tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN November 29, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
michael cohen. >> mr. cohen, mr. cohen, mr. cohen. can you just talk to us? mr. cohen, just -- >> mr. cohen is the man who has known the president's deepest secrets for years and years. today the man who once vowed to take a bullet for trump filed a play agreement admitting that he lied to congress. this is not the first guilty plea for cohen, but this is the difference -- this is the first plea deal with mueller's prosecutors. today's deal was about a proposed trump to you are project in moscow. he testified the moscow project ended in january 2016 and was not discussed extensively with others in the company. however, court documents detail cohen was talking and coordinating about the project as late as june of that very same year with multiple people,
including presidential republican nominee donald trump. the president defended himself standing in front of the white house by going after michael cohen. >> he was given a fairly long jail sentence and he's a week person. and by being weak, unlike other people that you watch, he's a weak person and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence. so he's lying about a project that everybody knew about. i mean, we were very open with it. we were thinking about building a building. i guess we had in a form it was an option. i don't know what you call it. . we decided -- i decided ultimately not to do it. there would have been nothing wrong if i did do it. it's my business. he's lying to get a reduced sentence.
>> fact check -- here is why cohen's plea deal with mueller really matters. it raises the possibility of trump concealing his business dealings with a foreign power in this case, russia. it also raises the question of whether the kremlin had leverage over trump while he was a candidate and as people were voting for him during the primary. and think about the deal's impact on the future of this entire russia investigation. michael cohen has now shared information with mueller's team at least seven different times. through the plea agreement, mueller has put on court record that cohen is telling the truth. ets go to let's go to evan perez. give me the details when cohen said initially the moscow deal failed to go through. >> reporter: right, brooke. according to michael cohen, one of the reasons why he made these
false statements previously was because he was trying to align his statements, what he testified to to congress, to align it with what candidate trump and then later president trump had said about his ties to russia, that there were no such ties, that this entire investigation was a hoax, that there was no reason for it, there was no good reason for it to be investigated. according to michael cohen now, after january he not only continued to brief the president, the then candidate and now president multiple times, we don't know exactly how many times, but he also briefed members of the family, people in the trump organization and, according to the documents at least someone, one person, a senior person inside the campaign. that's a big deal simply because, as you said, the president -- and as the president just pointed out, he had repeatedly said that he had nothing to do with russia. as a matter of fact, what the president just said on the south lawn there before departing for argentina is in contradiction with something his own son told
members of congress when he testified last year. don jr. said that he didn't really remember much about the trump tower project in moscow, that, as a matter of fact, he was only learning some of the details as a result of news coverage, which happened last year. so the president's comments that everybody knew about this, that's not really exactly true if you believe his son, if you believe michael cohen, if you believe the special counsel robert mueller. >> so we saw the president on the south lawn as he headed down to the g-20. then we heard from the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, responding to all this news today. what did rudy giuliani say, evan? >> rudy, as you know, has a lot of different thanksgiving to in. he said michael cohen's a liar. he said of course it's no surprise that cohen lied to congress, which is also a bit of a problem because if you see the president, he's saying that michael cohen is lying now, that who wasn't lying then. that's another part of this.
but rudy giuliani also says that some of this stuff really was a result of information that the trump organization itself turned over and he also, brooke, called attention to the fact that robert mueller and his investigators are dropping this bombshell right before the president goes on an international trip. if you remember, right before the president went to helsinki to have a summit meeting with vladimir putin, we learned of these charges against russian spies from the gru with the military intelligence service. so rudy giuliani is calling attention to the fact that it appears, he believes, that robert mueller is trying to sabotage the president and his conduct of international relations. >> evan, thank you. with me now cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. gloria, how does giuliani's response square with what cohen told the court, especially after the president today called cohen a liar. >> rudy giuliani is on
team trump. as evan was saying all throughout the the campaign, focused on trying to win iowa, saying to everybody i've never done any business deals with moscow, except maybe selling a piece of property in palm beach to a wealthy russian, and i did the miss universe pageant and that was it. in the meantime this was continuing. and michael cohen and the president at that time were on the same page. fast forward to today, they are no longer on the same page and michael cohen is saying, look, i'm telling you the truth here, it didn't end in january, it ended in june. i mean, i actually wrote a story on this letter of intent back in september of 2017 where i was told that it ended in january and not in june and i was told that it ended because it never went anywhere, just as the president was saying today.
and of course that turns out not to be truthful. and this is damaging to the president because of what you exactly pointed out before, brooke, which is the russians knew this. did they have any kind of leverage then over candidate trump, someone who could be president trump, i think is a really, really big question here. and i guarantee you the members of congress are going to say, okay, let's see your tax returns. i want to see more. i want to know more. >> yup. i talked to senator ben cardin, talked to him last hour, making that point precisely. this is more than this moscow project, though. the other big piece of news is with cohen's plea deal with mueller, you've been learning that this goes well beyond this moscow trump tower. >> yeah. pamela brown and i have been doing some reporting on that today. we know michael cohen has had 70 hours of discussions, 7-0. that's a lot.
that is about a lot more than trump tower moscow. and, you know, possible top, that have been thrown out there are the questions about whether michael cohen ever discussed a pardon with the president, whether the president knew about wikileaks in advance or whether, you know, he knew about the don jr. meeting in trump tower in advance. we know from dana bash's reporting yesterday that the trump tower meeting at least is a question that mueller put to donald trump in writing. so you can see where michael cohen could be a very handy witness for bob mueller. although as you know, he's not the most credible person in the world. so there is that. but michael cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the president, could now the become brute is for him. >> as you point out with the 70 hours, there's a reason, to
believe mueller is indeed telling the truth. let's go a little further here. with me former federal prosecutor in the eastern and southern districts of new york. berit, to you, big picture it for me. why is this moscow trump to you are lie so significant? >> the first reason is because everyone was lying about it. you know something as a former prosecutor is important when people have to try to get their story straight about it. if there was no issue with it, if this was all above the board, then why were people lying? why did michael cohen have to go in front of congress and say something totally different than he's saying in court now? it makes us know there was something people were trying to keep hidden. the other reason i think it's so significant is because as you mentioned earlier, this is a, you know, a politician who we have no insight into his finances we've never seen his tax returns. it is this black hole. so we don't know what kind of conflicts there are.
so to the extent that we're now hearing information that there was this ongoing business relationship with russia that we have had really no insight into, that's significant for everyone. that certainly is something i feel like the american people should be worried about. >> on the lying piece, michael cohen, he's had a loose relationship from the truth, now we hear from mueller he believes he telling the truth. tell me why he knows that. >> he's not going to take michael cohen's word for it. you can see from the plea agreement, it details the number of proffer sessions they've had together starting back in august, ending just november 20th. so they've been meeting regularly. this is pretty standard procedure before you sign up a cooperating witness, before they actually plead guilty. but this is not how mueller knows he's telling the truth. he knows by comparing it with the other evidence he has. we know there are other witnesses that are cooperating. we know they have documents, they have e-mails, they have financial records they've
subpoenaed, they've been having a long grand jury investigation for months now. so it's all in that corroboration. with somebody like michael cohen, they're not going to take his word for it. ha they're going to test everything that comes out of his mouth to make sure it's backed up by the evidence. >> just last week president trump submitted his apnswers to the mueller questions and now one week later -- >> i don't know that this was so calculated that he was pleading a week after those. my guess is that cohen is somebody they've been trying to get in a position that they felt confident enough to sign him up to a cooperation agreement. the fact that it happened after the written agreement, maybe there's something significant, it could just be a matter of sort of the timing of what it took to get him ready to plead guilty. >> and hearing from other
lawyers perhaps they wanted to lock down trump's answers and then have cohen do what he did but your guess is as good as mine. >> perhaps. we'll find out. >> does this now bring the trump family business further into the mueller investigation than we thought? donald trump biographer will join me next. and president trump has abrupt live cancelled his g-20 sideline meeting with president putin of russia but not for the reasons you may be thinking. we have details on that and the kremlin's response. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. you better be 'cause it's red lobster's new create your own ultimate feast event! pick 4 of 10 favorites to create the ultimate feast you've been dreaming of. will you choose creamy lobster mac & cheese, tender, wild-caught snow crab... crispy jumbo coconut shrimp, hey, we never said choosing was easy... just delicious. so hurry in to create your own ultimate feast before it's gone. and be the party hero. get ten percent off when you order red lobster to go.
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president trump coming out today on the offense. cohen says discussion about the projects in moscow lasted well into trump's 2016 campaign, something cohen had previously denied. even so the president maintains he did nothing wrong. >> we had a position to possibly do a deal, to build a building of some kind in moscow. i decided not to do it. the primary reason, there could have been other reasons, but the primary reason was very simple, i was focused on running for president. there would be nothing wrong if i did do it. i was running my business while i was campaigning. there was a good chance that i wouldn't have won, in which case i would have gone back into the business and why should i lose lots of opportunities? >> cnn contributor michael d'antonio knows trump more than
most. he's a biographer. his book is called "the truth about trump." welcome back. when you saw trump there on the south lawn this morning and his response today saying there was a good chance i wouldn't have won the election, what were you thinking? >> well, heaven help me, brooke, i now know how this fella thinks. right before he made that statement, i texted one of your producers and said, you know, he was keeping his options open. he didn't think he was going to win. so the presidential campaign i think started out as a marketing endeavor. this was almost a ploy. as the president has said subsequently, it just picked up momentum. and i think as late as may or even going into the general election, he didn't think he was going to win. i think he was as shocked as anybody else when he actually did prevail in the electoral college. so he was keeping his options open. he really doesn't ever believe that he does something wrong.
so the idea of, well, i'm going to continue to negotiate a deal in russia, as i'm running for president of the united states of america, well, of course i will. i'm donald trump. >> so keeping some irons in the fire, as it were, which if you talk to a former fbi special agent today, it could have been a matter of national security. but that aside, we know that michael cohen today explained that the reason why he lied to congress was because, one, he was loyal to trump and, two, because of political messaging, you know, how this would have looked. you know the relationship between these two men. can you just talk to me about the level of loyalty michael cohen had for donald trump. >> it was profound. the president, then businessman donald trump, introduced me to michael cohen with the explanation this is my most
trusted adviser, he's the guy who executes sensitive missions to me, he knows everything and you can take what he tells you to the bank. this gives a lie to the president's suggestion now and coming from people around him that michael cohen is a liar, he can't be trusted. i actually believe that michael cohen only lied in the service of donald trump. i think that otherwise in his life, he was a fairly up-front guy, pretty reputable. he lied for donald trump because that's where his -- his bread was buttered but also i think there was a personal relationship between the two of them that was very strong. >> which is why it's also equally profound that of all people, he's the guy who has flipped and is now cooperating with the special counsel. let me read for you a specific line within this court filing. quote, cohen discussed the
status and progress of the moscow project with individual i, trump, on more than one occasion. and he briefed family members within the company. who would have been involved in a deal like that? >> the people most likely involved with have been ivanka trump and donald jr. this is not the kind of project that eric would have had much to do with. but this is i think the president's nightmare, the idea that his daughter and his son could be drawn into this web and not only smeared but perhaps subject to criminal investigation that the whole family enterprise could be threatened by all of this. no one knows for certain how rich the trumps are or how much equity they have in their various endeavors, but this is a
marketing organization first and foremost and anything that destroys the brand is bad for the bottom line. you know, we're now looking at his children. they're going to need to lawyer up and they could face consequences that aren't even imagined right now. >> michael d'antonio, thank you so much. >> thanks, brooke. >> good to see you. more on this with the chaos of week and the investigation. it is clear there are at least three areas in which robert mueller is looking into the president directly. we'll break that down for you. and after word of cohen's courtroom bombshell, trump cancelled plans to meet with vladimir putin. he says it because of ukraine but is that just a really convenient excuse? cooker that . it's the best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one. with tendercrisp technology, food will be juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside. (upbeat drumming) the ninja foodi, the pressure cooker that crisps.
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...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. special counsel robert mueller has been dropping bombshell after bombshell since receiving president trump's answers to the written investigation. today michael cohen admitted to lying to congress about plans to build this trump tower in moscow. trump said the discussions ended in january of '16. turns out that went well into june of this year. the president's former campaign
chairman paul manafort was also lying and has reached a plea deal with mueller. with each indictment and plea deal, we get glimpses of how much mueller really knows. he's zeroing in on all the president's men. >> at least this week it feels like there's something new. let's break down what we do know muler er t mueller to be chasing. let's start with roger stone and his relationship with wikileaks. according to draft court papers that we obtained, stone is accused of jerome corsi of telling him to contact the head of wikileaks, julian assange, and get the information. that could then create a straight line from the russian military hackers who got those democratic e-mails to trump's
inner circle. next we've got donald trump jr. and his infamous meeting at trump tower that included others, including paul manafort and jared kushner, the senior most level of the trump campaign. they met with that russian lawyer who was corrected nnecte kremlin to try to get dirt on hillary clinton. cnn has learned that president trump responded to mueller's questions saying he knew nothing about that meeting finally todg news, michael cohen and the trump tower moscow project. so he was found -- he pleaded guilty today for lying to congress. we learned that cohen kept trump, who was then the presumptive republican nominee for president abreast, updated of the developments on the trump tower moscow deal well into the campaign, until around mid 2016. we know that cohen tried to e-mail the kremlin press
secretary about permissions for that project that would be needed but he never heard back from him at that point. so to recap all these overlapping business and political events, let's take a look at this timeline. you've got the plans for trump tower moscow. that was discussed as late as june 2016. that same month there was the trump tower meeting with don jr. a month later you have the rnc, the republican party that changed their platform in a way that was seen as favoring russia. then, brooke, just a few days later, wikileaks dumped their first big trove of hacked democratic e-mails. >> thanks for putting it all out on the big board so we can take it in and the timeline. cnn has learned that michael cohen is telling the special counsel much more than just this project in moscow. we'll ask about the significance of the plea deal coming just a
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now that michael cohen has pleaded guilty as part of special counsel robert mueller's russian investigation, now what? what does it mean for president trump and the direction of the investigation. with me former special assistant at the department of justice and washington correspondent for "the new york times." gentlemen, thank you for jumping on with me. michael, to you first. you do know robert mueller, you've worked so closely with him. you've taken all of this in today.
what is your gut reaction to today's news? >> well, knowing mueller and watching the wave he's procey h over the past 18 months, we know for sure lying to him is a big mistake. that's what michael cohen did according to these pleadings. if anybody else in the trump ecosystem, jared kushner, don jr. or anybody else for that matter did the same, they will be in the same position as michael cohen. as to whether or not the lies that have been represented in this information implicate the president, i don't yet see that connection. they've said in here that michael cohen lied and that he actually informed the individual one, president trump presumably, about information but it doesn't give us dates. it doesn't say after january when the president said it was the last time he heard about it. it doesn't say specifically in here that between january and june when this thing really
ended the president was informed about that. so unless there's evidence that has yet to be released publicly or that i'm missing, it doesn't yet take me to the president being a public liar in a provable abuse of office sense or a kol usive relationship between the trump organization or the trump campaigns and the russians. it's not a good day as a public relations matter but as a legal matter, which is my focus, i don't see where this is terribly incriminating of the president. >> i welcome that perspective. mark, what do you think of what michael's saying? you know, we were chatting a second ago. you say there's a larger issue at stake. >> well, i think michael's right. there's not specifics in the court documents that cite exactly where the president might be in legal peril in terms of actually lying. we have to also layer it, though, on this other issue,
which is that the president just submitted written answers to the mueller team about this and other issues. so the question is whether anything that he and his lawyers have submitted to mueller that might be at odds with what michael cohen said in terms of the timetable, in terms of when these discussions began and ended. that's where he could be in potential legal trouble. in terms of the issue that michael raised about was there a conspiracy or collusive relationship, it doesn't get us there. there's another interesting series of events occurring. we know discussions about a trump tower moscow were going on during the early months of 2016 up until the point where president trump secured the republican nomination. at that time according to previous mueller inindictments,
the russians were escalating their efforts to -- there was the hacking and we know there was a business deal being negotiated. that's just mothanother thing ie mix in terms of the questions about trump and his relationship with russians. >> and that's what i called the public relations side of it. but, brooke, may i just interject one thing, which mark raises, which is the written answers of the president. >> that's where i was going to go next. if i may just interject and i want you to say your piece but do you think there is any strategy from mueller having trump submit those written answers last week and, bam, this plea deal happens today? >> i don't think so. it's possible. similarly it's possible that they didn't give a -- prevent manafo manafort. it's possible. but it would seem to me that if
there was evidence in the documents that president trump turned over to the mueller about the continuing relationship between cohen and the russians about the moscow tower, that those would be included in the answers that they provided. if it's not included in the answers it, probably means or could mean that there is no written documentation of any communications between cohen and the president around this period of january to june where it's presumably the time that the president may have misrepresented himself. so i'm not sure that the absence of anything in the written questions would be a reflection of the president lying as much as corroborative of the president's lack of knowledge of the communications that cohen was having with the russians but not having relayed that to the president directly. there's a lot that we don't know but again is something that we
still have to wait and see. >> i think that's the moral of the story every time we talk about bob mueller. there's a lot we don't know. we can only parse through what we know publicly. the crux of the matter deals with we're talking about this moscow project and this is trump's finances specifically. we all remember trump sort of drew this line in the sand and said you can't get into my finances, that's my red line. and that is precisely what they're digging into now. >> right. potentially they are. we now know that, you know, cohen is working directly with the special counsel's office. michael cohen is the long-time lawyer and fixer for president trump, knows a great trump organization and stepping back for a second, you recall that after michael cohen pled guilty in new york for the other issue, the payments before the election of hush money, it was very clear he wanted to speak to the
special counsel. his lawyer all but said it on tv, that he has information to offer the special counsel on these other issues. so what we don't know yet is what else he might have to offer. but there's potentially a great deal given his position in the trump organization. >> that's right. and that's right. and, brooke, to mark's point -- >> quickly, michael. >> these pleadings only need to set out what they need to prove cohen to be a liar. they don't require expansive evidence of trump's collusive relationship. if they have it, we'll wait and see when they deliver it. >> we will see. thank you guys so much. just ahead here, president trump reverses course, now saying he will not meet with president putin on the sidelines of the g-20 this weekend but not because of today's news about michael cohen. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small
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more breaking news. as tensions between ukraine and russia threaten to boil over, president trump has now cancelled his meeting with russia's president vladimir putin. it was supposed to happen this weekend at the g-20 summit in argentina. president trump says this new russian standoff with ukraine is the reason why he cancelled it. nick payton walsh is in ukraine. how is this decision that the president will no longer meet with putin an opportunity to push him on what's happened? how is that being received where you are? >> i have to say i think there was initial consternation the meeting was even contemplated given the fact we've seen a further escalation of russian
military maneuvers when they arrested 24 sailors. remarkable in circumstances given how barack obama led the world in sanctions against russia after the invasion of crimea that donald trump would consider having a cozy meeting with vladimir putin. after days of pressure and it's fair to say condemning russian aggression, he decided to call it off. petra poroshenko initially institutes martial law across ukraine pup haven't seen enormous differences in daily life but a slight increase in x anxiety to what it might mean in the future. he tweets back to donald trump saying "this is how great leaders act." ukraine is in a difficult bind with the military. they only got the military
themselves to hold the russians back if they were to face a full-on military offensive. they really need international solidarity on their side. the more they had copious amounts of that from europe and other allies. they're lacking from donald trump the sort of leader of the free world, so to speak, some extraordinarily tough languagla. it's made little difference on the ground here in ukraine. people are exhausted of this war that has been going on for four years. it has piqued in the last few days but casualties have been coming every day regardless. they have to ask themselves, the national response to this recent flourishing of moscow aggression has been patchy and that may have emboldened and gives them a
window. >> catchy, says nick payton walsh. i appreciate it. with me is kim dozier on the analysis of all of this. . we saw the president, looking forward to meeting as he walking on the south lawn this morning, fast forward to the tweets. no, cancelling my meeting with putin over you. >> to what do you attribute the change? >> this came right after the michael cohen announcement. it's like he was creeping up to this. the ambassador in washington, d.c. had reached out to me. they feel a mixture of both fear, and they also see an opportunity to get more assistance in that they have already gotten $250 million worth of assistance including what they consider some lethal assistance. the u.s. calls it defensive that's in the pipeline to be delivered, but most of that is land-based. now they see a naval threat, and
you've got the ukrainian president saying putin wants to gobble up our whole country, and the ambassador listed to me a number of things that would help them offset this new threat to their country. from the congressional perspective, they say, yes, look, we might be open to giving this stuff to them, but from the administration official perspective, they say we've got to measure this against what they have already given them, already promised them and how this might escalate tensions with russia. >> how quickly on the russia side, how is the kremlin responding to this change? >> the kremlin is calling this whole incident just a criminal incident, and they are dismissing the ukrainian request as just more attempts to ramp up the situation. >> no, but on the president cancelling the meeting. >> on the president cancelling the meeting. >> muted response so far. >> how does putin see this?
>> how does putin see this? you know, again, for him he's going to get that cat who swallowed the canary opportunity to look like he's in charge. he has just pushed again, expanded the boundaries of russia in the direction of ukraine, and now he isn't going to have the u.s. president taking im to task pubically. trump has turned down that opportunity. >> fareed zakaria was sitting in your chair a second ago, and he was saying it's a missed opportunity to push putin over what they have done with ukraine. kimberly dozier, thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, said to be a wake-up call, a drop in the u.s. life expectancy, the first time it's fallen in three years in a row since before world war i. what's to blame for this troubling friend? (roger) being a good father is important to me so being diagnosed with advanced this troubling trend? ings that i wanted to teach my kids. (avo) another tru story with keytruda.
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just in. german chancellor angela merkel's plane was forced to turn around and make an unscheduled landing. this is happening as she was on her way to the g-20 summit in argentina. we're told the problem was, quote, an electric systems failure. more on that ahead. meantime, some alarming numbers today from the centers for disease control. more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the u.s. last year, and that is driving down the life expectancy of americans. let me show you what the cdc found. the average american life span dropped by more than -- more than a month from 2016 to 2017. that's the second decline in the past three years, and the cdc says this is a wake-up call. this comes as the number of drug overdose deaths surged by more than 10% in 2017 with three
states hit the hardest. it's west virginia, ohio and pennsylvania, and cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is here to talk about this report. i woke up, and i was -- it's awful to read that it's been this bad since before world war i, and it's because of drug overdoses and suicides? >> yeah. i mean, it is remarkable. i mean, the richest country in the world, spends the most on healthcare than any country in the world, and life expectancy going in the wrong direction. it's been a concern for some time. the last time this really happened, you know, there was a world war. there was an infectious disease, the pandemic spreading around the world, so what's driving it now is a very different situation as you point out. i think if you look at these numbers with regard to drug overdoses and suicides, those are what are real el fueling the -- really fueling these premature deaths. they have gone up by roughly 10%, the drug overdose deaths.
since 1999, brooke, suicides have increased 30% in this country. it's pretty remarkable. almost 4% just over the last year alone. what is the underlying problem here? too many medications and too much stress in the society. people self-medicating. whatever it may be, despite how much we're investing in healthcare, we don't have what we should show for it in terms of life expectancy. >> quickly. those three states where it's worse, the worst? why? >> biggest thing really seems to be the synthetic opioids. you've heard of these, the fentanyls, the people addicted to these medications, and all of a sudden a more powerful synthetic opioid comes on to the market. people think they are getting their usual stuff, whatever it might be, and something that can be ten times more powerful, even 100 times more powerful is what they get and that causes people to overdoerks ase, and sometime
die. that is what driving that in those states. the country as a whole, despite a problem that's somewhat localized, it's big enough it's affecting the whole country. >> it's all of us. dr. sanjay gupta, thank you so much. the cdc calls it a wake-up call for all of us. thanks for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. >> could the fixer end up being the man who breaks the trump presidency? "the lead" starts right now. what could be the biggest direct threat to president trump to today, president trump's former cleanup guy, michael cohen, now causing a mess pleading guilty to lying to congress about trump business in moscow and now cooperating with special counsel robert mueller. what cohen now admits and what the president might have known. also breaking on the heels of all of this, president trump cancelling his meeting with vladimir putin, not because of michael cohen, he claims, but over putin's aggression in