Skip to main content

tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  May 8, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

4:00 pm
something out of it. >> there's no way the president walks in and says we have an adwreemt on inspecs of nuclear facilities, but not to bring home americans. >> and even highlighted by the president's own attorney. tweeting stay tuned to see if they'll come home. rudy giuliani saying they're going to be release. >> stay tuned as well. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. >> "outfront" next, breaking news, a cnn exclusive. xquestioning a russianal gark about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid after the election. plus, trump bails on the iran deal. steve mnuchin who's in charge of new sanctions is our guest tonight and more breaking news. polls closing in four states tonight. tas big sloeting night. all eyes on west virginia. will the man who say he's trumpier than trump win? let's go "outfront." and good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, breaking
4:01 pm
news. robert mueller's team has questioned a russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars that his company sent to michael cohen after the election. this is according to a source familiar with the matter. victor is the name of the russian oligarch. you see him there. he has close ties to putin. he is one of two russian oligarchs the fbi stopped to question earlier this year when their private jets landed in new york area airports. now this questioning was part of russia's probe. last month, the trump administration placed him on the list. now according to michael avenatti tonight, the amount of money was roughly $500 thourk and it was paid to cohen between january and august of 2017. so all within president trump's
4:02 pm
administration. the first payment avenatti says was within 75 days of when cohen paid stormy daniels $135,000 to keep quiet b about her alleged affair with the president. avenatti speculates these may have been used to reimburse cocoa hen. whatever they were used for, we're talking about half a million dollars from what he's saying here paid to michael cohen from a russian oligarch now sanctioned by donald trump's treasury department. we're "outfront" breaking much of the story tonight. what else can you tell us here? obviously, it's pretty incredible when you put all of these pieces of this together. >> it is. what we've been told is that investigators have questioned of a russian oligarch. and the questions have come up about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments made to president trump's personal attorney in 2017.
4:03 pm
now the payment went from his u.s. affiliated company called columbus nova. a financial company in new york. investment company. and that company is run, is affiliated with vexelberg's american cousin. documents posted online by michael avenatti, they allege that half a million dollars was paid to cohen beginning in january 2017. and as you said, last month, a trump administration put vexelberg on the list of sanctioned russians for election interference. it's not clear here what the purpose right now in terms of what these payments that were made to cohen were for or the nature of the business relationship between cohen and vexelberg. we've reached to eed out and ha heard back. the fact these investigators
4:04 pm
have been b scrutinizing is significant in the fact you have a company which is potentially aaffiliate wd a russian oligarch seems to have been doing business with michael cohen here. >> cara, you know what more do we know about him? he's not one of the commonly, the oligarchs. not like oleg. victor now a very important name. what do you know about him and what is it that mueller and the fbi wanted to know from him? >> well, erin, he is one of the most prominent although maybe not household businessmen in russia. he built a fortune through the privatization following the collapse of the soviet union in the energy and gas space. he once spent $100 million to purchase faberge eggs from the forbes family in the u.s. he was stopped by mueller's team and questioned earlier this year and among the questions that investigators had for him was
4:05 pm
they wanted to know b about political donations made by his cousin who runs this u.s. affiliated company. end trader had donated roughly $300,000 to the trump inauguration, victory fund and rnc. we reached out to them for comment before the story and didn't hear back, but just got a comment in. i'd like to read it if i can. so from an attorney, we were told columbus nova is a management company controlled by americans. after the inauguration, the firm hireded cohen as a business consultant regarding potential source of capital and investments in real estate and other ventures. reports that he used columbus nova as a conduit to cohen are false. the claim that she was involved or provided any funding for the engage of of hcohen is untrue. neither victor nor the owners were involved in the decision to hire cohen. that may be the case, but we
4:06 pm
know mueller's investigators did question him about these transactio transactions, so they are at least looking to see what connections there might be or there aren't. >> interesting. michael cohen not listing this entity as one of his clients, right? other people, sean hannity listed, but not this american affiliate arm. i guess this kind of begs the most crucial question here. when you're talking about a u.s. company and talk iing about a russian oligarch. one of the most important in all of russia. do we know if there was anything illegal about these payments at this time? >> we don't know. and certainly that's probably why investigators are looking at this. it's probably why they went through that unusual step. one of the reasons they went through the unusual step of stopping him at an airport that we've reported at. he was stopped at an airport and that's when some of the questioning took place. for them to do that, for the fbi
4:07 pm
to track him, to follow him until he gets here into the u.s. in the new york area airport then they went and image d his cell phones and wanted to try to talk to him. that is a significant move by the fbi for whatever reason we don't exactly know 100% why, but that just tells you their concern here b and certainly their need. there was a need by the fbi to talk to him. >> so care ra, given the cig significance of this, that the fbi wouldn't have done this, there's some sort soft level here. so sort of you know, line they felt was crossed that they were going to pursue it and investigate it. where do things stand then with the criminal investigation involving michael cohen and the southern district of new york and was raided by fbi agents. >> that's right. the prosecutors have acknowledge ed in court that they are conducting a criminal
4:08 pm
investigation of cohen's dealings. this statement e tells us that this was one of his financial dealings. we don't know if that was one that the southern district of new york is focusing on, but we know in that case, the judge decided to create a special master to review all these documents and decide which ones prosecutors can see. they're not protect ed by attorney client privilege so the government has turned over eight boxes of digitized information. about a dozen electronic devices. now the judge in the case has set a hearing in the case for earlier this month. how many of these documents are in dispute and that's something that we'll learn about in about two weeks. significant developments tonight. let's go now harry, and the
4:09 pm
former federal prosecutor. harry, i mean, take a step back here. you've got this cousin or whatever it is. in an american company. you have a company affiliated with one of the most powerful oligarchs in russia. a putin insider paying half a million dollars to michael cohen. trump's personal taerattorney. after the lech. over a period of months. cohen was fully aware that anything involving russia was a b problem. how does this happen? >> yeah, even if it's innocent, an extremely reckless and foolish thing to connect yourself to someone like a russian oligarch with ties to putin. we've hired cohen to do business consulting for us. the prosecutors and vest garretts will see if that's true. what is the evidence? to we see e-mails and business
4:10 pm
plans and actual work being done or just see payments being made with no work being done. that will be a key question as to whether these statement paimts are a real thing or not. >> when he's brought in now, says he has three clients. president trump, sean hannity and now broidy, who of course apparently cohen paid off the, said she got pregnant by the donor. these payment wrs made earlier, but he didn't mention any of, he didn't mention victor or this company or this american arm. >> but you're talking half a million dollars! so the only thing we can infer, not the only wung, one thing is that the work he was doing was not legal work. but some kind of business con stulting work as carry was talking about the privilege issues. any documents from that relationship would be nonprif leoneled and available by the
4:11 pm
prosecutors for any reason. >> it doesn't add up. helps me understand why prosecutors in manhattan maybe looking at michael cohen for bank fraud or campaign finance violations. first of all, there's a payment, this money was not paid direct ly to michael cohen. it was paid to this essential consultant company he created that was the vehicle for him to pay storm daniels. so it goes from this llc to daniels then this money comes in later from this company connected to a russian oligarch. if the payment was connected to the as rudy giuliani suggested at one point, then that was money that a potentially you could argue was come frg a foreign national that contribute today a campaign. that's wup issue here. the other is michael avenatti in
4:12 pm
his statement he released today detailing a number oftransactio about false statements and that puts you very much in the vicinity of bank fraud. >> right. >> it's unclear whether there's sufficient evidence of that, but that certainly in the vi sinsy. let's put that it way. >> what's the penalty for that. >> up to 30 years in prison. and you know, obviously the typical penalty is less than that. i convicted someone who got three or four year, but it's still significant. a felony, very serious crime. >> incredibly serious. stay with me, i want to go now to, talking about michael avenatti, stormy daniels attorney, who's talking about this payment. he's making other stunning claims about cohen and mj lee is "outfront." you've been working on this part of the story. we're talking about something
4:13 pm
affiliated with victor and you know more. >> that's right. this is the allegation that avenatti is making about cohen tonight. that cohen received significant sums of money from various enter theties after the 2016 election calling into question his business practices. now, they walked you through that first explosive headline that a company controlled by a russian oligarch gave around half a million dollars to cohen soon after the election, but that's not the end, erin. according to avenatti, cohen also received money from other entities including nearly $400,000 from pharmaceutical giant, norvartis. $150,000 from korea air space and $200,000 from at&t. now the twist is that the common thread is that all this money was paid to a bank account cohen created in 2016 to pay off
4:14 pm
stormy daniels. this is the hush payment of $130,000 we have been auking so much about. so it is intriguing that according to avenatti, that bank account wasn't only used to pay stormy daniels. it also allegedly received significant sum of money after the election. now why did he receive these payments? that is what we do not know the answer to yet. >> which you know, raises all kinds of questions because when we talk about the timing here, you know, obviously at&t involved with a merger that it was trying to push through. novartis may have a meeting coming up with the president. have any of these companies said anything to explain why they did this? their intentions? >> we just received this statement from at&t. here it is. essential consulting. the correct name for the committee is essential consultants, but that's the statement they give us. was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insight into the new administration. they did no legal work or
4:15 pm
loblying work for us and the district krths ended in december of 2017. so at&t is confirming these payments were made. we know from court filings that cohen had consulting clients and it appears he was offering insights into what he knows about the president and i should note at&t is trying to acquire cnn's parent company, time wa warn warner. the justice department sued to prevent that and two of the payments from at&t remained before the justice department sued to block that merger. and we do not have comments yet from the other companies that were listed in the memo. >> so, okay, when you talk this together and we try to figure out what the heck was going on here. what does it mean about the $130,000 payment stormy daniels. do you have any more insight into that now that we're getting these other pieces tonight? >> cnn has reviewed comets that appear to show these various payments avenatti is talking about, but cnn has not
4:16 pm
authenticated these documents, and if you have him, he will say that given the flow of money through this bank account, it is possible that russian money essentially paid for the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels. in fact, here's what avenatti tweeted tonight. he said after significant investigation, we have discovered that mr. trump's attorney received approximately $500,000 after the election from a company controlled by a russian oligarch with close ties to mr. putin. these moneys may have reimbursed the $130,000 payment. now we don't know if that is the case and here's sort of the big picture take away regardless, erin, is that michael cohen is is donald trump's fixer. he has long been the president's right hand man an any payment from any company to cohen deserves our company because he is someone who was speaking to president trump and it's as simple as that. >> thank you very much. just adding up these numbers out
4:17 pm
there. again as we review, you're looking at $1.3 million, plus you're talking about the tens of thousands of dollars a month come frg the president himself and a retainer. this is a lot of money coming into michael cohen tlau shell company. registered in delaware. i want to bring in brian now. and i want to get to this, obviously, because this is a wig story out there with trump's opposition that he had made so public to the at&t time warner merger. obviously that involveded cnn. at&t has confirmed it made $200,000 in payments to michael chone, to his consulting company. it raises a lot of questions. what are they saying now? >> at least 200,000. his documents identify it say ing it was $50,000 a month. i'm told by a well placed source, it was a higher total number because cohen's firm was contracted throughout much of 2017. avenatti is saying this didn't start until late 2017. at&t said it started in early 2017. that matters because when president trump was elected, 18
4:18 pm
months ago tonight, that is when there was immediate speculation about what would happen to the at&t time warner deal. of course time warner owning cnn, the deal reviewed by the justice department. there have been b questions about whether the president himself or the white house try ed to interfere in the deal. was somehow trying to punish cnn by taking on the deal and trying to block it. amid all of that, with that as the backdrop, we know at&t essentially hired cohen as a consultant for what the company says was insights, information. the idea is when a new president comes to town, big companies want to know how to reach him. what makes him think, what makes him tick. i can understand wanting to hire the president's personal lawyer for that kind of information, but certainly raises a lot of questions an i think there's going to be a lot of scrutiny on this. selling influence isn't illegal, but it didn't look good. buy and access to a president is not illegal, but does not look good. >> no. it doesn't and this raises a lot
4:19 pm
of questions that need answers tonight. thank you so much, brian. and next as we continue to cover all of these breaking stories, oil prices swinging wildly because the president today said he's calling it quits. calling iran a liar, ending the deal from the u.s. side. steven mnuchin is my guest "outfront." and polls about to close. some crucial elections across the country tonight. bigst election night since election night. the key race tonight, west virginia. the promise there for voters. >> i'm basically trumpier than trump. >> and we'll be right back. brighthouse financial
4:20 pm
allow you to take advantage of growth opportunities... with a level of protection in down markets. so you can be less concerned about your retirement savings. talk with your advisor about shield annuities from brighthouse financial- established by metlife. anyone can get you ready, holiday inn express gets you the readiest. because ready gives a pep talk. showtime! but the readiest gives a pep rally. i cleared my inbox! holiday inn express, be the readiest. ( ♪ ) it's the details that make the difference. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved to temporarily make frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines look better. it's a quick 10 minute treatment given by a doctor to reduce those lines. ask your doctor about botox® cosmetic by name. the effects of botox® cosmetic,
4:21 pm
may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems, or muscle weakness can be a sign of a life-threatening condition. do not receive botox® cosmetic if you have a skin infection. side effects may include allergic reactions, injection site pain, headache, eyelid and eyebrow drooping and eyelid swelling. tell your doctor about your medical history, muscle or nerve conditions, and medications including botulinum toxins as these may increase the risk of serious side effects. the details make a difference. the man makes them matter. see real results at
4:22 pm
the man makes them matter. your company is and the decisions you make have far reaching implications. the right relationship with a corporate bank who understands your industry and your world can help you make well informed choices and stay ahead of opportunities. pnc brings you the resources of one of the nation's largest banks, and a local approach with a focus on customized insights. so you and your company are ready for today. proven to protect street skaters and freestylers. stops up to 97% uv. lasts through heat. through sweat. coppertone. proven to protect. you wouldn't accept from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances.
4:23 pm
most pills only block one. flonase. the president announcing today the u.s. is pulling out of the iranian nuclear deal. trump going it alone and imposing new sanctions on the iranian regime. here are his words. >> the fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. today, we have definitive proof that this iranian promise was a lie. last week, israel published s e documents long concealed by iran showing the iranian's regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons. >> all righty, tonight, iran in response warning it's ready to start nuclear enrichment quote,
4:24 pm
without limitations. president obama whose foreign policy was the iran deal was calling the move quote so misguided. and "outfront" tonight, the treasury secretary, steve mnuchin r, the man in charge of u.s. sanctions, which are now un back up and running. secretary, thank you so much for your time tonight. you know,we just heard the president saying iran is lying. what exactly did iran do to break the deal? >> well, let me be clear. president trump has been very consistent since the campaign and since he came into office. that this deal was not a good deal. it didn't protect the american people. he didn't like the fact it didn't have a term. we want to make sure iran never has nuclear weapons. they don't have them now, in ten year, they don't ever have them and they continue to work on ballistic missiles, which can deliver nuclear weapons and support state terrorism. the president has been clear this is about protecting the american public and making sure
4:25 pm
we have a good deal. >> just trying to understand, he's saying before the deal, they were dishonest. that's what the prime minister said last week, but you know, you' yur on colleagues, the dni chief, secretary of state now, but at the time, mike pompeo had said when it comes to the deal, iran was in compliance, not violation. here they are. >> is it the judgment that the intelligence community that iran has thus far adhere d to the deal's major provision sns. >> yes, the judgment is in no terrible breach of the agreem. >> do you have any evidence to dispute the assessment that iran is in full compliance with the jcpoa? >> senator, with the information that i've been provided, i have no, i've seen no evidence they are not in compliance today. >> so what are the grounds? what is the issue here? sfl again, they're just confirming they were in
4:26 pm
compliance with a bad deal. we had limited anyonety to do inspections. we couldn't go to military bases and even if we could, at the end of ten year, iran was going to have nuclear weapons. so this is not about whether they were in compliance or they weren't. this is about keeping america safe and whether it's north korea or iran, president trump isn't willing to kick the can down the road to have other presidents deal with it. he's taking action now to make sure that we're safe. and if iran wants to be b part of the international community, they will commit never to have nuclear weapons. not create a nuclear arms race in the middle east and stop working on ballistic missiles, which they don't need. >> look, the deal is far from perfect. i think everybody has admitted that. but what it does is give us more viz bability than we could have and it's the best deal they could have gotten. you point out, you can't go to military bases without announce yourself, but there's no powerful sovereign country in the world that would allow anybody to do that including our own. do you think you're going get that to allow inspectors to walk
4:27 pm
on to a base if they want? >> if iran is sincere and not having nuclear weapons, they will let us inspect properly, but again, there's lots of issues here. i mean, senator schumer himself, i was just look iing at his information in 2005. used all the same arguments as to why he voted against the deal. it was a bad deal in 2005 it's a bad deal today. and for those people who say we couldn't get a better deal, we don't believe it. so the answer is we're going to put the sanctions back in place. if iran legitimately wants to become part of the international community, they'll sit down with us and our allies and negotiate deal that's fair and protecting american people. >> so the issue then is we're putting sanctions back on. you're the guy in charge of that. our allies you mentioned in europe are not on board. they were clear today. they said in a statement, together we emphasized our continuing commitment to the
4:28 pm
jcpoa. that was germany, france, the united kingdom. now that you're reinstatie inth sanction, tig best thing you can do is to punish other countries. we're going to sanction your banks. secretary mnuchin, will you sanction banks was nd the u.k. or germany because they're doing business in iran? >> this isn't about punishing other countries. as you know, we have primary and secondary sanctions. we've been careful in putting these in place. we have certain things that there's 90 days to wind down. as it relates to the oil markets, which take longer to get supply as we cut off iran's oil. we have 180 days. so we're going to work with our allies to make sure there's a careful transition, but the sanctions worked. and we've had very close discussions with our allies. >> i mean, the u.k. and france and germany, they were all on board, but they're not now. >> they are -- >> is it the united states that's alone? >> again, they are on board with
4:29 pm
our objectives. so we've had very good discussions with them. they're on board with the issue of the term. they're on board with concerns about ballistic missiles. they're on board with the concerns about state terrorism. we have slightly different views as the to how to execute that. but we're going to work closely with our allies, we all have the common objective, which every american should have and that's to make sure that our children and their children are safe. and that means no nuclear weapons in iran now. none in seven years, none in 20 years. >> sounds like they're telling you something different in private than they're saying publicly. publicly, they're saying they support the deal. they think iran is compliant. you're saying they're tell youg the opposite? >> no, i don't want to say they're saying one thing privately. what they're saying is they wanted to support the deal and add on to the deal. and president trump's been clear and careful. he didn't do this when he just came into office.
4:30 pm
he was clear six months ago, three months ago. he gave us time to work with our allies. he said he'll give us time, but he was clear. on behalf of keeping the american people safe, he wasn't going to stick with a bad deal and kick it down the road and you know, if iran is serious, they'll sit down and negotiate. we'll see how serious they are and as it relate to our allies, we're going to work closely with them. we have the same objectives. make sure they doents have nuclear wens. make sure they stop having ballistic missiles and state terrorism. >> i want to ask you about more breaking news this hour. i don't know if you've heard it, but we are reporting tonight that the russian oligarch was questioned about hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to michael cohen and he was questioned about that when he arrived this year in the united states by private jet. actually here in the new york area. first question to you. if if a payment or payments like this have been b made adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollar, would they have been
4:31 pm
flag ged to the treasury department? >> well, let me say i got here early, so i was watching a segment. other than watching you, i was not aware of all this. and comments as regards to what information treasury does have within the organization and what it doesn't, i can't comment on. >> could you give us more information? you had sanctioned vexelberg. he was among them. my understanding is one of your reasons was election interference. can you tell us anymore about why this individual was on your list? >> well, as you know, congress passed a law that with overwhelming support, 98-2 in the senate, on instructing us to work on a report on sanctions on oligarchs and russian officials, we were very careful, we took our time, used both classified information and open source information. i can't go through the specifics of this. but we were very careful and
4:32 pm
again, as it relates to the oligarchs, we put some of the toughest sanctions on them. but let me just comment that when it came to russell, we weren't trying to hourt the people. we weren't trying to create b problems in the aluminum market and as one of the oligarchs got rid of their position, we're working to deal with these issues. so again, sanctions are very powerful tools and we're careful how we use them. >> so you're well aware that for the fbi to take a russian citizen when they come in the united states, pull them aside for questioning is significant. it's not something they just do. it's a big deal when it happens. at this time, are you at treasury working with bob mueller at all on information about anything with victor or payments from him? >> i can't make my comments which relates to our sanctions or any specific, but let me just comment. right now, we have president trump focused on a summit with
4:33 pm
north korea an for the first time we may get rid of nuclear weapons in north korea. so this is moe mentous. we have secretary pompeo over there meeting today as we speak. we're negotiating trade with china. this morning, president trump and xi had a good conversation. they talked about trade, about north korea. the president is taking strong actions with iran, so whether it's north korea or whether it's iran, the president is taking strong actions to protect the american people. as it relates to this russian stuff, let's let the stuff get on with and it not be a distraction from what are the really important issues that are affecting us right now. >> one final question. if i may. the bottom line here. are you aware at this time of any suspicious bank activity involving michael cohen himself specifically and any russian or russian owned entities? >> i'm somewhat strurprised tha you would ask me to even comment
4:34 pm
on these things since the actions the treasury takes are completely confidential. so you shouldn't read into this any way. if you ask me about any person, john smith, anybody else, i wouldn't on national tv comment about specific investigations. that would be completely inappropriate. in my position. >> i appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions. it's an important one, but i respect that you're saying it is classified. thank you very much. appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> and next, breaking news. new legal troubles for michael cohen. we are learning the mueller probe, questioning payments, the president's taern received from a russian oligarch and polls just closing in crucial primaries. four states tonight. will voters in west virginia keep president trump's last minute warning not to vote for don blankenship? this is your wake-up call. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage.
4:35 pm
ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. help stop the clock on further irreversible joint damage. talk to your rheumatologist. right here. right now. humira.
4:36 pm
4:37 pm
special counsel bob muell mueller's investigators have questioned a russian oligarch. that oligarch has close ties to putin and was recently sanctioneded by the trump treasury department. he was one of two russian oligarchs the fbi stopped this year when his private jet landed in new york city as part of
4:38 pm
mueller's investigation. now michael avenatti says the first payment was made just months after daniels' payoff took place. all right, keith, obviously there's a lot of questions here. but let's just start with the crucial thing we know. we know bob mueller's team felt this this cross to hurdle significantly high enough they stopped this guy when he came into the united states to question him about these payments. >> yes. we know that and we don't know exactly the details of what the payments are for, but we know it wasn't disclosed. i think that's a concern because it's a pattern of contacts of the trump administration officialed have had or trump related officials have had that have not been disclosed about their contacts with russia. in this case, why is michael cohen the president's attorney receiving money from the russian oligarch after the election,
4:39 pm
after we know that there was russian interference and after the intelligence community reported this. it suggests there was some sort of payoff or quid pro quo. only if trump comes forward. >> if you have payments comeing from a company that's i affiliated with a russian oligarch -- >> reasonable explanation would be it was part of business, but you know u, we don't know anything other than the reporting that hundred of thousands was paid. >> right, so we don't know what the business would have been. >> i would right. and that's right. and when you're dealing with an attorney much like the treasury secretary as you were asking him, when you ask him about ab
4:40 pm
investigation, you're going get the answer he gave. it was the right answer. look, i can't say anything b about wabout whether it exists. i couldn't comment on it. an attorney is in the same position with respect to clients. now michael cohen -- >> i think was a clear understanding. they wouldn't talk about an investigation. from michael cohen. this is, there is no attorney client privilege. >> well, i don't know that's the case. i've seen that comment he was attempting to do consulting. and that he's got keeping michael cohen has identified seven clients he had and didn't connect those yet to this russian oligarch. so we still have what this has done as so often happens in this situation is it has raised more
4:41 pm
questions. and it's going to take a little while because michael cohen ease not under any compulsion to answer these things and he's in natural one to answer these questions if he's compelled to do so. it's not clear about how he would be compelled to do so because it has to be part of -- >> it's in the hands of another u.s. attorney. >> could be anything significant in the fact mueller did hand it off. >> kd indicate he didn't think it was part of his purview or felt it was more appropriate to be handled by the southern district. i'm not sure. but i want to go back to the whole question of why was michael cohen involved in this relationship at all. whether it's illegal relationship or a business relationship. this is a man who has been
4:42 pm
sanctioned by the u.s. government even though he hadn't at the time, he has been sanctioned by the u.s. government. he was, he had close tied to putin. that was well-known. he was at the rt dinner in 2015 with michael flynn. >> russia today. propaganda arm considered by u.s. intelligence. >> all of this, the bells and whistles should have gone off, the attorney for the president-elect of the united states and the president of the united states not to do a business deal with this guy, but he did so any way. and it suggests that either michael cohen has bad judgment or trump himself did. >> yeah, i mean when you add all this up, go ahead, ken. >> yeah, two quick points. one i think michael cohen has demonstrated pretty thoroughly to us that he does in fact often have bad judgment. that's one. two, when mueller habded that the southern district of new york to southern district of new
4:43 pm
york the cohen matter and then you compare their argument last week in the eastern district of virginia and the manafort case, they were arguing a phenomenally broad mandate to allow themselves to proceed with the manafort prosecution. now judge ellis did not seem inclined to accept that. when you look at how broad mueller's team is arguing, to then see them hand off the cohen piece suggests to me that a they don't think cohen had anything to do at the time they handed it off with the russian investigati investigation. so unless something new has arisen and perhaps this oligarch is the something new, toup that point in time, it looked like mueller's team didn't think cohen was connected to any russian involvement. >> thank you both very much and next, it is primary night in america. the polls now closed. first results coming in. the question in west virginia. will voters embrace a candidate who claims to be b trumpier than trump? jon king at the magic wall, next. it's absolute confidence in 30,000 precision parts.
4:44 pm
or it isn't. it's inspected by mercedes-benz factory-trained technicians. or it isn't. it's backed by an unlimited mileage warranty, or it isn't. for those who never settle, it's either mercedes-benz certified pre-owned, or it isn't. the mercedes-benz certified pre-owned sales event. now through may 31st. only at your authorized mercedes-benz dealer. anyone can get you ready, holiday inn express gets you the readiest. because ready gives a pep talk. showtime! but the readiest gives a pep rally. i cleared my inbox! holiday inn express, be the readiest. holiday inn express, feeclaritin and relief fromwsy
4:45 pm
symptoms caused by over 200 allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear. ( ♪ ) your heart doesn't only belong to you. child: bye, grandpa! and if you have heart failure, entrusting your heart to entresto may help. entresto is a heart failure medicine that helps improve your heart's ability to pump blood to the body. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto was proven superior at helping people stay alive and out of the hospital compared to a leading heart failure medicine. don't take entresto if pregnant. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren, or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium.
4:46 pm
ask your doctor about entresto. and help make more tomorrows possible. entresto, for heart failure. at bass pro shops and cabela's. like bass pro or cabela's flag t-shirts for only $5. an igloo 48 qt. cooler for under $20. and save 25% on camelbak hydration packs. i am totally blind. and non-24 can make me show up too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424. because antonio villaraigosa millions got it
4:47 pm
he defended women's healthcare, banned military-style assault weapons, banned workplace discrimination, and more. antonio for governor. only one candidate for governor when students were stuck in failing schools, led the fight to turn them around. as mayor of l.a., antonio villaraigosa invested in classrooms and security. graduation rates soared. antonio for governor.
4:48 pm
the biggest day at the polls since the presidential election day. polls just closing tonight in north carolina, ohio and west virginia and many eyes are on the primary in west virginia at this moment. president trump and top republicans are have been telling voters, warning them, that they shall not vote tr dfo don blanken ship who's a republican candidate. it's a crucial ply mare. blanken ship stealing all the thunder. cole barren, who spent a year in prison after 29 miners were killed in one of his mines. he's also made race based attacked against mitch mcconnell and his wife. transportation secretary elaine chow. >> i have an issue when the father-in-law was the kind of person. >> i don't see this insinuation by the press there's something
4:49 pm
ris racest. some people are korean persons an some are african persons. it's not any slander there. >> i'm basically trumpier than trump. >> okay, unfortunately for blanken ship, trump tuz ndoes n agree. he tweeted don blankenship can't win the general election in your state. no way. continued to say remember alabama. go to jon king first at the magic wall to break this race down. this is a crucial race. when we talk about the primary. what are you looking at? >> i'm looking >> i am looking at the appeal. he says anyone with a title, his top two rivals. he says don't trust anybody with a title. so part of it is the outsider appeal.
4:50 pm
part of it is -- will be a disaster in a state west virginia where republicans have a good chance to pick up a seat in what they expect otherwise to be a tough year. just to show you the early results. don't read anything into this. just in, it is a few hundred votes, patrick morrissey 70%. blankenship at 9.5. jenkins at 9.5. let's take a breath and wait for the results to come in. calls mitch mcconnell married to a china person. if blankenship wins, do not be surprised when the republican
4:51 pm
party says they are no tt goingo send any money. and essentially, sends no national party money in. blankenship says he can still win. we will see. blankenship, yes it is an outsider message, and also spending a lot of money. this is the democrat up here. in the republican primary, it is these three that count. is it the outsider message, more money? going to count the votes. >> you talk about west virginia which is important. and indiana, what is the latest there? that is another important one. >> we are getting results. and again, this is one of those handful of seats. man chin in virginia. republicans think and what they think will otherwise be a bad
4:52 pm
year. pick up some seats. similar dynamic. congressman todd mockita. he is running like donald trump, more subtle saying i am a business man. look at this. he is at 41%. these margins have held. so braun businessman outsider running it up to be the republican nominee. money, mike braun spending his own money. look how much he has put into the race. the outsider message has appeal, but money helps. >> sure does. we will see how much that proves to be the path to victory. let's bring in dana bash, david
4:53 pm
gergen and david bruny. you just heard jon going through these crucial races. do you think don blankenship will be celebrating tonight? >> i don't know. we will count the votes as they come in. but certainly a possibility. and to underscore what jon king just said. if don blankenship who mitch mcconnell. keeping the senate in play. because you have these five states, indiana and west virginia are two of them where donald trump won by double digits. and democrats are running for re-election. and that is the best opportunity that republicans have to hold
4:54 pm
their majority or expand it. and if they give up on one of them, that would be quite a development. >> i played some of the things that blankenship have said, and i want to give our viewers a little more of a feel for blankenship, because he is consistent. >> swamp captain mitch mcconnell mass created millions of jobs for china people. while doing so, mitch has gotten rich. his china family have given him millions of dollars. i will beat manchin and ditch cocaine mitch. >> he is unapologetic about those comments. he thinks they are working. >> i spent a couple of days down on the campaign trail much of it with blankenship and he is apologetic. and he is also reminding
4:55 pm
everybody as much as he can, reminding everybody, even though he is a businessman and a lot of baggage, he just got out of jail for a misdemeanor around a coal mine disaster where 29 west virginia died. that is heavy baggage to carry around. but on the flip side, he is trumpier than trump. he sounds like the candidate i followed around in 2016. lacks the charisma. and this is a state where donald trump won by 42 percentage points. the other two candidates are politicians. and look, i mean, it's sad to say there is a reason why don blankenship is continuing to say these things.
4:56 pm
because it sells in a certain sector of the population who hears that and says you know what, this is not just race, but against the establishment, the deep state and that is something that he has been able to take off with. >> david gergen, you end up with another roy moore situation here? >> you could. >> wins the primary and then here we go. >> in the strangest of strange years, it is unbelievable that the control of the senate could turn upon how well a man does tonight who just came out of prison where a lot of kids died. have we come to a point in our politics where a man like blankenship could determine the outcome? we are. my bet is he loses.
4:57 pm
i think we are getting a glimpse maybe of a post trump world, guys like blankenship when trump leaves the stage where he will one day. there are a lot of people out there who are trumpier than trump. >> and now feel they can come out and run. frank, you know, he has been taking out radio ads and embracing that people call him a racist. let me play a quick clip of a radio ad and get your reaction to this. >> they are calling me a bigot, a moron and a despicable character, and mentally ill. >> it is ironic that trump came out with a tweet that says don't vote for him. he is a monster that he created.
4:58 pm
could cost the republican control of the senate and this sort of campaign, this in your face thing, thumbing your nose at the establishment and indulging, this is a monster creation by donald trump. this is a pandora box that he open. that tweet was not particularly effective. >> it was just don't vote for this guy. >> you have blankenship that says i am trumpier than trump. in indiana, fighting to see who loves trump more. here the three of them are. >> donald trump deserves a noble peace prize. >> donald trump was right. we need fewer in washington. >> drain the swamp.
4:59 pm
>> they are all supporters. who could love trump more. >> this is, the president's margin in indiana was smaller, who is going to be the republican nominee. and you know, we have this big picture look at the fight for the house in november and the senate but particularly the house. a lot of these republicans are running away from trump. this day is a situation where they are running towards him because he is still quite popular among the base. >> we got a hint to the poll, among republicans who do you trust to run the issues. majority leader. their speaker. this is a party that is in donald trump's image right now. and note, as frank bruny was talking about the tweet in west
5:00 pm
virginia, donald trump did not say don't vote for blankenship because he says offensive things, he just says he don't want you to vote for him because he doesn't think he can win. >> that is trump. it is transactional, about wins and losses. thanks for joining us. ac 360 starts now. thanks for joining us. it is primary night. waiting for returns. we will bring you results as they come in. a dramatic development in the mueller investigation and the investigation into michael cohen. cnn has learned that mueller's investigations have questions a russian oligarch. hundreds of thousands from this oligarch's u.s.