions that he's taking. >> the rosenstein event was at the newseum here in washington at the press club to be precise. but i have in front of me, the memorandum that rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general is overseeing the mueller probe, gave to robert mueller, the special counsel, dated august 2nd, 2017 and you could see up on the screen and youth chunks blocked out and they said they have to do it to protect the criminal investigation going on. but as you know, senator, the president of the united states could declassify anything he wants. that is totally legal, he can decide this is not classified information and he could release it if he wants to. what could you do in response to that? >> that is a great question,
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wolf. and it highlights the distinction that has to be made here. we're not talking about classified material, that may be useful to some foreign adversary or enemy, we're talking about evidence of a crime that could compromise an investigation. because it is useful to a potential defendant and enables that person to evade justice. again, it is about the rule of law. they're refusal to disclose evidence from an ongoing investigation is perfectly proper and appropriate. and rod rosenstein is bending over backwards, the department is doing its level-headed best to satisfy the requests from congress consistent with the obligation. and that obligation is to do law enforcement without fear of favor, without improper disclosure to potential defendants or to congress.
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>> senator richard plume enthrall, thanks for joining us. a former trump campaign aide talks to the special counsel robert mueller's team. why is he describing the meeting as difficult? one part steak. one part ribs. two parts incredible. new steak & ribs at outback. $15.99 for a limited time. get a 6oz sirloin and make it your own with a choice of honey sriracha, barbecue, or dry rub ribs. so hurry in to outback now.
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♪ (buzzer) ♪ olly. more breaking news. former trump campaign aide michael caputo meeting with robert mueller's team as part of the russia investigation. let's go to our manu rutha working the story. this comes, what, one day after he talked to the senate intelligence committee as part of its probe. >> reporter: michael caputo did meet behind closed doors with
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the special counsel team earlier today and in thcomes after caputo did meet with the senate intelligence committee yesterday. now he told me that this is a, quote, difficult but fair encounter with the special counsel investigation. and we do know that michael caputo was very close over the years and still is close with roger stone. stone is a long-time friend of president trump. and stone himself has come under scrutiny over contacts that he had through an intermediary and julian assange and released the hacked clinton e-mails in the 2016 campaign season and as well as come to light that stone told associates in 2016 that he dinner with julian assange, something he later said was a joke. but undoubtedly there -- those are things investigators are look at. caputo said he has done nothing wrong and released a staging statement to the senate intelligence committee when he met behind closed doors
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yesterday, in the statement he said that he's racking up legal bills to the tune of $125,000, he may have to relocate from upstate new york to a bigger city so he could pay off these legal bills and he closed that -- opened that statement with rather strong language and excuse me language, i'm quoting from his statement where he told the investigators, god damn you to hell because the way this investigation has swept him in. when he said he's absolutely done nothing wrong and he claims there is no evidence whatsoever of collusion. no word yet if he had those same words to bob mueller's team meeting behind closed doors but he did describe it as fair even if it was difficult. >> manu, as you know, two key republican house members are continuing to dual with the trump justice department over the mueller investigation. what is the latest on that front? >> reporter: mark meadows and jim jordan, two top members of the house freedom caucus have been demanding documents for some time from rod rosenstein and the justice department and
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they've been joined by other top republicans who chair committees who have -- threatened subpoenas and they have gotten documents but republicans want more and these two conservatives met with rosenstein last month and demanded a very significant document that rod rosenstein wrote detailing the scope of the mueller investigation. that document had been heavily redacted in court filings. while the two members want to see an unredacted version of the memo to determine the scope of the mueller probe. now we're getting word that in fact the justice department is saying no. they will not provide them with the access to that document. because this investigation is ongoing. now at the same time, those members and a few others are demanding jeff sessions to tell them whether or not he signed off on the raid of donald trump's long time personal attorney michael cohen that occurred last month and no word whether he did sign off and no
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matter how he answers that question, he could face more pressure from the president who has been very critical of his attorney general and his deputy attorney general as these members of congress were allies of the president, they take aim at the deputy attorney general and the attorney general asking rosenstein to step aside or wrap up the mueller investigation. >> interesting. manu, thank you. more breaking news, why president trump's new legal team could be a sign he's about to step up his attacks on robert mueller's russia investigation. plus, the epa chief scott pruitt facing at least 11 -- yes, 11 ethics investigations. and now learning must details of what his of expensive foreign trips. ♪ it's your thing ♪ ♪ do what you want to do (whoosh, explosion)
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now more businesses in more places can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. important news at white house where the newly announced change in president trump's legal team apparently signals a more aggressive approach to the special counsel robert mueller's investigation. let's bring in our experts and susan, you're a lawyer. you studied this closely. rudy giuliani wants to narrow the scope of any possible sitdown interview with mueller and his team and the president of the united states. he said no more than two or three hours on specific questions, can he do that? can he make a demand like that of the president? >> so certainly mueller is going to be negotiating with them for -- to setting limits on
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topic and the time in order to -- for exchange that volunteer cooperation. but the notion here that mueller is going to agree to something that won't be sufficient to get him the answers he needs, that is not going to happen. and we've seen the more than four dozen topic areas, not the individual questions, just the topics that robert mueller wants to touch on. the idea that two to three hours is -- even close to enough time for him to get those answers, that just isn't plausible. >> the 49 questions released the other day, those are just the start. every one of the questions could have multiple follow-ups and every one could go on and on and on so this is a problem that the president potentially has. and let's say he refused to comply with mueller's request, jeff, i guess the -- mueller could issue a subpoena. >> he could. and i think that is probably a one likely scenario and the president could win the political fight on this, which he clearly is trying to already work on. he's trying to discredit this
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investigation -- and really every day multiple times a day. on social media and in conversations. but i think a legal fight is risky for him to say the least here. now the question is how long will this take? he's always said he wants to get this over with as quickly as possible. it is one of the reasons just a couple of months ago he said i will sit down with bob mueller. but we don't know how the supreme court will rule but it is a risk for him. but what we saw today at the white house, the rearanking -- rearranging lawyers an bringing on someone skilled inside of the house and on impeachment proceedings, i think that is a sign that the white house -- the president is taking this very seriously. he calls it a witch hunt, but he lawyered up today in a very big way and there is a fight brewing. we don't know how it will end. >> we certainly don't. go ahead. >> you don't bring in rudy giuliani to de-escalate. and i think -- >> or mr. flood. >> i think there is a lot of risk on the political side as
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well. the idea of the president defying a subpoena or refusing to testify, he is as jeff said, making progress in discrediting the investigation among his core supporters. but if you look at the broader electorate, a majority of americans still believe this is a legitimate inquiry on an important subject. if you think about the trajectory of the election so far, the special election and the scheduled elections in 2017, the dominant force and driving force has been the intensity of the voters who believe trump is unfit to be pri-- to be preside and the republicans aren't doing anything to check him and if he goes down the rode he would increase the risk in 2020 but clearly for republicans in 2018. >> a source tells cnn that ty cobb was now leaving the white house on his own, was, quote, uncomfortable with the mueller tweets by the president, calling this a witch hunt and a ruiz -- ruse and didn't want to be part of what he called a mudslinging
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campaign against the special counsel robert mueller. does that suggest to you that the attacks on mueller, the whole russia probe are now going to even intensify? >> most likely. and part of that was rudy giuliani who also came on in the last couple of weeks. we saw the president for the first time in march talk about the -- about mueller and name him and talk about this probe being -- not having -- should not have started in the first place and surrounded himself with all of the democrat and with the addition of the other lawyer as you said has experience with impeachment there in the long -- looking at the long haul and what might happen if the forces that ron talked about happen and the house is taken over by democrats. so i do think you'll see a more assist a gressive posturing from the team and we'll see what that means for the president. is it more tweeting or naming mueller in the way he has in tweets before and you see more aggression from his allies as well. folks in the house, republicans
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side as well as talking heads on tv ramping up and warning -- wanting to have this political fight, whether it works legally, we'll see. >> his political north star is rallying his base and taking the posture that energizes anden flames his race and why would it prove any different. >> stand by. because new breaking news right now. another legal battle facing the president of the united states. this time going back to his days on the apprentice. stand by, we'll update you on this. and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪
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>> breaking news. a former apprentice contestant suing president trump for defanlation is asking for rerecord -- recordings of his interactions with women while taping. elijah jones, what are you learning? >> this is a big deal if the subpoena -- if these records are obtained. the attorney is asking metro gold wynn mayer and they own the archives of the apprentice and they want -- the company to hand over all documents or video or audio that feature summer zer vose and any reporting in which trump speaks of women in quote, any sexual or inappropriate manner. that is of course very important because we all remember the now infamous ""access hollywood" tape the president is speaking
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in vulgar manner about women talking about grabbing them by the genitals and saying if you are a star they let you do it. when summer came forward to accuse trump of assaulting her in 2007, before the election, october of 2016 and she -- she said, she quoted -- the then candidate trump speaking in the way he spoke on "access hollywood" and said you can't treat women as sexual objects because you are a star. so they are hoping that those recordings will help prove that the president lied when he -- when he denied having groped summer zer vos and the other records from the beverly hills hotel where she said that trump groped her. they want records of any stay from 2005 to 2009 and any documents related to keith schiller, his long-time bodyguard and lonnie graph his assistance or zer vose and they said they are gathering evidence
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to prove that defendant trump lies when he falsely denigrated her and denied sexually assaulting her. so if they see these apprentice archives, it is a big deal to see what else mr. trump has said. >> another legal headache for the president an his team. thank you very much for that. athena joan reports. what kind of case does she have. >> the one here is of presidential immunity and that doesn't expend to private acts and occurred before he was president. the defamatory comments were made during the campaign so before he was even president of the united states. i think what it really does show is discovery is the name of the game and even if he isn't -- even if he might ultimately prevail at the end, there might be a lot of damage done in the interim. >> so there is three women now with legal suits against the president. summer zer vose and stormy daniels and karen mcdougal, it is growing. >> and we'll see where it goes.
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if terms of the tapes from the apprentice, if you remember back in the campaign and even since then, those were seen as the holy grail of fines in terms of the campaign and in terms of seeing what donald trump says is kind of off the record, whether or not he said disparaging things about women or minority groups, so it is interesting to see -- and you're right, this is kind of a fear of these lawsuits. do you in the discovery phase and then do you get the president on the stand at some point. because if we remember what happened with bill clinton, he was -- a similar thing. he had to talk about what happened with monica lewinsky as part of the paula jones lawsuit and that got him in trouble. >> the "access hollywood" video tape and audio tape among his base, among his supporters didn't change anything so let's say there are more tapes from the apprentice, and you think among his base that will make much of a difference. >> not among his base. but there is a reason his approval rating is around 40%
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when unemployment is around 4%. there is -- there are doubts about him personally that are inhibiting his ability to grow -- to the extent you would expect given the good news in the economy. having said that, i think more democrats recognize that the share of voters who will pull away from trump because they view him as personally unfit is close to being maxed out and in the end, they would be more -- they have better opportunities in the 2018 election if they could fight it on the grounds of health care and the tax cut and whether he is delivered on his core promise that he would be a champion of average people. and i think -- it is not that they -- the personal doubts haven't hurt him but they may have hurt him about as much as they are going to and if there is further erosion it is more likely to come from under cutting his argument that he is looking out for average families -- >> he has the president of the united states and so many legal cases right now, that he's got to deal with and robert mueller probe, the separate probe in new york, the u.s. attorney for the
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southern district of new york, a crim -- criminal investigation and michael cohen and all of the women filing these law enforcements. there is a lost legal issues he has to deal with. >> no question. and he's used to this. before he was president, he was in so many lawsuits. but of course now he has a day job and is significantly different. but the reality here, i think ron is right in the sense there are -- maybe a tapped out in terms of his base. but i do wonder, are they all sort of getting confusing to people and watering down the individual cases. we'll have to see how they play out. important to what you said, sometimes a certain case -- we go in a different direction so if he were to get on the a witness stand that could be a whole new ball game haw-- becau his words have come back to haunt him in some cases so we'll -- >> like the travel ban. >> so everything is not necessarily going to be like that "access hollywood" tape at
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the end of 2016 because at that point the voters viewed between him and someone acceptable, it could be different. >> and so many serious lawyers don't want him to tweet right now. except with teleprompter scripted speeches, if you will. stand by. there is more news rear following. vice president pence praises a convicted and pardoned former sheriff as a champion of the rule of law, raising important questions about president trump's pardoning powers.
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tonight, because of some eye-opening comments by vice president epence, there are now questions emerging about president trump's power to issue pardons. cnn's brian todd is here. brian, tell us more about what the vice president said to stir up this latest controversy. >> wolf, vice president pence had a lot of compliments for former sheriff joe arpaio of maricopa county, arizona. he was convicted of contempt of court and pardoned by president trump in a very controversial mood. the president is certainly not bashful about pardoning people and tonight there are serious questions about whether or not he might use that power to skirt the russia investigation. in arizona, vice president pence pays tribute to a popular former sheriff, now a senate candidate. a man pence called a great friend of the president. >> tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law. spent a lifetime in law
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enforcement. sheriff joe arpaio! i'm honored to have you here. >> reporter: but that champion of the rule of law, former maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio was convicted for contempt of court more ignoring a judge's order to stop detaining people he suspected of being undocumented immigrants. >> vice president pence, she praise on the sheriff as if he had not broken a federal law. >> reporter: president trump pardoned arpaio last year before arpaio was sentenced. and tonight a key question is being raised. could trump pardon his way out of the mueller investigation? "the new york times" recently reported that trump's white house attorneys approached lawyers for former national security adviser michael flynn and former trump campaign chairman paul manafort with the idea that trump might pardon both of them. that was while robert mueller was building cases against both men. white house lawyers denied making those overtures. manafort has since been indicted for financial crimes and pleaded not guilty. how could a manafort pardon help
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trump in the mueller probe? >> pardoning manafort would make sure that manafort would not need to cooperate with mueller to stay out of federal prison. >> reporter: flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi and cooperated with prosecutors. but experts say as he awaits sentencing, a pardon could still be in play for flynn and could still tlirump in the russia investigation. >> they would still need flynn's cooperation, following up on any documents or any statements he's given to mueller for a trial or for further investigation. >> trump's lawyers consistently deny discussing pardons for anyone involved in the russia investigation. but some legal experts say trump could pardon flynn and manafort if he wanted to stymie the mueller probe. >> the president has the ability to take whatever action he deems fit, pretty much for the reasons he sees fit, and he doesn't really have to explain them, really. he can decide to issue a pardon and issue it at any point in the process. >> reporter: but other analysts say there's one part in the
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constitution that would prevent trump from pardoning flynn and manafort, the part that says that trump has to faithfully execute the office of the president. >> those are protections against self-dealing. if trump uses the pardon to get co-conspirators off the hook so they don't have to cooperate in a prosecution, that would be a faithless use of the pardon power against the public interest. >> analysts say if president trump does pardon michael flynn, paul manafort, michael cohen or others, this could bring them political heat later on. they say those people would be free for legal jeopardy, but harder for them to plead the fifth. harder for them not to spill what they know about the president's dealings if they're hauled before congress for impeachment proceedings or other investigations. wolf? >> so if the president decides to pardon manafort or flynn, is there anyone who would have the power to stop him? >> there could be, wolf. a prosecutor could actually go to a judge and say to the judge to ignore the pardon, because
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it's not valid. the prosecutor and then the judge could cite that part of the constitution, on the fai faithful execution of the office of the president, to say that the president violated that clause and that the pardon is not valid. we don't know that that's ever been done, but it's worth thinking about. breaking news ahead, a top white house lawyer quits and the president hires a former clinton impeachment lawyer. what it all means for the russia investigation. we have new details, that's next. let someone else do the heavy lifting. tripadvisor compares prices from over 200 booking sites to find the right hotel for you at the lowest price. so you barely have to lift a finger. or a wing. tripadvisor.
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member of his legal team calls it quits. new warnings tonight that mr. trump and his lawyers are ready to play hardball with the special counsel. setting a timer. new trump team member rudy giuliani is offering ground rules for robert mueller to question the president and insisting it could last only for a few hours at most. might that persuade mueller to make good on a subpoena threat? powers tripped. an ominous new warning for mr. trump that he might use his executive authority to derail the russia investigation. what would be the trigger for him to intervene? and trump's tv tapes. one of the president's accusers, former apprentice contestant summer zervos is looking for evidence on mr. trump on recordings of his longtime television show. what does she expect to find? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're

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