tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN November 30, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
obviously, i think as you used it to say, deeply disturbing developments. the history here is so crucial. don't miss the special report, "presidents under fire: the history of impeachment." the documentary is sunday night at 9:00. thank you for joining us. anderson starts now. good evening. we begin tonight with breaking news in the russia investigation. it is a cnn exclusive and could be big indeed. the question is how big. the story concerns michael cohen, president trump, and a potentially impeachment offense. that big. cnn's evan perez, gloria, and pamela brown did the reporting. gloria, explain what you're hearing, what you learned. >> we're reporting that michael cohen, who is now a star witness for robert mueller, used to be the president's fixer, was under the impression early on, right after the sort of stormy daniels saga, that if he stayed on message and continued to protect
the president, that either a pardon or some kind of protection would be there for him. our reporting shows he got this impression not long after the stormy daniels case broke. remember, he went to mar-a-lago, met with the president at that time. we are unclear about who conveyed that message to michael cohen. we know he came away early on thinking, i'm in a good spot. i'll be protected. we then know that everything kind of fell apart after the raid on his office. first, the president was still supportive of them, but then he went on "fox and friends," and the president said, well, he only did a little legal work for me. then michael cohen knew that he would no longer have the president at his back. >> evan, what's the response been from the president's legal team? >> well, anderson, rudy giuliani told pamela brown tonight the president of the united states never indicated anything to
michael or anyone else about getting a pardon. the pardons are off the table, he said. it is not a limitation on his power in the future to pardon in any case. a little bit of a mixed message there from rudy giuliani, as often happens. in one sentence, he's saying pardons are off the table, but the president still has that ultimate power to pardon anyone he wants. he's right, by the way. the president's power is absolute. that's the key here for this story. the idea that michael cohen, for whatever reason, perhaps after he came back from his mar-a-lago trip or from outreach from people close to the president, believed that he was being promised something in return for staying on message is a very big deal for this investigation. if this is something that he is telling to prosecutors, to investigators, you can see that this could end up being part of the mueller report and then, of course, this is something that members of congress will want to
know about, as they decide what to do about this come next year. >> yeah, i mean, we don't know for a fact, anderson, that he's said this to mueller, but if he did, clearly, it would be part of any obstruction investigation, if somebody says to you, you know, you take care of me and i'll take care of you. >> but, again, i just want to drill down on sort of what is not known, because that's as important, frankly, as what is known about this. it is not known whether michael cohen talked about this with robert mueller. hard to believe in 70 hours of testimony in front of mueller or discussions with mueller he wouldn't have mentioned this, but it is not known if it was the -- if he is alleging that it was the president who directly indicated to him, you know, i'll take care of you, meaning a pardon or some other form of taking care of, or if it was somebody around the president, according to michael cohen. >> exactly. i mean, i think -- i think we
know from our reporting, and evan can weigh in on this, that the message was sent. >> right. >> we do not know who sent it directly or indirectly. that includes the president. we just -- >> right. >> -- don't know. >> keep in mind -- >> and evan, based on -- go ahead, evan. >> part of the -- part of what was happening at the time, if you remember early on, michael cohen's legal fees were being paid for by the trump organization and by the -- so that was one of the things that was happening at the time, that gave him this impression, perhaps, that the president had his back and that he was going to be taken care of. >> evan, do we know after the raid, as gloria mentioned, initially, the president in public statements said nice things about michael cohen. later on, maybe days later, i'm not sure of the exact timeline, he started to distance himself, saying, you know, michael didn't do a lot of work for me. he was a minor player, things
like that. is it clear if there was continued contact between someone from the president's team or someone around the president to michael cohen? >> we don't know who might have been reaching out exactly and whether anybody from the president's legal team might have been involved in any of this. what we do know is that michael cohen has this impression that, from his outreach, from whatever he was doing at the time, that the president had his back. keep in mind, anderson, you know, after the raid and, as you mentioned, the president starts distancing himself, there's also a "national inquirer" story published that talks about michael cohen's so-called secrets. we reported this at the time, that to michael cohen, this was a signal he was seeing, he believed, that there was an effort by the president and people close to him to try to distance themselves from him. essentially, he was going to be on his own. he started getting the message
that for all of the reassurances he was getting, things were going to be different. he was also hearing from his own family, by the way, that he had to take care of them. if he was going to go to prison, this was going to be something that they were going to have to bare. all of those things were factors into michael cohen's thinking as time went on. >> gloria, this is certainly, you know, a fascinating story. the proof, of course, we don't know if there is any actual proof, other than something michael cohen may have said to mueller, but whether there's -- you know, michael cohen has report ed recorded things in the past, but we don't know if there is any documentation of this. for a guy who once said he'd take a bullet for the president, this is yet another kind of remarkable chapter in the desoldeso dissolving of their priorhakesp.
the guy who was the president's major protector turned into brutus, right? at least the president would seem to think so. and the relationship has had its ups and downs over the years. you talk to people about their relationship, and they will give you varying stories about how actually close they were. one thing we do know about michael cohen is that publicly, nobody was more loyal to donald trump throughout the campaign, for example. even at the beginning of the stormy daniels saga, as we all know, he was really protecting the president here, and himself, i might add. but it has all completely dissolved. once michael cohen, according to our sources, felt that he was going to be left out in the cold, he decided that he had to start protecting his family and himself. >> yeah. the thing about the way though michael cohen, you know -- you said there was nobody who was more, you know, demonstrably
perfusive about donald trump, that's the case during the campaign, almost to a ludicrous extent. saying he's never made a mistake before. he is the smartest person. he has the best memory. all these things which, to donald trump's point, that michael cohen is a liar, cohen hasn't done himself in favors in the public statements that he has made, back when he was supporting donald trump. >> right, exactly. you can see, i mean, from the documents that were released this week as part of the plea agreement with the mueller investigation, they are saying, essentially, that what michael cohen was doing is he was lying to -- essentially, he aligned himself with the false statements that were being told by the campaign. at least according to these court documents. what michael cohen was doing was lying in order to match the lies that were going on elsewhere. that's the level of loyalty that he had to then-candidate trump
and later president trump. >> yeah. a lot of lies flying around. hard to keep it straight. gloria, thank you. evan, as well. joining us now, laura coates and jeffrey toobin. also chief investigative correspondent of yahoo! joins us. co-author of "russian roulette," putin's war in america and the election of donald trump. fascinating read. also, congressional correspondent for the "new york times." in your opinion, how big of a deal is this, or could it be? >> gloria skpand evan were speag with great care about what they know and what they don't know. this raises a huge possibility and, you know, obviously, we'll have to see how the evidence plays out, but did donald trump promise michael cohen that he would take care of him, either in a pardon or some other way, in return for staying loyal in terms of his testimony?
you know, was this a quid pro quo, a pardon for lack of cooperation with these agreements -- with these investigations. if that was the case, that, to me, is the definition of an impeachment offense. because it is an abuse of presidential power. it is very similar to one of the articles of impeachment that the house judiciary committee voted against richard nixon in 1974. promises of leniency in return for lack of cooperation. that's not what the proof is yet. that's not what our cnn report is yet, but it is certainly suggestive that the evidence might be in that direction. that would be enormously serious. >> i want to put that article of impeachment up on the screen and just read it for our viewers. you just referenced it. in the nixon articles of impeachment, endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals dually tried and
convicted, to expect favored treatment for consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony. laura coates, i mean, whatever michael cohen has said or is saying about this, or has said to mueller, if he has, in fact, talked to mueller about this, the question is, is there any actual proof? michael cohen saying this happened, i assume, i mean, that's not enough, given his track record. >> no, it is not enough that any prosecutor would look to a cooperator and say, what you have said is enough. they want corroboration. before you invest in a guilty plea or cooperation agreement, as a prudent prosecutor, you'll have corroboration before you trust somebody. it is interesting. when you have a competition among liars, the credibility issue can be cancelled out to a larger extent than, say, mother teresa was against the average liar. you have people competing. the judge and jury is saying, who do i think lies less?
it is not a good position for a defendant to be in. having said that, i'm most interested in why michael cohen had that impression and who he got the impression from. that's the linchpin argument and the linchpin cause for the proof here. if michael cohen is simply banking on an insinuation or his intuition, that is not going to actually fly for a prosecution in this case. but if he's talking about there was a statement made, there was an implicit agreement, one that has been back before, a reference to some time ago, that holds more water. jeff ask righis right, talking impeachment. i'm interested in knowing if there were other people who was not the president of the united states or who were not presidential candidates who were dangling the pardoning power or that scratch or back, we'll scratch yours philosophy. we wouldn't be in the impeachment context. it wouldn't just be the articles of impeachment. it'd be about obstruction of justice. there is not the protection of a sitting president for those
people. >> michael, there is a big difference, if it is something president trump said to michael cohen directly or intimated, or if it is somebody in the president's orbit, you know, saying, oh, he's going to take care of you. you know he's take care of you, something like that. again, we don't know exactly how michael cohen got this impression. >> of course. you know, obviously, everything depends on who said exactly what, what corroboration there might be, what michael cohen heard, what that person who michael cohen says he got this impression from would say. can i point out something, anderson? we've been all so focused on the robert mueller investigation and, you know, his job is to make criminal cases, to find violations of the federal sta statutes and then bring indictments. there is another branch of government here that could get to the bottom of this very quickly, and that's congress.
they've had ongoing investigations since january 2017, into this whole matter of the russia investigation. they've held almost all hearings behind closed doors. we've never heard from the witnesses. we've never heard them testify. in a little more than a month, the democrats will have subpoena power, will have the gavel. they could call michael cohen to testify the first week in january or the second week. there's nothing to stop them. mueller might object, but they've got their own obligations. we could hear from michael cohen directly. and hear exactly what he has to say on this and all the other matters before them. i think this report tonight from cnn only underscores the obligation that congress, that democrats in congress and the house, really now have. senate could do it, too. it is still under republican control, but there is nothing to stop them either. to bring forth, you know, the
key, fact witnesses in all this matter, have them testify in public, just like what happened in watergate. just like what happened in iran-contra. just like what happened during whitewater. all the major scandals in recent history, public hearings, public testimony. enough of this beliend clohind doors stuff, in which we're relying on leaks from sources, all who have their own agendas. >> julie, i mean, michael raises a fascinating idea there. given that there's so much concern about any final report that mueller might write up, and who actually will see it, and that's something that, obviously, the acting attorney general whitaker would be responsible for, for deciding. if there were hearings, just as we're learning information that mueller is putting in the public doma domain, just in the charges yesterday, if there were public hearings, that would be putting things in the public domain that might end up thin that report,
which might get varied. >> michael is right to focus on congress. i think there is a huge appetite right now, certainly among democrats, house democrats who are about to take the majority in january. also, i think on the senate side, and not just among republic democrats, but the chairman of the senate committee, richard burr, says you don't lie to congress and get away from it. there is an appetite to hear from michael cohen again. democrats and republicans view him clearly as somebody who was very loyal to president trump, so he knows a lot. very close to him. he's now turned on him and has been willing to give information that is critical to their understanding of trump's involvement or degree of involvement, if he had involvement. both in, you know, business dealings with russia, but also potentially in election interference. i think they already wanted to hear from michael cohen. i think michael is right, this only be underscore that and make that a more real possibility.
there may be some give and take though with mueller, if he has not yet come to a conclusion and issued final charges or a final dispensation of this investigation. you know, a lot of the questions they would want to ask are questions that are going to be at the heart of the investigation. certainly, now that we know as much as we do, both from his guilty pleas and from the reporting tonight, the questions that have been raised, i think, are going to be ones congress will want to explore. >> if i can just add -- >> we want to continue this conversation -- go ahead, jeff. >> if i can add about the congressional testimony. one reason i think congressional testimony by cohen is likely is that there's no conflict over the issue of immunitimmunity. he's said he'll testify without immunit immunity. prosecutor s object on immunity. that's why the cases were thrown out in the iran-contra
investigation. congress gave immunity, and they were prosecuted. here, he's pled guilty, so he could be a witness, and i think mueller would have a harder time objecting. >> i want to get a quick break in. we'll continue this conversation because it is an important one. i want to see what everybody makes of something we touched on briefly, that change in tone about michael cohen from the president from staunchly defending him immediately after the raid to what he's saying now. later, an update on the massive earthquake that has done damage in alaska. we'll bring you there live. we'll be right back. after walking six miles at an amusement park, bill's back needed a vacation from his vacation. so he stepped on the dr. scholl's kiosk. it recommends our best custom fit orthotic to relieve foot, knee, or lower back pain so you can move more. dr. scholl's. born to move. little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream.
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( ♪ ) the new 2019 ford edge. welcome back. we're talking about cnn's exclusive. michael cohen's belief he'd be pardoned or protected, as long as he stayed on message and protected president trump. so far, no direct evidence, like a document or recording. michael cohen did record conversations with his old boss
from time to time. for a while, this spring, the president was, as we mentioned, public live supportive of cohen. here's what the president said after several fbi raids on cohen's offices. >> i just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. good man. it is a disgraceful situation. it is a total witch hunt. >> the president also defended cohen at length on twitter, saying he did not anticipate cohen flipping, to use the president's word for cooperating with investigators. he did. the president's tone changed. back now with our group of experts, legal and reporters, as well. jeff, i mean, we know michael cohen recorded at least one conversation with candidate trump about hush money. obviously, if cohen made any additional recordings, it'd be hugely important. what we don't know is why donald trump's tone and words and
attitude publicly -- statements about michael cohen changed in the days after the raid. >> well, we don't know exactly why it changed in those first few days. we certainly know why it changed now. because michael cohen has become very much a government witness. why he didn't try to cultivate cohen and stay, you know -- and try to encourage cohen to stay loyal, that requires a knowledge of donald trump's psyche that i don't pretend to have. but certainly, what happened was, cohen got the message that he was no longer going to be protected, or simply he had an attack of conscience, or he realized the future looked grim, fighting these charges. in any event, he's made a complete 180, and he is now a sworn enemy of the president, as we heard on the white house lawn yesterday. his credibility will be attacked
by the president's defenders, if he testifies in congress or if his name appears in the report. that's, you know -- and that's where things stand right now. >> laura, i mean, one of the things we know about this president is he's not exactly subtle in hiding what he actually thinks. sometimes, he's actually oddly transparent, perhaps even unintentionally so in conversations. so we have really no idea what he may have said to michael cohen over dinner at mar-a-lago or over the phone or at any point. we have heard, when the president was asked about, you know, the idea of a pardon for paul manafort, saying that nothing is off the table, which as a public statement is certainly something, you know, paul manafort and his team, no doubt, heard, as well. >> well, compare and contrast what's happening with michael cohen and paul manafort. one of the things that the president had to say about paul manafort, even compared him at one point, if you recall, to what al capone and how poorly he was being treated, as if he was
being raked over the coals. he clearly sees someone who was silent and went through the trial as a very different scenario as somebody who has been forthcoming and evaded trial through a guilty plea prior to the trial date. now, before sentencing, set for two weeks from now, him cooperating again. he values that different, it seems. even to the point where you saw him questioned earlier in the week, the overtures, it seemed, that paul manafort may have been making by not being cooperative and being called a liar by mueller's team. this plays the advantage of somebody who seems to call people weak if they're cooperating with investigatorin. it is part and par sell to tcel president's transparently. though he is the head of the branch of government where the justice falls under, and every defendant can do what they like, in terms of a plea or go to trial, the president doesn't value that. he values the loyalty to himself and to the presumption and perception that you're not going to cooperate with what he dee,
erroneously, by the way, a witch hunt. >> michael, what are the chances that mueller's report, whatever it is issued, could be blocked from public release, either by acting attorney general matt whitaker or the white house itself, or heavily redacted? what are the chances it'd be released to the public? >> i think it is going to be enormous fights over that. my understanding is that the arrangement that the white house made with mueller's office from the get go, when they allowed don mcgahn to testify at great length and turned over other documents, is they reserve the right to invoke executive privilege on all that material. if mueller tries to issue a report that could be made public, the white house can invoke executive privilege to try to block portions of that report. i think that can enormously complicate mueller's job, how
far the white house will go in pushing that, how far -- how much mueller will push back, we don't know. you know, what i think mueller is trying to do, and we saw it in the plea deal yesterday, is put as much information as he can in these court documents that he's filing, as he brings cases. there was lots of new information we got from that michael cohen guilty plea that we'd never seen before. first and foremost, and i've got to say, you know, i was spectacle about how significant michael cohen would be as a witness in the russia -- core russia investigation. but to see laid out in those court documents that vladimir putin's office responded to that e-mail from michael cohen seeking help in getting this trump tower project approved and, you know, seeking
assistance in securing financing and a land purchase for that was incredibly consequential and does shed whole new light on the relationship between putin himself or his office at any rate and the trump organization. you know, you may remember from the national security assessment, the dni assessment january 17th. when putin intervened in the election, it started out simply to discredit hillary clinton. at some point, it became an effort to boost donald trump. i think this plea agreement, which has that information about putin's office, sheds new light on that whole arrangement. >> julie, to michael's point, bob mueller has really put, at times, more information than even he needed to into public documents. clearly, it seems, to get them in front of the public, so if
down the road a report is squashed, at least there is a lot of information that's already known to the public. >> right. i think that's clearly by design. i think, you know, part of the calculation here has got to be that he knows, and everybody knows, that congress is looking into this, as well, and that to the degree the public sees that there is some dimension here, there's actual substance behind some of the points they've been investigating, and to michael's point, that, you know, these witnesses are not just being able to speak to president trump's former financial dealings or things that are only tangentially related to the campaign or to russia, but, in fact, to the core question of what his affinity was -- what was behind his affinity for russia, why he wanted better relations with russia, and potentially connected to the campaign. the more that that's out there, the more that these issues are going to be front of mind. i think, anticipating what i
assume will be a battle over what becomes public, what's able to be made public in his findings and what's not, the more that people know that there is, the more that mueller, i think, could calculate that people will push for those disclosures. >> yeah, yeah. i want to thank everybody. we have much more ahead tonight on our breaking news. we're going to hear from a former u.s. attorney, how he thinks this latest development could go. that's next. atoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems,
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president would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message, or would protect him in some way. cohen has told associates after the fbi raided his office and home, people close to the president assured him mr. trump would take care of him. we don't know who reached out, but cohen took that to mean the president would pardon him. with me now is a former u.s. attorney and cnn analyst. if the president or those around him were dangling a pardon in front of michael cohen, how potentially a big of a deal is that? >> enormous deal. it is something the people have been speculating about, hoping was not true. the devil will be in the details. if it is the worst case scenario, whereby, donald trump directly, you know, talking to michael cohen, or through intermediaries, was clearly offering some respite from criminal charges, so that he'd be spared, incriminating testimony from michael cohen, to me, it smashes obstruction.
whether it does, it is abuse of power. the it is not the way the pardon power is supposed to be used. anybody who would forgive it or try to explain it away is making a mistake. now, the problem is, you know, what are the facts and how much corroboration is there for it? it sounds like, you know, this evidence and these accusations are coming from michael cohen himself. as the president can legitimately say, michael cohen is not just a liar, he is a proven and admitted liar. there needs to be other evidence, too, for this to be, you know, a slam dunk situation. >> yeah. i mean, first of all, does it -- would it matter if it was only people around the president who were sort of, you know, giving some sort of assurances or nods or winks, that the president would take care of michael cohen? >> it is a question of interpretation. you know, people who are heads of mob families don't always write down in print, i want you to take care of this person in this particular way.
sometimes people use euphemisms. sometimes people assume the boss wants something to happen, and they do it in a way the boss doesn't know. sometimes they do it in a way that gives the boss plausible deniability. sometimes, there are ways where lots of people are having conversations. if you get a intermediary to corroborate what michael cohen says, who is a more believable person than michael cohen, and maybe you have documentary evidence, an e-mail, a text message, something of that nature, then you're getting closer to being able to prove something on the part of the president. yeah, it matters who was involved and what they say and what the corresponding proof is. >> michael cohen had gone down to mar-a-lago to have dinner with the president. it is something widely covered. it is not known what was discussed. in the reporting, it seemed like when he came back from that, he had the sense that he would be taken care of by the president. bob woodward, who was on the program last night and knows a thing or two about a president in trouble, he said last night that it is not what michael cohen is saying, it is what he
can prove. that's essentially the point you made, as well. michael cohen saying this, even if under oath to bob mueller, that's not enough. >> no. because, as i said, he is a harmed witness. look, they had a witness named paul manafort who was cooperating in various ways. the special counsel's office found him to be such a liar and so not credible, even if he was worthwhile and had useful information, that they ripped up his cooperation agreement. i think there is reason to believe, with respect to some other things, the special counsel's office has reason to believe michael cohen is credible because they've gone forward with his cooperation and his guilty plea, even in the same seven-day period that they decided paul manafort couldn't be trusted any longer. you think, at this moment, especially sensitive to this idea of who is credible and who is not. it depends on what else is going on. look, sometimes the language is not as precise as you want it to be, but to the extent it is a credible allegation, that the
president of the united states of america was offering a pardon to somebody who was his close associate, personal lawyer, to try to prevent damaging information coming back to him, that's one of the most devastating things we've heard so far. >> based on this news, and yesterday's news, i'm wondering where you think this whole thing is heading. is there any way to tell? >> i mean, you just have the sort of tea leaves from things that bob mueller's team drops every once in a while. i don't think in the days before the michael cohen plea on this issue relating to the trump tower project in moscow, anybody knew it was happening or knew that it was coming. it seems like, from various bits of proof over the last week or week and a half, that the mueller team is all over everything. they're all over obstruction. they're all over the deal in moscow. they're all over, you know, various other issues relating to roger stone and jerome coarsey. you'll see a lot of activity in the coming weeks. it bears reminding everyone, once again, we are don't know the half of what bob mueller is intending and planning because
he has a lot of information that remains under wraps. >> all right. preet, appreciate it. thanks very much. >> thanks, anderson. well, up next, a live report from the g-20 summit. we have a take on the president's behavior before dictators. when you buy one of the latest sumsung phones you get a free 50" samsung 4k tv. you gotta be kidding me. seriously, no! [announcer] seriously. get to a t-mobile store today.
murder of jamal khashoggi. on the right, extending a high-five, settling for a handshake, russia's dictator, the man intelligence believes ordered a deadly nerve agent poisoning on british soil. blood brothers, as a headline put it together. whether you agree or disagree with the characterization, they are, without question, two men president trump has time and time again gone out of his way to give the benefit of the doubt to. now, they're all at a summit together. jim acosta joins us from buenos aires. what did the president have to say at the g-20? >> reporter: anderson, it started off with an image and a message that the white house wanted to get out earlier today,
and that is the president signing this trade agreement with canada and mexico. the president didn't take questions from reporters, and it was the white house playing this game of hide the potus. he was really not put out in front of us very often throughout the day to take questions from reporters. he was asked about just why he wasn't really meeting with vladimir putin during this g-20 summit and whether or not he'd do more than pleasantries. same goes for muhammad ben salman, behind the murder of the journalist, jamal khashoggi. here's what the president had to say in both situations. >> mr. president, will you -- >> thank you so much. >> all right. that's it. time to go. >> i don't know. not particularly. i don't know. >> mr. president, what did you assess -- >> come on. >> mr. president? >> thank you. >> we might but we have none.
thank you very much. >> it was like that all day long, anderson. you couldn't really hear what the president was saying. we have to throw up subtitles to get the few words of what the president had to say. the white house later on in the afternoon said that the reason why the president did not meet with vladimir putin was not because of the russia investigation. it was because of the tensions between the russians and ukraine. when it comes to meeting with muhammad ben salman, the white house said they exchanged pleasant t pleasantries, but it was not like the photograph you showed a few moments ago. >> yesterday, we had reporting about how the president -- what his mood had been like behind the scenes. i'm wondering, have you learned anything more today? >> reporter: you know, more of the same, anderson. i mean, this was really a concerted effort on the part of the white house to keep the president away from these questions about the russia investigation. what we're going to find out
tomorrow is whether they can ultimately finish the trip down to argentina and accomplish that. there had been rumblings of a presidential press conference tomorrow. if he holds the press confere e conference, he'll be asked a slew of questions about why he did not tell everything. why did he not come clean about the bids deusiness dealings wit russians that cohen confessed to through the better half of 2016. my guess is, anderson, if he hasn't been in a bad mood so far, it'll put him in a really bad mood tomorrow. >> jim acosta, thanks. this guest has his take on the president's affinity for strong men around the world and the impact, he believes, it may be having on his standing in the world. thomas friedman is the author of many books, including "thank you for being late: a guide for thriving in the age of accelerations." he's getting a lot of buzz now for a recent "new york times" column, opening with this question, what is the worst thing about president trump's approach to foreign policy? is he utterly immoral, or is it
that he is a chump? tom joins us now. what is your answer? >> it is the combination is lethal, anderson. he has decided to give muhammad bin salman, the saudi crown prince, a pass on the jamal khashoggi. arguing that the saudis will buy millions in american arms. saudi arabia reserves are around $470 billion. the idea that saudi arabia is going to spend all their financial reserves buying american arms is ludicrous. what he should have done is said to mbs, look, we'll have to maintain this relationship. you only have one chance, pal, to make a second impression. here's how you're going to do it. you're going to get out of yemen. we're going to end the war. if the iranians and houthis follow you there, we'll stand with you. you'll get out of yemen. end this stupid blockade of qatar. allow the women activists and
people you've rounded up out of jail. and you'll vow to continue what has been a very positive thing that mbs has done, and that is, you know, moderating saudi islam, which played a role in 9/11 and isis. at least demand something from the guy, other than support against iran and buying arms from us, which he's never going to do at the scale that trump predicts. by the way, we wouldn't want him to do. >> the idea that president trump, donald trump, sold himself as the penultimate deal maker, and essentially, you're saying he is not a deal maker at all, really. these aren't deals. these are just giveaways. >> yeah, this is the art of the giveaway. i think it comes, and not having around him people deeply grounded in the issues, doesn't know where the tradeoffs are and is way, way over estimated how much we need the other party, rather how much they need us.
and these are really crown jewels we're giving away, really important assets and you just don't give them away for free. >> what made -- the g-20 is going on, clearly the number of meetings the president had planned to have, that is drastically scaled back. there is this video of the crown prince bin salman high fiving vladimir putin and clearly enjoying -- i don't know how one describes what that exchange is like but it is an extraordinary moment to witness. >> it is. it is a little stomach turning. one leader who is complicit in the murder and dismembership of a moderate journalist and another leader who is complicit in the murder of russian exile spies, but more importantly and indirectly in the downing of the civilian airliner over ukraine. and that is what out there. that picture reminds you,
anderson, why america is so important to the world. why you need an american that stands up for the right things on principle that doesn't just see itself as transactional and who is going to pay the most. that is what the world -- that picture, anderson, that is what the world looks like without america. playing the role as historically played as the defender of the global liberal order. it is stomach turning. >> when i saw the video of putin shaking the hands, high fiving with bin salman, i couldn't help but think the look is almost like, we both know who we are and what we've done and we're getting away with it. >> they are. at least for now. but there's something i would say in the case of mohammed bin salman, which is that i believe in the prince's die rule of international relations and princess di gave her interview after her divorce with prince
charles she complained there were three people in my marriage. and i think what muhammed bin salman failed to understand is when donald trump is your lawyer, you're not in a good place in today's world because everyone hates trump and will hate you more and they will hate you even more. and the fact that he is sort of accepted trump's embrace, he has blown his only chance to make a second impression. had he gotten out there and taken responsibility in some way and really vowed to change his behavior. but to think you can walk away from the scene of the crime is a huge mistake because there are three people in this marriage and what i mean by that, anderson, is now there is the empowered citizen on social media -- muhammed bin salman could visit po-moscow but look what happened when he went to tunisia, there was a saw, reminiscent of the saw used to dismeb khashoggi.
could you imagine if bin salman -- do you think any free leader in argentina seen laughing with him other than putin. i don't think the president of france -- the prime minister of the u.k. does. i think even trump is concerned. i am not sure what kind of photo op i want. so using social media going forward is going to make his life miserable. they're going to make it so world leader in the free world is going to want to be seen meeting or laughing with him and that the fact that the one image he sent from buenos aries is him high fiving putin, the only other cold blooded killer and associating with him. i said from the beginning of the saudi affair, you can't fix stupid. and what the saudis did to khashoggi was so vile and so stupid and in my view they just continue to reinforce it.
by choosing the wrong path, choosing the wrong lawyer and certainly in putin's case, choosing the wrong guy to high five. >> tom freedman, thank you for your time. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. i want to check in with chris and see what he's working on with "cuomo prime time" at the top of the hour. chris. >> two big sources of outrage. we spent the day down in tijuana giving people a look at both sides of the border situation. what they are calling a shelter, it clearly is not. the situation there is much worse than i expected. it is heart breaking but more importantly it is an outrage. and then on this side, the task of the men and women in protecting the border and dealing with what is clearly a broken system is not fair either. things have to change. if they do not, we're go fog -- we're going to see things on our
southern border that people haven't seen before in the country, and that is not hyperbole, it is based on the facts on the ground and whether this is the moment for mueller, this is the time that the president would do something to stop what they're probing because they are messing with his money. so we'll see what happens. we have jerry addler who is now going to be a democrat with power over -- with over sight over this probe. >> i've been following you on instagram with pictures from the migrant camp and border patrol. we'll come to you shortly. thank you very much. we'll see new a few minutes. up next, scene after scene, massive destruction after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hits alaska just outside of anchorage. we'll have the latest. our mission is to make offshore wind one of the principal new sources of energy.
extensive. it knocked local tv stations off the air but others captured the scenes inside and outside of buildings as it struck. last report up to 10,000 customers were without power. the u.s. geological survey reported dozens of aftershocks including one registered 5.7 in anchorage. the state seismologist said it was most significant earthquake in anchorage since 1964. the move continues now with chris and "cuomo prime time." chris? thank you very much, anderson. i am chris cuomo and welcome to prime time. we have breaking news about michael cohen and whether a pardon was floated once. this happens just as the mueller probe seems to be at a break point. president said investigating his business was a red line and mueller is clearly trampling all over that line. if there were a time for the president to try to stop this, or make the new man in charge of the russia probe stop it, that time would be now.