tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN August 23, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
i'm a small business, but i have... big dreams... and big plans. so how do i make the efforts of 8 employees... feel like 50? how can i share new plans virtually? how can i download an e-file? virtual tours? zip-file? really big files? in seconds, not minutes... just like that. like everything... the answer is simple. i'll do what i've always done... dream more, dream faster, and above all... now, i'll dream gig. now more businesses, in more places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, i'm ana cabrera in for brooke baldwin. another afternoon, more breaking news involving the president and the man he chose to lead the
justice department. here's attorney general jeff sessions arrivie ining moments t the white house, scheduled to talk prison reform with the president and happening as sessions is firing back, responds to the president's criticism of his during a television interview. here were the president's harsh comments about sessions. >> jeff sessions, never took control of the justice department and it's sort on an incredible -- it's a very, very sad day. jeff sessions recused himself. which he shouldn't have done. or he should have told me. even my enemies say that jeff sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself then you wouldn't have put him in. he took the job then he said i'm going to recuse myself. i said what kind of a man is this? >> moments ago, sessions releasing his statement in response, "i took control of the
justice department the day i was sworn in which is why we have had unprecedented success at affection wa effectuating the president's agenda. while i'm attorney general the actions of the department of jujus till will not be improperly influenced. i demand the highest standard. where they are not met, i take action. however, no nation has a more talented group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the united states." let me turn now to cnn's laura jarrett at the justice department. laura, the president has ripped jeff sessions on multiple occasions, without sessions h s hitting back. do we know what led to this statement today? >> you're right, ana. he has hit him on multiple occasions but this one i think was different because it struck at the core of his authority. as you played that sound, he said he never took control of the justice department. i'm told by a source familiar with the attorney general's thinking is that's what struck at the core of him. that was a macro criticism
that's different than his, perhaps, more gran yu that's different than his, perhaps, more gran ylar daily gripes on twitter where he's talking about former fbi employees, lisa page and peter strzok or bruce ohr, someone who's currently at the justice department who he's threatened w withdraw his security clearance. those are individual cases. the justice department doesn't comment on those. today it was digit becaufferent it was about the attorney general's control over the justice department and felt like it was time to push back and this, oching of courf course, i. he rarely does this. he always, as every single event, sessions goes out of his way to praise the president. to talk about furtherering his agenda. but the one time that he did push back was back in february where, again, the president questioned his integrity. he said what the attorney general had been doing at the justice department surrounding carter page, and surveillance and fisa, those issues that have become also familiar to us now, when the president attacked him calling him a disgrace, it's,
again, the time when attorney general jeff sessions hit back and so i think that's what we're seeing. he's not going to react every single day to every single tweet. but when his integrity is questioned, he will have something to say, ana. >> laura jarrett, we know you're continuing to dig into this. thank you. joining us now to talk more about it all, kaitlyn huey burns, national political reporter for real clear politics. cnn legal analyst and former prosecutor paul callan. and robert bianci, former prosecutor in morris county, new jersey. first reaction from everyone, paul. >> this is cowardly back stabbing by the president of the united states against an attorney general who has shown enormous integrity and backbone in standing up to mr. trump. the president's been trying to force a resignation of jeff sessions when he, the president, has the right to fire him if he wishes to do so. but the president is too fearful of doing that because it may subject him to obstruction of justice charges. so instead, he's trying to use
this backdoor effort of constant berating and attacks on the attorney general, so the attorney general will resign. and i think sessions deserves enormous credit for standing up to the president, showing backbone, and integrity by remaining in office. >> your reaction, robert? >> i agree with my colleague here. and i'm surprised that i am. not that i agree with you. but he is doing what he's supposed to be doing and not letting politics influence what the justice department is supposed to be doing. now it's interesting to me, when i was appointed to head prosecutor, and you know this, by the governor, i can only be removed for cause. i can't be browbeat out of that office. i think they need to do something so this can't happen again. nevertheless, i'll say one last point, it's interesting to me that the president is so upset about what he's doing with the justice department, because i handled criminal defense cases and when they pass policies that that you have to tappeal to a defense, and the draconian plead
guidelines, i wish the president would be concerned about the little guy who's going to jail for a lot less of the policies of this administration. >> notable to me that the president used the word, loyalty, when he was talking about why he's so upset with jeff sessions and his response, clearly, says, i am not loyal to you. >> right. and absolutely interesting about this, too, is the way in which the president is continuing to use justice, in quotation marks. i think what you're seeing kind of across agencies, quite frankly, when you were talking about agency heads coming out in public and defending their own agencies, i think it's really striking, considering that they have to stick up for the work of everybody in these agencies. remember, just after the helsinki conference, we saw the heads of the national security and intelligence communities come out and try to stake their own ground on here. here we see jeff sessions doing exactly that as well and the president has berated jeff sessions for months and months without taking that step of actually firing him. i think it's also notable that
we've seen reporting from capitol hill, people like lindsey graham questioning whether jeff sessions might be fired after the midterm elections. and what the appetite for that would be on capitol hill. and this is part of the president's efforts to undermine his own justice department and appearing to be so corrosive at this point. >> paul, how unprecedented is it? just take the names out for a second. to see an attorney general of the united states essentially rebuking the president of the united states in such a public way. >> well, it's really totally unprecedented. and, you know, you have to really go back to the nixon administration and during the saturday night massacre, of course, at that point in time when nixon was trying to give the order to elliot richardson, who was the attorney general at that time, to fire the special prosecutor, archibald cox, richardson stood up to nixon and said, no, i'm not going to do
it. so nxixon fired him. ru ruckleshouse was the next person in line and went 2to the third person in line, mr. bork, who issued the order. it's unusual to have this kind of fight between the attorney general and president of the united states. >> everyone, stay with me. there's much more to discuss. more breaking news, the "the wall street journal" reporting a longtime crony of president trump has been granted immunity in the case. david pecker, head of the publishing company that owns the national enquirer the latest to make a deal with the feds. also president trump making the case against his own impeachment. warn whing what would happen toe financial markets and personal finances if he were to be forced out. we'll discuss. now t-mobile has unlimited for the rest of us. unlimited ways to be you. unlimited ways share with others.
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and pharmacist recommended. garlique.® more breaking news this hour. this time involving the investigation of the president's former lawyer, michael cohen, pleading guilty to multiple crimes. the "the wall street journal" is now reporting that a longtime crony of the president, david pecker, was granted immunity in that case against cohen. now, pecker is the chief of the publishing company that owns the "national enquirer" and cohen told a judge he worked with pecker in paying off a former playboy playmate to silence her about her alleged affair with trump. an offense cohen said he committed at the direction and in coordination with trump in order to influence the 2016 election. now, remember, that secret audio of cohen and trump's conversation, david pecker is at the center of it. listen. >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend,
david. >> my analysts are back with me and also joining us now, cnn's kara, you reported david pecker was subpoenaed by the southern district of new york. do we know what he told investigators? >> well, sources tell myself and my colleague that david pecker was subpoenaed and when he testified he told prosecutors about these payments that he had arranged with michael cohen and he also said that trump had knowledge of the deals. we don't know exactly the breadth of what he said in that but he said he told him about these payments and as the "journal" is reporting as part of an immunity deal and trump had knowledge of the deal. that's where we are now. we're continuing to report this out. pecker is a longtime friend of donald trump's. this is a big deal for him to be in there and testifying and telling the government what he knew about these deals. >> your take, robert? how big of a deal is this? >> i think it's a big deal. they're putting all the dots together. that tape is the thing that is
the threat throud through this. basically going through shell companies moving the money around, pushing the money back to cohen saying it's for legal bills then they're going to this guy and david and he's telling you i know what is happening here. and you go ahead and do that with david. now, listen, whether you like trump, don't like trump, the bottom line, if you can't smell conspiracy to violate laws and hide this from people based upon everything that's going, you're being completely blinded because, again, i go back to the regular guy, the regular guy did this, nobody would even bat an eye. they'd be like are you kidding me? of course they're all in on it. >> there is a little bit of just common sense here. caitlin, when you hear pecker now saying trump knew about it, cohen saying trump knew about it, how many people need to say trump knew about it? not to mention the president's own words on that tape we just played. >> on the tape, exactly, which the white house wouldn't respond to yesterday. interestingly enough. the question that i've had, too, is how, you know, how credible
of a witness, of course, is michael cohen? right? we've seen the president try to downplay his role in his own life, and, you know, think there is a question about his credibility. if you do have these other people corroborating what he is saying, i think that could speak to that. that's beyond my legal purview, but -- >> of course. >> as far as paul, do you think that we're going to now see more potential investigations here in new york given that this is where all of it's happening, but this is a federal case that was open against cohen. could there be a state prosecution or investigation at the very least moving forward? >> well, that's an interesting question because state attorney generals have been making noises about going after trump on charges all across the country, and, obviouf course, new york h been particularly hostile to him. so much of the media is in new york. now this david pecker thing is very, very interesting because pecker, of course, was the deal that he used to do with trump was he would have these catch and kill arrangements.
where if somebody like one of the playboy playmates had a bad story about trump, that trump wanted to kill, the "national enquirer" would go to the person and say we're going to put you on as a columnist for "x" amount of money but we're going to buy your story. so that they could never tell the tale of a relationship with trump. it's called a catch and kill arrangement. but federal prosecutors have now come up with a theory that this really is kind of a campaign contribution. it's aiding and abetting a gift in kind to prevent embarrassing information from being disclosed. the same theory that they're using against cohen. so they're being -- they're being very thorough in this investigation. and now it's really gone to another level when they're starting to look -- >> it begs the question, too, as we learn more and more, i'm recalling there were more than a dozen women who came out and had allegations against then-candidate trump, kara.
could there be more hush payment we don't even know about? >> i think to paul's point, exactly, the "enquirer" is in the business of catch and kill and the relationship david pecker has with trump goes back decades. i was doing some research and david pecker, you know, attended trump's wedding, they have this long, rich relationship. and, you know, so if everything stands to reason the way that it's been, i think it makes sense that there possibly could be more payments. i mean, even after the story of stormy daniels and karen mcdougal broke, we had, you know -- and after the raid of michael cohen, the enquirer" ran a story about michael cohen, trump's fixers, secrets and lies. at the time, everyone was saying that david pecker would never have allowed that cover story to run, which is favorable to trump. you know, that would not have happened without david pecker's signoff. that was at least as recently as may where we saw the "national enquirer" writing a story about michael cohen here, a negative
story, so it certainly i think their loyalty extended up until this point, american media and david pecker might have been put in a situation where they were going to be forced to testify before a grand jury and forced into this up munity deimmunity . it would stand to reason to your question that there could well be other women out there because of the allegations you referred to and the catch and kill history of american media. >> guy, got to leave it there. thank you so much. back to our breaking news. attorney general jeff sessions sending a stinging response to fresh attacks on his department of justice from the president. what cnn just learned about why he's hitting back. and smack in the middle of a wild interview, president trump offers a frightening warning on why he shouldn't be impeached. saying the markets would crash. you'll hear it, next. so you have, your headphones, chair, new laptop, 24/7 tech support. yep, thanks guys. i think he might need some support. yes.
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comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. back to our breaking story this hour. the president has been berating attorney general jeff sessions for months about his decision to recuse himself from the special counsel robert mueller's rush is a investigation. today, sessions hit back issuing a statement that reads in part, "while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations." with us now, cnn political director david chalian, and david, a lot of people have said this is a long time coming. we know the president doesn't take criticism well. how is this going over with trump, do you think? >> i would imagine not too well. although, the president, as you know, believes very much in the
philosophy that when you're punched, you punch back. so he may have some respect here that attorney general sessions is actually standing up for himself and pushing back a bit. where can the president go on this? right? either he's going to fire jeff sessions or not. john cornyn, the number two republican senator, said do not do now, we couldn't get a replacement confirmed. lindsey graham says not until after the election, if you do it before, it's a bad idea. we'll see if that has sway, what the president's thinking on this. it's amazing to watch him trapped in by himself on this because he, of course, has the full right to fire sessions at any time that he wants. >> the president's comments about sessions leading to the response from sessions is just one of many comments that have caught attention from that interview trump gave to fox news. we know republicans are grappling with how to handle the fallout of michael cohen's guilty plea. the president has a warning for lawmakers. listen. >> you know, i guess it's
something like high crimes and all, i don't know how you can impeach somebody who's done a great job. i tell you what, if i ever got impeached, i think the market would crash. i think everybody would be very poor because without this thinking, you would see -- you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe. in reverse. >> this is where we are right now. the president of the united states arguing against his own impeachment, david. >> yeah. i've heard lots of arguments against impeachment, actually, on both sides of the aisle. i never heard one that said the president, any president, shouldn't be impeached because the country, everybody, will be poor. that seems to be a bit grasping at straws there, to me, but what i do think you hear the president formulating there is a political argument against impeachment. his former chief strategist, steve bannon, is out there urging every republican to run on this issue, on the threat of impeachment and it's actually
also why, ana, you see some democrats concerned about bringing up impeachment on the campaign trail as an issue and a message because it could backfire on them. it really could rally the republican base to come alive in an election season where they've been a little apathetic than we've seen in the primary season in terms of turnout. if the idea that the entire trump presidency is on the line, that could awaken some republicans which democrats fear. >> trump also said flipping should be outlawed. listen. >> he made a great deal because he was in another business totally unrelated to me where i guess there was fraud involved and loans and taxicabs and all sorts of things. nothing to do with me. he makes a better deal when he uses me. i know all about flipping. for 30, 40 years, i've been watching flippers. everything's wonderful then they get ten years in jail and flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it almost ought to be outlawed.
>> david, what does this tell you about how the president's mind works and h his view on the rule of law? >> yeah, well first of all, i don't know what almost ought to be outlawed is, either it's outlawed or not. i'm not quite sure about his words choice there, but, yeah, it makes your ears perk up. the chief law enforcement officer of the land, the executive who oversees the execution of the laws of the land, is now saying there's this tool that law enforcement uses to get criminals behind bars that take lower-level people, get them to flip and share information, that he's saying almost should be outlawed. it just is mind-boggling and all you have to do is look at his attorney, rudy giuliani's record as a prosecutor, about the people he's flipped. the president, himself, indicates he's seen this a lot and is a commonly used tool in law enforcement and, of course, now the president thinks, perhaps, it should be outlawed because it's working to his personal disadvantage. >> david chalian, thank you for
your take. new revelations from the deliberation room in paul manafort's trial. what a juror is saying about the single holdout who prevented a conviction on all 18 counts. hey allergy muddlers. are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one. and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®.
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for the first time, we are hearing from a juror in the paul manafort trial. this juror, a trump voter, reveals she was hoping trump's former campaign chairman, paul man fo manafort, would not be guilty but she said the evidence proved otherwise. >> i thought that the public, america, needed to know how close this was, and that the evidence was overwhelming. i did not want paul manafort to be guilty, but he was. no one's above the law. >> juror paula duncan also revealing in the end a lone holdout of the jury saved paul manafort from being convicted on all 18 counts. listen. >> we all tried to convince her
to look at the paper trail. we laid it out in front of her again and again. and she still said that she had a reasonable doubt, and that's the way the jury worked. we didn't want it to be hung. so we tried for an extended period of time to convince her, but in the end, she held out and that's why we have ten counts that did not get a verdict. >> joining us now, cnn legal analyst joey jackson, a criminal defense attorney, and ashleigh banfield, host of hln's "crime and justice with ashleigh banfield." your reaction to paula duncan, a trump voter, saying she was ready to convict manafort on all counts. >> i think we have the same reaction, slack jaw for starters. if i had a dime for every time there was one holdout in a case, i think we'd be sitting here. >> that's true. yeah. >> here's the deal, you look at that and you say, if he's headed to the district of columbia, where the jury pool is entirely different and not quite as
friendly, he is in for a really rough go. a very rough ride considering many of the charges are similar. yes, there are different one ro but the same kind of fact patterns they're going to lay out. if you're paul manafort at this stage, looking at eight to ten years, there's a whole reason for eight to ten years, that's the reality -- >> the guidelines. >> even though it could be dozens of years. >> right now, honestly, you could add them all up. the way the guidelines are formulated in federal sentencing, it's really about eight to ten years for the new york problem that he just cultivated. he's only 69. so he's got a shot at life afterwards. but in d.c., if you want to add those charges, he doesn't have a shot. so knowing now what they know about the way that jury reacted, i sense that he is thinking long and hard about cutting a deal to get the heck out of d.c. >> so that may be what manafort is thinking. i'm wondering what mueller's team is thinking during that, joey, as they're thinking, you know, we were one juror away from a slam dunk on all counts. what's their big takeaway going
into the next trial? >> you know, i think the takeaway, first of all, is the jury system works. i'm heartened by what we saw there. let me just explain why. you have this very diplomatic juror who we saw who i'm sure was very frustrated having listened to all the evidence. you remember they came back out and said give us an instruction on reasonable doubt. that's why we always say you never can read when readback, if it's for everyone or one person, they're trying to convince this person. the fact she's a trump supporter and said, look, the evidence was overwhelming, establishes to me it worked. it also establishes to me it worked based upon the fact you have one holdout. to ashleigh's point, if we had a ho nickel for every -- we have different people evaluate things digitally. if you're on mueller's team, you're knowing we have comp compelling evidence and absent this one person we cowell have gotten really unanimous as to all 18 counts. so i think it emboldens them, establishes that they're doing what they have to do. they're put to the test in a court of law by defense attorneys who are scrutinizing that evidence and overwhelmingly presenting favorable evidence to
these jurors. >> she talked about the evidence. it wasn't who testified. it was the paper trail. >> that's right. >> that really is what she said made it obvious to her that this charge was, in fact, a conviction. but ashleigh, the juror also said she wished manafort had testified and said she wished the defense had done more, had said beformore. remember, they didn't put a single witness before the jury. in retrospect, did manafort's team mess up. >> if i had a nickel for every time a defendant didn't testify, i also wouldn't be sitting here. i will say this, i don't think that would have helped. that juror gave us an indication about how she felt about the last important witness on the stand, rick gates. they tossed it all out. had no interest in hearing anything rick gates said as excruciating as the material was for manafort. you put manafort up on the seat and he's facing this ugliness
and they're confronted with all of his documents showing he's not particularly honest. i don't think that would have spelled anything better for him than he got. >> yeah, ana, it's true, i think jurors want symmetry. if one person goes, they want to know what the other person has to say. you have to evaluate that, experienced prosecutors are going to make you look really bad. remember what this juror said, that he seemed nervous, any witness can seem nervous, he was self-interested because of the deal he cut and as a result of that, day threw it out. that's why the documentary evidence, right, the hardcore evidence that hthey have, porin over papers and documents and e-mails and text messages and bank accounts and everything else, that's why it's so compelling. it heartens me to know, we don't know the composition, republican/democrat of the juror. we about her. she said she knows who she supports. we know this lone juror, with could sum mize. i think as a person who does this, you're hearten by what they do. civic responsibility.
>> the whole thing about the flipping because rick gates flippflip flipped, right? >> the president tweeted today we shouldn't allow this, this should almost be illegal. that's not part of the process. this is the process. rick gates flipping, anybody flipping, it's how the legal system works. if we don't have that, you wouldn't have any convictions anywhere. and guess what, he flipped and they still didn't care. so the justice system worked. that guy flipped. the jury didn't like that he flipped. they discounted what he said. and they still convicted partially. so this whole tweet from the president about outlawing flipping is just balderdash. >> let me remind our viewers that the next trial is on september 17th, when it's scheduled to start. paul manafort. in d.c. and according to the reports, the mueller team has three times the amount of evidence for this next trial that they had in this trial. so we'll see where things go between now and then. it will be very interesting to have the next -- >> something called the pardon. remember? so maybe he holds out for that. >> a whole other segment.
>> yes. >> we're going to talk more about that as we continue. >> look for that. >> thank you for that tease for our shows. we're going to get there later today. so much to talk about, guys. good to have thyou. speaking of flipping, look at these guys. i'll talk to someone who says he knows of a time when the guy on the left, donald trump, himself, flipped. need to get all your school supplies today. school... grade... done. done. hit the snooze button and get low prices on school supplies all summer long. like these for only $2 or less at office depot officemax. when we switched our auto and home insurance. $2 or less with liberty, we could afford a real babysitter instead of your brother. hey! oh, that's my robe. is it? when you switch to liberty mutual, you could save $782 on auto and home insurance. and still get great coverage for you and your family. call for a free quote today. you could save $782. liberty mutual insurance.
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for one of many, you know, they always say the lawyer then they like to add the fixer. well, i don't know if it was a fixer. i don't know where that term came from. but he's been a lawyer for me. didn't do big deals. did small deals. not somebody that was with me that much. you know, they make it sound like i didn't live without him. i upd minderstood michael cohen well. turns out he wasn't a good lawyer, frankly. >> during the campaign, trump enlisted cohen as one of his foot shoal joldiers. tasked with defending trump, and showering trump with praise are rallies. >> i want to tell you about the real donald trump, the man who i have been fortunate enough to work for and stand by shoulder to shoulder for a decade. >> i'm not so sure that's true. i worked for mr. trump now for a long time. don't throw the punch unless you're prepared to get hit back. >> he's friends with everybody. everybody gets along with trump.
>> until he isn't. >> until they do something wrong to him. >> as the son of a holocaust survivor, it's hard to sit back, actually it's morally wrong to sit back and do nothing when someone who you know, someone who you hold in great esteem and truly care about, is being so viciously attacked. >> in all fairness, who hasn't said something or done something that they regret, simply trying to protect somebody that they care about? >> investigative reporter david k. johnson joins us now. he's written a few books about trump including "it's even worse than you think: what the trump administration is doing to america." david, good to see you. you know the orbit as well as anyone. fact check trump's claim that he wasn't that close with cohen. >> oh, for ten years, this was the guy who handled the most sensitive things donald had to hide. that's why he's the lawyer on the mcdougal and stormy daniels
hush money payments because donald knew he could trust him to do his dirty work and conceal what he really is like from the public which is part of donald's job as a con artist, to fool people into thinkig he's a billionaire when he's not. to thinking he's a master businessman when he's not. >> david, you write that cohen's guilty plea makes trump more vulnerable, that it opens the door to state criminal charges for trump, his company, even his kids. how do you see it? >> well, in june, in d.c. report, the non-profit news organization that aai and other people run, we reported that the state of new york and the city -- the manhattan district attorney, should be conducting criminal investigations of the trump foundation because the trump foundation was being used as a personal cookie jar for donald trump. the reason it's important that we have state criminal investigations, which we now have, by the way, is because mueller could be shut down,
trump could pardon people on a federal level, but the indictment of criminals done by the state of new york, their conviction and prosecution is entirely separate. and if donald trump, in fact, has committed crimes, he should be pursued just as you or i would be, ana, if we committed crimes. >> and, yet, he is in his tweets, in his words, suggesting the criminals are not necessarily the bad guys. in fact, he also said flipping should be outlawed, but you actually tell the story that trump, himself, has flipped? >> well, trump in the past when he was caught involved in sales tax cheating, he went to the authorities very quickly and turned in other people. there's reason to believe, but i don't have absolutely perfect evidence, that in two of the four federal grand juries he beat, he ratted out other people. and this is the language of a
crime boss. it's not the language of someone who's a public servant. >> and that leads me, you teed up this tweet from preet bharara, former u.s. attorney of the southern district, when he saw trump's comments about flipping, he tweeted this. simply, "mob boss." your reaction? >> well, donald trump -- donald trump is the third generation head of a white collar criminal family. he spent his entire life, which i document in my books, swindling people, cheating people, not paying people. he's been found by judges to have engaged in conspiracies to cheat people. he was tried twice civilly for income tax fraud. really egregious income tax fraud for which i think he should have been prosecuted. so overall, afa, it is, i believe, absolutely critical that the state of new york treat donald trump like any other citizen. they investigate him, and i'm totally confident they will find evidence of numerous crimes and
he should then be indicted and prosecuted. >> we'll see where the trail leads, where the evidence trail leads. david cay johnston, thank you for having us. we'll you back as the story continues to play out. moments ago protesters chanting "shame on you" as republican congressman duncan hunt and his wife walked out of a california courtroom accused of misusing more than a quarter million dollars in campaign funds. what they said to the judge. but first, discover the inspiring life and career of justice ruth bader ginsburg. rbg. a new cnn film airs september 3rd at 9:00 p.m. here on cnn. here's a sneak peek. >> my mother died when i was 17. i wish i could have had her longer. >> well, her mother must have been a very steely person because she had cancer a long time and lived trying to get her
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this just into the cnn newsroom, one of president trump's earliest republican supporters has plead the not guilty to federal charges of stealing a quarter million dollars in campaign funds. >> shame on you! shame on you! shame on you! >> a crowd of protesters cha chanting "shame" as gop congressman duncan hunter walked out of a courtroom in san diego a short time ago. hunter and his wife, margaret, indicted on charges of using campaign funds to fund their lavish lifestyle. prosecutors say, for example, they bought clothe s in a golf pro shop but claims they bought golf balls for wounded c eed wa. the indictment charges the hunters with taking vacations in italy, hawaii, going on shopping sprees at costco and walmart, even buying a plane ticket for their pet rabbit. the congressman calls the cha e charges purely political. >> this is the new department of
justice, this is the the democrats' arm of law enforcement. that's what's happening right now and happening with trump and happening with me and going to fight through it and win and the people get to vote in november, so we'll see. >> cnn national reporter, she was in hunter's court appearance today. what happened? >> reporter: so, ana, really big day for the hunters here in san diego. as you said, they both pleaded not guilty. they arrived separately which was interesting since they are charged with conspireing with one another to steal a quarter million dollars in campaign funds to furnish their lavish lifestyle. they both said very little in court today and very little interaction between them. just answering the judge, you know, with a not guilty plea. at one point, the judge asked duncan hunter to lawfully transfer his firearms to someone
else. so he'll have to do that immediately. and he was given -- he's out on $15,000 bail. his wife got $10,000 bail. >> so, first it was chris collins who was the first house republican to endorse trump who also was criminally indicted who decided to suspend his re-election campaign. what does this mean for hunter's re-election bid? given he is in a republican strong hold district where veterans compose nearly lly 10 eligible voters? >> reporter: exactly. right near here in eastern san diego county, hunter's district, it is a staunch republican district as you said. and cnn has been talking to voters out there, a lot of them are still kind of sifting through this indictment. trying to figure out what to make of the charges and the breathtaking detail in there. but it's really going to be interesting to see whether veterans and defense contractors continue to stand behind duncan hunter who succeeded his father in that congressional seat.
that's really been the pillar of his campaign support. as long as he's been in office, and these are really serious charges. he is, of course, taking a page from the trump playbook saying that this is all politically motivated as you saw in that clip right there. and he is defipt as ever. said he's going to fight the charges and excited about the trial ahead. ana? >> thank you. this is cnn news breaking. >> hello, i'm ana cabrera in for brooke baldwin. thank withdrew fyou for rolling into the top of the hour as we continue our breaking news coverage involving the president and the man he chose to lead the justice department. here is attorney general jeff sessions just leaving the white house moments ago. he was scheduled to talk prison reform with the president. this face to face happened minutes after sessions fired back in war of words with the president responding to trump
bashing him on television. >> jeff sessions, never took control of the justice department. and it's sort of an incredible thing. when everybody sees what's going on in the justice department, i always put justice now with quotes, it's a very, very sad day. jeff sessions recused himself which he shouldn't have done, or he should have told me. even my enemies say that jeff sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself. and then you wouldn't have put him in. he took the job and then he said, i'm going to recuse myself. i said, what kind of a man is this? >> moments ago, sessions released this statement in response. "i took control of the department of justice the day i was sworn in which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the president's agenda. while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. i demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, i take