tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN May 31, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
where i'm at? isaiah 65: 24. ask for a falcon x. i said okay. >> this will be the fourth jet he's owned. this would be more fuel efficient. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. >> thanks, brooke. martha stewart, blagojevich, if other contestants are in need of a pardon, now is a good time to raise your hand. "the lead" starts right now. president trump pardons a political ally and clemency from other pals from "the apprentice." why now? is it a message to mueller witnesses? comedian samantha b. saying she crossed the line by calling the president's daughter, maybe the worst word you can call a woman.
will the president condemn roseanne's remarks? plus, not to the beer. now president trump's latest move could cost you next time you crack open a cold one. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead," i'm jack tapper. president trump seemingly passing out pardons to the far right almost as eagerly as oprah once gifted pontiacs to suburban moms. the president gave a full pardon to a woman convicted of federal campaign cash crimes. a few hours later, president trump is considering commuting the sentence for rob blagojevich and martha stewart. critics and analysts suggest it is a piece. they are all individuals prosecuted by people the president deems to be his opponents, individuals who face charges that members of the
trump team could face themselves. blagojevich and stewart have both appeared on "the apprentice" or spin offs, but they have more than that in common, they are connected to james comey. the prosecutor in stewarts case, james comey. blagojevich convicted of 17 charges including wire fraud. he was arrested during patrick fitzgerald's tenure. he is a close friend of comey's and a member of comey's legal team to investigate the valerie for lying to the fbi. that's another individual president trump pardon. she was prosecutored by bharara. in their view, they are
constantly trying to undermine the rule of law. one might note that they were prosecuted by the u.s. attorney's office by the southern district of new york, the same office criminally investigating president trump's lawyer/fixer, michael cohen. so, the big question, of course, is the signal being sent here, at all, by the president about his feelings about that office, the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york and the president's willingness to forgive the crimes of those law enforcement officials? they note there's a theme emerging with the patterns and pardons and potential pardons. the u.s. government is treating people unfairly. that is the explanation given by the president. quote, he was treated very unfairly. blagojevich today, quote, i thought he was treated unfairly. of martha stewart, quote, i
think martha stewart was harshly and unfairly treated. he said of scooter libby, i have heard he was treated unfairly. and of sheriff joe arpaio, he racially profiled latinos, but the first pardon he gave out, quote, i thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly. unfairly, unfairly, unfairly. the question, is president trump preparing to pardon others? maybe people he knows better than "apprentice" cast members for being treated unfairly by special counsel robert mueller? jeff has more on the presidential pardon parade. >> reporter: president trump sending more signals than ever today. he's in a pardoning mood. out of the blue, the president announcing a full scale pardon for desouza. flying to houston, the president
telling reporters on air force one, i called him last night, first time i spoke to him. i said i'm pardoning you. i felt he was unfairly treated. he pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign laws by asking women who donate $20,000 to the campaign of an old college friend running against kristin gillibrand in new york. he told them he would reimburse them. the president calls them a quick, minor fine. it's that election stuff, specifically russian meddling and the special counsel probe that is weighing on his mind. his own fight escalates with the justice department. the president talking of more pardons for martha stewart and former illinois governor, rob blagojevich. it could be a signal to the friends caught up in the russia investigation.
>> i'm here with donald and melania trump going to make a meat ball sandwich. >> it's very good. >> stewart in oo securities fraud case is an old friend of trump, even though she said he shouldn't be president. >> i'm voting for hillary clinton. we can't have a country run by somebody unprepared for what's to come. >> reporter: a special prosecutor in the case, james comey, the one he fired as fbi director. blagojevich has ties to trump, seen as a contestant on "the apprentice." >> i have friends where things happen to them, they crawl into a corner and die. you are out there punching, i appreciate tha respect that. >> i appreciate that. >> reporter: he was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011.
from that federal prison this week, blagojevich is writing, seemingly trying to get the attention of the man in the white house, president trump, saying he believes the rule of law in america is broken and said the federal law enforcement simply can't come up with a crime, they make one up. so, clearly, the president seizing on that. jake, it's an open question if the president is actually concerned about rob blagojevich or trying to continue the narrative that the law and the justice department is against him. jake? >> jeff, thanks so much. i want to bring in the panel. let me start with you, laura. how unusual is it for the president to pardon or suggest pardoning high profile, controversial individuals, rob blagojevich, scooter libby, martha stewart. is this on? >> it is. most wait until the end of their term to make the pardons. that could be the unusual
factor. the real unusual factor is there's a theme. every person he pardoned, including jack johnson including what he thought was unfair and it was unfair, are all people he believes are celebrity figures taken to task through a witch hunt and are mistreated by the prosecutors trying to get a conviction of somebody who is high profile. that's the overarching theme. every one of the people and the types of crimes convicted of from campaign finance to lying to investigators have to do with charges that are swirling around his inside circle. so, that's what the most unusual aspect of it is. he's sending a clear message to the media, to robert mueller and rod rosenstein. >> what do you think, david? you disagree? >> yeah, listen. i know you find it hard to believe, but federal prosecutors are not political in the least bit, right laura? i watched one episode of the
billions. whether you are preybarra or fitzgerald, they are political by nature. they prosecute the high-profile crimes. >> you think they are innocent? >> i don't know. they hunt scouts for a reason. >> the jury or the judge makes the decision. >> we saw what happened in the senator menendez case. high profile. the department of justice goes after him for a long time. hung jury. super complex crimes. president obama pardoned chelsea manning, not so controversial. he had 212 pardons. president clinton pardoned 400 people. if we go through the list, including mark rich, huge donor, we can go through the list. if i went through the list, we could fight about each one. >> chelsea is different. also, the idea you pointed out many high profile cases, but the
vast majority of cases, many of whom are career serving people, are not high profile. >> i'm not talking the a-list. >> that's whose prosecuting a number of the cases. they are the head hon chos above ausa. it is the work of ausa. >> you are saying there is no political aspect to any prosecution? >> there is a political aspect if you are prosecuting an elected official for campaign finance. that's political. >> i want to bring kirsten in. they fought their charges, desouza admitted what he did was wrong. why pardon him sf. >> he gave illegal campaign donations which he believed on being too good of a friend. he is a savvy person that's been
around a long time and realize there are laws about how much money you can give to people. he's probably being pardoned because trump is trying to send messages to people he's going to pardon people. that's the easiest way to look at this. like laura said, he is pardoning people or talking of pardoning people who have done similar things as he may be accused of doing. on the obama thing, one difference that barack obama did is he did it through a process of the department of justice. he wasn't freelancing like here are people i kinds of like and maybe i'll pardon them. the people he was pardoning were low level drug offenders. >> nonviolent. >> they weren't going to benefit him. there was no personal benefit. >> nobody is disputing the president has the pardon power. i'm wondering what pattern you see here. a lot of these people were prosecuted by comey or comey
allies. there are other cases where cohen is being investigated right now. do you not see this as a strategy here? >> most high profile cases are brought, southern district of new york, chicago, big cities, pete fitzgerald was a high profile prosecutor. comey was. the case that is are brought against high profile individuals are brought by high profile prosecutors, generally. >> you don't think there's a signal? >> there's no chess game saying we are going to pardon these people. >> what about the general theme here which in all these cases, including with jack johnson, the black boxer convicted of a ridiculous violation and was pardoned by the president. in all cases, the government is unfair. it is similar language to how president trump talks about how he and his friends and former campaign aides are being treated
unfairly by robert mueller. do you think that's a coincidence? >> no, i think in many ways, the reason he feels a kinship necessary to expand and utilize pardoning power, which no one is questioning. the theme here, remember, jack johnson, yes. was he victimized and profiled under a law intended to criminalize romance, yes. that's why he lost his heavyweight title and why he's in prison. they are all celebrities and high profile. desouza not so much, but he feels he is victimized and targeted based on his viewpoints and conservative viewpoints and attacks on obama, which is the theme president trump thinks. he was not hillary clinton and he was not barack obama, but for those things, he would be treated fairly. that is the overarching theme. it's not co-incidental or strategic. if he has the right to do so, we have to call a spade a spade.
>> blagojevich's attorney released a response about the sentence. quote, they rewrote the law and told the jury to convict based on the belief there was a connection between contributions and acts. when that didn't work, they rewrote the jury instructions telling the second jury to reject it assuring he would get convicted. without getting into the weeds, this is similar to the other narrative being presented, i think, by the president in his defenders about the case against him that there is prosecutors. you are shaking your head. prosecutors are out of control, overextending. >> let's push the tape and rewind the menendez case. if you read what you said about the judge giving instructions to the jury, that's what they did to senator menendez. they couldn't convict him. they went back again. a mistrial.
they were going to prosecute him again. this department of justice said enough. >> because they couldn't get a conviction. >> they keep changing the jury instructions. >> i think that the president has made it very clear he feels this is a witch hunt, that he is under attack, politically motivated and feels kinship with somebody making a similar argument and somebody he has a relationship with as well. >> stick around. is president trump trying to send a message directly to the witnesses in the mueller investigation? that's next, stay with us. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ...
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can be a big bad problem that you could spread to. family members, including your grandchildren babies too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough are the most at risk for severe illness. but you can help prevent this. talk to your doctor today about getting vaccinated against whooping cough. because dangers don't just exist in fairytales. we are back and continuing the conversation about president trump earlier today, issuing a full pardon for conservative author desouza. that was heard in the southern
district of new york. another case has to do with martha stewart, which was also out of the southern district of new york. let me bring in the panel, kirsten powers, if you are michael cohen, the president's lawyer/fixer and being criminally investigated by the new york district attorney's office as those two, are you thinking to yourself, boy, the boss man is sending a message to me? >> i would. i think he looks like he is handing them out like candy. there isn't any reason to believe that he wouldn't do this for michael cohen. that said, it's a gamble. you don't know what donald trump will do. are you going to, you know, possibly put yourself in jeopardy over the hope that he is going to end up doing this in the future. >> david, you have been making the case u.s. attorneys are political animals. >> not all. >> the u.s. attorney level, of
course they are because they are appointed by president's. chris christie used to be. so are politicians, political animals. >> right. >> when president trump is doing this, you can make the argument they are zealous or over zealous, in your opinion, i don't know if you feel that way or not, but is it not also possible that president trump is playing politics here a little bit? >> listen, just to address the michael cohen piece, he faces charges. those cannot be pardoned. he is going to be tried by the state of new york for criminal action if there's a crime there. the president can't pardon that. the president can send whatever message, whatever hypothetical message everyone thinks he is sending, but he faces the possibility of going to jail in the state of new york. that cannot be waived. the message he idea he is sendi
message, i don't think that's an issue. in terms of the martha stewarts in the world, a lot of people would say what she was convicted of is making a false statement. we know the story, the fbi shows up at 7:00 a.m. and you are in your pajamas wiping sleepy eyes from your face and they ask you a bunch of questions. you show up with your lawyer and recall facts differently, you go to jail. by lots of folks accounts, martha stewart is the example of that kind of press, unfair treatment. >> can i say one thing, then weigh in. in comey's book, which i read, he has a section in there about how he regretted and velt ambivalent about prosecuting martha stewart. >> that's a good point. new york is one of these weird things where you cannot prosecute somebody for a state level crime where it is looming.
they are trying to change that law to avoid what you are talking about. if you have a federal charge, you could pardon that. in new york, it is different. you cannot bring a state action if you have the federal charge looming. the message that people are not hearing, manafort has been left out there with the most number of charges here. there's no message sent to him. the theme for everybody else seems to be lying to investigators could lead to a pardon. exposing identity, scooter libby. they are swirling around everybody but paul manafort. to him, what message is he sending to him? >> president trump was trying to rewrite history as if it's another take in the board room. he tweeted, not that it matters but i never fired james comey because of russia. 2018 president trump, now 2017 president trump. you tolt lester hold and the rest of the world what was on
your mind when you fired comey. >> when i decided to do it i said this russia thing is a made up story. >> we all saw that. how can he claim it had nothing to do with russia? >> what the president is trying to say is the reason he fired him wasn't to do with his relationship with russia. he's the overall theme with president colluded with russia. i haven't spoken to the president about it, so i can't speak specifically to his state of mind. i don't know the rest of the clip and the tape, the next sentence, i don't know. >> kirsten, the day after he fired comey, he met in the oval office with two russian diplomats, lavrov and ambassador to the u.s., kislyak saying i fired the head of the fbi, he was crazy, a nut job, i faced
pressure because of russia. that's taken off. seems like russia was on his mind. >> he said that. this is the thing, this is the whole thing he does where he says things that he knows we know are not true and i don't actually know what you are confused about. i don't. what's confusing? the tweet saying -- the tweet he sent out is a lie. it's just a lie. i don't understand, what's confusing about it? >> my point is, when you are trying to convict somebody, proving what's on your mind. >> what's on your mind at the time. >> the reasoning why he did it is different than us talking about it. >> that's true, but the emperor has no clothes on here. he said i was thinking to myself and that proved what he is talking about in his mind. those are the clues that give you the information you need.
i agree, that's not going to be in and of itself and not to push the needle in the direction, but no prosecutor is going to have a goal of obstruction. it's giving somebody a speeding ticket as they leave the scene of the crime. i want to know why you are speeding away is the focus. the confusion the emperor has no clothes on. >> you are looking at the reasoning he is speeding away, right? the theory that somehow russians, through the election, if you peel away what is at the bottom of this, it's the constant media narrative that the russians gave him the election. >> stick around. we have a lot more to talk about. if president trump disagreed with somebody, generally speaking, he doesn't hesitate saying it. why does he have a problem with someone like roseanne barr? i feel a great deal of urgency...
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politics, samantha bee said she deeply regrets making an offensive remark about ivanka trump about children being taken away from their parents on "full frontal" last night. >> let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices you [ bleep ]. he listens to you. >> using the "c" word to describe her as inappropriate and inexcusable, adding she apologized to ivanka, calling it vile and vicious. executives must demonstrate it will not be condoned on their network. tbs, a subsidiary of time warner, cnns parent company says samantha bee has taken the right action with the language she
used. the words should not have been aired. it was our mistake to. wanda, what is your reaction to this? >> i agree, the comments were shocking and offensive and inappropriate. they shouldn't have been said. it comes at a moment where we are having comments about the comments roseanne barr made about valley jarrett, a former obama adviser. do not put the two together. what roseanne barr said about valerie jarrett was racist. what was said about ivanka trump was hateful. there's space between the two. we are talking two different things here. neither one of them should have been said, they are both inappropriate. >> i agree with that. i think it is con flating. first of all, i tweeted this, i don't think samantha bee should have said this. it's massage nist when you use this language against women. i have been critical of plenty of people all over the spectrum when they do it.
i'm glad she apologized. i think there's a difference between what that and what was said about valley jarrett. by saying one of valerie jarrett's parents was an ape is playing on this idea that goes back to slavery, frankly, that black people weren't human and used to oppress black people. to put them in the same category isn't right. that doesn't mean samantha bee is off the hook, she isn't. it's wrong. the white house hasn't condemned what roseanne barr said, but what they said about him without this atrocious slur about valerie jarrett. what did she do? how did she get pulled into the attack? >> they are both horrific. we can walk and chew gum and have conversation about both. the roseanne piece is
inexcusable as noted by many people. she's been offending people for a long time. it's inexcusable. fl this case, the samantha bee, this is a scripted piece. this was written. this isn't a rift by samantha bee. this went through standards and practices. somebody typed it into the computer. somebody wrote this. somebody reviewed it and she read it. that is horrific. it is different than being up at 2:00 -- i'm not defending anybody. michelle wolf got up and gave a speech, another horrific speech. what samantha bee did is horrific. did the president of tbs call ivanka? did they say that was awful, we are sorry. >> i have no idea. i have heard other people say that's fine that the white house is offended about what was said about ivanka trump, but president trump is not just the president of ivanka trump, he's the president of 13 million african-americans and how come
there is no condemning language about what roseanne said? >> i think you might be able to make an argument if he never tweeted about it. i'm doing north korea. i'm busy, i'm the president. yes, i had a phone conversation with roseanne barr, but i'm not her keeper, but he tweeted about it. he turned himself into the victim and not to condemn it is propmatic. >> we don't expect him to condemn it. this is a president who has not come out and condemned racist statements of people around him. as you recall, it came to prominence talking about whether or not barack obama was born in the united states. he came down that escalator and called mexicans racist. >> rapists. >> sorry, rapists. we have not seen him condemn that. it doesn't surprise me to not
hear him come out and talk about this. >> again, i said this to van yesterday. the president didn't tweet in defense or take on the folks at starbucks. look at his actions on prison reform, on the jack jobs department. people think it's not a big deal. president obama didn't. this is a step this president, look at his actions, not his words in this case. i agree, he should have come out in charlottesville. >> you are condemning samantha bee's words, but not president trumps. >> i think keith olbermann, some of the stuff he said is ridiculous. it's true. you couldn't show it on the screen. >> i have written columns condemning the things keith olbermann said about conservative women. why are you talking about keith olbermann instead of the president. maybe he could do something for black people that are alive. how about that? >> talk to van jones who was at the white house. talk about prison reform.
there is going to be something about prison reform. >> you are not saying he should condemn -- >> i do. in the case of charlottesville, he should have spoke out forcibly. >> it seems as though you seem to be saying, this is something i hear from a lot of supporters of the president, judge his actions, not his words. when he hear words from other people, we judge their words. we have to take a break. a top north korean official will visit the white house to hand deliver a letter from kim jong-un. will they meet in person? stay with us. 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. 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.
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pompeo. michelle kaczynski joins us now, live. the president and secretary pompeo sound optimistic. could this happen june 12th, a week from tuesday? >> they have been talking it up, how well the meetings have been going. they have been making progress, but defining the progress was another thing for the secretary of state today, at least before a group of reporters. he was asked what exactly is the progress. finally, he went as far as to say, they made some progress in setting the conditions so that a potential trump/kim meeting could happen. the u.s. is looking for a big move toward denuclearization before that summit can happen. did they get any kind of commitment? we don't know. but, it doesn't really sound like that. pompeo said, at best, north korea was contemplating a shift in strategy.
today, a tall order for secretary of state, mike pompeo, meeting with kim jong-un's top man to seal a deal between president trump and kim jong-un and convince them it is more secure without nuclear weapons, all in a meet thing that epnded hou hours before it was supposed to. they said because it went so well. >> we think there can be real progress made by the two meeting. it does no good if we are in a place where we don't think there's progress. we have made progress in the last 72 hours. >> reporter: he gave no detail on whether the trump/kim summit will happen or when we will know it or how much the north koreans are willing to give up, insisting the u.s. demands complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. >> i believe they are
contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one their country has not been prepared to make before. this is going to be a process that will take days and weeks to work through. >> reporter: he arrived last night to new york, the first ever trip to the united states. photos released by the state department, secretary pompeo showed him the skyline and exchanged pleasantries over american steak, fa lilet mignon. the goals brought. the u.s. wants to see the north koreans do something historic, something they have never done before to show they are serious about denuclearization and commit to it before meeting with trump. that could mean giving up some of their nuclear arsenal or ballistic nuclear program. >> he is going to dangle just enough in front of secretary pompeo so he can return to trump and say that everything is fine and the summit can go ahead.
>> reporter: also in pyongyang today, meeting with kim jong-un, the russian foreign minister, who said denuclearization should be phased in with sanctions starting to be lifted for north korea, the opposite the plan the u.s. wants. it's not clear how much kim will budge on that as he praised vladimir putin for standing up to, quote, u.s. domination. but, both trump and pompeo say meetings have been going well, things progressing. the president, still hedging. >> all a process. we'll see. hopefully we'll have a meeting on the 12th that's going along very well, but i want it to be meaningful. it doesn't mean it gets done in one meeting. maybe you have to have a second or third. maybe we'll have none. but, it's in good hands, that i can tell you. >>reporter: these meetings are supposed to determine whether the summit can take place. we don't know if it will happen and we might not know tomorrow.
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the dow dropping triple digits as president trump slapped canada, mexico and the european union with tariffs on steel and alum yum. kevin brady, a trump supporter slammed him saying they hit the wrong target. mexico, canada and europe are not the problem, china is. this action puts american workers and families at risk.
if this crazy news week makes you want to crack open a beer, well, ryan noble says more bad news for you. >> reporter: jake, it's one of the president's supporters here in the purple state of colorado arguing the tariff on steel and al aluminum imports could hurt the americans the president is hoping to help. one of the biggest beer makers prices could be on the rise. >> the tariff is going to add costs in america. t >> reporter: the cost of beer is tied to aluminum. one of the biggest users is in golden colorado, the miller coors corporation. the most iconic beer brands in america. the uncle pioneered the use of the aluminum can years ago. >> it was new technology. the first time it had been done in the industry. >> reporter: today, 65% of their
product is sold in cans, many reduced in the largest can plant in the world, which generates 13 million cans a day. the overall cost of aluminum is bumped up a small amount, a surcharge called the premium and added cost for shipping and storing aluminum spiked close to 140%. that spike is directly tied to the tariff announcement. a frustration for coors, a republican who recollects hehel fund-raiser for president trump. >> the tariff is a tax on people who use aluminum. >> reporter: philip, an economist at the university of colorado, denver, believes it is the tariff that is will lead to higher beer prices. >> the main problem here, again, is the uncertainty generated. >> reporter: coors says half of their customers make $50,000 or less. when it comes to beer, it could
hurt working class americans the most. >> you could make the argument imposing the tariffs is going to hurt the types of people you claim to help. >> reporter: jim prefers beer in a can because it's cheap. >> i'm not going to be happy about it. >> reporter: if they connect the hike to president trump, it could lead some to re-evaluate their vote. >> by midterm election, we'll see how it goes. does he stick with the plan of the tariff? >> chris johnson, the manager of the candlelight tavern in denver may not notice the price going up. >> the economy is good so people don't complain as much. >> reporter: pete can coors hopes it doesn't come to that. he's spoke to vice president mike pence about the concerns. at this point, there are no plans for the administration to intervene. economists argue if the tariffs remain in place, it's not a question of if beer prices will
go up, but when. the political question is do beer drinkers blame president trump for the hike? jake? >> thank you so much. next up, a cnn exclusive. steve bannon has advice for his former boss, plump. hint, it involves more firing. who does bannon want out? stay with us. washing machine dying) appliance got you down? head to the sears memorial day event. up to 40 percent off appliances. 52% off this kenmore refrigerator. 50 percent off kenmore elite laundry pairs. find your new appliance at the sears memorial day event.
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president trump has pressured attorney general jeff sessions on multiple occasions to overturn his decision to recuse himself from the russia investigation according to a source familiar with the president's demands. the question is why president trump is being urged by his former top strategist, steve bannon to fire the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein in a new interview. rosenstein oversees the investigation should be dismissed if he refuses to turn over all documents related to a confidential fbi source as demanded by lawmakers. president trump claimed the fbi planted a spy inside his campaign to dig up dirt on him politically. >> they refused to give the documents to nunes. i think rosenstein ought to be, i think he ought to be a direct order, simple, turn every document associated with this
spy over in cambridge and whatever association was involved, give whatever the fbi did, whatever the cia did. clapper and these guys on tv, they are bitter old men. you turn over every document and if he doesn't turn it over, you give him 24 hours. if he doesn't turn it over, i would fire him. that's giving a law enforcement officer to turn over documents to capitol hill. if he doesn't, i would fire him. >> you can see the rest of the interview tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. that is it for "the lead." i turn owe over to wolf blitzer in the "situation room." thank you for watching. breaking news. pardons. president trump pardons a pair of apprentice stars. is it a defiant message or a signal to witnesses in the mueller investigation? fired over