tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 31, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
right here at 9:00 on cnn. don't forget you can watch out front any time anywhere. "a.c. 360" with anderson begins right now. good evening, presidents are not kings, but in at least one respect, they enjoy the privilege of loyalty. under a president's authority to pardon federal offenders, is depending on what scholar you is very nearly so. few have questioned his power to do it, but there are those who have questioned his judgment and intent whether he's using this to send a message to those who will reach a plea deal with -- pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, he's also an
obama and clinton hater, and author of tweets like these, of president obama saying you can take the boy out of the ghetto. and claims that racism was not a republican institution, he also said that he's thinking of pardoning the senator rob blagojevich. additionally, the president says he's considering a pardon for martha steward, convicted of lying to federal investigators. now keeping them honest, those are the same or similar charges that members of team trump either are or could be facing, but thosen aren't the only through lines. there's also presidential pay back, both blagojevich and the president have ties to james comey. comey was the u.s. attorney who prosecuted stewart, and
fitzgerald who prosecuted blagojevich is a comey friend. and he also investigated the valerie plame leak, and convicted scooter libby for lying to the fbi. as you remember, trump pardon libby last month. but there's other connections to contemplate as well. dinesh desouza was pardoned. there are still other connections to contemplate, and this one starts with reality and ends with show. both the former governor and the lifestyle guru appeared on the former reality show "the apprentice" which stewart once plugged on her program. >> so donald, how is your you apprentice? >> i think it's going to be great. it's on thursday night. and i think it's the best we have done so far. >> there are other common taalis
in the pardons, each the president said was treated unbelievably unfairly which is the kind of language he uses to describe his own treatment by the mueller probe. jeffrey toobin, and jeff, we'll get to the celebrity apresen"ce apprentice"pardoned edition in a moment. but do you see similarithese as to paul manafort and others to hang tough? >> this was a guilty plea, the idea that this was somehow made up prosecution where barack obama's justice department and preek bharara prosecuted, he
pleaded guilty, he knew he was guilty. it wasn't the most serious crime in the federal code, but it was a crime, as he acknowledged. but, you know, he's a hero to the right wing because of his unbelievably outrageous and false accusations against democrats of all stripes. so this was a way of ingratia ingratiating himself, the president continuing to ingratiate himself with his base, which is his right under the constitution. but this has never been done before. these sort of midterm pardons of people who are outside the justice department pardon program, it's -- we are -- this is another violence of the norms that other presidents have abided by. it's legal, but it's really -- it's very scary. >> jennifer, what do you make of the timing, and also the kind of then diagram of the players in these pardons? >> i think it's pretty clear the message that the president is
sending here, the whole i will get you next, i'm willing to pardon these kinds of offenses, i'm willing to pardon people i know and like. i don't think it's an accident that he actually knows these people and had them on his reality tv show. so i'm likely to pardon friends and family. so that's going on. the question is could it be obstruction in and of itself to kind of offer these pardons, so for that we're looking at other evidence, john dowd had floated the notion of a pardon with manafort. if there's some back channel that this is what these mean, that's obstruction, but i don't think we're there yet. >> if he promises to pardon someone who's under investigation, is that some soft of doj investigation? >> the whole subject of mueller and trump is really about impeachment, it's not about prosecution, i don't think anyone believes that mueller is going to violate department of
justice policy and indict the president. so the question is what does congress think about that? the pardons themselves i think are constitutionally protected. but the negotiations around them could well will evidence of obstruction of justice. if there were any sort of quid pro quos, any sort of deals where the president says implicitly or explicitly or through intermediaries, to paul manafort, to michael flynn, to michael cohen, hang in there, don't cooperate and i'll give you a pardon. that, i think, definitely could be seen as evidence of an impeachable offense. >> when you think of pardons, you kind of think of people who deserve pardons, worthy pardons, people who are unjustly in prison, or people who had decisions of a jury trial in a
minor offense. >> in the case of the boxer jackson johnson, you have a wrongful conviction that's been righted now, that's one that president trump has done that's justifiable. dineshd deuse a, it's not around after the fact, i'm getting rid of your conviction on paper. so there's no wrong that's righted with ddesouza, and paul maa ford. that really has an impact on the morale. >> there have been pardons in the relatively recent past. bill clinton pardoned mark rich he pardoned his brother, george
herbert walker bush pardoned all the contra defendants. but those took place toward the end of their presidencies. there couldn't be any deal going forward. what's so unusual about these controversial pardons is the signal of what it might mean for the rest of the trump administration, and that's something new under the sun. >> it's also, jack, the fact that the president is pardoning martha stewart and rod blagojevich, and michael cohen who is one of his personal attorneys. >> the jack johnson pardon is great, it's -- he died in 1946. the pardon that kim kardashian came to talk about, seems like it might have merit. but just to refer to a
president, people may remember, barack obama had a clemency program where nonviolent drug offenders could apply to have their sentences reduced and there was a formal process in the justice department. and he commuted the sentences of more than 1,000 people in the latter part of his presidency because he thought that the sentences were too long. that's traditionally how pardons have worked through some sort of organized process, not through who was on the apprentice. >> jeff, if you will stay with us, jennifer, as well, "the washington post" has some breaking news that we're just learning about the russia probe, on the phone we have matt zapatowski. tell me what the breaking news is? >> reporter: tonight we're reporting that federal prosecutors in d.c. have interviewed jim comey about andrew mccabe.
andrew mccabe i'm sure everyone recalls was the subject of this scathing inspector general report, alleging he lied to comey and other investigators and so we understand that federal prosecutors in d.c. have now interviewed jim comey about his exchanges with mccabe. >> do you know when the interviews took place or anything more specific about it? >> we know it took place recently, so the referral, the inspector general made what's called a criminal referral to the d.c. inspector general's office, he had been doing an internal investigation on andrew mccabe, about these lies, and those were released publicly, and maybe in the last month or two, he referred the case to the d.c. attorney's office. the interview we understand took place recently. i don't have an exact date for you, why it's significant is that it shows that the d.c. attorney's office is taking this
seriously, mccabe kind of intimated, there's really nothing to see here, mccabe disputes a lot of the inspector general's charges, we don't know if any charges are going to come against mccabe, but it's not just going away, d.c. prosecutors are taking it very seriously. >> has mccabe made any comments about this? >> they said, look, we had confirmed the criminal referral more than a month ago and we said then, we thought unless there was political pressure, this would just go away, and they still feel that way, they also suggested that this news was leaking out tonight because of a report in the "new york times" yesterday emmick -- memos that mccabe had kept about rod rosenstein? >> is it clear at all where the investigation of mccabe stands as a whole? >> it's not precisely clear.
look, what we know is that there's some very serious allegations against him, and at the d.c. u.s. attorneys office didn't sort of reject those out of hand, they took this report and they're actually acting on it. they called in jim comey for an interview about these allegations. so that shows they're kind of seriously moving forward with this. now whether this will actually lead to andrew mccabe being criminally charged, it's just impossible to say right now. and i think a lot of people would say what did you expect the d.c. attorney's general office to do, just take the attorney general's findings and tear them up? and interviewing mccabe is sort of a national progression. >> i want to bring back in jeff toobin and jennifer rogers. jennifer, again, i mean as matt was saying, it is hard to figure out exactly if this is significant. >> i think that's right. i mean what inspectors generals
do, they do investigations and they take whatever appropriate personnel actions, and that's kind of by the book, if there's the potential for criminal charges, then they make the referral. the referral is not that exciting in and of itself. the fact that they interviewed comey is evidence that they're taking it seriously. whether they're trying to bury this or not, who knows? so far you just can't possibly tell one way or the other. >> jeff, how do you see it? >> just to remind everybody who andrew mccabe is. he was the deputy director of the fbi who supervised the hillary clinton investigation and later started to supervise some of the trump investigation, hi his wife ran for the state senate as a democrat in virginia and president trump really fixated on mccabe as a villain,
someone who was doing the democrats' dirty work, mccake was anand respected attorney general for many years. but he's had a fall from grace, this inspector general's report which says that he lied. it's true, we don't know if he'll be criminally charged, he's not only lost, been fired and lost his pension, but this interview shows that the possibility of criminal charges is still out. >> jeff toobin, jennifer rogers. coming up next, the president weighs in on roseanne bar and what he said and what he did not say coming up next. also ahead, a republican member of the house republican committee joins us to talk about why the president's conspiracy theory about a spy in his campaign should still be looked into. feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin
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comparing an african-american woman to an ape, you might be waiting a bit longer. yesterday his reaction was to ask why abc, who cancelled her network show didn't apologize to her. iger, where's my call of apology? you and abc have offended millions of people and a they demanded a response. how is brian ross doing? the network offered several clarifications, suspended ross, so the president restated his apology demand, he tweeted the words fair trade in all caps, what he did not mention is the racism at the heart of roseanne barr's tweet. and it's not that he doesn't feel it's necessary or appropriate to appeal to elements of his base or for some other reason, it is part of a p part of a pattern, that the president in a tweet about racism doesn't confront the
racism in it. >>. [ chanting ] . >> chanting jews will not replace us and other anti semitic slogan. >> you had some very bad people in that group. but you had some very fine people on both sides. >> fine people on both sides, which is a rather broad minded interpretation, and that's internal not the video you saw on friday night. someone from the crowd said it was exactly what you saw, but later the president gave a more full throated statement, saying in part, racism is evil akds those who call violence in its name are those who are neo
nazis, the kkk and that are repugnant to most americans. something similar played out on the campaign trail, when someone asked him about david duke. >> i want to ask you about the anti-defamation league which called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the former klan member david duke that condemning him would be -- to say that you don't want david duke's vote or that of other white supremacists in this election? >> just to be clear, i don't know anything about david duke, i don't know anything about what you're talking about white supremacy or white supremacists. i mean did he endorse me or what? i know nothing about david duke,
i know nothing about white supremacists so you're asking me a question that i'm supposed to be talking about people i don't know anything about. >> the next day he claimed he disavowed david duke in that sper view, which he did not. just a short time ago, roseanne barr tweeted again and once again, it's inflammatory, talking to abc executive ben sherwood about valerie jarrett, the african-american woman she compared to an ape, he says what were you thinking about when you did this, i said i thought she was white, she looks like my family. he scoffed and said, what you have done is egregious. do you see a pattern of the president not calling out racism as an initial instinct full stop? >> yes. >> and why do you think that is? >> you know, i don't know why. but i tell you what, i have
fears. one fear i have is that there's a big part of his base that does harbor a lot of racial resentment where african-americans and other groups and that he's afraid that he will look weak if he caves in to the politically correct demand that he say these things, i think he's g ee's a stick goit he doesn't have to live up to his moral obligation to guide the nation past this stuff. i hope it's not because he has actual hatred and bigotry in his heart. but if he's not a racist, he's a racial tuopportunist who plays with the racism of his base, and that's almost worse because it can be so cynical and so destructive. >> jason? >> after spending so much time
with president trump in 2016 and in the white house in 2017, i never heard president trump make any comments that were aimed toward race of anything of the sort. i don't think that's a view he has. but any time somebody like roseanne barr goes and makes an absolute idiotic, racist comment so many people on the political left immediately want to sprint and try to pin that on president trump. i think that's unfair. this is just my own thought on it. i think part of it may be as soon as president trump goes to speak out or have a big huge speech on the roseanne barr comment or something of the sort that every single time going forward, he's going to be expected to react to the behaviors of other people which i think is unfair. what i said 24 hours ago, you can't blame samantha bee 's
terrible comment on either political party. but that's where people want to go, they pin it on president trump and they it is the feelings of the entire trump base. >> i don't understand this nightmare scenario that you have. here's the nightmare, people say horrific things and trump has to speak out about it. trump speaks out about earning, he tweets all the time. the idea that it would be some unsufferable burden on him that people do bad things, he should speak out against these things. >> one of the only reasons that anyone would make a connection between president trump and roseanne bar is that president trump himself made that connection weeks ago, embracing her, saying it's about us. that's really the only linkage
there and the only reason really that there's an expectation that he might want to say something. >> yeah, and also because he seems to embrace that, you know, everyday guy, i represent the forgotten man, okay, maybe. but then when the person -- he took the time from the podium, from the bully pulpit to talk about her ratings, i don't think that's something the president of the united states should be commenting on, since his time is so precious, allegedly, according to sarah sanders, he's got other more important things to worry about. but yet he finds time to tweet all kinds of super flewous things all the time. but now he's silent about it. and it's because there's an issue there. i have been over the years, very reluctant to jump on the race card, and often-times i think it's used to quickly. but there is a race problem with
this president. these people feel energized, these racists, these bigots they feel energized by president trump. >> you think president trump is the one to blame for racism? >> people are responsible for their own individual behavior. however, the era of trump and donald trump's own behavior, his own racial him, from the housing discrimination, to the central park five, to the kneeling nfl players, that has given those people the feeling that they can be emboldened to say and act this way. look lo >> i don't think it's president trump's fault. >> you're not hearing me. i'm saying the president's own behavior, when he can where as unapologetic as he has been in the past and continues to be, as emboldened people, he's the president of the united states and he's one of the most powerful people in the world,
when he does this, it says it's okay for others to do this. >> van, what you did on sensing reform, disproportionately affects minorities in america. that's something you wouldn't have seen from many other republicans previously. >> i disagree. i think you would have seen it from george w. bush. >> he's done a number of these things, i think you look at the way he's acted and the way he's brought people together in events like that. >> i want to hear from you, van, but we have got to take a quick break. we're going to continue this discussion. >> if you do 99 bad things, i'm going to give you credit for the one good thing, but that doesn't get you off the hook for the 99 dad things.
beautiful picture of her children. one mother to another. do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless [ bleep ]. put on something nice and tight and tell your father to stop it. we'll be right back. >> this afternoon, samantha bee apologized. she said i would like to sincerely apologize to ivanka trump and to my viewers for using an expletive in my comments about her. sarah sanders were obviously very critical of her life, saying they were vile and vicious. samantha bee unlike roseanne barr has not had her show
cancelled. is their unfair bias here? >> i think there's a fair case to be made. because what samantha bee did was unacceptable. that's one of the most vile words that you can ever use. i think that was on george carlin's list of 20 words you don't say. i have been critical of ivanka trump before, but that doesn't give you license to be that offensive. cbs has made the decision they made and i don't think they would have been as charitable to someone else who was not on the left that they like, and it gives fuel to the other side to say that, look, see, there's a double standard here, and i think over the years, you can see that, johnny depp made awful comments about assassinating trump, and madonna, and you see these things and people go, that wasn't cool, and they move on. it was another example of the
coursening of our culture. it's just bigger. it's just another example of that. and when you can't have your kids watching cable anymore and you have to explain to them what the c-word is or what the p-word is after trump was caught saying it on video, it just explains with we are as a culture. and that conversation has to be had. if you were cheering on applauding roseanne getting fired, then you're dismissing samantha bee, you're a hypocrite? >> i think it was really inappropriate what samantha bee did, i know her, i like her, i think it was really inappropriate. it also inappropriately stepped on her point, which is that immigration officials are separating babies from mothers and that's wrong, and i think she completely ruined that conversation. i like second chances for people. i think she apologized, that's
good, i like second chances, but roseanne bar, has he as history of doing these kinds of things. but i think people should be aware that this kind of things adds to the disquiet among conservatives and there is a double standard. if i had to make the argument, i would say well a white person calling a black person an ape is different than a woman calling -- i could do all that stuff, but in doing that, i'm just feeding into the narrative, that we're just feeding into e the -- i think people need to be very, very consistent. it not fair to people across the country and it's certainly not fair to ivanka trump. if it becomes a pattern, she could go. >> van had a lot of good points there, and i'm glad to hear you denounce the der ribl language and the terrible comments. i don't know what's going on this week, it's like crazy week. >> it's definitely a week that needs to be over. >> it i'm not going to get into
the whole what aboutism this is what samantha bee should have happen, and what roseanne barr should have happen. you were saying just about the whole coarsening of the culture. i was csurprised to see so many people cheering on samantha bee, and this is a wife, this is a mother, this is the president's daughter. who's in the white house. that's what really concerned me today. it almost feels, especially from some of the comedians that are out there, whether it be michelle wolf, at the correspondents dinner, what we saw from samantha bee, these comments are terrible and horrible except when it's about trump or someone in his family or someone around him. that type of behavior shouldn't be out there anywhere. >> coming up, the latest on the trump's campaign and the odd
rudy giuliani tells dana bash that trey gowdy was drinking the kool-aide when he -- the president of course and many of his defenders say that the fbi spied on the campaign. gowdy, one of the two republican lawmakers who attended one of the first intelligence briefing about this whole thing said that the fbi acted appropriately. so then there remains the other lawmaker that attended the meeting with gowdy and that's dev devin nunez, since congressman gowdy said there's no there
there, devin nunez has been silent. several people have called mr. nunez. and they referred us back to his press person, the same one who didn't call us back. congressman nunez did appear on facebook briefly, he appeared on social media talking about a nut. check these out, can you guess what they are? you're right, they're nuts. i talked earlier about trey gowdy's comments and a spy infiltrating trump's campaign. congressman stewart, congressman trey gowdy who's seen the documents says that there's no there there, he says it was ain.
do you trust gowdy's assessment? >> i look forward to talking to trey, he's a good friend of mine and he's someone that i really do trust. i don't know who these other members of congress who you say have come to the same conclusion, i don't know any of them that do, but this might be a time where trey and i are going to agree to disagree. unless virtually everything that's been reported on this is untrue. i still have real concerns and i still think we want to pursue this and have a broader look at the documents. >> you say everything that's been reported about it, really the most public things are things that the president has said, and he's consistently used the word spy, he's said two spies or a spy ring. >> yes. >> what do you think has been reported that needs to be looked into more? >> well, let's look at the "new york times" and "washington post" reporting. and by the way, an important consideration on this, anderson, is that we have been trying to get this information for actually months, intensely for
the last few weeks. they refused to show it to us on the committee and more broadly to congress and yet much of this information has been leaked. i have a real problem with that. i think most americans do, they're uncomfortable with that. but the reporting on this isn't just that the president has used the word spy, the reporting has been that this individual had at least three contacts, he was instructed to make contact with these people, they weren't people he knew before. he was instructed to make contact. i want to know was he wear ini wire? those are the things that many of us have questions about. >> if there are concerns about interference by the russians in the election, what else should they have done other than what they did in the midst of a campaign? >> yeah. well i would say one thing and i think this is kind of the
starting point, is that they felt like if there were officials around any government official who presented a security threat, i think they have responsibility to acknowledge and to warn that individual, if there were people who tried to make contact with me, i would hope the fbi would come to me and say, hey, let's talk about this person here, let me tell you a little bit of the concerns we have here, and unless i was the target, unless i was the person they thought had ill intent, i think they had a responsibility to do that and they didn't in this case. >> certainly, carter page, they had investigated previously, so they clearly had some concerns with respect to russians in the past? >> anderson, i have to disagree with your characterization completely on that, he had been attempted tocruited by russian agents before and he reported that, and in fact he had worked with these russians
and gathered information to prosecute them. he wasn't working with these russians, he was working to inform the fbi on these agents, it was exactly the opposite of what he's been accused of doing this in case. >> but candidate trump was briefed in july about russian infiltration, so the idea that the campaign itself wasn't warned is not accurate? >> well, it depends. and that's why the timing on it is so important. that's why we want to again, see the documents and see some background, if this individual had contact after that point, that would be one thing, if this individual had contact before that and what we believe is perhaps months before that, that would be very different and once again, this is why we want to see the underlying documents that will provide that information. >> congressman stewart, i appreciate your time as always. thank you. up next, after hurricane maria left puerto rico in ruin, the president praised the government's response and the
death toll was only 16 after the storm. now a study says that about 4,600 people died in hurricane maria and its after math. how is it that officials in puerto rico got it so wrong? we have the governor of puerto rico when we continue. 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, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history
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tomorrow marks the first day of hurricane season for 2018. it's forecasted to be a menacing one. in puerto rico they're still reeling from hurricane maria. eight months later tens of thousands of residents remain in the dark. many homes are still left in ruins and there's a new death toll on the island. a new study suggests that 4,600
people died with deaths linked to hurricane maria in puerto rico. many of those are linked to delayed medical care in the weeks and months after the storm. 4,600 people, some 1,800 people were killed during hurricane katrina. what's so stunning about the estimate is that it's more than 70 times the amount estimated by the puerto rican government. the official death toll in puerto rico is 64 people. earlier tonight i spoke with ricardo rossello, the governor of puerto rico. >> this new survey suggests 4,600 deaths from the storm. that's 70 times the official estimate by your administration. how is it possible the numbers have been so wrong? >> well, thank you for the opportunity to be here, anderson. ever since the storm came along
and even as we were ending the year we established that this number was going to be much higher than what we had as an official tally. we had a protocol that was based on data, on what we got from the registry. we knew that more deaths were, you know, were a by-product of the storm. as a matter of fact we had commissioned, george washington university to do a study so that we can narrow down not only how many deaths, but also what we can do towards the future to prevent them. >> that study was supposed to -- it hasn't begun. it's supposedly going to get done this summer. this study is shocking. your government did stick with this low figure for a long time. you said it was widely believed it would be higher. cnn interviewed funeral
directors and knew it was going to be higher even before the survey. why stick with a number you know is artificially low? >> it's not sticking with the number. it was just establishing that the process that we had prior led us to that number which is what we got from the doctors, the death certificates. it was the only mechanism we had. this study by harvard is a welcome addition to our analysis. it's a household survey analysis. i think in conjunction with the analysis that has already started with george washington university, we'll get a better gauge, not only of the final death tally, but also how we can prepare better, how we can avoid some of the events that occurred on these massive catastrophic events and that not only applies to puerto rico, but to
everywhere else in the nation. >> it seems a massive failure of the government's ability on the island to actually account for the deaths. the survey was done for $50,000. they had researchers from harvard and universities in puerto rico go around and interview households and ask them about who has died in their family, things like that. you've s you say you welcome the survey. according to researchers officials from your government refused to provide them basic data. they refused to give mortality statistics. why is that? >> well, i -- you know, i'm shocked to hear that. i signed an executive order to facilitate that information, both to the independent george washington assessment as well as two others. what is important to note is that, you know, data and some of these death certificates and the assessment process was not the
best process. the best data was not available. that's actually why george washington has taken a little longer time than expected. we expected to have a phase one analysis here by may 22nd. of course, data has been hard to come by with respect to that and what we want to do is land on the most concrete accurate numbers so we can assess what really happened. >> i know you expressed surprise and concern that officials didn't cooperate with the study. is that something you want to look into? if transparency is your stated goal, it doesn't seem transparent if officials aren't giving out basic mortality statistics. >> we need to look into if it's that they didn't want to give it out or the data has just been really hard to come by.
it's been really chopped up data. i will certainly look into it. there's no doubt about it. our goal, anderson, is to make sure that everybody is accounted for, that all the families have, you know, closure within this process and for the people of puerto rico which have gone through a catastrophic event unlike any other in recent his of the united states that we can guarantee if we face another event like this we'll be better prepared and we can serve as a model for other jurisdictions in the united states should another happen. >> i know you said the data is hard to come by. the researchers are says categorically that officials from your government refused to provide them with data that does exist. >> well, like i said, i signed an executive order where by this
data is being accessible. we opened the books. in february when we made the announcement of this executive order and the collaboration with george washington, that was precisely my mandate. >> but they didn't cooperate with this study? >> i'll look into it. >> let me ask you -- >> i'll certainly look into it. if it's true, anderson, there will be hell to pay. i really want this to be very transparent. i want the truth to come out. that's the bottom line. i want us to learn from this tragedy so that we can prevent in the future something like this happening. those are my stated goals. i will work towards making sure those happen. >> governor, appreciate you time. thank you. >> thank you, anderson. >> up next president trump pardons a conservative pundit. we'll talk about who, who can be next and why it's raising questions about the president's motives. that's next.
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♪ and let me play (bell rings) . and the promise of more to come. two have appeared on the "apprentice" and all three have committed crimes team trump might be charged with. president trump pardoned di necessa dinesh d'souza. he said he was also thinking about pardons martha stewart. cnn's gjim acosta joins us now.