tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 23, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
russia. president trump's former lawyer and fixer michael cohen postponing his testimony before congress, which was set for next month citing threats against his family by. the president and rudy giuliani. let's listen to some of them. >> did he make a deal to keep his wife who supposedly. >> he should give information on his father-in-law because that's the one that people want to look at. >> it's okay to go after the father-in-law? >> of course, it is. if the father-in-law is a criminal. he comes from the ukraine. the reason that's important is he may have ties to something called organized crime.
you go out and look at what's wrong with them. >> our legal experts are going to debate that. and tonight the chairman of the the house oversight committee is vowing that cohen will testify in whether it will take a subpoena to force him to do just that. and then there's paul manafort. president trump's former campaign chairman, his lawyers disputing the allegation by robert mueller that he lied to federal prosecutors. the judge ordered him to appear in court on friday. there's lots to discuss. michael cohen ongoing threats. he says this postponement took him by. surprise. >> it certainly did. everyone was looking forward
really to this day. they wanted to finally hear from michael cohen. and r certainly no one. expected it to go this way. when you hear why michael cohen decided finally to say i shouldn't do this, the idea that perhaps he felt threatened certainly is concerning many. what the president has done suns michael cohen had announced that he was going to go ahead before members of congress, go out in public and say what he wanted to say, you can see that the president and rudy giuliani started this campaign of attacking him. really they went where it would hurt him because michael cohen when we have talked to him certainly and people close to him, he's always been concerned about his family. and what you saw is the president specifically targeting his father-in-law. talking about his wife. in one tweet recently brought up his father raising the issue
that perhaps michael cohen cooperated to save his father-in-law. and then saying lying to reduce his jail time. watch father-in-law. intimating that perhaps michael cohen was doing this to save his father-in-law. the president today reacting to the news by michael cohen. >> i would say he's been threatened by the truth. he's only been threatened by the truth. and he doesn't want to tell the truth. >> there are many people who feel that what the president call pain that he undertook and the latest kmenlts from sunday, they were successful here in what they tried to do here. but it could be that they may still hear from michael cohen. as you said, he will likely be subpoenaed and. we'll see what happens from there.
>> he knows so much about the father-in-law. paul manafort that i i mentioned in the open here. disputing mueller's accusations that he lied. . what's he saying? >> they are saying what you'd expect him to say. he's confused. the lawyers at the special counsel's office. he wasn't certain about things they were asking, but he was not lying. the special counsel when they file d their motion they had 18 pieces of evidence. documents they submitted to detail just how paul manafort was lying. his attorneys are saying, no, he was confused. he didn't remember certain thing, but the idea he was lying, that did not happen in this case. >> can you clear this up for me. paul manafort did not want to
appear in court on friday, but the judge is telling him what now? >> the judge is making him come in. we have seen paul manafort and she's granted this motion and they have asked he not appear in court because of the travel time. essentially, they argue it's too complicated. he has to get up early in the morning to be transported to the d.c. courthouse and doesn't like to do that. and if he doesn't have to appear, they rather he not go there. i just he doesn't want to wake up so early and come to court. the judge today said, you o know what, i'd let you do this too many times. this is too important. you need to be here on friday. the other thing that's interesting is he asked he not appear in his prison uniform. that we're waiting to hear if the judge is going to allow him to appear in a suit. she has previously.
we'll see what she decides about friday. >> this is such a circus. all of it. thank you. i don't know how you keep it all together. thank you. none of us. i want to bring in the author of the corrosion of conservatism and why i left the right. good evening. so i'm going to start with you. so he's concerned about what giuliani is saying. he's concerned for his family. doesn't it sound like if you're concerned about this, is that a textbook mob tactic? what else would you be worried about besides someone retaliating in some possibly physical way? >> i come back to section 1512 of the criminal code.
that is the definition of witness tampering and that seems to be what donald trump is doing when he's threatening michael cohen's father-in-law, whose name he doesn't even know. saying he's a rat and should be going to jail for much longer period of time. and on the flip side of it, he's also praising roger stone for not cooperating with the independent special counsel. he's saying roger stone has guts, which again is witness tampering and a president whose duty under the constitution is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed should not be encouraging people not to cooperate with federal prosecutors. that is a violaviolation of his duty under the constitution as well as it seems on the face of it i would say of these witness tampering statutes. >> what is this?
is this russia? why would michael cohen be afraid of in america, what would et he be afraid of? shouldn't congress and the american people hear why he's afraid to testify? wouldn't that be the best way to thwart any sort of retaliation from anyone is to get it out there so that every single person knows about it and what are they going to do? what's the president going to do? >> you're absolutely right. i mean, look. let's step back for a minute here. we're dealing with a series of people who all seem to be caught in overlapping laws with one another. this guy is a liar. there's so much going on here. cohen he said a lot of things
the last few years. and what he's saying now isn't what trump said when he was first elected. he's going to sit down. republicans like others are given incredibly hard time. and republicans on the committee telegraph that. he comes. we're ready. they were ready to call him out on every contradiction he's made and if you're ko hadncohen, youo worry you're going to contradict yourself and get caught in potentially missing something that could brick more charges. there's a whole lot of issues here. >> the other thing is maybe they are there. i can't understand it. because let me ask this. cnn previously reported that prosecutors in new york threatened with more counts that could have also implicated his wife, report ed that his busines was linked to family members inb colluding his father-in-law. given that he does all that,
does he have a legitimate reason to be worried about trump's threats instead of retaliation in a physical way, that they will retaliate against the family and find something that is actually not on the up and up? >> if you're mired in the middle of the criminal justice system as michael cohen is, there are obvious reasons why you should be concerned about the president of the united states. >> hold right there. they already know that. they already know what michael cohen is involved with. they know that already. maybe it's coming to light. is that the fear? then the other thing is using my family's safety as a cover. >> it's hard to figure out what he's worried about. that this maybe a cover for the fact he doesn't want to testify. mueller is not thrilled about
him testifying. i was going to say regardless of michael cohen's state of mind, if if you're somebody who isn't trapped, you need to be concerned when the president of the united states who is the chief law enforcement officer of the united states, the man that the attorney general answers to when he's making threats against you, he has the capacity to carry out those threats, and whether that will happen or not is an open question. there's an acting attorney general who is a political hack for donald trump. so i don't know he can file charges or take legal retaliation against michael cohen, but it's not crazy for michael cohen to be concerned about those consequences. >> do you think that -- those are just hypotheticals because everyone is trying to wrap their head around it. why would he be concerned about that. republicans say they were told that cohen's attorney that he couldn't testify about anything concurrently under investigation. how valuable was his testimony or is his testimony any way? >> i mean, that's the other
question. it's a good one too. there's a lot of things under investigation. he's spent 70 hours with prosecutors in the special counsel's office. presumably a lot of questions are going to come about thing he was not told not to discuss. this is the marquee for the investigations that are probably unfolding over the next two years into the trump presidency whether it relates to russia, cohen, hush money to the president's former mistresses. i also want to make it clear that even if cohen had things to be afraid of in terms of what he might say, the fact that the president of the united states and his lawyer are getsing up and suggest iing that there's something to be found here that there could be legal jep day for him anybody would be reasonably afraid. >> do you think that this president is that dangerous to people around him that someone would be worried about telling the truth about it?
do you think? >> i think when somebody make s a lot of threats, whether you're a political opponent that he keeps saying needs to be investigated. >> i think that's huge then. >> you should probably believe what they are saying. take people at their r word. >> that is huge if that's the case. stick with me. much more to talk about when we come back. oh, it's a philadelphia- -family recipe. can i see it? no. new philadelphia dips. so good, you'll take all the credit. oh! oh! oh! ♪ ozempic®! ♪ (announcer) people with type 2 diabetes are excited about the potential of once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than seven and maintained it. oh! under seven? and you may lose weight. in the same one-year study, adults lost on average up to 12 pounds. oh! up to 12 pounds? a two-year study showed that ozempic® does not increase the risk
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a federal judge ordering former trump campaign paul manafort to appear in court as his legal team cons to dispute evidence that he lied during the cooperation interviews and grand jury testimony. so matthew, paul manafort, mueller says that he lied. lawyers are rejected that and saying he provided information. the best to his recollection. or he simply did not remember. can he talk this up? >> you can try. the problem is when you are a convicted criminal, engaged in
fraud and tax et evasion, your recredibility is limited. it tends not to carry too much water. >> manafort spoke to mueller's office nine times. his lawyers are saying that these sessions can be stressful for witnesses. so what do you think? where do you land on this? >> i think the whole manafort/trump relationship over the last year or so needs to be carefully examined by robert mueller because it seems like trump was dangling the possibility of a pardon before manafort is suggesting there could be help for him if he remains silent. again, this goes to the issue of witness tampering. this needs to be something that's seriously investigated. >> because of time involved in
having u.s. marshals transport him to court. the judge is ordering him to come. does that excuse make any sense to you? >> i mean, a a little bit. i have to imagine he had been showing up in court over and over again to be dealt with the court appearances never seem to go well for you. to make you not want to show up in court. but the judge wants him there. >> does he have a choice? >> don't do the crime if you doncant do the time. >> let's not lose sight of the fact this is the president's campaign manager and personal lawyer we're talking poet of whom are convicted felons. this is not normal and we're talking about how they are trying to get out from under this and deal with this and so forth. but the fact is they are convicted felons. and that's a reflection of who donald trump is. >> think about it.
to put it into perspective when you think about the things that are going on, all the things are connected to the person. all the convictions of people who lied, people going to prison, this is reality. yet nothing happened. it's all well and good. what kind of reality are you living in? >> it looks like a mob movie brought to life with donald trump himself attacking michael cohen as a rat, which is the way that mobsters talk in movies. this is like an organized crime racket, not a normal presidential administration. all these people are going to jail. i'm sure more will be joining them before too long. that's a reflection of the most unethical administration in american history. >> i hate to keep calling on you because of your voice. i want to ask you because
matthew responded to this earlier. why do you -- this is the not the first time manafort has had an issue of appearing in court. is he embarrassed? i don't want to show up because things aren't good? what is it? >> i wish i could say. i really don't know. >> is manafort still banking on a pardon? >> i mean, i can't imagine he is at this point. if they have had conversations it's something we'd all want to know. it's something we should have looked at. i'm sure investigators would look into it. >> it's all so shady. shady mcshady. that's an understatement. thank you both. get better. it hurts me to listen to your voice. thank you. >> i regret i have but one voice to give. >> thank you. i appreciate it. michael cohen says he and his family have been threatened by president trump and rudy giuliani. does he have reason to be afraid of the president?
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a get your questions answered by awesome experts store. it's a now there's one store that connects your life like never before store. the xfinity store is here. and it's simple, easy, awesome. michael cohen says he's postponing his testimony. he's accusing the president and his attorney rudy giuliani of making threats against his family. is this the sort of tactic that donald trump might have been awe accused of way before he was president back when he was a businessman. let's discuss. the thank you, sir. appreciate you joining us here. i want to start with the latest on the president. we'll get to michael cohen in a moment. this is him on about the shutdown on twitter.
here's a tweet here. as a shutdown was going on, nancy pelosi asked he me to give the state of the union address. i agree. she changed her mind because of the shutdown suggesting a later date. this is her prerogative. i will do the address when the shutdown is over. i'm not looking for an alternative venue for the state of the union because there's no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the house chamber. i look forward to giving a great state of the union greaaddress the near future. what's your reaction? >> i think nancy pelosi played this it right. she understood how much the president valued the venue. the language that he uses it's sort of like a showman's language rather than the location for the state of the union. but she understood that this
matter ed to him. i also think that the president understands what the polls are showing. and he's very sensitive to polls. as much as he cherry picks the ones he likes, he knows he's losing this battle. >> have you ever heard this president write something like that? it seems like a normal presidency. as a shutdown was going on, nancy pelosi asked et me to fwif the state of the union address. she then changed her mind buzz of the shutdown suggesting a later date. this is her prerogative. i will do the address when the shutdown is over. i'm not looking for an alternative venue for the state of the union because there's no venue that can compete with the history and importance of the house chamber. i us look forward to giving a great state of the union address in the near future. for this president, that's more than a little sub misive. >> it's shocking. this sounds like something that maybe ivanka wrote or jared
kushner. it really doesn't sound like donald trump's language. this is a fellow who has troubles stringing three words together in the right order. >> what does this mean? >> he's also being respectful. >> what does this mean though? >> i think he's scared. he's afraid. he's politically afraid the senate republicans are probably telling him this is a disaster. he sees that people are suffering and are fed up with this. maybe he's going to act presidential because he's being forced to act presidential. >> interesting. let's turn to michael cohen. you know for 12 years, michael cohen was the top attorney at the trump organization. he was involved in trump's personal dealings. we talked before about how loyal he was to this president. and loyalty is a one-way street.
now the president is going after michael cohen's family. what do you make of this? >> it is straight out of the donald trump playbook, but one of the richest ironies here is that back in the day michael cohen was the guy who threatened everybody else on behalf of donald trump. so we now have the guy who used to be the enforcer, the fixer, the person who threatened everyone complaining about how he's being threatened. and it is a travesty. this is the president of the united states threatening and using his lawyer to threaten private citizen, but this is what we're reduced to in this country. people acting like thugs. it's very hard to consider which guy is the real bad guy here. and with rudy giuliani, what he says, there's a thing called organized crime that cohen's
family was somehow implicated in. rudy giuliani's father served time in sing sing for armed robbery. he was in the thing called the mafia. so for these men to go after anybody's family is astounding. it's the hype of hypocrisy and it's something the american public shouldn't stand for and it's something that michael cohen shouldn't stand for. so in that regard, i think he's right. >> coming with the facts tonight. cohen is citing object going threats against his family from the president. and rudy giuliani. do you think that he has a real reason to be afraid? and of what? >> i don't think -- he doesn't need to fear for his physical safety. this sort of reminds me of when stormy daniels said that someone approached her in a parking lot
and threatened her. it's possible that happened. i don't think president trump is the person who is going to follow through on a physical threat and he no longer employs these private security men who are former police detectives and threa threatening in their own right. he now does control the department of justice. he controls the fbi. so michael cohen's real fear should be that his family is going to be targeted unfairly by the justice department. and i think that that is something we all should worry about. >> doesn't the justice department already know? all of them, they know. >> they know. and what's even a great sign of
how ridiculous this is, it's something that you pointed out was that the president didn't even know the name of the man he was smearing. so we've got a person who is never straight with the fact, although tonight he actually recounted the history of what happened between him and speaker pelosi accurately. so that makes me also think he didn't write the statement because this was not a person b he's familiar with. >> this is what that was. you know what would be good? say something about the dad. oh, yeah, that's a good. idea. the dad did this. i'm just in my head. and then the president gets on tv and says what about the dad. what's his name? i don't know. that's where that came from when you don't know someone's name. i got to go. thank you, sir. i appreciate that. i'll see you ohm soon. with the president's
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the president and rudy giuliani are threatening michael cohen's family. >> did he make a deal to keep his wife, you can check it, did he make a deal to keep his wife out of trouble? >> et he should give information on his father-in-law. because that's the one that people want the to look at because where does that money, that's the money in the family. >> what is the father-in-law's
name? >> i don't know but you'll find out. nobody knows what's going on over there. >> it's okay to go after the father-in-law? >> of course, it is, if the father-in-law is a criminal. he comes from the ukraine. the reason that's important is he may have ties to something called organized crime. when somebody testifies against. your client, you go out and you look at what's wrong with them. >> it's so gross. ryan liz is a is here. am i wrong that you'd have to climb up to get to the gutter after this. this is so vile. what is is this? >> i mean, can you imagine if president clinton had publicly gone after monica lewinsky's family when he was worried that she might testify against him? can you imagine if reagan had gone after some of the witnesses in the iran contra episode going up to congress to testify?
people in their own party would have been outraged and calling him down. what's so striking about this is just the silence from republicans who are just sort of standing by while the president plows through another norm, does something that none of us thought a president would do. >> this is a president. this is the president of the united states saying, well, did he do this? it sounds like people sit iting around a bridge game talking crap about or sitting at a bar saying, do you know what his wife's father did? they lived on elm street. they were the nastiest. it's so beneath the dignity of not even the presidency, but of just someone sitting on the bar stool, a drunk sitting on a bar stool. it's disgusting. harry, cohen is is delaying his
testimony due to threats from trump and giuliani. here's what 18 u.s. krflt says. whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens or attempts to do so with the intent to influence, delay or prevent the testimony of any person is fwlt of a felony. so there's the criminal code. do you think the president, his attorney's comments qualify as witness intimidation or witness tampering? >> that's the statute. the critical point would be intent to delay or harass. the defense that he would bring is, yep, i am a sewer dweller. i'm a jerk. i say this stuff all the time. i insult women's looks, i insult the iq of congress members, this is just the kind of jerk i am, day in and day out. and it's not specifically intended to keep him from
testifying. and if that's right, then i get to skate on the charge. of course, it doesn't really matter, in a way, because he's not going to be indicted. it's congress, but you heard tonight from congressman schiff and cummings, senator warner, they are all very concerned. if he's to be judged as having intimidated witness here, it will be in the form of the congress. so it's almost as if prosecutors have begun to say this is a serious charge. in a court of law, i think it wouldn't be that easy to prove, the intent. part. >> so could the president's remarks be interpret ed as prodding the doj to investigate ko heb's father-in-law? is that an abuse of father? >> yes, and i think that's where the difference comes. where michael cohen is about to testify. he's been ranting and raving
about cohen for awhile. then suddenly he's like take a look at the father-in-law. what? where did that come from? what does that have to do with the price of milk? we have been hearing for the last two years that the president can't obstruct justice because he can can stop and start investigations whenever he wants. we've been hearing that drum beat over and over again. i think it's reasonable for somebody in cohen's position to lock at the president of the united states saying i know something about you and i have the full force of the law that i can sick on you if i want to. and so that's where i think it's not just about being a jerk. it's about the power that he holds and those words carry great weight because they actually have the authority to direct action against somebody that matters to cohen and could cause him to change his mind about what he wants to say.
>> i'm looking forward to michael cohen's testimony. i want him to testify to show the american people that i have nothing to hide. there was no collusion. there was no wrong doing. nothing happened. michael cohen, you're free to testify and tell everything because us know in the end i will be exonerated. isn't that what an innocent person does? no? wrong? >> ab sloutly. i think what's so jarring about this is this is the kind of thing that nixon said in the privacy of the oval office and that was recorded. and it was like an earthquake. the president was talking like ts head of a criminal enterprise. what was difficult for us to wrap our mind around is the president does it on twitter. so in a sense, it's like, how
bad can it be if he's doing it out in the open? a and. >> i got to get to the break. we'll be right back. was ahead of its time. still, we never stopped making it stronger. faster. smarter. because to be the best, is to never ever stop making it better. the new 2019 c-class family. lease the c 300 sport sedan for $429 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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>> right. i mean, that was really interesting. ever since he pleaded guilty, he's gone limp as a rag doll, has been completely passive, and hasn't wanted to contest anything and has really tried to avoid any kind of evidentiary hearing, even his submission today said please don't do an evidentiary hearing. that's been his strategy. it's a pathetic one, but maybe it's consistent with sort of fishing for a pardon. and she said this time huh-uh, look, we have an adversary system here. this is an important hearing. you'll be here friday, with a suit, and you'll actually have to contest things, because in the past he hasn't shown up. his lawyers have said things and then he's rebutted them later. she's said you've got to play your part here and not completely go limp. and we'll see you in court on friday. >> asha, mueller accused manafort of lying about his contacts with respect to agent constantine kilimnik. in a nine-page filing today,
manafort's attorney says mueller's evidence merely demonstrates a lack of consistency in mr. manafort's recollection of certain facts and event. what do we know about the evidence against him? >> well, we haven't seen what evidence mueller has, but if he's willing to file this and he is willing i understand to produce witnesses if he has to, he knows for a fact that manafort was in contact with a russian agent or someone connected to russian intelligence and passing polling data. and this really goes to the heart of collusion. so you can probably see why manafort doesn't really want any of that evidence to come out. and i think that we need to remember that manafort isn't somebody whose really been on the up and up. i mean, after being charged in d.c., charged in virginia, he then was obstructing justice and speaking of witness tampering, tampering with witnesses, and
now, you know, now is claiming that he just forgot. and i don't know how hard it is to forget, you know, meeting with russian agents, but i find that to be a tenuous argument. >> interesting. ryan, so manafort is at the center of a lot of contacts with russia, like the infamous trump tower meeting with the russian lawyer, right, who promised dirt on hillary clinton. do you remember the one where don jr. says and if that's so, i love it, right? and then he owed a lot of money to the russian oligarch oleg deripaska. is he key to mueller's collusion case? >> oh, absolutely. i mean, he's central -- central to it. this is someone who disappeared from american politics, went over to ukraine, and got in bed with pro-russian parties and eventually one of the russian oligarchs, deripaska, all of a sudden he goes missing, and
according to oleg deripaska, millions of dollars. and then the guy shows up running donald trump's presidential campaign. you don't need to be sherlock holmes to look at that set of facts and say huh, this guy putin was pro-trump interfering in the election. i wonder if we should look into this manafort situation. so of course. and then he's back channeling to deripaska during the campaign, offering him inside data. i've never run a presidential campaign, but i imagine you're pretty busy when you're doing it. and it would be unusual that you have time on your hands to back channel to a russian oligarch. so, yeah, he is absolutely central, and i think considering how much has been redacted from that case, we don't even know the tip of the iceberg about what man -- excuse me, about what mueller has on that case. >> boy, oh, boy. what a night, as it always has been for the last two, three
years. thank you, all. see you next time. >> thank god it's friday. >>, no it's not. well, it is. no, it's not. it's thursday, or late wednesday. no, it's wednesday! it's thursday in five minutes. thank you, guys. i appreciate it. see you soon. thanks for watching, everyone. before we leave you tonight, sheer look at cnn films three identical strangers. it airs sunday night. >> when i tell people my story, they don't believe it, but it's true. >> i've always thought what would it be like if you turned the corner one day and you saw yourself. >> oh my god. >> wow. >> the first time that the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle. >> it was nothing that can keep us apart. >> that's when things kind of got funky. >> something was just not right. >> i'd like to know the truth. >> it was always a question
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