tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN May 7, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
35 structures including 26 homes have been wiped away by the lava flow from an eruption that started last thursday. the other dangerous toxic fumes and earthquakes, the officials are warning people to stay away from the danger zone for their own safety. that's all for me tonight. i'm john berman. time now to hand it over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts now. this is cnn breaking news. >> this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. we do have breaking news to tell you about. four women accusing new york's attorney general of physical violence, according to the "new yorker" magazine. moments ago, eric schneiderman resigned under pressure from the governor and other prominent democrats. he has cast himself as a prominent opponent to president trump and a defender of the me too movement. this has been a fast-moving story, and we will bring you all the latest on the stunning developments in just moments. and also tonight, the white house insisting that president trump's new attorney rudy
giuliani is adding value to the president's legal team, but his numerous tv appearances may be causing anxiety for the administration. reports tonight that the white house is not happy with giuliani. tonight a cnn source saying that he is embarrassing the president. giuliani no doubt raised eyebrows in the west wing when he was asked this weekend if trump's long-time fixer michael cohen paid other women to stay silent. >> i have no knowledge of that. but i would think if it was necessary, yes. >> when asked today if other women have received money from the president, press secretary sarah sanders would only say that she is not aware. rudy giuliani was also asked if the president would ever take the fifth amendment in the russia investigation, and he did not rule it out. mr. trump, you recall has repeatedly said that only criminals take the fifth. and would the president comply with a subpoena from the special counsel robert mueller? here is what giuliani says. >> well, we don't have to.
he is the president of the united states. we can assert the same privileges as other presidents have. >> sarah sanders was asked by cnn's jim acosta about that and bistepped the answer. here it is. >> in the same vein, does the president believe it is within his executive powers to reject a subpoena from the special counsel's office. >> that's a question i would refer -- >> rudy giuliani, well, did he talk himself out of a job? like his boss, he has a penchant for the spotlight. but president trump likes the spotlight all to himself and usually gets rid of the people who overshadow him. lots of details. lots of stories to cover tonight in the next couple of hours here on cnn. but we're going again with breaking news out of new york. the new york attorney general resigning tonight after accusations of physical violence by four women. senior media comment brian stelter, bakari sellers and laura coates, a former federal prosecutor. again, brian this is fast-moving
story. he is resigning. the women accusing schneiderman of nonconsensual physical violence hours after the story broke the governor asked him to resign, and he is resigning tonight. breaking news. >> an official who in public was an outspoken proponent of the me too movement, who has brought a lawsuit against harvey weinstein, his brother bob and the weinstein company, who has been trying to drive a path forward for new york state as op an opponent to the trump administration. all of that is the context for tonight's shocking developments. it took exactly three hours from the time the new yorker published the story with allegations of physical abuse by schneiderman. two women on the record, two other women speaking or sharing details anonymously through the two on the record women. bottom line, don, four women accusing this man of physical abuse. his response is that it was always consensual sex, but this is not just about sex. these allegations are about abuse. they are about violence that actually led to some of these women going to the hospital. bottom line, three hours after
the story hits, he resigns. i'm told the work of the office, the ag's office will continue. that's an important point to keep in mind. the lawsuits, the work against trump, all that continues. but the man on the top, he is gone. >> he tweeted out something earlier, but then an official statement, here it, he said it's been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people for the state of new york. in the last several hours serious allegations which i strongly contest have been made against me. while these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct of the operations of my office or the operations of my office. that will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time. i therefore resign my office effective at the close of business on may 8th, 2018. >> tomorrow. >> yeah. >> what do you think of that? >> he is in a situation here, a prominent democrat, a rising star in the democratic party who clearly saw no way out of in situation. whether he acknowledges, whether he admits to these allegations or not, or whether he contests
them, as he says he is, he saw no way forward with the governor calling for his information. other prominent new york officials calling for his resignation, the path was clear. this was a bomb shale story by jane mayer and ronan farrow. that office is now investigating weinstein, but schneiderman will no long better leading that. >> since asked to resign, laura, we'll get to the legal part in a minute. but how might this play out? >> it actually moved very quickly. governor cuomo came out, i think a lot of that had to do with the fact that it is election season. he came out extremely quickly followed by senator gillibrand, who has been a hero for a lot of individuals during this me too era. this, however, is slightly different because of the way it was described with such great detail in the new yorker story. this type of physical abuse and the lack of denial by the attorney general simply saying this is role play is no excuse for balling up your fist and
bunching something while they rebuff you or having a young lady's ear bleed while they're having sex. that is beyond perverse that is unacceptable. and i'll let laura in on this, it's probably a crime. we have to understand that this is more. this is allegations of domestic violence, physical abuse, and assault and battery by the sitting attorney general as of right now. and by the way, the last thing is we're talking about this cascading pr, i don't know who told me it would be a good day to go to work tomorrow. there is no reason to prolong this. if you pull the band-aid off, rip it off now and go home. >> let's talk about the legal angle here, laura. i want to read some of the descriptions from the new yorker as we get to that. a fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the new york legal community said that schneiderman made an advance toward her. when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that left a mark the next day. she recalls screaming and surprise in pain and beginning to cry and says she felt
frightened. she asked to remain unidentified but shared a photograph of the injury with the new yorker. so in no way does that sound consensual. could he face legal charges, laura? >> of course he could. part of this story involves trying to confirm the reports and the allegations that are made. and of course the number one question you're going to have if you're trying to prosecute these as assault, as battery for any nonconsensual behavior, you're going to have to figure out were there any police reports filed or other ways to corroborate. she says she has a photograph of the injury. all that is going to be used in a case if there is one to be built against the former attorney general. the reason that is all very important, as you see in many cases, he said, she said, she said, he said, he said cases, all about who can corroborate what and when they reported. unfortunately, in this country, a lot of weight and emphasis is put on the timing and the timeliness of your reporting. and if you fail to do so, kit be
a harder case for a prosecutor to pursue. in any event, however, there is a perpetrator in charge of one of the most prominent sexual assault cases in the country, harvey weinstein, or somebody who is in a position who just was named a champion of women. and someone who says if a woman has no control over her body, she has no power, all quotes by this now former ag. well, you've got more than just a court of public opinion. you've got if he is engaged in this nonconsensual, disturbing and perverse behavior. >> let me just read this statement. this was his initial statement, laura. he said in the privacy of intimate relationships, i have engaged in role playing and other con sense sexual activity. have i not assaulted anyone. i have never engaged in nonconsensual sex which is a line i would never cross. a former girlfriend said not all
the abuse took place during a sexual encounter. schneiderman apparently slapped someone during an argument. >> it's very odd that he would parse it out this t way he did, that he had never engaged in nonconsensual sex. that's the line he would not cross. but apparently assault is not one in which he would vehemently deny the allegation. he would simply say he vehemently contests the allegations. maybe he has his eyes towards a defamation case or perhaps other things about calling somebody a liar or their actual statements to be untruthful. but what says to me is he has legal counsel, and he himself, by the way, the top dog lawyer in new york should know enough not to make a blanket assertion or statement that could be used against him later. so he parsed it out in a very careful way. but legally speaking that you didn't commit nonconsensual sex, which is known as rape in other people's world is not enough to say that you did not commit the other crimes that you were accused of, including the slapping, make the woman's ear
bleed, and also a very important one, the threat there is allegations in the report that there were threats made that if they were to go forward, that there would be wiretapping on their phones i believe it reports in there. there would be repercussions in many ways. and remember, this is an allegation that many women and men who have contested proceedings against, say, a person in law enforcement, an officer or somebody in the court system will often feel as though they are no recourse. no one will believe them and they will be punished in some way, shape or form. imagine being the top lawyer in new york. >> according to the new yorker, they were inspired they say by women who had been coming forward as part of the me too movement, brian. i'm just wondering how much do these two women speaking on the record, how much more credibility does that add? >> i was really struck by what one of the women said, michelle manning berra, she was dating schneiderman for a while. they broke up in '15. she tweeted, she instagramed a month ago before the story came out, she said i feel a wave of truth comingful purging those who should not be in positions
of power. women are rising up and they have had enough. we should end this cycle of abuse and power and sexual violence. and that's the difference involving this story. from all the me too accounts we've had, all the allegations against prominent men, it is primarily been about sexual assault and sexual harassment. in this case, schneiderman is also accused of abusing his power and acting in violent ways separate from any sexual activity. that is one of the reasons why the story stood out, why it is so disgusting to read. these are allegations made by two women on the record, two other women speaking anonymously. but when it adds up, it added up in such a damaging way that these other prominent new york officials quickly called for his removal. >> allegedly using the power of his office to retaliate against these people if they moved forward. >> you can't separate the politics from this case of abuse which is we oftentimes want to be able to sit back and listen to the victims and listen to their stories. but in this case, with schneiderman, you cannot separate the politics from it. the politics of how quickly
those elected officials responded. and again, i go back to the fact that governor cuomo is in a tight race or tougher than expected race with a female, cynthia nixon, who has been uplifting women throughout the state of new york and running an awesome campaign. so he is compelled to move quicker as well. senator gillibrand, there is her bread and butter issue. she is compelled to move quickly a's as well. now you the political firestorm. you the person who has been -- for lack of a better term, he has been the worst enemy for donald trump when it comes to issues. >> nemesis. >> a nemesis. day in and day out. the question now is how does donald trump respond? somebody who has a bevy, a bevy, a bevy of sexual assault allegations and victims and the list goes on and on and on. and then you have the last thing, which people really don't want talk about today. but it's happening. if it's not happen right now, it will happen tomorrow. what is king jeffrey going to do? who is going to be the next person to run? all these things come to play when we have these discussions. >> right now preet bharara. >> thank you, all, i appreciate
it. thank you very much. just ahead, president trump and his senior aides are not happy with rudy giuliani's media blitz. a source telling cnn that he is embarrassing the president. at t-mobile, we don't just see uniforms. we see the people behind them. so we're committed to helping veterans through job training when their service ends... and to hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses to be part of our workforce in the next 5 years. because no matter where you serve... or when you serve... t-mobile stands ready to serve you. so we provide half-off on all family lines for military.
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"we're on it." and because it connects to the internet, fixmestick it's always up to date. reports tonight that president trump and his senior aides are unhappy with rudy giuliani's media blitz now that he is part of the president's new legal team. let's bring in mark mckenna and the executive producer of showtime's "the circus" and a former adviser to george w. bush and john mccain. and cnn contributor frank bruni, a columnist for "the new york times." good evening, gentlemen. there's always a development. politico has this headline out tonight, frank, trump grows frustrated with giuliani as stormy drama rages on. the president reportedly gripping to associates that giuliani as promised was supposed to shut down the stormy daniels saga and has not done. we could have predicted this, right? >> he shut down nothing because he can't shut up.
he keeps on talking and talking and saying different things, and none of them seem to be the talking points that would serve the president. and you you've got to think above and beyond all of, that donald trump doesn't like somebody else hogging the spotlight. and rudy giuliani like a man whose finally found a camera again has shown us nothing more than he loves the sound of his own voice. >> you have more reporting on this? >> it's the worst abuse since water world. reporting that the president is going to take him off the white house legal team and make him a white house doctor. >> that's your new reporting? thank you very much. so this is what we've heard from rudy giuliani. i don't know how much we have all evening to play. this but we heard just over the weekend. watch this. >> did you misspeak or did people not interpret what you were saying? were you talking about the facts or were you talking about the law? >> i'm talking about the law and the conclusion. the facts, the facts i'm still learning. so i'm not an expert on the facts yet.
with michael cohen as far as i know is a long-standing agreement that michael cohen takes care of situations like this and then gets paid for them, sometimes. sometimes it's reimbursed in another way. it depends on whether it's business or personal. even if it was considered a campaign contribution, it was entirely reimbursed out of personal funds. >> mr. mckenna, give us your damage report. how harmful? >> you think of the goal from a communications strategy when you bring in a new lawyer. the goal is to create a single coherent narrative. listen, there has been too many stories out there. we want you to come in and take charge, get the facts together and go out and tell a story that is coherent and makes sense and is singular. and he has done just the opposite. he created new story lines and made it more confusing, and created more legal liability more than anything. >> for the president. >> for the president. and also beyond that, but as you said they're supposed to be on the same message. well, the president is having to say well, he doesn't know about things and he is new to this and
we have to get him up to speed. >> but he didn't know about the most important things. >> there you go. >> what did they talk about before he went out on tv, if not the payment to stormy daniels? the president isn't the only one saying he doesn't know about things. rudy himself is saying i'm no expert. i don't have the fax but i'm going talk anyway. >> in an interview on monday, giuliani pushed back against a notion that the president is unhappy with his performance. if i'm not up to it, i don't know who is. that's what he told politico. i know the justice department better than just about anyone. >> well, he is right on one count. this is giuliani. >> it's giuliani. >> he sounds exactly like donald trump. i know better than anybody else. this is exactly the brand of humility you get from the president. >> it's also what you get when you run out of lawyers too. >> meaning? >> well, he has gone through -- ty cobb left, just went through a whole series and he tried to get a bunch of top tier lawyers that for reasons that both are explain and not explained they didn't step up. he kind of got to the end of the list and rudy giuliani is the last guy standing. >> and did what he likes to do
which he hired a tv showboat. if he cease you on tv and you're good on tv. >> he was also the guy during the "access hollywood" tape. it went out on tv for donald trump that sunday. that's where he made his bones with donald trump. >> as you were saying, there is supposed to be one message and he is supposed to bring an toned this. but rudy giuliani said stormy daniels may not be the only woman who was paid by trump's long-time fixer michael cohen. >> open another door! >> yeah. sarah sanders was also asked about this. watch this. >> rudy giuliani said that if necessary, it's possible that michael cohen could have paid off other women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with the president. is that possible? are there other women out there who receive money from the president to stay quiet? >> i'm not aware of any other activity. but i would refer you to rudy giuliani to respond to any of those questions or anybody else on the president's outside counsel. >> but you've been in his circle for a long time now. you were on the campaign. that anything that came across
your desk? >> again, i'm not aware of anything like that. but i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. >> did she really want to refer that to rudy giuliani? >> translation, have i been burned too many times before. i am passing this one off. yeah, i'm going hit it back to the guy who created the confusion. >> why is the answer to that, then, just an authoritative no? >> because she has been burn today many times. >> from rudy giuliani. or from her. >> because donald trump doesn't ever give anyone a straight story. and that includes the people around him. >> and there is an authoritative no. >> "the new york times" is reporting tonight that senior white house staff members are encouraging the president to fire scott pruitt, his embattled environmental protection agency chief. he now has 11 federal investigations that involve him. how can he stay in this job? >> i mean, he shouldn't be allowed to stay in the job. but i think two things are keeping him in the job. one, there has been such historic turnover, such embarrassing turnover that people don't want to see another
person exit too quickly. and number two, he is actually doing in an substantive way when it comes to repealing regulations exactly what the president wants there is this tension. he is an ethical nightmare. he is beyond an embarrassment. but he is executing the agenda that the president wants and a lot of republicans applaud. >> i would have you respond, but i need to get to this and talk about your show. >> my favorite subject. >> you're highlighting stacey abrams who is running to be the first black women elected governor anywherever. watch this. >> what do you hear and see when you hear people talk about donald trump? >> they are deeply disappointed in his xenophobia and his racism and the sexism and his rejection of the rule of law. there is a great deal of trepidation. the composition of georgia is different. 15 years ago, georgia was absolutely a red state. but more people moved in and more people grew up. and the diversity of georgia is unlike any other state in the south. president obama came within 200,000 votes of winning georgia. and that was ten years ago.
>> all right. so let me get our strategy straight here. she wants to galvanize minorities and women and focus less on white trump voters who used to be democrats. >> the typical democratic playbook is let's go after the trump voters we lost. that's a diminishing demographic any time, anywhere. it's older white men that are diminishing. and she is saying we've got this whole pool of voters who haven't been activated before, people of color, women, and others that simply haven't gotten the right message or from the right messenger. and that if delivered by somebody like her, they can more than make up the deficit of the numbers they lost. >> her kpachances? >> it's going to be competitive. obama came within 200,000 votes a decade ago. i think she is in the hunt. >> i appreciate it. kick i hard as you say. "the circus" airs sunday night at 8:00. when we come back, in one of his many interviews, rudy giuliani
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president trump said to be growing frustrated with rudy giuliani. his media blitz raising even more questions for the president. back with me now cnn legal analyst laura coates. and we're joined by samuel buhl, a former federal prosecutor. so good to have both of you on. welcome back, laura. welcome to the show, samuel. samuel, i'm going to start with you. we talked about rudy giuliani in the last segment. i want to play something that i heard from the white house about giuliani earlier today. watch this. >> is the president pleased with the appearances of rudy giuliani over the last few days? >> i didn't speak with him specifically about his feelings about it, but certainly feels that he is an added member, added value member to his outside special counsel. >> so samuel, is giuliani adding value to trump's outside legal team? >> well, so far not because he's out front much too quickly and
much too vocally, taking a position on things that he can't possibly have clear knowledge of at this stage of the representation. any lawyer cosming into a case like this would keep his head down for a period of time and make sure he had the facts in line. and this attorney is not doing that. so i'd have to say no, he is not helping his client at all. >> and laura, as for the russia investigation, a big question in all of this is will the president take the fifth amendment? here is rudy giuliani on that. >> are you confident the president will not take the fifth in this case? >> how can i ever be confident of that? when i'm facing a situation with the president and all the other lawyers are, in which every lawyer in america thinks he would be a fool to testify. >> so laura, what do you think? will the president ultimately take the fifth? >> it always be his choice to do so. but remember, taking the fifth, everyone has an assumption that it means he can walk in there and i'm taking the fifth and no questions can be asked. you cannot make a blanket
assertion of the fifth. it has to be in response to a specific question, to which might tend to incriminate you. he can't come in and you ask his name and i take the fifth. it would be ridiculous. if there is a pointed question asked of him that he feels would incriminate him, it's his right to do it. the larger issue whether he exerts executive privilege which is also his right to do stlochlt is a more or better scenario if he actually does that because you may have a situation where you say listen, i don't want to talk about things that may have my advisers and counsels. but the fifth is available there are repercussions. you can draw not necessarily a criminal case there, but will be a public inference drawn about the president of the united states who has been so vocal about only the mob taking the fifth if he should choose to do so in this instance. >> i'm glad you say that just to jog everyone's memory, here is what the president has said in the past about the fifth. >> have you seen what's going on in front of congress? fifth amendment, fifth
amendment, fifth amendment. horrible. horrible. >> the mob takes the fifth. if you're innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment? >> when you have your staff taking the fifth amendment, taking the fifth so they're not prosecuted. i think it's disgraceful. >> so samuel, so we know how the president feels about people who take the fifth amendment. no doubt the president would explain why these views don't apply to him, right? >> yeah, i mean, don, i don't think if we're looking for consistency at this point, as you well know, we're not going to get it. doing a 180 on things that he said about the legal system, about other people's situations in the legal system, he is being subject to a witch-hunt. james comey should already be locked up without a trial. we're beyond double standards here. it wouldn't surprised me at this
point because nothing would surprise me in terms of how the legal system is approached by this white house. if in fact they came out and said look, if mueller wants to subpoena me, i'm going to have to assert the fifth because i just can't have faith in this prosecutor being fair. and in fact defense lawyers sometimes say that for clients. they say my michigan client really has nothing to hide, but they have to take the fifth. it's the classic executive who appears before congress and says you know, i'm sorry, senator, but on the advice of council i'm going have to rest on my fifth amendment privilege. outside of congress, i'm not doing that because have i anything to hide. it's because this isn't a fair process. i wouldn't actually be surprised if this president wouldn't try that and see how it plays politically. >> laura, what about giuliani saying that the president doesn't have to comply with the subpoena? is he wrong? >> yes, he is wrong there has been clear precedent in the supreme court that has said a president is not above the law.
and that term and that phrase is often used to say the president cannot not be prosecuted for a crime. but in reality, that particular portion of the court's holding in u.s. versus nixon was about whether or not the president had to comply with aspects of due process of the law. and the idea that you run the executive branch, the role of the executive branch is to enforce the laws as are written, and that includes due process. you can not get in the way of trying to ensure that due process or a criminal investigation is being pursued. that includes whether you can comply with the subpoena. you have the nixon case, of course, that dealt with documents and whether the president had to comply with the subpoena that ultimately led to the disclosure of the various tapes. but the principle is still the same here, that the president cannot simply thumb his nose at a key portion of due process in this country. >> and make sure i get this. i want to get this in, please, because i think it's important. the president's tweet this morning, okay, samuel, you said the 13 democrats in charge of
the russian witch-hunt are starting to find out that there is a court system in place that actually protects people from injustice. and just wait till the courts get to see your unrevealed conflicts of interest. so first to quickly fact check. some members of mueller's team have made contributions to democrats, but mueller himself is a republican. aside from that, what do you make of trump suggesting that there could be legal action against mueller's team? >> i have no idea what he is referring to. i think this just sounds like the classic wait until i show you curtain wait until i show you. if the standard is nobody can be prosecute bade doj lawyer who happens to have previously indicated i have a political connection, every political corruption case that has been brought in the department of justice practically would have to be deemed invalid. so if the claim here is just this task force has different lawyers affiliated with
different parties, that's going absolutely nowhere. >> samuel, laura, thank you for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. when we come back, the first lady debuting her plan to combat online bull leg today with her husband rights beside her. think he'll change his behavior on twitter at all? about the performance... lingering doubts of lexus hybrids, this should clear the air. now comparably priced to the rest of the lineup. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
adults to educate and remind them that when they're using their voices, whether verbally or online they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion. >> the president, her husband is listening to that. let's discussion presidential historian douglas brinkley, a staff writer for "the washington post," and lauren wright. she is on t author of "on behalf of the president: white house communications and presidential strategy." welcome, everybody. let's talk about the new poll released by cnn. more than half of americans, 57% have a favorable view of the first lady, melania trump. that is a 10% jump from january while 27% hold an unfavorable view of her at the same time. the president's approval rating is only at 41%. what's your reaction to the numbers? >> first ladies usually are more popular than their husbands for starters. secondly, there is a feeling of
you almost feel bad for melania. the fact that she is living with the stormy daniels crisis all the time, the fact that, you know, her husband does have a bit of a bullying nature to put it mildly. the fact that she is trying to raise baron in this sort of crazy media environment and trying to keep him out of harm's way. but all first ladies are usually beloved. but when hillary clinton was first lady you saw her take a hit with public opinion polls. as long as she is not over political and stays on things like opioid addiction and the strangeness of the cyberbully, she'll stay high in the public estimation. >> and the has taken a more high profile role with the macrons recently. do you think all of these events will help the president? >> they can. and my research shows consistently first ladies are the number one surrogate when it comes to boosting public opinion of presidents and their policy agendas.
i absolutely think so. a big part of this appeal that doug just talked about is they're political outsiders. they're family members. so people don't evaluate them in the same way that they do politicians. and that's extremely valuable. >> what do you think, sarah? >> well, she is the most popular person in that family and in the west wing. so more than ivanka, certainly more than jared and more than her husband. and i think it is because she hasn't tackled anything that is really that controversial. >> you mentioned, douglas, that she is dealing with stormy daniels and all of that. and then there was a very special guest, a special appearance on "saturday night live" this weekend. watch this. [ applause ] >> hello? >> stormy, this is michael cohen. are you alone? >> yes? >> then what are you wearing? >> excuse me? >> okay, michael, i can take it from here. >> but as your attorney, i highly advise against you -- >> so what up, girl?
>> hello, donald. >> come on, stormy, stop making such a big deal about this. everyone knows it's just an act. >> i work in adult films. we're not really known for our acting. >> just tell me what do you need for this to all go away? >> a resignation? >> yeah, right. being president is like doing porn. once you do it, it's hard to do anything else. besides, my poll numbers are finally up. and speaking of poles being up -- >> donald. >> oh, come on, we'll always have shark week. i solved north and south korea. why can't i solve us? >> sorry, donald, it's too late for that. i know you don't believe in climate change, but a storm's a-coming, baby. >> i've never been so scared and so horny at the same time. and live from new york, it's
saturday night. >> you're not going to come to me, right? >> you think the first lady sees that? that's got to be tough for the spouse, anyone that is in -- >> funny to everyone except to her probably. >> on a serious note, always turn to first ladies when it comes to presidential misconduct. this is funny, but really, we're asking questions about melania trump when the president is the one misbehaving, and we always do this with political spouses. and i wish we could do a little better with that, hold the president accountable, not his wife for his misbehavior. >> guys, i'm sure you saw "the washington post" revealing a very revealing piece today about melania trump. it's called "inside melania trump's complicated white house life: a separate schedule, different priorities." i want to read a part of the piece. the trumps are often apart even during their free time according to a couple of people that know their schedule. at mar-a-lago and weekends the
president dines with media personalities and executives on the watt owe while melania is often nowhere to be seen according to several current and former aides. the president and first lady often do not eat together in the white house either. they spend very little to no time together said one long-time friend of the president. so she's seen as a separate entity from him, very independent if the reporting is true. and maybe that's why her numbers are higher, that she has separated herself and said you know what? i'm going to take on cyberbullying, in your face. >> she has said for a long time that she gives her husband his space. they're both very independent from one another. that story started with he's waking up at 5:30 in the morning and checking out what's on cable news, and she is getting their son baron ready for school. we've known from the beginning that she is very dedicated to baron and less concerned with political life in washington. i do think that the people ask me do you think she is trolling him with her cyberbullying
focus? and i think that probably not. i think what she is actually doing is she is recognizing that she does recognize that that could be something that people say oh, that's so ironic. that's so absurd that that would be your cause. but i think she's actually dedicated to it. so she decided she is going to do it no matter what he does even though it's absurd to have that as your cause and have your husband be the most powerful cyberbullier on the planet. >> as a mom, she would know, and all moms know of the cyberbullying, at least when your child is a certain age that is something that would be relevant to her. >> the irony. >> remember, douglas, in the beginning, we were who is the real first lady? is it ivanka? is it melania? it seems like ivanka's role has reduced lately, and melania's moving up. >> i think melania is the one that the american public is upd. if she really hones in and
starts showing up in elementary schools in ohio and michigan and wisconsin and talk about public health and how not to be on drugs, a kind of low grade nancy reagan just say no, but really aiming at younger people, i think her numbers will continue to go up. and she is also a victim, not just a victim of stormy daniels, but you have what over a dozen women charging sexual harassment against the president. rudy giuliani inferred over the weekend there may be more women. if i'm melania trump, i'm not watching "saturday night live." i'm not watching a lot of news program. i'm trying to keep my son away from the humiliation of what's happening right now. >> douglas, sarah, thank you. it wasn't so bad, your maiden voyage. >> no i loved it. this was great, thank you. the president will announce tomorrow if he is going to withdraw from the iran nuclear deal. if he does, will pe he be playing right into vladimir putin's hands? i'm going to talk to a former u.s. ambassador to russia.
my career is moving forward, but my student loans are going nowhere. it'll take me 20 years to pay them off, but i finally found a way to pay them off sooner, and save money by refinancing with sofi. sofi has helped over 200,000 people get ahead of their debt, and they can help you move forward too. see how much you can save in just two minutes at sofi.com/sooner we're just hours away from president trump revealing his decision on the iran nuclear deal. this is the accord he promised to rip up on day one of his presidency. but he has been in office for 16 months and now he's feeling pressure to stay with it.
arthur mcfall is the author of "from cold war to hot peace, an ambassador to putin's russia." i may not get to this until summer, but i'm looking forward to it. can we start with iran? the president says he's going to release his decision on iran tomorrow. if he ends this deal, you say this is playing right into vladimir putin's hands. explain that. >> first of all, i think it's a big mistake irrespective of putin. it's a great deal, it's better than anything we can get, and to denounce it now, to walk away from it, i think it's bad for his negotiations with north korea. i think it's a big mistake. but for putin, it means we are on the outside and putin is standing with the international community, with our allies against the united states of america. that's not a good outcome. >> so pulling out increases the threat to america, in your view? >> yeah, and it isolates us.
why are we isolating ourselves at a time when we need other countries to cooperate with us, especially as we enter into these negotiations with north korea? >> i want to ask you about the firm that was supposedly trying to get dirt on the obama administration. >> yes. two of my friends. >> "the observer" in london and "the new yorker magazine" reported that a firm was trying to dig up dirt on the obama officials working the deal. they said they were trying to undermine the agreement. aides of the president hired the firm, and the firm is called the black cube. they denied -- the press secretary denied knowing anything about that. she said she wasn't aware of anything on that front. have you ever heard of something like this before? >> yeah, in russia. it sound like something vladimir putin would do, to gather dirt on his opponents. that's something right out of putin's playbook. we don't know who paid for this, obviously, but it sound really
strange to me, and i know ben rhodes and colin call. i worked with them in the government. they are very honorable people who served america well. you can disagree or agree whether the iran deal is a good deal or not, but to do this as a way to undermine the deal, i think, is truly unamerican. >> russia is at the center of so much happening on the globe as far as us trying to meddle in people's elections politically, obviously. their influence is playing out at the center of american politics. are things as bad as they seem, russia's interference when it comes to american politics and trying to fool with other people's elections, meddle in other people's elections? >> i think they are. i call the book "from cold war to hot peace" to make sure people don't confuse our time today with the cold war, but in many aspects, the hot peace is more dangerous and more volatile. in the soviet days, they didn't meddle with our elections. in the late soviet days after
stalin, they didn't annex crimea, and they didn't have dictators like assad killing hundreds of thousands of people. he's a dangerous person, and i think we need to push back on him to stop him, both in terms of what he does to the united states, but also what he does to our allies and small d democrats around the world trying to fight for their own autonomy in places like ukraine. >> what has been, michael, the most surprising to you about this russia story, especially as it relates to the 2016 election and this administration? >> so vladimir putin has, and his government, have tremendous capabilities to listen to your phone, to read our e-mails. i know that firsthand. what has never happened before is they leak that information purposely designed to influence the outcome of our election. he wanted trump to win, he didn't want hillary clinton to win. to do that and go outside our
country is shocking, number one. and then to bring russian agents into our country to pose as americans to stir up polarization among our communities, that also, even for me -- i first met vladimir putin in the spring of 1991. i know the guy pretty well, and even for me that was shocking. >> why do you think the president has been slow or mildly denounced that part of it, at least? >> i honestly don't know. i think it's a huge mistake. i think had he pivoted hard after the election to say, hey, they did this. i couldn't control them. but now we have to be tough on them. that he hasn't leads to suspicious motives. i don't know the answer. >> do you think the russians have compromised on the president? >> i don't know the answer to that. i want mr. mueller to answer your question. what i do know is if you go to russia, especially if you stay at the ritz-carlton, they have tremendous capabilities to gather information on you. when i was there, i was there in july 2009 with president obama, and we were so worried about
them listening to our conversations that we built a mini submarine inside one of the suites inside the ritz-carlton so we could have a conversation. >> it's that serious? >> they're capabilities are quite impressive. >> interesting. thank you, sir. >> thanks for having me. >> i appreciate your time. we'll be right back.
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this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. just before 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, we have new developments tonight. president trump ramping up talk about the investigation, accusing mueller's team who have conflicts of interest. is there any truth to his claims. plus we're just hours away from the president announcing if the united states remains in the iran deal. if he attempts to back out, what are the potential consequences?