tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN August 22, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
the senate. republicans today pulled their support for the bipartisan secure elections act that has been worked on for months, postponing the vote, infuriating democrats. >> this is a sensitive, sensitive issue. >> many people feel they should be taking more action. that's it. i am wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront next, president trump comes out swinging with a new defense that defies the facts. is trump his own worst enemy. and even the president's allies think the cohen allegations are damaging to trump's presidency. trump's former adviser michael caputo is one and is my guest tonight. new details about how closely the national enquirer worked with trump's campaign to squelch bad stories. and it wasn't just michael cohen working with the tabloid, who were the others in the campaign that were involved. good evening, i am poppy harlow
in for erin burnett. outfront, president trump not letting facts get in the way of his defense. the president admitting today he knew about the hush payments to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal, payments in the days and months leading up to the election, payments central to the charges against michael cohen. here's the president. >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew. later on. you have to understand, ainsley, what he did, and they weren't taken out of campaign finance. that's a big thing, a much bigger thing, did they come out of the campaign. they didn't come out of the campaign, they came from me. >> the president's explanation today directly contradicts what trump said on board air force one on april 5th. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no, no. what else? >> why did michael cohen make this if there was no truth to the allegations. >> you have to ask michael. michael is my attorney, you will
have to ask michael cohen. >> do you know where he got the money to make that payment? >> i don't know. >> trump's statement today is also completely inconsistent with the fact that the president was recorded on tape with michael cohen discussing whether to buy the rights to mcdougal's story of an alleged affair. listen. >> when it comes time to the financing which will be -- >> what, if anything? >> we'll have to pay. >> pay the cash. >> no, no, no. >> yet despite the tapes, the white house claims trump did nothing wrong. >> how do you explain that? >> once again i commented on this pretty extensively. what i can tell you about this is that the president did nothing wrong. there are no charges against him. there is no collusion. >> the president said today on the grounds at the white house contradicts a video of the president saying that. >> once again, i have addressed this a number of times. just because you continue to ask
the same question over and over, i am not giving a different answer. the president has done nothing wrong, there are no charges against him, there's no collusion. >> he did nothing wrong. this was a line repeated seven times during that white house briefing. abby phillips is out front at the white house. what is the president's strategy at this point? >> hi, poppy. not a lot of answers from sarah sanders as you pointed out in the briefing. from the president, a lot of misleading statements as well. the white house strategy now has centered on discrediting michael cohen. they're going to say according to sources that he can't be trusted to give the facts, trusted as a witness, and anything he has to say about president trump. but of course you also have president trump mischaracterizing the charges against cohen. he said in that interview today what cohen did was not a crime. he claimed if it didn't come from the campaign, it also wasn't a crime, and he compared it to president obama, facing fines for his campaign making
reporting errors in the 2012 race. those cases are very different. president obama has never accused of intentionally concealing campaign contributions for the purpose of concealing information that could damage him in the election. now, meanwhile president trump could face some huge problems from michael cohen. michael cohen has pled guilty and has committed to giving something of value to prosecutors, otherwise they would not have sex offendaccepta deal. it is clear michael cohen remains a problem for the white house and they're struggling to answer questions about what the president knew and when, and why he acted the way he did, poppy. >> that question, what did you know, when did you know it, a key question. as history has taught us. thank you. with us now, john dean, former nixon white house counsel, julie hirshfeld davis, and david gergen, former adviser to four administrations.
nice to have you all. john dean, let me begin with you. you heard the president out there try to defend himself today. did he do himself any favors? >> every time he opens his mouth he seems to conflict with a prior statement so i don't think he did himself any favors. they have not developed a clear strategy or approach or answer or response to any of this. and it is reminiscent of others in high places that got themselves in trouble. some of them kept a better message than trump has. >> david, to you, the defense from the president again and again is, you know, the payments didn't come out of the campaign. he said and i quote, they being the payments, came from me. if what he said on fox is true, that statement, then at the very least he admitted to a payment that was not disclosed on the financial disclosure forms, which very well may be illegal, but how does the court of public opinion see it tonight?
>> that's a really good question, poppy, because the president now on the day after has doubled down and he is making an argument that you're hearing now on the right that mark levin on hannity has been pushing, that breitbart has been pushing, and that is that if the payment didn't come out of the campaign organization, there's no law broken. that is not what most lawyers believe. the widespread view, conventional wisdom is it doesn't matter whether the money comes out of the campaign, it matters whether money is spent on the campaign. in this case if you make a large payment, it has to be disclosed. doesn't make a difference where it comes from. if it comes from trump, trump has to explain it or has to file. what makes this a serious crime is not only that you do it but you do it with the intention to
deceive and to hold back for the purposes that are stated here and that is a crime which is a felony. >> that's a conspiracy. >> up to five years in prison. it's conspiracy and punishable up to five years in jail. what the president and mark levin and others are trying to do is say there was no crime here, it didn't come out of the campaign. if the president is able to sustain that argument with his base, he will work to discredit as he does every time, work to discredit the whole charge. but i think if people understand the law and it is complex to be sure, but i think if people understand this is a felony, punishable up to five years, then it takes on a real meaning. >> julie, you cover the white house day in, day out, 24 hours a day now which is the case. the white house is saying today the president is not concerned by what more cohen may have to
say. is that what you're hearing? >> not really. i mean, sarah sanders did say that at the lectern today, she didn't offer a lot of answers on questions we were asking, that was one thing she answered definitively, no, the president isn't concerned with what michael cohen has to say. he knows he didn't do anything wrong. people around president trump and president trump himself know that michael cohen worked for him for a long period of time. he saw a lot of things. certainly payments to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal for sure, but a lot of other things that trump did in private business and in his campaign as well. let's not forget he had a substantial role in president trump's campaign, and he could if he is willing to cooperate as he seems to be tell mueller and tell prosecutors a lot of things that would be of interest to them about president trump, and mr. trump does not know what those things might be. he is facing this on two fronts. there's also white house
counsel, don mcgahn, who we now know cooperated extensively with bob mueller, also had a lot of access to what's gone on in the white house since the president was sworn in. that's another place where the president doesn't know what don mcgahn has told bob mueller, so you have two people in positions to know a lot, could implicate the president and they have no insight on what he might say. >> the reporting is he doesn't believe he said anything that would implicate the president or have negative consequences for the president. 30 hours of interview, that's significant. john dean on the person you have been talking a lot to, lanny davis, michael cohen's attorney. he has been reaching out to you, you two have been speaking just a few days ago recently. here is his message to mueller. listen. >> i can tell you it is my observation that what he knows, that he witnessed will be of
interest to the special counsel. >> it may be of interest, john dean, but the issue of credibility is one. do you think mueller would consider cohen a credible enough witness now. and on the flip side, there is no question, there's no formal plea unsealed in terms of a deal here, does mueller even need cohen? >> well, we don't know the answer to that. first of all, is he credible? i think a person who is telling the truth ultimately shines through that that is truth telling. it is hard to mess up a witness that's staying on the straight and narrow, telling it the way it was. so that's the first thing. secondly, whether mueller needs him or not, it is not clear. he was not deeply involved apparently in some phases of the russian operation that they initially thought. he can obviously provide something that very few people can provide, and that is context in which this all happened.
how did the trump operation proceed? what did they do? what was standard operating procedure? this will help the prosecutor from a real insider. i wouldn't be surprised if indeed everything cohen is telling this other district is also going right to mueller's office. >> david gergen, on lanny davis and his credibility as the attorney for michael cohen, he has been all over the air waves in the last 24 hours, he had to correct a pretty big claim that he made on cnn and elsewhere. he told my colleague, john berman, this morning on cnn this. >> donald trump's own lawyers are the best evidence. they stated in a letter to the special counsel that donald trump directed, that's the word they used, michael cohen to make these payments to hush up these two women. >> that's just not true because
john berman later after the show continued to press him for an answer and he admitted, david, to john there was no letter. he says he misremembered. in other words, no letter from trump's lawyers saying trump directed the payments. any issues with his credibility at this point? >> i think they're clearly going to try to smear lanny davis in the weeks ahead, you'll hear more about his relationship and friendship i think with both clintons over time, and i'm sure things will be made of that by trump and his followers. but i think one of the things lanny did which was smart was to admit right away he made a mistake. you don't often see that coming out of the white house i'm afraid. it looks like, what i'm intrigued about, and john dean has been talking to him, he is delicately suggesting that not only cohen knows a lot that he can give to mueller but that he
may have evidence that trump nguy knew in advance of the tower meeting. that would be very significant. we'll have to wait and see. looks to me increasingly we're going to have a rudy guiliani versus lanny davis fight in the air waves. >> you might be right about that. julie, today you were there in the briefing. when sarah sanders was asked if the president lied to the american people, she said that is a quote, ridiculous accusation. this for a president who "the washington post" fact checker says his presidency made false or misleading statements over 42 times. >> not in the context it was asked which as you pointed out earlier, we have video, i was on air force one the day we asked if he was aware of the payment michael cohen made to stormy daniels and he said no. now he changed that story, completely changed his story several times on the context payments were made, what his role was, and whether he knew
about them. of course it is an obvious question to ask, whether the president lied to the american people about that, and it is evident he was not telling the truth. she had no good answer she could give. it is in the public record that he misstated it or he willfully misrepresented it. so it is not surprising she said what she said, but it is a legitimate question, of course. >> it is. thank you very much. david, thank you as well, john dean, nice to have you all. outfront next, former top adviser says the cohen agreement is bad news for president trump. michael caputo is my guest next. and leading republicans go silent, mum, on the bombshell. how long can they dodge cameras. and duncan hunter, second congressman indicted in less than a month. his defense tonight. >> this is the new department of justice. this is the democrats' arm of law enforcement.
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>> this is despite cohen pleading guilty to 8 charges, paying off women who claimed to have affairs with trump. cohen said those payoffs were made at the president's direction. michael caputo, thank you for being with me. you told politico that michael cohen's statement yesterday is probably the worst thing so far in the whole investigative stage of his presidency. do you believe sarah sanders, that the president is not concerned at all about what michael cohen may share with mueller? >> i'm not sure, talking six of one, half dozen of the other. i believe the president is watching. nobody knows better than the president what knowledge he shares with michael cohen. michael cohen has implicated the president in a campaign finance violation.
the process will come out like against senator john edwards, d didn't end up well for the prosecution. what i said in politico is this is as close as anything, any investigation has come to implicating the president. there's nothing to do with russian collusion here. it is a campaign finance violation we're about to dig into i think. >> do you think the president did himself any favors, either with his tweets that were slamming cohen, calling manafort brave and praising him because he refused to, quote, break, or his explanation to fox news, saying nothing wrong here, nothing to see here, the payoff was my own money. did he do himself any favors? >> i think the president spends time on twitter trying to amplify his side of the story. the media and a lot of people in the democratic party and capitol hill have been amplifying the whol whole idea that michael cohen is leading the president to his
ruin and i don't think that at all. >> i am asking, the president put a lot of effort and energy into tweets and interview with fox. what he said, his own words, did he help himself at all in. >> i think he helped himself with his base. i think he is trying to hold together the support he has today and the support he gained through policies. i understand what you're saying. i'm not always in favor of every tweet the president sends and the closer he gets to tweeting about the mueller investigation, the more nervous it makes me, but at this point in time, if the president is confident he shares no criminal information with michael cohen, i appreciate the fact he wants to get it out there. >> republican congressman chris stewart of utah said something that struck me when i heard him speaking with wolf. let's listen. >> look, i honestly don't know what to believe at this point. >> is it a problem for the president to have members of his own party, conservatives like chris stewart saying publicly they don't know if they can
trust him any more. >> i don't know if that's exactly what the representative said. >> let me read you the quote. it's a mess, it's a mess, and look, i honestly don't know what to believe at this point. he was asked about cohen or trump. >> right. understood. i get what you're saying. i think it will be a he said he said in this situation. it will be michael cohen who pled guilty to lying to investigators versus donald trump who many in the media believe is not honest with the american people. >> no, the tapes prove it. he has lied. we heard it. they both lied. >> i understand what you're saying, but this is not donald trump versus james comey who has somewhat of a represeutation fo honest de honest at the department. i'm not sure this is something the white house should be panicking about, but i do know
this, this is all they need for impeachment. if the democrats take over the house during midterm elections, this indication coming out of the southern district of new york, this charge is enough for them to run impeachment against the president, even in the first quarter. >> it is interesting to listen to senators and congress, on with us all day, not saying don't go so quickly towards impeachment, let's wait for the mueller probe to play out. ly lindsey graham said it is too early to tell if trump can be impeached. concerning to hear that? >> i understand what you're saying. i have been parting ways with some of the republican consulting clients in washington for quite some time. i really believe the vote that voters mac voters make on november 6th,
house of representatives, they're voting against impeachment, if they vote for democratic members of house of representatives or challenger, they're voting for impeachment. >> you think that's all it is about? >> i think it always has been. in fact, with this one charge that cohen has made at the president, we know that they have enough now to do it. so it is about impeachment in november. >> i have to go. quick yes or no to this. is the president closer to impeachment today than 48 hours ago? >> i believe so. i believe we've got real problems in the house of representatives. look at chris collins, duncan hunter. it is getting worse. >> thank you. i appreciate you coming on. outfront next, new details how closely michael cohen worked with the national enquirer to help the president. the tabloid's tip line turned into a trip wire used to catch and kill stories.
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>> is it a wise strategy with the midterms just 76 days away? outfront, paul begala, former counsel to president clinton and special assistant to president george w. bush. scott, let me begin with you. republicans are not touching this. you saw richard trying to run through there. mitch mcconnell declining to comment. how long can leadership dodge? >> i don't know what there is to say. they're watching the same facts that we are, and the facts have changed to some degree. what we knew in summer is different now that cohen has pleaded guilty. i think they're wise to not get themselves in too deep, commenting on something when the story appears to be changing. the other thing they're wise to do in my opinion is continue to focus on legislating and governing. this could lead us down a path to gridlock. >> we're not already gridlocked?
i'm sorry, are we living an different world? >> mitch mcconnell is putting through bills and they're doing the job elected to do, probably the wisest thing they can do. >> paul, if you were a republican now, wouldn't you be dodging and staying silent, too? >> yeah, i would retire. in fact, the majority of congress members who have retired are republicans. i think they're sensing perhaps there could be a wave building. the problem is the republicans are damned if they do, damned if they don't. here's the problem, we fix ate endlessly and stupidly on the trump base. they're important people, we love them, but they're not going to determine the election. 35% of the country will always be with the president. look at independents, and i took a look at them today. donald trump won independents against hillary clinton, won by 6 or 8 points depending which poll you looked at.
republicans are losing independents by 22 because in large measure they turned against the president, independents, not republican base. those republicans, there are 25 districts where republican congressmen are in office that hillary won, so they can't be as pro-trump as folks at a rally in west virginia are, but if they don't step out and defend him, then the base doesn't want to show up. either way they're in a terrible pickle. >> we spokae an hour or so ago with a trump voter, asked them what do you make of the last 24 hours. here's what he said. >> if he's not involved, it's okay, but if he is involved, this is a big problem. we all trust him. we believe him and it would be upsetting to find out he was involved with any of these. >> and scott, you have a fascinating op-ed today, you write finally the white house must now prepare for the reality
that 2019 will be spent on impeachment. do you think the white house gets that? >> i hope they do because i was looking at a cnn poll from june, poppy. 77% of democrats in june wanted to impeach this president. what do you think the number is tonight? democrats can tamp down talk of impeachment, but their base will demand it. republicans are in a catch twenty two. so are democrats. they can't afford to discuss impeachment in the campaign but they're going to feel pressure to do it in january. i don't think the country wants to go there. >> i think that's an important point. seems you have more democratic voters, the poll that scott is talking about, than perhaps elected democrats, democrats in congress with the appetite for impeachment. are they going to feel that pressure? >> if you listen to talking points scott is reciting,
michael caputo who you previously interviewed, that's what they're trying to stay. they're trying to scare the base. >> it is two out of three democrats. >> if you ask people, maybe sure, fine. but that's not where the democrats are, that's not where the democratic party is. i have been all over the country campaigning for democrats. not one is running on impeachment. they're running on 2019, it will be spent on prescription drug reform. >> they're not running on it because they know it is a loser. when they get into office, paul, you don't think the base will demand action? they're blood thirsty. you have seen, talked to the voters, you know they want it. >> that's not true. i have talked to them. i have been across the country. you ask them, they hate donald trump, but what they really want and democrats better deliver on is prescription drug reform, health care costs, cleaning up corruption in washington, elizabeth warren introduced some important legislation yesterday on that, not obsessing about impeachment. should be oversight. two-thirds of americans think the republicans haven't done a good enough job in oversight, policing this administration. so there will be great talk
about corruption, but not impeachment. this is just a republican talking point to jack up the base. >> cherry picking the polls, didn't like those that i mentioned, you say two out of three americans on the other point. i hear you. polls as we all know do not tell the full story. before we go, scott, the white house said even after the manafort news, the president will be on the trail a lot. he is planning 40 days of midterm campaign travel, more than george w. bush, or obama, given all of these developments, are all republican candidates going to welcome him with open arms? >> i think paul raised a good point about districts. it depends where you live. we have two kinds of districts in this country. those that have significant suburban populations, those that are more rural. if you have significant suburban populations, an area that hillary clinton won, you may want to distance yourself based on the news. you may have already wanted to do that. if you're more of a rural
district, you may feel closer to the president. rural americans feel like they're still with trump. i think you'll see divergence based on the kind of geography people represent. >> good to have you both. thanks, guys. new details tonight. how the national enquirer buried stories on the president, not just cohen involved but other staffers. democrats calling on suspending the brett kavanaugh nomination. the white house is fighting back. >> this is a desperate and pathetic attempt by democrats to obstruct a highly qualified nominee. ths we go to in testing our performance line. at the lexus golden opportunity sales event. lease the 2018 is 300 and is 300 all wheel drive for these terms. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success.
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tonight, learning new details about how closely the national enquirer worked with the trump campaign, and it wasn't just michael cohen cooperating with the tabloid. brian seltzer, you have extensive reporting on this. how extensively did michael cohen cooperate with national enquirer with the sole purpose of burying stories in the run up to the election. >> it was more extensive than we
thought, started in august, 2015, and involved multiple members of the trump campaign according to court documents. you can see for yourself. put part of the documents on screen. goes into detail, describing coordination. national enchoquirer was weaponized. the tip line was turned into a trip wire. anything about donald trump were caught and killed by the enquirer. >> that's a big deal. it is new, we thought it was just cohen. now we're talking about perhaps multiple members of the trump campaign. >> one of the key lines in court filings, this is cohen pleading to all of this, admitting to all of this, and we know the government that evidence it didn't have to submit because cohen pled guilty. one of the outstanding mysteries, the court filing says one or more campaign members were also involved in this conversation, in this meeting. we don't know exactly who that
might be, at least not yet. hopefully we'll find out soon. it speaks to the idea that there are mysteries to the relationship. it is extraordinary to think of a media company being involved with a trump organization, campaign aide doing these kinds of deals. >> squelching stories like a payoff, $150,000 to keep the story of an alleged affair with a playboy playmate silent. the president hasn't been shy about his love frankly for the national enquirer. let's jog everyone's memory. >> the national enquirer did a story, have a good record of being right. >> i always said why didn't the national enquirer get the pulitzer prize for edwards and o.j. simpson and all these things. >> i mean, you can't knock the national enquirer. many, many things to like, not all of them pleasant. >> that's true. this tabloid specializes in embarrassing other people.
now the tabloid has been embarrassed by the scandal. we know months ago some of the top executives were subpoenaed. apparently have been cooperating. that's david pecker, the president's friend, chairman of the company and dylan howard, chief editor there. >> are there any signs that laws were broken? >> so far pecker hasn't been charged with a crime, but it is an active investigation, continues to be a problem and embarrassment for the enquirer. normally if a media company did that, you would hear press groups saying don't mess with them, don't bring them to court. not this time. it was acting as a political organization. one attorney said it was like they were burning newspapers rather than publishing, burying trump's secrets. >> thank you for that reporting. next, top democrats call trump an unindicted co-conspirator to a criminal act. will it lead to a call for impeachment? and republican congressman
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democrats demanding they hold hearings for brett kavanaugh after michael cohen pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws. today, the white house slammed that effort. >> this is a desperate and pathetic attempt by democrats to obstruct a very highly qualified nominee. the hearing date has been set for september 4th. >> outfront now, democratic senator from other gone, jeff merkley. is the white house right this is just a desperate last minute attempt to obstruct brett kavanaugh's nomination? >> the white house couldn't be more wrong. the first is there should be no hearing before documents have been provided on his background. this is a standard of transparency necessary for advice and consent. it is a standard of transparency republicans insisted on with president obama's nominees, and
that the democrats agreed with. to proceed with a hearing with no documents or very few documents is unacceptable. that's before we get to the issue you're raising now which is we have a massive conflict of interest with the president. >> you're talking about documents from the time in the bush white house. there are a lot of documents that have been released, i hear you on the push for more. let's look at the numbers. i wonder where this gets you, where does this get democrats. today not even the most moderate republicans on the fence about kavanaugh see it as a problem, senator susan collins. i don't see any basis at all for post posing the kavanaugh hearings. if you look at the numbers, where does this get you? >> we have to call upon our republican colleagues to get off their enormously partisan position and take a stand for justice in this country. if this was a democratic president who had a massive conflict of interest, of having just been tied into directing an
individual to make an illegal campaign donation, a felony, then they would be saying look, until this investigation is completed, for the president to have hearings on a nominee who has an extraordinarily unusual conception of presidential power, that a president is beyond the law, can never be indicted or investigated, that conflict of interest is just unacceptable, has to be resolved before hearings proceed. take a stand for our nation, for our system of justice. put that partisanship aside. >> talk about potential for articles of impeachment should democrats take the house. you said earlier today, president trump is now the equivalent of an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal act. previously you said it is premature to discuss impeachment at this point. have you changed your mind? >> well, it is absolutely clear the house should be having a robust investigation to answer the question of whether to
proceed with impeachment. that's been true for some time. >> do you think it is premature, do you think it needs to wait until the mueller probe is wrapped up? >> poppy, i hesitate to answer that question because when the house is responsible for impeachment, should the president be impeached, senators are responsible for being the jury. i feel i need to leave that question with the house of representatives where it belongs under our constitution. >> let me get your take on something else we heard from sarah sanders at the lek tern during the white house briefing. they seem to be trying to flip the script on the democrats. >> the idea of impeachment is a sad attempt by democrats. the only message they have going into midterms. >> does she have a point, in essence, the more you talk about impeachment and not other issues like health care, et cetera, playing into their hands? >> seemed to me the republicans are raising it as they try to
turn out their folks' strategy, democrats are talking housing, education, infrastructure, and stewardship of our beautiful planet. fighting for thriving families is what we're talking about, particularly health care. the republican plans to destroy health care across the country raise the premiums, raise drug prices, take the insurance pool and tear it asunder. the republicans are looking for kind of their strategy of terrorizing americans so they'll turn out at the poll, their base. we're talking about fundamental issues for families. >> i would know some prescription prices have gone down. some of them in direct reaction to threats against big pharma companies. i hear some other points on that. let me get you on this, tammy duckworth tonight, here's what she wrote. crimes mr. cohen pled guilty to are serious, may have swung a close
they may have swung a close election by depriving american people of critical information. do you agree with that? >> i certainly do agree that critical information was prevented from being public. that it could have had an influence on the electorate. we know that an election is complicated. way know the president deliberately, well, according to what we hear from the personal lawyer, the president deliberately attempted to suppress that information. certainly that is a concern. >> senator, i appreciate you being with me tonight. thank you. >> thank you, poppy. good to be with you. >> out front next, duncan hunter lashing out at investigators and invoking trump after being charged with stealing $250,000 in campaign funds for lavish trips and shopping sprees.
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he was indicted by a federal grand jury. the allegations, using $250,000 of campaign funds for vacations, clothes, dental work, even his kids' school tuition. >> good to see you, sir. >> reporter: duncan hunter of san diego and chris collins of new york were the first two members of congress to back donald trump. now they have something else in common. both have been indicted on federal charges. hunter is the latest. federal prosecutors alleged he and his wife margaret stole a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds. in some instances, the couple claimed the funds they took were being spent on wounded veterans. in one instance, investigators alleged duncan hunter was buying hawaiian shorts but he ran out of money. his wife told him to buy the shorts at a pro golf shop so they could list the purchase as some golf balls for wunlded warriors. prosecutors also say margaret hunter spent $216 of campaign
funds at a sporting goods store and then falsely informed the campaign treasurer that the items were for an event involving wounded warriors. but that is chump change compared to what prosecutors say the dunn cacans spent on vacati. $2800 at the arizona grand resort and spa, $6500 for a family vacation to hawaii. and a whopping $14,000 on a trip to italy. prosecutors allege representative hunter tried to justify spending the campaign money by asking for a tour of a naval base in italy. but when the navy said it couldn't accommodate his timing, he allegedly told his chief of staff tell the navy to go f themselves. hunter, he's responding by taking a page out of the trump playbook. >> this is modern politics and modern media. mixed in with law enforcement that has a political agenda. >> your dad spoke with us -- >> that's the new department of justice. >> they have democrats pouncing
on a house seat that seemed unwinnable in the heavily republican enclave. >> is there any chance that a democrat could flip the seat? >> absolutely. duncan hunter has exploited his military background and frankly the military itself for his own personal political gain. it is disgusting. it's ab hornlt. >> hunter joined the marines in response to the terror of 9/11. his father also a veteran held the seat before him. for brennan freely, an army vet living in this heavily military community near san diego, the charges cut even deeper. >> i can't trust you. to do a simple thing like use taxpayer dollars in an efficient manner or in your own campaign, it's going to be difficult for me to get behind you as a candidate. >> among republicans, some are sticking with them. >> i would still vote for him. i would. just because he's a republican? >> yeah. yeah. >> some aren't. >> i don't think i'd be inclined to vote for him again. >> now it is too late to change names on the ballot for the
midterm. so whatever happens, mr. hunter will be on the ballot. his name will be there under the republican candidate. now he does have a challenger, a democratic challenger. a prolific, prolific fund-raiser, businessman is hoping to unseat him and the chances may have gotten better. >> fascinating reporting tonight, sarah. thank you. thank you for joining us. i'll see you here tomorrow "ac 360" starts now. >> crime that isn't crime, noncrime, by the way that, president trump says he never committed even though at least some of his argument is undermind by his own voice on tape and the surreal little nugget is part of the picture as the president and his people spin the reality that two more of the former associates are felons and one of them attorney michael cohen tied him under oath to pair of crime. his attorney joins us momentarily as for the president, he responded today by slamming mr. cohen on