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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 21, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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the publisher of the enquirer is a long time friend of president trump. that's all for us. time to land it over to don lemon, cnn tonight starts now. i'm don lemon, thank you so much for joining us, we have breaking news on the russia investigation to tell you about. we're learning more on what robert mueller's team is focusing on. the special council wants to question president trump about four main topics so far. the president's legal team is creating a list of dozens of questions mueller could last. with trump all upset about the investigation. he was fuming last night when news leaked that national security advisers warned him not to congratulate vladimir putin.
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he quizzed his allies and outside advisers asking them to tell him who they thought was the leak er the latest leak contributes to an atmosphere of parano paranoia. he doesn't hesitate to throw his own people under the bus. ask rex tillerson, not to mention james comey, michael flynn and a host of other people. what's behind these leaks? >> this is from the former director of the cia telling msnbc he thinks president trump is afraid of vladimir putin going on to say, the russians could have something on him personally, that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult. there's no public evidence of that, but it's a pretty stunging
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statement by an intelligence official, right? >> i'm going to ask another former cia director about that. trump's attorney plans to appeal the decision to allow the defamation lawsuit to go forward. trump groped her in 2006. more on that later on in the show. a lot to get to, i want to bring in pamela brown, good evening to you hope you're warm out there, in the middle of this snowstorm we're having here. here on the east coast. the special council investigators have determined four main areas they would like to discuss with the president. they include the president's roll in crafting that statement aboard air force one to miscast
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the meeting his son had at trump tower in june of 2016. they want to know more about that meeting and what the president knew about it. the president said he didn't know anything until much later, robert mueller's team is interested in that according to sources, they want to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the firing of james comey and michael fwlin. and the president's actions there, now, a source familiar says a bulk of what robert mueller's team is looking to speak with the president about has to do with those firings and from all of this information the president's legal team has basically put together a memo of dozens of potential questions that the president could be asked. whether there will be an interview remains to be seen. in fact, i'm told by a tours that the president's legal team is looking to add to its ranks more lawyers as it enters this next phase to decide what will
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happen, one thing is for sure, though, the president is growing increasingly agitated as we see here. robert mueller wants to talk to him about his own behavior. this is about the president himself, that is something that has been frustrating to him. sarah sanders at the podium yesterday. i was asking her about robert mueller, it's clear she's frustrated saying the president has been mercilessly attacked. we'll have to wait and see how this plays out from here, don. >> given that, any sense of a time line on how soon could the president sit gown with mueller's team? >> i'm told there could be a decision made just within the next couple weeks, that is why one source said we're entering a new phase here, we need more people, more lawyers to make this decision how to proceed from him. the president wanted to come out and sit down with robert mueller, he said on the record in january he would love to do it under oath.
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now as it's becoming increasingly clear what robert mueller wants to focus on, the president is getting dink advice from lawyers, we will have to wait and see, a decision on whether or not it will happen is expected to be made within the next couple weeks, don. >> thank you so much. >> i want to bring in now chris cillizza and the former white house council. >> i'm going to start with john. >> cnn is learning about these four main focus areas, that mueller is interested in talking to the president about. with particular interest in the president's actions related to comey and the flynn firings, what type of case does this sound like to you? is it an obstruction of justice case given what you know? >> there are some questions there that would relate to an
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obstruction case. i don't think we really know what he's going to ask he's not going to be bound by any agreement as to what he'll ask. he's going to go where he thinks he needs to go, within the four corners as to what he's to investigate, and he's not going to be restrained. i don't think we can really figure out what's going to happen in that session. >> the backdrop of the new details we're learning about today is the president's twitter tirade against mueller. >> i think it's important to remember, this is a pressure cooker. last night we were talking about karen mcdougal and stormy daniels, now this, the putin phone call. donald trump says he likes to operate in chaos, he thinks the best ideas come out of that. i think what you see, twitter has always been his pressure release valve, it's the thing no
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one can ever take from him. despite people trying to many times over. i think you'll see that increasingly. we've seen some of it over the last few days. you'll continue to see that. he's getting more pressure p.m. less people he trusts around him. who don't have other conflicts they need to deal with. i think you're going to see him turn even more to twitter to express himself. it is against the advice of his lawyers. but when does he ever listen to that. >> let's stick with russia now and mueller, i'm going to ask you about the four areas. let me just read them quickly before i ask you. the president's role in crafting the statement aboard air force one at the 2016 meeting. the circumstances surrounding the trump tower meeting as well
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as that, the firing of the fbi director james comey and the firing of michael flynn, those are the ones that -- those are what they're talking about now. so his interests go beyond those four topics, though. it goes beyond simple collusion. this is not endsing any time soon. >> it's sprawling, it gets to the basic issue of collusion. two and three get to the obstruction of justice. four has gotten foregotten in recent months is this flynn case and whether mueller is looking into a logan act violation. and you go back and you read the filings in the flynn case, remember, he admitted to lying to the fbi. there's some interesting clues in there.
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he talks about a very senior official in the transition who knew about what -- the conversations he was having with the ambassador, mueller has been focused on those conversations, and he wants to know who told flynn to say what to the russian ambassador. is it jared kushner, is it pennsylvania, is it trump? >> remember, this logan act that's been on the books for centuries but has not been en2350rsed much. are you trying to thwart the federal government's policy. that's what flynn was on his way to being charged with that's one bucket. the stuff outside of that list, we have the recent issue of the subpoena to the trump organization is mueller now looking at something the trump organization did outside of
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russia or related to russia. and then we still don't have any indictments. i think the most obvious is going to be something related to russians who were involved with the hacking and dumping campaign of the dnc and podesta e-mails. >> can i highlight one thing? we lose sight because so much happens, right? we talk about this all the time the flynn plea deal and cooperation is of huge importance. it's not the most recent thing that happened. >> i reported the flynn -- flynn was fired or whatever. >> that's a huge deal, because of all of them. there is no question that michael flynn was there at the beginning roughly he was there in the central part of the campaign. and then he was national
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security adviser at the white house. the belief by mueller that flynn knows enough that a plea deal is worthwhile. and flynn's cooperation do not underestimate that. >> let's go to the man who knows about that. we're in a woody allen movie. >> that's a lot of legal land mines for the president. no wonder he's like, oh, my gosh, can this just be over with? had if you put this all together, it's a grand conspiracy. those are the accusations he's raising. he's build iing a defraud the united states case that could be domestic and foreign. and it's what would be known as collusion in another term.
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>> so given collusion in another term, but is it surprising to you that he is focusing on things that happened after the administration was in place, in stead of before the election, when there was some sort of collusion? that would -- it does fall under the scope, but it appears he's focusing on actions after the presidency? >> if you recall the way he picked up the investigation the investigation was in progress, when mueller was appointed. so there was an ongoing investigation. he was asked to complete. the thing that prompted his appointment was the firing of comey. so it's not surprising that's one of the things he's looking at. and it's one of the things that suggests both his dealings with comey, and his firing of comey, obstruction of justice, that's one of the reasons i think that's been one of the later focuses of his attention. >> again, having been there, right? >> for nixon, take us behind the scenes at this white house, and
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with the -- you know, the advice that the president's being given, is he on an eye land by himself? what is going on now in his head? >> he's very frustrated by leaks. that's apparent. and every president to a degree has had that problem, nixon had that problem. long before watergate, many people think that's one of the things that led to watergate, he put wire tabs on white house staffers, national security staffers, news men, he couldn't determine and find the leakers, however. so i'm sure trump is thinking about all those things, hopefully someone has told him it really doesn't work very well. >> the real story here, we've been talking about the leaks and he is upset about the leaks or whatever. of you say this, the story is dysfunction in the white house, that's the story? >> i think that is. i don't know if i said that or. >> that was probably me. >> we get mistaken for one another in parking lots
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everywhere. we're basically interchangeable. >> it was me, i take credit for all the good stuff ryan writes in the new yorker all the time. the anthony scaramucci stuff, that was me. yeah. sure. the point i was making about the dysfunction is, that -- the -- someone in a relatively small circle of people who knew the contents of the call between putin and trump, and knew the briefing papers and what they said, the do not congratulate it's not that big of a world, within a couple hours of the phone call happening, the washington post had that he had not -- he had number one had congratulated him, and had not brought up the poisoning of an ex-russian spy. someone relatively close to this president who believe that is
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the only way that you can effectively communicate with him. to sort of publicly embarrass him, he won't pay attention otherwise. >> that was my point last night with scott jennings, it's deep state, people who are not necessarily close to the president. this is someone who's close to him, and probably he appointed. >> deep state is another word for often career professionals who are really scared about where this president is taking us. when i saw that report, it is shocking, it's amazing to see something so close to an event. it seemed like a whistle blower. someone was saying we think russia policy is crazy right now, this guy just poisoned someone in the u.k., he won a fraudulent election, he's paid no price for meddling in our democracy, and the president i gives him a call like they're buddies, it sounded like someone who was saying, this has to
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stop. not everyone over here agrees with him. >> the calls are coming from inside the house, right? >> thank you ryan, chris and john. appreciate it 37 when we come back, does vladimir putin have dirt on trump? he might, i'm going to ask another former cia boss, michael hayden what he thinks. and a bit later, we're going to hear from mark zuckerberg, speaking exclusively to cnn. whoooo.
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president trump is defending his phone call with vladimir putin. a call in which he congratulated the russian president, but didn't mention accusations that russia used a nerve agent to poison a former russian spy in the u.k. he failed to mention russia's election interference. one thing he did mention blindsided his senior advisers. joink me now, michael hayden, cia director under george w. bush. good to have you on, appreciate it. >> new reporting from the washington post that trump's senior advisers were thrown when he said he expected to meet with putin soon. that wasn't in the briefing material, does it sound like the
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president has his own russia agenda here? >> i think the president is spontaneous, unstructured, doesn't take to coaching very well. i think that just came out, and now like many things, you get this statement from the chief executive, and now the staff either has to walk him back from it. or implement it. and we'll see which of those two dynamics apply in this case. meeting with putin, isn't quite as bad as meeting with kim jong-un without preconditions, but it does seem to give putin credit, he doesn't deserve. particularly after some recent things we know putin did. >> general hayden, john brennan says russia may have something on trump. i want you to take a look at this. >> i think he's afraid of the president of russia. >> why? >> i think one could speculate as to why, the russians may have something on him personally, they could always roll out and
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make his life more difficult. the russians have had long experience with mr. trump and may have things they could expose. >> someone personal perhaps? >> perhaps. >> do you think that's a real possibility that putin has something on trump? >> look, anything's possible, but i -- john, admit it, quite candidly he was speculating here. let me parse out why the president doesn't have it within him. my predecessor warned me my first day there, he said, you know, you'll be a lot better off here if you do not attribute to malice that which can equally be explained by incompetence. and you know, there could be a fair amount of incompetition when it comes to the president making it up there are a lot of
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things he doesn't know, and more frighteningly, it appears that he doesn't know that he doesn't know. i'll say, this may just simply be bad performance, if you go over here and talk about what john was talking about. how are the russians attempting to influence him. we have this little thing we use, mice, money, ideology, compromise and ego. if i'm looking at those four approaches. if i'm the four russians looking at donald trump, i don't know that i would go to compromise. you know, it's awfully hard to embarrass the president. he blew right through that access hollywood tape, hardly without blinking. if i was going to try to work to influence our president. if i were a russian, i would go to ego. we have seen putin go out of his way to praise president trump.
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>> were you surprised by the former director's comments? >> i was a bit, but john is a very straightforward guy, he speaks his mind. i've had -- john's a good friend, but he and i have had some sharp conversations, because he's very candid. >> we pull a sampling of the president's tweets, we know there are many more -- he attacks democrats, republicans, mexico, china, iran, he's attacked allies, nordstrom, me and others in the media there's never criticism of putin or russia, what explains the president's prorussian views? >> you go back to that mice. i'm not talking about post marksism or anything. i'm talking about a kindred
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spirit. the strong man that kind of approach, i really do think there's a convergence in terms of how president trump would like to govern. and how president putin does govern. and so because of what's the right word here, respect, admiration, the president doesn't seem to want to go out and attack someone who he seems to have a great deal of respect for. >> i just want to read some of the president's tweets from this morning, defending his congratulating of putin and get your take on it. >> i called president putin of russia to congratulate him. in past, obama called him also, the fake news media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. they are wrong. getting along with russia and others is a good thing, not a bad thing. they can help solve problems with syria, ukraine.
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bush tried to get along, but didn't have the smarts. obama and clinton tried, but didn't have the chemistry. remember reset, strength through peace. there's a lot to pull apart, what stands out to you. >> he blames a list of people for bad russian american relations. none of them are vladimir putin which is really striking. and then he blames you and your colleagues for making war on him for trying to make nice with the russian russians you guys didn't write in capital letters don't congratulate him, that came from his own intimate personal staff, the staff he hired. >> we didn't congratulate vladimir putin on the phone call. it's interesting to me, when you have highly respected people -- i respect all of our presidents -- president clinton, president obama.
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president bush, who i'm sure when they were in office worked their damdest to work with return ya. he's attacking them as opposed to attacking someone who is just to have killed someone with a chemical weapon in the u.k. fact of call was the first mistake, it's too soon after the attempted murders. ? london, and then making the call without bringing those up at all, i think is another unforced error on our part, don. >> always appreciate it, general. thank you so much. >> when we come back, the president is furious over leaks coming from inside the white house. he's renewed his demand for loyalty from his own staff. can he expect loyalty when he publicly berates staffers and cabinet members and outright ignores their advice.
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new developments tonight in the russia investigation, sources telling cnn, the special council's office has told the white house legal team, four main areas they are looking to question the president about. let's bring in david axelrod.
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good to have you on. we'll talk about where robert mueller wants to go, let's talk about the phone call he had with putin, someone he believes is leaking information. >> yeah, someone clearly is. >> is he furious over the right things? >> i think he has a right to be angry about these leaks. i can't imagine in another administration, the president's briefing materials leaking almost in realtime. the question he ought to be thinking about is, why are these people leaking? why am i the subject of these, and you have to, when you think about it, here's a guy, the president who's been leaking con stan thely through conversations to his own friends, maybe to reporters about his lack of confidence in his national security team. his lack of confidence in his national security adviser who may be on his way out. >> you think about the likely suspects of leaks, they're either from the national security council or the state department where he just fired the secretary of state it goes
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to the broader issue of the nondisclosure agreements from the white house that he's requiring. we didn't need them in the obama white house, the bush white house. it was loyalty that bound people to the president. the lack of that is what creates this environment that the president didn't like. >> he wants people to take loyalty oaths and pledges. but then somehow they leak things. >> it's more than just wanting people to do it. you have to earn it. >> he has created an environment that's toxic for the people that work there. it's not surprising to me that these leaks are happening. i don't think they're going to stop any time soon, he's not
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going to change any time soon. >> if someone's saying don't congratulate and you're an adviser, and you don't do it, why would you be loyal to someone who doesn't follow your advice. i don't think your job is to insist that in each and every instance your advice is followed. you're there, you offer the president your advice, if he likes it, he follows it. at the end of the day, he's the one responsible for creating the environment in which these leaks are flourishing. >> the buck stops with him. >> absolutely. i want to ask you, there are some conservatives using your example that you mentioned. you mentioned in 2012, president obama thanked putin on his sham election in 2012. >> it was different
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circumstances in that our relationship with russia was different at that time. we had this period with medvedev who was president before putin in between putin's terms that was productive, it also was different because we hadn't had this assault on our electoral system. the poisoning just in the last few days with a nerve toxin of a former soviet spy in london. my objection isn't that he called and congratulated putin. although it was a sham election. my objection is to what he didn't say, the fact that he didn't bring up -- that he didn't bring up what happened in london, he didn't bring up what they were doing here, what he should have said was, we can have a productive relationship if you stop doing the things you're doing. what he said was, i'm not going
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to engage on all of this, and it was weak and putin responds to nothing like weakness. >> cnn is reporting robert mueller wants to ask the president about the trump tower meeting. the firings of james comey and nsa's michael flynn. national security adviser michael flynn. does it seem like the walls could be closing in on this president? is that why he's -- >> well, i mean, he knows more about what they want than we know, and mueller knows more about what he's after than he knows, so it's hard to say, the one thing that i think is interesting is people -- i saw allen dershowitz earlier on anderson's show saying that he thinks the special council is overstepping his bounds and so on. it seems to me that mueller's being careful and he's examining those areas that relate to russia.
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that i find interesting, of course he's going to look at the firing of comey and the departure of flynn. i'm sure flynn now having turned witness is telling him exactly what trump knew about flynn's activities. nothing on that list do i find particularly surprising. >> i can't wait to see the axe files. you talk to charles barkley? >> yes, charles barkley a week from thursday. white house insiders aren't the only ones who continue showing up. what stormy daniels is tweeting now about her alleged affair with donald trump. time to bask... in low prices!
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social media, what is she saying? >> she is, it's like a grudge match watching her go after the trolls that come after her. it's the first time we've seen her talk in detail, at least a few about her relationship with the president here's a tweet she put out, just yesterday. she says technically i didn't sleep with potus 12 years ago, there was no sleeping. he was just a goofy reality tv star. i'm not going anywhere. >> so that is the first time since her lawsuit was filed that we heard her make those accusations herself. and then when people come after her, she goes right back at them, someone accusing her of taking money for the 60 minutes interview she's going to be doing or that's going to air, here's what she said about that, i did not take any money for the
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60 minutes interview, not a dime. she's responding as she always does. she feels freer to say something. there are people calling her all sorts of names and basically coming after her for being a porn star, she's also a director and she's not having it. she is quite a fighter if you will, if you go just by her twitter from what her friends said. >> she's a smart lady. she grew up in my hometown, she went to a magnet school. she ain't no dummy. >> she's not. >> i want to welcome my panel, including ana navarro. stormy in her own words isn't going anywhere. what do you make of the fact
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that she's not backing down, if anything, she's ramping up the attack. >> yeah, you know, i find that that is interesting, that there's more detail and more direct comments coming from her now. and this is all behind -- on the other side, the side we see of a legal dispute over a contract that we really don't know how it's going. she's either feeling more confident or getting released to some degree or another it's not really clear, and it -- it doesn't matter substantively for politics, but it certainly dominates discussion, it's not a favorable topic, so. >> let me ask you then. dominating discussions, i mean, stormy daniels and her attorney are playing by donald trump's playbook, don't you think? he's the ultimate reality star they've maintained a constant presence in the media. >> and on twitter, which has
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been like a forum he has owned for the last two years, three years. and yet he's not responding, i think he's presumably trying to protect himself legally, and taking lawyer's advice not picking up the twitter sword there it's unusual for him, normally it's down the torpedos. >> he's never been one to shy away from confrontation, he's awfully quiet when it comes to stormy daniels and his other female accusers. what's going on? >> if he talks it's even worse for him. he's going to show how much under his skin this is. she's not going away, she's not going to be silent. it is surreal, i kind of feel like we are watching this endless loop of -- as the world, day, turns.
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this is a telenovella night after night that we're all watch s the reason he can't engage with stormy daniels, she has his number. girlfriend knows how to manipulate twitter, she knows how to tease. how to give it to us drop by drop and keep us entertained and engaged. she knows how to communicate directly with people using social media. and nothing makes a dent in her, nothing nicks her. she's used to it her entire career. she doesn't care. she's not afraid of him. >> i want to -- the president's lawyers are. >> the president's lawyers obviously advising him of what to do, you think they're telling him not to do it because he
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doesn't often follow that advice. >> i don't think this is about the president's lawyers telling him not to engage. he never follows the advice of his attorneys. he gets involves in all kinds of disputes. michael cohen kept saying trump knew nothing about the settlement. trump voluntarily made himself a part of this matter. he didn't have to do that, he could have remained on the sidelines. let the attorneys fight this out, and remain on the sidelines, he jumped into this, he now doesn't have the ability to say he doesn't know about this lawsuit, the settlement, he doesn't know about -- you know, the negotiations over this $130,000. i don't think he's taking the advice of council, i think he's afraid to go after stormy
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daniels, she has too much damaging evidence on him. >> we're going to hear from stormy daniels and some of the other accusers of president trump, when he wasn't president, right after this break. - i love my grandma. - anncr: as you grow older, your brain naturally begins to change which may cause trouble with recall. - learning from him is great... when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers. - anncr: prevagen is now the number-one-selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide.
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we're back talking about more developments in another -- the legal cases against president trump. and let's get back to the group here. so, listen, stormy daniels sat down with an interview with anderson for 60 minutes and supposed to air sunday night. a short teaser. here it is. >> nice to see you have a seat. i guess i'm not 100% sure why you are doing this. >> now that's a teaser, ken what do you think she is going to say? >> well, it depends whether she gives a square answer. i think it was commented, you know, she is basically a business woman in this context. if she gives that answer, hey this is promotion, man, she is doing it thoroughly and effectively and anna said we're getting the drip, drip, drip. that is true. from that perspective she has
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kept herself in a spotlight and the center of news. and if it continues on a mere drip, drip, drip phase, it's going to be for a while. >> yeah. >> you know, some short version of that answer i think would be the full and accurate answer. >> okay. i got a quick -- i want to get this stuff in. arriva, president trump -- his attorney mark kass wits plans to appeal a new york supreme court judges decision to allow the defamation lawsuit against the president to go forward. the deaf mapgs was filed by summer zervos who claims trump sexually assaulted her in 2007. kass wits said we disagree with the decision which is wrong as a matter of constitutional law. we intend to immediately appeal and seek a stay of the case until the issue is finally determined. will trump avoid the deposition or will he face her in court? >> i don't think ultimately he is going to be able to avoid participating in discovery and having to answer questions under oath, don. but clear i this gives his lawyer another bite at the
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apple, gives him another opportunity to delay this lawsuit. one thing that judge in new york said he had to answer that complaint within 10 days. there was a short window of time in which donald trump had to for the record state a what the his response to the defamation action was. now presumably this appeal gives him an opportunity to tla the matter. that's what he has been trying to do. he asked the skort to dplis the action. he said this is he is a sitting president. the judge rejected that argument but now he gets an opportunity to make that argument again to an appellate court. and he may be able to dodge a bullet temp aerial. i don't think permanently. but for the moment he is in a position he won't have to answer the complaint. >> anna listen you've been talking about this, about how your party, the republican party really sort of turning a blind eye to this. if this case goes to trial how damaging could this be for the president and the party? >> look, i think the party has done itself so much damage over and over again when it comes to
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donald trump because they continuously look the other way, whether it's the russia stuff, the call to putin, whether it's you know, hush payments to a -- to stormy daniels, whether it's non-disclosure agreements. do you think that if this had happened under wraum this wouldn't be investigated right now by a republican congress? we all know what the answer to that is. the answer onto that is yes. do you think that if it had been barack obama who had called putin republicans won be screaming from every hill top today? the answer is yes. so i think the republican party has revealed itself with some very honorable exceptions like john mccain to be hypocrites, to be inconsistent, to have no memory to suffer from severe amnesia. as to your question, why he doesn't engage, trump, stormy daniels. he engaged michael wolf. he tried to stop michael wolf,
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tried to get in a twitter fight with michael wolf. you know what happened. michael wolf sold over 2 million copies of a book baseden innuendo and gossip. we will get over the withdrawal symptoms from the last season of scandal because we will be tuning in with a big vat of popcorn and wine to watch the picture show on sunday when anderson interviews her. i think ken is right. i think she is a business woman. she is a smart woman and a business woman. but here is the thing. look. if you got no issue with donald trump promoting his properties using the presidency to promote his properties, and jacking up the prices of mar-a-lago as a result of being president, if you have no issue with jared kushner trying to negotiate financing from people who have all sorts of conflicts of interest. >> got to run, anna. >> if you have no issue with ivanka trying to who can brace lets during interviews certainly you can't have issues with stormy daniels trying to make
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money off this presidency too. it shouldn't be a right solely reserve for trump's curbners. >> sunday night don't know why there is no sunup in the sky. stormy daniels. thank you guys, appreciate it. when we come back why the president tweets about everything except stormy daniels. ♪ no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. it's 11:00 p.m. ob on the east coast live with breaking news on the russia investigation. we learn more about what robert mueller is focusing on. sources telling cnn that the special counsel wants to question president trump about four m


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