tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN December 13, 2018 10:00am-11:01am PST
lady and embarrassing. you write about that. that's what he likes and he doesn't like embarrassing. don't go anywhere. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great day. >> i'm brianna keilar live from the washington headquarters. under way right now, he is implicated in felonies. his friends are flipping and president trump continues to talk and change his story. she cozied up to republicans and she's a russian spy. hear what she admitted in court. buying stock after pushing the president to spend more on the military. did he cross a line? after months and months of high marks, melania trump's factorability ratings have fallen dramatically. seething, but no longer silent.
president trump goes on a twitter tirade in response to the prison sentence of his attorney and fixer, michael cohen. he said cohen is a liar and the president said he never directed michael cohen to break the law. jeremy diamond joins us and in addition to the cohen sentencing there is the deal he struck with a parent company of the "national enquirer." what is the president's strategy as more friends flip and cooperate with investigators. >> if the president's response to michael cohen flipping is any indication, that strategy is to attack and deflect blame. we heard the president talk about michael cohen as weak and call him a liar. today we saw him deflecting blame,specially saying he never directed michael cohen to do anything illegal. what of course is notable there is that the president is not denying michael cohen to make the payments.
we have him on tape discussing the payments with michael cohen. we have the non-prosecution agreement with ami, the parent company of the "national enquirer." both implicating the president in this felony finance violation to which michael cohen pleaded guilty to. we have more from the president now. just moments ago in an interview with fox news, the president struck out at michael cohen once again. >> they put that on to embarrass me. they those two charges on to embarrass me. they are not criminal charges. either cohen or the prosecutors in order to embarrass me said listen, i'm making this deal for reduced time and everything else. do me a favor. put these two charges on. >> we have also seen the president beyond simply blaming people who have flipped on him like michael cohen and going after them, attacking them. we have seen him offer carrots to individuals who have not flipped on him, praising people
like paul manafort, roger stone. that has been the strategy from the president and beyond that of course, it's been about the buck stops anywhere but with the president. that is something that the president made clear in this incident and any time that blame or anything wrong is pointed in his direction. brianna ? >> jeremy diamond at the white house, thank you. i want to bring in doj prosecutor. i want to get your reaction to something the president tweeted. he said i never directed michael cohen to break the law. he is a lawyer and supposed to know the law. it is called advice of counsel and the lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. that's that is why they get paid. >> we read between the tea lines of the tweets and this is where the defense was going and now it's explicit. if you relied on legal advice to do certain things and therefore
i should not have criminal exposure because i relied on my hear who knew better. a lot of things go into whether or not that's a legitimate defense and who was warned and how it was involved. you are right. he is beyond denying he directed the payments. that is locked in by the evidence no. whether or not he can thread this needle is going to be front and center of any defense if this goes anywhere. >> there is debate over whether a president can be indicted. doj guidance is that they can't. adam schiff said this is something that the doj needs to revisit. let's listen. >> the justice department needs to reexamine that opinion, the office of legal counsel opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president. i don't think that the justice department ought to take the position and it's certainly not that would be required in any way by the constitution that a president merely by being in
office and be above the law and escape the enforcement of the law by essentially waiting out the statute of limitations. >> yesterday on this program, we had former white house counsel under bill clinton, jack quinn, who said he didn't think it would stand up in court if someone challenged this olc guidance. what do you think about what adam schiff is saying? >> i get his point, but i hate the term constitutional crisis. that term is used far too much in this town. however, if you tried to indict and prosecute a sitting president, you would in fact have a constitutional crisis on your hands and throw the justice department into disarray and paralyze the pedestrian. the idea is not to have anything get away with anything. you shouldn't be able to use the presidency as a shield against criminal exposure. something has to be done, but in terms of indicting a president, we have an impeachment clause
and it worked. bill clinton was not removed, but it works for addressing wrong-doing. trying to indict a president would be extremely difficult. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. admitted russian conspirator came clean in court, telling a judge she engaged in conspiracy against the united states. butina admitted he acted under the direction of a russian official and used the national rifle association to bolster politics and influence politics. alexander tor shin retired from the bank of russia. he met with trump jr. and he was questioned at congress about that meeting. sarah murray is outside of the courthouse where butina pleaded guilty and she is facing a maximum of five years, but she plans to cooperate in the hopes that that will be lessened.
what do we know about her cooperation agreement? >> that's right, brianna . this is as part of a plea deal. she has begun prosecuting and hoping to get that knocked down to between to six months. by the time she was sentenced would be time served. we know she has been cooperating on two points. one is her contact with alexander tor shchin and those o directed her activities. she has to submit to a full accounts of her finances and provide especially whatever prosecutors want to know. the other point she is cooperating on and this one is awkward is her boyfriend, paul erickson, the guy named over and over as u.s. person one as an american who sort of helped her advance her plot and provided her information on politically inf influential here in the united
states. he continued to visit her while she was incarcerated, but the lawyer made a point of introducing himself to the prosecutor saying they may need to talk soon. >> wow. that is drama playing out there. sarah murray, thank you so much for that report. how do you see this factoring into the mueller investigation? when you read what's available, you try to read between the lines, but it's not a complete link in this picture. >> right. there is a lot of reading between the lines in the mueller investigation. it's ongoing and we are waiting and waiting for finality here. there are a couple of things we know. we know russia interfered with the presidential election. we know that. we know it from our intelligence communities. we knew they used social media and we know they hacked. now we know they had personnel. i have no doubt there are other
maria butinas. the special counsel is looking at this carefully. probably not a coincidence that around the same time russia did the same things, she was conducting her activities and infiltrating at a high level. >> interesting, joel. thank you so much for your insights. appreciate it. i want to turn to capitol hill. similar to how they handled russia sanctions, we are poised to see lawmakers rebuke another trump policy, this time on saudi arabia. senior congressional correspond ept manu raju is live on capitol hi hill. what's happen something. >> two significant actions happening in the senate. the senate is going to vote later today to pull back u.s. support for the saudi-led war in yemen. a significant rebuke to policy and something the white house opposes. bob corker, the chairman just introduced a joint resolution that had to pass both chambers
and get signed by the president that formally blames the crown prince, mohammad bin salman for the murder of jamal khashoggi, something that the president and his administration have not been willing to say, but the senate may go on record. corker told his colleague he wanted to get it passed in the senate today. at the same time democrats are planning their own push in the house next year, including the incoming chairman of the house foreign affairs committee who said that they are going to look into the matter deeply in the new congress. >> do you think that the crown prince should be sanctioned for alleged involvement in the jamal khashoggi murder? >> who are should be? >> the crown prince. >> i can't mention some of the things they told us yesterday, but i think this horrific killing of this journalist is not something we can simply look the other way and say hey, what
are you going to do? these things happen. these things shouldn't happen. we have to be very pointed about it. >> now, with a couple of weeks left with republicans in control of the house, what do they do assuming this corker resolution to blame bin sal man will pass in the senate. we don't know that yet and republican leaders moved to block that and that is not going to happen this year. this issue will continue for perhaps into the new congress and it's not going away any time soon. >> it's not. thank you. just released moments ago, a new cnn poll shows americans are not hopeful about the way government will work over the next few years. it comes after democrats swept into control of the house of representatives. to analyze the numbers, i am joined by the political
director. let's start with confidence in congress. they never do well, but this is interesting. >> we asked people, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the way government will go in the next couple of years about this divided government that you, the american people delivered to washington. 36% of americans are optimistic about where this is going. the majority of americans are pessimistic. that to me stacks up like a tough challenge for nancy pelosi and donald trump both as they begin this divided government relationship. >> the president once again is saying that mexico is going to pay for the wall. tell us about that. give us the fact check. >> it is totally unclear. he thinks we got this new nafta and the american side of the deal will get more. we will save money and apply that money to the wall. i think that's what the president's logic is here. it doesn't work that way.
the mexican officials have said according to our michelle kosinski, there is no mexican dollar paying for the wall. first and foremost. secondly, the president just said i will proudly shut down the government if congress doesn't pay for the wall. senator schumer said if you got mexico to pay for it, why are you coming to us? it's blowing up the arguments. he wants the money from congress and threatening to shut down the government over it and claims mexico will pay for it and one more fact check, the trade agreement is not yet approved by congress. it needs to be approved for it to be an in effect trade agreement. >> wow. there are all kinds of holes in that. >> the brand-new poll, 57% of americans oppose the border wall. a big majority. >> the "national enquirer," american media incorporated, the publisher and parent company
struck this deal and there is something interesting that popped up. my answer as to why the president did so well with non-college educated white women. >> the president likes to say he won women. he did not win women. among white non-college educated women, the president did well. if you look at all of these covers of the "national enquirer" during the trump campaign, look at all that negative attention that lots of women saw in newsstands as they were checking out in grocery stores. there was a clear mission looking at the covers to damage hillary clinton. now the question is, was that somehow in cahoots and part of some agreement that the "national enquirer" would be a campaign arm for the trump campaign in making its anti-hillary clinton argument. >> that will be huge.
thank you. more fresh poll numbers ahead, including melania trump's factorability rating dropping double-digits in two months. what's behind the sharp decline. crossing the line. one purchased thousands in defense stock after pushing for defense spending. he speaks exclusively to cnn. more fallout from the detainment of a top executive. officials insisting the department is not a tool of trade despite trump's recent comments. a number of the judiciary committee comments next. where you can explore the world knowing you can always find your way home. ♪ ♪ si passione. the new fragrance.
break the law and didn't do anything wrong. we have david cicilliny from rhode island joining us from capitol hill. thank you for being with us. in these tweets rn stweets, the is claiming cohen saying he, the lawyer, should have acted legally and president trump relied on the advice of his counsel, that the liability is on michael cohen. does the president have a point? >> no, the president doesn't have a point. cohen acknowledged he was directed to commit these felonies by the president of the direction. this is the president of the united states directing another individual to commit two felonies. if the claim was i didn't know it was against the law, why did you concoct the scheme to height the payments to make up a fake reason and create fake accounts? this supports mr. cohen's claim that the president directed him
to do this for reason. to prevent him from this coming out in the final weeks of the campaign. it's now confirmed from "national enquirer" that they were aware that the purpose was to prevent the stories from am coming out and languaging mr. trump's candidacy. he accepted his responsibility and pled guilty to these offenses, but in his al cushion, he made it clear that this was done at the direction of the president who benefitted from his conduct. >> cohen was sentenced for multiple crimes, among them finance campaign violation that he did at the direction of trump. he said he pleaded to charges that were not criminal. they are not civil as the president alleges. what do you make of that? >> the president made the suggestion that while other people file campaign reports and they get a fine. those are different offense are
two crimes and they are not civil infractions and campaign violations. they are felonies and relate to violations of campaign finance law. i think it's a president's effort to minimize the conduct and we have a witness who testified if in open court that he was directed to commit two felonies, which is obvious serious. >> lanny davis who is a lawyer normally associated with the clintons is advising cohen and said that cohen shared his testimony plan, which we now know was false testimony under oath to congress. he shared that with the white house before he gave it to congress. let's listen to what he told bloomberg radio. >> no question that president trump knew what michael's testimony would be and since president trump was told about the tower conversations that michael cohen said he had with the senior official and that he
conferred with his client about those conversations. the inevitable conclusion is that mr. trump and the white house knew that michael cohen would be testifying falsely to congress and did not tell him not to. >> what more do you as a member of the house judiciary committee want to know about this? >> we should remember the president also made false statements about the subject of that meeting, assisted in the preparation of a statement that put forth a false explanation about russian adoptions. there is a lot here to learn about. again, it's more evidence that this president rather than directing everyone involved in the investigations to be forth coming and tell the truth was aware that people were saying things consistent with the untruths or the lie he had been telling about the meeting. there was a lot of additional questions that we are going to have that they understand.
we intend to do responsible oversight. that's the constitutional obligation. we will get the work done for the american people and drive down costs and rebuild the infrastructure of our country and take on washington, but at the same time we fulfill those responsibilities, we will fulfill our responsibilities to hold the administration accountable and get to the bottom of this stuff. >> it your committee going to bring michael cohen to testify because it sounds like he is willing? >> i hope so and they will bring a number of witnesses for introduce or testimony. the american people deserve to know what happened here. to know all the facts. we want to make sure we do it in a way that doesn't interfere with the investigation of the special counsel or with new york. we have to make sure we are not interfering with on the going investigations. >> it's interesting to listen to democrats. they are generally not jumping at the chance to call for
impeachment. the president is implicated and they can be more serious. is that what democrats are waiting for or to see if public opinion is on their side? >> we want to make sure we stay focused. i just articulated those. we have invested a lot in protecting the work of the special counsel and making sure he has the resources he needs to complete the work. he indicted three dozen individuals and companies that had guilty pleas. i think it's important that we await the final conclusion of that work that will be valuable to the american people and the decisions moving forward. we think it's important to get that report and read it and take appropriate action. >> can you imagine after seeing this support if the special
counsel were to find evidence of the president's involvement and collusion with the russians and other high crimes, can you imagine with the democrats with an eye to impeaching and how that backfired. democrats could choose a series of hearings instead of impeaching the president? >> if the.shows conspirathey we interfere with american democracy. >> high level russian officials. what about if it's russian intel actors? >> if it's russian intel actors conspireing with the trump campaign officials to interfere with the outcome of our election, we have a sworn duty to defend our democracy and uphold the rule of law. while we won't be delighted in taking the actions, we are duty-bound to do it. if that report requires removal of this president, i don't think
anyone will hesitate to do it. we have to wait for the report, but we ought to be prepared to do it however difficult it might be. we have a responsibility to defend the rule of law and defend our democracy and take whatever action that report warrants, period. >> congressman david cicilliny, thank you very much for being with us. >> this just in. president trump unloading on michael cohen and downplaying his relationship with his former lawyer and fixer and member of his inner circle. we will play you that sound. plus, the pelosi effect. after this week's extraordinary face-to-face with the president, her coat emerged as the real winner. we will tell you about that. ♪ there's no place like home ♪
mom. ♪ president trump just sat down for fist hifrt interview since michael cohen was sent to prison. >> 'did you hire michael cohen? that was his title. a fixer. why did you need him? >> he did more public relations than he did lie. he was okay on television. years ago, many years, like 12 or 13 years ago. he did me a favor. he was on a committee and he was so responsive and so good, i said he was a nice guy.
>> that was the favor? people have been asking, what is the favor he did the favor. he was on a committee? >> it was a condominium committee and he was a very big supporter of mine on that committee. >> i want to bring in chief political support dana bash and se kupp. not buying the explanation. but we heard this before when other associates have been charged. they were a low level employee. he said this about someone in charge of his campaign. was michael cohen a low level employee? >> look, the answer is when you are talking about the trump organization, you had donald trump and you had his children and a few other people. so it depends on how you look at it. the reality is anybody who maybe during that time got a cease and desist letter from michael cohen
because he was an active lawyer, fixing legal problems other than the people who he had alleged affairs with. most business men have. or anything of the type would assume he has anybody other than a low level employee. the fact that he was put on with you on cnn and others on cnn as somebody who knows him well also flies in the face that was claim. >> also that he is known as a bit of a pit bull. it's hard to believe that an important person's pit bull is a low level person. >> pit bull is putting it kindly if hyou had to get to trump, yo have to go through michael cohen. we all had our runins. i was told by michael cohen i will end you if you ask the president -- he was not the president at the time, this was many years ago, but if you ask
donald trump tough questions. you don't send someone out to be that aggressive with people on your behalf if you don't implicitly trust them with your business and your live and your family. to say that he was sort of a tertiary figure in the trump orbit is simply not true. anyone who had to work with them over the years knows that. >> let's listen to the interview trump was asked to the parent company of the "national enquirer." he was what he said. >> the "new york times" was saying that a tabloid publisher's deal to hush money is now endangering trump more. i'm paraphrasing a little bit. as you look at this, what do you want the nation to know? >> i don't think, and i have to go check, but i don't think they
paid any money to that tabloid. i don't think we made a fimt that tabloid. i don't think we made a payment. then you have the other situation and every lawyer -- look. trump didn't violate campaign finances and neither did the president. trump ex-aide. >> i interviewed him the other way. >> michael cohen pled guilty to something that is not even a crime. nobody except for me. >> se, i know you are having a laugh at some of that. what's your reaction? >> first, and i will react to that, but can we say for the record, that was not an interview. that was an infomercial allowing the president to provide his evidence. see, look what this paper said and look what this person said. to ask the president how he feels about his good approval
members. i watched the whole interview. it wasn't journalism. that was an infomercial. i'm not sure we learned much about the investigation or china or tariffs or anything else going on. all we heard was what trump wanted to say and what fox wanted us to hear. i don't put a lot of stock in what the questions asked and what his answers were, but he was trying to rewrite and spin the story which is very unbecoming and he knows whatever he is saying is in front of a friendly audience. he is not getting real push back on whether or not he made a payment to this tabloid, aka, one of his best friends. >> i hear you. i totally hear you on your assessment of the interview, it doesn't give him -- maybe it gives him a chance still to kind of step in it here. he goes on to say at one point
no one would be treated like this over campaign finance violations with him, but he is back to denying he ever made the payments. he is getting all of his facts crossed. >> he was in the comfort zone that i think you're right. se is 1,000% right and he said things that weren't right. for example, the payment -- wasn't that the whole premises of that recording that michael cohen made? we need to talk about the money to our friend, david. the assumption in the reporting is that was david pecker. or maybe they had a code name for somebody else. that was what it seemed to be. and yes, he is going back and forth on the payments. did he not make them? his attorney, rudy giuliani went on fox and surprised everybody by saying that he did?
he knew that this was going to come. >> dana and se, stand by. melania trump reveals the hardest part about being first lady. her factorability dropped dramatically in the last two months. it was here. i couldn't catch my breath. it was the last song of the night. it felt like my heart was skipping beats. they said i had afib. what's afib? i knew that meant i was at a greater risk of stroke. i needed answers.
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♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it amazon has everything you need for your holiday get together. with low prices and free shipping on millions of items, for everything you need this holiday, visit amazon. released moments ago, a new cnn poll shows a significant change in sentiment towards the first lady whose factorability stood at 54% in october and now
slipped to 43%, a drop of 11 points in two months. additionally they found her unfavorable, a rise of six points since october. kate bennett is here with s ere kupp. >> for a long time, melania got to hide in the obscurity of being a private person and we didn't hear from her and people made their own narratives. recently she is more aligned with president and feelings on the me too movement and immigration and certain other events of the president and the first lady feels sympatico with each other and that in a way brought her into the people on the fence, democrats and women, mostly ledge college educated w
dropped off. it's more clear she is very much like her husband with her policy standpoint and perhaps this is why we are seeing a large drop. his numbers are still 40%. >> hers have always been better than his. >> now only three points apart. >> that's significant. what was interesting when she opened up about being criticized and the hardest part about being first lady. let's listen. >> i would say the opportunists who are using my name or family time in advance from comedians to journalists to performers. book writers. >> does it hurt? >> it doesn't hurt. the problem is writing the history. it's not correct. >> what did you think about that? did that tell you anything you didn't know? >> not for me because i know the
thing that bothers her the most is people being dishonest about her. when ivana trump wrote the book and said she was the real first lady, she said uh-uh. when fire and fury came out. when she feels people are being untruthful about her personally, that's when she fights back. it's interesting thatip and non. was she referring to the news with the president? you talked about substance? does she consider that substance? >> when i hear her talk about comedians and her husband, that's par for the course no matter who the president is. >> it's a little blinded to suggest that the president and his family would not be the subject of scrutiny and criticism, even jokes sometimes.
we like to fantasize about melania giving trump the business and being his governor. over the past few weeks, we have seen her defend his tweets, saying that using a public forum like twitter to get someone in the white house fired. this might have been wrong, but the image are strong and standing up to him and swatting his hands away. i'm not sure it's that contentious of a relationship. >> stay with me. how a fashion choice went viral and may have helped solidify nancy pelosi's future as house
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who knew a viral moment could change of course of the house speakership race but nancy pelosi's face-off in the oval office this week may have done just that, along with the help of sunglasses and a very specific rust/orange coat. after trying to quell a revolt among some of her democrats, she came back after this sort of viral moment of being the woman kind of talking straight and factually in the oval office to really a lot more support. >> the coat is my favorite story
of the day thanks to kate's amazing reporting and i'll let you talk about that and i'll chime in. let's be clear, the reason she was able to push back against critics and was able to make this deal is because of her actions and, like you said, the way she handled drpt onald trum that meeting opinion and her whom thing since she's been trying to get her votes together to become speaker when the vote comes to the floor january 3rd is never mind that i'm the only woman in the room in these meetings, which is a big thing for her, also, i'm the best qualified and i'm not afraid to say it. i have the experience and the ability, the strength and courage to stand up and go toe to toe with not just the president but everybody else there and there's nobody else who has that experience, both on a legislative level and a
tactical level to do that. >> and you covered that very well in your series "the bad ass women of washington." she had this moment, walked out of the white house in the coat, putting the sunglasses on. >> and it caught on. she wore this coat in 2013 at obama's second inaugural, no one really paid attention to it. it had that sort of funnel neck, which looked kind of cool, and it was that bright, burnt orange color. the coat was from six years ago, almost six years ago and now they're going to reissue the coat because of all the hub-bub. that's pretty rare in fashion. it's usually done for iconic collection, bringing something back from 20 years ago, like j.
crew or ver ssace has done. people tease me about tweeting about fashion sometimes but it makes it difference. it can make or break. >> and that image of the burnt orange coat and the sunglasses right there, that's the picture equivalent of a mic drop. that's why it's so powerful. >> and it is now the power coat. >> it may be in different colors. but i think it's going to be a little pricey so start saving up now. >> it sure will be. that did not take long. president trump unloading on michael cohen after his former fixer was sentenced to prison. dad, we need to talk about something important.
♪ mom. ♪ hi there, i'm brooke baldwin, you're watching cnn. a day after his former lawyer and loyalist was sentenced to three years in prison, president trump is talking about michael cohen, calling him a liar, that despite that federal prosecutors insist he is now telling the truth after years and years of covering up trump's "dirty deeds" a