this uncertainty comes after the resignation of one of trump's attorneys john dowd. let's go to jim costa. jim, do you know why the president is having so much trouble filling his legal team? >> at this point the attorneys who are saying thanks, but no thanks at joining the president's legal team are saying business conflicts are preventing them from joining the legal team, and this comes from two recent attorneys who turned down an offer to join the president's legal team. they're a chicago-based legal firm, and they essentially said because of these business conflicts that they have, they can't join the president's legal team. that's also the explanation coming from joe digenova who was
initially thought to be coming on to the president's legal team but decided not to do that. all of this follows, as you said, the departure of john dowd, the president's outside legal attorney. now, jay sekulow and others in the president's legal team insists they're doing just fine without bringing these additional people on, but obviously, wolf, they wouldn't be reaching out to try to find other people to come in if there wasn't a need there. >> also, jim, this morning the white house clarified a point on which russians have been given sanctions. tell us what they said. >> reporter: that's an important point because yesterday, as you know, wofrlf, the trump administration announced these 60 russian diplomats being expelled from the country. i asked rob shaw about this notion, you hear the trump white house is not doing enough to punish russia, that they should
hit russia where it hurts, hit them in the pocketbook, sanction not only putin but the key russian oligarchs in russia. rob shaw said the key russian oligarchs had been sanctioned in russia. this is what they said. >> would the president consider sanctioning vladimir putin and his cronies and the russian government for what happened in the u.k. and also for meddling in the 2016 election? >> the u.s. has issued sanctions to the key oligarchs in relation to meddle ing in the 2016 election. the president doesn't telegraph his moves. >> reporter: as we pointed out, wolf, yesterday evening in going back and looking at the transcript and matching this with the sanctions, they did not sanction the key oligarchs.
there was one mentioned but it essentially mirrored the indictments coming down from the mueller team looking for russian meddling in the 2016 election. earlier this morning, michael anton, who is the spokesman here at the white house, told our brianna keiler said, yes, they have not sanctioned those oligarchs as of yesterday. >> he was referring to one of the provisions of congressional law that requires us to submit two reports, really, one unclassified report and then a classified annex to capitol hill that outlines the activities of russian oligarchs and both government and private sector figures suspected of or known to interfere -- >> that was just a list of oligarchs that the treasury put out. those are not sanctions. >> it's a precursor to further action. these actions take a while to develop. we can't just sanction people
spontaneously. >> reporter: it's important to note you have the spokesperson, michael anton, essentially clarifying what rob shaw said yesterday at the briefing that they have not, in fact, sanctioned these oligarchs in russia. in fact, they essentially named them as people who are on the u.s. watch list, so to speak, when it comes to identifying the potential for future sanctions against russia. and wolf, we should also mention that rob shaw made this statement to us during the same briefing in which he said that they at the white house strive every day to provide reliable and accurate information to the press. that is not what happened yesterday with respect to sanctions, wolf. >> we'll see how they follow up. i know there is a briefing coming up in the next hour. we'll see what they have to say. today jim acosta reporting for us. thank you very much. former watergate prosecutor richard is with us right now. let's get back to the issue the president seems to have getting stronger lawyers to represent
him in this russia investigation. why is it getting so hard to find strong, powerful attorneys? he needs the best. >> yes, he does, and perhaps the t arka tawdriness of the two recent revelations, the two women who have claimed to have extramarital affairs, is leading to this. this seems to be the new low. it's not the same as simply representing the leader of the free world when the people are referring to him here in washington behind his back by a new nickname. he's famous for giving nicknames. he's now known as spanky, and that's not a good thing. >> he tweeted last sunday that many top lawyers and firms were standing in line wanting to represent him. you're smiling. you've been a lawyer here in washington for a long time. do you know of a lot of lawyers who are standing in line who are anxious to represent him? >> no, i think the reverse has
been the case, and people have said no, thank you, and i think the statement about the digenova and tuensing having a conflict did not bother them when they were named, and it seems when they met the president in person, according to politico, he didn't like their looks, he thought they were too low rent, and said never mind. so they're back to ty cobb having lost john dowd, i think, as a result of announcing that digenova-teunsing. >> jay sekulow is a private attorney representing the president. i guess he needs more private attorneys to help jay sekulow. that's what he's looking for. >> most importantly, he needs a captain of the ship, and he needs somebody, first of all, to come out front and explain why the president will not, after all the promises that he would give sworn testimony to mr.
mueller, why he will back out of that deal, which i think he will. >> you think his lawyers -- he says he's anxious to go ahead and answer questions, although i suspect you believe most of his lawyers, qualified lawyers, will urge him not to do so. >> those who are not in line to be committed for malpractice given his -- >> it's that serious, really? >> given his disregard for truth in so many documented cases, how can they let him with e equanimity, give testimony under oath? i think he's backed into a corner, and it's desperation that he's trying to find counsel and has not been able to find the captain of the ship. >> richard ben-veniste, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. the porn star stormy daniels is putting more pressure on the
president by adding her attorney, michael cohen, to her current defamation lawsuit, all while president trump remains uncharacteristically silent on this matter. but lawyers for daniels and cohen are not holding back and last night things got pretty personal. >> why hasn't michael cohen sat down -- forget two hours, i'll take 20 minutes, how about 10 minutes, and answered the questions? instead he sends you. you're not even involved in the case. >> michael cohen wants you to keep running your mouth and your client running. every time you do that, it's going to cost your client another million dollars. >> he's a thug. he's a thug. a thug! thug! thug! thug! thug! >> a lively discussion and a smile from anderson cooper as a result. let's bring in cnn legal analyst laura coates who is joining us right now. what are the chances we could see the president of the united
states testify, laura, under oath? >> in this case it's extremely unlikely at this stage of the game. remember, we still have to deal with the issue whether the contract is valid, whether it will be through arbitration or federal court. once we get to that hurdle, she is much more in line that the president of the united states be deposed more readily than he would in the daniels case. >> there's an issue that's come up in the congress' office. taking a look at an unethical conflict involving the president's son-in-law jared kushner and his family business. kushner's attorney denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and insists he's clear. how will this play out? >> remember he already had his security downgraded based on security funding, et cetera, et cetera. so you have yet again conflicts of interest or the hint of impropriety at play again.
after his meeting with jared kushner, suddenly he gets these loans, one of which is exponentially more than they would give out, and all of this is soothing the wounds here, and the fact he has this ethical problem over his head continues to plague him. you have a very odd scenario with the president's son-in-law. anti-nepotism laws are at play here. >> he says he severed his business relationships with the family since coming to the white house. >> he does say that, and of course both apollo and citigroup says they had nothing to do with the loans, but the timing of it is what raises the scrutiny here. that combined with other things mueller is looking into about kushner's affairs, about qatar, about other things. it's all about the impression that perhaps this person is vulnerable to manipulation and that's the reason he doesn't have a security clearance. >> laura coates, thanks very
much. an explosive suggestion from a retired u.s. supreme court justice by justice stevens now says it's time for the united states to repeal the second amendment to the constitution. plus, did kim jong-un secretly visit china by riding on an historic train? we have new details. one day after president trump orders dozens of russian diplomats to leave the united states, his ambassador to the united nations nikki haley berating russia and their colleagues at the same time. you'll hear why. oop. you hear that? (vo) our subaru outback lets us see the world. sometimes in ways we never imagined. (avo) get 0% apr financing on all-new 2018 subaru outback models. now through april 2nd. or a c-anything-o. but i've got an idea sir. get domo.
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korean president moon. if he were there, tell our viewers why this would be so important. >> reporter: we should point out, wolf, we're not sure efrs the -- he was there. it could be his sister. there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that says it was kim jong-un himself. under that thought, it is highly significant. first and foremost because it's the first time since he took power in core in 2012 that he's actually left the country. but the fact he's choosing to go to china, if he in fact went, is really significant given the timing you just mentioned. remember the tension between china and north korea. china is the only reason the regime can survive economically. china is upset over north korea's recent nuclear development, missile development. they're not happy. so they've been signing on to sanctions that the trump presidency has been pushing on north korea. the sources we speak to in
beijing says they are having an effect on north korea. if kim jong-un went to beijing, he's likely doing so because he knows he can't afford to keep it going economically and monetarily. think of the options here. moon jae-in has never met with kim jong-un. he does not want to meet with kim jong-un. that would be a huge insult to beijing. they need to get set with their key ally on more solid ground before entering these high-stakes potential obligations with the south koreans and the united states. >> fueling that expectation, you know kim jong il, his father, used to take a train like this from north korea to beijing.
he would meet with china's leaders. they would never confirm there was a meeting until that train was back in north korea. i assume the train has left or is leaving fairly soon, right? >> reporter: yeah. the reporting we're getting is that the train has left, and we won't get anything from chinese state media as has been protocol in the past to confirm whether kim jong-un was, in fact, there until after he is back safely across the north korean border. but it's interesting, wolf, you mention his brother kim jong-il. before the north korean summit in 2000, kim jong il talked things over with south korea at that point, so we could be seeing a repeat in the playbook from his son. we could see him following a similar set of steps that his father took the last time there were substantive negotiations on the nuclear program. >> stay tuned for a reporting of
a meeting with china or south korea or both. sadeem is here in washington. you're an expert on north korea. what do you think, was kim jong-un actually on this train to beijing? >> i think it's possible. as matt rivers noted, we don't actually have confirmation yet. for kim jong-un to go to china, though, i think it's important to recognize that he's actually trying to go in a superior, not a subsequent position. he repeatedly tried to meet with china back in november when they wanted to meet with him. chinese officials got nowhere. >> the interesting thing, though, things have changed dramatically in the past few weeks. there will be a meeting with kim jong-un in south korea, presumably along the military
zone. and now the president of the united states has accepted this notion of a meeting between president trump and kim jong-un. presumably the north koreans want to meet with big benefa cto r china. >> i suspect kim jong-un isn't going there to get acceptance from xi jinping, but is rather going there to say, i have my own independent foreign policy. i can meet with the americans if they're now willing to meet with me. what do you say i do to stay far away from the americans? are you, xi jinping, willing to lift the sanctions? if it was kim jong-un, i think this could be a significant interesting new phase in china-north korea relations. >> because it could prove the relationship. is that what you're suggesting? >> it could prove the relations -- >> the north and south korea
relations which have been improving, and the possibility of an improvement with the united states. >> that's one possibility, but the other possibility is that kim jong-un went over to china basically to start demanding from the chinese side where he will forge a new path with south korea and the united states. given the outlook of both of those summits, north korea is in the controlling seat relative to china. >> by the way, how do you feel about president trump meeting with kim jong-un? >> i think this is a very, very dangerous high-stakes game. i certainly hope the president will be listening to his key advisers on what not to offer as well as what to offer. >> dean cheng, thanks for coming in. >> good to be here. they added a question of citizenship to census questionnaires. why this hurts democrats potentially politically. what the controversial cia
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questions for you first. the census decision. what do you think is behind that, and what effect could it potentially have? >> it's very distressing because the census is one of the most important tools that the government has for not just ensuring that people are represented -- appropriately represented for in congress, but it's also the manner in which things like welfare, food stamps, a lot of people that have these needs, a lot of services are distributed throughout the country. so if you're starting to tinker with it in this manner, which i think is to politicize it by asking if someone is a citizen, you're going to chill the impact of the census. the census is meant to capture everyone who is living in america whether they are citizens or not. it's the only way you get an accurate count. it's something i've been worried about. the census is something we should be paying more attention to, so it's really distressing to hear they may be considering this. >> the other side of the
argument is what's wrong with the american people knowing how many u.s. citizens are living in the united states, how many are potentially here legally with green cards, work permits and other areas. what's wrong with having that kind of specific information? >> it's not what the census was designed to do, but two things. one is that we know, because of what the trump administration's priorities have been on immigration, we know that they have a motivation to try to -- they are trying to, and have successfully deported more people that i would like to see to be able to preferably be able to stay here legally. but that's not what the census was designed to do. it was supposed to get an accurate count and it's just a fact that when you start asking people whether or not they're citizens, you're not going to get an accurate count of who actually is here in the country. so to mess with it that way, i think it will have a damaging
impact. >> this is definitely emerging as a huge fight about to take place in the united states. let's get to a couple other sensitive issues. the former vice president, joe biden, he has some tough talk to president trump. he repeated a line from speeches he said before that he said if they were both teenagers, he would take president trump behind the school and beat him up. the president took the bait and fired right back that he would be the winner in that fight. what's behind this? specifically, is it all about 2020? >> i think joe biden always speaks what's on his mind, and i don't know that -- so i don't know that i would draw broader conclusions about that. you know, it's something that a lot of, you know -- i understand the impulse to want to say that. i also know that the vice president, unlike -- vice president biden, unlike trump,
says if i was in high school, i would feel this way but knows it's not what you expect of actual leaders. >> do you think the former vice president is going to run for the democratic nomination in 2020? >> he might. i don't have any true insight into what his thinking is, but if he did, he would be a very serious contender. >> a lot of people agree with you on that. let's get to hillary clinton. you worked for her for a long time in various capacities. in a recent speech, hillary clinton said that trump voters were attracted by a backwards-looking message that came from less productive parts of the country. that certainly didn't sit well with some democrats who were up for reelection, like missouri senator clair mccaskill. let me read to you what she said. i don't think that's the way you should talk about any voter, especially ones in my state. north dakota senator heidi heidkamp also up for reelection.
she said in a radio interview that hillary clinton can't disappear soon enough. what do you think of that reaction of the democrats to what hillary clinton is now saying? >> i think senator mccaskill has a point when she says we need to show respect for all voters, whether they vote for you or not. one thing i talk about in the book is i think that this is a problem and it's a mistake that in my role in politics that i also own, there is a tendency to only talk to voters who are going to vote for you and not worry about speaking with or, even worse, listening to the people who are not. and i think it's partly why there are so many divisions in the country. and going forward, what i think you need from leaders are leaders that are going to listen to everyone in america, whether they're going to vote for you or not. so everybody knows that they belong here, that they are heard, that they have a place in
america regardless of whether you vote for a particular president or not. and i think as we look past 2016 going forward, that's what we need from leaders and it's certainly what i'm trying to do. >> let's talk about your new book, "dear madam president." hillary clinton still talks about what she thinks cost her the election, but you're there on the inside. what do you think as we're on the second year of the trump administration. what is your assessment, the major reason why she lost? >> when you have -- when you lose by so little, any one factor could attribute to that, to a loss. but what my book -- what my book does is it's looking forward to what women can do now. i think i have -- and i'll tell you, you'll see it's not a normal political book, it's not a campaign book.
i wrote it with young girls and young women in mind. i had this experience. one was seeing what happens with a woman candidate running for president and the other is having worked 26 years in pretty high levels in politics, pretty male-dominated field. so in the campaign for hillary clinton, i saw the obstacles women still face, but i've also seen women exceed past these obstacles. the book gives you ways in which you can succeed regardless. and i don't think that -- one observation i have in the book about hillary's campaign is i realized at one point what we had done was make her a female fak m facsimile of what we think of a female president. when i realized that, i thought that was a fundamental flaw in
the design. that probably robbed her of her own humanity. but i also thought i don't know of any other way, because the only way there has been for women in politics, and this is true for women in all professions, is you have to show you can do the job just as a man can. hillary did that, and many didn't think she was capable of doing the job. it wasn't enough. after we lost, and after trump won, myself, a lot of women in the country were pretty devastated, but we decided that in the end we were going to feel empowered in the moment, because what her loss showed us well beyond politics was women had plateaued. we've been playing by a certain set of rules and they were modelled after how men had lived and that world wasn't built for us. and it doesn't mean that everybody -- this is a world we inherited, men and women both. it's just the models that we
know. it doesn't mean everybody that didn't like hillary was sexist, it doesn't mean they didn't like her, but it does mean we have models for young girls and women to look at for how to lead, and that's what the book mentions. >> i'm sure a lot of young women will be anxious to read your book. it's called "dear madam president." it is out today and congratulations on writing this book. the former trump aides denied clearance are leaving the white house after being accused of domestic abuse with two former wives, so why is the president still getting his advice. general james mattis saying he was against the hiring of john bolton as national security adviser. you'll hear his pretty blunt response.
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president trump's controversial pick to lead the cia, gina haskell. she's been in a behind-the-scenes fight to win over lawmakers and ease tension in the white house. our cnn adviser manu raju is here. what else have you learned, manu? >> there was a time during the bush administration when things like this were commonplace. during the bush administration she had overseen one of the cia black sites in thailand. she was also director of the
cia's destruction of interrogation tapes being destroyed in 2005. during a discussion with senators, she was nominated earlier this month, and she's made it quite clear that that was a different time. in her words, it was a post-9/11 mindset, it was a different set of laws then. in 2015 congress passed legislation to outlaw torture across the government. she told senators, wolf, she will follow the law and noted very clearly that waterboarding is not permissible under current law. in addition to that, wolf, she has told senators that that 2005 destruction of tapes were ordered not by her but by her supervisor at the time. that supervisor's name is jose rodriguez who has publicly revealed that he asked her to repair a capable granting permission to destroy the tapes, and she did reiterate that to
senators in private meetings, wolf. >> this is something she'll have to deal with during the senate confirmation process. what are the possibilities she gets confirmed by the senate at this point? >> reporter: it's too early to tell, wolf, but it could be a very close vote. we know one senator, rand paul, opposes her confirmation, and john mccain has thoughts that are very critical and of course he's been battling brain cancer. sources are telling our colleagues jenna mclaughlin and jeremy heard there is concern within the trump administration that they may have to find a replacement if she were to stumble in her confirmation hearings. this has a subject of a recent discussion of the national security council as well. some democrats up for reelection have signalled an openness to supporting her nomination, and that comes even as mitch mcconnell has privately warned
the president that confirming anyone in this political environment will be a heavy lift and her nomination could be a heavy lift as well. >> she has been getting nice praise from leon panetta and others who served during the obama administration. we'll see if that has a huge impact on some democrats, moderate democrats, who might be inclined to confirm her down the road. you'll need some of those democrats to go forward. appreciate it very much, manu. we'll continue to watch this confirmation process. coming up, ambassador nikki haley berates russia behind the investigation, so what's with the tough talk behind russia? and why is the president of the united states presumably still staying quiet?
a day after expeling 60 russian diplomats over a nerve agent attack in britain, nikk haley chastised russia over the death of civilians in syria. russia will stop at nothing to use its permanent seat on this council to shield its al allies,
bashir al assad, from even the faintest criticism. and we cannot take these actions because instead of calling out how assad, russia and iran made a mockery of calls for cease fire, too many members of this council wanted to wait. this is a travesty.
this is the ugly reality on the ground in syria today. cynical accusations of bad faith from russia will not stop us from speaking out. and their blatantly false narratives will not stop us from telling the world about
russia's central role in bombing the syrian people into submission. >> very strong words, indeed. white house correspondent for reuters, jeff mason, joins us. she's very, very tough, outspoken on russia. in contrast to her bo boss, the president of the united states, who lets others around him do all that tough talk. >> there's that contrast that's so interesting. he has been reluctant himself to be critical of russia. he was reluctant to be critical in his direct talks with putin. but people in his administration, like nikki
haley, have been. >> he hasn't tweeted about it, or spoken about it, even though secretary of defense, u.s. ambassador to the u.n. have been very, very outspoken. this decision is a significant decision to expel 60 russian diplomats. you would think the president would at least tweet about it and say something. >> that's just it. when you compare how he deals with other countries, countries he is upset about, mexico, canada, in terms of trade, european union countries, who are very close allies of the united states, he's very happy to be critical of in public and on twitter and is reluctant to do that of russia. >> rob porter, who was removed and resigned in the face of allegations of marital abuse of two ex-wives, that the president still stays in touch with him, consults with him and may eventually, at some point down the road, would like to bring him back to the west wing even though he couldn't get security clearance. >> one of the ironies of
president trump and the fact that he gets rid of people from his white house so quickly, he does not get rid of them from his world. >> why is that? >> he likes to stay in touch, have that feedback and had a good relationship with porter. they have spoken but he's not seriously considering bringing him back to the white house. if he did, that would create a lot of controversy, for sure, because of the allegations of spousal abuse. >> looking forward to meeting john bolton, never met with him, new national security adviser. he says he has no reservations. do you think they're a good fill the? >> that might be a tricky thing. he was asked about it and gave his reply, saying he could work with an american. bolton, obviously, is an american and has experience from the bush administration but a lot of people see him potentially as tricky in this role. >> we'll watch it closely. thanks for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> standing by for the white house press briefing as stormy
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that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. you states supreme court justice stephens said the second amendment should be repealed calling it a relic. it would be easy to overturn the amendment and would do more to stop the gun violence in the united states more than anything else. he calls on the march for our lives movement to demand a full repeal of the amendment. joan, it's amazing. if you read the article, almost 98 years old and still has some pretty sharp views. >> he he does. he left the court in 2010 and
has remained a relative vital presence. the second amendment is one of them. his main message is think back to what the second amendment really stood for. he descented in 2008. here is something to do. repeal the second amendment. for two reasons. one, he says it would undercut the nra, which has so much power to fight things legislatively but says simple. but it won't be simple. not at all. >> tell our viewers how hard it would be. >> it's very hard. it only happened once in history. it takes two-thirds of both chambers of congress to even put the amendment to the people and three-fifths of the states, 38 to make it go. and as i was saying to you earlier, john paul stephens
actually witnessed the one appeal in the prohibition era when it was repeal thud amendment. it's very, very hard, almost impossible. >> let's say it were to happen. almost certainly won't happen. let's say it were to happen. would gun owners in the united states have to give up their guns? >> not necessarily. states could still protect people in different ways. it's not that all legislation would be out the winner. it's just that the nra and gun owners wouldn't rely on the constitution the way it's been interpreted. >> first of all to find out he's still writing after retiring in 2010, when he has something important to say, and people are talking about it. >> certainly are. a lot of buzz without there. 97, almost 98 years eeld.
good for him. joan, thanks for coming in. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern. meantime the news on cnn continues right now. wolf, i'll take it. hi, everyone. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. we're waiting for that white house briefing to begin. live pictures inside the press briefing room. the president needs a lawyer or two and as soon as possible. two more attorneys essentially said thanks but no thanks to offer force joining team trump. their firm, the fifth to decline so far, said the two attorneys, quote, were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts, end quote. with the