tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN February 26, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
kidnapped us or kept us in the country without our permission, obviously. >> well, i'm glad you and your crew are back and safe but obviously our thoughts are with the people left behind. >> absolutely. >> and the struggle that is going on there. jorge ramos. thank you so much. >> thank you anderson. >> the news continues now. i want to hand it over to chris cuomo. >> thank you, anderson. welcome to primetime. michael cohen told the senate intel committee things they had not heard before and that's probably just the beginning. tomorrow is going to be a day that will be remembered. the day we saw whether this president does or does not have a real problem. what can cohen say? you keep hearing that asked. it's not the right question. what can he show. that's the right question and we have unique insight for you on that point. we have an idea of what democrats want to ask cohen tomorrow. how about the republicans? we have one here gearing up to
question michael cohen. he's not happy with the man that's going to be sitting in front of him. let's test the theories. and did one of his colleagues threaten cohen to scare him into silence? he says no, that's not his intention. but what did he put out? that's the great debate. let's get after it. >> michael cohen fielded questions all day from senate staffers in a classified setting. he was contrite, apologizing for the lies he told them last time around and explaining why he did so. then came this -- >> i really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth and i look forward to tomorrow, to being able to, my voice, to tell the american people my story, and i'm going to let the american people decide exactly who is telling the truth. >> that comes in about 13 hours. what makes it special is you get to see it. as you heard, cohen is ready for
what has to be one of the most anticipated public testimonies in american history. the challenge for him is pretty clear. how do you prove your credibility? well, how you come across but most importantly, what you can show. can he prove that this president directed him to commit federal crimes? remember the tape we got last year? >> it's all the stuff. all the stuff. because you never know where that company, you never know what he's -- >> correct. so i'm all over that and i spoke to allen about it when it comes time to the financing which will be -- >> what financing. >> we'll have to pay him something. >> no, no, no, no i got it. >> remember all of that bs, what did it come down to? he doesn't say cash. remember that? that's the best they had after that. why? because the video is cor
corroborative. what else does he have that can show directions from the president, business practices, campaign moves? that's what we will see or not see tomorrow. that's why either way you look at it it's going to be a big day. tonight we have one of the lawmakers that will question michael cohen. republican congressman clay higgins. welcome to primetime. appreciate having you. >> thank you, chris, we appreciate you, sir. >> so give us a little love on your angle. which way are you coming at michael cohen? >> i'll be coming directly. i'm a constitutionalist. i recognize every american's right to be known as innocent until proven guilty. i don't judge the man. i don't claim to know his heart. perhaps at one time he was a good man. but he has certainly failed and fallen and his credibility is zero. he's convicted. he's about to go to jail, in part, lying to congress and yet
he's the first large key witness called before the oversight committee upon which i serve. i think tomorrow we shall see, good, sir, is less truth and more theater. >> why? >> why? well, because michael cohen has proven to be untrustworthy. he produced false documents. he's made false statements. he's lied to you, sir. he's been proven guilty and again, i say i don't claim to know the man's heart. and i believe in redemption of all men. but he is about to find out what the inside of a jail cell looks like and yet tomorrow, he'll be in the house oversight committee speaking as if he had credibility. he has none. perhaps there was a time in his life when he did. but he's lost that, you see? this is very easy for america to understand this. he's a failed and fallen man. i feel for him as a christian principled man but tomorrow, i'll be questioning him.
>> well, christians are all about redemption. he admitted his mistake. that goes a long way in your church. it's about what he can show tomorrow. are you open to what he is able to provide you. it's not a matter of his word against the president who has his own credibility issues but what he can show you as proof of the same? >> well, i'm always receptive to new evidence that could be presented in any case and of course mr. cohen should have turned over anything he is in possession of already to investigators and one of the many criminal investigations that he's been subject to. anything he could possibly be in possession of, i would be very questioning about the integrity of that data. >> that's a good point, by the way. if you don't have it already, why would he have it available tomorrow? >> because tomorrow is political theater produced by lanny davis and career democrat operatives that have somehow convinced the distinguish chairman of our
oversight committee to allow this hcherade to move forward tomorrow. >> neither party has any kind of strangle hold on integrity when it comes to hearings. whether you guys are in charge or the other side is in charge but it's up to you to keep it correct tomorrow and ask questions that aren't just a condemnation but a clarification and to help the rest of us out that care about the answers to the question. >> i think that was well stated, good, sir and of course there's political theater on both sides throughout the history of our nation, but tomorrow is what we're focused on as a country, a very important issue. whether or not mr. cohen should even be received as a credible witness before an oversight committee that has a responsibility to present the truth to the american people and tomorrow is clearly not the effort to accomplish that. tomorrow is an effort to
discredit the president. >> why so cynical? the mueller probe found him credible and helpful. mixed results from the southern district. they said he was helpful in part. why not be open? do you not care, sir, whether or not the president of this united states was part of a felonious campaign finance violation. >> of course. every american should care about that. the question about the witness tomorrow and his credibility, seriously, he lied to you, if he told you again, would you believe him? he's lied to congress. >> if i never talked to somebody that lied to me again i'd be very lonely on this set. i'm well aware of what he has done. >> would you call him as a witness? he's lied to congress before. why would he not again? the only person that could potentially win tomorrow is michael cohen to add a zero to
some future book with this easy po -- exposure he's getting. >> what if you get proof. >> if we get proof, sir. >> yeah, i get your skepticism. maybe even a touch of cynicism. i get it. this is an ugly process and it's been tortured by lying. there's no question about that. but, you know, it could be argued later on, later on, there may be another political process but the idea, congressman, of this guy admitted to a felony, the prosecutors believe they have proof of the same. he says the president directed him to do it and was certainly an enabler in the process and i showed an audio tape. played an audio tape on my show that made the saying very clear. now we have never had that kind of proof of a president being involved with a felony. before he was president but it's something that he denied knowledge of again and again and again. if there's more proof of that kind, that puts you in a pickle
as a man of integrity. >> i say again as an investigator i'm receptive to any new evidence that could prove one way or another. what the truth actually is. but if mr. cohen is in possession of some evidence like that, it should already be in the possession of the investigative authorities and regarding the president, the man that i respect and support, president trump has removed mr. cohen from his circle of influence and yet he's been embraced into the circle of influence of the oversight committee and characters like lanny davis. >> i don't understand. the president removed him from his circle when it suited him. he used to say he was a great lawyer and good man and trustworthy. >> because children of god fail and fall, good, sir. there was perhaps a time when mr. cohen was a solid guy. but he became -- he became
compromised of his own spirit. >> compromised of his own spirit. >> his delusions. >> how so? >> well, how does any man fail and fall? the word says that the greed for money, the lust for money is the root of all evil. mr. cohen was no exception. >> he said he was acting out of duty to the president. >> but he benefitted for himself. the president has nothing to do with his false presentation of his services as lob yiss of companies across the world. >> no, but he may have had everything to do with the felony that he admitted to. >> he should have presented evidence of that in the many criminal investigations. the oversight committee tomorrow, a month or so before the man goes to jail for lying to congress among other things is not the time to produce proof that has been demanded by investigative authorities for a long time. >> let's see if he has anything. >> we shall see. >> let me ask you one other quick thing. this tweet from matt gates. we have him on the show.
i offer him a fair hearing all the time. hopefully we'll have him again today. would you write something like or do you believe this crosses the line of decorum if not legality? do you and your wife and your father-in-law know about your girlfriends. maybe tonight would be a good time for chats. maybe she will remain faithful while you're in prison. she's about to learn a lot. >> that's not the kind of thing that i would say, sir. it's reflective of the character of the man speaking and i don't claim to know the details of my colleagues statements or from wince they were born, but i can't say that tomorrow myself or my colleagues will conduct ourselves with civility and respect as we seek the truth for the american people. >> congressman, thank you very much for being on this show. it's an important night and it's important to hear from you, sir.
>> good luck tomorrow on discharging your duty. there's some avenues cohen won't be able to go down tomorrow in public but there's plenty he will be able to talk about. i have a window into a hearing that i believe will make history, next. welcome to fowler, indiana. one of the windiest places in america. and home to three bp wind farms. in the off-chance the wind ever stops blowing here... the lights can keep on shining. thanks to our natural gas. a smart partner to renewable energy. it's always ready when needed. or... not. at bp, we see possibilities everywhere. to help the world keep advancing. what sore muscles? what with advpounding head? .. advil is... relief that's fast. strength that lasts.
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president up at night. two words. providing evidence. you can question his credibility. that's easy. this isn't just about what he knows, it's about what he can show. and know this about cohen, he keeps records, that includes tapes like the one i played for you on the show of donald trump. then president donald trump discussing one of the crimes sending cohen to prison. the hush payments. remember this? >> i have spoken to allen about how to set the whole thing up with funding. >> yes. >> so what are we going to do. >> all the stuff. all the stuff. >> with tapes like that, i think we would know that already but we'll be watching to see if cohen starts to fill in the blanks about what exactly all the stuff means. that starts with names. names like who are the trump organization executives that we know from court documents signed off on paying cohen back for the women? who did that and under what pretense? this is going to be important
because the circumstances of how he was reimbursed are the difference between a marital mess and a felony. the reason to believe someone at the campaign was involved is because we know a member of the campaign sat in on the meeting where cohen and the publisher of the national inquirer discussed burying stories about trump. but cohen wasn't just a lawyer. the president is right. as far back as 2007 he was an executive vice president at the trump board and did lots of work on the business side. >> i protect mr. trump. that's what it is. if there's an issue that relates to mr. trump that is of concern to him, it's of course of concern to me and i will use my legal skills within which to protect mr. trump to the best of my ability. >> now, look, some of that he was there on the pr side.
but on the business side and claims at trump properties. what he wanted people to know and how his image was projected. what might be his secret, how much he's worth? that's something that could come up. it's not going to send you away. it's not going to end the presidency but it's what the president has been lying to you about or not. cohen was by trump's side for a couple of bankruptcy fights. that creates a paper trail. that's the same deal that cohen lied to congress about. and in a sentencing memo his attorney wrote even as he was lying michael remained in close and regular contact with white house based staff and legal council to client one. who? who were they doing? what were they telling him?
we don't know who he was talking to and it matters. and if there are phone records we may know. his plea said he asked a senior m ka pa campaign official about business travel to russia. that is going to be important. congress is going to want to know where he may know money. it's a path that plays into the argument that they need the president's tax returns. even with the deal to stay away from areas that mueller and the sdny are digging into, there's still 8 or 9 areas that are fair game. that shows how deep his involvement in trump world goes. tomorrow will not be a trial. the only verdict will be the one in the court of public opinion but it will have political repercussions for the president. what are they? how will they fair? that's the making of a great debate. i say we have it, next.
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may be the most important thing i'm involved in in my public life in the senate and nothing i have heard today dissuades me from that view. >> senator warner there emphasizing the gravity of tomorrow's public hearing which many say might be the most damaging hearing for a commander in chief since john dean blew the whistle on nixon in 1973. his testimony marked the unraveling of that presidency. could tomorrow's hearing be just as consequential. is tomorrow of great import? yes or no and why. >> tomorrow is important because it's the first time that america is hearing from michael cohen since he was, you know, sentenced actually. he is set to go to jail and serve three years in jail for lying to congress for hush money payments. so we're going to learn a whole lot tomorrow. i also think this, right through so, it draws parallels to john
dean. when john dean testified before the senate's watergate committee, that's where we found out a lot of information. that's where the revealing of nixon's enemy list came forward. all of these things happen. tomorrow, potentially we will learn new information. i don't think to the gravity of what folks learned in the watergate hearings in 1973 but i think we'll learn something new and michael cohen will have to answer why he lied in the first place and why he is back here tomorrow. more so than just salvaging his reputation. >> i'm not a big lover of hype but the reason i think tomorrow will be remembered in this entire situation is i see it as a pivot point. this isn't about the mueller report taking down the presidency. that's my speculation. attack me for it if you will. but i have never seen it being aa threat to the presidency but
tomorrow is this day when you find out if this president does or does not have something to worry about. either cohen can point these guys in a direction and say he knew about this, maybe it's felony campaign finance reform, maybe it's that and something else, but tomorrow is the day with you know whether or not there's something else there that we haven't heard of yet. >> right. listen, i agree. it can't be cohen's word. it has to be cohen proving it. documentation, corroboration because to channel the eagles, he can't hide those lying eyes. so we can't take his word for anything but i agree with you. by the way, i said all along, the proper way to execute oversight over the executive branch is what's happening tomorrow. is the congress holding hearings. that's what our system is designed to do constitutionally. what it's not designed to do is have a largely unaccountable prosecutor within the president's own justice department investigate it. >> they did the special counsel regs to make him more accountable. both left and right.
none of them wanted that independent council. >> this is how we're supposed to investigate. >> i'm fine with that and in truth if the president hasn't done what he did with komcomey probably wouldn't have had it. >> by far the worst mistake of his presidency. >> here's the problem, cohen is an admitted liar. you have people say he's been credible. today some people dribbled out some positive things. so you have him though an admitted liar and a president that's a habitual liar on the same points. who do you believe? >> that's why michael cohen's testimony must be backed up with documentation and fallcts. i believe there's more tapes that michael cohen has. we only have those tapes because those are the tapes he decided to leak with us. we don't know if he has more conversations that were recorded between himself and president trump but himself and other folks.
we don't know. y that's why tomorrow is so important but i do believe his testimony has to be backed up with facts. president trump lied at every given turn about things that don't make sense for him to tell stories about. michael cohen has nothing else to lie about. he's going to jail. his reputation is already in tatters. so now michael cohen is before congress for no other reason i think than to tell the truth and maybe get somebody to play him better in a movie that they make about this administration 30 years from now. >> but both of you just said that the president is a habitual liar as if that's a matter of established fact. and i'm going to push back on that. if you look for example the washington post constantly talks about this many thousand count lie total, this lie-o-meter. many of them are hyperbole and jokes and most of them are opinions. so i'll take issue with the fact that the president lies habitual habitually. >> he said he didn't know anything about the payments to
the women. >> he said he didn't know anything about the payments to the women. >> that's problematic for sure. >> that's a lie. >> that's problematic. but you can't tell me, you said he habitually lies. >> yes. >> let me give you an example. he lies about his crowd sizes everywhere he goes. >> when he did lie about crowd size? when did he lie about it? i don't recall him lying about it? >> sean spicer said a lot of things. >> donald trump also talks about how people told him x, y, and z and the phones are -- look -- >> do you know those to be lies? >> she's giving you a break right now. you're lucky you didn't ask me this question. >> i'm just saying the president is not a truthful person and if folks have problem with the word liar, it's just factual. >> lying to the american people right now about the situation on
the border and you know it. he said he needs the border wall to stop human trafficking. he's got his buddy bob kraft linked up in the biggest trafficking ring they found -- >> hold on. you're bringing in a lot of extraneous -- bob kraft was not human trafficking. >> i never said he was. >> oh, no, i'm sorry. to be clear, to be clear, the women, the women who were involved in the what everyone is calling the prostitution ring, that is in fact trafficking. >> it is. >> i'm not here to defend bob kraft. >> i want to be clear about that. >> you can defend the president's credibility, i'm fine about that. you want to say not all of it is a intentional deception, that's fine. in this instance, he said he knew nothing about these payments, it never made any sense but he said it and he knew that it wasn't true. that's a lie.
now the person who did it for him has admitted to a felony and our president amounted to an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment. that's a problem. now tomorrow we find out whether or not how he was paid and who made the decisions and in what context cements why he had to plead guilty to that and if so, and it leads to the campaign, that leads to the president, that's problematic. that's why i'm saying tomorrow is going to be significant no matter what it's about. >> listen, i agree. what kind of proof he can offer could be extremely significant. but to that point, too, i again i challenge the premise. just because michael cohen pled guilty to campaign violations doesn't mean they actually happened. >> i would agree that it definitely happened. >> he was over barrel for very serious crimes totally unrelated to donald trump and prosecutors use that leverage to get a defendant to plead guilty to a crime that may not have in fact
been a crime. >> true. >> had he been able to fight that he would have won had he had his day in court. >> maybe, maybe not. >> but he couldn't fight or take the risk because he was so dishonest in other areas of his life. >> if i can make a different point, it's also important to note here for the testimony tomorrow, the only thing protecting the president currently at this time is simply in relation to michael cohen is the fact that he is the current president of the united states. he's an unindicted co-conspirator and if not for him being the president he too would probably be on his way to jail. the very thing protecting him from prosecution right now is the thing that has him in trouble. the only reason anyone is under a spotlight from roger stone to michael cohen, the only reason this hearing is happening tomorrow is because donald trump made the decision to run for president of the united states and got elected. >> tomorrow is going to be a long time. hopefully people keep it in check. there's going to be drama. these are politicians. there's going to be drama, but
hopefully we're able to understand tomorrow at the end of the day, here's what this guy knows, here's what is worth following and that is going to be very helpful to this process either way. simone, steve, you two were helpful as well. be well. tomorrow is going to be a big deal. it just is. it's not about hype. it could come out tomorrow where you're like he doesn't have anything on the president. there's actually nothing that this president has to worry about. okay. but you never know and that's why we're bringing the big guns out to break down how it may shake out. people that know the intricacies of this. he has seen presidents rise and fall. how does this shape up to him? what are his questions? key insight, next. when a nasty cold won't let you sleep, try new nyquil severe with vicks vapocool
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>> from the start the president said his business empire is a red line. that line will be crossed in over 12 hours. the question is what will we see if the curtain is pulled back, if anything. one person digging deep into trump world is michael, welcome back to primetime. do you believe tomorrow is a pivotal occasion?
>> yeah, it's perhaps the most pivotal moment in the trump presidency to date. the first time that we're going to hear from a trump insider, somebody who had been with him for years testifying in public and laying it all out there. i mean, you know, if you want to go back and look in recent history, the only comparable moments i could think of is john dean and watergate. major presidential scandals with key witnesses testifying in public before congress. the only thing that i could say is, chris, this should have happened a long time ago. >> true. what do you want to know and help me with this, the idea that he has stuff he wants to show them. how would he have stuff he wasn't supposed to turnover already? >> well, presumably he's turned it over to the southern district and to mueller's people. whatever he has had. why he didn't turn it over to congress, the answer is the fact
is he lied to congress. he's admitted he lied to congress when he testified before. so he's going to have a lot of explaining to do about why he lied when he previously testified to and also if the leaks we're getting from his spinners, lanny davis, are true and he's going to talk about all the sordid things donald trump did over the years, racist comments, sexist comments, fraud, michael cohen was there beside him all of these years? was there ever a moment that he had doubts about what donald trump was doing where he expressed reservations? did he ever talk to donald trump and say you shouldn't be doing this? all of these are legitimate questions that he will have to answer. >> see, i hear you but a lot of that stuff, anything that goes to the general nature and character of donald trump, that's a dead letter for me
because they already decided to elect him. so now it's do you have something bigger? like what do you want to know that might be, that might be influential on the political process that may follow oversight? >> all right. well, let's start with the campaign finance violations. we, you know, he pled guilty to them. he said he acted in coordination at the direction of donald trump, the prosecutors have endorsed that but how did that work? what did donald trump say exactly to him? what did he say to donald trump about those payments to stormy daniels and the scheme to pay off karen mcdougal was it discussed in the context of the election. you know, cohen has said he did this for the purpose of keeping these women quite during the election. but the critical question as far as trump's culpability was what was in his head.
had he made these payments before. if so, that could be exculpatory. this may be the way he did business. somebody makes allegations against you pay them off and keep them silent. >> what if he can show that the president thought this was connected to his campaign hopes? >> well then that does directly implicate the president -- >> do you think that's enough for impeachment? >> no. not in and of itself. first of all, these payments were -- one thing that's interesting that nobody has picked up on here is the fact that he is going to testify about them at all. presumably, if the southern district had an on going investigation into this matter, they would have put the breaks on cohen testifying about them. >> what does that tell you. >> they haven't done that. it suggests to me that they don't have further indictments they plan to bring, not just against the president which they are probably barred from doing
because of justice department policy but others in the trump organization that were complicit. >> do you think they're letting him talk about it because this is the closest they get to what they know or because there's nothing there because he don't care. >> there's clearly something there because he pled guilty to it but the question is are there further cases down the road that the southern district is building? if so, you would have expected them to ask cohen not to testify about it. but i want to come back to something else you said earlier in the show. you said he's not allowed to talk about russia. who said he's not allowed to talk about russia? that's -- he said this is not going to be about russia, but he didn't give an explanation for why not? cohen testified about russia today behind closed doors. he'll testify on thursday before the house behind closed doors. we have not been given any explanation for why that testimony, which is crucial to
the russia investigation and the most important threat to donald trump's presidency, something that could lead to impeachment, depending on the circumstances, there's been no reason given for why michael cohen can't give that testimony in public. >> on point as always. i can't wait to get your thoughts on what happens tomorrow. be available please, sir. >> sure. >> take care. on the other side of the planet, the president may be pulling an all nighter to watch what we'll all be watching tomorrow. who knows. maybe kim jong un will tune in as well. what are those two up to in vietnam on the eve of their second summit? that's next. booking a flight at the last minute doesn't have to be expensive. just go to priceline. it's the best place to book a flight a few days before my trip and still save up to 40%. just tap and go... for the best savings on flights, go to priceline.
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another glimpse of his men in black running after his motorcade but they weren't the only ones running. if you thought they were fast, check this out, this is kim's translator, sprinting to his side after the leader stepped off the train in vietnam. there's a reason why he's running so fast. when you work in a place like north korea, you don't want to tick off the boss. it's a funny moment but not really. life is no joke when you're dealing with a deadly blood lusting dictator who is using human shields for his motorcade. the president has gone out of his way to bring up the better side of kim jong un. he's been really effective.
he's a young guy. he sure does love his country. >> i think the president, he would probably want that. don't you think he would like people chasing after him that way. >> i think he has people chasing after him. >> not like that. running behind his motorcade. i think he would love that. but listen, this is what happens when you put a dictator on the same level as president of the united states and, you know, did you see the video of kim jong un stopping to take his smoke break? he's all excited. he's like chill. like he's had a night out on the town and a good night. he's taking a smoke break, getting off of his train. he's like, look, i'm on the same footing as the president of the free world. that's what happens when you do this. >> what are you taking on tonight? >> of course we're going to talk about michael cohen. finally i can see you. i couldn't see you for a moment there. >> that's a tragedy in and of itself. >> i was looking at myself in the monitor.
>> do you believe tomorrow is a big day? >> i do believe tomorrow is a big day. people say michael cohen has credibility issues. i'll bring you that. but i actually think he's credible right now. what does he have to gain by doing this? certainly nothing. and if he lies, he could end up going to jail for a much longer time. so all of those people saying michael cohen is not credible. he's actually pretty credible. that's why you're seeing disgusting things, vile, below the belt things like matt gaetz. i've never seen anything like that in my life. where i grew up, do you know what you call that, low down in the gutter, or, oh, child, the ghetto, the ghetto, the ghetto. it's gross and disgusting and i'm going to talk about it coming up. a sitting member of congress. but guess who opened the door for him. >> the president of the united states. >> director clapper joins us. he's going to talk about what michael cho mi michael cohen will bring or not
bring to the table tomorrow. he has experience and knowledge and he knows. >> i'll check with you in a second. >> see you. >> it's going to be a lot to digest tomorrow both abroad and here at home. i hope republicans and democrats remember why they're there. we know there's going to be drama and pageantry but there's an argument to be made about what tomorrow means one way or the other and i make it for you, next. from sh ♪ a wealth of information. a wealth of perspective. ♪ a wealth of opportunities. that's the clarity you get from fidelity wealth management.
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want more from your entejust say teach me more. into your xfinice remote to discover all sorts of tips and tricks in x1. can i find my wifi password? just ask. [ ding ] show me my wifi password. hey now! [ ding ] you can even troubleshoot, learn new voice commands and much more. clean my daughter's room. [ ding ] oh, it won't do that. welp, someone should. just say "teach me more" into your voice remote and see how you can have an even better x1 experience. simple. easy. awesome. there's no need to hype tomorrow. we know it's a loaded occasion. we haven't really heard from anyone inside the president's inner circle. that's about to change. >> i look forward to tomorrow, to being able to, in my voice, to tell the american people my story, and i'm going to let the american people decide exactly who's telling the truth.
>> to be fair, cohen is an admitted liar and this president and his peeps certainly want you to believe that that's all he is. ordinarily, the bar would be really hard to impugn such an office, but this president is also a known liar. so who and what to believe? considerations. cohen knows congress would immediately refer him for prosecution and that the doj would be happy to oblige if he lies. and cohen knows they caught him once already. second, proof. he was at the center of an admitted felony, paying off women to help the campaign. does he have proof that there was a plan to cover up the payments that the president directed him, that the president knew this was to help the campaign. proof will be the key. remember the tape cohen made of potus and him discussing the payments to his women. remember before that, the president said, i didn't know anything, i didn't know anything. after it, all they could was play with what words he used in the tape. video, proof matters.
i fought like crazy to get you this tape, because i knew this was going to be about more than a peccadillo. now, i know cohen has other proof, maybe not as obvious as this tape, that would shock me. but it could go to what this president knew and/or may have enabled or directed. that is a huge boost. last, cohen has been at trump's feet for a lot of things. his inner circle, certainly about the business practices, but also the campaign. what did the president know and when did he know it and how can cohen show the same? this man could be your best look at that so far. and if he has nothing, this is still pivotal, because it may signal that this potus has nothing to really fear. harkens back to watergate. counsel john dean testifying to establish that nixon knew what was up. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and if the cancer was not removed, the president himself would be killed by it. >> that testimony had a huge
impact, ultimately leading to nixon's resignation, when an insider reveals that a president knew something and lied about it, it hurts. remember this? >> isn't it a fact, dr. rice, that the august 6th pdb, warned against possible attacks in this country and i ask you whether you recall the title of that pdb. >> i believe the title was bin laden determined to attack inside the united states. >> not a good time to be cavalier. >> presidential daily briefing. there was condi rice inside a revealing, that which was portrayed as a random attack may be something different. i remember her words and how they resonated. and the infamous iran/contra deal and ali north. >> i came here to tell you the truth. >> north revealed he removed money from the iran deal to the nicaragua contras and he
revealed his higher-ups knew about it, possibly even the president. now comes cohen. those who turned on presidents to come clean to you about important matters that were lied about and/or covered up. of course, cohen's not at the same level of power or prestige at any of these other examples, but this is the trump administration. those qualities are in short supply and it's fitting, given this president's background, that a lawyer and fixer known for tough talk and being loose with the truth would be the echo of the chief executive. we are the company we keep, right? those on the left, be sure to see what cohen can say and show to back up any statements. even in a political trial, you can only claim to know what you can eventually show. please stick to the matters that are most serious. scandal is seductive, believe me, i know, but try to be productive. and for those on the right, you have an obvious problem. for those looking to curry favor with this president and his base by ripping into the president as
a liar and known to do bad things, be slow to call out cohen for things you ignore on a daily basis from this president. when they refuse to call out a president who has already lied more than any president in modern history. tomorrow's a big day. hopefully, it's not about hype, but history. this day may be remembered as dean and north are today. hopefully, it is remembered for advancing our understanding of what matters. tomorrow will be the day that it became clear that this president has something significant to worry about or he does not. either way, more clarity would be a gift you all deserve. thank you for watching "cnn tonight" with d. lemon starts right now. i'll give it to him a little early. is he in the chair and ready? >> yes! you see that behind me? >> yes. >> capitol, i'm in washington, i'm getting ready for tomorrow. you will be here tomorrow. there is a lot to talk about. you know i watch you every night, buddy, when i'm not taping stuff for my own show. and you know, you just said that
this president has a history, that he lies a lot. and one of your guests said, no, it has not been proven. and you're asking and i was sitting there in my office watching you on tv. and i was going through them. i was like, well, he said that four former presidents said they wanted the wall built. they all said, no, he lied, he didn't want the wall built. he said he didn't know about the payments to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. that was a lie. he said obama ordered wiretapping on trump tower. that was a lie. he said he passed the biggest tax cut in history. that was a lie. he said that obama was close to starting a war with north korea. that was a lie. he said he had nothing to do with russia, but in fact his own lawyer, rudy giuliani, says in talks about this moscow project, that was a lie. he's lied about that. he's lied about so many things. he lied about the former president not being from the -- born in the united states. lie after lie -- lies upon -- lies, lies, and more lies. >> and that's why it's tough for these republicans tomorrow. they're going to come at cohen,
and rightfully so. they have every right to grim h grill him. -- >> but they don't have every right to defend him. so why do michael cohen's lies matter and donald trump's lies don't? >> that's right. because one of them they're afraid of, and one of them they're not. that's why. but that's the problem for them tomorrow. and that's why if they come out about him, just as a point of credibility and he's actually to show things that corroborate things, it's going to come back to haunt them. because they're not going to be able to keep to that standard with this president. and many, in fact, have abused it. they ignore what he does on a regular basis. so tomorrow they want to get righteous, it's going to be a little bit of an obvious hypocrisy, but that's politics. >> little bit of an -- it's amazing to sit here and just watch the hypocrisy happen. i mean, it is just amazing. we don't need this kind of oversight of a president. okay, remember when a very similar thing happened to bill clinton? where were you then? when it start