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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 7, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! good evening from the outside. the white house looks no different than it does any other night. the presidency and this president, it may be whole new world. it's been quite day. two sentencing memos. in one the russia special counsel says that cohen provided new information about contacts with russia. in the other the southern district of new york says the president of the united states took part in a felony. even though it's an allegation, not a criminal charge, let alone a charge proven in court, it's still quite an allege for any arm of the justice department to make against a president. as it was put today, it's as close as you can get to accusing the president of the united states of taking part in a criminal conspiracy. then just a short time later, robert mueller's court filing on
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paul manafort landed. the allegation that manafort had contacts with administration officials this year when he was an indicted felon. three documents loaded with details about where robert mueller is heading and what the president might be facing. it's a lot of information. we'll try to take our time going through each document pulling out the most important parts. we start with the two filings regarding michael cohen. let's talk about the filing by the southern district on cohen. what did we learn? >> exactly what you said. it's significant in the sense it's the first time that the u.s. attorney's office hire in new york, the department of justice is accusing the president of coordinating and directing michael cohen in making those payments. it was the hush payments to
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stormy daniels to keep folks quiet from revealing any information that could hurt the campaign. michael cohen stood up in court when he pleaded guilty and said i did this with the president. this is the first time this is in a court filing that's put together by the u.s. attorney's office and that is what is so significant about that. >> there's also the mueller filing about cohen. what does that tell us? >> that gives us a lot of information on where the investigation is and where michael cohen has been helpful as it relates to the trump campaign and other aspects of the russia collusion investigation. in this filing, it's interesting, they use words like the fact that the information that michael cohen is providing was useful. information that's at the core of the russia investigation and here is how they described some
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of the other information he's giving. in one part they say the defendant provided information, michael cohen provided information about his own contacts with russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts. they then go onto say that cohen provided useful information concerning certain discreet related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with company executives during the campaign that say cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the white house during the 2017-2018 time period. they say that cohen describes circumstances of comparing his response to congressional inquiries while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements within it. that's the moscow project that he lied about with congressional investigators. he also lied to fbi investigators about that. when you look at all of this in the way in which the special counsel describes these pieces of information, they say that it
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is significant. these are four significant topics, anderson, that michael cohen has been providing information to them about. it's still ongoing. there's still so many questions. what this ultimately shows is the special counsel is sitting on a lot of information we don't know about yet. >> thank you. i want to move on to the manafort filing. let's go to pamela brown. >> mueller's team outlined in a heavily redacted filing how they believe and why they believe manafort lied in multiple ways and on multiple occasions on five issues. they say manafort lied to the special counsel's office on contact with the trump administration. they say this year even after his indictment last october, he said he didn't talk to anyone in the administration or convey messages to them. mueller said that's not true. they say manafort told a person to talk to a trump
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administration official as recently as this past may and he had contact with administration officials including a senior administration official through february of this year. so this new and damaging information for the white house comes at a time, anderson, when ever move by mueller appears to bring his investigation deeper into the white house and deeper into trump's inner circle. it shows how it expanded yelelw beyond what may or may not have happened in the 2016 campaign. >> did prosecutors say what evidence they had to back up the allegation that manafort was lying? >> in the documents they cite electronic documents as well as text messages as the evidence to back this up. in a description they say they have from another manafort colleague. they say all of this evidence provided the corroboration that manafort had been talking to administration officials. the white house has come out after this and said this has nothing to do with the president.
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basically distancing themselves from the manafort revelations we're learning about the communications he had. it didn't name who it was. it raises questions of who was manafort talking to? who was the senior administration official and what were they talking about? why did manafort lie about these communications? >> all right. appreciate that. there is a lot to digest here. we want to delve deeper into it. we have our own legal political and reporting team tonight. jennifer rogers teaches law at columbia university. i'm not sure where to again. the cohen matters, what are your big take aways from what was discovered today on cohen? >> there's too many to talk a bt about in a period of time. the distinction between the people in my former office in the southern district had towards michael cohen, his veracity, helpfulness and that of mueller. >> mueller thought he had more veracity.
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>> it was a much kinder and people in my former office in the southern district had towards michael cohen, his veracity, helpfulness and that of mueller. >> mueller thought he had more veracity. >> it was a much kinder and gentler submission. my old office submission is scathing in how they talk about how michael cohen brought this upon himself. he engaged in serious crimes. the fact he was doing this and
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will forego a pardon does not make him a hero. how he was not complete in his cooperation. the suggestions was unpersuasive to the government. submission by michael cohen's lawyer, the response to that is it was incomplete. it didn't go into detail about the things michael cohen didn't want to talk about. the particular way you cooperate in the southern district of new york, it's a very high thresholds. in some other districts to get cooperation credit and get the government to advocate strongly on your behalf for a lower sentence, you have to not only come clean about your own crimes but things they haven't charged you with and he refused to do that. >> in terms of how this relates to president trump, the idea that the attorneys from the southern drikts, do you agree they are saying that the president committed a felony? >> coming very close. the reporting suggested is michael cohen gets up in court and he says that some of the things he did was in coordination and at the direction of the president.
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those are his words. the southern district folks are consistent and rigorous and careful about the language they use. a document was looked at 50 times by lots of people including all the way up to the acting u.s. attorney. for them to lead in the document a statement that makes it clear or suggests that they have reason to believe that these payments were made at the direction of the president is based not only on michael cohen's say so because otherwise have thought michael cohen has not always told the treat and been incomplete with respect to the truth. in the context of their laying in on michael cohen but adopting that statement and saying they have other proof is significant. >> there is other evidence that michael cohen did this at the direction of the president, made the payoffs?
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>> there has to be. as was said, they don't believe him in many particulars. >> just big picture, why does that matter? >> because it suggests that the department of justice, which is run by the president, now believes institutionally that the president has committed a crime. i can't remember when this has ever happened before. usually when the president is being investigated it's been been an outside special counsel, an independent counsel like kenneth starr, like mueller himself. here you have the justice department itself saying that the president committed a crime and as -- you can be sure this was not done casually. this is something where there's multiple levels of review and they whether it's through e-mails, witnesses, testimony, financial records and also common sense. how could anyone not believe donald trump didn't order the money to be paid. >> what is the crime? campaign violation. >> correct. >> there's a fine for that. >> that's true.
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it's not the worst crime in the federal code. presidents aren't supposed to commit any crimes. >> jennifer, what happens? they believe he committed a felony. what happens to the president? >> that's the big question right. in a normal case if he weren't the president, he should expect to be indicted. the department of justice has opine you cannot indict a sitting president. i think southern district's choices are these, they can try to indict him. they may not get permission from the department of justice to do that. we'll have litigation up to the supreme court about whether that can happen or not. or they can just wait till the democratic house takes over and i'm sure they will be interested in the evidence gathered for possible impeachment
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proceedings. that's really their choices. i don't think they have a lot of other choices here. >> the other interesting thing is not only true as jeff said, they are very careful in the words they use. they didn't have to make the statement about the president. it was not necessary in the document with respect to the sentencing of michael cohen to adopt the phrase in coordination with and the direction of. that something somebody decided to do, for reason that's not clear to me, but it's unnecessary for what that document was. >> the president declared himself completely cleared. >> he's not completely clear. whether he gets indicted is a different issue. it seems unlikely based on what the justice department said before. it's worth noting to the degree to which they don't believe michael cohen but did on this. the southern district spoke to officials of the national enquirer involved in the killing of stories related to this woman
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and that's what some of the campaign finance payments are about. >> they gave immunity to david pecker. >> i think to dylan howard as well. they gave immunity to the cfo of the trump organization who was in charge of dealing with these payments. you take all of that together and the fact the prosecutor said this is the case, and i suspect that the prosecutor's feel pretty comfortable there's other evidence backing it up and we get into this is not necessarily damaging for him legally. it's hard not to see this as potentially damaging politically which is what his lawyers have been aware of, the president's, all along. they have been concerned about this since michael cohen's hotel room and office and home were raided back in april that he would be the far bigger danger to the president. that case would be, than the
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special counsel investigation. >> the president lied to the american public time and time again on this issue. >> he's also lied to the american public on many other issues. i think that his supporters and allies and aides would argue and most in privately, people knew who he was. they knew about his past and elected him any way. that's a real thing. i can't -- again, there are people who have done this in different context and longer than i have but i can't recall anything approaching this about a sitting president. >> there's so much more including the issue of russia which is why robert mueller was appointed. they say cohen told them about repeated overtures he made to russia and in some cases with trump's assistance at times that the president said he had no dealings with russia. this is the core of what this investigation is about. now mueller has said believes cohen that there were more extensive contacts with russian
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than had been previously disclosed before. that may not be a crime. >> let's put that on the screen. in and around november 2015, which is earlier than most people realize, cohen received the contact information for and spoke with a russian national who claimed to be a trusted person in the russian federation who could offer the campaign political synergy and synergy on a government level. >> that seems like integrating two different things. i know the president repeatedly says no collusion. we don't know who this official was. there's a lot we don't know about what this is describing. it might refer to some previous reporting in buzzfeed. it's hard not to see that as a form of attempted collaboration. synergy sounds collusiony. >> i think it's harvard business
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term for collusion. >> this is politically very damaging for the president. >> you think this could stick? >> i think this could stick, yeah. i think jerry nadler when he comes in as the chairman will have to decide what he's going to do about a potential impeachment effort that a lot of democrats will want to bring. if you assume the mueller report -- we don't know what mueller has or what his realtime frame is. if you believe it will be within the next few months then congress will have that and they will have to decide what to do. >> on manafort which we haven't focused too much on as of yet. the question is who is he talking to in the administration? senior officials. it's a pretty late date. he was already under -- >> exactly. >> he's giving them information
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about where his cooperation stands. he's telling them what he's telling the special counsel. feeding information he might be figuring out the special counsel is looking at. are they talking pardons. >> why would he be talking with someone in the white house feeding information to somebody in the white house if he's not guaranteed there will be pardon? >> there's another dimension in which the two cases come together which is about how recent the investigation is. the manafort says the manafort filings says manafort was in touch with people in the white house in 2018. the cohen filing says that cohen has been helpful in disclosing information about activity at the white house in 2017 and 2018. mueller is investigating realtime possible misfeasance in
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the white house. >> let's put that on the screen. >> at two different places. once in the manafort filing. once in the cohen filing. it refers to activity in the white house in 2018 which last i checked is this year. >> remember, trump has spent a lot of time saying he barely knows manafort. he was there for a short period of time and he has nothing to do with us. it's hard to imagine the circumstance under which he was communicating with somebody in the white house. >> it shows -- anyone who met manafort and interviewed him knew he was sleazy but it's a certain level of sleaze. he's supposedly cooperating with mueller but he's also lying to
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mueller and in contact with people in the white house and the president is now openly talking about pardons not off the table. >> the president's lawyer had discussed the possibility of a pardon with manafort's lawyer even before manafort agreed to cooperate. as we wrote, manafort's team was providing information still to trump's folks and it was part of a jda and that's normal. our understanding is it's pretty unusual to do that much of a reveal. >> can anything happen to manafort on this front if he's just going to get pardoned? >> there's nothing mueller can do about his pardon. if he's going to get a pardon, he's going to get a pardon. what's clear is he will get no benefit from his cooperation and could get a long sentence because he's got to face two judges. he's in a miserable shape. why he chose to -- he signed a
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cooperation agreement and then lied. >> would a pardon apply to both? >> absolutely. neither judge is in any position to give him any credit because he doesn't deserve any credit. >> if the president pardoned him it would impact? >> yeah. pardon wipes the slates clean. >> the president could pardon for one but not the other but that would make no sense. >> is there a theory as why he was not charged with lying again? >> people do things that are out on bail that could constitute separate crimes. prosecutors make the decision we'll bring extra counts and going to grand jury. sometimes people make a determination that you have sufficient guilty counts either through conviction of trial or by guilty plea that you're not going to add that much to the
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picture and you could argue all those things as relevant conduct. >> the president has been arguing that michael cohen has been saying all these things to avoid going to jail. that's not the outcome of this. >> not at all. in fact, i agree that cohen's lawyer submission was a good submission and powerful. then you have the prosecutor's one today that is the polar opposite. they want him to get very little benefit from his cooperation. a matter of a few months is all he should get off. he's looking at going to prison for four years or so which is -- >> obviously the president and others in the trump team have been painting cohen as a lawyer. cohen has lied repeatedly. he's lied on television.
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he lied during the campaign as a surrogate. he could say absurd things. >> any time you have a cooperator in criminal cases they almost always have terrible conduct in their past. lying is often the least of it. the question prosecutors ask in summation is we didn't pick the witness. we didn't decide who the witness was going to be in the case. the defendant picked the witness. he's the one who chose to put his trust in michael cohen. >> not just for a few months but for years. >> and paul manafort. i mean look at the crew who was around the president. >> only the best. >> only the best. how many of them are heading off to prison or getting -- having felony convictions. his national security adviser, his campaign chairman, his personal attorney. that's a lot of people chosen by him. >> the argument you'll hear from the president's team is these were people, except for cohen, that he pleaded guilty to and one that relates directly to the president but everybody has been a process crime.
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it was people who are lying to investigators. that's still a crime. that's still something you're not supposed to do and because everybody connected to this almost everybody has told a series of lies. the mueller investigation and these charges that he's laid out have become one of the only ways for the public psyche to weed out what is real. >> i've never heard the phrase process crimes until this week. the idea this is lesser crime. you know what a process crime is, it's a crime. the idea that it's somehow not as bad as some other crimes is just the most ridiculous kind of spin. >> you could argue about that whether it's more serious or less. jeff is correct that most cooperating witness, if they plead guilty to something and testifying against someone else they had bad conduct in their background. sometimes it's the case that the worst conduct can be in your background for purposes of being
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a witness is not that you killed somebody or robbed somebody but you lied. the next trial they will testify at to try to get substantial assistance and credit for themselves and prove this other person is guilty, lots and lots of people who commit violent acts are totally believable. the problem with people, one after the other, this crew are a set of convicted liars and provable lairs is there's a bit of a veneer that donald trump has by surrounding himself with rogues who lie and say they are liars and they go out in the world and flip against the president and the president can say they are liars and the president's lawyers can say their liars even if they haven't committed a violent crime. in the ears of jurors later they think it's liar after liar. i don't believe them. >> it's not going to end up like this but i keep imagining the scenes in goodfellas.
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pauly is breaking the bread. >> and the razor blade on the garlic. >> manafort is there. michael cohen is there. michael flynn is sulking somewhere. it's not going to be like that. we have to take a quick break. late reaction from the white house including a tweet from the president that has to be seen to be believed. also, john kelly, is he about to head for the exit? rex tillerson, his pretty shocking claims and the president and law breaking and the president's not so shocking reply. that and more as a very big night rolls on. i landed.
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you would think the president of the united states would be a little concerned tonight. just a short time ago he reacted on twitter and with a statement from his press secretary. what has the president been saying? >> reporter: if you contrast the president's tweet this evening with what he was doing earlier this morning, which is more of a tweet storm, it's a pretty big contrast. it's about six words. he basically was responding to the cohen filing by the special counsel's office. it says totally clears the president. thank you. obviously the president is still trying to wage this battle in the court of public opinion. when you go through the manafort filing and those redactions. the court of public opinion is not what you should be worried about. it's actual federal court. i think at this point the president is in the clear is not dealing with reality at this point. >> has the white house, sarah
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sanders, has anything else to say? >> reporter: about an hour ago the white house, press secretary did put out a couple of statements. we can show those. she said the government's filing in mr. manafort's case says nothing about the president. it says even less about collusion and is devoted almost entirely to lobbying related issues. the media is trying to create a story where there isn't one. on the cohen one it says the government's filings tell us nothing of value that wasn't already known. mr. cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out mr. cohen is no hero. just a couple of things. on the manafort case, obviously, when sarah says the media is trying to create a story here. no, the story is what was filed by the special counsel's office in federal court and if you look at sort of -- if you lay the manafort filing on top of the cohen filing, what you have is
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the special counsel's office and you've been talking about this for some time concerned about contacts with leert people clpe to the white house or senior administration officials. those are both items in both of those filings dating into the trump administration and so the special counsel's office is interested in things not just occurred during the 2016 campaign with respect to contacts with the russians but contacts that cohen and manafort may have had with people inside the administration. obviously the president is not in the clear tonight. >> thanks very much. nothing to see here. good night, everybody. thanks very much. when in the filings saying that one of the people in the white house that manafort was in contact with what has a senior administration official, that's not a huge group of people. >> it's a very narrow group of people. we don't know who it was and what was said. it surprising that a senior administration official would be engaging with paul manafort in whatever context.
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it's a small group of people in that campaign in 2016. there's not many people he would have known especially continuing into this year. it's handful of people and most of them are related to the president. it's hard to assess it except that it's unusual and given how hard the white house says that paul manafort has nothing to do with them, you would not expect to see that. >> even if they knew him, friends with him, just from a legal standpoint you would think they would have been advised do not have communication with paul manafort. >> it's crazy. it's insane. depending on what month it was in 2018, he was either an accused felon or a convicted felon. he was in a position to seek out a pardon because that's basically his only hope at this
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point of not spending the rest of his life in prison. the idea that people were sort of accepting calls from him and being -- it's -- >> the pardon discussion had already happened at that point between his attorney and between folks around the president. that discussion had happened late last year. this was now in 2018 meaning that ball was already rolling which i think raises additional questions. >> remember, the president has also very explicitly not ruled o out a pardon for paul. i don't know if it's technically obstruction of justice but all this contact between manafort, his lawyers, trump's lawyers and the president's statement itself for a guy who is looking to go
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to prison -- it's not he hasn't ruled out a pardon. the president has tweeted over and over in a way suggestive that certain kinds of people who are strong he likes and certain kinds of people who are weak, he does not like and has given his own opinion to the court through twitter that they should have the book thrown at them which is not a very subtle way of saying not only is a pardon not on the table but it may be in the offering. >> he has said that michael cohen made up stories about him. the document makes clear they believe what michael cohen said about the president is true. >> is it illegal for somebody to be dangling or hinting or even discussing, having attorneys discuss the possibility of pardon? >> i don't know. we haven't had an obstruction case based on the offering of a pardon. we're in new territory here. it could be if it was direct
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enough. if it was for the purpose of getting him not to cooperate with a legitimate investigation. i think it's possible. it's very hard. the pardon powers are very broad. he would say he was pardoning him for other reasons. that goes back to some of the tweets. the president said over and over that manafort is being treated unfairly. he kept tweeting this is so unfair. that's what he said every time he pardoned someone. he's kind of setting the stage. >> having this conversation and then manafort is continuing, according to mueller, continuing to lie to mueller and not fully cooperate even though he's supposed to cooperate. >> which seems like he's putting all his chips on a pardon because he's not cooperating in a way that will get him a reduced sentence. what jennifer was talking about which is something my pal professor and i fought about here repeatedly is if you have a power like the power to fire
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james comey, the power to issue a pardon, can you do it for any reason you like? can you do it if someone give you a suitcase of cash? i think no but professor and people who are more sympathetic to the president think yes. that's going to be a question if congress wants to engage on impeachment, it's not a legal question for the courts. >> if attorneys believe the president committed a felony encouraging and requesting cohen to lie and pay off stormy daniels, karen mcdougal and there's evidence from david pecker and others, do they just drop that because he's the president and can't be indicted? >> as jennifer said earlier, that's the $64,000 question. it's unclear given the position is and has been for long time. the majority view is a sitting president can't be charged criminally. you can wait on it because the statute of limitations may not expire. there are various options they have.
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i do not believe and if i were the united states attorney, i don't want to overstate this too much because i'm not anymore, given the opinion, depending on what evidence i had, i would not go out into the world and indict the sitting president of the united states. >> it's binding. this is a binding opinion on the department of justice. they're not going to indict him. that may be a good thing or bad thing. the southern district is bound by this and they're not going to do it. >> we keep saying just to put a little caveat in here that the southern district must believe toyota be true that the president directed these
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payments. they never had to prove at a trial because michael cohen agreed to plead guilty. maybe the prosecutor wouldn't bring the case but in connection with pleading guilty to other things about which there was overwhelming proof, a defendant might also be prepared to plead guilty to something like this. not to say it was a false guilty plea. there's some evidence of it. we don't know how much overwhelming evidence the government had. they may be prepared to accept a guilty plea on this issue. that's far cry from being able to be comfortable that you will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that same thing against the president of the united states of america. >> good point. >> all right. we have to take break. a lot to get to on this busy friday. i'll talk with a key member for his take on all of this ahead. it was here.
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to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! there's still a lot to unpack from today's filing. congressman, the u.s. attorney's officer and the southern district in new york, not the special counsel, says the president when he was a candidate participated in a criminal conspiracy with michael cohen. do you believe that is actionable by congress regardless of what the mueller investigation shows? >> it's a stunning thing, anderson. here is southern district of new york run by a trump appointee, not mueller, who trump has tried to persuade the american public is conflicted, angry and democratic. all the reality to the contrary. the first district of new york is the first to accuse the president, albeit indirectly, of a crime. yes, there's now a specific accusation of a specific crime.
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what congress does is an open question. i would suggest the answer to that question has to be informed by what happens next. what else does mueller have? >> the mueller's filing about cohen said that cohen has provided useful information in four significant respects including the russian government seeking political synergy with the trump campaign. the russian side vowing a meeting could have a phenomenal impact not only in political but a business dimension as well. president trump could say i never met with vladmir putin as a candidate. >> it's helpful to step back in this whole saga. it's helpful to step back and remember the headlines.
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did donald trump's campaign collude with the russians? donald trump's answer to that is absolutely not. there was no contact. everybody who is saying there might be is lying. the facts show that every one around the president is lying and specifically they are lying about contacts with russia. that's flynn, papadopoulos. most recently this afternoon we learned two things. manafort was and it's intriguing, manafort was in regular contact with an individual who would have contact with russians and michael cohen was having contacts as early as november 2015 with russian who is are offering this weird word synergy. that sounds like cooperation to me. big picture here. yet another example of lied
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about contacts with russians. >> synergy is that ridiculous word that for a while corporations were using when they mesh together and combine and the synergy that can occur. i'm not sure that trump campaign would like to be saying they are looking for synergy with the putin administration. >> anderson, i used to advise companies when they were thinking about mergers and synergy was always that thing you put two entities together and both were better off. we can have a long conversation about whether that equals collusion. this is another set of facts that shows that every one, every one around the president is lying about out reach, both ways, with russians. >> where does this go from here? for people sitting at home it's confusing. obviously there are more shoes to drop because it still seems ongoing investigation. where does this go?
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>> i think that depends on who you mean. the average person at home, this is confusing. this is why i say let's step back and remember what this is really about. whatever else you think of the pretty, pretty much everybody, campaign manager, trusted lawyer are known to be criminals. they ought to perhaps absorb that. i think this raises some very difficult issues for republicans in washington. republicans in the house, any way, just took a terrible drubs where communities like my own where the president is unpopular. in the next two years if this kind of day continues that the president becomes increasingly unpopular everywhere. how do republicans think about that to whatever donald trump says, whether it's about climate change or voter fraud or having the biggest inauguration rally,
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do they continue to back him regardless? this poses huge questions for congress. if there's more accusations about a crime, how do we respond? >> appreciate your time. thank you. i want to go to former adviser to four presidents. the president believes today totally clears him. pretty extraordinary since prosecutors are saying that the president committed a crime. >> yeah. i mean, this is not new behavior. this is the same president who said he had the largest crowds ever and this has been a pattern of his. this was a very bad day for the president of the united states. i would argue for the country. we only have one president at a time. what we learned today was that the president was implicated by
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prosecutors in new york in a crime that he -- and the pieces are starting to fill in on the russia relationship that are really, really disturbing. it's the point that was made which is the people who are closest to him, his campaign chair, his national security advisers, personal lawyer, all lying. convicted liars. >> committing crimes. >> and committing crimes. it's a very disturbing picture. all his happy talk tweets seem absurd in the face of all of this. congressman says maybe people will stop believing him. i actually accept what the president said. there may be a core group of supporters who view this in a conspiratorial way and will dismiss it. it's getting increasingly hard to do that. >> david, let's put up the screen. the people, you got
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papadopoulos, michael flynn, paul manafort, rick gates. the best and the brightest the president claimed, they all convicted or pled guilty. the president who got elected claiming he hires the best. have you ever seen anything like this? >> no. and i hope we never do again. i think the public at this point must find it hard to sort out what's going on in all of these documents. i do think two things are clear. david axelrod said the president is surrounded by liars and crooks, and it leads a lot of people to conclude, if all the people around him are lying and crooked, there is a good chance he might be, too. three separate events or tracks going on. the russian effort to bring the trump people, to contact the trump people and turn them into coconspirators.
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the second is the trump effort to get a tower and all the rest and have these new properties in moscow, and the third is the payment to these women, which as david says clearly implicates the president himself in a crime. but what we do not know yet, and it's still vital to this whole case is, we haven't seen a filing which says there was definite collusion. >> yeah. david axelrod, do you agree with it? that's critical. >> it is critical, but i want to make a larger point, which is there have been a lot of controversies surrounding this president whether it's khasoggi or misrepresenting what happened with the chinese. and there is a fundamental theme that pervades all of this, which is we have a president who believes that, you know, that you take whatever you can take, however you can take it and the end justifies the means.
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that is the philosophy that permeates everyone around him. there is a sense that you take what you can take and that's what all of these folks around him now are being exposed for. so it is disturbing. we will speculate what happens next, what congress will do and so on. but the most disturbing thing about it is this amoral kind of notion that rules laws, norms, institutions are all there to be thwarted in pursuit of your own gain. that should be disturbing to everyone. >> i was going to say the public has also seen at the same time yet a new merry go round with people coming and going with kelly looking like he's going out the door. but people are talking tonight about the way the president called his former secretary of state dumb as a rock.
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it is unbelievably insulting. and along with that, the markets are continuing to go down. this has been holding the president's popularity up, the sense their economy is strong. we're down at the negative territory now for the year, and there are a lot of people watching that and the president's fortunes are tied to that as well as to the whole mueller issue. >> also, the former secretary of state, you know, says what we have been reporting for a long time, but, you know, that the president doesn't read, doesn't do research and, you know, wants to do things which are illegal. david axelrod. >> thank you. i was just going to say for those of us who worked for other presidents, that's a disturbing notion. >> yeah, it certainly is. >> be sure to tune in tomorrow night 7:00 when chicago mayor rahm emanuel joins us. for the ax files. i want to turn it over to chris. >> the idea that the former secretary of state said the
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president got tired of me being the guy to tell him, no, mr. president, you can't do that. that's illegal and that became frustrating. it is like what is going on with the rational universe? and anyway, that takes us to tonight. this stack of papers is going to make a big difference. we have been pouring over this with a bunch of legal experts who have done these kinds of cases before. there is more information tonight than we have ever had before. we understand better than ever where mueller is going, why and at whom and we'll lay it all out in detail, my friend. >> all right. six minutes from now, thanks. first a look ahead to cnn heroes, which is this sunday. take a look. we're humans helping humans, and they need our help. >> we are truly giving the gift of mobility. >> they're the best the world has to offer. >> we're building something that matters a lot more than we do.
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>> they're heroes today and every day. ♪ you can be the greatest. >> this is nice. >> we teach girls how to program. it is all about solving problems. >> we serve anybody who has ever raised their hand to defend our constitution. >> my vision was to have a home where women could find safety and find themselves. >> our first goal was just to create this hospital-based intervention. >> i want each and every one of them to feel special. >> join anderson cooper and kelly ripa live as they name the 2018 cnn's hero of the year. >> here once again celebrating the best of humanity. >> don't we need this tonight more than ever? >> cnn heroes, an all star tribute sunday at 8:00 eastern. coaching means making tough choices.
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it's a sign of the times that a former member of the president's cabinet said he had
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to tell the president that some of the things he wanted to do were not legal. not only did we start the program with this, we are ending with it. rex tillerson says the president would often say what he wanted to do and tillerson would have to say you can't do it that way because it violates the law. tillerson also says they had different approaches. >> it was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process oriented exon mobile corporation to go to work for a man that is pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things but rather just says, this is what i believe. >> the president said he would reflect on them. i'm kidding. he tweeted mike pompeo is doing a great job. i'm proud of him. his predecessor didn't have the mental capacity he needed. he was dumb as a rock and i couldn't get rid of him fast
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enough. he was lazy as hell. now it is a whole new ball game. great spirit at state. dumb as rock. lazy as hell. happy holidays, everybody. major days be merry and bright. and all your christmass be bright. i hand it over to chris for cuomo prime time. >> it is all in the delivery, anderson. thank you, my friend. have a good weekend, all right? welcome to prime time. a big first tonight. federal prosecutors have, for the first time, accused a president of involvement in not one, but two crimes. and we now know more than ever about what mueller has and what it means going forward. multiple people around the president appear to be in his sights, more contact with russians than we knew about and in manafort's case, paul manafort, some really big, wide line moments involving a key russian and the trump