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tv   CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar  CNN  February 14, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST

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i'm brianna keeler, live from cnn's washington headquarters. the fired fbi deputy director admitting publicly, there were conversations about removing the president from office using the 25th amendment. a secret meeting with russians at a cigar club. a judge finds paul manafort lied about it to mueller. the question is, why? democrats turning congress upside down and whether they are inspiring or ticking off their colleagues depends on who you ask. the man who called out a
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republican congressman for displaying a racist book in his office will join me live. we begin with stunning revelations from andrew mccabe. mccabe was fired after being questioned by the white house is now opening up about his time as acting director and about the steps he took to protect the ongoing russia investigations and the immediate aftermath of james comey's firing. >> i was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. that was something that troubled me greatly. >> how long was it after that, that you decided to start the obstruction of justice and counter intelligence investigations about the president?
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>> the next day, i met with the team investigating the russia cases and asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward. i was very concerned that i was able to put the russia case on absolutely solid ground in a fashion that were i removed quickly or reassigned or fired the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace. i wanted to make sure our case was on solid ground and if someone tried to close it, they would not be able to do it without a record of why they made the decision. >> you wanted a documentary record -- >> that's right. >> because you feared they would be made to go away. >> that's exactly right. >> cnn's laura jared is at the
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justice department. another revelation from this is the 25th amendment was discussed inside the halls of the justice department. tell us about this. what do we know? >> it's shocking. in this interview with "60 minutes" mccabe was doing a tell all. when the correspondent described it in detail, reiterating what we already reported, mccabe having discussions with the deputy attorney general, rob rose enstein who has been overseeing the russia investigation, appointing robert mueller. what mccabe is alleging is they were discussing potentially recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to oust president trump from office. they discussed rosenstein wearing a wire to record his conversations with the president. in the past, rosenstein pushed back on this. again, today, the department of justice saying, on his behalf, the deputy attorney general
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rejects mr. mccabe's as incorrect. they never authorized recordings he references. as the deputy attorney general stated, based on dealings with the president, there's no basis to invoke the 25th amendment nor was the dag in a position to consider invoking the 25th amendment. the dag never pursued them or advocates for this. it wasn't a realistic possibility. the issue is mccabe's credibility. he has been fired from the fbi for lying to internal investigators. he kept notes. it's been a war of words, once again, between rosenstein and mccabe. >> thank you so much for summing all of that up for us. evan perez, let's start with this admission from mccabe that the 25th amendment was discussed as a vehicle to remove the
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president and that there was a discussion that went as far as what cabinet members could be recruited. >> it's interesting to hear they went to the lengths to decide which cabinet members would be likely to support such an idea. rob rose enstein is not saying it didn't happen. we heard from other officials who were part of the discussion. they took it that rob rosenstein was essentially joking, saying something sarcastically. mccabe says he was serious. we went to fbi lawyers to talk about this and see if it was a viable option. the important thing is robert mueller's investigation is coming to a close at some point in the next few weeks. perhaps we are going to get an answer as to whether or not what mccabe has been saying, what jim comey said in his book and in his interviews, whether there
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are concerns about the president were born out by this investigation, whether they were right that the president was acting on behalf of the russians or certainly his campaign was. >> presumably, kerry, we may not know the evidence to support the question. why would they be looking into that, the 25th amendment? >> the 25th amendment covers whether or not a president can be removed if they are unable to carry out the duties of the presidency. so, really, it's unlikely that really would have been a good fit. that's why we hear rod rosenstein say there's nothing about it that says he was incapacitated or unable to carry out the duties of the office. rod rosenstein and andy mccabe are such credible people, both of them, with long, distinguished -- >> they are incredible.
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laura jared said when it comes to mccabe, you have issues of lying with internal investigators because that happened. tell us. >> the record that was made to fire him was based on the inspector general report that indicated he lied to inspector general investigators. if we look at their career -- >> it was about -- >> providing information to the media, to reporters. which, by the way, was within the scope of his activities as deputy director at the time. i read the report. i think the inspector general's report, you could look at it in a couple ways. it wasn't very precise about the timing of meetings with mccabe. i have never worked personally with either one. i look at their careers and both of them have decades worth careers of honorable service in the department. i think, taking that, this is really, they had two different take aways from a meeting that
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took place. andy mccabe seems to have taken the words seriously when discussing the 25th amendment. legally, i don't think there's any there there. >> this discussion of rod rosenstein wearing a wire to potentially tape the president for evidence. we are going to hear more about this on sunday when we see this full story as it airs on "60 minutes." listen to how scott summarizes this. >> the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein offered to wear a wire into the white house to record potentially incriminating conversations with the president. a statement was released after that that that was never serious. mccabe, in our interview says no, it came up more than once. it was so serious, he took it to the lawyers and the fbi to discuss it. >> pamela brown, i feel like
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little surprises you at this point. does this surprise you? >> it does because we are learning something that came up, according to mccabe on multiple occasions. he took it so seriously, he took it to the fbi lawyer. we heard from other sources, rosenstein denies it, but he was joking. the belief by some is that he was joking. clearly, that wasn't the view of andy mccabe as he says it in the book. now, the question i have and we are hearing more about this because we have reported on the chaos, the fact that some of these officials felt like they needed to reign in the president. andy mccabe opened up the obstruction probe before mueller was hired. now wearing a wire. it makes you wonder what else they knew or information they were acting on beyond just the firing of james comey. these are extremely serious, unprecedented steps, to my
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knowledge, talking about this regarding the president of the united states. >> when you hear supporters, the president of the united states bringing this up as a coup. in hindsight, it looks like this. we don't know, as pam said, we don't know everything they knew and why they acted the way they did. the verdict is out as to if they were freaking out unnecessarily, overreacting. >> they knew something we don't know. we have going to have to leave it there. stand by. we have much more to talk about ahead. a dramatic ruling. paul manafort lied to mueller about a lot of things, including a meeting with a russian at a cigar bar. the question is, who else knew about the meeting? sources tell cnn the president thinks the democrats outplayed the republicans as congress gets ready to vote on the spending bill. amazon cancelling plans to put a second headquarters in new york city after political pressure from freshman democrat
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the legal jeopardy facing president trump's former campaign chairman just got worse. a federal judge ruling paul manafort lied to mueller's team, breaching the plea agreement deal. here is what he lied about. interactions and communications with russia's constantine kilimnik. 125,000 payment for legal bills and information material to another doj probe. he is suffering from serious health issues. he appeared in court in a wheelchair. he's spent eight months in jail
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and faces two sentences that could add up to decades in prison. manafort is one of several associates that lied. that includes rick gates, michael cohen, fired national security adviser, michael flynn as well. we know that manafort lied about his contacts with a political operative with ties to the russian intel. specifically, it's about a meeting at this cigar bar, which manafort ducked out of trump campaign headquarters to go to with rick gates. they actually handed over data. the question is, why would he lie about -- obviously, it's a bad thing he was doing but why would he lie about it? >> that is the big question. what struck out to me is the judge in this case said, look, this wasn't just a lion something that was on the
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outside. this is what they are looking at. this is a central part of it. this is a judge who looked at the evidence from a special prosecutor. that is significant that this judge is saying he would lie about central parts of the investigation. as we know, it came to light that he allegedly handed over a polling data to this mantied to russian intel. that is important. why is the big question. his lawyers say he never intentionally lied. not only do you have manafort and others you pointed to, but it raises questions. >> did he stand to make money? was this the direction of donald trump or with the approval of donald trump? these are questions that are out there. >> we know from pleadings with
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the court, paul manafort was in touch with the white house, even after he was charged with the various crimes he has been convicted of. so, i think pardon is certainly a live issue, whether or not the president would give a pardon to paul manafort and whether or not paul manafort thinks he is eligible for one. the president made sounds over the last couple years indicating and taking action that he is willing to use the pardon in unconvention always and bypassing the normal process. there's that possibility and what are the motivations of paul manafort? pamela is right, though, this was august of 2016. this is between, after the summer of activity that the russian government was taking to influence the election including the hacking and releasing of information through surrogates and a couple months before the election. so, this was right in the heart of when, if there was some back and forth and exchange of
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information, this is at the time it would take place. let's look at the senate floor. we have breaking news as the senate votes on the confirmation of william barr. it's not wrapped up, yet but he has enough votes that he will be confirmed as the next attorney general. taking the job for, yet, once more. he had it back in the '90s. what is this going to mean about the russian investigation? >> he takes over the reigns of the investigation. he gets sworn in. the first thing that will happen is he will get a national security briefing from the fbi and the second thing that will happen is he will get read in, finally, on what exactly mueller has been up to. the big question is, i know we reported yesterday, one of the things he's been doing is having discussions with senior officials to talk about how to land this investigation, how to handle what to do with the information. do they provide congress with an update or a redacted version of
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it? do they provide a couple pages saying it's done, you don't get to know what is in here. one of the things we know is certainly the guiding force inside the justice department. they do not want to pull another james comey. they do not want to have a situation where you say, we are not charging these people, but we are going to tell you the bad things they did. that's not going to happen if anybody has anything to say about it. barr, who is pressured from the democrats -- >> that press conference about hillary clinton? e-mails like that? >> exactly. one of the things lawmakers are saying they want to pass a law. we are going to see where these two sides meet. this is the big thing that is going to be on his plate once he lands at the justice department. >> so much ahead. evan, kerry, pamela, thank you so much. since the president remains noncommittal on that spending bill that would overt a government shutdown, some senators are relying on prayer to avoid one.
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amen. let's all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn't shut down. >> that extraordinary moment, courtesy of republican senator chuck grassley. that bill that he's talking about is a 1,169 page spending package. both the house and senate are expected to pass it before tomorrow's shutdown deadline. some lawmakers are nervous. they are nervous about what will happen when the bill gets to the president's desk. we are standing by. what will happen? can you be sure? >> reporter: no, i don't think anyone in the white house is, either. we have known the top lines of the deal and still not a single white house official has gone on the record to say the president is going to sign this. i didn't get the final text until midnight. it is posted. they were waiting to see what was in that. talking with sources inside the white house, i'm not convinced
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the president is going to sign this bill. we know that because the president has been privately complaining about the republican negotiators including senator richard shelby saying he feels they were outplayed by the democrats here and he wishes he would have been more involved. he feels he would have gotten a better deal with meeting with the democrats. now, the president has been complaining about this and watching coverage of media allies dismissing this as a garbage compromise. there have been a slew of phone calls over the last 24 and 48 hours to convince the media allies that this is a win for him. they are telling him, they are telling those allies the president here is at least getting some kind of concession out of nancy pelosi after she said she wouldn't give the president more than $1 for his wall and now he is getting over a billion dollars. he will take some type of executive action to secure
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further funding for the wall. of course, they are making those calls because they know the president sees this negative coverage. it could deter him from signing the bill as he's come close to doing before. right now, no white house officials are going as far to say the president is going to sign this bill. >> wow. all right kaitlan collins from the north lawn. we are hearing extraordinary revelations about something else from former acting fbi director, andrew mccabe. in the days after the firing of comey, he feared it would be impacted or ended. he took steps to ensure this work did not disappear. he says this, quote, i wrote memos about my interactions with trump for the reason comey did to have a record of conversations with a person who cannot be trusted. we have florida democratic congressman ted deutsche joining us now. thanks for being with us. >> good to be with you, thank
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you. >> you are on the house judiciary committee. in september, the committee issued a subpoena for those memos. now, we are hearing mccabe talk about why he kept them. have you been able to see those memos? >> i have not. this revelation is startling. we have been focused on the 25th amendment piece of this, rightfully so because it's a jarring piece of news that the acting attorney general would be worried about that. it's also important to remember what he called for is an obstruction of justice investigation to ensure that would take place. that was in advance of mueller. it reminds us that even as we wait for the mueller report, there are still important hearings that we should be holding oversight hearings in the judiciary about obstruction of justice and the president's abuse of power and potentially the violation of his oath of
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office. >> what do you make of the 25th amendment part that there was a discussion going on in the doj about removing the president from office using the 25th amendment. we had a legal expert saying that wouldn't have been the right fit. there was discussion of having rod rosenstein wear a wire to record conversations with the president at the white house. >> right. i just, i think it's important to separate this discussion into parts. it's not really the part of the discussion about whether or not rod rosenstein wore a wire or even whether or not this was the right approach. what we ought to really focus on is the fact that there was concern enough about the president's actions and behavior that this even came up as a possibility. there is, we knew that over the past two years, the republicans in congress and the republicans in the house judiciary
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committee, especially, saw their role as defending the president above anything, rather than their duty to uphold the constitution and defend that. well, now, we know what was happening and it makes the work we have to do in the coming months and the next two years even more important. >> we just saw that william barr has been confirmed. the new ag. his son-in-law is leaving the u.s. attorney office in virginia but taking a job in the white house counsel's office. what do you think about that? >> i didn't know it was a two-fer that the attorney general of the united states gets to bring his son-in-law with them. i don't have much to say, except that's the way things work with this administration. my concern is the things the attorney general said about the mueller investigation, the hearing last week we had with acting attorney general whitker
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and why he was plucked in the order to serve in that role. what is it that he knew about the mueller investigation? what communications did he have with the white house and how did that inform and perhaps color the actions of the president? those are the very real concerns i think we should all have about the new attorney general. >> i know i'm changing subjects here, i know you have a heavy heart today and that the people of your district certainly do. it's been a year now since the massacre at marjory stoneman high school, which is in your district. 17 people who were killed there. how is the community remembering them today? >> well, i just came back from the high school. the students are doing service projec projects. at the park, there are memorials, beautiful tributes to
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each of the 17 lives that were taken. tonight, there's going to be a memorial service and i think more than anything else, the community is using this opportunity to be there for one another, to think about what happened last year and reflect upon the past year since where these courageous families and remarkable young people have, in the name of the 17 who were killed worked so hard to try to prevent that from happening in any other school or any other street corner anywhere in america. >> you have introduced a bill to ban high capacity magazines. you know that's not going to get through the senate. the nra opposes it. republicans leave the senate. where do you go from here? >> well, i'm actually going to respond to your assumption. i don't know that's going to
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pass. a year ago, a year ago in the aftermath of this horrific shooting, we were told that the gun lobby controls everything that happens in washington. that's why there's never been a hearing on gun safety in the republican majority. it was impossible to breakthrough. well, what we know a year later is that these students, these activists who started a movement that appealed to their young friends across the country who were sick and tired of seeing people killed across this country, guess what they did? they mobilized. they marched. they impacted the election. that's why there's a gun safety majority in the house. that's why, last night, late last night, the judiciary committee passed common sense measure of universal background checks for the first time in decades. that's why once that bill gets through the house and any of these important pieces of legislation get through the house, they are going to go to the senate where these young
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people and these activists from the families will have to go to the senators and tell them directly, you have seen what happened in the house both at the elections, at the polls and as a result in the house. you can either stand with people who want to keep our community safe or continue to stand with the gun lobby. it's your choice. there's now a clear example of what happens if they continue to make the wrong choice. >> their influences certainly unprecedented as you talked there. congressman ted deutsche, thank you so much. we are thinking of parkland and the entire community there today. thanks for being on today. >> i appreciate that very much. thank you. ahead, bill cosby says he has no remorse for his crimes, comparing himself to gandhi, nelson mandela. federal employee's union, one of
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them, is demanding an apology after several members discover a racist book in a republican's office. no more excuses with cologuard.
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that read blacks are immeasurably better off here than africa, morally, socially and physically. the painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race. so, you are the president of this union that these representatives were there in his office from representing. this all went down and they called you pretty quickly. what did they tell you? >> they called us very quickly. they were upset. they were all african-americans trying to, number one talk to the congressman about, please don't shut the government down again. keep the government open and support tsa, give them title v rights. they were astonished and amazed. this is 2019.
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the civil war has been over. such a display in a taxpayer funded office. >> the aspirin apology, they got one from the chief of staff, not the congressman. i want to have you listen to the congressman, ferguson, trying to explain to our reporter from cnn how this ended up in his office. >> i did not realize the book was in my office. the staff decorated the office when i moved in. it's not something i remember seeing there. i'm as offended by the remarks others have. >> have you read that book? >> parts of the book. there are parts i found completely against my ideology and my belief system. >> had you read it before it was brought to your attention? >> i have to get back to a committee meeting right now, so -- >> wow.
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okay. so, there's a reason, perhaps he didn't want to answer that question. do you accept his explanation he didn't realize the book was in his office. now, he's familiar with the book. >> he's read the book. he didn't know it was in his office, but he read the book. this is a united states congressman. they know what's in their office. they are very much aware of what's in their office. i think his staff immediately pulled him away. they were trying to manage him. i know how that process worked. i know what's in my office. i wouldn't have such things in my office. i disagree. he knew it was in his office. how would he have read it. >> you do not believe him? >> no, ma'am. >> these members of your union who were in his office want an apology from the congressman. >> that's all they are asking for, an apology. if you do something wrong and offended someone, say it. admit it. pull it back.
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try to do better. when you start trying to do a cover up, do a two-step as i just saw him do at that interview there, no, that's the wrong way to go about it. the congressman is wrong. first off, that's a taxpayer funded office that that book is in. there is a lot of tension in this country, race relations are still crucial in our country and there is still a lot of turmoil we have seen over and over. he needs to apologize. >> this is a lobby at the office? >> yes. >> if you are on the hill, you can walk in and this is what you can see in any office, the foyer, just to point that out. >> yes. clearly, right there, public view. people come in and out of that office on a regular, recuring basis. no, the congressman knew that was in his office. to say i have read the book, and it's despicable, totally despicable.
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>> thank you for coming into the studio, we appreciate it. >> thank you so much for having us in today. amazon is scrapping plans to build the second headquarters and bring 25,000 jobs to new york. how much influence did congresswoman cortez have in this? >> bill cosby comparing himself to mandela. we'll have more on this, next. n. and unlimited is better with a phone included. it's true. forty bucks with the other guys, doesn't include a phone. so, start the new year right. join t-mobile and get unlimited with a phone included for just forty dollars per line. -it's our confident forever plan. -welcome to our complete freedom plan. -it's all possible with a cfp professional.
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saz they will not move forward. it is a victory for alexandria ocasio-cortez, who fierce lly promoted the plan. she said, anything is possible. today is a day that a group of neighbors defeated amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. she's part of a group of freshman lawmakers, shaking up congress. just take a look at something else, another freshman member, a tense exchange between minnesota congresswoman ilhan omar, and the trump administration's new special envoy to venezuela, eliot abrams. >> i fail to understand why members of this committee or the american people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful. >> if i can respond to that. >> it wasn't a question. on february -- >> if -- >> that was not a question. >> it is not right. >> that was not a question.
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>> -- that members of this committee can attack a witness who is not permitted to reply. >> that was not a question. thank you for your participation. >> cnn political commentator and the host of cnn's "smerconish," michael smerconish here with us now. what do you think, michael? are these new democrats, are they being bold or are they burning bridges? >> probably a bit of both, depending on who the audience might be. i think it's probably invigorating the base of the democratic party, but with a lot of eyes now shifting toward 2020, you have to wonder, brianna, how does this all play in the next presidential race? there's a reason that president trump laid down a marker in that state of the union address in opposition to socialism, democratic or otherwise. i'm sure he enjoys part of this and hopes that this is the perception of the party, so as those swing voters who were responsible for putting him in office, will remain in his column and not come back to
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whomever might be the democratic nominee. that's the -- that's the risk for the democratic party. great for the base, is it good for the general election? we'll have to see. >> i wonder, what do you think about amazon. if this is amazon deciding not to go to new york. is it a good thing? is it a bad thing for new york? >> listen, i think we'd still take them in philly if they want to come 90 miles south. it's so counter-intuitive, we're used to the politician who is want to be the one to stand up and take all the credit for luring an amazon or something a fifth the size of amazon. so to have ocasio-cortez crowing about the fact that, you know, she's been able to slay that dragon is really interesting. i mean, it's just really stunning. >> but think about her audience. when amazon's gotten a lot of press for sort of the labor practices that come with the pressure to get things delivered in the time frame that they're talking about, i mean, what do you think about that? >> well, there's no doubt, as i
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say, it plays to her constituency, but to a different audience, it will be perceived as anti-business. one of the funnier aspects of this, to me, is that to take an opposing side, if you're president trump, is to take the side of jeff bezos. and we know that he's not inclined to do that for a variety of reasons. so i'll be very keen to see how he handles this issue. >> oh, that's a great point. i do want to shift adheres with you. let's talk about bill cosby. he's speaking out from prison. and in his first public statement, he says he has no remorse for crimes. he compares himself to a political prisoner. and he names the likes of martin luther king jr., gandhi, nelson mandela. what do you think of that? >> i think there are better strategies that he could be using to reach the attention of the supreme court of pennsylvania, a little something that i know about. and i don't think invoking race is the way to go. i think, frankly, those statements after the two trials where his spokespeople lambasted
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the local judicial system and placed it in local terms was mistaken. he has, brianna, legitimate, bona fide grounds for appeal. he's got a legitimate claim to say that he was convicted based on deposition testimony that should never have seen the light of day and that if the deal was honored, that he fulfilled, where he would testify with the knowledge that he'd never be prosecuted, and then had that turned against him, i think that's a -- that's a very valid issue that the court will be inclined to look long and hard at. i wouldn't get caught up in these distractions, if i were them. >> but he di-- i mean, he's makg the evaluation that he can only -- there are many people who do support him. he's clearly speaking to them, right? he seems to have lost faith in the legal system going the way he wants it to go. >> well, but if my assessment is correct, he's going to get a fair shake in the appellate process, and that there is -- you know, there are always appeals, especially in a case like this, where it's a
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well-funded defense. there's always something you can say. i'm telling you, in this particular case, there's something legitimate for him to say. he gave a sworn deposition after he was told he would not be prosecuted. he didn't invoke his fifth amendment right, as a result, gave testimony that they then used to convict him on. >> yeah. no, maybe he's foreclosing an opportunity there. michael smerconish, thank you so much. we always love having you on for your take. and we will catch your show on saturday at 9:00 eastern right here on cnn. just in, cnn has seen a videotape that allegedly shows singer r. kelly having sex with an underage girl. also, the clock is ticking towards another government shutdown, but the president still has not committed to signing the spending bill yet. hs fades before the binge-watching begins... that's when you know, it's half-washed. next time, add downy fabric conditioner for up to 7 days of downy freshness. downy and it's done.
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