tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN March 19, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
hello, i'm ryan nobles in today. we are learning more about what led to the dramatic fbi raid of president trump's former personal attorney. this morning prosecutors released the search warrant documents from michael cohen's home, office and hotel room almost a year ago. the big headlines from the hundreds of pages released. the special counsel was investigating cohen far longer than previously known and investigators were able to reveal years of e-mails from the time that cohen worked for president trump. kara, what are you learning from these documents? >> reporter: we are scouring through these nearly 900 pages of documents. a couple of things that really jump out is that the special counsel's investigation began in may of 2017. just two months after that they had already applied and been granted search warrants for
michael cohen's g mail accounts and an i cloud account. the special counsel's office had obtained this data going back to june of between. they were looking at michael cohen and his communications for two years before they even began their investigation. then we have also learned that they had referred the investigation and everything that they had been looking at which included campaign finance violations, consulting contracts of michael cohen to the u.s. attorney's office in february of 2018. it was then that the u.s. attorney's office had sought and been granted their own search warrant applications in addition to looking for michael cohen's e-mails and other records they also obtained the so-called pen registries which means they were able to see who michael cohen was communicating with based on the phone numbers and cell tower information of where michael cohen was located. so in a sense we have prosecutors retracting michael cohen almost in real time. knowing what he had been
communicating for several years. that all cull miinated in the april of 2018 raid of michael cohen's hotel room, office and safety deposit box. ultimately michael cohen was charged with campaign finance violations. he pleaded guilty to those as well as lying to a bank and tax returns. we knew that the investigation encompassed potential foreign lobbying violations. and michael cohen pleaded guilty last august with the u.s. attorney's office in manhattan. he is expected to go to prison for three years in may. >> pretty big document you and your team unpacking it. thank you for bringing us the headlines. joining me now to talk about this, cnn political analyst, jennifer rogers, former federal prosecutor and cnn senior justice correspondent evan perez. i know you guys haven't had too long of a period of time to dig through this document. what stands out to you so far? >> one of the interesting things is the timeline of how quickly
this investigation got going and how quickly they were obtaining some of this information that the mueller prosecutors and the prosecutors in the southern district of new york started getting some of that data. the earliest is july of 2017. in august of 2017 that summer the mueller prosecutors obtained warrants on his e-mails as well as his i cloud and then they get permission from a judge to track cohen's phone calls essentially looking to see who he was calling, who was calling him. this was a time when the president has already taken office. you have to think of the president and people close to him have to be wondering what exactly they were after during that period. of course, in january 2018 they get additional information to track those phone calls. a couple of things stand out to me from these documents. 20 pages have been redacted. we don't exactly know why. one of the things that they say is that they are essentially
looking at what michael cohen was doing while he was acting as the president's attorneys. we do know that this is still an ongoing investigation and it is something the president's own attorneys believe is going to be an investigation that will continue through the end of donald trump's presidency. a couple of other things. the prosecutors even got permission from a judge in order to force basically use michael cohen's own hands or his face to try to get access to some of his devices. again, that's something that judges are allowed to sign off on. and there was a period in 2018 when g mail refused to turn over some information to prosecutors they were able to use a new law in order to force google to turn over that data because this information allegedly was being stored overseas. >> thanks, evan. jennifer, i want to turn to you and talk about robert mueller's
interest in cohen. >> it's very interesting because of course mueller's mandate was to look at the connection to potential interference. they were looking at the campaign. cohen wasn't really a part of the campaign formally. i think they focussed on him so early because he was so close to the president and he did have personal russia ties. he was negotiating the trump tower moscow deal. i'm not so surprised that mueller and his team focussed on cohen in the early days even though he didn't have an official position with the campaign. the interesting part is when they turned up some evidence of criminal behavior that wasn't really within the mandate they handed it off and ultimately cohen only pled guilty to a charge with the mueller team that had to do with his false testimony in front of congress. whatever it is that they found with him in connection with the russian interference didn't result in criminal charges at least not yet. >> they were looking into a lot of things and so far only charged and convicted on a few.
michael cohen has a credibility problem. he pled guilty to lying to congress. he is facing issues after his public hearing. do you see anything in these documents that could help or hurt his credibility problem? >> i think there is no question that michael cohen has a built in credibility problem with respect to the fact that he is poised to begin a three-year prison sentence in part because he lied to congress. but the context has changed dramatically in light of his public testimony on capitol hill where the stakes were a lot higher for michael cohen to commit the very same crime that he is poised to go to prison for. there is no longer any hope of a pardon from this president. as we know their relationship deteriorated in dramatic fashion. he of course has cooperated fairly extensively with the special counsel, sat down for countless hours of interviews with federal prosecutors providing information about his work as it relates to donald trump. and polling in the aftermath of
his testimony did show that while the american public continues to believe that cohen has baggage they are more inclined to believe his account versus that of the president's. i don't know how much given how these documents are heavily redacted will change the public perception of cohen, but certainly it should be concerning for the president that the prosecutors were able to obtain a warrant long before they raided cohen's home at a time when he was still in touch with his former personal attorney. and a lot of the information that we don't yet know. as it likely relates to the hush money payments and the timeline of the trump tower moscow project. >> redactions may end up being bigger revelations. i'm specifically interested in that the entire section related to campaign finance reform was redacted. is there something we should read into that?
>> we know that there is still an investigation into for example the campaign finance violation and one of the theories that the lawyers who are involved in this case on the trump side believe is that the prosecutors want to make sure that they look into whether anybody else was aware of this campaign finance violation and the violation we are talking about is the payments to stormy daniels, to the other women in 2016 in the run up to the 2016 election whether or not anybody else helped cover up those payments and in so doing essentially helped make that violation, hide that violation from prosecutors from the government. we know that that is one of the focuses of this investigation. we also don't know whether there is anything else that the prosecutors are still looking to. this is something that is being handled out of the southern district of new york because the mueller investigation is drawing
to a close. >> you mentioned that, as well. there is the possibility of other charges that could come down and these documents maybe foreshadow that. are there specific angles that you think the sdny could look into? >> on the bank fraud side where we did see a lot more detail, there is someone else who was involved in that with him. they may be planning to charge that person. on the campaign finance side they literally blocked out everything. it is really hard to see where they are going. the fact that they are going and the judge is holding their feet to the fire. he wants them back in two weeks in may with an update if the investigation is still ongoing. they had a back and forth about this. prosecutors ended up convincing the judge the reason they had to redact everything is because of the investigation which tells me
they are working on charging. >> of course, we are still waiting on the mueller report. we assume that will be revealed at some point in the near future. from what we saw from this document, so much of it being redacted, do you think this raises the stakes for members of congress to really push to have the mueller report revealed in its totality? >> that is certainly where the battle is headed. we saw a very strong vote in the house in favor of making the mueller report public. this was a sticking point when attorney general william bar was in the midst of confirmation hearings. it is clear that there are bipartisan calls to do so but the president's attorneys want the opportunity to review the mueller report before barr submits any version of it to members of congress. yes the white house does have the purview to try to make
certain claims with respect to executive privilege, but it will also give the perception that perhaps the white house is trying to hide or alter in some ways the release of the report. and i think that barr is going to face significant pressure from capitol hill. this is something that ultimately may end up in the courts and making its way as high as the supreme court. >> someday this mueller report will be released. that's going to happen. we believe it is going to in some capacity. thank you all for being here. we appreciate it. coming up, senator elizabeth warren unveils a controversial new proposal that would dramatically change the way presidents are elected. those details are ahead. plus, will the white house try to keep parts of the mueller report under wraps? we just talked about that. cnn has new reporting about how trump's lawyers are prepare frg that. stay with us.
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how exactly do you stand out in a growing field of democratic presidential candidates? if you are senator elizabeth warren maybe you say something like this at the cnn town hall in jackson, mississippi. >> come a general election, presidential candidates don't come to places like mississippi. my view is that every vote matters. and the way we can make that happen [ applause ] is that we can have national voting. and that means get rid of the electoral college.
>> warren mentioned hillary clinton's winning the popular vote in 2016 but losing the election and said the electoral college disenfranchises voters in states dominated by one party. that was just one of the ideas that she put out there. joining me now to talk about this, jeff zeleny and cnn political correspondent in jackson and covered the cnn town hall last night. warren chosen to do this event in mississippi. that's not a swing state. she took pretty bold positions related to race and the african-american community. she talked about reparations and said mississippi needs to get a new state flag and talked about taking down confederate monuments on federal grounds. she implies that the electoral college disenfranchises minority voters. was that her goal to reach out to the black community? and how did she do?
>> reporter: you know, it is really important to talk about how unusual it is. it is march of 2019 and we have a democratic presidential candidate who is campaigning in mississippi. that is really unusual. i was counting the number of states that she has travelled to so far this year. when she heads to alabama today, that is her 11th state. that goes to show how extensively she is traveling. she is not just focussing on the handful of early states that most presidential candidates you would expect to see travel to at this early stage in the campaign. i think particularly the southern swing that she is doing this week traveling through tennessee and mississippi and alabama, it really goes to show the focus that she has placed on trying to win over minority voters especially african-american voters and the issues that she talked about yesterday at cnn's town hall really help to highlight that. this is something that we have seen actually from the first day
of her campaign. whenever she talks about a policy issue and she can sort of bring it back to the importance of that policy issue to minority voters, she will do that. she will take that opportunity. so when she is talking about economic inequality, she is not just talking about that in a broader sense, but she always brings it back to how african-americans for example are more hurt by economic disparity across the country. when she is talking about her housing plan she will talk about how this is the kind of thing, housing inequality is the kind of thing that hurts black voters more than anybody else. clearly there is a theme here. >> another thing that warren is doing that is a little bit different from other contenders is that she is really rolling out a different detailed policy plan every week. she is struggling in most of these polls, not just the national polls but the early vote polls. are voters really paying attention to these policy proposals? >> there is no question that
elizabeth warren sounded like the professor she used to be. there are very few presidential candidates who can compete with her in the level with the ideas. one thing she did not say back to the electoral college is how difficult if not impossible this will be. here is why. it has to be done by a vote of two thirds of the house and the senate and then ratified by three fourths of the statszes. we should point out that she is not the first democratic candidate to do this. the mayor from indiana has been talking about this idea for a long time. there is a lot of policy in this race for some candidates. it's a open question if voters are digesting all of this. i think after she is campaigning to all of these places, people get the idea that she is prepared for this job. she knows what she wants to do. she has big ideas if you agree with them or not. certainly she has depth but that is her lane.
shoo she is not the candidate going out there taking selfies and instagram with everyone. she is explaining a deep policy idea. we'll see if voters want that in the end or not. we don't know the answer to that question. >> speaking of the candidate taking selfies and instagrams with voters. of course, elizabeth warren has a lot of specifics, beto not so much. is there a strategy about not being so specific, fought being tied down to specific policy proposals this early on in the race? >> i mean, there is no question about it that elizabeth warren is all about the policy. this is her m.o. i think as more candidates jump into the field we are really starting to see how the different candidates are starting to position themselves and warren as jeff was saying has put out these very detailed policy proposals already in a way that i think is unmatched when you look at the other candidates that are in the democratic field. four major proposals that she
has already put out, taxing the wealthy, her universal child care proposal, breaking up big tech, her housing plan, all of these things are building her presidential platform, but on the other hand someone like beto o'rourke we don't know where he stands on the policy details. it doesn't mean that she doesn't have strength. he has clearly the power behind him, the fundraising numbers that we saw from him this week is not necessarily something that elizabeth warren has. >> i think i have been to eight bernie sanders rallies so far this year. he has yet to mention any of the other democratic candidates. their names never come across his lips. yesterday he sent out the fundraising e-mail telling his supporters that beto o'rourke outraised him and then trying to make the case that his fundraising was stronger because of the number of individual donors. from your perspective, is this a
sign that beto o'rourke's initial forainto the kmcampaigns making others nervous? >> that is something that got every candidate's attention. we'll see if bernie sanders says it himself. that was his advisers putting it out there trying to get their own supporters to send in more money if it is $5, $10 to say bernie sanders is not going to come in a second behind this new kid on the block. i think senator sanders mentioned to you last week in south carolina it's a free country. that was a sign, as well. he didn't welcome him into the race with big respect. the reality is most don't have a relationship with beto o'rourke. he didn't use them in his senate race last year in texas. everyone is watching him because he is the shining new object who can raise a lot of money. after he jumps in and introduces
himself he will have to put more meat on the bones. there is no question, all candidates are watching him because of the money race. >> of course, we are still waiting on joe biden. thank you guys as walls always. don't forget to watch a special cnn town hall with john hickenlooper. dana bash will moderate from atlanta. you can watch that here tomorrow night on cnn. coming up, the battle over the mueller report. new details on how white house lawyers could keep parts of the special counsel's report out of the public eye. that's coming up next.
simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. it is still very uncertain if the american people will see special counsel robert mueller's report but cnn is learning that the white house lawyers will now expect to see a version of the report before it ever reaches members of congress or the american people. that means the white house will have the chance to claim executive privilege and prevent some or all of the reporting from ever going public. joining me now is democratic senator jack reed of rhode island, the ranking member of the armed services committee. thank you for joining me. i want tofirst ask you about this mueller report and the concerns you may have over the
executive privilege opportunity that the white house has. are you concerned at all that you may not get the opportunity to see this report in its entirety? >> i am very much concerned. i believe that the attorney general has the first review of the report from director mueller. and i would be hoping that he would make the report available to congress and that appropriate sections of the report could be made public. in fact, the house overwhelmingly voted on a bipartisan basis just last week that the report should be fully public. that's the only way you are going to give i think confidence that there has been a thory, full investigation and that the facts have led to appropriate legal conclusions. >> so if the mueller report is heavily redacted by the time it reaches you, do you support calling mueller before your committee to answer questions about his investigation and his findings?
>> well, i think it would be appropriate after the report has been released to have director mueller come before the congress. the precise committee where he would appear, that could be debated. again, he i think should be available to answer questions that the american public will have. and the irony here is a lot of this drama about the mueller report could be eliminated easily if the president would do several simple things, one testify under oath before director mueller and answer all the questions that have been raised and put those questions to rest, release his income tax which is something that has caused quite a bit of controversy and other things that he could do immediately to end this long battle over what happened in the 2016 campaign. >> so you're obviously the
ranking member in the armed services committee. you have been trying days to find out what military construction projects would be cut to pay for the president's border wall. you did finally get the list of projects that could be cut. what concerns you the most about this proposal from the trump administration? >> well, getting the list was extremely important. it was no longer sort of of an academic sort of transfer of some money into the wall. these are specific projects that cover the entire united states and the world. they go to the readiness and training of our forces to quality of life of troops and their families. there will be real tradeoffs here. it will be to the detriment of our military. all of these projects have been appropriated by the appropriations committee. based on the request of the department of defense that these are critical to our national security, there is not a
national security issue at the border. in fact, the head of northern command made it clear there is no military threat coming from mexico. the military threats are across the globe. the readiness for those threats have to be undertaken at posts here in the united states. that's where we should be investing the money. it is no longer an academic trade off. these are specific projects at specific posts all through the united states. i hope my colleagues pay attention. >> acting secretary shanahan was before your committee. he did not have this list when he testified last year. then he went past the deadline to hand it over to you. there is some thought that president trump would like to keep him in the job permanently. based on not just this, but your entire experience working with him, do you think he should have the job of secretary of defense on a permanent basis? >> that is the president's
initial decision and then his record will be reviewed by all my colleagues. we were engaged in a very vigorous discussion last week about the list and i think through his efforts the list was produced not as timely as he suggested initially, but within a reasonable time. again, this is a very complicated set of issues. i'll wait for the president. he has the first move in this situation. and then we will evaluate that individual very thoroughly based upon many factors their ability to -- i think very importantly to give the president wise counsel, to speak truth to power. we don't want someone who is simply going to be a presidential sort of messenger. we want someone who will stand up as did mattis did and say mr.
president this situation i advise against it or i advise for it. we'll be looking for that. >> you have been pretty outspoken about the president's criticism of the late senator john mccain over the weekend. how do you think your friend would have responded to the way the president has attacked him? >> well, i think he would have taken a substantive course. i think in this debate over the powers of the congress versus the president on the emergency. i have the feeling that he would have lined up with several other republicans and opposed the president's power grab. john was someone who understood the checks and balances, that the role of the senate particularly and the importance of the senate to speak out on public issues. we have lost a great voice for this country. he would stand up and criticize presidents of both party physical he felt they were taking the wrong course of
action. i think he would be very, very strong not in a personal petty way but in a principle way talking about how this is not the right way to proceed and he would be in sense that the military was being used to fund this wall. i think he would be adamant in his criticism of that. >> thank you. i talked to you about a number of topics. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. coming up, can president trump legally own a hotel just steps from the white house? arguments underway right now in a case asking that very question. we'll have more when we come back.
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oral arguments are underway right now in a case that could determine if president trump is illegally profiting from thep presidency. at issue is the trump international hotel blocks away from the white house. the attorneys general allege that the president is benefitting from foreign dig niitaries who book rooms and hold events at the hotel. justice department lawyers argue that it refers to a payment made to a public official for a service like a salary or consulting fee. money from a private business dealings would be exempt. they are asking that the case be thrown out. joining me now to talk about this shan wu. first off, just lay out the importance of this case. >> sure. as with so many things regarding
the president, it's basically a mess of his own making. the importance of the case is this rather obscure clause that we are all now talking about prohibits the idea of a president profiting from his office. originally it seems like the framers were concerned with the idea of a president being conferred like a title of nobility by a foreign government giving them a title and then paying them. fast forward to now, trump has all these business interests that unlike any other president he has not put into a blind trust so this is a question of let's take a look at the interests. can it be that you're profiting from being president when foreign dignitaries are staying at your hotel? he, of course, has raised the big constitutional issue of absolute immunity. i'm president. >> to that point, do the attorneys general of maryland and washington, d.c. have standing to sue here? is that what we are trying to figure out? >> i think they have standing to
sue. thus far they have succeeded at the lower court. at the trial court level the judge agreed with them. now they are at the level of the court of appeals. this is likely headed to the supreme court no matter what direction that it goes in. it is something that could be voided if the president was more transparent about his finances. as we think about the questions of what did the framers intend, i think there is an easy way to cut through that. let's say george washington opened up a tavern and made everyone who came to see him stay there. >> a very good analogy. at this point right now this case is about a very narrow aspect of the president's personal business. we are talking about this hotel in d.c. there are a lot of other examples of his business interests all around the world where there may be some sort of foreign entanglement. could this lead to more lawsuits once it is ultimately decided in. >> it could lead to more
lawsuits and perhaps more directly the discovery process right now is kind of on hold because of the appeal. if the discovery process moves forward that kind of information may give rise to more investigations, more lawsuits and of course that's what the president and his lawyers are very concerned about and really the justice department is helping them kind of push back against that to shield that possibility i think. >> so to that point, that could mean they could be forced to turn over documents and could mean we would get to see something like the president's tax returns. you talk about the president not being transparent. could this be the transparency that some are looking for? >> the president's tax returns are like the search for the holy grail. there are so many attempts to try to get to it. this is certainly one that could lead to that. i think at this point, it's probably just a matter of time before he has to turn those over. of course, there will be other fights as to if we will get to see them. >> shan wutalking about the tax returns as the holy grail.
shan breaking new ground on cnn this morning. coming up, president trump says latino americans love him. the new poll sheds light on his level of support. you'll want to see this cnn special report. >> you want to see this not only taller, but longer. >> longer and taller, yes. twice as much. >> we do have a lot of problems here with immigration and i do support his stance for the wall. d with less of the sugar you don't. (straining) i'll take that. (cheers) 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. ensure max protein. in two great flavors.
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and according to a new cnn poll, the president does have a 44% approval rating among latinos. in fact, that's the highest it's been since october. so who are the latino voters supporting the president? miguel marquez went to texas to find out. >> reporter: the u.s.-mexico border in south texas, dividing countries and latino voters. you were born and raised in texas, correct? >> yes. >> and you live a mile from the wall? >> uh-huh. >> and you want to see it not only taller but longer? >> taller and longer. >> how much? >> 26 miles. >> president trump for years. >> hispanics that are in the country legally, they love me. >> reporter: as touted how much latino voters love him, rodriguez is the one who likes
his border politics, particularly the wall. >> i don't think the wall is going to be a barrier, really, for the good people. it will be a barrier for the bad people. >> reporter: while, according to gallup, a majority of latinos disapprove of the president's job performance, many angered by the family separation policy, focus on the wall and rhetoric about immigrants. the president still has some latino support. about a third, which is on par with other past republican presidents. you're working on your citizenship? >> i am working on my citizenship. mayra gutierrez came to america when she was three. she is working on obtaining her citizenship in hopes of when the president runs in 2020. >> we do have a lot of politics on immigration and i do support his stance on the wall.
>> reporter: latinos here say the president has more support than many are willing to admit. the president of the latino community says the number is double last year. how common is it for the latinos in this area to support the president? >> i'm actually kind of shocked, because the last time the president came to the valley, there was a lot of people out there supporting him. >> reporter: joacim hernandez and others have no doubt that trump will fix a system they view as broken. here in southwest texas, here is what the barrier looks like in large part. metal about 5 feet high, but to be fair on the other side there
is about a 20-foot drop you can't see now, but most latinos across the country say they do not agree with the president on i see immigration policies and his idea of building a wall. but those we spoke to in this area say there is a national emergency, and they would like to see this thing doubled or tripled in size. miguel marquez, hidalgo, texas. the ceo of boeing breaks his silence after two deadly plane crashes in just five months. next what he wants passengers to know and what he says the company is doing to keep them safe. a month. just $40
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-find your certified financial planner™ professional at letsmakeaplan.org. boeing is attempting to bolster confidence in the wake of two deadly plane crashes. the incidents involving the 737 max airliners happened within five months of each other. international concern has left the jets grounded worldwide. ceo mullenberg promises better performance is coming soon. what else did he have to say? >> reporter: ethe said, trust u. we at boeing are serious about
this. we're intent on getting to the bottom of the problem. listen. >> as more facts become available and we understand the next steps, we're taking action to fully reassure airlines and their passengers of the safety of the 737 max. soon we'll release a software update for the 737 max that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the lion air flight 610 accident. >> reporter: this software is expected to control the degree to which this other software, the software update, will keep this other software from possibly pushing this plane into a fatal dive. that's been the concern all along. it may also bring more warnings to the pilots if this other system has been activated on the plane. what's at stake for mullenberg is his entire legacy. yes, he makes tens of millions of dollars. boeing has just been soaring in recent years and they're in a fight with airbus. this is a guy who started as an intern in the company.
he's worked his way up to be the guy in charge. he doesn't want to see all of that fall apart, especially on such a terrible ending that would be so bad for boeing. >> tom, thank you for that report. we appreciate it. and now "inside politics" with john king starts right now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. big revelations about the special counsel's investigation. robert mueller wants a fix is michael cohen's home and office before that raid happened. and welcome to pennsylvania. beto o'rourke fresh from a headline on a visit to ohio. the 2020 democratic contender gets a rea